DATE POSTED Tuesday, 2022-03-15
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
SCRIPTURE FROM: Acts 28:3-6
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)
BIBLE TEXT: 3 As Paul gathered an armful of sticks to lay on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, fastened itself onto his hand! 4 The people of the island saw it hanging there and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live!”
5 But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. 6 The people waited for him to begin swelling or suddenly fall dead; but when they had waited a long time and no harm came to him, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.
APPLICATION: Being in Malta at the time of this incident, you could only imagine the awe of the people as they observed Paul. For they knew about these snakes and how venomous they were. They had watched their families and loved ones succumb to their poison. Now, right in front of their very eyes, they were about to see how Paul would handle the power, the danger, and the pain of the snake’s venom.
But let’s stop for a moment and consider how we tend to do when difficulties, or unexpected news come to us. The doctor may approach us with the diagnose “It’s inoperable.” Friends, no matter how you name it and claim it, this may be the Lord’s plan for you to navigate that pain and ‘venom’ in such a way that the barbarians around you, who are also losing their loved ones to cancer, will change their minds about who God is as a result.
Remember in the Scriptures, Jesus didn’t say to Thomas, “Watch this miracle or listen to this sermon.” He said, “Touch My wounds.” We put a lot of emphasis on inviting our friends to church, and I agree it is one of the most important times of fellowship, worship and discipleship that we could possibly invite a friend to, but how are they seeing Jesus, in light of the way you walk and talk? I find it ionteresting how the world is rarely impacted and drawn to Jesus Christ through the sight of Christians prospering. No, it’s through seeing believers suffering and not giving up that the barbarians change their minds. Suffering and still praising the Lord for His goodness, for they see just the opposite in the world. Now it is obvious that we have no control over when this will occur, just like Paul had no idea of when the snake would sink his fangs into him. But, from the content of the heart, we react. It may be that we would immediately call out on God; or totally turn from God for allowing such a disease to come our way; or we might become more aware of difficulties others bear on a daily bases. Whatever our reaction is, I believe it could be one of the most important ministries we will ever have, for people will then see how we react to the pain they go through all of the time. Difficulty is the agent that often allows people an opportunity to see the reality of Jesus Christ most clearly. The impact of our witness will depend on how we react to our difficulties.
BLESSING(S) NOTED: Based on Paul’s reaction to his snake bite, the people concluded that he was a god. Placing our faith and trust in Jesus can give us the confidence to handle life’s challenges like Jesus would!
PRAYER: Precious Lord, I thank You for the way You have comforted so many over recent years to handle very challenging life-situations. For widows have found courage and strength to go on in life without the confidence of having their husband next to them. While miracles have occurred, there are situations where we are challenged to understand Your ways, however we stand firm on the promise that You will never leave us nor forsake us, and that ‘all things work together for good – for those who love the Lord’. You are merciful Lord, and we praise You for Your goodness. Please prepare us to always represent You well, especially when life becomes more challenging than we ever expected. The world still needs You Lord, may they find You evident in every aspect of our lives, especially when the same challenges come upon us that they face on a regular basis. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!