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)
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 but 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 for two years from his own rented house the Gospel of the Kingdom! 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!
Scripture reading for November 17th: Acts 27-28
Do you really believe that God can cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him? (Romans 8:28) Today, we read about events in Paul’s journey to Rome for trial before Caesar. These events were dangerous, exciting, and could have been fatal. But God worked them for good and His purposes stood through all the trouble! Be encouraged today as you read!
The trip from Caesarea to Rome was nearly 2000 miles by ship. It was decided that Paul would travel by a Roman navy ship in the fall season when travel in that direction was more difficult. As they made their way north, the centurion in charge of the prisoners, Julius, gave special favor to Paul by allowing his friends to minister to his needs. (Acts 27:1-3) As travel became more difficult, Paul warned the centurion and crew of impending danger and possible loss of life. They ignored Paul’s advice and sailed on. A great storm hit the ship and tossed it around for days. The crew threw the cargo overboard and after more days of battering, all gave up hope of being saved. (Acts 27:20)
Paul, again directed with a word from the Lord, encouraged the crew and passengers. He told them that an angel of God had given him a word, “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” The ship would be destroyed but God would spare the passengers and crew! God is so merciful and His purposes will stand, no matter what trouble befalls us! All 276 men on board made it safely to shore when they followed Paul’s advice! (Acts 27:42-44)
As if the shipwreck and storm were not enough of a trial, Paul was warming himself over a fire on the beach after swimming ashore. Suddenly, a viper jumped from the fire and fastened itself on Paul’s hand. (Acts 28:1-6) Paul quickly shook the snake off into the fire and no swelling or death occurred. This opened the islanders to Paul’s message and he began to minister to those present with miracles of healing! God placed him on this island of Malta for three months to minister the Gospel to those there!
When you are committed to God, life takes on a new quality of supernatural direction and hope. God truly does work all things for His will! We can go through shipwrecks, storms, and even snake-attacks and trust that all works out for our good and His glory! What an exciting supernatural life! Are you ready for today’s episode in your life?