Saturday, January 23, 2016

When Doing the Unthinkable Sets You Free~

So many times in life we find our self in a place where we never thought we would be.

Divorced.
Addicted.
Depressed.
Abused.
Overweight.
Unemployed.
Diagnosed.

The list could go on and on - but, you don’t need me to identify your present location.
You are there.
You already know the place where you are all too well.
And, you feel trapped.
You feel as though you have no way out.

Either by choices we have made or circumstances beyond our control,
life takes an unexpected turn,
down an unanticipated path,
to a never before imagined place.

Before we know what has happened or where we are,
we find our self behind locked bars with no key and no way out.

I know. I’ve been there. So have Paul and Silas.

Acts 16, NLT
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and thrown in jail.They found themselves in a place where they never thought they would be. It wasn’t their choice to be where they were. It was the choice of the angry mob. Yet, here they were. Mistreated. Locked up. Trapped.

Sometimes we, too, find our self in a place not of our own choosing.
Someone else or circumstances out of our control have made the choice for us.

We didn’t want a divorce.
Cancer wasn’t in our plans.
We did nothing to deserve being abused or mistreated.
Yet, it happened.
We were stripped of our dreams,
beaten down by something outside of our self,
and thrown into our situation.

We are there - seated right beside Paul and Silas.

25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

Amazingly enough, despite what they had just experienced and in spite of where they now found themselves, Paul and Silas decided to pray and sing. PRAY AND SING! Life sent them to an unthinkable place and in turn, they did the unthinkable. With feet bound, and flesh torn, they praised God. Those around them couldn’t help but hear the praises flowing from their hearts.

Chances are you are not alone in your unthinkable place.
 If you look around, you will discover others going through the same experience you are.
Could it be you have found yourself in this place by no choice of your own
because God has plans to use you to bless others who are walking this road with you?

26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!

Paul and Silas chose to praise God and when they did, God responded.
And, don’t miss this!!!!
Their praise not only set them free,
but it brought freedom to the entire prison.
EVERYONE in the prison was set free.

Today, in the very midst of your situation, I challenge you to praise God - not silently, but boldly. Praise Him with everything you’ve got!
Praise Him no matter where you are and no matter who may hear.
Praise Him from the very depths of your heart.
Like Paul and Silas, your praise has the potential to not only set you free,
 but to loose the chains of all those imprisoned with you!!!

27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer was the one responsible for all the prisoners.
This was his job.
This is what he had been told to do.
This was his place in life.
Yet, when the prisoners appeared to be free and he thought his job and his life were over, he almost killed himself.

Chances are the ones in your life who have been holding you prisoner
are in this place because this is what they know.
This is what they have been taught.
This is where life has placed them.
Those who have been abused often abuse others.
Hurting people hurt people.
But notice, through the power of praise, even the jailer -
the one holding them captive - was set free!!!!

29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” (Act 16)

Did you notice the jailer brought them out of the jail.They didn’t remain where they once were now that they had been set free.When God opens locked doors in our life we can’t dilly dally around and stay in the place that once held us captive.We must get out. We must move into the new place of freedom God has for us. The jailer knew this. He wanted nothing to do with the old place he had been.

And, he wanted whatever it was the Paul and Silas had.

He wanted joy - the kind that makes you sing when you are imprisoned.

He wanted power - the kind that opens prison doors and sets captives free.

Most of all, though - He wanted to experience true freedom in Christ. He (the only one physically free) wanted to truly be set free!

It doesn’t matter where you are today.
It doesn’t matter if you are there because of choices you made or choices someone else made.  
All that matters is that God is there with you.

Like Paul and Silas, you can be set free.
Like Paul and Silas, God can use you to set others free.
The choice is yours.

Are you in an unthinkable place today?

Then, like Paul and Silas - do the unthinkable.

PRAY AND SING! PRAISE GOD! - and watch God do the unthinkable!

Watch God move!
Watch God shake your world!

Watch God open the doors and loosen the chains and set you and everyone around you, free!!!!

{Photo Credit}








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