The Daily Fountain Daily Devotional of the Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) 18 July 2020 – Joy In The Lord
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TOPIC: Joy In The Lord
READ: ACTS 16:16-40 (NKJV)
- Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.
- This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
- And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.
- But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged [them] into the marketplace to the authorities.
- And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;
- “and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”
- Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded [them] to be beaten with rods.
- And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw [them] into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
- Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
- But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
- 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 chains were loosed.
- And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.
- But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
- Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
- And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
- So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
- Then 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] stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
- Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
- And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.”
- So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”
- But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, [and] have thrown [us] into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”
- And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.
- Then they came and pleaded with them and brought [them] out, and asked [them] to depart from the city.
- So they went out of the prison and entered [the house of] Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.
The slave girl’s masters concealed from the magistrates the real complaint they had against Paul and Silas and lied against them. Paul and Silas were severely beaten, thrown into prison and their legs fastened in the stocks. They were bloody, extremely exhausted, and in much pain. Notice how Paul and Silas reacted: They never complained or grumbled. Instead, they resisted the devil and stood firm in the faith, knowing that when they are wrongly treated, God would be glorified and others would be drawn to Jesus. They sang and praised the Lord, with prayers. God responded and shook the ground with a great and violent earthquake which threw the prison doors open and set them loose from their bonds.
God’s sovereign plan for His children often includes pain and suffering. Whatever form it takes, we should not be surprised. We should instead pray that God would use the situation for His glory to further His purpose. Entrust your soul to your faithful Creator by doing what is right and keep your joy in the Lord uppermost. God does not give Christians an exemption, even when they are doing His will and pursuing His kingdom and righteousness. Work on having joy in the Lord in every situation. Everything else flows from that.
PRAYER: Father, give me a cheerful and joyous spirit when being maltreated. Amen.