One of those days

Have you ever had “One of those days?” I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. If you haven’t ever had “One of those days”, watch out. You are long overdue.

Just to be clear, “One of those days” is when things start out not going well. You start getting the feeling that this could be “One of those days”. You hope not.

As the day progresses and one bad thing after another seems to hit you, you realize, this is indeed “One of those days.” You have the urge to run and hide. Stay off the phone and computer. Don’t answer the door.

Paul and Silas, in Acts 16, had “One of those days.” Paul and Silas were missionary partners on a ministry journey through Greece. They were in Philippi. Initially things seemed to be going well. Then one day things took a terrible turn.

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.

A young woman who was a fortune teller, followed Paul and Silas as they went from place to place ministering. She began yelling, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” Now, this may have seemed like a good thing. It was free advertising. But this didn’t just happen once or twice. We’re told she kept up this chant “for many days.” This girl got on Paul’s nerves. It can happen to the best of us. He finally had enough. He cast out the fortune telling spirit; which was really a demonic spirit. Great, right? Yes… But this was going to be, “One of those days.”

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.”

But when she lost her powers, the men who owned her, her pimps, lost a lot of money. Paul and Silas wrecked their business! They were mad. Apparently, they were influential in their community because when they saw what Paul and Silas had done, they seized them and dragged them to the marketplace. “One of those days” was on.

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.

Talk about a bad day! Things had gone from bad to worse. Now what? Run and Hide? Wail and moan, “Why me?” Stomp our feet! Have a fit! Take it out on everyone we can! What did Paul and Silas do?

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

First, we start with Prayer. Start by calling upon the Name of the Lord. Please Lord, I need help. A simple prayer from the heart. Tell Him what you want. Understand, your prayer and praise are powerful spiritual weapons. Sometimes we have days when it isn’t easy to get our prayer and praise going. But when we do, that is when amazing things will happen.

In Matthew 11:40, Jesus said: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” He invites us to give it over to Him. Sometimes our bad days are bad days simply because we didn’t take it to the Lord in prayer.

There was a man named Joseph Scrivens. Scrivens became keenly aware of the power of prayer. It sustained him when all seemed lost in his life.

You see, Joseph’s fiancée drowned the night before their scheduled wedding. Soon thereafter, when his mother was ill, he wrote his mother a letter and enclosed the lines of a new poem he had written. We know the words of this poem as the Hymn, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.” “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.”

After Paul and Silas prayed, they began to sing hymns of praise to God. Praise can be a song or a word. It takes faith to Praise God when you are having a bad day. It takes faith to sing praises to God for what He has done for you when all around you, things have gone bad.

They prayed and trusted God. God was with 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.

Paul and Silas were obediently serving the Lord when they found themselves in this mess. Sometimes, we can be doing what we are supposed to be doing, what God would have us do, and the next minute we are having a prison experience.

“Why?”

As we live our lives, we can expect our share of difficulty and trouble. We tend to forget that the trials of life are God’s method for developing and maturing us to reflect more and more the image of Jesus. He is the potter.

Paul and Silas were thrown into the prison without any care for their well-being. The jailer put them into the inner prison. This refers to the dungeon, where it would have been dank, dark, dirty and discouraging.

Sometimes that can happen to us. It isn’t fun. It’s a bad day.

During those times, it may seem that God doesn’t care. That you are alone. But I assure you that’s not the case. He has promised never to leave us.

Look at the amazing outcome. Yes. Paul and Silas were beaten up and thrown in a dungeon with their feet put in stocks so they couldn’t even move. They prayed to God and sang praises and God moved.

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.

I have another mathematical expression for you. “Prayer plus Praise Equals Deliverance.”

“Prayer plus Praise Equals Deliverance.”

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer. Amen

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