Friday, March 19, 2010

Remembering the Promise

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church/ Please feel free to follow along.

If you have been reading through the book of Acts with me, and reading this blog, you have noticed I have pointed out the times I believe God has been protecting his people. We have even talked about the promise given to us in Matthew 28. That promise is if we continue to do the work of Christ, no matter what hardships come our way, God is going to be with us. Throughout Acts we have seen the church and the early church leaders come under attack, especially from the Jews. Through it all God has protected his people. Today’s reading (Acts 28) concludes the book of Acts, and with its conclusion, we are again reminded of the promise.

In the chapter before the ship Paul is being transported as a prisoner on is shipwrecked. They learn they have landed on the island of Malta. As Paul builds a fire, he awakens a viper, which clings to his hands. Paul then shakes the snake off and suffers no big consequences. Paul stays on the island, and is even protected and taken care of by some of the locals there. When winter draws to an end, they set sail on their voyage again. Finally they reach Rome, the capital of the Roman world.

Why has God protected his servants so many times? I believe it is because he wanted their message to spread. When Paul reaches Rome he is has a message to share first with the Jews there and then with the Gentiles. We learn in Philippians that under Paul’s house arrest that the whole Roman guard heard the message of the gospel. Why is that? Because he has his own personal guard assigned to him. In the book of Acts we see how God uses the adversity of his servant’s situations to further the gospel. Let’s review a few of those:

Stephens stoning: The disciples are spread out because of fear taking the message of the gospel to new areas.
The disagreement between Paul and Barnabas: Two new missionary teams are created sending the message even further
Paul in the Philippian jail: God uses it to convert the jailor and his entire family
Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem: Took the message of the gospel all the way to Rome and perhaps even to Caesar himself.

So what adversity is in your life? How can God use it to further his kingdom through you? Do you pray that God will use adversity to mature you and grow his kingdom? It is very interesting that our next chapter on Monday is James 1. It begins by talking about trials and temptations. I didn’t plan this, but I can God’s spirit working in my planning.
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