Stripes, Stocks, and Songs

Monday, July 13, 2009

Paul and Silas were great men of God, who were ministering for a short period in the city of Philippi. They were on a mission, witnessing to those who needed to hear the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ, doing good deeds, uplifting people spiritually, and comforting and encouraging those who needed their help. They were even able to help a young woman who was demon possessed, by casting the demons out of her. How grateful and joyous she must have been!

Then, something dreadful happened. Several men, who had been taking advantage of the young woman's misfortune, greedy men, who were using her for gain, were upset that they had lost their source of ill-gotten money. They caught Paul and Silas, dragged them before the magistrates and accused them of troubling the city.

The crowd that was there rose up against them, and the magistrates commanded that their clothes be removed, that they should be beaten, and thrown into prison. After being beaten with "many stripes," they were thrown into the inner prison, and their feet were secured in stocks.

If anyone would have had a reason to be bitter, upset, discouraged, depressed, disillusioned, hurt, offended, mad, frustrated, distraught, and humiliated, it was Paul and Silas. Instead, we read these words:
    "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." (Acts 16:25)
Paul and Silas did not know that God was about to send an earthquake to release them from their bondage, nor did they know that they would have the opportunity to lead their jailer, and everyone in his household, to Christ. They were just glad to be on God's side. They reflected the attitude of the apostles in Acts 5:
    "...rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." (Acts 5:41b)
What type of circumstances do we allow to steal our song? Do we allow the bad things in our life to influence our level of joy? Can we still sing when we are being mistreated and misunderstood? Is God still worthy of our praise when we feel like He is nowhere near? How do we respond to the trials in our life?

Let's determine to sing praise through the midnights of our lives with joy and thankfulness for what God has done for us

Curtis Hollembeak

Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.