Summary: Our obedience to the call of God may well lead us into times of oppression like it did for Paul and Silas but God knows how to break us out of that prison.
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Pastor James May
Louisiana District Camp Meeting
Acts 16:16-26, "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 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 a 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 suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed."
Paul and Silas, departed into region of Macedonia. Paul had wanted to go into other regions but God had led him in a different track. When we walk in the Spirit and let God do the leading, we never know the things that He has in store for us.
God requires a walk by faith. None of us know what the next step will be. Even Pastors who everyone looks to for inspiration, guidance and direction, are led by the Spirit one step at a time.
It’s great to want to build, grow and minister in just about any fashion but we must give place for God to give us the direction.
All of our plans will come to nothing if we do not allow God to direct us.
No sooner did their ministry begin to bear fruit when the Devil began to harass them and divert them from their true ministry.
Beware when the world begins to praise your efforts. Beware when the Devil starts to preach the same message that you are preaching. Beware when things are going too smoothly.
First, realize that your enemy is not the messenger of flesh and blood – but the Spirit within that messenger.
The message of those sent by Satan to praise your or to draw attention to you is not designed to bring converts to your ministry.
Those praises are meant to build pride in your heart and to deter you from your true ministry that gives God the glory for all that is done.
Paul and Silas tolerated the spirit of divination for a little while at least. It feels good when people praise you. It feels good when people say how good you preach, how good you teach or how good you sing. It feels good when people speak kindly of your walk with the Lord. It feels good, so we are in no hurry to rebuke that enemy.
Come on, I know something isn’t right about this, but I sure like the sound of it. Let me bask in my self-esteem. Yeah, I’m special, Yeah, I’m good, Yeah – it just doesn’t get any better than this. Until we begin to feel really uncomfortable with all the accolades.
Something is dreadfully wrong now! If we don’t get rid of that devil following us around, God will let us see just how “good” we really are.