Thursday, July 28, 2005

Acts 16:25-40

This is a wonderful story, probably familiar to you, in which Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison for defending the gospel (and an exciting story about how God opened the prison doors). Yesterday’s devotional explained the reason for their imprisonment.

Now we find them in prison after being stripped and beaten; “severely flogged” (v23).
At midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. In the past I had pictured some sort of exuberant display, but when I consider what they had just gone through physically, it’s also likely that this was a quiet, fervent church service. It’s also likely that from Paul’s other references to prison that he was praying for a way to proclaim Christ (Phil. 1:12ff), that others around him would be ready to listen to the Gospel.

What God did which made the jailer ready to listen was that God sent an earthquake which shook the foundations of the jail. I’m sure it was scary at first.( Having grown up in California I remember our house shaking during earthquakes). This was shaping up to be an eventful evening for Paul and Silas but things got even more interesting. The jailer prepared to kill himself since he believed his charges would escape and he would then be executed for this. However Paul stopped him from harming himself, telling him that all the prisoners remained in the jail.

The jailer was now really ready to listen. He fell trembling before Paul and Silas and asked what he should do to be saved (v. 30).

Sometimes God sends big things and some times small things to prepare us to listen to Him. This week at church we are having VBS each evening. Everywhere I look, I see volunteers being used by God to make children ready to listen to the news of His love. Volunteers of all ages are helping kids, holding kids, feeding kids, telling Bible stories and explaining games, being a friend to the kids, laughing and dancing with kids. Please pray for each of these precious children as the volunteers help them listen to the best news they will ever hear.

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