Weekly Devotionals – 4 December 2023

This is the last verse of the Book of Acts. It describes how, amazingly, God’s Word continued to spread freely during the two years that the Apostle Paul was under house arrest in Rome.

Now this was amazing because of the circumstances that Paul was in. He had suffered grave injustice in being arrested in Jerusalem and imprisoned in Caesarea for two years. Finally, he appealed to Caesar and was transferred to Rome. Bad weather made it a dangerous journey and he was shipwrecked along the way. The drama, danger and discomfort could have been spared if the Centurion in charge and the Captain of the ship had listened to his advice. How totally unfair it was for Paul! 

In any case, he made it to Rome, but was under house arrest for another two years! For one who had been through so much injustice, any lesser man would have sunk into self-pity and disillusionment, even depression, and thrown in the towel. Not Paul! He was a man of faith with a God-given mission. He continued to preach and teach God’s Word UNHINDERED! And most scholars believe that it was during those two years that Paul wrote the Prison Epistles – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. More than his preaching and teaching in all his years of ministry, his letters have passed on to us the rich legacy of God’s Word down through the centuries! 

The servant of God may be imprisoned, but the Word of God and the work of God continue UNHINDERED! 

Are you “imprisoned” by old age, sickness and frailty, and unable to share God’s Word and do His work as freely as you would like to? Or are you “imprisoned” by busyness, by a need to care for needy dependents, or by other circumstances outside your control? Remember, God’s servant may be “imprisoned” but God’s Word and His work can continue unhindered! And I mean through YOU! 

What it takes is a clear sense of calling and purpose and faith in God and His choice of you. The form of service and mode of “preaching and teaching” may change according to your circumstances. For example, Paul could no longer go about freely to preach and teach in the cities he’d visited before and the churches he’d planted. But he still preached to all who visited him, and he wrote letters to the churches! Perhaps in your “imprisonment” you can minister only to those immediately around you. Or you can minister through your prayers or encourage through texts and calls. And you could let God write a “letter of commendation” in your heart (2 Corinthians 3:1-3) through your godly attitudes, conduct, and response to your circumstances. This will inspire and minister more powerfully than you can imagine!  

Believe in God and determine that though you are “imprisoned,” God’s Word and His work will continue through your life, UNHINDERED! You’ll be surprised that the work you do for Him in your “imprisonment” may be your most impactful ministry for Him and your most fruitful service to others! 

Monday – Philippians 1:12-14 
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of  Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 

Tuesday – Genesis 50:20 
As for you, you meant evil against me, but  God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

Wednesday – Romans 8:28 
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His  purpose. 

Thursday – 2 Corinthians 3:2 
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men. 

Friday – Ephesians 6:10-11 
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 

Saturday – Hebrews 4:12 
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 

Sunday – 2 Thessalonians 3:1 
Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 

All Scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible 1995 unless otherwise stated.
By Pastor Yong Tai Tong