Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Verses 37-40: “Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I speak to you?” He replied, “Can you speak Greek? Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?” But Paul said, “I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city; and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people.” So when he had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,”

The Grand Councilwoman is directing her anger at Jumbaa, after the capture of Stitch (Experiment 626).
Grand Councilwoman: You! You’re the cause of all this! If it wasn’t for your Experiment 6-2-6, none of this-
Stitch: [interrupting] Stitch.
Grand Councilwoman: What?
Stitch: My name Stitch.
Grand Councilwoman: Stitch, then. If it wasn’t for Stitch- [realizes what just happened, turns back to Stitch]
Stitch: Does Stitch have to go in the ship?
Grand Councilwoman: [shocked, hesitant] …Yes.
Stitch: Can Stitch say goodbye?
Grand Councilwoman: Yes.
Stitch: Thank you. [walks over to Nani and Lilo]
Grand Councilwoman: [looks at Nani and Lilo] Who are you?
Stitch: This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little and broken, but still good. Yeah. Still good.

The preceding dialogue was from the Disney animated movie Lilo & Stitch. (This dialogue found at https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Lilo_%_Stitch).

Prior to this conversation, the Grand Councilwoman had only known Stitch as the monstrous, destructive Experiment 626. Now, here he was, calling himself by the name Lilo had given him, Stitch; he also was civilized, polite, and respectful. I still love the look on the Grand Councilwoman’s face when she realizes this creature is now vastly different from what she knew before.

I thought of this scene when reading this passage in Acts. Here is Paul, about to become yet another victim of the Jewish mob, and saved only by the Roman soldiers. Trying to get to the bottom of the disturbance and thinking him just another rabble-rouser, the commander was about to take him into the barracks, when Paul spoke to him. Paul’s use of the Greek language startles the commander; he begins thinking he is another rebel leader from recent times, an Egyptian, but Paul calmly corrects him, and even more, he begs to speak to the crowd. The commander gives his permission, and Paul is about to launch into an address to defend himself and to preach Jesus to the crowd.

How do people of this world act when they meet you, a Christian? Do you leave a positive impact? Do you surprise jaded individuals, who have drawn their own conclusions about Christianity through encounters with less-than-stellar representatives? Does your encounter with people leave them a mite bit bewildered? (You’re a Christian?) While each encounter we have with people, from common folk to authority figures, might not be as dramatic as that which Paul has here, we should leave no doubt as to the change Christ makes in our lives. That change should be as obvious as the change Stitch undergoes in the movie.

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verse 14: “So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.””

I was contacted once by an old friend about applying for a position that his group had open; the friend had told me that God had put my name into his prayers about applying. So, I prayed as well…at first, I heard “yes”, so I applied for the position with the group. The interview went pleasantly enough; however, a couple of weeks later, I was informed I didn’t get the position. During that interim, I began hearing “wait” in my prayers, instead of “yes”. When I contacted my old friend, I asked him quietly how did I do? He replied that everyone liked me and my experience, etc. He also added that, to a member, the interview team had voted “no” that I wasn’t the man for the position. I reassured my friend, “then, that’s God at work”. I was at peace, and wanted my friend to be as well. God is in control.

That last statement is what Paul’s friends had to finally understand; that God is in control. Sometimes it can be hard to see something fearful coming, especially for a friend or family member, but God can use that situation for good. It’s something that bears remembering in the world we live in today.

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verses 10-11: “And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'””

Larry Trask was the son of Bolivar Trask, the man who created the mutant-hunting robots known as Sentinels. His guardian, Judge Chalmers, had sought to shield the boy from the nightmarish legacy his father had created. However, in an Avengers storyline which culminated in issue #104, the mutant speedster Quicksilver compelled Larry’s help in trying to rescue his sister Wanda, the Scarlet Witch, from a band of Sentinels that had returned from orbit around the sun. As we find out in the storyline, Larry himself is a mutant, with the ability to see snatches of the future: and his visions showed the Avengers suffering defeat in combat with the Sentinels, the Sentinels launching a solar flare to wipe out the human race, and finally darkness, which Larry assumed to be the end of Earth.

During the final fight, it was revealed that the Sentinel leader, Number 2, had evolved into a mutant being himself. It was his plan to sterilize the human race with the solar flare, thus eventually wiping them out. As the other Sentinels attacked Number 2 (for their programming was to capture or to destroy mutants), it resulted in the mutual destruction of all the Sentinels. In falling like giant tenpins, one of them fell on Trask, thus killing him. Thus, Larry’s last vision was not of Earth’s destruction, but the blackness of his own death.

Agabus was delivering a vision shown to him by the Holy Spirit. Paul’s friends were anxious for his safety, for he still was determined to go to Jerusalem. This prophetic declaration must have alarmed the crowd even more. Yet, Paul was undeterred. He told them, “look, I’m not only ready to be bound, but to die for Jesus if necessary.” His friends were genuinely concerned for them, but they knew this was the Lord’s will.

How would you feel if you knew your future? How would you feel if you saw danger for yourself? Do you face a test today which challenges your safety or your future? If the test and mission is from God, have no fear for He is with you. If you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then you need not fear, though fear is a natural feeling…Jesus knows what the future holds…He’s been there…and He’s waiting to lead you through it!

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verses 4-5: “And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem. When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed.”

Our previous pastor had been at our church for about 17 years; he was much beloved and respected. Once, he thought he felt God’s call to take a pastor position at another church way out of town. He wasn’t sure, so he coveted our prayers and he put some “fleeces” before God to answer. We didn’t want him to go, but we didn’t want him acting contrary to God’s will either. He was a man of God who wouldn’t ignore God’s calling. I personally wrote him a letter to read on the trip up that I tried to encourage him through. I also humorously asked in the letter “what side of the road do you want the burning bushes on, to tell you to come back?” 🙂 As it turned out, that wasn’t the move God wanted him to make, and he stayed with us a while longer. God eventually did call him back near his childhood home in north Georgia, and this time, there was no denying God’s signs. He is there now, leading that church in following the Lord.

Paul knew where he had to go; his road lead to Jerusalem. His friends and fellow believers didn’t want him to go; they feared for his life. As already mentioned previously, Paul would not be dissuaded. He answered God’s call, knowing whether he lived or died, he would be serving the cause of Jesus. He was a man of God who wouldn’t ignore God’s calling.

How about you, fellow believer? Are you listening for God’s call in your life today…no matter where it may lead?

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verse 35: “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

The Lone Ranger.
Robin Hood.
Zorro.
The Lorax.

Now, at first glance, you might look at this list and think “one of these things is not like the other.” Not true. The first 3 literary heroes did defend the weak, the poor, and the defenseless. The Lorax did, too: remember what he always told the Once-ler? “I speak for the trees!” He was their vocal defender to a guy who was only determined to make a fast buck off the luxurious Truffula trees. The Lorax spoke for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. (Thank you, Dr. Seuss!)

In early church times, it was supposed to be the church that supported the weak. It was supposed to the be the church’s duty to care for those that society forgets. Nowadays, everyone would argue it should be some form of governmental department or independent charity that should do it. This is incorrect; the church should be the ones to do it. Large buildings to hold Sunday worship services are nice, but that’s not the church’s main priority. Besides spreading the Gospel, it was to help and to minister…and it still is the church’s mission to do that. Paul was reminding the church elders of this.

For those who grew up watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol, I always smiled knowingly when Scrooge tells Bob Cratchit “what’s this world coming to, Cratchit? You work all your life to get money! And people want you to give it away!” How much fun it is after the visits of the 3 spirits and Scrooge’s change to see the old miser happily stuffing the pockets of the charity seekers whom he chased out of his office before! Jesus said it best in the verse: “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.

Everyone has something to give.

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verses 29-31: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

“The concept behind Airwolf was a supersonic armed helicopter that could be disguised as a civilian vehicle — “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Andrew Probert designed the Airwolf uniform insignia patch worn by the flight crew members, a snarling bat-winged wolf’s head wearing a sheepskin.” This statement is taken from the Wikipedia page on the TV series Airwolf (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airwolf). On the TV show, the Airwolf super-copter looked like civilian aircraft, but it was nothing of the sort. Armed with offensive and defensive weaponry, incredible speed and maneuverability, Airwolf was more than a match for anything in the air. Part of its attack capability was the look of it; it didn’t look threatening (well, not with its weapons systems housed), thus it could blend in and attack with devastating effectiveness.

Paul spoke of equal ferocity of attack against the church, both within and without. He spoke of those who would attack the church like “savage wolves” trying to tear down what the Lord had built up through the apostle. He also spoke of men from within “will rise up, speaking perverse things”. You would have to be an isolated hermit not to see how pervasive perversion has infiltrated our media and communications nowadays in this century. You can’t even turn on any telecommunications device without being almost bombarded by it.

The apostle gave two commands: watch and remember. The church’s work on earth is not done; I’d almost scarce say it’s only begun, and time grows short.

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verse 24: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

In the summer of 1980, a young man went abroad to Europe and to England as part of a 100 piece student ambassador orchestra. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and he thoroughly enjoyed the 3 week trip. However, the route home had some bumps in it; you see, that was about the time that the air traffic controllers union in the United States went on strike. This impacted air travel all across America, and for connecting flights coming to America. The student orchestra’s plane was delayed 8 hours returning from Europe. While in the skies over the Atlantic, he heard rumors of what flights were still on, and which ones were cancelled. He was nervous, because this trip had been his first time flying ever! Arriving back in New York, he and his travelling companions found their return flight to Atlanta cancelled, but made it on standby at a rival carrier. All the while, the young man prayed that they could make it back to the South, because he knew his parents could come get him, if he was stuck in Atlanta. To add to this drama, he literally had to race across Atlanta airport; he arrived within 5 minutes of his connecting flight being on-time to leave to Birmingham! Never was anyone so glad to finish this race to get home as this young man.

Well, that’s the best earthly analogy I can think of when reading Paul’s words here. The apostle is talking to the Ephesian church elders, possibly for last time, and is giving them instruction and teaching. Though the Holy Spirit has told Paul in stop after stop along his missionary journey that he will suffer earthly conflict and inflictions, Paul still strives in his mission to the Lord. He wants to be a good finisher in God’s eyes, striving to minister in Jesus’s name, even up to the point of death. Now, that’s commitment!

Fellow Christian, strive to finish strong today in your race for God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »