In the book of Acts 16 verses 22-27 tell a very profund story of the Apostles Paul and Silas's trials and brutal sufferings for the "pleasure" of spreading the glorious Gospel of Jesus, the Christ. By this time they had been apprehended, charged and accused, beaten, placed in extremely uncomfortable and further torturous "stocks". "And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who having received such charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. AND AT MIDNIGHT PAUL AND SILAS PRAYED, AND SANG PRAISES UNTO GOD: AND THE PRISONERS HEARD THEM. AND SUDENLY THEIR WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE, SO THAT THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE PRISON WERE SHAKEN, AND IMMEDIATELY ALL THE DOORS WERE OPENED, AND EVERYONE'S BANDS WERE LOOSENED. AND THE JAILER, AWAKING OUT OF HIS SLEEP, AND SEEING THE PRISON DOORS OPEN, HE DREW OUT HIS SWORD, AND WOULD HAVE KILLED HIMSELF, SUPPOSING THAT THE PRISONERS HAD FLED. BUT PAUL CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE,SAYING,DO THYSELF NO HARM , FOR WE ARE ALL HERE!" For a skillful preacher or expounder, there's enough "meat" here, to preach "real good" for a long time, but what I want to exposit from this text is not that Paul and Silas "prayed and sang", unto the Lord in their midnight, nor is it the fact that their sacrificial praise, at a time when all others would've been travailing in pain and pity, compelled God to stand up and shake the earth, and it's not even that the Lord "prepared a table of liberty, and miracles before them in the presence of their enemies, persecuters and accusers, but rather that they remained in their trial until their enemy was fully awake to see, feel and witness this absolute, and undeniable miracle from the God of Israel, and be forced to give THEIR testimony FOR THEM!. They could've "hit the bricks", or "rolled out" as soon as the cell door swung open, but they undestood that their suffering wasn't about them, and their assignmnet wasn't over just yet! They laid back, FREE, ad LOOSED from their bands and yokes of bondage and CHILLED until the jailer awakened so that he couldn't report their JESUS miracle as a "dream", or a "nightmare"! They waited til he stood up and stretrched real good and wiped the "sleep" from his eyes and noticed that their had been a "great move of God" (like the ones we like to proclaim) while he was resting comfortably, and the aftermath of God's visitation rattled him so that a demon of suicide overcame him. It was at this momnet that the disciples assignment was revealed and manifested, when Paul sHouted to him "NOOOOOO, DO THYSELF NO HARM,BECAUSE WE ARE STILL HERE, STILL STANDING, STILL PRAISING, sTILL SHOUTING, STILL PERSUADED,STILL SAVED, AND STILL GIVING OUR GREAT GOD GLORY!! UPON HEARING HIS VOICE, HE REACHED FOR A CANDLE TO MAKE SURE HE WASN'T EXPERIENCING AUDITORY HALLUCINATIONS, AND UPON CONFIRMING THAT , EVEN THOUGH THE PRISON DOORS WERE TORN OFF THEIR HINGES, GOD'S MEN AND SERVANTS REMAINED, HE ACKNOWLEDGED THE OMNIPOTENCE, OMNIPRESENCE, AND OMNISCIENCE, OF CHRIST, THE ONLY-WISE GOD, AND ASKED , "WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?" This man, their very enemy, who had viciously beaten and harmed them WAS THEIR ASSIGNMENT, and they recognized that their trial was not ended until they had apprehended his soul salvation! The most profound revelation was that upon their release and deliverance, Paul turned around and took a "head count" to make sure that ALL were accounted for. He could've just run for the hills, every man for himself, but through his tedious "processing", he learned that his life was no longer his own, and he evidenced the scripture that declares "Once you've ben converted, (look around you, make sure no one was ambushed, overtaken, injured, or assaulted along the way), take inventory, and STRENGTHEN THE BRETHREN!" ARE WE ALL STILL HERE, PEOPLE OF GOD? DO WE EVEN CARE?
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