Sunday, May 20, 2007

What to do when you are in prison.

Today's appointed reading was about Paul and Silas when they were thrown into jail. These guys were doing the right thing in preaching the Good News and there was a demon possessed girl that was following them. She was yelling and telling everyone that they were from God with the message of salvation. Paul finally got tired of it and commanded the demon to leave her. At his command the demon left and she received deliverance from the torments of this demon. She was a slave and her master was really upset because he was not going to be able to make money off of her any longer. The slave owner stirred the people up and Paul and Silas were beaten with wooden rods and thrown into jail and had their feet put in stocks.

As I looked at this passage from Acts 16, here is what I discovered for you today:

1. Sometimes bad things happen when we are doing the right thing. This is just reality. We have to accept it because we live in an imperfect world.

2. The problem is not that something bad happens, but what we do when it happens.

There is an improper response. That is to try to get even and take your revenge. This never works. It just keeps us bound to the stuff.

Then there is an proper response.

3. The proper response is to praise and worship God in the midst of the bad.

What did Paul and Silas do in the midst of the jail? They sang hymns and worshipped God. Now, this is not the natural reaction for us. We would much rather fight, cuss, or get revenge. But as you look throughout the Bible, we see people who were in a really bad situation that God told to worship in the midst of it and victory came. Look at Joshua 6 - the children of Israel were at Jericho. What did God tell them to do? Shout against the walls of Jericho . Crazy right! Well, when they did, the walls fell down. In 2nd Chronicles 20 what happened when the King put the singers in front of the army? The enemies of the people of God fought among themselves and killed each other! Then they went into the enemies camp and took up the rewards.

It's not easy to praise and worship during hard times. It takes a choice of your will to just do it. You need to remind yourself of all the times that God has come through before. You need to remind yourself that God is good for His word. So, in the midst of the struggle and the junk of life, stop complaining and begin to be thankful and worship God the best you can. It may just start as a thank you God or God I love you. Wherever you are - just start!