|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The power of hope”
Our Bible verse for today: “Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:24-25 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Praise Him in the prison”
I love the scene Luke portrays for us in Acts 16:24-25. Paul and Silas were in the city of Philippi preaching the gospel. The enemies of God attacked them, severely beat them, and locked them up in the bowels of a filthy, stinking prison – with their feet in stocks so they couldn’t even move. Pretty tough stuff! They had been whipped until their backs were a bloody mess. Now they were sitting motionless with their feet locked in stocks for hours and hours.
How did they respond? The verse says that they sat there and had themselves a two-man worship service. They prayed and sang loud praises to God and witnessed to the other prisoners. Wow! Apparently they knew something about how to handle tough times.
Once, on a mission trip to the province of Transylvania in central Romania, our team was conducting free medical and dental clinics in remote Gypsy villages. In one village a little old lady invited some of us to come to her home. She was old, short, hunched-over, and had a weather-worn face. Her home was a small, dark, two room house that was made of cement and mud. The floor was concrete, the home was sparsely furnished, she was obviously very poor, and there was no indoor plumbing.
We sat at her table as she offered us cookies and a drink. She was a Christian and loved to talk about the Lord and as we talked, she absolutely glowed with joy and enthusiasm. Even in the midst of her grinding poverty she was joyful and generous, and she was a wonderful little host. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with her.
What Paul, Silas, and that little Gypsy grandmother all illustrate is the tremendous joy and peace followers of Christ can have – even in the middle of dark and desperate circumstances. It’s the “Victory in Jesus” that we love to sing about in our churches.
Periodically in life we all go through those prison experiences. Oh, you may not be locked-up in a dungeon with your feet in the stocks, but there are many other kinds of life experiences which are dark and difficult and prison-like – serious illness, unemployment, a struggling marriage, rebellious children, etc.
Regardless of the “prison” you may find yourself in you can choose to praise Him in the middle of it. Just like with Paul and Silas and the little Gypsy grandmother, the hope and joy you have in the Lord will raise your own spirits, as well as the spirits of others around you. It may even cause them to desire the faith which you have.
You can praise Him in the prison.
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