Pause

We listen for God’s calling voice, even from the most surprising sources.

We look for God’s good works, even in the most unexpected places.

We listen and we look—because God calls us, even our surprising selves, to do good works, even where we never expected.

Pause. Listen. Look.

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Listen

Her owners realized that their hope for making money was gone. They grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the officials in the city center. When her owners approached the legal authorities, they said, “These people are causing an uproar in our city. They are Jews who promote customs that we Romans can’t accept or practice.” The crowd joined in the attacks against Paul and Silas, so the authorities ordered that they be stripped of their clothes and beaten with a rod.

Acts 16:19-22

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Think

After Paul performed a kind of exorcism on the slave woman in yesterday's Bible text, the story continues today. We don’t know whether (or how) the slave woman’s owners punished her, but they immediately went after Paul and Silas, who had shut down their flow of funds. They didn’t even try to deal with the apostles privately, but dragged them right to the center of town, to the most public place possible, to make the most public show possible.

Then they slyly shifted their personal revenge into a whole community’s outrage: It wasn’t just about the money! The apostles were causing problems for everyone! These guys were going against Good Civilized Roman Customs! The crowd took over, as crowds tend to do, and the Roman leadership went along, ordering a public punishment for Paul and Silas.

If Paul had hoped silencing the slave woman would make the apostles less of a spectacle, he was surely surprised by this turn of events: the servants of the Most High God humiliated and beaten to satisfy a raging mob.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

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Pray

I want to be bold in my speech, God, and I also want to be brave in my actions. Help my testimony to be not only in my words but also in my ways: the ways I may join in the crowds and the ways I may stand alone before them. Amen.

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Go

Listen: God, the Most High, is speaking!

Look: God, the Most High, is working!

Say Yes: God, the Most High, is inviting us to hear, to see, to join in!

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is an ordained Baptist minister, military spouse, and mom of two boys. She loves making things: she weaves stoles for pastors, writes devotionals and curriculum, and knits almost anything but socks. You can follow her blog at www.amovingyarn.wordpress.com for more seasonal devotionals and for thoughts on making things, moving around, and being a 40-something beginning violinist.

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