July 24 – (Acts 26: 24-32) Doesn’t it just amaze you how Paul is able to continue to speak the salvation message to anyone he comes in contact with? In verses 28-29, Paul was urging Agrippa to respond to the gospel, but he puts Paul off. Paul then responded to Agrippa using Agrippa’s own words: short or long. Paul definitely was a wordsmith!
July 25 – (Acts 27:1-12) Here is some information that helped me understand these verses better: The “we” (v. 1) indicates Luke’s presence with Paul all the way to Rome. The ship of Adramyttium was probably a small coasting vessel. “Under the lee” (v. 4) means sailing under shelter; they were protected from strong winds by sailing close to the island. Cilicia, Pamphylia, and Lycia were districts along the southern coast of what today is Turkey. Myra was directly north of Alexandria.
As Paul and all who are on this journey travel through this storm, there are some important lessons here. Verse 11 says that the centurion listened to the helmsman and owner of the ship more than to Paul (who had been praying for wisdom). Especially in the midst of a storm, the Holy Spirit needs to be the loudest voice you hear. No educated or experienced human can give you better direction and wisdom than God.
July 26 – (Acts 27:13-26) In these verses, I see another important thing to think about (okay, it’s all important). Paul must have been praying specifically for the lives of those on board. In verses 9-10, Paul is saying that not only the ship but lives would be destroyed. Now in verses 22-24, only “things” would be destroyed. Paul knew all along what would happen and spoke to the authorities but they would not listen. When things got worse, he began to pray for their safety despite their wrong decision. How are we doing in our daily “praying for those who offend us or their decisions put us in harm’s way? Selah
July 27 – (Acts 27:27-38) It’s interesting to note that Paul spoke to the centurion of the plan for the sailors to escape. This would have left the boat without men to guide it, keeping it from shipwreck. Paul says “Unless these men stay in the ship, YOU cannot be saved.” Very interesting. Do you ever want to “jump ship”? God has the plans…for our good. He wants us to stay the course and do what He has called us to do for our wellbeing AND for others!
July 28 – (Acts 27:39-44) Okay, back to the centurion. Now he wants to save Paul. His efforts to keep Paul safe results in all getting safely to shore. I can just imagine what this whole interaction has done to the centurion’s thinking on Jesus (not to mention all the others on the boat). God thought it up. Paul listened and obeyed what he was to say and do. The result is this “captive audience” could not help but have to consider Jesus of Nazareth!
July 29 – (Acts 28:1-10) God brought them to an island called Malta where the natives were unusually kind! They built them a fire in the rain! Because a viper latched onto Paul, they thought a god was bringing justice to a murderer. Because the viper was thrown in the fire and Paul was not affected by the deadly snake, they then thought Paul was a god. These Maltans seemed to be kind, good people but from this passage I see they worshiped circumstances. They watched what would happen and decided from the circumstance whether the person was good or evil. Do we do that in any of our dealings today? When a person loses his job, do we think there is unconfessed sin in their lives? If someone gets really sick and prayer has gone up for healing, do we think there is still sin in their lives when they don’t get well? Maybe we don’t go that far. Let’s take it down another level. When things are “going our way” we think God is blessing us but when there is a glitch we think we have done something wrong or am being punish. Idol worship has so many facets. Planning our course by circumstances may be one of them. Selah
July 30 – (Acts 28:11-16) Paul’s party was met by Roman Christians at two points while traveling by land to Rome – the Forum of Applius, some 40 miles from Rome, and 12 miles farther on at Three Taverns. Paul had written his letter to the Roman church three years earlier. Though he had not personally visited Rome, his greetings at the end of Romans show that he already knew many people there. The fact that Paul was allowed to stay by himself in a house with only one guard, points to his high status as a prisoner. Can you imagine being that guard? What do you think he witnessed? Being around someone moment by moment gives us many observations to think about. Okay…here’s the question. What is my witness to those around me? Selah