12:00 MIDNIGHTBy: Darrelyn L. Tutt"And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates saying, 'These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely; Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard 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 bands were loosed."Acts 16:19-26Today's Read: Acts 16; Psalm 148-----The healing of a damsel possessed by a spirit of divination precedes this passage and was the reason for the beating given to our beloved Paul and Silas.No longer a servant to the men who were using her for monetary gains, the damsel was safely transferred from darkness and brought into light. She was a glorious testimony of deliverance no man could contain.Mmmm ...Paul and Silas paid a "physical" cost for the damsel's healing, but in so doing, delivered a soul from the depths of hell.Rather than bemoaning the physical agony they endured, they made their prayers and praises to be heard in the prison and, at 12:00 midnight, when most were asleep, the disciples proclaimed the goodness and glory of God.Something wondrous happens, when in our moment of distress and duress, we find ourselves captivated by a power surge translated from heaven into our souls.Something wondrous happens when all of earth's niceties are removed and we find ourselves ushered into a holy place of awe and reverence.Something happens when prayer exalts itself over our problems and praise promotes itself over our position.Gloriously,Wondrously,Emphatically, Decisively ...God's holy ear hears, His sovereign eye sees, and His holy soul sings.God loves the vision of men intent on Him!-----In this particular scene, God sovereignly administered the miraculous movement of an earthquake which shook the very foundation of the prison:The doors came unhinged,The bands of the prisoners were loosed,And Paul and Silas were free to flee but they didn't.And the power of God was readily conveyed and understood by all those who housed these prayerful, praising prisoners.Isn't it just so inspiring, dear reader?And all because of one delivered damsel.Hmmm ...We just never know what will transpire when we obey.We just never know how God will turn a seeming temporary negative into a beautiful outstanding positive by which He will receive glory.But He will!-----Maybe you feel yourself in a prison of sorts where life is buggerishly difficult and the self-pity bug has bitten.Can we stand up together, praise God together, and lift up our prayers to the One who sanctions, ordains, and stations us in the place where obedience has brought us ... and simply exclaim over the greatness and goodness of God?Can we abandon thoughts of self and situate them on the One who sustains?Can we praise when chains bind us, shackles hold us, people hurt us?As my friend so aptly expresses,"You bet."Go after God in prayer and praiseworthy, passionate pursuit:You'll feel the ground quake,You'll feel your heart shake ...You'll experience a release of God's power. -----Three Study Considerations:1) Your problems are burdensome.Quit reliving them.Praise God for His faithfulness to you in them.2) Record encouragements from today's passage in pen.3) Encourage someone in a tangible spiritual way. Quit thinking about yourself.
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