Wednesday 3 June, 2020

Acts 23:12-22

12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.” 16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander. The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?” 20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.” 22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

In this passage we see God’s sovereignty at work. In verse 11 of the previous passage God encourages Paul and tells him that he will testify about God in Rome. God uses the attack on Paul, and the Roman intervention to safely transport Paul from Jerusalem to Rome. Historically, Rome was the brutal enemy oppressing the Jewish people, and yet, in this twist, it is a Roman officer that saves Paul. Roman soldiers crucified Jesus, and now Roman soldiers defend Paul on his way to Rome to preach about Jesus. How amazing that Paul’s nephew should be in the right place at the right time to hear of this conspiracy against Paul: in this we see God using a nephew as part of His plan to protect Paul. As Paul prioritised God’s kingdom and His righteousness God took care of Paul.

I am encouraged that God is sovereign, He is in complete control, and He uses whatever means He chooses to bring about His will. God is unpredictable, I don’t know how He is going to work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, but I know that He will do it.

Lord, please help me to trust you and to rest in your sovereignty. Help me to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness today. Thank you for working all things together for my good. Amen.   

Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh


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Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Acts 22:30-23:11

30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them. 23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” 4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!” 5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’[a]” 6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.) 9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks. 11 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.”

Paul had been planning to visit Jerusalem and then go to Rome on his way to Spain (Romans 15:24).

But the Holy Spirit had warned him that if he went back to Jerusalem, he would end up a prisoner (Acts 20:23). And he sent Agabus the prophet to give him the same warning (Acts 21:11). From Ephesus to Caesarea, the churches and his companions had all begged him not to go to Jerusalem. And now Paul is fighting for his life. This is the second time the soldiers have had to rescue Paul to save him from being torn to pieces.

Now Jesus appears to him and tells him two things. The first is to be encouraged. That he needed to say this gives a hint of how discouraged Paul must have been. If I were him, I would have been depressed and seriously thinking I had got things all wrong. The second is that though Paul’s plans are in disarray, Jesus’ plans are not. Paul would preach in Rome in a totally different way than he had expected. He would end up preaching to Caesar, the most powerful man in the world. And on the way, he would preach to a king and two governors.

Jesus had already warned his disciples that this kind of thing would happen. “But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.” (Matthew 10:18)

Jesus is the one who turns things around. He turns catastrophes around and makes them opportunities. Jesus turns the catastrophe of my life around and makes me his child. He’s turning this out-of-control world around and redeeming and renewing it. To see it, I need to take my eyes off the chaos around me and look to him. I need to listen to him instead of the noise around me.

Today, Jesus, please open my eyes to see the opportunity for you to be heard amongst what sounds like accusation. Show me the things that you’re doing in the middle of what looks like calamity. And show me my part in the transformation you are bringing to my world.

Written by David Cornell

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Monday 1 June, 2020

Acts 21:37-22:29

37 As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?” “Do you speak Greek?” he replied. 38 “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?” 39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.” 40 After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic[a]: 22 1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” 2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ 8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. 10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me. 12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him. 14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’ 17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ” 22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” 23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.” 27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I am,” he answered. 28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied. 29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Paul’s testimony is so powerful.  A clear witness to Christ, His love, His power and the radical change that comes as a result of faith in Jesus.

The sting in the tail of this portion of Scripture is in Acts 22: 22.  The Jews wanted God to themselves – the thought that Paul, a good Jew, trained by the best, a Pharisee no less, would pollute himself with Gentiles is completely abhorrent for them.  Their national pride is insulted.

God has been for all humankind since His creation of the world – no one race of people, no one class of people, no single group or groups – He is for all.  The Israelites were chosen by God, they did not choose Him.  God called them to witness to Him.  Yet by this period of human history we see the Jews thought they were the exclusive ones of God.  Paul, for all his knowledge, cultural upbringing and learning was more committed to Christ than his heritage.  The result is he is rejected – because he was not prepared to be simply nationalistic!

Father help us to stay true to You and Your Gospel which is good news for all.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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  1. Paul says:

    Great insight Ps Richard.
    We all have hertiage that can release us to future opportunities and / or bind us to the past .
    Hang in there church

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Sunday 31 May, 2020

Acts 21:27-36

27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28 shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” 29 (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.) 30 The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31 While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. 35 When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. 36 The crowd that followed kept shouting, “Get rid of him!”

Once entering Jerusalem Paul tries not to draw attention to himself, he tries to keep things low key and fit in with current Jewish custom. To no avail though as he is recognised by some Jews and called out for “preaching against our people and telling them to disobey Jewish laws.”   Paul was beaten, a riot broke out and if it weren’t for the Roman commander arresting Paul he probably would have been killed.  There was so much commotion that the arresting officer couldn’t even determine what Paul had done.  All he could hear were the shouts “Kill him, Kill him!” Agabus’ prophecy of the manner in which Paul would be bound and handed over to the Gentiles earlier in this same chapter was fulfilled.

What happened to Paul did not surprise him, other believers tried to talk him out of going to Jerusalem but he persisted because God called him there. Paul’s obedience is striking.  He was also called out for challenging the status quo by preaching faith in Christ instead of obeying Jewish law as the way to be made right with God.  What Paul proclaimed – the Gospel, was counter cultural at the time and not everyone received it well.  Believers today face the same thing in that the message of salvation through Jesus is still not readily received by some.  It rubs them up the wrong way and they take offence. Nonetheless the apostle Paul stood firm and continued to declare what he knew to be true regardless of the consequences.  I am confronted and challenged by this.  God give me bravery to share my faith even if it is not always popular and help me to be obedient like Paul.

Dear Lord, although I will probably never face the ongoing opposition Paul did, please give me courage to share my faith even if it is not always welcomed and help me to be obedient. Amen

Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods

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Saturday 30 May, 2020

Acts 21:17-26

17 When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” 26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

As Paul returns to Jerusalem from his ministry travels he reports to the Christian brothers and gives them an account of what had happened in the time that they had been away. Luke says that Paul reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles. “What God had done.” These words hit hard to remind us that whenever we are working at something for God it is Him who is doing the work. Not us.

Certainly, in ministry there are many tasks to perform. We need to make plans, prepare materials, and organise people but always in the leading of God. We need to be following His lead and working with Him where He is working.

I wonder if this is always the way I see things or do I run ahead of God, coming up with good ideas and a tight timeline for when these must be achieved?

Dear God, please help me to slow down in my ministry and lean into you, asking where you are leading next, how to go about the next step and to hand over the reins to you. All of this Lord so that your name may be praised, and the glory given to you. Amen

Written by Jocelyn Petschack

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  1. Sue says:

    Yes a great question to ask each day –
    What has God done in me today?
    What has God done through me today?
    Who has God brought to me today?
    Thank you

    Reply

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Friday 29 May, 2020

Acts 21:7-16

7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. 10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” 15 After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.

When I know a task is coming up I prepare. I plan my time, I learn what I need to know, I have my mind and body ready.

From the early warning in verse 4, to the vivid prophesy in verse 13, the Lord was preparing Paul and the disciples. Will they finish the race and testify to God’s grace, or try to hide Paul and themselves away, and retain the status quo?

Clearly this wasn’t easy for Paul, as we see his emotional reaction in verse 13. He wanted people beside him ready to stick to the task of sharing the good news. There are echoes of Jesus’ struggle here facing his fate with sleeping disciples for support.

What a powerful work the Holy Spirit is doing in his and the lives of those around him. From being compelled by the Spirit (20v22) to now being prepared by the Holy Spirit, it is just as Jesus prayed in John 16 v13 – the Spirit of Truth will guide us into all truth and he will only speak what he hears and will tell us what is yet to come. They did not have to run the race alone, unprepared, they had a Guide who would show them what glorifying Jesus really meant.

It is clear to me the Holy Spirit has prepared me for things in my life. Dissuaders have whispered into my heart or to be honest I have done my level best to veer off course at times. However, as I serve him, follow him and walk in his will for me (John 12 v 26), I am never alone, never unprepared. The Guide, the Holy Spirit goes beside me.

Dear Heavenly Father, you promise you will honour those who serve you. Rather than clinging to the safe, to the status quo, help me to walk in your will for me today as Paul did as he walked into Jerusalem. As you used him, use me today. Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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Thursday 28 May, 2020

Acts 21:1-6

21 After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.

What stands out to me when reading this passage is the very first verse, which says “After we had torn ourselves away from them…”. This is referring to Paul and his companions ‘tearing’ themselves away from the leaders and elders in Ephesus as they head towards Jerusalem. I am drawn to this imagery as it causes me to think about why they had to tear themselves away? Why did they not want Paul to leave so desperately?

Paul‘s departure was so difficult for the leaders, because he had spent time investing into their lives and showing love to them. Paul exemplified what makes a good leader and disciple maker. He formed relationship with the leaders and they honoured and respected him greatly (e.g. Acts 20:37). Paul’s leadership challenges me to think about my leadership, both in church but also in my work, family, friends and everyday life. How am I leading people to Jesus, such that I’m making a significant difference in people’s lives?

Lord God, I thank You for appointing us to share your gospel. When You call, You equip, so I thank You for equipping me to point people to Jesus. Please help me today to lead with love and investment in those around me. In Jesus’ Name.   

Written by Ps. Laura Samperi


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Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Acts 20:25-38

25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. 32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” 36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

Paul understood he had no time to waste. We have spent the last 2 years focusing at church on making disciples – and here is a perfect summary of just what that means. Clearly Paul has spoken the truth boldly, led by example and loved these people.

The question is, who am I doing these things with in my life? Am I speaking, living and loving like there may be no tomorrow? We cannot afford to put off our faith until later. Now is my moment. Just as Paul is speaking about the end of one season with his audience, so too are we living in ‘uncertain times’. That does not mean we should be afraid and anxious.  Instead I need to be bold, loving with those in my world, just as Christ loves me every single day. 

Jesus, thank you for all that you have done and are doing still because of your great love for me. Show me where I can be bold today. Help me Lord to love fearlessly. My I be a blessing to your kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus! Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Acts 20:17-24

17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

In this passage, Paul is on his way to Jerusalem, where the Holy Spirit has told him many times that jail and suffering lie ahead for him. If Paul had decided that this journey was going to take a long time, then I don’t think anyone would have argued with him. But is seems here that at this particular stop that he has had to defend his ministry.

And his defence is simple. That he has always spoken the truth to everyone, and that his message is the same regardless of whether they were Jews or gentiles.

All of us need to have someone like Paul in our lives. Someone who will not shrink back from telling us the truth. That might not necessarily be what we want to hear, but we always need to hear the truth, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

I am thankful for all the people who have spoken the truth to me, whether it was what I wanted to hear or not. But the truth is what I always need to hear. The truth has encouraged me when I’m down. The truth has redirected me, re-aligned me, and always encouraged me.

Speaking the truth with love, no matter what, is more important than how the message is received. Speak the truth, and let the Holy Spirit look after the one receiving it.

From the Message: Every truth and encouragement that could have made a difference to you, you got.

Father I thank you for all those who spoke the truth to me. Bless them and encourage them as I have been blessed and encouraged. Help me to faithfully speak the truth always.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Monday 25 May, 2020

Acts 20:13-16

13 We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.

On first reading, this passage sounds like part of Great Aunt Hepzibah’s travel diary with a few unnecessary details. But thinking and praying about it have helped me get more out of it.

The first thing that strikes me is how real this is. Someone inventing this wouldn’t bother to include details such as Paul walking to Assos while his companions went by ship. The ‘we’ language shows that Luke (the author of Acts) was there with Paul and is giving an eyewitness account. All of this really happened! It is not just a story.

The second thing is Paul’s eagerness to get to Jerusalem – so much so that he avoided going into Ephesus, where he had many friends. Paul was going to see the elders in Jerusalem to report all that had happened on his missionary trips in Asia Minor and Greece. He was warned that hardship would await him there, but he hurried on, so he could get there before Pentecost. Why was he so eager?

Paul’s missionary trips had helped spread the gospel, and he was eager to return to Jerusalem and share the joyful news of all that had happened. Before Jesus, Pentecost, known as the Feast of Weeks, celebrated the firstfruits of the wheat harvest. Now Paul was coming with joy to celebrate the harvest of souls instead. I’m sure he rejoiced at the changed significance of this feast, and in all that God had done.

I am reminded that there is so much joy in being used by God and fulfilling what he has asked me to do, even in the mundane things like Paul’s travel.  And there is so much joy in sharing that with my brothers and sisters in Christ. It has reminded me to open myself to Jesus and ask him to use me, and then rejoice in what he has done with my faith community.

Lord Jesus, I give myself afresh to you today. Help me to be eager like Paul – eager to do your work, and eager to share the joy of that with my church family.

Written by Megan Cornell

2 replies
  1. Justin says:

    I am so thankful that the specific island and coastal destinations that Paul, Luke and others travelled is recorded here. At the time that Luke recorded this, these would have been small towns and regional centres serving travellers as they made their way along the Mediterranean coast. A melting pot of belief and value systems existed under the Roman rule that allowed diversity, as long as all people were still happy to (verbally at least) acknowledge that “Caesar is Lord”

    200 years later, this area was a majority Christian area, and 250 years later the formal religion of the Roman empire was Christianity!

    It astounds me that in the ancient world, where people tended to follow the religious and cultural traditions of their ancestors, stretching back scores of generations, that the impact of the Gospel could be so rapid and so universal.

    Thank You Lord that the power of Your Holy Spirit continues to be at work today. In our culture and society, help us to be effective like Paul, in the way that we share the Good News about Jesus.

  2. Sue says:

    Wonderful insight Megan
    It is delightful to me that the Bible is written as letters to friends…there is a lovely “casualness” about the journeys.

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