Friday, December 21, 2018

Belief and Joy

Today's Reading:
Joshua 11:1-12:24
Acts 16:16-40
Psalm 64:1-10
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Focus Verses: Acts 16:29-34
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then 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—you and your household." 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

What would make this jailer ask, "What must I do to be saved?" Was it the hymns he heard Paul and Silas singing? Was it the way they conducted themselves as prisoners? Was it the fact that they stopped him from killing himself? And was it a miracle that none of the prisoners had escaped when an earthquake shook the prison doors open and the prisoners chains were loosed?

When the question was asked, Paul and Silas instructed the man to "believe in the Lord Jesus." The Philippian jailer probably had absolutely no idea who Jesus was, so Paul and Silas "spoke the word of the Lord" to him.

Response and Action:
What brings people to a place where they sense their spiritual need and cry out for salvation? There are so many influences. It could be something as simple as the lyrics of a song. It could be the difference they see Jesus making in someone's life. It could be a sense of wonder. It could be an act of kindness. When people ask, I need to be ready to point them to Jesus. They may not have a clue about who he is or what it means to believe in him, so I need to be ready to "speak the word of the Lord" to them.

O God, may the words of my mouth and the actions of life be a testimony of the difference you make in the lives of those who believe in Jesus. When people around me become aware of their need for your salvation and love, help me to point them to Jesus and speak words of life. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Colossians 4:5-6
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible's Central Story
by Christopher J. H. Wright

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