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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Joy In Unlikely Places

 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. (Acts 16:25-26)

When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison in Philippi, they prayed and sang hymns to God at midnight. And they brought the house down—literally. An earthquake struck and shook the prison to such an extent that the walls collapsed.

Their jailer was about to kill himself, because at that time, death was the penalty for guards and their families when a prisoner escaped. But Paul shouted, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!"

Ultimately, that jailer came to believe in Jesus Christ, along with his entire household. And the next day, the city officials sent word to release Paul and Silas from prison.

This story in Acts 16 reminds us that the child of God can rejoice in the most trying of circumstances. But sometimes the earthquake doesn't come in the middle of the night. Sometimes deliverance from our circumstances doesn't come.

Paul and Silas had to endure a beating, getting thrown into jail, and having their feet fastened into stocks before they were delivered. And although God delivered Daniel from hungry lions, he still had to spend the night in the lions' den.

Because of their unwillingness to bow before the golden image of the king, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace that was heated seven times hotter than usual. But we read that while they were walking around in the furnace, someone was with them who was "like the Son of God." Many believe this was Christ Himself walking with them.

Sometimes when we pray for God's help, He will deliver us and heal us. He will provide for us. He will fix our problem. But at other times He will say, "I will be with you through this, so trust Me."

~Greg Laurie~

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