July 11

Acts 16:16-40

In verse 16, we see that Paul and his team started the day off in prayer. As they were going to pray, a fortune teller was following them, mocking who they were, annoying them, and bringing attention to herself. Paul, irritated with the spirit, cast it out of the woman so she would stop with the harassment.

The people of that day were not much different from today, curious about supernatural occurrences. Christians ought not to give attention to fortune tellers or psychics, but to stay away from demonic activity through divination. The spiritual world is real. Demons are real. We are wise to stay safe in obedience to the Lord.

The men who used this woman to make a profit were angry at Paul and Silas for casting out the spirit, so they seized them and brought them before the authorities. The Romans beat the men with rods and threw them into prison. Paul and Silas knew what they were risking when they traveled with the Gospel. There are men and women today in certain parts of the world who are persecuted and martyred for their faith.

At midnight, Paul and Silas, in prison in the natural, but free in the spirit, begin to worship God with prayers and hymns. There is nothing like difficulty to show the true character and faith of a person. What do we do when we face trouble or heartache? Do we continue to be faithful to God and His church, or do we withdrawal and neglect Him? Do we get angry and reject Him? Or do we fall to our knees and worship Him still?

Praise will bring a breakthrough because honoring God comes from a heart of surrendered, obedient faith. When we are in faith, our hearts are aligned with God, positioned to receive from Him for His purpose. God wasn’t done with Paul and Silas yet. WHILE THEY WERE SINGING, an earthquake happened and opened the jail and removed the chains of the prisoners.

Paul and Silas did not leave the prison, even though they were free. The Lord got the jailer’s attention, and he received salvation, he and his family. Once the magistrates heard of the event, they instructed the men to be let go; however, Paul wanted more. He wanted to protect those that would follow him. Paul was a Roman, and he demanded these Romans come to clear his name. They magistrates and officers then came not only to release them; but to urge them to move on.

Paul and his team encouraged the Christians with the power and favor of God that was shown to them, and then they left the city.

Psalm 4-6

In these three psalms we see the value for dependency in the Lord. David was said to be a man after God’s heart. David becomes a warring king for Israel, yet we see his heart to rely on the Lord’s strength, not just his own. David’s motivation for protecting and increasing Israel was his love for the Lord. He was a man of power and a man of worship. He was a man of war and a man who loved God and his nation. Manly men with God’s heart know a surrender to God and a grace for strength.

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