June 14/Acts 28

Verse 1 > This verse starts out, “Once we were safe…” God knows how to deliver his people.

2 Peter 2:9 (NLT) — 9 So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials,…

Because God had people on the ship, Paul and his friends, everybody ended up surviving the storm. I truly believe that, barring foolishness on our part, we are immortal right up to the day God has chosen to take us home. We don’t know when that day will be but we don’t have to live in fear of that day because God has it all planned out. The fear of dying certainly doesn’t have to be the fear of a Christian. In our lives we will all go through storms, troubling times, hurtful times, painful times, but we are always safe in the hands of our Lord. Because of this we can live boldly for the Lord. See verses 3 -5 as an example of what I just said.

Isaiah 43:1–4 (NLT) — 1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.

Psalm 139:16 (NLT) — 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Job 14:5 (NLT) — 5 You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.

Psalm 33:11 (NLT) — 11 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.

Verse 2 > 276 unexpected guests and yet these people showed kindness. I guess we could all take a lesson from the people of Malta in this respect. We Christians have the Holy Spirit who produces kindness with in us. Kindness is an identifying mark of a Christian. In fact we are to be producers of kindness. How is the production going? Have your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers experienced your kindness? Could you be kinder? Is this something you need to work on?

Galatians 5:22 (NLT) — 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Verse 3 > The greatest Christians are the humblest Christians. Here we have the Apostle Paul gathering sticks for the fire. Here is the man who heard from God, prayed and gave thanks to God, and provided the words of encouragement and guidance so that no body lost their lives. He probably could have told others to get the sticks for the fire and they would have hurried to do it, but he didn’t. Paul saw what needed to be done and he did it. He was modeling Jesus before these people. Is there anything that you see needs to be done at Hilltop. Would you be willing to model Jesus? God has called us to be servants, not spectators or consumers!

Philippians 2:1–13 (NLT) — 1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Verse 5 > When life puts the bite on you, instead of moaning and complaining shake it off and move on living for the Lord.

Verses 7-10 > Sometimes the Lord will use a storm in our life to move us to a place where he can use us to help others. Without the storm Paul doesn’t get to Malta and the people don’t receive healing. Luke doesn’t record that Paul preached the gospel here but knowing Paul he sure did. If Joseph, in the Old Testament doesn’t go through the storm of his brothers selling him, he doesn’t get to Egypt. God used him in Egypt to save Egypt during the famine and also many other people including his own family who would later become the nation of Israel. As you go through life be on the look out for how God wants to use you in help and salvation on others. What looks bad now will end up for good for all who trust the Lord.

Psalm 105:16–24 (NLT) — 16 He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply. 17 Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them— Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. 19 Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. 20 Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door. 21 Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household; he became ruler over all the king’s possessions. 22 He could instruct the king’s aides as he pleased and teach the king’s advisers. 23 Then Israel arrived in Egypt; Jacob lived as a foreigner in the land of Ham. 24 And the Lord multiplied the people of Israel until they became too mighty for their enemies.

The storm of persecution caused the believers to leave Jerusalem and take the message of Jesus to other parts of the world so we could hear and be saved even today!

Acts 8:1 (NLT) — 1 Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.

In 1986 I applied for many jobs in Fergus Falls, I got a second interview with the Post Office and UPS. I didn’t get any of the jobs and was feeling a bit down and then a few months later I was asked to pastor what is now Hilltop Celebration Church. The storm of rejection moved me to where God wanted me.

Be Inspired Hilltop!

 

 

Comments

  1. Mark Gundersen says:

    Paul’s purpose to get to Rome us fulfilled in this chapter despite Satan trying to stop him in the form of a serpent. Also the illness present on Malta became the opening for salvation and healing. When Paul gets to Italy he meets with the Jews that were living there and presents the gospel with mixed results. Some were prepared by the Spirit to accept while others listened without hearing and we’re not open to being healed. Acts ends with Paul loving under guard on his own house presenting the gospel. As we will learn in the epistles, Rome will not stay as tolerant to the message as time goes on. Our challenge is to be like Paul and be ready to present the gospel when the opportunity presents itself.