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Archive for January, 2017

Verse 15: “[“]But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.””

This past Sunday, I heard a wonderful testimony from a young family in our church, regarding tithing. As most young families are, when they are starting out, they have had struggles to make ends meet. Add 2 children to the mix, and family needs become greater in priority. Through it all, they testified, they have remained faithful to tithe on their income; no matter the ups and downs, especially with them both feeling God’s leading for the wife/mother to stay at home with the children. It hasn’t been easy, but they cited God’s promised provision; they backed this up with Malachi 3:10. The husband shared how they’ve seen God work in opening heretofore unknown resources to bless them with the income they need to support their family; circumstances that one could clearly see the hand of God in, as they relayed instance after instance. God promised to protect and to provide for them, and He did, even doing it in EXACT ways that they had prayed about needing.

In the previous passage, God had promised the same for Paul: protection and provision to allow Paul to continue God’s work in Corinth. Not long after, here came the familiar mob of Jews, attempting to get Paul in trouble with the law. Verse 14 states that, even as Paul was about to open his mouth to give his defense, God used the proconsul, Gallio, to literally suck the fire out of their accusations; he figuratively told them, “Look, this is your world and your laws…handle it yourself. Now get out of my office!”

Paul didn’t have to do anything…God had him covered! So when God tells you, O Christian, that He has your back…why do you keep looking over your shoulder?

Something to think about.

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Verse 9: “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.””

Among the collection of movies made around the comical group of misfits known as “The Bowery Boys” was a 1946 movie called Mister Hex. In it, Slip Mahoney and his crew came to the rescue to raise some money for a girl who wanted to try for her big break in show business. They had a hypnotist mesmerize Slip’s sidekick, the tall lanky Sach, into thinking he was an invincible boxer; this way, they could enter him in a local boxing competition and win the prize money.

More than just hypnotized into incredible self-confidence, the cowardly Sach was transformed whenever hypnotized into a boxing juggernaut! Other fighters would wade into him, laying punches into him, and he stood there taking it without flinching! Then, all he would do is unleash one haymaker of a punch, and knock his opponents flat out! Of course, pandemonium ensued when crooks hired their own “hex man” to undo the hypnosis…

I remember this movie, because more than just believing in himself, Sach was untouchable while hypnotized…he couldn’t be beaten.

Paul had a much stronger force in his corner: the Lord God Almighty. Here Paul was, and God told him to go and speak the Word. He was not to be afraid. God was already at work, clearing obstacles and knocking out opponents to Paul’s ministry for Him. You’ll see in the next set of verses, that in this case, Paul didn’t even have to defend himself!

More to come!

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Verses 2-3: “And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.”

Today I heard a news article about a Hollywood star accepting an award and using the traditional “thank you” speech to “throw some shade” (to coin a current phrase) on a newly-elected politician. At first, I wasn’t too happy, because we had heard so much negative political news this last year, I really didn’t want to hear any more. But the Lord reminded me, that sometimes, there are people who use moments in their professions (like actors at award shows) to thank God for being with them in their lives. Both these moments, negative and positive, are part of the freedom of speech we enjoy in America. Sheepishly, I asked God’s forgiveness, for He was right, and I regretted my attitude at the time.

More than that, though, He got me to thinking regarding today’s passage. I felt God leading me to this set of verses, because it is here that we learn of Paul’s occupation…he was a tentmaker, he worked with leather. In my studies in my Bible and Holman concordance, I discovered that rabbinic teaching of the day urged religious teachers to learn a trade to help support themselves. Though Paul did depend on churches for support, he also always tried to support himself through his given trade when the opportunity presented itself. This he did here with Priscilla and Aquila, themselves tentmakers.

More than that, it points to a major principle I read about in the Holman New Testament Commentary on Acts, page 303: “there is no secular duty for a Christian; everything we take on, from changing diapers to governing a state, becomes a form of service to Christ (Col. 3: 23-25)”. This means in our daily lives, we are to serve Christ, no matter what we do. In our daily jobs, we serve Christ…we pursue excellence in our jobs to glorify Him. In our recreation and leisure time, we might be the only Jesus some people see, so we need to glorify Him in our walk and in our talk. Did Paul quit serving Christ just because he was making tents temporarily? Not at all. I think of the example of the athlete/commentator Tim Tebow; he has unashamedly stated he is a Christian, whether he is on a mission trip, praying for someone, scoring a touchdown in football, or trying out for minor league baseball. Being a Christian isn’t something we do just on Sundays. We do it every day, no matter our station in life, no matter what we do for a living. We serve Jesus whether we are a pastor or a teacher, an athlete or announcer, a homemaker or office professional…and yes, whether we are an actor or a politician (believe it or not, some of them are Christians too! And they should act like it!)

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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