It’s Midnight, What You Want To Do?


“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?

Breaking News! Escape Plot Foiled….


It ALMOST happened just this week. One of the world’s most heinous prisoners almost escaped again. If this prisoner is ever let loose or escapes imprisonment he causes irrevocable harm to individuals and societies as a whole. What is the name of the prisoner? Last name- Quit, first name, Just! His power is immeasurable and his lasting effect is unknown, but we must continually, steadfastly and with diligent relentlessness guard this villain in order to achieve our potential and calling.

When we think of “guard” we immediately think to protect from harm, keep watch over: as in to guard a bank or guard the President.  But in this case I am applying the second definition of the word “guard”. That is to prevent escape or violence as in guarding a prisoner, or in other words, to surround, enclose, and to keep watch.

I was thinking on this passage the other day and I thought how true these words are.

Psalm 27:3 – “I had fainted, (I would let “Just Quit” free) unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”

We have all been there and yes sometimes we revisit this place periodically. This place is the mindset of wanting to quit. It’s funny. You see other day “Just Quit” was talking to me from his cell, whispering set me free. I was thinking why am I writing a blog? Are there people really interested in reading my thoughts? Why am I persevering through this change and why am I putting up with this environment? Open your eyes, nothing is happening. Yes I almost abandoned my duty and set “just Quit” free, but I remembered one of my loyal friends named “Just Believe” and thought I may not see it with my natural eye at this moment but I will guard my “quit”.

I grew up in the generation where cowboy shows on American television was big in the 1960s. Sometimes there would be an episode where a man was arrested and put into the jail and the sheriff or deputy would have to guard the prisoner. He would be assigned to make sure he did not escape but on top of that he would have to deal with external influences. Those influences were prisoner’s relatives that would issue threats and ultimatums. They would shout out warnings and demand that their relative be set free from the prison cell. That is the same scenario we go through today. The enemy of our goals speaks to our mind words of discouragement. This is mainly a blog on Christian thoughts but the scenario is not limited to Christian or religious experiences. It is relevant in all scenarios. You see there are many areas we are tempted to “just quit”. There are areas of relationships, personal disciplines, educational and career pursuits, eating and health habits, exercise and we are tempted to throw in the towel and let “Just Quit” out of jail. We get tired of the struggle, we get tired of the amount of time and effort it takes to achieve our goal that seems to move further away despite our pursuit of it. We get discouraged when we see others who have seemingly succeeded and everything for them has turned out right. But yet even more, we should guard against our “just quit”. Possibly, just possibly those who have achieved stayed on their post and guarded their “just quit”.

It is during the roughest, darkest times that we are tempted to abandon our position and to let “just quit” out of jail. We hear the voices of the external influences in the midnight hour demanding a choice of surrender and release. Understand this is not a religious issue. It’s a human issue that we all face. It does not the matter the religion, the denomination, the culture, creed or race. We all continually are tempted to give up and set free, “Just Quit”. No one is exempt. In guarding “just quit” do not submit to the relatives that are trying to get you to let him go free. I had fainted unless I believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I would have quit, I would do something else, I would try it my own way when being a follower of Jesus Christ seems to be a slow unproductive journey at times had not I believed to see. I would have  “just quit” pursuing my Bachelors degree after starting college at the tender age of 50 had I not believed. I would have pursued unethical business practices had I not believed. I would not chase entrepreneurism had I not believed.

Let me state this, failure is not related in any way to “just quit”. Failure at least shows attempt. When you fail at attempting something it rules out one formula and makes clearer the right formula. Many whom we most admire in the world have failed in their pursuit before grasping success but they did not give up and “just quit”.  No, do not shy from failure, but stay away from “just quit’s” best friend, the FEAR of failure. Their DNA is almost identical.

The Bible says Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (If we do not fail to guard our “Just Quit”)

So if you’re doing well and your intentions, motives and heart is to do well, guard your “just quit” however if you’re not doing well and in your heart you know it is not your objective to do well, set the prisoner free and “Just Quit” it.