At this particular time in our world we are under siege by an invisible, minuscule yet powerful opponent. Hitching a ride through unsuspecting carriers, this enemy has swiftly yet stealthily, attacked nation after nation with no regard to race, culture, creed, dialect, language, religion, age, sex, sexual tendency, royalty, pauper, rich, middle class, poor, famous or barely known, political party affiliation, believer or atheist, doctor or patient. Its main mission is to affect, effect and infect. And we must admit it is doing its job. A lot of people have proposed this epidemic is coming from God, bringing judgment upon the earth and going after the “gods” we have erected in our different societies. I, personally, do not ascribe to that theory as it is not Biblically supported. I personally would not want to be the one to point at Him and say to both the “believing” and unbelieving” world He did it! Does He allow things to happen, yes… possibly. For example, when teaching babies to walk, we allow them to fall, but we do not during this process push them and make them fall. Yet when we allow them to fall we also allow them to understand the lesson of getting back up.
Roberta Flack – Where is the love? (I don’t know)
Tina Turner – What’s love got to do with it? (EVERYTHING!!!)
There is one, true nature of God clearly represented in and of the Word, and that is LOVE!
1 John 4:16 says,
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
In other word, God does not love, love is the nature of God, yeah God is love, inseparable! Jesus gave us the greatest representation of the true nature of God. Love, unbiased and free flowing. God’s love for us is the most important thing we can receive. First Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (God’s kind of love). After all, think about it, faith will be gone one day, because we will be with the one we fully trusted in. Hope will be gone, because we will see the Lord and being with Him will fulfill all expectations and aspirations, but love will never end. Love will exist forever and ever, because God is love eternal.
Believers should have more than just a superficial knowledge of God’s love. In Ephesians, chapter 3, Paul prayed that the Ephesians would get a greater revelation of God’s love for them. He said, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:14-19).
Notice in verse 18 that God’s love isn’t just one-dimensional. There is height, depth, length, and breadth to it. Many Christians only see God’s love as one-dimensional. They’ve never seen the multi-dimensional reality of God’s love. It includes all space and time. It also encompasses all people. John 3:16 “For so loved the World…“ not just Christians, not just people of a specific culture, not just an explicit nation, race or creed. His love encases the world, His whole creation. Let me say this, anytime we see a preference of who is loved based on religious beliefs, color of skin or any other external factor, as believers you do not represent Him.
In verse 19, Paul said as we experience God’s love, which is superior to mere knowledge of God’s love, then we would be filled with all the fullness of God. Experiencing God’s love equals fullness.
We think we have to do something to earn God’s love and we tether it, like a work contract to our human performance. I need to pray more, read His Word more, do Christian acts more. We have to merit God’s love. That is not what the Bible teaches. We are not employees of God. Our reward is not based on our job performance. God’s love for us is unconditional. Understand, God doesn’t love us because of some virtue we possess. God loves us because He is, not because we are.
Religion is one of the biggest broadcasters of the conditional love of God propaganda. Many “Christian churches” teach that God’s love for us is conditional, based on performance. If we pray, go to church, pay our tithes, etc., then the Lord loves us and answers our prayers; but if we fail, then the Lord won’t answer our prayers. There is no Biblical truth to that theory pertaining to the New Testament church. Remember we are no longer under law but Grace.
People who love one minute and then act the opposite way the next minute simply don’t operate in God’s love. God’s Word tells us to even love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). It is a command. He didn’t say to do it if you feel like it. A command given by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords does not generate an optional, what do you think, response.
Galatians 5:22 says that love is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. This is specifically speaking of the Holy Spirit; and our new man was born of the Spirit, so it has to be true that God’s love has been shed abroad in our spirits too. We have the capability to love as He loves. God’s kind of love is a choice that you make on the basis of what God said, and then you act on it through faith until it becomes a reality in your whole being.
Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth ( committed) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love wasn’t based upon what we had done for Him or what we deserved but upon His choice, His free choosing to love us. We didn’t do anything to merit God’s love. He just chose to give it. We can receive His kind of love and then give it to others in the same way. The Word (John 13:35) says “By this shall ALL men know that ye are my disciples, my students, my apprentices, my representatives that you have love one to another”. What is the “this”? That we love one another, even as He has loved us. (verse 34)
His love was extended toward Hitler just as much as it was toward Billy Graham. The difference is our acceptance or rejection of it, not His offer of it. God’s love is unconditional. What about your love for the “world”? Can you walk in lock step with God “so loved the world”, recognizing that He is in you and you in Him which would indicate that you too should unconditionally love the world…and ALL of its inhabitants or are you caught up in this spirit of tribalism introduced by the demonic great opposer, Lucifer? I leave with this… 1 John 4:20-21, “If a man says, I love God and hateth (disregards and show little empathy) his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath seen? And this commandment (not suggestion) have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother (another creation of God) also.
One of the situations we have today, not only affecting and infecting the United States but also across the world is the remembrance of history. The remembrance of how we got to the point of where we are. We have lost sight of connection and human brotherhood. Yes, our past has many injustices and atrocities that cannot be ignored, but when we choose to learn from them, we can garner added benefits.
Exodus chapter 1 gives us an example of how this ignorance of history can lead to the downfall of a nation. Exodus 1:6-8 speaks of the death of Joseph, of his brother and their generation. It speaks of the fruitfulness of the children of Israel and the prosperity of the Egyptian nation but there is a problem. The passage states that a “new king” arose which knew not Joseph. Joseph’s name means “Jehovah was added”. In other words increase, exceeding and continued abundance was added just because of the presence of Joseph. The reason that the nations of Egypt prospered was because of the children of Israel who lived and operated under the covering of Joseph. Yet all the “new king” of Egypt could see was a growing immigrant culture of people who were infiltrating his land while completely ignoring the benefits and fruitfulness that they were producing not only for themselves but the nation of Egypt as a whole. The unlearned “new king” instilled into the nation of Egypt a mindset of being overran by the “immigrant” enemy. The “new king” knew not Joseph. He did not know that Jehovah adds. Don’t forget to remember where all your blessings come from. How is it that the “new king” knew not Joseph? How do you not know your history. When the “new king” issued edicts to undercut and enslave the very people that contributed to the success of the nation, things began to falter. Where were the “new king’s” advisors? Were they also ignorant of Joseph? We sometimes tend to believe that new is better so we ignore the wisdom, the taste, the aroma of that which has been aged by time. When you as “new king”, fail to see the hand of God on your nation and how He through His own sovereignty is blessing you, you then begin to negate and forget Joseph. Soon you drift into a state of tribalism. It becomes an us against them, even within the same community. We forget it was the “us” along with “them which was added” that made the nation great, prosperous and fruitful.
Understand, in the seven Jehovah titles there is not one that illustrates that He brings division. It is the nature of Satan to bring the opposite of what the Father desires. Always with the addition of Jehovah connotation there is peace. The Father delights in adding, that it might be even more fruitful. Herbs, spices and salts adds to the flavor of the original food . How is it that we miss that concept in community, governance and yes even ministry? Wake up world. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Across the globe division seems to be the preeminent call for today. The word diversity does not mean division, it means variety, assortment, mixture, range and multiplicity. The nation is strengthen when we remember Joseph, Jehovah was added. Jesus prays to the Father in John 17 His desire for us to be a s one even as He and the Father are one. If the message is division and “us against them” then we have failed to remember Joseph. Don’t forget to remember…
If He Is In Control, It’s Out of Control.
One of the things that we hear especially when things go chaotic in life is that God is in control. To our human intellect this would ring true. After all He is God and we are mere mortals. But to have that thought introduces several questions that we cannot answer especially from the unbeliever. Why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? Why did He not intervene in the Sandy Hook situation or the Las Vegas situation or the church shootings? Where was He when slavery and racism took the lives of millions of people? How could He allow His own to die under the hand of the Nazis? He is in control and He is our Father but millions have died via illness, disease and starvation? Children, babies are innocent victims yet bare the ultimate penalty? Where is your God? Where is this Heavenly father? Why, does He let the wicked prosper and allow others suffer? These are valid questions that we sometimes must field from the unbeliever and if you are honest with yourself, ones you have asked yourself. To be honest these questions creates a wrestling in your soul that struggles to produce an answer that is Biblically supported, an answer that makes sense. If that is how He looks after His children, His creation then something is wrong.
But and because He is a good good Father how do we reconcile? I would submit for your consideration that God is not in control. Before you hang me from the highest tree let’s consider if the Word supports this conclusion. Logically, a good place to start is in the beginning. In Genesis 1:26-28 through we read “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He Him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. So what I am hearing that He gave man the authority the edict to run things and rule over His creation. While He is in charge, all powerful, and sovereign that does not mean He is in control of the earth.
Now I know you are probably saying to yourself wait a minute, the Bible says that “the Earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwells therein.” (Psalm 24:1) True…but there is a notable difference between ownership and sovereignty and being in control. As I was thinking on this point, the Father showed me an example. He said you have a car that you own. It is yours, however if you give the keys to someone whom you allow to drive it, say to run an errand, who is in control of that car? What if an accident takes place? Who is in control, the one who owns it or the one who possesses the keys and is behind the steering wheel? A king can be sovereign over a nation having not to answer to anyone yet still not be in control of the activities of his subjects. Consider Psalm 115:16. “The heaven, even the heavens, arethe LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” Yes, the Father created it for man’s use supplying everything needed for man to live and thrive, howbeit retaining ownership. Understand, He has given control of the earth to men and we will have to give an account how we maintained it. I am afraid, however, that we have advocated our responsibility of being a mindful tenant. Being a renter of my place of residence does not mean that my landlord is in absolute control of the residence. It is given to me.
There is a point in the New Testament that many miss that illustrates this point. When Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by Satan in Luke 4:6-7 Satan declares that he would give Jesus the kingdoms of the world along with their authority and splendor, because it was given to him…through the fall, but with the resurrection of Christ ALL power was given to Him. His desire is that God’s will be done on EARTH as it is being done in Heaven. This would point to a probable fact that His will is not always being done on earth. We have advocated our responsibility in parenting, in governance, in the earth maintenance, and nature itself. Sadly we have not demonstrated loving our fellow man. Even to those proclaiming the banner of Christendom have advocated our call, our duty to love our fellowman with the unshakable, the unbiased love of Christ. As a renter it is MY duty to maintain the property as I am answerable to the owner. We Are answerable to the Owner and will one day give an account for that which He left in our hands. God’s sovereignty and ultimate ownership does not abate or eliminate man’s accountability.
Alrighty then, I done step in it now!
Through the years many believers have been quoting the following scripture when we deal with different crisises as a nation. Again, the rally cry of this verse is going out. On the Internet and across pulpits, in social media this scripture is being declared. I am sure will hear it across many pulpits this week-end here in America.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
But something is wrong… the land is not being healed. Could it be we are NOT His people. Ok now I have your attention.
Years ago I was given a different view of that scripture when I pastored RWC. Do not get me wrong, I understand the conscious applicable intent of those reciting this scripture, however does this verse apply to the Church? Yes you say! The problem is that you cannot remove the text from the context and come up with the correct result. First question, to whom is the recipient of this contractual statement? What was the time, what was happening? This declaration was made to Solomon concerning his prayer request in the dedication of the temple found in 2 Chronicles 6. Solomon had made some desires of God so God made some desires of His people. Second question if we are still stating this scripture through the years, what is wrong, what is being implied? Why has our land not been healed? Who failed their part of the contract “his people” or God? Look and stop at the first word, if. If what? If you do this then I will do this. So if the land is not being healed who did not fulfill their part of the “if”.
So allow me to very briefly present my case. The term “if my people” in this Hebrew text is really saying if my kinsmen, my tribe, the group of people to which I belong. But let’s say that the term “my people” is the Church, and using that premise, let’s take a closer look. “Which are called by my name”, what name? Jesus you say? If this is taking place hundreds of years before the birth and death of Christ how is this addressed to the Church? What would Solomon or the nation of Israel know about the name and personage of Jesus? At this point in time has the Church been manifested on earth? I think not. But let’s say it is the Church, then we must be haughty and think of ourselves more highly then we ought, because he tells us to humble ourselves. The word for humble here is not only means to submit or to be brought low but it also means to collect and bind together. So the beginning picture of “His people, the Church” is that we are not together and we are arrogant. And the Church is not praying and seeking His face. So the “my people, the Church” is not searching out His countenance, His person, His form, His identity. Also “my people, the Church”, must turn from their wicked ways. What? The “my people, the Church” has wicked ways? Well, apparently a requirement is that “my people, the Church” change from their unkind, displeasing, malignant, deformed path, manner and direction. After “my people, the Church” meets those conditions, “then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin” WAIT… I thought you already heard from Heaven because I was told you already paid for ALL of man’s sins on the cross. Are you saying the redemptive work of Calvary was conditional and only partially done? Are there some sins not forgiven? What percentage of “my people” must do the required things mentioned…100%, 75%, 60%? Today the Church is divided by denomination, race, culture, worship style, music, and liberalism versus conservatism. Bias it seems, is the Church’s calling card today. What if only 45% of the Church will do the required? Are we to barter with You, as Abraham did concerning Lot in Sodom? The Church in America is comprised of millions of people how are we going to bind together at the same time 100%? Then you say you will heal the land. How long will the healing of the land last? What happens if some of “my people, the Church” revert back to their wicked ways? Does the land return to being overcome with disease in need of another healing and we begin the process over again? Will this be a back and forth process? What does a healed land look like? Peace, tranquility, sugar and spice and everything nice? If so that would appear to contradict His Word found in 2 Timothy 3:1 through the pen of Paul concerning our time today. Are we living in the end times or not? Is there mention of a Kumbaya moment, a picture of a warm, cozy community without conflict in the last days or a healed land? Look at Matthew 24:4-14, oh and notice who is speaking.
Hear me… we, the Church, are not His people. There is no supporting scripture found in the New Testament that describes the Church as His people. So if the Church is not His people, who are we? We, the Church, are His BODY. There is quite a difference between the two. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:27 that “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Colossians 1:18 follows up with “And He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
What I am saying is we cannot claim and expect results from a contract not designated to us. That would be like me expecting a big check from the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers because he made a contract offer to LeBron James who shares my last name. I cannot ask and expect the owner to give me money even if I did the required things that were presented to LeBron. The contract was to LeBron James not Douglas James. So if we are not His people but His body, what should we “His body” be doing in this time in which we live that will produce His desired results? That is the mission to search out and declare. Remember this is not our home, our kingdom, our land. We are ambassadors journeying through yet we have an assignment. Let’s start with doing Matthew 28:19-20. Let’s stop having church and start being the Church.
If you disagree with the above let me know why but through biblical application. I am open to all opinions as long as His Word backs them. If you agree and maybe a “numind” set has emerged for you to further investigate, let me know.
I have been on hiatus for the last three months taking a break and hearing and listening trying to see what is going on in my life’s experience. Many things have transpired during this time both in the spiritual realm and the natural realm, some pleasant and many not so pleasant. Death had made its untimely presence in my personal life and unjust decisions have made it appearance in another part of my life. Enough to where anger rose up as lava from a volcano, yet the Father calmed my storm by saying ,”I see and I know”. But Father they are supposed to be of Godly character and fairness, yet He said, “I see and I know”. So the decision to hibernate for 3 months and rest was a needed decision. Now after 3 months I am back, awakened on the day we celebrate the “He’s back” day of the Christ.
In my time of hibernation I kept hearing “ok I know this is going to get me in trouble with Christian religious folks”, it is not about the cross. Hear me out before you judge, condemn and put me on one (lol). The Father said it is and never will be about the instrument of death that the church has highlighted and illuminated. No…it is not about the nails in the hands and the feet. If you recall the two thieves who were on both sides of Christ also hung on crosses and their hands and the feet were also nailed. There were thousands of people who were crucified before and after Christ on the cross. How do you think the Romans were such experts in that horrific operation? Christ’s crucifixion was not their first rodeo. Even the scourging was not isolated to the episode of the Christ’s suffering. So what… is the special, significant event of the most important event in the eternal history of the mankind? I heard him say it was the One on the cross. It was the sacrifice.
Sounds simple and that should be easy to understand now but it really was not at that time. So again, what was significant was the sacrifice,.That is where the difference lies and when we look at the sacrifice, when we look at Jesus the Christ we have to understand how the many people viewed Him. What do I mean? Well let’s think realistically and outside of the proverbial box. I offer the following as cases in point. The Roman soldiers looked at Christ on the cross not as a savior of the world but they looked at him as an object to be tortured, someone they were assigned to hang, nothing more nothing less. It was an assignment cloaked by an accusation of Roman government opposition not a religious objection. The hanging of Jesus was just an assignment. On the other hand the priestly Sanhedrin court looked at Christ as someone who was a heretic. He was someone who was a blasphemer and a threat. Someone that needed to be destroyed less He would bring an end possibly to their way of life. Maybe their intentions were good based upon what they understood but their vision, their comprehension was blind and their intent was evil.
Mary, the mother of Jesus looked upon her son on the cross as just that, her son. The babe born in a manger, raised to be a loving child that had a curious, miraculous God initiated conception. Yet He was her son, her heart. John looked upon Jesus on the cross as his rabbi, his teacher, his friend. His companion for a 3 years period, and yes maybe, possibly the one that would deliver Israel from the heavy hand of Roman oppression. That was the viewpoint of all of the disciples. They thought they knew He was the one. Jesus was really the deliver of the nation.
Mary Magdalene saw Jesus on the cross as a friend and a rescuer when it seemed like all was against her, pronouncing her guilty in her biblically highlighted event when indeed she was guilty. The peering crowd who were around looking at this scene looked at Jesus as someone who was a good person, a prophet. He was a Holy man, a healer.
The two thieves perceived the “sacrifice” from different outlooks. One thief looked at Him on the cross as someone that was on his level. Jesus was someone who he had heard the crowd jeer and heard the negative accusations of those watching below and promptly joined in. Maybe not out of his personal knowledge and belief but from an understanding born of ignorance. His words were “If you are the Christ, save yourself and me too”. Prove it. If? Are you kidding me? If? Yet the other thief looked at Jesus as someone who was an innocent man. He was someone who deserve better than what He was getting. He did not fully comprehend but he understood that there was something different about the man in the middle. There was something different about His words, His demeanor, His prayer. The second thief did not understand that Jesus was the sacrificial offering that would save mankind and take away the sins of the world. He just knew there was something about this man and there was a kingdom.There was a place that this man would enter and he was saying, imploring let me enter in with you. Despite the possible perspectives identified not one really understood the sacrifice that was hanging on the cross nor why He was there. They just knew He was there, dying a miserable death in the heat of the Judean day.
But the Father said the sacrifice knew. Jesus knew He was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. He was the Lamb slayed before the foundations of the world were put in place. He understood the other perspectives could not save satisfy or deliver from the Father’s wrath. The viewpoints of all the others could not reach above their own understandings and desires. So understand, Douglas, it was and is not about the instrument of execution that should be illuminated and focused upon. It is the sacrifice, the One that was on the cross that should be the emphasis.
Here is the jackpot question. Today how are we looking at the One who is no longer on the cross? Yes, He is the one that was resurrected. He’s back!! Does that resurrected life resurrect your life, resurrect your relationship to where you exemplify, illustrate, emulate and demonstrate who Christ really is? Do you see Him as the Savior, kinsmen Redeemer, the sin bearer of the entire world? No, not just to Christians? Not just to followers of Christ, but Savior to the entire world? Yes, even those who views are not clear and in murderous error. Those who do not know who He IS!!! Oh yeah… He’s BACK!
“But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25)
Attacked, stripped, beaten and thrown in the INNER prison; in stocks; bruised and bleeding; in pain and extreme discomfort, surrounded by the very worst criminals, in the worst of places. What does one do? Pray and sing praises to God, of course!
Well, ok, perhaps not for most of us, but these two men had a different mindset. They were more interested in pleasing God than men, more interested in Kingdom principles then social edicts and perils. God had given them great boldness and confidence even in that horrendous, I do not want to be here, God how could you allow this to happen to me, place.
I have not written to my blog in a couple of months. I have just been sitting, listening and thinking on the events that are taking place in our world today. From the circus act we now call politics, police actions, humankind on humankind criminality and greed, acts of terrorisms, we as a people across the globe are in a time of midnight. In the natural, midnight is the starkest period of gloom and darkness and it is made to appear that the sun has gone away. However, the real truth is the earth has turn away from the sun. Whether you realize it or not, darkness, extreme intense gloom is covering our world today and it is made to appear that the Son has gone away. However, the real truth is the world has turn away from the Son. Not only are we in a dark time but also we have been thrown into a dark place, prison. Not just prison but an inner prison. What is an inner prison?
Inner prisons in the days of Paul were not pleasant or healthy. In the mind of the people, prison was equal to death, despair, sickness of mind and body, and humiliation. They did not have TVs and cable. They did not have commissaries and work out areas. They did not even have windows. It was devoid of light. There was no natural light at all. Sometimes we find our lives can be that way. Naturally we cannot see a light at the end of our proverbial prison tunnel. We struggle to bring a light of solution to our place of darkness and entrapment. Prisons, in the time of Paul had no air conditioners or heaters. The minimal comfort needed for sleep, were nonexistent. The floor was their mattress.
But far worse was the psychological and spiritual impact of total darkness on the prisoners. Some prisoners chose to commit suicide. They purposely decided to QUIT where they were. They purposely sabotaged their own life… BUT it still did not get them out of their situation. You know what I am talking about. God did not come through like YOU wanted Him to so now you do not believe in Him. Now you quit serving Him and going and BEING the church. You refuse to pray and bow the knees of your heart to Him because He failed you in your darkness. Spiritual suicide but you are still in locked up in your situation, dead. In Paul’s time dead bodies could lay in the inner prison for weeks at a time.
The bleeding, suffering apostles uttering their prayers and singing the praises of God must have amazed the other prisoners.
They sung hymns to God at midnight. In there location they could not be aware of time so the fact of it being midnight to them did not matter. They chose to BLESS the Lord at ALL times, in ALL times, through ALL times so the time of the times did not matter. It was not just midnight for Paul and Silas. It was midnight for everyone. It was midnight, not merely in that inner prison, but throughout the Roman Empire outside of prison, also. It was a midnight of morals, humanity, justice, forgiveness, kindness and TRUE love as well.
We are living in a time of midnight and the whole world knows. What song are you singing? And how are you singing it? How convinced of you of your own song? You can sing the right words but not be convinced of those same words! You sing “I Trust in God”, but do you? You sing “Great Are You Lord”, but are you convinced? You sing “You’re a Good Good Father”, but do that come with favorable conditions? You sing about loving Christ and Him loving you and wanting more of Him, but are you loving others with the same passion He possessed and displayed. Yeah you know, I am talking about that, “Father forgive them cause they know not what they do”, type of love.
Imagine the impact of the things heard in prayer and hymns on the jailer and the other prisoners. It was a far cry from the wails, threats and curses usually heard in such places. The message, the song, had its effect on the listeners, it always does. The kind of effect depends on each individual heart, but there will be an effect. What is the “world” hearing from you?
What is your song? “Nobody knows the trouble I see?” “Take this job and shove it?” “We can’t go on?” “Crash and Burn?” “Let’s Build a Wall, ten feet tall?
We understand the main objective of chains is to restrict mobility and prevent escape. Chains were made of rough iron that would eventually rust with the perspiration of the prisoners, causing infectious pain, saying nothing of the weight of the chains. Finally, chains were noisy, and that clanking noise of chains prevented even less sleep for the prisoners. Paul and Silas’s chains become apart of their song and provide accompaniment like a rhythm section, tambourines.
Every link became a part of their praise. The link of failure, PRAISE, link of pain, PRAISE, the link of plenty and the link of lack PRAISE. The Link of bad choices PRAISE, the link of right choices, PRAISE. Everything that is weighing heavily on my mind and causing me to lose rest and peace and feel fearful and powerless will be an accessory to my song.
I am certain that Paul and Silas didn’t feel in their natural man like praying and singing praises unto God. They were going directly against all their natural feelings and deliberately exercising their will to enter into praise.
Notice this final point, the prisoners heard Paul and Silas praying and singing praises unto God. This explains why none of the prisoners escaped when the earthquake came and their prison cells were opened. They had apparently been so moved by Paul and Silas’ demonstration of faith in God to such a degree that they recognized the earthquake as an intervention of God and followed Paul and Silas’ leading in not fleeing the prison. What a song, what a message they must have delivered in that “midnight” hour.
Paul and Silas had the audacity to forgive, before they were asked, to trust where they could not see and sing a song that shook the world.
It’s midnight… what are you doing? What song are you singing?