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Plain and Simple for Nov. 17, 2016 / November 17, 2016
In Acts 16:22-28, we have the story of Paul and Silas.

They are preaching in Philippi when they upset some people by casting a demon out of a slave girl. They had been making money off the girl and did not appreciate the graces of Paul and Silas. The result was that the authorities had Paul and Silas beaten and put into jail.

I have a question for you. Suppose you took your vacation and went to Nicaragua or another country on a mission trip.

You spent over $2,000 on the trip. When you get there, you go about your business, helping people for Christ.

Rather than appreciating your efforts, some people take offense. You are taken to the authorities who beat you and put you in jail. How would you react?

The reaction of Paul and Silas was to spend the night singing hymns and praying. Somehow, I don’t think that would be our reaction.

I know how I would probably feel. I would think that God had abandoned me. I believe that I would be praying something like this: “God, how can you do this to me? I have given my time and my money to do your work! Don’t you love me? What is going on? I am suffering here!”

In America we think that God owes us a great life. Even people who don’t go to church get angry with God if he does not come through for them.

We blame God if someone dies no matter what the situation may be.

If we actually bother to read the New Testament, we will discover that is not how things are. Paul was beaten many times and probably was eventually executed. Jesus was crucified. All the apostles suffered greatly. Why should we expect everything to come up roses?

As a matter of fact, writers of the New Testament thought that it was a privilege to suffer for Christ.

We think that the relationship goes only one way.

God is supposed to give and give and we take and take. We get upset if the pastor dares to change the order of service.

If the music is not exactly what we want, then we change churches like daily outfits. Where is the understanding that we owe God everything?

Where is the willingness to sacrifice for God? I think that a good reading of the New Testament will help us put things in perspective.

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