SHUT NOT YOUR EAR TO THE NEEDY : Relieve the afflicted


Relieve the afflicted, help the needy    – how do we do it, in what way and to whom? This concept is always on my conscience, I don’t know about yours. Where do I do I start? Jesus sums up the Old Testament in two commends: the first is to love God with your whole being, and the second is to love your neighbor as your self.( mark 12: 30,31) The second Commend must surely mean that  we must do as much as we can for those who have little or are in need, as that is what we would want done for us.

DO GOOD TO ALL

Who is our neighbor anyway? We are told in Galatians 6:10 ” Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” But I think some times we can take this a little too far and justify ourselves in not really helping others. When I first started work a colleague needed a lift to Prescott . I lived in Phoenix, Arizona was miles out of my way – so I kept quiet and waited until some one else offered her the lift she needed. Unconsciously,  I justified my silence by thinking that she wasn’t in the meeting so I didn’t need to help her – my time  was too precious in doing things for the meeting. Afterwards I felt guilty for my response, but I felt that the attitude within me was entrenched in my very being. I was being careful not to be polluted by those around me that I had become number to seeing the good I could do. When Jesus was asked ,” who is my neighbor?” he told the parable of the Good Samaritan, showing that we need to do good ,and not just do good  ,but go out of our way, even for those who hate us.

SHOWING GOD’S LOVE

Being unspotted from the world is good, but God did not intend us to live as monks. Whilst we are in this  world we need to show God’s love through the kindness we can give to others. Jesus says that if a man ask us to walk one mile we  should go two, and if someone wants to take our coat we are to give it and more besides. We should do above and beyond the call of duty. there is no better way than this to serve our master, and to show others that we are different, that life has a better way. After all ,that is what God has called us to be brothers of Jesus, and adopted sons. Just think of that amazing grace. Surely we should be all the more eager, knowing this ,to bend over backwards to help those around us, in any and every way. Let us then try to do this ,looking for the need(small or insignificant though it may be ) In this way we can show God’s love to others and maybe we can touched ours.

PROFITING FROM THE PROPHETS


Forth coming  judgements in the holy land,including a final conflict involving all nations when God will intervene dramatically! The locust plague God had ,from the earliest times,warned Israel that if they turned from His word,great disasters would follow(Deuteronomy 28) Literal plagues of locusts were sent to remind God’s people of what He had said. when he appealed to the Jews through the prophet Joel,around 800 BC,God liked the forthcoming invasions of the human armies to the cutting,swarming,hopping,destroying locusts,which they may already have experienced. Invading armies Assyrian And Babylonian invasions of the land of Israel,foretold in this chapter,were followed centuries later by Greek,Roman and Mohammedan incursions. These left the Holy Land desolate until AD 1917,when the Jews were allowed to return. Promise of blessing(Joel 2:18-32) the troubles which were to come on God’s people had as their object the return of Israel to the true worship of God. Great blessings are promised when this national repentance finally comes.  Mean while,the greatest invasion of the Holy Land has yet to take place! Final Invasion(chapter 3)Details are given of an invasion by all nations ,at a time when Israel are back in the land(3:1) as they are to day. The wickedness of all nations is now so great (verses 12,13)that when North and south become involved in a great Middle East conflict, God’s judgement ts will be seen on the earth. The time is ripe for the putting in of His “sickle”(verse 13) and the cutting down of the wicked! God will intervene dramatically by sending Jesus Christ to Jerusalem( verse 16),as so many other scriptures indicate.

FAITH ALIVE


100 HOURS

100 Hours : That’s how long it would take for an average reader to read the whole Bible,cover to cover-100 hours.That’s just over 4 days. We could sit,without sleep or food,and read the bible non-stop for the rest of the year.At least we could if we saw reading the Bible as challenge to be attempted once and then never again.

Bible reading just isn’t like that .It isn’t just a feat of endurance or something “we did once” it’s a lifetime’s worth of absorbing and taking on board divine ideas ,divine ideals and divine perspectives.There is some thing about God and his ways which we can learn on each page-however many times we ‘ ve read it .Bible reading is about consistency over time,However we achieve constancy,whether through a system of reading or a method of our own, a daily reminder of divine ways and our calling to share in  them should make our lives richer both now,and ,when the Lord return, forever.

“This is eternal life,that they know you the only true God,and Jesus Christ who you have sent”(John17:3)

Valued options-or not

When we value someone’s opinion in life we listen as hard as we can; we make a note to remember what they have said why then do God’s opinions some times (or often) get ignored when he speaks to us through the words his book? The words which are in the Lord’s book of wisdom are words to be valued,divine instruction to be noted and followed,divine direction as to the route our lives should take.

Is it simply because we have to make an effort and pick up a book with words written in ink on a page that we hesitate to listen ? If God spoke to us directly with the voice of thundering ,as was the case at Sinai , would we fear to listen?  If the Lord Jesus Christ stood next to us and spoke the words which are recorded on the page , would we listen any better than we do now? peraps we like to think we would -or would we still make the same excuse?

*”Too hard- This is a hard saying, who can listen to it? After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.(John 6:60-66).

Too much effort” Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.. he who has ears to hear,let him hear” ( Luke 14: 25- 35)

Got ( more important) things to do first” ” Lord,let me first go and bury my father..”(Luke 9:59,60)

POWER

The book we are able to hold in our hands ,often in our own language,is full of power: power to enable us to understand the mind of our God who has revealed the mind of our God who has revealed himself to us through its page;power to make our lives one dominated by spiritual and not natural things; power to change us.

But  only if we read it.

NOT MUCH TO ASK

100 hours of our years is not much -it translates into a bare minimum of about 20 minites a day . consistent reference to the word of God will enrich our live. it reminds us of the importance of what we believe,who we believe in and why we believe it .it will direct our path and it will direct our life( psalm119:105)

Quotations from the ES V (how many did you look up?

PAUL”S ENEMIES PLOT TO KILL HIM


” We will eat nothing until we have slain Paul”

To show that the cleverest plans of the wicked can be easily overthrown by God’s power.

PAUL IN TROUBLE AGAIN

The Chief Captain of the Roman soldiers still needed to know why the Jews had wanted to kill Paul. So the following day he called the rulers of Jews together and sent Paul down to stand before them.But the meeting did not go well either. The Jews ended up arguing amongst themselve and become very angry.The chief Capptain was afraid that Paul would be attacked again.So Paul was hastily brought back inside tha catle.

PAUL ENCOURAGED BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Poor Paul! He must have felt very unhappy.But God had not forgotten him. That night the lord Jesus Christ appeared to him and said,” Take courage Paul,for as you have testified of me in Jerusalem,so must you bear witness also at Rome.” How these words from Jesus must have encouraged Paul. God was giving him strength to face the troubles that were ahead.

THE PLOT OF PAUL’S ENEMIES

Now Paul’s enemies thought of another plot to kill him. More than forty jews banded together and promised that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. They came to the Chief priests and scribes and said,”Ask the Chief Captain to bring Paul downto you tomorrow .tell him you want to question Paul.We will be ready to kill him as he comes down.”

GOD OVERTHROWS THE PLOT

But a young man overheard their plan.The young man was Paul’s nephew.He came quickly to Paul and told him what he had heard.Paul listened carefully to his story and then called for a soldier to take the young man before the  Chief Captain privately. When the Chief Captain heard the plot,he sent Paul’s nephew away but told him not to tell anyone else.”Tell nobody that you have told me this” he said.

In this way God made known the wicked plan of Paul’s enemies to the Chief Captain himself.The Chief Captain soon thought of a way to save Paul’s life.

PAUL IS BROUGHT SAFELY TO FELIX

The Chief Captain issued his orders to save Paul from the hands of his enemies.He called two centurions to him and gave them  a command  ” Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen at the third hour of the night,and bring paul safely unto Felix the Governor.” The Chief Captain Immediately wrote a letter to send to Felix the Roman Governor ,He was sure Paul had done nothing worthy of death.

And so at nine o’clock that night ,four hundred and seventy soldiers,with Paul in the midst of them,rode out of Jerusalem.Into the night they marched,down  the road to Caesarea.The  following day they reached the streets of that city and brought Paul in safely before Felix,the Roman Governor.

Brief:

Paul’s enemies had met early in the morning to plan to kill Paul.Their plan was a clever one and seemed certain to succeed. But they did not know that God had a different plan.No matter what men may plan to do to us,god always watches over us.  We should learn from this to trust in God. God gives us strengthens us and encourages us.

We remember that:

* When Paul was unhappy the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in the night and encouraged him.

*Paul’s enemies plotted to kill him secretly.

*Paul’s nephew overheard their plans and told Paul.

*70 horsemen and 200 spearmen and 200 soldiers took Paul safely to Felix the Roman Governor by night.

PAUL COMES TO ROME


” For The Hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” Acts 28:19-20

To show how the word of God  came to be preached at  Rome and to show that Paul’s whole life was an except of faith that we should follow. (ACTS 28:11-31)

PAUL LEAVES MELITA

The people of Melita had been very kind to Paul .after three months when winter was passed,the centurion put all the prisoners on a ship again and they sailed for Italy.

Rome was not  near the sea.They had to land at a place called Puteoli and travel by road from there.

PAUL FINDS BRETHREN AT PUTEOLI

Even through Paul had not been to puteoli before,there were people there who made him welcome. They were believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They asked Paul to stay there for seven days with them. The centurion must have felt very friendly to Paul by now ,for he let stay .

PAUL TRAVELS TO ROME

Then the prisoners and the centurion set out along  the road to Rome. But there were brethren and sisters in Rome as well and they came a long way down the road to meet Paul and travel back to Rome with him. In Rome the other prisoners were put in the prison,but  Paul was allowed to rent a house and receive visitors. There was a soldier chained to him all the time because he was still regarded as a prisoner.

PAUL WORKS IN ROME

Paul did not stop preaching  the Gospel. First of all he called the chief Jews to his house and preached the Gospel to them.For God had said ” to the Jews first and then to the  gentiles. ” Paul said to them ” For the Hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” He told them that Jesus was the King whom God had promised their nation.He would return and setup God’s Kingdom. The things he taught them could all be found in the Law of Moses and the prophets.  Some believed the things he said . Some did not.” Let it be known to you” said  Paul, “That the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles , and they will hear it.”

When he had said these words the Jews went away and spent a lot time arguing over what Paul had said.

PAUL WRITES EPISTLES

The apostle Paul,the servant of God , was kept very busy while he was a prisoner . God had determined to bring him to Rome and now he had a lot of work to do ..Brethren from other places came and visited him and brought him messages from their ecclesias. as well as teaching the Truth he wrote many letters called”epistles” In the bible the Truth he wrote many letters called” epistles” in the Bible.An ” epistle” is a letter.  He wrote these epistles to many Ecclesias ,and we can read some of them in our Bible. So we can still learn today what Paul wrote to the brethren and sisters long ago.

Even though Paul is now dead, we know God will raise him again when the lord Jesus Christ returns and reward him with eternal life.How important it is then that we carefully read those things that Paul has written and believe them.

They are not Just Paul’words. They are the words which God guided him to write.

Brief:  In all imprisonment Paul never lost his faith > he was content to be wherever it was God’s will to send him.God kept His promise to bring Paul to Rome .Paul kept on working as God’s servant all the time that he was a prisoner.He wrote letters to the Ecclesias to teach them about God and to help them understand the truth.Paul is dead now waiting for the resurrection. He has left us with a hope of life , If we believe all that he wrote and follow hiss good example.

We remember That :

* When Paul reached Puteoli he was met by believers who wanted him to stay for seven days.

*Paul stayed in his own rented house in Rome.

* Paul Preached to the Jews first then to the Gentiles.

*Paul wrote many letters to Ecclesias from Rome.

*We can read some of them in the Bible today.

* Paul is dead now but will be raised to life again when Jesus comes back to the earth.

*We must believe everything that Paul wrote and try very hard to follow his good example.

PAUL ENEMIES PLOT TO KILL HIM


” We will eat nothing until we have slain Paul”

To show that the cleverest plans of the wicked can be easily overthrown by God’s power.

PAUL IN TROUBLE AGAIN

The chief Captain of the Roman soldiers still needed to know why the Jews had wanted to kill Paul.So the following day he called the rulers of the Jews together and sent Paul down to stand before them. But the meeting did not go well either.The Jews ended up arguing among st  themselves and became very angry.The Chief Captain was afraid that Paul would be attacked again.So Paul was hastily brought back inside the castle.

PAUL ENCOURAGED BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Poor Paul!  He must have felt very unhappy. But God  had no forgotten him. That night the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him and said,” Take courage Paul, for as you have testified of me in Jerusalem,so must you bear witness also at Rome.” How these words from Jesus must have encouraged Paul.God was giving him strength to face the troubles that were ahead.

THE PLOT OF PAUL”S ENEMIES

Now Paul’s enemies thought of another plot to kill him. More than forty Jews banded together and promised that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. They came to the Chief priests and scribes and said,” Ask the Chief Captain to bring Paul down to you tomorrow. Tell him you want to question Paul. We will be ready to kill him as he comes down,”

GOD OVERTHROWS THE PLOT

But a young man overheard their plan.The young was Paul’s nephew. He came quickly to Paul and told him what he had heard.Paul listened carefully to his story and then called for a soldier to take the young man before the Chief Captain privately. When the Chief Captain heard the plot,he sent Paul’s nephew away but told him not to tell anyone else.” Tell nobody that you have told me this” he said.

In this way God made known the wicked plan of Paul’s enemies to the Chief Captain himself. The Chief Captain soon thought of a way to save Paul’s life.

PAUL IS BROUGHT SAFELY TO FELIX

The Chief Captain issued his orders to save Paul from the hands of his enemies. He called two centurions to him and gave them a command. ” Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred pearmen at the third hour of the night,and bring Paul safely unto Felix the Governor” The Chief Captain immediately wrote a letter to send to Felix the Roman governor. He was sure Paul had done nothing worthy of death.

And so at nine o’clock that night, four hundred and seventy soldiers, with Paul in the midst of them,rode out of Jerusalem. Into the night they marched ,down the road to Caesarea. The following day they reached the streets of that city and brought Paul in safely before Felix, the Roman Governor.

Brief:  Paul’s enemies had met early in the morning to plan to kill Paul. Their plan was a clever one and seemed certain to succeed. but they did not know that God had a different plan. No matter what men may plan to do to us, God always watches over us. We should learn from this to trust in God. God gives us strength to face trouble too when we read His word it strengthens us and encourages us.

* when Paul was unhappy the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in the night and encouraged him.

* Paul’s enemies plotted to kill him secretly.

*Paul’s nephew overheard their plans and told Paul.

*Seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen and two hundred soldiers took Paul safely to Felix the Roman Governor by night.

PAUL GOES TO JERUSALEM


” So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owns this girdle”

To show Paul’s faith as he bravely faced the trials before  him, knowing that God was working in his life.

PAUL TRAVELS TO JERUSALEM

Paul was going back to Jerusalem.When he came to caesarea,there was a prophet there named Agabus,who could prophesy by the power of the holy spirit.He tied it around his own hands and feet ” Thus saith.He  said ” So  shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle,and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” So Paul knew that he would be taken prisoner in Jerusalem, but he went there anyway.

PAUL ARRIVES IN JERUSALEM

When Paul arrived in Jerusalem,all the brethren were glad to see him. Paul told them the wonderful things that God had done through him among the Gentiles. Everyone joined in praise to God when they heard these things.

PAUL’S ENEMIES IN JERUSALEM

Some of the Jews whom Paul had argued against during his journeys saw him in the Temple.They did not like Paul teaching to the Gentiles. They liked to think God only cared about Jews. So they caught hold of him and cried out, Men of Israel! Help! This is the man that teacheth all men everywhere against the people,and the law of Moses, and this Temple. He has brought Gentiles also into the Temple,and hath polluted this holy place.”   Of course,this was not true,but the news spread rapidly through the crowd.People came running from all directions. They seized Paul and dragged him out. Then they shut the doors of the Temple and set about to kill him.

THE CHIEF CAPTAIN MAKES PAUL A PRISONER

In Jerusalem there was a band of Roman soldiers in charge of the city.When the chief Captain heard that Jerusalem was in an uproar, he immediately ran down into the city with centurions and soldiers. The people were so crazy that they would have killed Paul.But when they saw the Chief Captain and soldiers coming,they stopped beating him and stood back. The Chief Captain arrested Paul and Commanded his soldiers to bind him with two chains. Paul was a Roman prisoner now.

PAUL IS TAKEN TO THE CASTLE

The Chief Captain demanded out one thing,and some shouted something else.The Chief captain could not  understand what they all meant because of the noise.So he ordered Paul to be brought into the castle.The soldiers actually had to carry Paul,because the crowd was so violent.   As he was led up the steps into the castle,Paul said to the Chief Captain,” I beseech thee,allow me to speak to the people.” The Chief Captain gave him permission.   So Paul stood on the stairs and held up his hand. Then everyone became quiet and listened.

PAUL SPEAKS TO THE PEOPLE.

Paul spoke to all the people in the Hebrew language. He told them that Jesus Christ had appeared to him on the  road to Damascus long ago,and had told him to preach the Truth to all men. God had even told him that he was sending him to the Gentiles.

As soon as Paul said the word ” Gentiles” the people who had been very quiet until then, started to shout out loudly again.

” AWAY WITH SUCH A FELLOW FROM THE EARTH, FOR IT IS NOT FIT THAT HE SHOULD LIVE!”  They cried. They could not believe that God wanted to save gentiles as well. They thought that God was only interested in Jews like themselves.

PAUL IS KEPT IN PRISON

When all the shouting started again, the Chief Captain took Paul right inside the castle.      So the words which God had spoke through  Agabus had come to pass .Paul had been terribly beaten,and now he was a prisoner at Jerusalem! But this evil which had fallen upon Paul was really all part of God’s plan. God was making a way open for Paul to visit Rome.

Brief:   The word of God through the prophet Agabus had come to pass. God’s word always does! Paul had been badly beaten and made a prisoner,all because he was teaching about Christ and the Kingdom of God.But he never lost his faith,even in trouble.

We must remember that:

* Agubus the prophet showed Paul that he would be a prisoner in Jerusalem.

*The brethren at Jerusalem welcomed Paul.

*Paul’s enemies set about to kill him.

* The Chief Captain arrested Paul.

*The chief Captain allowed Paul to speak to the people.

*When Paul mentioned ” the Gentiles” the people became angry again.

* God was making a way opened for Paul to go to Rome.

* We should trust in God at all times and He will deliver us in times of trouble.

We should be like Paul and trust in God at all times and He will deliver us in times of trouble.