The beautiful song that Lilly posted on our Wattsapp blog site, resonated with me this morning. “Be still, wait, be still and know that I am God”.
Be still – Be still is the starting point – to quieten all the conversations I have with myself, all the voices clamouring for my attention – Be still though – for a purpose to “Know that I am God – in the quiet with all the distractions out of the way you can truly come to know Me”.
In my mind’s eye I am in the Karoo on a warm summer evening – the sun has set in blazing glory and the night comes as black velvet stretched across the sky, studded with stars like multiple jewels – absolute quiet – except for an animal’s call in the distance. I lie down on my back and look up enveloped by this warm blanket, and God speaks “the quiet here enables you to really experience My presence – the inky blackness is soft and warm and envelops you with my love”. I see a star becoming brighter and brighter, “I am your light – just sense My nearness and receive from Me, I am a giving God – I have so much to give you – I give you absolutely everything you need for life and godliness – I have so much to give you, if you would only receive it – My love is overwhelming, My Spirit all powerful – I am constantly giving to you, just learn to receive and to do that you need to be truly still – practice that”.
I have been reading Acts ch 16 and today I focus on the last part vv 16-40. Why don’t you read through the passage and decide who the main characters are (besides Paul and Silas of course), and why they are.
Well I believe that the jailer and his family are the main characters, because the main melodic line has been the extension of the church in all the diverse ways that God works. Here we have perhaps the least likely family in Philippi to be saved. Not only the head of the house but the his whole family. Would the Lord go to such lengths as to let Paul and Silas be flogged and jailed just so that one family could be saved? Well I am sure there were far more people saved and this was just one instance, to make Luke’s point, apart from other benefits which we can only guess at. I am once again struck by how wide, how long and how deep God’s ways are, how inscrutable they are and to what lengths He has gone time and again over history to save those who have been elected for eternal life.
Another example of an action by God, which at first sight may seem counterproductive: In the end of ch 15 Paul and Barnabas have a serious disagreement about taking Mark with them, to the point that they separated. What a tragedy we say, but then as a result of that split we suddenly have two evangelistic teams instead of one and yes, later Mark is more than vindicated.
Then there is something else. Taking this story of the jailer as a standard rather than a description, many folk have held the view that it was sufficient for the head of the house (the jailer) to come to faith and for the rest of family to then be baptised, for them all to be saved. (From this the doctrine of infant baptism arose in many denominations). Luke makes a point at the end of vs 34, however that the whole family had come to believe and that is why they were saved. No external rite can save one.
Paul and Silas obviously trusted in God’s overall control of their situation so completely that they could actually be singing praises to Him, despite their adversity, being flogged and feet bound in stocks etc. It would have been so easy to run away when they were released or find a way for revenge, instead they stayed and spoke the “word of the Lord” to the jailer and his whole family (v 32), with eternal results.
As I listen to Jesus’ voice I consider my reaction to adversity. I have a choice: – I can grumble, plan revenge or a way out, complain to whoever will listen, enjoy the sympathy I get when I tell how much I have suffered. – Or alternatively I can ask, what is God doing in this situation? – What opportunity is He giving me, for personal growth or for witness ? How can I glorify Him?
I have so much to learn, how about you?
- True Religion.
- Waiting Expectantly for the King.
- Never Abandoned.
- Growing in Trust
- What did Jesus say to you, through Hebrews?
- Praise in Perspective.
- Understanding Jesus as High Priest.
- The Gospel - Proclaiming Him in whom is Hidden all Wisdom and Knowledge.
- The Cross - the Greatest Sign of God's Love.