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 the jailer awoke and saw the open doors of the prison, he thought the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted loudly, “Don’t harm yourself! We’re all here!”

The jailer called for some lights, rushed in, and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He led them outside and asked, “Honorable masters, what must I do to be rescued?”

Acts 16:27-30

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Our family lives near several military bases, and almost daily our conversations and TV-watching and podcast-listening are interrupted by the thundering sound of fighter jets flying overhead. We get used to it. We press “pause” until the skies get quiet again. But the other day, our house was shaken by a much more dramatic BOOM. It was sharp, unexpected, and intense; it rattled the walls and it rattled us! A quick Google search reported no earthquakes; a couple of days later the local military confirmed a sonic boom.

I thought of Paul and Silas and a jailer, just doing his job, and a prison full of prisoners — and an earthquake that rattled everything from the walls to the doors to the chains restraining arms and legs. Rattling that jailer out of his sleep and straight into panic mode: opened doors and opened chains can only mean one thing. Escape!

How much more rattled he must have been when Paul shouted out: Stop! We’re here! Put down your sword!

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

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Rattle me, O God. Catch me off-guard with your intensity, your thundering presence. Surprise me by your salvation, then let me surprise those around me by sharing — not hoarding — the freedom you give! 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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