Wednesday, August 23, 2023
A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas [when the master incited the city since Paul cast the profit-making demon out of his slave girl], and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn't escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.
Some who preach have misled believers into thinking that if they do the right things, then God will never allow difficulty and pain to touch them. Jesus is the most obvious example that this dangerous teaching is untrue. He lived God's will fully, yet many rejected, reviled, and then abused and crucified him. The God who works all things together for our good also said that we would be conformed to this suffering Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). Paul and Silas are clear examples that prosperity and protection do not necessarily come to us because we are good and do the right things. Paul and Silas were severely beaten and placed in jail under agonizing torture. (Stocks were designed to cause pain.) Paul and Silas had obediently answered the call to go to Macedonia, but a string of difficult times began in Philippi and included rejection in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens (Acts 17). However, the Lord did use their hard times to plant churches that were extremely precious to Paul and supportive of his ministry.* Suffering and persecution may very well be in store for us as followers of Jesus. They were for many of the Lord's earliest disciples. However, our struggles won't be wasted because the Lord will use our suffering to plant seeds for a harvest of future believers!
* In addition to 1 Peter — written to encourage believers to do what is right even if they are persecuted for it — our Related Scripture Readings emphasize both the suffering involved with faithful discipleship and Paul's support from and warm relationship with the Philippian and Thessalonian churches in Macedonia.
Almighty God, I entrust my future into your hands. I pray that you use my life to reach others. While I do not want to suffer persecution and rejection, steel my courage and strengthen my resolve to face whatever comes and to face it in a way that makes my faith winsome to others and a clear example of your character and grace when under pressure. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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