Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK TWO
ORBIT – DAY TEN
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the daily devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each day we give you a short passage of the Bible to reflect on, a way of putting it into practice in your life, and a chance to pray and reflect. We’re currently reading Paul’s story in the book of Acts, and at the moment we’re following him on his missionary journeys, which have now taken him into Macedonia.
BIBLE READING – Acts 16: 16-19
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
When her owners realised that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.
And just to recap the next bit – after they’re brought before the magistrates, Paul and Silas are stripped, beaten with rods and thrown in prison.
One person’s great news is another person’s disaster. Take sports results for example – when one team wins it brings joy for their supporters, but the opposite emotion for fans of the team they defeated. When a candidate hears that they’ve got the job they’re thrilled… but that means there’s a list of people who aren’t going to be feeling so great when they get that phonecall from the employer.
This is true in more sinister ways too. Sometimes people can feel intense jealousy when their friend gets good news, or businesses can feel frustrated when their rivals report great results. Sometimes it’s not in our character to react well to the successes of others (and I’d add, this is a particular problem for British people).
Something similar happens here. You’d imagine that a miraculous healing was just good news for everyone – it proves the existence of God, for one thing. But if your business depended on that person staying un-healed, I guess it’s less exciting. This is a dark story – a woman who was possessed by an evil spirit was enslaved by men who sold her gift for fortune-telling. When Paul heals her – because, I should add, he’s finding all her prophecies a bit irritating – those owners realise that their meal ticket has disappeared, and they’re furious.
Instead of seeing the bigger picture – that God is real and active in the world. They get angry and have Paul and Silas thrown in jail. They overlook the incredible news right in front of them, and embrace their bitterness instead.
All of which only backs up something we still see today. The church is not seen as good news by everyone. There are many people who simply do not want to consider the idea that Jesus is real, because of what they might need to change about themselves if he is. And when we share the good news about Jesus with our friends, the tough news is that not everyone will like it; some might even react in anger.
In the end though, it’s worth it, and this story also proves why. Although Paul and Silas end up in prison, the slave woman is finally free of the spirit that has been tormenting her. Jesus is good news, and he brings freedom – we just have to accept that not everyone wants to be free.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord we pray for boldness and courage in the face of opposition. Help us to share our faith with our friends and families, and give us resilience when they don’t react how we’d like them to. And we pray that some of the people in our lives might hear about you and realise that you are good news. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Today, celebrate someone else’s good news. Congratulate someone who has just got a university offer, or encourage someone who has been successful in some other way. Put aside any negative feelings you might have, and simply tell them well done. You’ll probably make their day – and you’ll be investing in your own character too!
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit on Monday. Thanks for taking part today!