Posts Tagged ‘silas’

An Upside to Your Downside

Jul 26

An Upside to Your Downside 072611by Victoria Robinson

Is it possible to find an upside to your downside? As hard as it can be to understand, the answer lies in a familiar passage that sometimes we love to hate. The apostle Paul said, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In the midst of dealing with a downside in your life, it can actually hurt to hear those well-worn words. Still, the truth is the truth and there is an upside to what you are going through.

When the apostle Paul who wrote those words of encouragement was suffering through a downside, he focused on the upside. After being beaten and imprisoned we see him praising God. Suddenly the upside of his situation appears! The jailer who was imprisoning him is about to kill himself when Paul stops him. Then the jailer responds, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The truly great upside to this story was that the jailer became filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family. And yet to come was that Paul and his companion Silas were released from jail.

Girlfriends, are you focusing on the upside of what the Lord is doing through your problems or are you wallowing in the misery brought about by your downside? The agony of your troubles can cloud your vision unless you stay focused on the unchanging truth of the Word of God. Joseph viewed the lengthy downside he experienced after his brothers sold him into slavery as an upside. He said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” His focus was on the purposes the Lord had in mind and not the suffering of the downside he had suffered through.

Dearest girlfriends, when we are tempted to focus on the downside of our circumstances, let us trust that our heavenly Father has a wonderful upside He is going to bring about.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 NIV

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 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. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 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 family. When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” ~ Acts 16:25-36 NIV

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. ~ Genesis 50:20 NASB

♥ A Contented Heart ♥

Jun 12

by Victoria Robinson

Oh the pain of discontentment! The “Woe is me!” heart is filled with unhappiness. Let us examine two sets of people with very different outcomes. One with a “Woe is me!” heart and one with a “Praise Him” heart. The first focuses on us and our selfish needs while the latter focuses on Him.

The discontented heart is a highly contagious disease. The Egyptians who made the trip out of Egypt with the Israelites spread their discontentment with their fellow travelers. As we know, the trip became miserable and long due to the effects of this terrible disease. The discontented heart oftentimes begins with a lie. The Egyptians were complaining about the food. Were their needs being neglected by God? By no means. Every morning food was literally falling down from heaven. Granted, it might have become difficult to come up with new recipes for this new ingredient called manna, but their needs were being met.

On the other hand, we see the apostle Paul who was by no means living a dream life say, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” A contented heart will always look to Him and to the concerns of others. Paul poured out his life to his Lord and Savior and to those around him, including the very ones who imprisoned and mercilessly beat him. On one  such occasion we see Paul and his faithful friend, Silas, while chained in their prison cell, singing praises to God. The miraculous outcome was not only freedom, but more importantly salvation for the jailer and his family.

Girlfriends, if your heart is full of discontentment then start turning things around by finding something to be thankful for. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to His blessings. No matter what you are living through there is always goodness to be found. Dearest girlfriends, let us discard a “Woe is me!” heart and develop a “Praise Him!” heart.

Then the Egyptians who had come with them began to long for the good things of Egypt. This added to the discontent of the people of Israel and they wept, “Oh, for a few bites of meat! Oh, that we had some of the delicious fish we enjoyed so much in Egypt, and the wonderful cucumbers and melons, leeks, onions, and garlic! But now our strength is gone, and day after day we have to face this manna!” ~ Numbers 11:4-6 TLB
 
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-9 NIV
 
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 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. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 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 family. ~ Acts 16:25-34 NIV
 
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:11-13 NIV