October 7, 2018

Acts 16:25-26..And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

Paul the apostle to the Gentiles had now started his missionary journey from one city to another preaching the gospel to them and the power of God was backing him up with signs and wonders following. Barnabas and Paul worked together for a while and when a little disagreement came between them concerning John Mark that started with them but left and returned to Jerusalem and then later came back, Paul was not willing to take John Mark with them again, but Barnabas felt he should still go with them. At that point, Barnabas took John and went for their own missionary journey, while Paul took Silas who came from Jerusalem to Antioch and they continued the missionary journey from one city to the other until they got to Philippi, in Marcedonia, where the above episode occurred (Acts 16:25). In this city as they were preaching the gospel one damsel who was possessed with the spirit of divination cried  saying “these men are the servants of the most high God which shew unto us the way .of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour” (16-18). The masters of the damsel caused uproar because of this and took them to the magistrates and reported them that they were the ones troubling the city.  So they were beaten with many stripes with no clothes on, and then imprisoned with maximum security. Then at midnight Paul and Silas started to sing praises to God. They were happy that they were able to share in the suffering of Jesus, They forgot about their pain and their imprisonment, they sang praises to the Most High  God. Their praises brought God down into the place and earthquake that shook the very foundation occurred and all their chains were broken and prison doors flung open.

The Bible says God inhabits the praises of his people. The praises of Paul and Silas is a practical manifestation of their gratitude to God for counting them worthy to be used by God. This is a great lesson for us believers.  that we need to live a life of gratitude to God. Praising God is an act of worship. We praise God for who he is. We praise God for his kindness and his mercies over us. We praise him for meeting our needs on a daily basis. We praise him for being our refuge and our fortress. We praise him for being our deliverer. We praise him for forgiving us all our sins, and redeeming us from the wrath to come on unbelievers because we are saved by grace. 1 Peter 2:9 says “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness, into his marvelous light.” When we think of all that Jesus our Lord did to redeem us and reconcile us to the Father bridging the gap that was caused by our sinful nature, our God deserves our praises on a continuous basis.

Paul and Silas were able to praise God because they were not bothered with all the beatings and the imprisonment, because they knew it was for a good cause. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, Paul writes “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation aboundeth by Christ  .” Therefore it is good to know that when we are in Christ Jesus, our trouble or trials or tribulation are not in vain, because we are not there alone, and the outcome of it is always to the glory of God. We have example of Paul to follow that even in our tribulation, we should be singing praises to God. Hebrew 12:2 says “Looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

As always when God comes down to any scene, miracles follow. The earthquake is a response to the praises offered to God, and the God that made heaven and earth shook the foundation of the prison, and cut off all their chains and opened all the doors. Their chains were broken and are free to escape, but the boldness of Paul and Silas kept them there which saved the Keeper of the prison, because he  would have killed himself if they had escaped. Witnessing what had happened, he knew that they were serving the true God and he fell down before them and said “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  They said to him “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house. They preached the word of God to him and his household and they all gave their life to  Christ. What a wonderful way to witness to people that Jesus Christ  saves the lost. Whatever situation you find yourself, or if you are in any trouble, make praises to the Lord your habit, and as your praises go up, blessings come down.

Brethren, let your life witness Christ to people around you, because you are a chosen generation, that have been brought from darkness to a marvelous light of God. Let your attitude reflect the Christ in you which is the hope of glory, so that people can be attracted to the light of Christ in you and be saved. It is well with you all.

Prayer…LORD shine your light in us so that people will experience your love through us in Jesus Name, Amen.

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