April 11, 2011

When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.

Acts 16:19 NIV

 

April 11, 2011

Today’s Reading: Acts 16: 13-21

Paul and Silas are in Thyatira visiting Lydia who persuaded them to stay for awhile. While the men stayed in Lydia’s house they would also go daily to the place of prayer. As they walked a slave girl would follow them. She did this every day the men went back and forth. As she followed behind them she shouted out to the people of the community that these men are men of God and preaching salvation. Eventually, she got on Paul’s nerves and one morning he stopped, turned towards her, and ordered the evil spirit that possessed her out in the Name of Jesus. Instantly the spirit leaves her and she is healed. This is very good news.

The bad news is she is a slave woman. The men who owned her put her to work as a fortune teller. She was good at this trade and made the men a lot of money. This is why they owned her, took care of her and fed her. She was property that brought them a cash benefit. It didn’t concern them that she was possessed. It didn’t bother them that she was tormented by an evil spirit. The only thing that really mattered to them was the money she brought in. Once Paul healed her and the evil spirit was gone she could no longer tell a fortune. Their income just ended. This was very bad news for them and would most likely be devastating news for her.

Last week I told you that there are 27 million slaves in the world today. Did that number surprise you? There are children who are bought and sold daily for adult purposes. In places of Africa children are slaves to the armies and are kidnapped from their families on the street as young as 6 years old. They put guns in their hands and force them to kill members of their own family in order to remain alive. There are adults in those armies who have been serving since childhood and are now forced to kidnap and train the newest members. The girls and women of this country are raped repeatedly and the men are beaten. If they are strong they survive and this hellish life for them continues. Once they become weak and can no longer serve their masters, they are killed. Nothing is worse in their minds than a slave who becomes a burden.

How does slavery in foreign countries affect us here in the United States and why should that concern the American Church? Many of the countries who have slaves also have trade with the United States, and the slaves are forced to work in the fields and provide for our needs. They are farmers, seamstresses, furniture makers, toy manufacturers and more. The words “Buy American” take on a whole new meaning. That is good for our own economy, but it also tells the countries that have slave labor that we are no longer going to trade with them. Those countries will continue to keep the slaves and just trade with other countries. The only difference is that our own country will not support them through trade.

This is a small change we can make and it won’t end world slavery. I know that, but if we are ever going to try and stop slavery then we have to start somewhere, and there’s no better place to start but with ourselves. Then we can turn to our own country and keep the money within. If a community revives and thrives by keeping their money within, so will our country. We have to rebuild the United States and we have to stop expecting the government or bankers, or even financial advisors to do this job. It is time for God’s Church to rise up and show this world how to live and take care of and love one another. We do this by depending on one another, creating jobs and allowing the poor to fill those positions, paying them fairly for their work. We trade from state to state and we create a country that is learning to take care of itself. Then and only then can we have any hope to help another country.

Paul and Silas ran into a slave girl who served her masters well. She brought to them a lot of money. They didn’t care that an evil spirit possessed her and tormented her night and day. The evil spirit in her didn’t like having Paul and Silas so close. It knew they were God’s Church, servants of Jesus Christ. Notice how it screeched out correctly that they were preaching salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul finally ordered the spirit out of the woman and it left. For that he was beaten and jailed. The world will not love us for our stand against slavery, but as God’s Church we simply must make this our stand.

Lord God, I pray Your Church will rise up and take a stand against slavery and refuse to trade with all the countries that are involved. Help us, Father, show this world how You want us to live and take care of one another, through the love of Your Son Jesus Christ I pray. Amen

 

In His love

Michele Beck

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