Tag: open doors

God opens prison doors!

Scripture reading for May 5th: 1st Samuel 23-24, 1st Chronicles 6, Psalm 54, Acts 16

Acts 16:22-26 “The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.”

Paul and Silas were following the Lord in preaching the Gospel and casting out evil spirits. They had encountered a slave girl with a spirit of divination who was tormenting them. They cast out the spirit and her owners seized Paul and Silas and had them severely beaten and imprisoned. Paul and Silas were placed in the most secure area in stocks and must have had much pain. But they prayed and sang hymns of praise to God loud enough for all the jail to hear. Suddenly, God sent an earthquake that shook the prison in an amazing way. Doors were opened and shackles were loosed! But greater doors were also opened–the jailer and his whole household were saved and delivered from Satan’s grip! God’s ‘revenge’ is to take back captives for His kingdom and glory!

Psalm 54:3-5 “For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. (Selah) Behold, God is my Helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in Your faithfulness put an end to them.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing mercy and ability to turn what is meant for evil around to bring salvation and great good! You are a good, good Father! Help me to remain faithful in each trial and to hear Your voice to bring about Your plans for deliverance and opening of prison doors! Keep me from an offended and vengeful spirit.

1st Samuel 24:12-13 “I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you.”

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Gracious speech

Scripture reading for March 10th: Numbers 19-21, Colossians 4

Colossians 4:2-6 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison–that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Our world is filled with all kinds of speech. Much of it is derogatory and complaining and seeks to tear down those we disagree with. Paul taught the believers in Colossae that gracious speech should be a distinction among Christ’s followers. Their speech should bless, commend, and encourage those around them. Their speech should be guided by Christ’s wisdom and the Word of God. It should be seasoned like a tasty meal, with salt flavor, and appropriate for each situation. As examples, Paul commends Tychicus and Onesimus to the believers as faithful ministers whose speech was gracious and seasoned with salt. We win others respect with gracious speech and kindness, backed by faithful prayer that God open doors of hearts to receive truth.

Colossians 4:7-9 “Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.”

Prayer: Father God, even Moses failed to graciously speak to the people of Israel and to the Rock. His unbelief had a cost. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and grant me gracious speech and attitudes towards those rebelling against you. May my speech be seasoned with the salt of grace and reflect the kindness and mercy of our Lord. Forgive me for reacting in anger and with a bad attitude.

Numbers 20:11-13 “And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in Me to uphold Me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

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Praying for open doors!

Scripture reading for September 12th:  Colossians 4

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Colossians 4:2-4  “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should.”

Paul was in chains for preaching the Gospel but was not hindered from encouraging the Church!  He knew that prayer was a key factor in evangelism and that missionaries and apostles especially needed prayer.  He did not want to be left out as the church in Colossae prayed.  He told them to devote themselves to prayer and to be watchful in the Spirit over themselves and those laboring for the Gospel.  He did not ask prayer to be released from his chains, but rather for clarity and boldness in preaching the message and an open door to share Christ.  He asked that he might have appropriate responses to each person that would salt them with the knowledge or hunger for Christ Jesus!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers must be devoted to prayer for open doors each day among those the Lord puts in their path.  Prayer for boldness and clarity is appropriate and commanded!  “The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”  (Proverbs 28:1)

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Peter and the “Gentile” Pentecost!

Scripture reading for June 16th: Acts 10:24-48

Peter got out of his comfort zone, and went with the men to the house of Cornelius.  He found a large crowd of people awaiting his arrival and explained to them how God had helped him overcome his religious fear of becoming unclean in the house of a Gentile.   (Acts 10:27-28)

Peter asked Cornelius why he had sent for him. Cornelius told Peter and the crowd about the vision he had and instructions to send for Peter.  “Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” (Acts 10:33b)  This invitation opened the door wide for Peter to preach the full Gospel message!

After telling the people that God accepts people of all nations who fear God, Peter preached Jesus Christ. “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.  You know what happened through out Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached–how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:34-38)   He then told them about the crucifixion and resurrection on the third day and Jesus’ command for the disciples to preach that Jesus is the judge of the living and dead.  Peter told about forgiveness of sins for all who would believe in Jesus’ name.

As Peter was preaching, the Holy Spirit came on all who were listening.  Peter and his Jewish Christian companions who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost now heard these Gentiles also speaking in other tongues and praising God!  God was no respecter of persons or nationalities!  Peter ordered them baptized in water and stayed to instruct them.

Have you experienced Pentecost?  Don’t just read about it and think it was nice for them!  It is for today!  “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off– all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

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