I find it easy to walk out of God’s Kingdom into the kingdom of the world. How about you? With the powerful pull of God’s living Word, however, it becomes easier and easier to remain in His Kingdom. Perhaps we all should pray “Thy kingdom come” every day.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
We live in a country that requires humane treatment of those in jail. Such humane treatment, however, is not available to people in many countries, no matter what the crimes. During Jesus’ time on earth, many city prisons had horrible conditions. Prisoners were stripped, whipped and placed in leg irons. They had no heat in winter, no ventilation and no sanitation. Their wounds went untreated. Conditions were so deplorable that many prisoners begged to die or committed suicide.
Enter Paul and Silas, imprisoned for speaking out about their faith in Christ. Imagine the worst conditions possible for them, to say nothing of the moans and groans and screams of their fellow prisoners. But they didn’t join in with the rest, in spite of their painful wounds. Instead, they began to pray and sing praises to God. The moans and groans and screams stopped. All the prisoners listened. Could they believe what they heard—praises and hymns in such a desolate, hopeless place?
The effect of Paul and Silas’s praises was enormous. “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” (Acts 16: 26)
Not only were the prisoners freed, the jailer fell on his knees and received Christ as his Savior. He immediately whisked Paul and Silas away to his house, where he tended their wounds and was baptized, along with his family.
If this story sounds like an impossible fairy tale, be assured that God often causes the “impossible” to happen to those who keep an eternal perspective. We may be facing a different kind of prison, one which also can be painful and seem hopeless. Knowing our earthly life will end someday, however, we can rejoice in the promise of a much better life with Christ in heaven, if we belong to His kingdom.
Paul was imprisoned in numerous cities during his missionary travels. As miserable as his experiences were, he always used them as a pulpit to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. While imprisoned in one of them, he wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) His bold statement sums up the kind of life we Christians should be living. Too difficult? Not when we focus on God’s power. Paul also wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Lord, thank You for Your astounding power that affects our lives when we keep a continual perspective of the eternal. May we do so daily for Jesus’ sake, amen.