Thursday, May 15, 2014

Freedom in Captivity

By Allen White

A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Acts 16:22-25

Paul had an interesting relationship with the Philippians. His encounters with them involved an odd combination of imprisonment and rejoicing. The Acts account captures Paul’s initial introduction to the citizens of Philippi. God enabled Paul and Silas to perform a miracle that raised a riot. The end result of following God’s will for them was being thrown into a dungeon. Without the distraction of cable television, Paul and Silas took to praying and singing hymns to God. Once the gospel performance was over and everyone had heard about Jesus for the first time, God arranged for their release by means of an earthquake.

Years later, as Paul sat imprisoned, he wrote a letter to the same group of people who had him thrown into prison way back when to thank them for their support and to encourage them to rejoice. What are you rejoicing over today? Freedom?

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