Students sitting outside Bockman
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Monday, May 02, 2016

Paul and Silas have only recently established their base for mission in Phillipi in the home of Lydia when they encounter a slave girl who is making her owners rich by her powers of fortune-telling. She annoys Paul every day by shouting out that Paul and Silas are "slaves of the Most High God who proclaim a way of salvation." Paul becomes so irritated that he casts out the spirit or demon that possesses the slave girl. Her owners, angry over their lost lucrative business, have Paul and Silas flogged and imprisoned.

At midnight, when Paul and Silas are praying and singing hymns to God, an earthquake shatters the prison doors and all the prisoners are set free from their chains. The jailer, assuming the prisoners are gone, threatens to take his own life until Paul says, "Stop! We are all here." When the jailer asks, "What must I do to be saved," he is told, "Believe on the Lord Jesus." The jailer and his whole household were baptized and he washed the prisoners' wounds.

Lord God, as we struggle with the issue of reforming our criminal justice system, give us compassion and passion for justice for those who have been brutalized and killed because of their color, even as we pray for those who are called to enforce our laws with justice in our communities. Amen.

Glen Wheeler
Master of Divinity , 1966

Acts 16:16-34 (NRSV)

16 One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling.
17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, "These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation."
18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities.
20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, "These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews
21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe."
22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely.
24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened.
27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here."
29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
30 Then he brought them outside and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31 They answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.
34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.