February 11 - Acts 16
LADIES FIRST: There's a major misconception by much of the world that because the Bible mandates male headship in the home and church, that it is misogynistic in how it seemingly relegates women to being second class humans. But in reality, this is not the case. Mary is chosen to give life to the Savior and she stays a nurtures Him all throughout His life. Women play a key role in Jesus' ministry, and are the first to discover Jesus has risen. In chapter 16, we read that it is primarily women who gather by the river in Philippi to worship God (v13), and a wealthy woman named Lydia has her heart 'opened' by the Lord. She will go on to be a major factor in how the gospel is spread because she becomes one of the prime funders for Paul's mission trips. Page through your Bible from the beginning and look at all the ways God has powerfully used women to save His people.
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF DEMONS: Isn't it amazing how the clearest communicators of who Jesus is, both in the Gospels, and now here in Acts (v17), are demons?
WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? Paul & Silas had just been severely flogged - a whipping with sharp barbs that produces excruciating pain - and placed in the deepest, darkest hole in the prison (literally the 'prison inside the prison'), because once again, the 'crowd' turned on them. How would you react in their situation? What would it take to make 'praying & singing hymns' your response to crummy situations?
MEMORIZE: the jailer's question and Paul & Silas' response:
"What must I do to be saved?" "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:30-31)
LUKE'S HUMOR: Luke has an awesome way of ironically understating the reactions of different authorities. We saw this in 12:18 where 'there was no small commotion' when Peter was missing from prison. Today we read that the magistrates were 'alarmed' when they found out they had beaten and imprisoned Paul & Silas who were actually Roman citizens.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The 'Most High God, who tells you the way to be saved.' (v17 - isn't it amazing to be quoting a demon as you open your prayer!)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will truly believe in the Lord Jesus, you and your entire household (v31), and that when problems and stress increase in your life that you will respond by praying and singing hymns (v25).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: