November 23 (Daily reading: Acts 15-16) Paul must have been frustrated. He wanted to minister in Asia, but the Holy Spirit would not allow it. He was a man of action, but he was also a man of prayer. God sent him a vision, in which he saw a man from Macedonia who asked them (including Silas, Timothy and Luke) to come to Macedonia to help them (16:9).
Paul and his group arrived in Philippi and found Lydia at a place of prayer by the river. Upon Paul’s witness, she and her family received Christ, and a church was begun in her home. Later, Paul and company were again going to the place of prayer, but the circumstances were very different. A slave girl who was possessed by an evil spirit followed them, and Paul delivered her in the name of Jesus. The men who were profiting from her condition had Paul and Silas beaten and put into prison with their feet in stocks. That night, as they were singing hymns to God, God sent an earthquake, and the prisoners were freed. The prison guard, thinking they had all escaped, was ready to kill himself, but instead, he and his family received Christ and were added to the community of believers in Philippi.
Notice this: Paul went to a place of prayer, where he met Lydia, and a family was converted. All the circumstances and results were good. In another case, Paul was going to a place of prayer and ended up in prison. The prison guard and his family were converted. The circumstances were bad, but the result was good. Whatever our circumstances, God can use our witness for Jesus to bring good results! The important thing is that we be faithful and allow God to use our circumstances, good or bad, to accomplish His purposes for His glory.
– Al Gary