Glorifying God in Persecution!
One of the many stories which has caught my attention over the years is taken from the Book of Acts Chapter 16. It has to do with the biblical account of Paul and Silas being beaten and put in prison, while they were doing teaching and preaching ministry to the people in Philippi. The story I want to highlight in this devotion picks up at verse 22 and goes through 34.
The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And the jailer called for lights and rushed in and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
The Lord used Paul and Silas to do some amazing Gospel centered and Gospel proclaiming work, even in the face of adversity. It would have been easy for them to curse God because of their beatings and imprisonment. Yet, they remained faithful and with the help of the Holy Spirit they were able to overcome the effects of their mistreatment and be joy-filled servants of Jesus. Their witness gave glory to God Almighty, in the person of Jesus, and it allowed them to share the Good News of salvation with those they might not otherwise have been able to reach.
What can we learn from this story? The Lord can use us in amazing ways to reach others for Jesus, even in our times of trial. Let you and me be intentional in seeking God’s guidance, so that He may use us to minister to others and glorify Him in ways and situation we could never imagine. If you do not think it is possible, just remember Paul and Silas!!!!!! Pastor McCarty