19 Mar 2017
March 19, 2017
Acts 16: 22-40
A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, 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 he took no chances but 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. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, "Don't do it! We are all here!"
Trembling with fear, the jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas. He brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
They replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with your entire household." Then they shared the word of the Lord with him and all who lived in his household. That same hour, the jailer washed their wounds, and he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. Then he brought them into this house and set a meal before them. He and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, "Let those men go!" So the jailer told Paul, "You and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace."
But Paul replied, "They have publicly beaten us without trial and jailed us - and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!"
When the police made their report, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. Paul and Silas then returned to the home of Lydia, where they met with the believers and encouraged them once more before leaving town.
Isn't what happened to Paul and Silas essentially what Donald Trump and his assigns are attempting to do to U.S. citizens....and others....via the Border Patrol/Homeland Security?
Perhaps if we all prayed and sang to God, freedom would be allowed to ring. We need to come together IN THE WORLD to pray and sing hymns to God, for the release of those wrongly imprisoned under the U.S. President's latest emphatic evil actions, to break the bondage he is placing upon the innocents....all the while he and his assigns manipulate law for THEIR own choices and belief systems.
Trump is preying on people out of his ignorance and disrespect. Did his mother ever become a U.S. citizen? What are the real facts regarding his wife's legal status in America? Does he not stop to think, were it not for his parents and grandparents coming to America and building their dreams, that he would not be in the position he's been in for years to lie, cheat, steal, abuse?
What's good for the goose is oppression and terrorism to the gander, based on Trump's choice making, it seems!
The jailer/guard in todays lesson thought the prisoners had escaped, and, he was ready to kill himself, lest he be killed for infractions unbecoming. Could you, for a MOMENT, even consider that ANY of Trump's assigns, or himself, would consider doing this, if they ever realized they could be wrong? Oh, silly me....they are never wrong (just ask them), they don't apologize when they really are, and they never own the failures, but they must blame others and command that others do as they are told by their own little group. Isn't this addressed in Galatians 5? YES. It's the evil side of the coin, so to speak....right up there with divisiveness, hostility, outbursts, anger, selfish ambition, etc.
If it walks like a duck, and squawks like a duck, it must be a....DUCK! Dear ducks, please forgive me.
I know this is a long shot, but while everyone is hopefully indeed praying and singing to God regarding the President's immigration policy, etc., perhaps we should all be also praying and singing for the conversion to Christianity of Trump and his whole household, AND his assigns. At the very least, that they believe in someone other than themselves as God, or gods.
From todays lesson we learn 'the police made their report'.
Oh, that the U.S. Federal governing bodies in intelligence, etc. would make their report and ask - no, TELL - Trump and his assigns to leave their positions under law.
It really bothers me that, after doing good, Paul and Silas were asked to leave the city. It really bothers me that after doing good, people in America are being asked - no, TOLD - to leave America. And others are being kept out.
America was built by slaves and immigrants. Long before Ellis Island. And long since Ellis Island. Should folks break laws? NO. Sure as hek, neither should the President and his assigns. Why hasn't ANYONE the courage to throw them out of office and into jail????!!!!
Pray and sing hymns to God for people in America and those needing to come, as well as those thrown out who need to return. Then pray for the ducks. Literally, actually, based on the reversal of many SAFE environmental laws being overturned!
Also, "IN everything give praise and thanksgiving." IN, not for, or because of, but IN....the midst of.
'And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you. ' Philippians 4:8-9
'May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.' Philippians 4: 23.
Let Us Pray
God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, there is a better way in life, to life, than what the current President of the United States and his assigns have chosen for the people in America, and others in the world. Lord God, Lamb of God, you take a way the sins of the world. Have mercy on those being hurt by the sins of others. Reprimand those committing atrocious acts believing themselves God or gods. I know you will decide, based on John 15, whether you will forgive, or toss out, those sinning. Based on Scripture in Luke 10:25-27, you tell us we must love you with all our heart, our soul, our strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves. May those of us who care, who desire to be better Christians, to honor and obey you, and get to heaven, take those words to heart. Every day you await us. Every day we should reach out to you, seek you in all ways, and in our neighbors. And love them as we love ourselves. Forgive us all, Lord, for the sins with which we stripe your back....your heart....your mind. Help us all see the atrocities others feel as a result of wrong choices on behalf of the President of the United States of America and his assigns. Oh, Lord God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, come into our hearts today in a new way, that we may honor you, and others around us. Let us be peacemakers, not hate filled abusers. Lift us to new heights of glory as we sing and pray to you for the conversion to Christianity the President of the United States, and his assigns, and, those claiming to be Evangelical Christians who are not even closely following the new law, the New Testament by the choices they've made and are making. Help them, Father. Satan in the world has gotten ahold of them. Heal them, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray, by and with the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I praise you. I thank you. I love you. Amen.
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Let us hear from Paul as he prays:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'.
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One last thing....
Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'
"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11: 25-30
And the people said,
I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God. Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided. I encourage you to pray your own prayers as well.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
NOTE: I said it long ago, but let me say it again. If you are wanting to lead a group, start a church, or are confined in an institution, or live in a country where the Gospel is not preached, and you don't know what to say or how to say it, and yet feel led to share, teach, or preach, besides just reading straight out of the Bible and sharing what God puts on your heart, please feel free to share any or all of what I've written, if it will help you, as long as you include where it comes from, due to copyright laws. Jesus gave God's love and healing freely, as well as his message. Our responsibility is to get the Word out to those who need to hear it. If what I've written....by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit....or what he has said through me....has helped you, it may help others that you know. You are welcome to share it. God calls all of us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Please share it with the fullness of love that God, Jesus, Holy Spirit....and I....have given it. Amen!
Bible Author and Minister