Read Acts 16:19-40
Key Verse: Acts 16:25 “Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.” (NLT)
Paul once again ended up in prison for doing something good. Healing that demon possessed girl was the right thing to do, yet both Silas and Paul were beaten, imprisoned, and bound because of it. We read on to see the wonderful things that God does as a result of their being in prison. The prison shakes, the doors swing open, and the jailer and his whole family turn to Christ. It even served as an opportunity to encourage the believers (v. 40).
All of the wonderful things that happen in this passage can be traced back to the way that Paul and Silas reacted to being in prison. They were just badly beaten, thrown into the inner dungeon, and even tied up. But what do we find them doing in the midst of all of this? According to verse 25, they prayed and worshiped God. What’s more, they did it where everyone in the jail could hear them and they did it despite the fact that they were suffering so greatly for their faith.
How would you have reacted? Would you have prayed in that situation? Most of us find it difficult to say grace at a restaurant because there are people around us. Paul and Silas never let being beaten or even being imprisoned stop them from expressing their love to God. They choose to Act Out for Him even in the worst possible situation and God blessed them in incredible ways. Acting Out for Him means we need to learn to never be embarrassed of our faith in God whether we are in a restaurant or in jail.
Prayer: “Lord, please forgive me for the times that I lived like I was ashamed of you. Help me to never be embarrassed of you. No matter where I end up in life I want to let everyone know that you are the most important part of my life.”
Read Acts 16:1-18
Key Verse: Acts 16:10 “So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, for we could only conclude that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.” (NLT)
Paul and his companions traveled about looking for places to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to people who had never heard before. The Holy Spirit would not allow them to enter Asia at that time nor were they allowed to enter the province of Bithynia. God closed those doors, or opportunities, because He was about to open a different door for Paul and his friends.
God, through a vision, directed them to go to Macedonia. This was the open door they were looking for and as they went into this area God used them in great ways. They meet Lydia and she became a Christian. They even healed a demon possessed girl.
When an opportunity presents itself we often rush towards it and are excited to do whatever it takes. Sometimes God closes doors that we think are good. He has His reasons and He knows what He is doing even when we don’t understand. It is at those times that we need to wait upon Him and trust Him. What we want and what we want to do is not always what is best. God’s will is always best for us. We need to look for opportunities to share the Gospel. But we also need to be willing to let God lead us by showing us, through His Spirit, which doors are open to go through and which ones are shut for now.
Prayer: “Lord help me to accept the fact that your will is much better than mine. I want to trust you and know that you know best.”
Have you ever read a promise in the Bible and wondered if it is possible that it could really apply to you? Have you ever heard the voice of God declare something over your circumstance and yet found yourself doubting? The truth is that all of us will come to this place of uncertainty at times, perhaps even many times.
Consider Abram for a moment. This man was just going about his life in a place called Haran when God suddenly interrupted with an amazing promise. Seemingly out of nowhere God shows up with a plan for Abram to leave his home and his relatives and for him to travel to an unknown area where God would turn this simple man into “the father of many nations.” (Genesis 17:4) What did Abram think about all that? Perhaps a better question might be, “How would you feel about that?” A little scared? Maybe a lot scared? Would you have reservations? Doubts? Concerns? Sure, we all would, if we are honest enough to admit it.
The reality is that God is not shy about making big promises and He may have a big plan in store for you right now. Has He promised to use you in some way? Has He promised to heal your body or create a miracle in your circumstance? Do you have an unsaved loved one or friend that God intends to reach out to? Whatever the promise is that God has made to you, you can be assured that He can and will get it done.
After making His promise to Abram we see God taking the time to encourage Abram in Genesis chapter 17.
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’..” – Genesis 17:1 NLT
Perhaps Abram was struggling with the magnitude of all that God had declared about him. Perhaps he was just having an off-day (we all have those don’t we?). Or maybe God just wanted to offer Abram a little reminder about who He was. Either way it must have been an amazing source of confidence to have God Himself state that He is El-Shaddai — “God Almighty”. I imagine God saying, “Just in case you have some concerns or doubts Abram, you need to know that I can do what I said I would do.”
He is God Almighty! He has no limits. There are no difficult promises for God to keep. He is not just able, or strong, or even mighty, He is “All Mighty!” I pray that you will be encouraged today to hold on to the promise that God has made for you. He is more than powerful enough to do what He said He will do. Our God never writes checks that He can’t cash. If He made you a promise, you can be assured that He has a plan and that He will provided. God gets it done.