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Acts Reading Plan | Week 12 | Day 4
Take a moment to be silent and still. In order to be fully present in body and mind, take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Do this three times.
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” As you come to spend time with Him, you might ask God to remind you today that He is your refuge, your strength and your ever-present help.
Bible Reading: Acts 16:16-24
Read these verses three times slowly.
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.
Reflection & Questions
Paul and his team are continuing to go to the place of prayer in Philippi and preach the gospel. As they are doing this, a fortune-teller (who is being exploited for her power) is following them around saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” What an amazing revelation!
However, she keeps this up for days on end. Paul “became so annoyed” that he casts out the spirit that gave her this power. (Luke is probably chuckling to himself as he writes down this part of the story!)
When the girl’s exploiters realize what’s happened – they don’t come to their senses and ask Paul of the Higher Power he has or how to be saved (like the girl had been saying). Instead, they have Paul and Silas thrown in jail for taking away their income.
Yesterday, we read of Paul and his companions in a rich person’s house, and all seemed to be good – a great opportunity to spread the gospel. Now days later, they are in jail sitting in stocks, having been severely flogged. Doesn’t look so good now. Didn’t they come to this town by the leading of the Spirit? Surely this wasn’t the plan?! What is God up to? We’ll find out more tomorrow, but for now, it’s good to sit with these questions in our own lives. Maybe you felt led by the Spirit to do something but it’s not working out like you’d hoped or expected. It’s making you have second thoughts or doubts. Hold on. Wait on the Spirit and see what he is up to.
- Oftentimes people think that a painful situation means that they must have missed God’s guidance. Why do you think they feel that way?
- When we’re sitting in the middle of a painful situation, many questions, doubts and fears can fill our mind. Recall a time where you were in the middle and what you were thinking and praying. How did God work it in the end?
Talk to God in response to today’s reading. You may be in the middle of a situation and need His guidance. You may be on the other side of a situation and want to praise Him for His work.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
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