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A Magnificent Testimony

By Dava Walsh
 
Thursday, March 18, 2010

Scripture Verses
Acts 16:16-40

16Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.

 19When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."

 22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

 25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"

 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

 31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

 35When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men." 36The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace."

 37But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out."

 38The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.


Devotion
When Paul and Silas had been beaten and jailed, they did not question why this was happening to them and why it appeared as though  God had forsaken them.  Instead, they sang and prayed in the jail, while they were shackled and bound.  Awakened by an earthquake and fearing the prisoners had escaped, Paul and Silas told their Jailer not to harm himself.  They were there.  They had not escaped.  The Jailer asked them, “What must I do to be saved?” and they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30)

In our own lives, when we are met by trials and despair, do we continue to pray and sing God’s praises?  Do we keep our faith and cause others to wonder what it is that we have that can keep us going in such difficult times?  It is more often than not that we find ourselves wondering why God would allow us to suffer such trials and tribulations.  Yet, as Paul and Silas kept their faith by singing and praying, the Jailer wanted to know how he could have what they had. 

Paul and Silas shared with the Jailer the word of the Lord and the Jailer took them to his house and fed them and cleaned their wounds.  Not only did he believe but he began acting upon his faith.

As we go about our daily lives, may we keep singing and praying, all the while sharing our testimony with those around us. 


Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of salvation.  Help us keep singing and praying as Paul and Silas sang and prayed that we may we be a testimony to all those around us.  In your name we pray, Amen.