Experience Joy In Hard Times – Acts 16:22-40

From my reading in Acts 16:22-40 in the One Year New Testament.

One of the most amazing things that our faith in Jesus gives us is the ability to experience joy in hard times!

Paul and Silas were stripped, severly beaten and thrown into an inner dungeon, yet still praised the Lord.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25

This is an amazing example of joy in hard times.

If anyone had the right to throw a pity-party they did. Instead they had a prayer and worship service!  These men understood that even though their present circumstance was bad, God was good!

No matter how bad your circumstances are you can celebrate the goodness of God.

In bad times Christians have a hope that in heaven he will wipe away all our tears and take away our pain!

Our joy in hard times can be a witness to others.

It says that the other prisoners were listing to them. Probably there are some boring nights in the jail cell. Hearing joyful singing was probably not a common occurrence in that dungeon!

Next time you encounter a hard time pray and worship God.

It will help you get your mind off your problems and on to the only one ultimately in charge, it will also be a good example to others!

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Discerning God’s Call For Your Life As You Go – Acts 16:1-21

From my reading in Acts 16:1-21 in the One Year New Testament.

Discerning God’s call is something that I am faced with questions about a lot as a college minister.

I believe that the way that God calls each person is different. For many people, I believe that one way to discover your calling to to try several things and see where the Holy Spirit leads you.

Paul and Silas were already called to go as missionaries. They were traveling through Asia and wanted to preach in the areas of Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, and Bithynia. But they were prevented by the Holy Spirit! Here’s a hint: any time the Holy Spirit doesn’t let you go somewhere, don’t go!

Paul and Silas were not standing still, waiting for God to tell them where to go.

They were actively pursuing God’s mission, and the Holy Spirit was able to guide them as they were going. It has been said,

“It’s easier to steer a moving car than a stationary one.”

Especially for young people, it is helpful to try a variety of things and see where God guides you.

This is one reason I really believe in short term mission trips. You don’t need have to receive a special call to go on short trip; just go!  Who knows if God will give you a heart to go back and plant your life there. God spoke specifically in a vision to Paul calling him to Macedonia,

“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 16:9–10

Paul was actively seeking the place that God wanted him and it was made very clear!

If you are trying to find out what God is calling you to do, pray about it of course, but also try different things and I believe he will guide you!

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