26 May 2012
Do not undermine the Power of “Prayer & Praise”; Paul and Silas were miraculously delivered from the Prison in the midst of praying & singing Praises to God and they also effected the conversion of the gaoler and his family 8-)
- Extracted from Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 16:
16 It happened one day that as we were going to prayer, we were met by a slave-girl who was a soothsayer and made a lot of money for her masters by foretelling the future.
17 This girl started following Paul and the rest of us and shouting, 'Here are the servants of the Most High God; they have come to tell you how to be saved!'
18 She did this day after day until Paul was exasperated and turned round and said to the spirit, 'I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to leave that woman.' The spirit went out of her then and there.
(Interpretation: Paul casted out the evil spirit from this slave girl.)
19 When her masters saw that there was no hope of making any more money out of her, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities.
20 Taking them before the magistrates they said, 'These people are causing a disturbance in our city. They are Jews
21 and are advocating practices which it is unlawful for us as Romans to accept or follow.'
22 The crowd joined in and showed its hostility to them, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged.
23 They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them.
24 So, following such instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 In the middle of the night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God's praises, while the other prisoners listened.
26 Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners.
27 When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, 'Do yourself no harm; we are all here.'
29 He called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas,
30 and escorted them out, saying, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'
31 They told him, 'Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.'
32 Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his household.
33 Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptized then and there with all his household.
34 Afterwards he took them into his house and gave them a meal, and the whole household celebrated their conversion to belief in God.
35 When it was daylight the magistrates sent the officers with the order: 'Release those men.'
36 The gaoler reported the message to Paul, 'The magistrates have sent an order for your release; you can go now and be on your way.'
37 'What!' Paul replied. 'Without trial they gave us a public flogging, though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison, and now they want to send us away on the quiet! Oh no! They must come and escort us out themselves.'
38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, who were terrified when they heard they were Roman citizens.
39 They came and urged them to leave the town.
40 From the prison they went to Lydia's house where they saw all the brothers and gave them some encouragement; then they left.
Saint James taught us (James 5:16-70):
...the heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully.
Elijah was a human being like ourselves—he prayed hard for it not to rain, and no rain fell for three-and-a-half (31/2) years; then he prayed again and the sky gave rain and the earth gave crops.
Saint Paul taught us (Colossians 3:16-17):
Let the message of Christ in all its richness, find a home with you.
Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom.
With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God;
and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
See how Paul & Silas practised what they preached. After all the abusive treatments, they could have lost hope and become discourage, blaming God for all the bad luck and ill treatment, including the “losing face” treatment of having to squat on the prison floor. However, in the midst of such misfortunes, pains and sufferings, they had chosen to pray and sing psalms, giving thanks to God.
And see what happened next:
God acted and created “an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners”- to have Paul and Silas delivered. 8-)
Saint Paul also told us:
- All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:14 ) &
- We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good (Romans 8:28).
You asked, ‘I have lived my life as a good person, what should I do if I am persecuted by the wicked?’
Here’s the Answer based on the aforesaid teachings of James and Paul:
Just continue living an upright life and be sure that your prayers to God would be answered, as He would reward your uprightness.
When something bad happens to you (caused by the wicked or others?). Don’t panic, start praying to God, giving thanks to Him in praise. Remember to keep your peace, and wait for God to act. He would always act in many marvellous ways such as letting us know how to get out of it or creating a miracle to deliver us. So don’t worry, you will see how He is going to turn the “bad luck” into “GOOD LUCK” for you, as God always cooperate with the upright and turns everything to their good. 8-)
Don’t you know that He loves the upright and He is always watching them, taking care of them with jealous love? 8-)
Every Christian who is “in tune” with God would always have His Peace with him, as Jesus told us, ‘I have told you this so that you may find peace in Me. In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world.’ (John 16:33)
His Peace is always with us, that’s how we can remain joyful in the midst of any setback, He promised us that He would help us to conquer all of them. Don’t you know He the Almighty God is faithful and He would always deliver us from all dangers etc.. ? We just need to continue to live a righteous life and work hard… And in no time, we would see He makes His blessings on us “flower”. 8-)
Clearly Saint Paul always had with him the “Joy of the Holy Spirit” , here he shared the secret of his joy with us:
Look at Saint Paul whom we admire as a wise teacher and a courageous man. He who had accomplished many difficult missions with great intensity of purpose, who had endured the numerous persecution and pain in spreading the Good News… All these would never be possible if he had not been obedient to God and let himself to be actively led by the Holy Spirit.
Don’t you know that the Holy Spirit is the “Energy for all good Christians”? He is the One that gives us Enlightenment, Guidance, Strength and Consoles us when we are discouraged or sad.
The Joy of the Lord is your strength - Extracted from Nehemiah 8: 9-10
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all,
“This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.”
For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.
This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The God who does marvellous deeds – Extracted from Psalm 77:
11 Remembering Yahweh's great deeds, remembering your wonders in the past,
12 I reflect on all that you did, I ponder all your great deeds.
13 God, your ways are holy! What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who does marvellous deeds, brought nations to acknowledge your power,
15 with your own arm redeeming your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.
16 When the waters saw you, God, when the waters saw you they writhed in anguish, the very depths shook with fear.
17 The clouds pelted down water, the sky thundered, your arrows shot back and forth.
18 The rolling of your thunder was heard, your lightning-flashes lit up the world, the earth shuddered and shook.
19 Your way led over the sea, your path over the countless waters, and none could trace your footsteps.
20 You guided your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
26 May 2012