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James 1:2 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."

That is one of those verses that is easy to quote in church when everything is going good. But when the bill collectors call or the doctor gives you a bad report, it may not be as easy.

But today I have good news. There is a way to consider everything joy. There is a way we can go through life with a smile on our faces and laughter in our hearts. It can be done and the answer is faith.

Let me explain. God has made promises to us in His Word, the Holy Bible. If we are Christians, then these promises apply to us. Now the key is this. If we actually believe that God is telling the truth, and if we actually believe that He is capable of doing what He said He would do, then we will have no fear of anything.

When Paul and Silas were preaching the gospel, they got into some real messes. Once as they were going to pray, a demon possessed slave girl kept following them and mockingly gave them praise. After a time Paul got weary of her and turned to her and said, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her."

When the slave girl's owners saw that the demon was gone, they were upset. They had used her to tell fortunes and had made a lot of money with her. But with the demon gone, she was useless to them.

Needless to say, they got real angry. In fact, they took Paul and Silas to the magistrates and accused them of teaching things that were unlawful.

The magistrates stripped Paul and Silas and commanded that they be beaten with rods. After they were beaten severely, they were thrown into the inner prison and put into stocks. The Roman stocks were not like the ones you see in the movies. The stocks in the movies have three holes - the center one for the head and the two outer ones for the hands.

The Roman stocks were for the feet. The holes were so far apart that many times bones were broken while putting a prisoner in them. It was not uncommon for a prisoner in stocks to never be able to walk again. It was not a thing to be taken lightly.

Anyway, picture this. Paul and Silas were in the inner prison. There were no sanitation facilities. They had been stripped and beaten severely with rods. Their open wounds were in the dirt and sewage. Their legs were stretched severely in the stocks and it was dark. There were no prisoners' rights in the Roman jails.

Can you guess what Paul and Silas did while they were in Jail? The Bible says in Acts 16:25, "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them." Paul and Silas had joy. They knew their God would deliver them.

Then verse 26 says, "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed."

Would Paul and Silas have been miraculously released if they had not been in joy? I don't know. The Bible doesn't say. But had they been in jail gripping and complaining, somehow, I don't think so. That's not faith.

Faith is believing God and acting on what you believe. Psalm 34:19 says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but He delivers him out of them all."

Larry Ollison Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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