Paul Serves and God Provides

Acts 28

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There has been a lot happen on the way to Rome, but Paul is still a prisoner. What, I wonder, were all the other prisoners doing? Were they mainly sitting around and only doing something when told to? We can see from chapters 27 and 28 that Paul couldn’t just sit by if there was something he could do to help. Paul had a servant’s heart. He served during the storm by encouraging the other 275 on the ship. He served by convincing them to eat and not give up. When they are shipwrecked on Malta, Paul immediately continues serving. He gathers wood for the fire. The natives are doing this, too, but I bet Paul is tired like all the others who had to swim for safety. He doesn’t let exhaustion stop him from serving. Paul serves again by going to see Publius’ father who is sick. He prays, lays hands on him, and heals the man. In a sense he has served everyone he came in contact with. He serves his own crew by serving and healing the natives because they, in turn, supply them for the next part of their trip! Paul was a blessing to everyone around him and he blessed them by having a humble and serving heart that prompted kind acts.

While Paul is serving and blessing, God is providing protection and opportunity. God gets Paul an audience by protecting Paul from the snake bite.  God also gets Paul an even larger audience by giving him the ability to heal “the rest of the people on the island who had diseases.”  Later, we see that God protects Paul in Rome from a miserable prisoner’s existence by providing a sizable rental property and a simple guard to watch over him. It seems sizable because this allows him to testify about the kingdom of God and Jesus to “large numbers.” God has provided Paul with suitable accommodations and the opportunity to witness to Gentiles and Jews while imprisoned in Rome for the next two years! For “two full years” he was “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.”

There seems to be a correlation between Pauls’ serving and God’s providing. What could this mean in our own lives? I personally would love to be a blessing to others as Paul was. Wouldn’t you? And what could be better than knowing God is protecting you and providing opportunities for you to make a difference for Him?

On a side note, I would like to point out that while it isn’t mentioned in this chapter, Paul did speak to Caesar. According to Philippians 4:22, “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.” Obviously, there was some success there for God among some Gentiles, some Jews, and some among the kings at least! This was Paul’s purpose. (Acts 9:15)

-Melissa New

 

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Blessings or Curses (Numbers 24-26)

September 8

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Photo of Mountains in Israel By Beivushtang at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3485696

By Talon Paul

If you are like me and have read through this entire section, you are probably tired of reading all of the names listed and the counting of individuals for war. This information was very important to the Israelites, but has become “back-burner” information for us today in 21st century America.

Although it is very strenuous to read this section, there is a very important story in chapter 24, which is extended on from chapter 23. Here we see a man named Balaam being commanded by Balak to curse the Israelites who are passing through his land. However, when they get up to a high place to see over all of Israel, Balaam can only cast blessings down on the people, thanks to God. Why is this so important?

While the Israelites were complaining about their lives, going through the motions of everyday life, God was protecting them without them even knowing it. They had no idea that just over the mountain was a man being unable to curse them because God intervened.

The same is true in our lives. When we are in the midst of all the struggles of life and are busy doing everything we need to, God is still protecting us, whether we realize it or not. Although we may not be able to see what He is doing immediately, we know that He has promised to protect His people. God is doing wonders for you right now; do you believe it, even though you can’t see it?