When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”
Acts 16:35-37

It sounds like Paul may be feeling vengeful when the officers come to release them, but as we will learn, revenge is not his motivation. It would be understandable for him to be angry about their treatment, but he is not as concerned for himself and his friends as for the new believers in Philippi.

The punishment Paul and Silas received for sharing the Gospel may be what lies ahead for the new church they have planted, and God has given Paul the means to protect them to a certain extent. His Roman citizenship gives him rights under their law which he can now use to his advantage. Jesus told us we would be persecuted for being His followers, but He didn’t prohibit using the gifts God gave us to prevent harm where possible.

God wants us to share His love with everyone and to nurture those who are new to the faith. That means standing up for them and doing what we can to lessen the opposition they may face from the world. We are called to defend each other from harm when we have the means to do so; let us be brave when others are threatened.

Wise and wonderful God, we are glad to be part of Your work here on earth. Help us to make good decisions, to love each other as You first loved us and to stand firm against sin in Your name. Amen.


The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved —you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 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. Acts 16:29-34

Paul and Silas had an opportunity to demonstrate Christian love in a bad situation. They had been beaten and thrown in jail for preaching the Gospel, but when an earthquake opens the doors and breaks their chains, they wait for the jailer, who might be killed if they escape. He is amazed and after they testify to him about Jesus, he takes them to his home where he and his entire family are baptized.

Paul and Silas had every right to be angry, but instead of acting on their own emotions, they accepted the chance to share the Good News. How often do we miss a opportunity like this because we allow the situation to control us? When we submit to God’s authority we give Him control over our lives and refuse to let earthly things interfere.

God can use any interaction we have for good. I have a friend who prays for those who cut him off in traffic. Do they know he is doing this? No, but that’s not the point – by lifting them up he avoids an angry reaction and prayer is always powerful. Try diffusing a difficult situation by giving it to God rather than reacting as a human.

Loving Lord, we are prone to anger and emotional outbursts. Help us to see opportunities to serve You and share Your love when we face trying times. May we behave as Jesus did, meeting opposition with calm resolve and faith. Amen.


About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 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. 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. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:25-30

Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned for sharing the Gospel. Even in this situation, they continued to praise God, and while they were there, they were witnessing to the other prisoners through their songs and prayers. An earthquake frees all them all, but they don’t escape and the jailer is so impressed by their faith and their act of mercy to him that he takes them to his home where he and his family are baptized.

We may never experience the dramatic events that Paul did during his ministry, but we are called to share the Good News just as he did. God acts powerfully in our lives as well, giving us the gifts and opportunities needed to advance His kingdom. We must learn how to use these for the tasks we are given, growing in our love for God and others.

How has God gifted and blessed you? Think of the ways you are wonderfully made that His glory might be displayed and His love shared with the world. God wants to be in relationship with us all, and He has a mission for each of us.

Gracious God, we are grateful for the many ways You call us to serve in the world. Help us to use our gifts for the good of our brothers and sisters and to praise You. Amen.


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. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” Acts 16:19-21

By casting out the demon which possessed the slave girl, Paul and Silas have angered her owners, taking away their easy money-making opportunity. We often find that when we turn to God or help others to do so, those with impure motives are threatened by our changed hearts. No one who follows Christ can be angry when someone is healed.

Evil always reacts when good is successful, as we see in this passage. The charge laid against Paul and Silas is “throwing the city into an uproar by advocating unlawful customs”. There is a difference between chaos and honest change – evil thrives where there is no order, but good puts things in order that we may learn and grow, using the gifts we are given for God’s glory.

Jesus warned us that sharing His truth would not be easy, that we would meet opposition as we bring the Good News to a chaotic world. Like unruly children who do only what they want, we must learn obedience to God’s loving order and help others find that freedom as well.

Gracious God, through the power of Your Word all things were created. May we choose to be a part of that creation and let our lives be ordered by obedience to Your will. Amen.


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. 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.” 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. Acts 16:16-18

Paul and his friend Silas are sharing the Good News in the Roman colony of Philippi, but are hindered by the interruption of the spirit-possessed slave. What she is shouting is obviously true, but it is not how God intends the message to be brought there, and Paul casts the spirit out.

We have read stories of Jesus casting out demons (Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 8), and now Paul as a baptized believer does the same. It is interesting to note that in all these encounters the demons recognize and testify to the truth of Christ. They are afraid because they know the final outcome will be the victory of Jesus. James 2:19 tells us “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”

The point is that evil exists and we must never listen, even when it speaks the truth because it will eventually turn us against God! The truth of Christ must be shared by His loving followers, not by demons. That is why Jesus silenced them, and calls us away from their influence. His sacrifice for our salvation and His promise to be with us always are all the assurance we need.

Loving Lord, we have been taught by Your truth and saved by Your blood. Help us to be strong in faith and resist the evil that opposes us, bringing our brothers and sisters back into connection with You. Amen.


During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Acts 16:9-15

Our lesson this week has shown us a variety of faith behaviors. We have seen obedience, trust, acceptance and love for others demonstrated in this passage. All are important but love is the strongest of all.

Paul loved God and accepted the new call Jesus placed on his life. He followed the guidance of the Holy Sprit to go where God intended him to be to share the Gospel with His children who had not yet heard its love and power. God’s love strengthened Paul and empowered him to lead his group on their mission.

Lydia was a wealthy woman, well respected in her community, but she also knew the love of God and was shown that wealth and position are not what will save us. Through her acceptance of Christ and obedience to God’s will, she was able to share the gifts with which God had blessed her to sustain Paul and his group while they were there, enabling others to hear God’s message of love, and demonstrating how followers of Jesus treat their brothers and sisters.

Loving Lord, help us to follow the example of those like Paul and Lydia that accepted Your call and did the work You had for them. May we be obedient servants, ready to share Your love with the whole world. Amen.


Our scripture this week (Acts 16:9-15), has much to tell us about evangelism, our call to spread the Gospel. It also teaches about obedience, hospitality, and sharing our resources. That’s a lot of lessons in a short passage!

Paul had tried to take the message of Christ into far away places of his choosing, but the Holy Spirit led him to Philippi, the Roman colony where God wanted him to share the Word. Paul was obedient to God’s command, and found people who were open to the Good News, and an entire group was baptized in Christ’s name. They became the core for the church that would grow there.

Lydia, the leader of this group, was a wealthy business woman, but she cared for others and invited Paul and his friends to stay in her home while they were there. She showed the love of Jesus very soon after her baptism, welcoming strangers as He had, and providing support for their work in the city.

God calls us to share the love and lessons of Jesus, giving care to those in need and sharing the resources we have been given. By His grace we are blessed to bless others, to walk in His footsteps and continue the saving work He offers to all people.

Loving Lord, show us how we can be Your representatives here on earth. May the things we say and do be acceptable in Your sight and lead others to know You better. Amen.


In Acts 16:9-15 we read of Paul and his friends traveling to the Macedonian town of Philippi, a Roman colony, to spread the Gospel of Jesus. Paul had tried to go elsewhere but then had a vision of a Macedonian man asking that he “come over and help us” (Acts 16:9). They go to Philippi and meet a group of women worshipping on the Sabbath and share their testimony.

Lydia, a wealthy business woman and a leader in the community invites them to stay at her home, so they now have a place to operate from and continue their work. It sounds like they will have an easy time, but if we read further in Acts 16 – 17, we will hear that they encounter resistance and danger. Paul and his group are dependent on God for their very lives, but their faith sustains them.

If we are honest, we are in the same situation, even if we are in familiar territory. We are comfortable and things go well, but then we find ourselves thrown into turmoil and feel we have nowhere to turn. If we put our trust in God, we have nothing to fear. It doesn’t mean we will avoid all difficulties, but it does give us the assurance that our present trouble will not affect our eternal salvation. Press on in faith, God is with us even when we are troubled by worldly opposition.

Gracious God, help us to see that our current problems are only temporary. Give us the strength to rely on Your love, and see that Your plan for our lives is forever. Amen.


When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Acts 16:15

Lydia was a business woman, and apparently a wealthy and very successful one. She must have had good judgement and a logical mind to rise to her position in the economic system and community at that time. She would not have been given to rash decisions or ill-advised actions. Yet she was willing to take in the strangers who came to share the Gospel without any reservations. Why would she take such a chance?

We are told that she was already a God-fearing woman when Paul and his friends arrived, but their testimony and behavior added to her faith. Jesus taught that part of our responsibility as His followers was to welcome the stranger and care for them. Hospitality was part of the ancient faith as far back as Abraham. Jesus visited and ate with those considered sinners and outsiders, and He calls us to do the same.

Taking a risk is difficult, but we can be certain that Jesus blesses our efforts to support those in need. There is no risk in trusting Him. He didn’t say our way would be easy, but He did promise salvation to all who believed in Him and were willing to live as He taught us.

Loving Lord, You have called us to welcome and care for those in need among us. Help us to see the people and issues that can be helped by our faithful service and Your love. Amen.


On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
Acts 16:13-14

This passage tells us that wherever we go to share the Gospel, God is already there. He opens people’s hearts and minds that the message we bring might be heard. God doesn’t need our help for anything in His creation; why then does He call us to share His message?

God wants us to be part of the process of sharing His love so that those who are searching may see how He works in our lives. It is easier for us to understand God when we are presented with His love and grace in other people. That is why Jesus came to be with us – to relate to us in a familiar way.

He then gave us the task of being His messengers, that we would do as He had done, spreading the Good News to all God’s children. We are called to be a blessing to the whole world. Through our obedient work, His Word goes out and we are blessed as well! It is a double gift, that in giving we also receive.

Gracious God, we are grateful to be part of Your saving work. Help us when we are afraid and remind us we can never go where You are not already there. Amen.