Tag: Preacher

Snake handler, healer, preacher!

Scripture reading for July 11th: Acts 28:1-31

With the prisoners and crew safely on shore and accounted for, they all settled in to wait out the stormy winter season in the harbor on Malta.  The people on the island welcomed them and built a fire to help warm up the cold shipwreck victims.  As Paul gathered some brushwood and placed it on the fire, a viper fastened itself to his hand.  Paul shook the snake back into the fire and the islanders watched him to see if he would die!  (Acts 28:4-6)  He was not affected!

Publius, the chief official on the island welcomed Paul into his home and Paul ended up praying for his sick father and the Lord healed him.  Others were brought and Paul prayed for many and they were cured!  God used this time of shipwreck to further His work on this island of Malta!  The people helped supply all the needs of those who had been shipwrecked and after three months they set sail again.

Upon arrival in Puteoli, Paul found some fellow believers and was allowed to stay with them for a week.  In Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself with just one soldier to guard him.  Paul invited leaders of the Jews to come to his room and he told them how he got there.  They had not heard anything from Judea and wanted to hear what Paul had to say.  He then took liberty to share the message of the Kingdom of God and tried to convince them that Jesus was the Christ from  Moses and the Prophets!  (Acts 28:1-31)  Some believed and others did not and a dispute arose.  Paul warned them from the Scriptures about having calloused hearts and told them that God had sent him to the Gentiles.  (Acts 28:28)

The Book of Acts has no formal ending.  The last record of all that Jesus began to do and teach through the Church was that of Paul preaching the Gospel for two years from his own rented house!  There is no formal ending because this story is still being written today by believers around the world!  Jesus is still using believers like Paul to tell His story and share the Gospel of the Kingdom.  All who believe are saved and those who refuse to believe are lost!  What a glorious mystery!

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Utterly meaningless!

Scripture reading for July 14th: Ecclesiastes 1-6

If you try to make sense of life without God in you heart or mind, there is only one term that consistently comes to mind:  meaningless!  Life is hard to make sense of without God’s Word or knowledge.  Man is left with darkness in his understanding and the futility of life under the sun.  This life without God has no real purpose or meaning.  It appears that we come about by accident and leave earth by calamity or slow death.  Some live short lives and others relatively long lives.  Some are blessed and others struggle with troubles and pain.  Our days are short and they fly by.

Solomon, the richest and wisest man who ever lived outside of Jesus Christ, decided to try to find meaning in life by pursuing riches, fame, and fortune to the maximum.  The result is this book of Ecclesiastes!  When you read it, you must understand it’s perspective.  Solomon finds no meaning in endless days of toil and work of man.  He feels that there is nothing really new under the sun.  (Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11)  We spend our time working and gathering and death takes us away.  In a few years or less, no one remembers us or what we have done!

Solomon tried to find meaning with the pursuit of pleasure and things that brought laughter.  He tried wine and folly but found meaninglessness!  He then tried great building projects to find satisfaction.  He built houses and planted vineyards and fruit orchards.  He built lakes and had many servants.  His herds and flocks were numerous and his treasury filled with silver and gold.  He hired singers and entertainers and even bought a harem of beautiful women to enjoy as he pleased.  He had no lack of anything his heart desired and he enjoyed his labor but as he thought about it, it too was meaningless!  (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)

Solomon noted that all his hard work would be left behind when he died and given to someone else who did not work for it.  This was a hard thing to grasp.  (Ecclesiastes 3:21-23)  His conclusion was that if  man would eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work each day, that was a gift of God.  Without God, we can’t find meaning or enjoyment!  (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)

“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Solomon concludes that God has made a time for everything under the sun.  These times are in His hands and man must accept that with gratitude.  Man has an inner knowledge of eternity.  Each knows that he is an eternal being who will be judged by God one day, but is darkened in his understanding because of sin so that he cannot understand the plans of God.

Take a moment to thank God for revealing eternity and the plans of His heart through Jesus Christ!  In Christ we now have eternity restored in God’s presence!  Praise the Lord!

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