Romans 3:23, 5:8, 10:9-13

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Matthew 28:18-20

I saw a billboard recently that said, “Confidence is in you.  Pass it on.”  I like that, and would like to say in addition to those it applies to:  “Jesus is in you.  Pass Him on.”

Matthew 7:14, 24:42

Have you ever seen a Hidden Entrance sign?  My family and I saw one last week while traveling on a hilly narrow gravel road to my father-in-law’s final resting place.  The purpose of a Hidden Entrance sign is to alert the driver to watch for a hidden driveway that can’t be seen.

Likewise, while on the narrow righteous road, we Christians can’t see what’s ahead, but we should be watching for Jesus who will come someday.  He knows where the heavenly hidden entrance is.  “Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it.”

Hebrews 13:5

One day earlier this month, we were experiencing a morning thunderstorm.  I checked my phone and the weather app showed “partly cloudy” with an icon of a white cloud accompanied by the sun peeking from behind it.  At first I laughed at the contrast of what the phone said the weather was like and the actual intensity of the weather outside our windows.  Then, I thought that the weather app wasn’t really wrong.  True, we could just see 100% cloud cover, heavy rain, lightning flashes and hear thunder, but behind all of that, we knew the sun was there.  So it is with God.  We can know that in our storms, God is there.

2 Corinthians 4:17, 5:1-10, John 14:2, Revelation 21:1-4

It’s commonplace for business employees to say to customers, “Have a good day.”  I feel confident that in Heaven, nobody will say, “Have a good day” because to say it implies that it’s possible someone could have a bad day.  In Heaven, everyday will be a good day with what sounds like personalized mansions and no crying, pain or death.  But until we Christians can get to Heaven, “Have a good day!”

James 1:2, Romans 12:12, 2 Timothy 4:5

Paul’s righteous behavior is an example for everyone, though easier for Christians to grasp.  He experienced a lot of hardship, but what made him stand out was his response.  If others were exposed to the degree of hardship he faced, many would have buckled by grumbling and giving up.

What was Paul’s response to hardship?  In Romans 12:12, he wrote, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Acts 22:3, 23:12-35, Acts 24

Many people have heard of Paul and how he suffered while spreading the Gospel.  His Christian mission is spelled out in the letters he wrote in the Bible.  He became a famous traveling missionary because of Jesus.

What do we know about Paul’s personal life?  In Acts 22:3, he said he was “born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city.”  He was raised in Jerusalem and had a sister (Acts 23:16).  His sister had a son, giving Paul a nephew.

I believe the Lord sent Paul’s nephew to help him.  Paul’s nephew was in the right place at the right time to hear the bad plot that over 40 enemies made an oath to not drink or eat “until they had killed Paul.”  Paul’s nephew was able to tell him what he heard, which led to Paul’s rescue.  The nephew’s actions showed he loved Uncle Paul.

I wonder what happened to the 40+ men that didn’t love Paul, the men that made the oath not to drink or eat until they murdered Paul.  I lost track of the time that passed after they made that oath, but it would have been at least two years and eight days.  My husband and I think they gave up.

 

Acts 16:25-26, 20:7-12

Do you sometimes stay up until midnight?  Paul did on more than one occasion.

In Acts 16:25-26, Paul and Silas were in prison and were singing and praying around midnight.  Then, God provided a miracle.  He made an earthquake that forced the doors of the prison to open.  Everyone’s chains “came loose.”

In Acts 20:7-12, since Paul couldn’t stay long in Troas, and planned to leave in the morning, he preached “until midnight.” One man, Eutychus, got really sleepy, fell asleep and then fell to his death out of a window.  With God’s power, Paul brought him back to life and went on preaching.

Many lessons can be learned from Paul’s life.  One lesson is that miracles can happen at midnight.  If we seek a miracle, let’s not rule out midnight.

Acts 18:18

Before school started last week, I wanted my son, Ethan, to get a haircut.  After waiting awhile for a hairstylist, one was finally ready and now that’s done.

In Acts 18:18, it sounds like Paul got a haircut ahead of sailing to Syria.  The haircut was done because of a vow.

The NIV Study Bible says, “Grammatically this could refer to Aquila, but the emphasis on Paul and his activity makes Paul more probable.  It was probably a temporary Nazirite vow (see Nu 6:1-21).  Different vows were frequently taken to express thanks for deliverance from grave dangers.  Shaving the head marked the end of a vow.”

James 1:2-8, Acts 16:22-34, 1 Thessalonians 5:18

During suppertime, my family and I listen to an audio book.  We just got through listening to The Long Winter.  The Ingalls family endured blizzard after blizzard.  After one of the blizzards, it had snowed so much, that when Laura looked out her upstairs bedroom window, snow had reached that level and she could see horses walking by on the new very snowy road.  During some blizzards, Pa would play his fiddle as the family sang.

In January of 2014, Cedar Rapids, Iowa was enduring winter.  One day that month, there was a big, chilly wind gust.  After that blast of frigid air, I heard a chickadee singing.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were beat up, put in prison and the stocks.  While in prison, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns at around midnight.  Their joy in the midst of trial must have pleased God, because he provided an earthquake that made “the prison doors…open, and everybody’s chains came loose.”

Are you going through a storm in your life?  If so, it’s time to start singing.

 

Acts 14:19-20, 28:3, 2 Corinthians 11:16-28

If you or someone you know is having a bad day, it’s time to think about Paul.  Focusing on Paul’s life gives new perspective on having a “bad” day.  Thinking about Paul and what he went through helps me and my family cope with life’s punches.

Paul suffered much.  He was hit with stones and thought to be dead.  He was wrongfully in prison, severely flogged, whipped, beaten, shipwrecked three times, bitten by a viper, etc.

If we think we’re having a bad day, we should imagine ourselves telling Paul about it, thinking about what he would say.  Then, it’s likely our “bad” day wouldn’t seem so bad after all.

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