Voyage to Rome | Malta

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White Cliffs of Malta

Just as God promised, all two hundred seventy-six persons aboard the doomed ship are saved!  The natives are friendly, and help the soggy sailors build a fire on the beach, as it is cold and rainy.  They let Paul’s party know that the island is called Malta!

Luke records that the natives are UNUSUALLY friendly.  I wonder why?  Perhaps some of the foodstuffs and boat gear has been washing up on the beach during Euroclydon and they are in a happy mood.  They may think their gods are favoring them with more surprises from the sea for their entertainment … or exploitation.

No sooner does Paul gather wood for the fire than he is bitten by a viper, which scares the locals.  Paul just shakes the snake into the fire, and the Maltese immediately expect Paul to succumb to the venomous attack.  They suspect the prisoner Paul of being a murderer or something.  He must be deserving of such horrid judgement.  But Paul is not harmed.

So now he must be a god!

This is so true of humans even today.  Idol worship still makes no common sense.

Anyway, the mayor of the area, a man named Plubius, courteously invites the shipwrecked crew into his home for three days.  Plubius’s father is sick with fever and dysentery, so Paul prays and lays hands on the man.  The man is healed, and the good news spreads across Malta.  If there are any lingering suspicions of the foreigners in their midst, all doubt is now erased.  Is this further proof that Paul is indeed a visiting god?  Here come the island’s sick and diseased.  Their sicknesses are healed, too.

Of course, Paul does not allow the Maltese to worship him as a god.  He ministers to the entire island about Jesus and many become believers.

Why do I believe that there were many saved at Malta because of the witness of Paul?

Because that is what Apostles are instructed to do by the Master, Jesus (Yeshua).   And throughout the Book of Acts Prayer for the sick and Laying on of Hands leads to Healing and that leads to Belief in Jesus and Salvation in Him – it’s a heavenly formula!

12And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people … 13Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. ~ (Peter) in Acts 5:12-15 NKJV

God even uses resurrection of the dead to reach people for salvation in Jesus.  Take the instance of Jesus raising Lazarus; or the Apostle Peter at Joppa:

Tabitha (Dorcas), who was a Christian disciple,  took sick and died.  Other disciples knew that Peter was staying at Lydda, which was not far from Joppa.  Two men went to Peter and asked him to help.

39Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. ~ Acts 9:39-42 NKJV

There are  many other scriptural examples of what I think happened on Malta.  Enjoy your Bible study and research!  God makes sure that His Gospel is going out to every people, nation and tribe.  Paul is an obedient servant of Our Lord.  He knows that his destiny is Rome and time is short …

I want to talk about today.  The Gospel message is still going out and it is as strongly received by lost people as it was in the day of the apostles.  People all over the world are still lost in sin.  They still worship idols, are sick and tormented by devils.  They still need hope and salvation.  The same formula still works: Pray for the sick, Lay on hands, let people experience the raw Power of the Holy Spirit Heal folks, Cast out demons, or Raise the dead.  The darkness of Africa is being lifted in this same way and Belief in Christ is working over the whole continent. HALLELUHAH!!!

“Praise and thank you Jesus, for lighting that fire in Africa and across the world! Amen! Amen!!”

In the meantime, Julius finds another Alexandrian ship that has wintered over on Malta, whose figurehead is the twins, Castor and Pollux.  In three months it will bear them to Rome.  Until then they must suffer the honor and island entertainment of Malta.  What a nice break after all they had just survived!

Stay tuned if you are feeling the spark of the Holy Spirit and where it is taking us on this Voyage to Rome.  There are plenty of twists and turns to this story left to be told.  God bless and thank you for following

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Voyage to Rome | Euroclydon!

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13When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete.14But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.15So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. ~Acts 27:13-15 NKJV

Euroclydon is a violent Nor’easter – a Levanter, or Mediterranean typhoon.  We’re not talking a few whitecaps here.  No, this is more like Perfect Storm weather.

The captain sets a course a lee of a small island named Clauda.  They scramble to bring the skiff onboard, as it is swamping off the aft tow line.  Counting the waves, the more experienced crew tag a good one coming alongside and heave the skiff onto the deck.  Off they go – cabling up the ship; but soon realize the ship is about to run aground upon the looming sandbars of the Syrtis.

Hey Captain!

Once I was in the Bering Sea on a crabber and holding watch with the skipper.  We were running northerly about 10 knots heading to Unalakleet in a driving rain storm chatting about nothing much when I happened to notice what looked like waves breaking over a sandbar!  I hollered and the skipper opened his side window to stick his head out for a better look.  It was raining so hard the water was standing against the windows, blurring our vision.  Nothing on the radar; I grabbed a chart and saw nothing noted; but in a shallow sea like the Bering, it’s common for bars to materialize and then disappear year after year.  They go uncharted but vessels beware!  Sure enough, we could hardly believe our eyes, but the boat was about to ground on a ghost bar!  The skipper hit the jog lever hard port and reversed throttle, jarring our vessel into a change of course while throwing all loose parts and persons down onto the floor from the braking action.  The boat shuddered once, then veered to port, nearly grazing the bar.

Likewise, Paul’s captain orders to strike sail in defeat of Euroclydon, and narrowly misses the Sartys.  Off they go again; away from the Sartys Sands and into the hungry jaws of the tempest.  After jogging up and down the Adriatic all night pitching and tossing to and fro; they lash each other to the deck to avoid being washed overboard by walls of water.  The next day all unnecessary goods, cargo, and ballast are thrown into the angry sea.

The ship is far off course now and no effort to lighten the ship has eased their plight.  On the third day in a last bid for survival, captain gives the order to throw all the ship’s tackle overboard.  Without gear to assist, the crew throws it over by hand and fear begins to gnaw at their shrunken bellies.

Amazingly, for many days not much changes.  Imagine the darkness.  The skies are totally black.  No sun by day, or moon nor stars by night.  The sea is a dark, clawing hole.  No light anywhere day after day.  Wave after wave washes over the deck as the lurching ship threatens to roll over … but doesn’t.

Euroclydon reminds me of a bully grabbing someone and shaking them upside down until everything in their pockets dumps out onto the ground.  If you have ever been on the sea in the grip of a serious storm, you know what I mean.  The sheer power of a great typhoon like this little ship endured is terrifying and humbling.  The keel visibly twists and groans while those on deck pray that it does not snap!

I wonder what Julius, the soldiers, captain, ship owner, crew, and the other prisoners are thinking by the first week of this storm? … The words hopeless, helpless, or defeated come to mind.  They may be praying to their gods, who they must believe are very angry.  How about by day ten? After that, it would most likely be downright fear.  Only Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus would likely be praying and trusting in our Heavenly Father YHWH for deliverance.

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Greek Ship Mosaic ©CanStock Photo/finaeva_i

Until next post we must leave our beleaguered group in the deathly grip of Euroclydon; which is still raging with no end in sight.

Stay tuned, and thank you for following importantstuff.live!

 

Clinging to Good

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The season of giving and thankfulness is upon us – My favorite time of the year!

9bCling to what is good. 10Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; ~ Romans 12:9b-10 NKJV

Is that even possible in our society today?

Of course it is.  And no better time than now.  Tis the season to invite friends over for food, drink, and conversation by the fire.  Give cheerfully – not expensively.  Bake cookies.  Be kind.  Mend fences.

Some folks suffer from depression during the holidays and my heart goes out to them.  It isn’t easy to be cheerful when your heart is heavy or the budget does not allow for much gift giving.  Toss the materialism and enjoy giving the most valuable gifts:  Time, love, laughter and hope.  God does not want any to suffer pain or fear.

Be of the same mind to one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. ~ Romans 12:16 NKJV

Continue to pray for God’s strength while clinging to good.  He is faithful and your example will bless others.

Thank you for following

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Very First Thing | 2018

The first thing I do every New Year’s Eve is to make resolutions to do a bunch of good stuff in the coming year.  Then the very first thing I do after New Year’s Day is to NOT do any of that good stuff.

Why is that?

I’m pretty sure it’s because I am trying to do good stuff by my own will-power (slow learner).  Anyhow, it’s past time for me to get off that yearly merry-go-round and give it all over to the God of Second Chances.  Shame on me for forgetting the important stuff

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV

Still… traditions die hard, so the very first thing is a prayer:

“Lord, my New Year’s Resolution for 2018 is to walk pleasing to You this coming year.  I trust You, Father God, for what You prepared for me beforehand. Thank You, Jesus, for the greatness of Your power to keep me as I should be, regardless of my own shortcomings. Amen.”

The very next thing is,

Happy New Year 2018! 

God’s blessings to all in Jesus Christ

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“For He Himself is Our Peace,“ ~ Ephesians 2:14a NKJV

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Start Over

Start over; and this time, make the priority obedience to God’s will.

Remember this?

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Dad’s New Testament Page 381

Two years ago I was at this very spot.  I was at the end of Dad’s message he wrote in his little pocket New Testament.  There are two verses circled, Hebrews 4:12&13, that speak of the Word of God being sharper than any two-edged sword and that before Him no creature is hidden.  But that is not why I need to start over.

Today I realize that I am right back where I started.  I must learn how to be obedient to God’s will.  Just as Jesus walked out His life in a fleshly body here on earth in accordance with God the Father’s will, so I must follow.

The reason I need to start over is not found in chapter 4 of Hebrews, but chapter 5:

In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him (Father God) who was able to save Him (Jesus) from death, and He (Jesus) was heard for His godly fear. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered; and being made perfect He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, being designated by God a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. ~ Hebrews 5:7-10

So, beginning with persistent, loud, tearful and fearful prayers, Jesus was heard by the Father who allowed His Son Jesus to suffer so that He could learn obedience to God the Father’s will and to perform God’s will perfectly.

Got it.  I am just having the hardest time ever walking it out.  Oh, I have prayed, hollered and cried; I have complained about all kinds of suffering, but the Apostle Paul has me tagged:

About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s Word. You need milk, not solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil. ~ Hebrews 5:11-14

Prayer:  Lord, forgive me for being dull of hearing.  Help me to practice distinguishing good from evil in this complicated and dark world.  Help me to learn to be obedient to You by becoming skilled in Your Word.  Help me to start over with enthusiasm, resolve, and godly fear. May I boldly occupy until you come, and glorify the Holy Name of Yeshua, the Messiah, Amen.

Hollis2Dad’s New Testament – pg 194
I made known to them thy Name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. ~ John 17:26

Thank you for following

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Expect a Miracle

At any moment in time there must be multitudes of people who expect a miracle to manifest in their lives.  Each circumstance is different, but oh! so equally important.

Would some expect a miracle of healing from God after fervent prayer, while others place their trust in a team of doctors?  Do miracles manifest with or without any human expectation?

I think so.  For instance, our planet earth is spinning around the sun at an astounding speed of  18.5 miles/sec (30 km.sec).  Even more shocking is the fact that earth is rotating at 1000 mph (1600 km/hr) near the equator without any person or object flying off into outer space!  Gravity is a miracle that I have come to expect.  I don’t pray or hope for it, as it has existed for millennium.  However, just because I don’t expect it doesn’t make it any less of a miracle.

Are you expecting a miracle today? – Perhaps a miracle to land that “perfect” job? Rather than adopt, some barren parents might be praying to conceive a child when the doctors have given no hope.  In medical circles, that would qualify as a miracle.

Whatever miracle you are expecting today, consider that a miracle is likely the glory of God revealed.  Wait for it patiently.

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I pray God gives you favor and that you receive the miracle you expect.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. ~ Romans 8:19 NIV

God’s blessings and thank you for visiting

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Pray for Ourselves

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Do we forget to pray for ourselves?  Most believers have a prayer list that includes the lost, the sick, the dying, the hungry, the poor and needy; but where do we ourselves fit into that list?

Shockingly, when I thought about this recently, I realized that I have not prayed for myself in some time.  I do not mean praying for forgiveness of sin, or coming to God in prayer with a repentant heart.  No, I mean, I forget to pray for my own needs on a regular basis.

So what?  Here is the thing: my relationship with my Heavenly Father suffers.  He wants to do many good things for me, but first I must ask.

A very strange thing happened about four months ago.  I was in a church service on the birth date of a family member and responded to the altar call at the end of the service.  I went forward for prayer that God would bless me and that God would open doors causing astonishing things to happen in my life.

Within a few short months that same relative was diagnosed with cancer and asked me to visit during the cancer treatments to lend support.  I did go; and we have basically been supportive of each other ever since; but I did not make the connection at all that this may be God’s answer to my altar call prayer.  Probably because it was a door that I least expected that God would open.  Only recently did I connect the dots to the birth date of my relative being the same date that I went forward to pray for myself in church.  So the take away for me is that when I pray mostly for others and not for myself, I am very far from knowing God’s plan for my life or His calling upon me.

Praying for myself will draw me nearer to God – not praying for others (although I believe that intercessory prayer is truly His calling upon me).  I cannot be led by the Holy Spirit to know God’s will for me unless I draw closer to Him in this manner.

Frankly, I am astonished at the rapid changes in my life in just the past four months – and all I did was pray for myself.  If we ask God to open doors of His choosing, it’s a pretty good bet that He will give us a very important job.

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” ~ Acts 13: 47 NIV

Ultimately, if we answer His calling, and walk through the open doors of His choosing, each of us really needs prayer to be equipped to perform God’s will.  So let’s not forget to pray for ourselves.  Amen brethren?

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