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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When Paul and Silas had been severely beaten, the authorities threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to secure them with great care. When he received these instructions, he threw them into the innermost cell and secured their feet in stocks.

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. All at once there was such a violent earthquake that it shook the prison’s foundations. The doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose.

Acts 16:23-26

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Our family loves movies, but we laugh at the common fantasy of moviemaking: the hero can be attacked with all manner of weapons, smacked down by every piece of hardware the villain has handy, be bloodied and broken and mostly-dead… and somehow still pop up to fight back, win the battle, save the day, and make a perfect sound-byte of a quote to tie the whole thing together.

It’s tempting to imagine Paul and Silas as these kind of unreality-show heroes. Bloodied and broken, bound in the deepest prison cell… and popping back up to lead a round of praise choruses loud enough to bust open the doors.

My hunch is it happened more like real life. Bloodied and broken, the apostles perhaps found their spirits restored by the comforts of prayer and by the songs they knew by heart, the songs that soothed their hearts (if not their skins). Too tired and too sore even to think, they could still testify by the familiar words of their faith.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

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Write your words on my heart, God, so that when I am hurting I can continue to sing your praise. Then let my voice bring comfort to those around me. Let my voice, however broken, bring your peace. Amen.

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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 for more seasonal devotionals and for thoughts on making things, moving around, and being a 40-something beginning violinist.

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