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Bible Pathways 11/18/2003

November 18

Read Acts 26 -- 28

In Today's Reading:

Paul's defense before Agrippa; his voyage to Rome; storm at sea; shipwreck at Melita (Malta); Paul at Rome

When Saul of Tarsus confessed his faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Savior and Messiah, Festus, the new Roman governor of Judea, exclaimed in a loud voice, Paul, you are beside yourself. . . . But he (Paul) said I am not mad . . . but speak . . . the words of truth (Acts 26:24-25).

Since Paul, as a Roman citizen, had appealed his case to Caesar, Festus placed him in the custody of one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band (27:1). Julius was to take Paul safely to Rome to stand trial before Nero, the Roman Emperor. They set sail and, after a brief docking at Sidon, continued along the northern coast of Cyprus. Stormy winds kept them from making much progress. On reaching The Fair Havens in Crete (27:8), Paul urged them to stay there during the winter months. He warned: I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt (danger) and much damage, not only of the lading (cargo) and ship, but also of our lives; but the majority of the people on board urged Julius to continue on to Phenice, and there to winter; which is a haven (harbor) of Crete (27:10-12)

Shortly afterwards, furious hurricane winds beat upon them. After two stormy weeks, their ship began to sink off the coast of Melita. Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said. . . . Be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, Whose I am, and Whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God has given you all them that sail with you' (27:21-24). From this experience we learn that our judgment is only as good as our source of information.

Our life's voyage, like Paul's, may also be filled with violent storms. We may experience physical, financial, or emotional "shipwreck" and all hope that we should be saved may appear to be gone (27:20). But, there will come a day when the tempests we have weathered will seem insignificant compared to what God has accomplished through our faithfulness. Because of Christ, Paul could confidently say: I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (II Corinthians 12:10; also Romans 5:1-5).

Word Studies:

26:5 most straitest = strictest; 26:7 instantly = earnestly; 27:7 under = around, near; 27:10 lading = cargo; 27:12 commodious = suitable; haven = harbor; 27:30 under color = under pretense; 28:2 barbarous = foreign, non-Greek; 28:13 fetched a compass = made a circuit, following the coast; 28:16 suffered = permitted.

Cross Reference:

For Acts 28:26-27: See Isaiah 6:9-10.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Ilene Wallace · Pray for Youth With A Mission and Director of the Americas Leland Parris · Government Official: Sen. Ted Stevens (AK) · Country: Comoros (563,000) in the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean · Major languages: Shaafi Islam (Swahili dialect) and Malagasy · Limited religious freedom · 99.7% Muslim; .2% Roman Catholic/Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: When you are in desperate circumstances, turn to the Lord with fasting and prayer (II Chronicles 20:2-4).

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:23

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