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“After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”  (Acts 16:23-25, NIV)

D. L. Moody (1837-1899), the noted 19th Century evangelist, said: “Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.”

His words are as true today as when Moody spoke them more than 100 years ago; or as they were nearly 2,000 years ago when Paul and Silas were thrown — bloody and sore from a severe beating — into prison, and their feet were put into the stocks.  Theirs was a utterly miserable and hopeless situation, but Silas and Paul did not allow an adverse situation to provoke from them an adverse response.  They responded by praying and singing hymns to God!

Then, as now, the world watches the Christian in his or her adversity.  Will he curse or will he bless?   Will she complain or will she encourage?

As Moody said, only one person in 100 will have read the God’s word.   When the other 99 read you — the representative of God nearest to them — what do they learn?  – Luther

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“He  (Job) said, ‘Naked I came from my mother, and naked I will return.  The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away! May the name of the Lord be praised.'”  (Job 1:21, God’s Word Translation)

Everything we acquire during our lifetime is borrowed.  Our children: Borrowed.  Our health: Borrowed.  The air we breath: Borrowed (at a rate of approximately 14 breaths per minute).  Even our names are borrowed from others, and shared with other people we’ve not even met (try “Googling” your name and see how many other people there are with the same name!).

We err when we think that we may become owners of anything.   On the contrary, many times, “things” own us!

Freedom comes when we begin to view ourselves as stewards of God’s gifts to us — not as owners.  As borrowers, rather than keepers.

All of God’s gifts are entrusted to us to risk for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is God’s to give; it is God’s to risk; it is God’s to lose; it is God’s to increase for His glory.

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