Acts 16:25 – 26 (NIV)
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.
Worship is one of the most powerful weapons in the life of a believer. Worshiping the true and living God in Spirit & in truth, has the power to bring down the forces of darkness, it moves the hand of God, it can release healing and give us the ability to overcome fear.
In our text, Paul & Silas, find themselves in a “lock down” situation, they are in prison. If you read a few verses earlier, the bible records for us that they were dragged into the marketplace, stripped & beaten with rods. After this they were thrown into the inner cell & their feet were fastened.
This is a picture of torture friends, and their only crime, was doing the will of God.
There are many prisons we might find ourselves in, in everyday life.
1.Prison of guilt & shame
The enemy is cunning and deceptive. He will use every trick in the book to bring guilt and condemnation on us.
Genesis 3:10 (NKJV)
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
After Adam & Eve sinned, and they hid from God, Adam says that he was afraid, the question is why was he afraid, you see the Bible doesn’t record for us a conversation between the serpent and Adam & Eve, but if there was a conversation it probably would have went something like this.
And the serpent would have come to Adam and Eve and gloated… you have done it now. What would God say about you now, he will cast you away from his sight. You are a sinner and not worthy to stand before him. You have proven that you are weak and worthless. God will find someone else to replace you, he will not love you. You are not worthy to be loved or cared for. He will find someone that is obedient. Even if you were the last person on earth, he will not love you, you should be ashamed; you are a failure.
Notice its very one sided – but that is the strategy of the enemy, he will bring condemnation on us and make us feel guilty and shameful.
Many Christians, feel shame and guilt of past sins, the problem is that the enemy will never let you forget it, he will constantly remind you of what you have done, and how God doesn’t love you.
2.Prison of fear
Fear is born by what we think. When we open our minds to worry and troubles and things that sometimes we have no control over. Fear of what will happen, Fear of what tomorrow holds, it can only take the life out of us.
This is the place the enemy wats us to be in, a place of ungodly fear. Sleepless nights, constant headaches, certain sickness & diseases, all are the result of fear. And the enemy grips us so tightly in this shackle that we struggle to come out of it.
Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic that’s gripping the world, we are so caught up in this, that some people have become filled with fear. Stockpiling for a lock down, it’s as though we don’t believe that God is in control. That is what the spirit of fear does.
And all the enemy needs is a 1% lie to grip the entire world in fear, and take our faith away from a God who said in:
Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV)
For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
Our emotions and feelings become our thoughts which become our actions. Paul tells us to think properly. To take thoughts captive.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
The battle for the mind is a serious one. The kingdom of darkness puts ideas into our minds that question what we know about God and his promises. As we see in Genesis, all he had to as Eve was: “Did God really say”. One word was all it too to plant the seed of doubt in the mind of Eve and for every generation to come after.
When we begin to doubt Gods perfect love, his power and provision upon our lives, that is when we enter into the prison of fear.
3.Breaking free from prison
In our scripture Paul & Silas were in prison, and the Bible tells us that at midnight, they were praying & singing hymns to God, in other worshipping God. They were giving glory to God, despite their situation, they could have been battling with fear and doubting God at that moment, but they were not willing to let that get them.
They were not willing to succumb to their situation, to the crisis that they found themselves in. They understood that the God that they served was more powerful than any situation they could be in.
They understood that the same God that protected Daniel & his three friends was the same God that would be their deliverer, and they worshipped God. And in the midst of that worship unto the only true and living God, God shows up. There was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.
Yes, the God that we serve is as God of power, he is a God of breakthrough, and when we come to him and worship him in spirit & in truth, he shows up in all his glory & splendour.
You see, no prison walls, no shackles, no fear will keep God from getting the glory.
You might be fight off fear right now, because of the Covid-19 virus, asking yourself what are we going to do? – The answer WORSHIP GOD
You might be living in guilt & shame – the only way out friends is to surrender to God & WORHSIP HIM ONLY.
You might be going through a difficult season financially – WORSHIP GOD
You might be going through a physical sickness – WORSHIP GOD
WORSHIP GOD THROUGH EVERY SEASON OF YOUR LIFE, AND HE WILL COME THROUGH FOR YOU.
The songwriter says:” In his time he makes all things beautiful”. Even when we don’t understand why things are happening, WORSHIP GOD.
And watch how the shackles begin to break, watch how, the enemy begins to flee, watch how prison doors begin to open.
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