Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More Observations from Acts

I am not sure if it's because I don't read carefully enough, if I've just missed these parts, or someting else, but I have made several observations that I've never thought of before. If you missed my most recent observations you can find them here.

This time it's Paul and Silas in jail. They have been put there, essentially, because they drove a demon out of a girl that was making money for her owners by being a fortune teller. After they drove the demon out the brought them in front of the chief magistrates who, in turn, had them beaten and thrown into jail.
"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out in a loud voice, 'Don’t harm yourself, because all of us are here!' Then the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he escorted them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'" Acts 16:25-30 (HCSB)
 My first observation is of Paul and Silas's faithfulness. It says "they were praying and singing hyms to God." What it doesn't say is "they were whining and complaining about God letting them be put in jail for nothing and they were plotting their escape." I'm not sure about you, but when I am wrongfully accused or am paying for something I didn't do I tend to get angry. It's at these times that I also start trying to figure out how I am going to get out of the situation. Notice I said "how I'm going to get out." These are the times that I am horrible about not leaning into God and putting all my eggs in His basket, so to speak. Because of their faithfulness God took care of them and allowed their situation to be resolved.

Second, they didn't try to leave whenever the jail door was flung open and their chains were removed. I've never been in jail, but I imagine that most people who are in there, whether or not they are guilty, would make a bee line for the door if it were open and they thought they could get away with it. Not these guys. And it's because of they faithfulness and the fact that they didn't take advantage of the situation that they were able to minster to this jailer and lead him to a relationship with Christ.

I wonder how often I miss opportunities to minister to someone simply because I am irritated, upset, or consumed with my own circumstances? How much better would I be at reaching people for Christ if I would quit worrying about how I am going to get out of our current circumstance and make the best of the situation God has placed me in?

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