Foundation Shaking Faith

Acts 16:16-34

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

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 household 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 household.

Holy Spirit Fire

~When chaos sounds his battle cry…sing songs of praise!

~When lies leap…pray!

~When bruised and beaten for believing…be still!

Oh this passage. This is truly one of my most favorite passages in the Bible. There are just so many lessons in this passage. Yet, I simply want to focus on the impact! – ground zero, foundation shaking, earth shifting, earthquake splitting – impact! You see, Paul and Silas were not complaining to each other about their unfair punishment. No, that’s not what you read. They didn’t use this time to validate the obvious – lies, torture, battered, and bruised. Instead, they exemplified what every Christian is called to do – consider it pure joy when you face various trials for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Following being beaten and chained…they prayed and sang.

But the impact…oh the ears that hear! Thank you Lord for speaking in such a time as this. Paul and Silas were not alone; their songs did not reverberate against cold stone walls and fall dead to the ground. No! These hymns penetrated earthly material like an arrow through a leaf! God’s truth dancing on the notes of hymns entered into the ears of the other prisoners. Nothing can stop a heart full of faith and truth, and nothing can stop holy spirit fire and power.

As their prayers and hymns filled the atmosphere, the foundation itself could no longer remain silent as it shook violently through the mighty hand of God…chain breaking, wall shaking, foundation swaying – FAITH. What happens next further intensifies the integrity of these believers – they stayed! Wait! Yes…they stayed! In fact, when the jailer woke up, he thought the prisoners had escaped and he was about to kill himself – but wait! “Don’t harm yourself,” Paul said, “We are all here!”

Be still…the true testament of peace is when you don’t run out of fear just because you see one opening…[pause]…that is speaking to someone even now. Can’t you just feel the blanket of peace as Paul and Silas prayed and sang those hymns? Broken chains and an opened door did not mean they were free to run – they were mission-minded which allowed them to be still and witness to the jailer. This act of faith resulted in an entire family receiving Jesus that night and being baptized, and don’t ever miss this…”he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.” A man just moments prior on the verge of suicide, lost without God, now filled with the joy of the Lord because two men who didn’t look at their pain, bruises, hurt, or situation; instead, they prayed, sang…and stayed!

Challenge: What doors are you running through without first being still and letting God do the impossible? This week, I challenge you to be mission-minded wherever you are! Sometimes we are seeking a quick exit when God just wants to shake the foundation you’re already on! I also encourage you to speak life in your marketplace of life. Don’t forget to pray and sing instead of grumble and complain for you never know who’s listening! May God Almighty be glorified in everything we do in word or deed.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

When God Wrecks Your Expectation

Acts 3

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

NOW

There are so many messages swirling through my head right now. Honestly, it’s hard to grab just one and lay it down on this computer.

Repetition! The crippled beggar was “carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.” What was different this day? [pause – I really need you to take a breath and get this]…when Peter and John approached the crippled man, Peter exclaimed, “Look at us!” “So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.”

The crippled beggar expected to get the same thing he had always gotten – money, coins, sympathy, maybe even a prayer. The man expected to get something that he was used to. The beggar expected to get something that would reinforce what he had always gotten in the past; the same things over and over. These things reinforced the mind’s finite walls of impossibilities. What the man did not expect was a miracle from Peter and John! The man was not expected to walk! But Peter said, “Look at us!”…”Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give. In the name of JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, WALK!”

Oh the powerful name of Jesus. Taking him by the right hand, instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. The man wasn’t expecting that the mere name of Jesus and an outstretched arm from a faithful believer would heal bones, ligaments, nerves, and muscles that had been misaligned and malformed from birth. The man came expecting alright, but he did not expect to walk that day. Better yet, he did not expect to start jumping as stated in verse 8.

~The enemy called repetition is stifling your miracle!

~The enemy called traditionalism is stealing your revival!

~The enemy called religionism is killing your house of prayer!

~The enemy called disunity is destroying the body of Christ!

Dear believers, you too are expecting to be carried to the gate called Beautiful expecting silver or gold, a nice smile, or even a quick prayer for deliverance from cancer, addictions, failed marriages, bitterness, heartache, etc. You ARE the crippled beggar!

However, I’m here to tell you one thing…[but first]…LOOK AT ME…Take a deep breath. Worldly wisdom I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, BE FREE! Oh the powerful name of Jesus. Let is wash over you. Now “stand up” and jump for joy as you run into His temple courts praising His name.

You will find that the same people who passed you for decades at the temple gate will be filled with wonder and amazement but they will only recognize you as the person who “USED TO…[FILL IN THE BLANK].” AH…I love this part! The world is really good at remembering who you USED TO BE!

[Don’t miss this part]

When you come jumping for joy because of your miracle, you then become the “crazy” person or the “nut” who “used to be depressed” who “used to be addicted to alcohol.” You see, the world is really good at reminding you who you used to be. Yet, this is not the character of MY GOD! Jesus did not come to condemn but to save! He came to restore. Therefore, bask in your miracle and hold the shield of faith firmly so that the Holy Spirit can blot out ALL the fiery darts from the enemy…NO SATAN NOT TODAY!

So, what are you expecting to see today? The same thing you saw yesterday and the day before that! Hum, maybe, just maybe this message will spark you to [pause]…LISTEN to God as He’s trying to GET YOUR ATTENTION! LOOK AT HIM and listen for Him to say, “GET UP AND WALK!”

Challenge: Stop repeating and start LOOKING for Him, everywhere!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta