Category Archives: Being Instrumental with Paul

I’m All In!

Read it! This is a look back at the “Being Instrumental with Paul” series.

You may want to review any notes you’ve made, actions you’ve taken,

or prayers you’ve written.

 

Think it through

When I started this series on the life of Paul, I had no idea how meaningful it would be to me.   Acts is a powerful book about the spread of the Gospel of Christ and I love it! But when you distill Acts to a view of Paul’s life like we just did, it can hit you in a different and equally powerful way.

Paul was an instrument of God like few other men have been. His story showed me that God’s instruments are willing to…

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It’s No Obstacle to God

Read it! Acts 28

But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.

(vs 5)

 

Think it through

OK, so I’m really afraid of snakes. Really afraid. I had a hard time featuring this verse because it has the word “snake” in it, and of course the visual image of Paul shaking it off into the fire (my stomach is turning over right now). Every time I read this passage I laugh out loud at verse 6, probably out of sheer relief that the snake part is over. But God spoke to my heart through this verse today, through this snake-shaking image, so there it is.

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A Confident Leader with a Dependent Heart

Read it! Acts 27

Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve

stood beside me and said,

“Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar;

and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.”

(vs 23-24)

 

Think it through

Acts 27 reads like an adventure story—a true one! To be in the midst of a “northeaster,” on a ship with ropes tied around it to keep it together…to be lost at sea for two weeks…to throw over cargo and tackle with your own hands just to keep the ship afloat…and after all of that, to look to one of the ship’s prisoners to be the heroic leader.

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You Know, You Just Might Be Wrong

Read it! Acts 26

I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

(vs 9)

 

Think it through

Paul was wrong.

Here is guy who followed the Lord according to the strictest sect of Judaism. He was a man of great learning (in fact, Festus thought Paul knew so much that it had driven him crazy!). He was zealous for God. But he was totally, completely wrong about Jesus.

I think of myself as a pretty smart person and I have definite opinions on all kinds of things. I have my weak areas (sports, politics, and cooking instantly spring to mind) but I have many areas of strength as well—things I’ve learned and things I’ve lived. Sometimes I’m sure I get a little over-confident in the area of Christian living.

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Tired Trust

Read it! Acts 21

Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?

I am ready not only to be bound,

but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

(vs 13)

Think it through

Acts 21 starts out with a description of Paul’s travels—some of the places he stayed and people he encountered. It’s easy to read over these words quickly, especially since we’ve never been to these places (at least I haven’t).

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Are You Eager for God? Are You, Are You?

Read it! Acts 17

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians,

for they received the message with great eagerness

and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

(vs 11)

 

Think it through

In Acts 17, Paul visits three different cities with three very different reactions to his message:

The Thessalonians were split. Some Jews “were persuaded” along with many Gentiles. The remaining Jews felt threatened and reacted violently. Not a great start to Chapter 17.

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What’s Your Holy Spirit Specialty?

Read it! Acts 16

During the night Paul had a vision

of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him,

“Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision,

we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia,

concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

(vs 9&10)

 

Think it through

Acts 16 is a study of where Paul goes… and doesn’t go. He goes to Derbe and Lystra, Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit kept him out of Asia. His group tries to enter Bithynia but “the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t allow them to.” (I would love to know more about that! What was that like, to be blocked by the Spirit of Jesus?) Paul doesn’t leave a jail cell when released by an earthquake, nor does he leave the jailer’s home when released by the magistrates. But the last words of Acts 16 are, “Then they left”!

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Are You an Encourager—Really?

Read it! Acts 13

After the reading from the Law and the Prophets,

the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying,

“Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

(vs 15)

Think it through

I like to think of myself as an encourager.   Whenever I take a “Spiritual Gift Test,” the gift of encouragement pops up as my secondary gift (the gift of teaching always comes in first!). I’m great at complimenting cute outfits and verbally admiring personal traits… but sometimes I find myself feeling too shy to give the real encouragement that Paul and Barnabus shared so boldly.

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Suffering for the Savior

Read it!: Acts 9

But the Lord said to Ananias,

“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles

and their kings and before the people of Israel.

I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

(vs 15&16)

 

Think it through:

From what I can tell, being God’s chosen instrument is rarely an easy thing. In Tarsus, Saul clearly thought that he was being God’s instrument. Saul probably thought he was suffering for the Lord when he left his home on the journey to arrest more “heretical” Christians.

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