Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 June 2009 Acts 28:15‏

Acts 28:15     And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.
Oh Friends, it looks like another wet, windy day, but take heart, the Lord is in control and knows what He’s doing. From the moment I saw this quote today, I knew I had to share it with you, it’s so encouraging. It’s attributed to one Robert Nathan. ‘Give thanks for sorrow that teaches you pity; for pain that teaches you courage – and give exceeding thanks for the mystery which remains a mystery still – the veil that hides you from the infinite, which makes it possible for you to believe in what you cannot see.’ And that my Friends is called FAITH! However, the word for today is COURAGE. As the Devotional, One More Day, from which I got the quote says; ‘We cannot run away from our problems.’ But unfortunately many of us try to do just that. The old adage, you can run but not hide is totally true, for wherever you go, problems will seek you out and find you too. By the same token, ‘We can’t always be courageous, but fear is dispelled by our inner strength, by our trust that we will overcome problems and do as well as possible.’ This leads us back to faith, to strong belief in something and a willingness to stand up for it, which brings us to Bruh Paul and his staunch stand in Caesarea, where everyone warned him not to go up to Jerusalem. This prophet from Judea, Agabus, came down to them, ‘took Paul’s girdle, (belt) bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ (Acts21:11) After hearing this, his people pleaded with him even more strenuously not to go to Jerusalem. But Bruh Paul, being Bruh Paul, answered them: ‘What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.’ (Acts 21:13-14) Exactly mih people, the will of the Lord was for Him to go up there. But Bruh Paul was really something else though. He only knew one way to go; all out. Whether it was persecuting the early Church, or working tirelessly on its behalf afterwards, he did all with zeal and enthusiasm. He didn’t shy away from the problems he encountered, and turned out to be a real crusader for Christ. Oh, I know we can’t all be as zealous, brave and courageous like him, but I’m sure we can all do better than we’re currently doing, and we don’t have half the problems he had. So he went up to Jerusalem, gave his testimony, re converting unbelievers, was acclaimed, but was also accused ‘that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses; saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.’ (Acts 21:21) Now to orthodox Jews that’s a serious crime. But Bruh Paul was brave and bad, and so filled with the Holy Spirit that he wouldn’t back down from any confrontation. I daresay he even purposely stirred up some himself. Now according to the scholars, his principle of life among Jews was one of accommodation; meaning he became a Jew amongst them, once the principle of grace was not at stake. (1 Cor.9:19-22) That’s why he accepted the advice of his brethren to purify himself, so he could show that he wasn’t hostile towards the Law of Moses, or those who observed it. (Acts 21:23-25) So, after purifying himself for the required seven days, he went into the temple, and as expected, all hell broke loose. The Asian Jews stirred up the people, ‘and laid hands on him. Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.’ (Acts 21:27-28) That last charge was only supposition because they had seen him hanging out with an Ephesian called Trophimus and assumed that he had taken him into the temple. And we all know how a crowd behaves when it’s stirred up, especially about something they consider sacred and holy. The people ran into the temple and dragged Bruh Paul out, planning to kill him. But Friends, it wasn’t yet his time. The Roman soldiers heard about it and rescued him, for news of a lynch mob with a victim spreads like wildfire. I like how the writer of Acts puts it: ‘And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar…and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.’ (Acts 21:31-32) Trust Bruh Paul with his fiery nature to stir it up wherever he went. And I can just imagine him fighting back, for with such a feisty spirit, I refuse to believe he would just accept the abuse meekly, although, for Jesus, who knows what he would do. It was such a riotous situation that after the soldiers bound Bruh Paul, they couldn’t ascertain who he was or what he’d done for the mob to attack him. So they ordered that he be taken to the nearby castle in the fortress Antonia. But even then the mob wouldn’t let up, the soldiers had to carry him up the stairs. (Acts 21:33-35) Oh Friends, I guess that was just another ordinary day in Bruh Paul’s life, so committed was he in serving his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Sadly though, not many of us are even half as committed, and we don’t have to face any of the contentions or physical abuse he faced. But then too, the only way unbelievers will really come to Christ is if they see us totally committed, fighting for what we claim to believe, ready and willing, if needs be, to die for it. Oh my people, our world is currently in such turmoil that it’s only the peaceful, LOVING philosophy of Jesus can save it from self-destruction. And we are the ones entrusted with that awesome task. So let’s get to it seriously nuh. Every minute, hour or day we procrastinate, makes it that much harder and more doubtful that our progeny and our world will survive much longer. Tomorrow, God willing, we’ll continue with Bruh Paul’s eventful journey to Rome. Much LOVE!…we are the catalysts…the ones entrusted to calm the raging storm…

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