Read it! Acts 28
But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
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.
God had work for Paul to do, and an incredibly poisonous snakebite wasn’t going to stop Him. Being on house arrest in Rome for two years did nothing to stop Paul’s work either. By verse 23, Paul’s spending an entire day addressing the Jewish leaders about the Gospel of Christ.
During his two-year imprisonment, Biblical scholars agree that Paul wrote letters to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and more. The last verse of our reading today tells us that Paul was able to teach and preach “boldly and without hindrance.”
So what God’s saying to me in Acts 28 is this: When He chooses an instrument, nothing can stop the music. Nothing.
Live it like you mean it
Do you feel like something is holding you back, hindering your work for God’s Kingdom? Take a good look. Maybe this obstacle allowing (or forcing) you to serve in other ways that God is using just as mightily. Surrender that area of your life to God today. If it would help you, write a prayer about your struggle and then symbolically let it go: burn it, tear it up and release it to the wind, tie it to a balloon and let it float away.
I recently heard someone say something to the effect of, “Think of the one thing in your life you’d like to change or get rid of. That can be the holiest place in your life.”
I’ve made huge strides in surrendering some health issues that I have. While I want to be a good caretaker of my body, I’ve stopped struggling so hard to find out what’s wrong and fix it. I’ve realized that I’ll just live like this for a while, indefinitely, maybe forever. And I’ve gained so much peace!
God will continue to use me for His work even if my body wants to keep me down. God will continue to use you despite your obstacles, too. We can rest in that.
Lift it up
My Father, You know the struggles I have and the obstacles I face when it comes to being Your instrument, or even living life in general! You know that I rail against them, wishing for life to be easier. But today I’m giving those things to You. Not asking for them to be lifted, but surrendering to You that they might not be, and acknowledging that You will work Your will in the midst of them regardless. Lord, I love You and I thank You for allowing me to serve You in all circumstances. Amen.
Tell Me About It
How has God overcome your obstacles?
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