God Is Good
Good Lord, I know that You really are a good and loving Father and I thank You for that.
Read Acts 16:16-40
 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.  She 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.”  She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed 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.  When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.  They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar  by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”  The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.  After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.  The 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.  But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”  The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.  He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.  The 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 household.  When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.”  The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”  But 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.”  The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed.  They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.  After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat was the result of the witness of Paul and Silas?
In some church services the leader announces, “God is good,” and the people respond, “all the time.” Then the leader says, “All the time,” and the people respond, “God is good.” Have you ever been through a season of great difficulty and wondered if God could still be good? I love the example of Paul and Silas. They are accused (20,21), stripped and beaten (22), severely flogged (23) and thrown in prison, presumably into darkness as they are in an inner cell, and they can’t move because their feet are in the stocks (24). Yet they openly pray and sing praise to God. When we suffer, it can be tempting to downplay our trust in God, yet it is this bold trust that is such an illustration to others. If we want to be those who point others to Jesus, then we need to be able to declare his goodness and our trust in him, even in our pain and suffering. As we have the courage to do this, even through our tears and weakness, others will see that there is something different and, like the jailer, they will find it attractive.
Have you had the opportunity to trust God and declare his goodness in pain and suffering? If so, thank him. If not, be ready.
Pray for the courage to announce that God is good through your words and actions, whatever your circumstances.
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