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Hebrews 13:5

One day earlier this month, we were experiencing a morning thunderstorm.  I checked my phone and the weather app showed “partly cloudy” with an icon of a white cloud accompanied by the sun peeking from behind it.  At first I laughed at the contrast of what the phone said the weather was like and the actual intensity of the weather outside our windows.  Then, I thought that the weather app wasn’t really wrong.  True, we could just see 100% cloud cover, heavy rain, lightning flashes and hear thunder, but behind all of that, we knew the sun was there.  So it is with God.  We can know that in our storms, God is there.

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Acts 16:25-26, 20:7-12

Do you sometimes stay up until midnight?  Paul did on more than one occasion.

In Acts 16:25-26, Paul and Silas were in prison and were singing and praying around midnight.  Then, God provided a miracle.  He made an earthquake that forced the doors of the prison to open.  Everyone’s chains “came loose.”

In Acts 20:7-12, since Paul couldn’t stay long in Troas, and planned to leave in the morning, he preached “until midnight.” One man, Eutychus, got really sleepy, fell asleep and then fell to his death out of a window.  With God’s power, Paul brought him back to life and went on preaching.

Many lessons can be learned from Paul’s life.  One lesson is that miracles can happen at midnight.  If we seek a miracle, let’s not rule out midnight.

James 1:2-8, Acts 16:22-34, 1 Thessalonians 5:18

During suppertime, my family and I listen to an audio book.  We just got through listening to The Long Winter.  The Ingalls family endured blizzard after blizzard.  After one of the blizzards, it had snowed so much, that when Laura looked out her upstairs bedroom window, snow had reached that level and she could see horses walking by on the new very snowy road.  During some blizzards, Pa would play his fiddle as the family sang.

In January of 2014, Cedar Rapids, Iowa was enduring winter.  One day that month, there was a big, chilly wind gust.  After that blast of frigid air, I heard a chickadee singing.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were beat up, put in prison and the stocks.  While in prison, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns at around midnight.  Their joy in the midst of trial must have pleased God, because he provided an earthquake that made “the prison doors…open, and everybody’s chains came loose.”

Are you going through a storm in your life?  If so, it’s time to start singing.

 

Exodus 20:1-21

While out doing errands last Saturday, I pulled in a left turn lane to stop at a stoplight.  As I waited there, I watched someone run a red light.  Maybe that person thought the yellow light would be longer.  Or, it could be that they were in a hurry and decided to run it.

What if someone thought, “I don’t need to stop at a stoplight.  That’s stupid.”  If they followed through with that thought, they may get away with it, but over time, odds are they’ll eventually face a wreck.

We know that if certain laws are broken, police can get involved.  If someone runs a red light, speeds excessively, etc., their safety and the safety of others is compromised, so cop cars are expected.

God has laws too, like the Ten Commandments.  His loving laws make life better.

Acts 13:42-44, 1 Corinthians 9:24

I’m fascinated by Billy Graham’s righteous ministry and recently read, Thoughts and Reflections on Billy Graham’s Life Principles.”  Here’s a quote from singer George Beverly Shea regarding a 1947 Charlotte event.  It was Billy Graham’s very first service.  George said, “This young man has great faith.  He’s asked the people to come forward.  They are singing, and he’s got his eyes closed, his hands folded; and he’s quiet now…He just quietly waited and prayed as the hymn was being sung, and they came in great numbers.

God used Billy Graham to draw many people.  We also know that God greatly used Paul and Barnabas.  Acts 13:44 says, “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.”

Even though Paul, Barnabas, and Billy Graham aren’t with us on Earth, they left behind mighty ministries fueled by God.  In the Billy Graham book, James H. Landes said, “Billy believes in the local church.  He realizes that when he’s gone, the local church is that part of the body of Christ that must continue to edify and minister to those who are redeemed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We’re the church.  We probably won’t reach as many people as Billy Graham or Paul, but we can at least take the extended baton and, as Paul conveyed, do our best in the race, striving for “the prize.”

Psalm 84:11-12

On a very rainy day earlier this month, I took our white, fluffy dog outside.  I held a large, black umbrella over him, but he didn’t seem to notice.  I followed him as he wandered around. He got a little wet, mostly on the fur near the top of his nose, which stuck out just beyond the perimeter of the umbrella.  He doesn’t like being wet and didn’t look happy, so when I got him inside and toweled him off, he was his happy self again.

Imagine God putting a shield of protection over the children of God, kind of like an umbrella.  We may whine about getting a little wet from the problems that come, but we don’t realize God’s actually keeping us from a downpour of problems.  God is our shield.

 

Philippians 4:6

One day last month, the kids and I were getting ready to go on a walk.  We were in our carport when I heard what sounded like a small bird’s wings fluttering fast above me.  I then looked up and saw a large dragonfly!  It was caught in the netting we use to discourage roosting.  The drab-looking dragonfly tried repeatedly to fly forward with its 3 1/2″(?) wingspan through a 1″ x 1″ wire square.  We love dragonflies, so I reached for a broom and gently moved the netting, revealing a way out.  After a short while, it realized freedom was actually behind it.  It buzzed out, went behind me for a moment, and then it was gone.  We like to think it was thankful.

That dragonfly had just one idea to solve a problem.  It only tried forward force to escape the netting.  But haven’t we all tried to pound a square peg into a round hole at times in our lives?

Whatever problems we may have or will have, God can help in ways we wouldn’t expect.  Philippians 4:6 says that no matter what problems we face, we need to pray with a thankful heart to God, presenting our requests.  God doesn’t want us to worry.

 

Acts 9:36, 10:1-8, Galatians 6:9

In Acts 9, there is an account about a woman named Tabitha.  She was known for “always doing good and helping the poor.”  And in Acts 10, there is an account of a ‘devout” man called Cornelius.  Cornelius “gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”

Are you like Tabitha and Cornelius?  If so, keep doing good, or as Paul would say, “Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Acts 8:26-40

On this Memorial Day weekend, I’m thinking about Philip.  Per a Heavenly angel’s command, Philip intercepted an Ethiopian in a chariot on the Jerusalem to Gaza road.  Philip helped him understand Scripture and then baptized him.  After they left the water, God teleported Philip to another place called Azotus.  If Philip and the Ethiopian were at Gaza when God made Philip disappear, the NIV Study Bible says that would be roughly 20 miles away.  Teleporting Philip over about 20 miles?  I wonder what Philip was thinking.  Maybe it was a memorable thrill ride that he described to others on Earth.  And it’s possible that he could have told/can tell his teleportation tale to others in Heaven.

 

Acts 5:12-42

Jesus faced opposition while on Earth, and after He ascended to Heaven, the apostles faced opposition as well.  Because of Jesus, they were able to perform miracles for the people to witness.  The Sadducees knew about this and were very jealous.  They decided to arrest the apostles.  Subsequently, the apostles were put in jail.  However, at nighttime, an angel opened the jail doors and told them to go and teach the people.

The next day, the officers had to tell the Sanhedrin that even though there were guards and a “securely locked” jail door, the apostles weren’t there.  That report confused the chief priests.

God sent the apostles an angel to get them out of jail.  I believe God sent me an angel on 5/21/09.  I was driving without my family on Bever Avenue, a busy street, when someone ran a stop sign and headed for the left front of the car.  I was forced to swerve immediately to the right onto a side street, and unfortunately, there was a little car that suddenly appeared at a stop sign there, right in my path.  I closed my eyes and braced for the impact as my tires screeched, but instead, the front of our car just seemed to float.  When I opened my eyes, I saw the little car I had tried to avoid still at the stop sign, with no damage.  I was pointed in the right direction.  Shaken, I drove very slowly and found a place to park.  I checked out the car.  There wasn’t any damage, and I wasn’t injured!

Believe what you like, but I believe God sent an angel to pick up our car.  Thanks be to God, my rescuer!

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