Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24, 2013 … Our Get Out of Jail Card!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 24

Passage of the Day: Acts 16: 28 in the context with verse 27 [NLT] …  
27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Don’t do it! We are all here!

Contextual Study of today’s passage: Acts, Chapter 16 [NLT] … Go to this link

Reference Passage #1: Romans 8: 28 : [NLT] … {I make reference to this verse so often … I hope you have it memorized by now; but if not, here it is for your contemplation. } …  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 

My Journal for Today: It’s a fascinating story in Acts, Chapter 16. You may know it well; but if not, I hope you’ll take the time and use the link above to go back and read of Paul and Silas being beaten and slapped into a Philippian jail, … taken to the lowest dungeon cell and shackled there for security by the jailer. … And then it happened, God loosed an earthquake, which caused the doors of the prison to be opened, giving Paul and his ministry partner, Silas, along with the other prisoners the opportunity to escape. But the men didn’t bolt; and when the Roman jailer was about to commit suicide, knowing that any prison escape would mean his death, Paul shouted – in today’s highlight passage in Acts 16: 28 - for the jailer to desist from falling on his sword; and they took this Roman to his home and led the entire family to salvation. Oh what a story that jailer would have had after he was saved!

 Just recently I gave a talk to a group of college students; and I used another story (from Matt. 14, Mark 6, and John 6), the story of Jesus sending his disciples out into a storm; and from that encounter with nature and God’s control over all things in our lives, we learn that God brings or allows tough circumstances into our lives – not necessarily to punish us; but rather, more often, to test or build our faith. God wants us to recognize, realize, and internalize the magnificent truth I’ve copied above from Paul’s great victory chapter in Romans 8, in this case verse 28.

 Paul and Silas, in that jail in Philippi, had that truth down pat, didn’t they? Given their circumstances, and having been just beaten by the powers that be, it was totally UNNATURAL that they launched into praise songs after they were shackled in their cell. It was totally UNNATURAL that they did not bolt and run when the doors of their cell were opened by God’s providence. And it was totally UNNATURAL that they took a helping attitude in leading the jailer and his family to salvation.

No, there are tough times and very challenging circumstances which call for SUPER-NATURAL actions in faith rather than human logic. That was the case when Peter in the midst of that life-threatening storm, out on the waters of the Sea of Galilee, stepped out of the boat in faith when Jesus called him. And that was certainly the case when Paul and Silas stayed in their cells, showing the Philippian jailer that they cared for him enough to help him find God’s love and salvation by their willingness to do something totally selfless to save the jailer.

 So, the next time we are “thrown” into perilous-tough times or tribulations, we need to call up the truth of Romans 8: 28 and the memory of these two New Testament stories, remembering that God has us into the midst of the trial, the storm, or shackled us in the jails of life to build our faith and to give us the opportunity to witness for Him and show others His glory. And I charge us to remember two other scriptures, Acts 1: 8 and Matt. 5: 16, both words directly from Jesus, which charge us to be His witnesses, using His power, and shining His light .. NO MATTER WHERE WE ARE in life.

My friends, Jesus is always our “get out of jail card.”

My Prayer for Today Lord, let me be Your witness – for Your glory – in the prisons of life. … Amen

No comments: