The scripture for today is Acts 16: 19 – 25, ESV.
19 But when their owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.
20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city.
21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods.
23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.
24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them.
Let’s review what just happened. Paul made an evil spirit come out of a slave girl. (Unfortunately, that meant she could no longer be a fortune teller and make money for her masters.) Paul and Silas get thrown in jail for that. They praise God while in jail. Though not mentioned, somewhere inherent in this story, I think Paul and Silas must have forgiven the men who threw them in jail. Fast forward to today:
Me: does something nice and gets into trouble because of that
Me: (arms crossed, bottom lip protruding slightly, eyes lifted to heaven), grumbles quietly “It figures . . . that’s the thanks I get. No good deed goes unpunished. . . rasm fasm huffety puffety . . . “
Oh, how wonderful it would be to be filled with the spirits of forgiveness and gratitude that Paul and Silas evidenced in today’s verses! In Matthew 12:34, Jesus says that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Would it not be lovely to be so full of willingness to forgive, and of praise for God, that when we are poked, those are the attitudes that would spew forth?!?
And one more thing, let’s take a moment to consider what constitutes our personal jails. Is it physical pain, weakness, forgetfulness, a job, a damaged relationship, people with opposing political views? We all have jails that we can praise God from, if our spirits are willing.
Dear Jesus, you suffered pain that you didn’t deserve, pain that we caused. Next time I even remotely begin to feel indignant that I am at the “short end of the stick,” help me to remember that.
Today’s prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help us see, in a new light, just all it can mean to be filled with Your Holy Spirit. Amen
Juli Hampton Ham10five@gmail.com
Prayer Concern - Please bless those who have birthdays today, since they only get one once every 4 years!