January 11, 2023


Acts 16:16-40

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit . . . giving thanks to God the Father . . . in the name of . . . Jesus. . . .

—  Ephesians 5:18-20

My niece’s family has faced serious trauma this year. Her husband passed away suddenly, leaving her with three young girls to care for. Six weeks later, her nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery to remove it, and went through four months of chemotherapy. Then a few months later a second tumor was found. As I write this, she is in surgery to have it removed. As we wait for answers and as hundreds of people surround them with prayer and encouragement, we entrust them to the fullness of God’s love and care.

And in the midst of this battle, I hear praise and worship from family members and ­others who surround them. This is similar to the praise and worship that Paul and Silas engaged in while sitting in a prison in Philippi. They had been beaten and jailed but did not give up. Their relationship and trust in God led them to share from the depths of God’s goodness and love even in the hardest of circumstances.

Are you ready to share about the love and goodness of God, whatever life’s challenges may be? Are you ready to live into the plans God has for you? May you be filled with the fullness of God regardless of your circumstances.

Lord, we may not like or understand the circumstances we are in, but please give us the strength to trust and honor you with our actions amid the challenges we face each day. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Beth Fellinger

Pastor Beth Fellinger is a wife, mother, and grandmother who has more than 40 years of experience in pastoral ministry. She and her husband, Barry, have created a missional community in their neighborhood called the Ugly Couch Cafe. From serving coffee at a blue picnic table on their front lawn, to praying with neighbors, to hosting faith gatherings on a weekly basis, the Ugly Couch Cafe has grown—and nothing gives Beth greater joy than introducing people to Jesus.

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