Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sometimes it takes an earthquake

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Acts 16, 17, 18

Acts 16:25-29 (NIV)

25 About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundation of the prison was shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Good morning!

There are moments when God has to send an earthquake to get my full attention. Do you ever struggle to just trust and obey Him? I know, it’s probably just me. We often get in the way of God’s good plan for our lives, and I am definitely my own worst enemy. I have this annoying habit of closing my ears to the things that I really don’t want to hear, especially when it comes to hearing and understanding the uncompromised truth of God. It’s kind of like needing to be hit over the hit with a 2 by 4. Sometimes, the Lord has to work overtime to move past my selective hearing skills just to get my undivided attention!

Paul and Silas had been severely beaten that day. Even in their physical suffering, they chose to worship and honor the Lord they love. The prisoners were listening to their every word, and it was a teachable moment of faith. Do you know of someone who teaches faith, even in the midst of personal suffering? Have you ever watched someone emulate Christ’s love, in spite of their physical limitations? There are many Christians who have experienced the powerful love of Jesus Christ in such a profound way, they cannot help but serve and love others, and choose to do so, especially in times of personal suffering and pain. Many have gone on before us, and their life examples will be celebrated in our churches around the world this weekend. We gather to praise the Lord for the saints who have already won their race and are now in the eternal presence of Almighty God. A precious and dear pastor won his race yesterday and is now experiencing the fullness of everlasting life in Christ. I can only imagine his immense joy. It is the hope of glory all Christians long for and delight in. Throughout his life, this pastor led many people to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and he touched countless hearts as he fought a four year battle with cancer. I am so very grateful to God for the life of Pastor Jim. He emulated the lives of Paul and Silas in his pastoral ministry. I am very thankful for his personal witness and living testimony of faith.

When the guard realized that the prison door had been opened, he thought his life was over. But God had other plans for the one who held the prison key in his hand, yet was truly the captive one. He saw the risen Christ through the lives of Paul and Silas. They chose not to try to escape their prison walls, even as they fell to the ground and the doors were opened. Paul and Silas were free in spirit, and they did not let their physical circumstances hold them back from preaching the Good News to every ear who would hear. Their songs got the guard’s attention. His hearing was finally healed, as he asked the question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

What will it take for you to hear and respond to the Gospel message? Is the foundation of your life breaking apart this morning? Are your walls caving in around you? Can you hear the songs of the saints rising up above their pain and suffering? Reach out and take hold of the hand of Christ. He can change your life right now if you will just invite Him to come into your heart today.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: an earthquake, if that’s what it takes to get your undivided attention. Be thankful for the godly lives of those who sing hymns of praise in times of suffering and pain. We can learn a lot from those who have gone on before us by faith. Can you hear Him calling you now?


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