NEVER MISS AN OPPORTUNITY!
A few weeks ago, we read how Paul and Silas had now become a team checking in with the churches and proclaiming the Word of God. We see Paul and Silas were traveling around the area when they encountered a slave girl. She was no ordinary girl; she could tell the future. We are told she had a spirit that gave her the ability to do this. She began following Paul and Silas shouting that they were servants of God who would tell you how to be saved. This apparently became annoying to Paul, and he finally said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus I command you to come out!” He said she is being possessed, if you will, by a spirit clearly not of God. When we look at how something like this is viewed in America and many parts of the world, you would be viewed as nuts if you claim someone is possessed by a spirit. We, at times, seem to want to believe Satan does not exist or at least has no power to do anything. I believe we are deceived if we choose to ignore how Satan is continuing to affect this nation and the world.
We see Paul successfully drove the spirit from this girl. Did everyone celebrate that this girl had her life back? No! The owners of this slave girl were mad. She had been making them a lot of money telling the future of people in the area. We have psychics in America today who advertise they can tell you your future. Horoscopes used to be printed in the newspaper telling your future by your birthday or sign. So, what this girl was doing is still happening today.
The girl’s owners then started spreading lies about Paul and Silas since their ability to make money from this girl was gone. They got enough people stirred up that Paul and Silas were arrested. The authorities had them stripped and beaten. What was their crime? Freeing this girl from a spirit who was, I am sure, making her life a nightmare. Her owners were no longer able to take advantage of her for their own gain. They did not care what all this was doing to her. Paul and Silas were not only beaten but were put in chains and thrown into prison. Through it all, what was Paul and Silas’ reaction? Were they angry at God for letting this happen? They were simply doing the right thing for this girl and how were they treated? They were treated like criminals. So, were they mad at God? Did they sit in prison feeling sorry for themselves? One could say they had the right to. No. They began praying and singing hymns to God. All the other prisoners heard them as well as the guards. The prisoners probably knew they did not deserve to be there. And yet they were praising God while in chains. We see while this was going on an earthquake occurred, allowing all the jail cell doors to open. When the guard realized what had happened, he was ready to kill himself, because if prisoners escaped while you were on duty you would be killed by your superiors. He knew everyone would escape and he would be killed, so he was ready to kill himself, but what did he find? Everyone was still there! He obviously heard Paul and Silas praying and singing to God and knew that is why they stayed in their cells. Paul and Silas knew it was not the guard’s fault they were in jail. They also knew if they escaped, the guard would be killed so they all stayed. What was the guard’s reaction? He asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved! What a tremendous testimony Paul and Silas gave to the other prisoners and the guards. First of all, they could have sat in the corner of their cell mad at God. Instead, they prayed and sang songs to God. Then when they had the chance to escape, they could have left as soon as the jail door opened, but instead they showed compassion to the guard and stayed. They refused to be stopped in their desire to share God’s word even when life seemed unfair. Instead they decided not to miss the opportunity to proclaim God’s goodness, even when they had in many ways every right to.
How many opportunities do you and I miss because life seems unfair? We get mad or at least disappointed to the point we do not see the opportunities right in front of us. We serve a loving, merciful God and even when things are not going as we think they should, God’s hand is on our lives. May we choose to look beyond our circumstances when things are not going right to see what God is doing in these situations. God wants to bless us and use us to bless others if we will let him. May we be like Paul and Silas, choosing to never miss an opportunity. May we also see God in each situation we find ourselves in. As best as we can, may we also choose to make the most of what God puts before us.
Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study—studying Acts. All are invited to attend.
October 14 7:00 Executive Committee
Thank you to our lawn mowers! Your dedication is greatly appreciated!
The Lord’s Storehouse is asking for donations for their Thanksgiving Baskets. Suggested donation is $25 per basket. Donations may be placed in the bucket in the back of the sanctuary. Checks to The Lord’s Storehouse.
Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving.
Thank you for wearing masks and helping contain the spread of the virus. Extra masks are at the back of the sanctuary if you don’t have one. Remember: the cloth masks are washable.
Donation Box October: The Lord’s Storehouse
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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Keep in Your Prayers
Brittany Wright; Bertha Eveland and Betty Moore (Michelle West’s mother and grandmother); Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 215,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; wildfire and hurricane victims; District of IL/WI
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Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.