Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Words of Encouragement

This is an attraction in Wisconsin Dell. It made me think about how God can shake things up. He can totally flip situations upside down!

So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. – Acts 16:8-10

Where can I find help? God sends help. The Holy Spirit kept Paul from preaching in the province of Asia. When Paul came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit would not let them. This is where our verses pick up. The Spirit kept them from going one way, so they went another way.

During the night, Paul had a vision that a man from Macedonia was begging him to come and help them. Paul when he woke got ready to leave for Macedonia and preach the gospel to them. It would seem then, since this is where God is sending them, that they would have instant success and no difficulties?
That would be an incorrect conclusion.

If you are familiar with this scripture, this is where Paul and Silas are thrown in jail for casting out the spirit in the slave girl. It would seem that Paul and Silas would be upset. They have been beaten, stripped and thrown into jail. So what do they do? Do they feel sorry for themselves? Do they give up because this walk is too hard?

No, they praise God. They sing and praise the Lord as the others in the jail are listening to them. The scripture says that there was a violent earthquake and all the doors were opened and all their chains were loosed.

Paul received a vision for help and he followed the leading of God to go and preach the gospel. In the process Paul met with difficulty. But he remained faithful to praising God because he knew something important, that God would send help him. This same God that sent him to help someone else, would send help to him, because Paul knew he had to fulfill God's plan.

Paul’s faithfulness to continue in praise, not only released his chains but the chains of all the prisoners that were in captivity. Sometimes it is hard to figure out how God will work, but it is quite amazing to see when he does. Paul’s praising and singing released the prisoners in jail because he was in the right place, the place where the captives were. He was a captive himself, but yet he was free because of his help from God. He was a servant of God in chains for the sake of the gospel.

Today, let us remember something important, God will send our help. Sometimes he calls for other believers to go through some difficulty to be in the right place to help you be released from your captivity.

Lord help us today be released from the prison that has us held captive. Lord if you are sending us to show forth your praises and prayers until the earth be moved so that someone’s situation and circumstances can be shaken, then help us to see clearly that the place we are in is not to destroy us, but to help in the process of freeing the captives.