Tag: word from God
Scripture reading for July 4th: Acts 22:17-23:10
The next day, Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin. Their attitudes had not been changed. When Paul told them that he had fulfilled his duty to God with a good conscience, the High Priest order Paul struck in the mouth! This body of elders were so prejudiced against Paul that they would not let him explain. In their religious judgment, he was speaking blasphemy and deserved death!
“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.”” (Acts 23:6-7) Paul knew these rulers and how they thought. He knew how to bring about a division over religious issues. The Pharisees had a strong belief in the supernatural and resurrection and the Sadducees were skeptical about anything they could not understand, especially the resurrection.
The dispute and arguments between Pharisee and Sadducee became so violent that the commander was again afraid for Paul. He ordered Paul taken back to the barracks. “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:11) God again stood by His servant and strengthened him with a word of knowledge that would help Paul endure imprisonment and persecution.
The divide between those who believe in the supernatural and those who are skeptical is still in the church today! Many who claim to believe in Jesus Christ and His resurrection argue vehemently that the miracles of Jesus ceased with the early church and apostles. Those who do believe are looked on as crazy or fanatical. Sometimes there is even heated arguments and division of entire churches! But God is not shaken by this and doesn’t want His servants to lose their courage to declare truth and be used in the supernatural! He comes supernaturally to strengthen and encourage! Take time today and thank Him that He is the God of resurrection and miracles! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
Scripture reading for July 10th: Acts 27:25-44
Caught in an unrelenting winter storm, the centurion and his prisoners heard from Paul that the ship would be lost but all lives would be safe. The storm went on for fourteen nights and about midnight the sailors felt that they were approaching land. Some of the sailors attempted to escape from the ship by the lifeboat, but Paul warned the centurion that unless all the men stayed with the ship they would not be saved. (Acts 27:31-32) They were encouraged by Paul to take some food and promised that a hair on the head would not perish! They all ate and then threw the rest of the grain overboard to lighten the ship as much as possible for running aground.
God’s favor was on the group. The soldiers had planned on killing all the prisoners to prevent any of them from escaping but the centurion wanted to spare Paul so he stopped them. Everyone of the 276 people on board made it to shore safely but the ship was broken up by the pounding surf! (Acts 27:37, 42-44)
In looking at this shipwreck, it is amazing to see how the hand of God guided Paul. Although he was a prisoner, he ended up commanding the ship, crew, and centurion and advising them what to do. God gave him favor with the centurion and elevated his advice in the eyes of those present to accomplish the will of God. (Psalm 5:11-12) All Paul had to do was obey and keep calm in the midst of the storm. He knew the final outcome would be safety for them all and that his mission of preaching in Rome would be accomplished. It wasn’t by his own power or ability, but by the power of God!
A godly man or woman in a crisis can lead from any position of authority through humility and obedience to the Lord. Paul’s calmness encouraged everyone. This shipwreck was being used to draw the sailors and prisoners to think about their own lives and their dependency on God. Paul had a great opportunity to witness to 275 people on board in a captive audience! God’s ways are amazing and His use of time and circumstances defies our reason! We can only follow the Spirit in amazement!