Have you ever had “one of those days?” One of those days when there was
a hint that things were not going to go well, and then it got worse?
One of those days when one bad thing after another seemed to hit you
before you could recover? One of those days when you’ve just told
someone, “Well, at lease things can’t get any worse.” And then it does?
Let me share some examples of what I’m talking about. These are
1. The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil
spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most
expensively saved animals were released back into the wild amid cheers
and applause from onlookers. A minute later both of the seals were
eaten by a killer whale.
2. In 1992, Frank Perkins of Los Angeles made an attempt on the world
record flag-pole sitting record. Unfortunately he had to come down only
eight hours short of the 400 day record. When he got down he found that
his sponsor had gone bust, his girlfriend had left him, and his phone
and electricity had been cut off.
3. A woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking
frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist towards
the electric kettle. Intending to knock him free from the deadly
current she found a large piece of wood and whacked him on his arm,
breaking his arm in two places. What a shame, he had only been
listening to his Walkman.
4. Then there was the Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, who didn’t put
enough postage on a letter bomb he had mailed. It came back stamped,
“return to sender.” You guessed it, he opened it and it exploded in his
face almost killing him.
Our Scripture text shows us that the Apostle Paul and Silas were having
“one of those days.” They were on a missionary journey in the area of
Philippi and initially things seemed to be going all right. There was
no synagogue in the area, but they met several women down by the river
who were hungry for God, and who would accept the gospel. One of these
women, Lydia, would become instrumental in spreading the gospel into
One day, however, things began to change. They were out by the river
for prayer and a certain woman, who had been a fortune teller, began to
follow Paul and Silas declaring, “These men are the servants of the Most
High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
Now, at first this might have seemed like a good thing–free
advertising. But this didn’t just happen once or twice; she kept up
this chant for “many days.” What might have appeared, at first, to be a
good thing was becoming a nuisance and a distraction. Finally, Paul
couldn’t take it any longer so he turned around and said to the demonic
spirit by which she was possessed and from which she received her
apparent fortune telling power, “I command you in the name of Jesus
Christ to come out of her.” And she was delivered from the demonic
spirit. Of course she also lost her powers of soothsaying.
This young woman was being used by certain influential men in the
community to make money. When they saw what Paul and Silas had done
they seized them and dragged them to the marketplace. And things just
go from bad to worse for Paul and Silas from here.
They were brought before a kangaroo court, were found guilty, were
stripped, beaten severely and thrown into the inner prison where their
feet were fastened in stocks. This had been a bad day. As a matter of
fact, it seems that the constant chanting of the woman had made it a bad
several days for Paul and Silas.
II. BAD DAYS ONLY GET WORSE FOR SINNERS
What about you? Have you ever had a bad day? Can I be perfectly
honest with you and tell you that I’ve had bad months. In fact, there
are a couple years when I was not serving Christ which went from bad, to
badder and baddest. A sinner really hasn’t got much hope of things
getting significantly better. The Prophet Amos describes the
unrighteous as a man who runs from a lion and meets a bear, and then
when he gets to the house and leans on the wall in exhaustion, the wall
caves in. (5:19).
A couple years ago I heard about a man who escaped from a jail in
Florida and was on the run from the law. He ran through the dense
marshes and remote wooded areas and came to a large fence with razor
wire at the top. Hearing the hounds in the distance he climbed over the
fence, cutting and scrapping himself in the process. Shortly after
climbing into the fenced area lights and sirens went off and he was
arrested by prison guards. It seems he had run from jail and ended up
breaking into a maximum security prison. That, is a bad day!
In the book of Revelation we see that for those who are not ready to
meet Christ at His return, things will go from bad to worse. There will
be one judgment after another poured out upon the earth, and when that
is over, the very people who have suffered for their own sins will be
cast into the lake of fire where they are and shall be tormented day and
night forever and ever (20:10).
III. HOW TO TURN AROUND A BAD DAY
For the Child of God a bad day is only preparation for better days
ahead. While it is true that even a Child of God can have a bad day, a
bad day cannot have the last word. God gets the last Word and His Word
said that “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the
morning” (Ps. 30:5). The Word for the Child of God is that He can make
“all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28). God’s promise for His
Children is, “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good
cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn.. 16:33).
So how do you turn around a bad day? The solution for Paul and Silas
will work for all of us. It says, “But at midnight Paul and Silas were
praying and singing hymns to God . . .” I heard an evangelist reduce
the problem of overcoming bad days down to this simple equation: “Prayer
plus Praise equals Deliverance.”
A. Begin with Prayer.
Start by calling upon the Name of the Lord. James writes in his
Epistle, “You have not because you ask not” (Ja. 4:2). Jesus told his
disciples, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you
will receive, that you joy may be full” (Jn. 16:24).
Isn’t it strange that sometimes the crises of the moment causes us to
forget to do the very things which will save us? Have you ever been in
a situation which caused you great distress and later, after the storm
had passed, thought, “Oh, if I’d only done this or that!”
One day my father was driving out the little one hundred yard gravel
lane from our house to my grandmother’s house. My mother was walking
past and saw that he was going out the lane and she thought she would
hitch a free ride on the bumper. Unfortunately my father didn’t see her
and he began to pull away just as she jumped for the bumper. Instead of
her foot landing on the bumper, she fell and her hands caught a hold of
the bumper and she held on while he drove all the way down the gravel
lane. When he stopped he heard her crying so he ran around behind the
truck where she was still holding on to the bumper. He could she that
she was scraped up and cut on her knees and legs, but he just had to ask
the obvious question, “Why didn’t you let go?”
Sometimes our bad days are bad days simply because we did not take it
to the Lord in prayer. Joseph Scrivens knew of the power of prayer to
sustain the believer in the time of trouble. Joseph’s fiancee drown on
the night before their scheduled wedding. Later, when his mother was
ill, He wrote her a letter and enclosed the lines of a new poem he had
written. We know the song as, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” In the
first verse Joseph expressed this ironic truth:
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Don’t let Satan drag you through life battered and scarred. Don’t
forget to pray. We used to sing a song that said, “Let go and let Jesus
take over and He’ll make a way, for you.” God must be looking at some
of us and wondering, “Why didn’t you let go?”
How do you turn around a bad day? Pray. Start every day on your knees
and you will be able to stand where others have fallen. When a storm
comes, pray and God will sustain you. At the end of the day when
memories and cares come crushing in upon you, call upon the Lord, cast
all your cares on Him, lay your head down and sleep like only the
righteous can sleep.
B. Continue with Praise
After Paul and Silas prayed, they began to sing hymns to God. They
prayed and trusted God so what else is there to do but speak the
language of faith. Praise–whether it be in song or in word–praise is
the language of faith. The eyes of the natural man would have convinced
Paul and Silas that their situation had not changed and there was
nothing to sing about. But through eyes of faith they saw that God had
not forsaken them. It says they began to “sing hymns to God.” The
prisoners heard them, but the praise was to God. How was it that they
sang to God? Because God had not forsaken them. Even though it had
been a bad day up to this point, and even though they were in chains and
in prison, God was still by their side.
It takes faith to praise God when the day has been bad. It takes faith
to sing, “Look what the Lord had done,” and to those around you it
doesn’t look like the Lord has done anything. But once we have prayed
and put our problems in God’s hands, what else is there to do but
praise? To do anything else is to suggest that either God didn’t hear,
or God doesn’t care. If you believe He hears, and you know He cares,
then praise Him!
A good way to turn around a bad day is to sing: “Hallelujah anyhow,
never gonna let life’s struggles bring me down. When the trials come my
way, I just lift my head and say, Hallelujah Anyhow!”
That’s why the Psalmist said, “From the rising of the sun, unto the
going down of the same, the Lord’s name is to be praised” (Ps. 113:3).
Wherever I am, I’ll praise Him. Whenever I can, I’ll praise Him. In the
morning, noon and night, I will praise the Lord.
Prayer plus Praise equals deliverance. As Paul and Silas sang, the
prison was shaken, the doors were opened and they were delivered. Not
only were they delivered, but they also led the prison guard and his
whole household to the Lord. That is a pretty good day! God was
working things together, even bad things, for good.
God is no respecter of persons. If He will turn it around for Paul and
Silas, He will turn it around for you. But don’t forget to pray, and
don’t ever stop praising Him from whom all blessing flow. Praise
Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
So how’s it going today? Have you been having a bad week? A bad
year? A bad life? It’s time to turn it around. It’s time to come out
of darkness and into His marvelous light. Don’t leave this place
defeated. Don’t leave this place depressed and discouraged. There’s a
way to turn around a bad day. There’s a way to find victory and to
become an overcomer.
At the end of being dragged down the gravel lane, my mother could not
blame my father. She was the one who held on and allowed herself to be
dragged. And on the day when we each stand before God, we will not be
able to blame Him if we have lived defeated lives. We will not be able
to blame anyone else. We all give an account for the lives we lived and
if we have allowed Satan to drag us through our seventy or so years
depressed, discouraged, and defeated it is only because we would not let
go of the reigns of our life and let God become our Lord. And what
will we answer when He asks us simply, “Why didn’t you let go?”
Let go today. Let the turn around begin at this altar. Let go of
pride and selfish desires. Let go of sin and take hold of the cross.
Give up, and let Jesus take over!