Monday, April 11, 2011

End Time Jitters?

"And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage."
Acts 28:15

We have a tendency to make our favorite Bible stars bigger than life.  Paul is no exception.  The "Super Apostle" seems to have nerves of steel and an iron will to share the truth no matter how much he is afflicted.  The Bible makes it clear, however, that Paul is like us all; just a man.  Whether it is Esther who risks her life for the Jewish people in the courts of Xerxes or Elijah at Mt. Carmel staring down a godless king and the priests of Baal or even Abraham ascending Mt. Moriah with a knife, firewood, and Isaac we make these men and women of God to be heroes without the normal emotions most of us experience in times of crisis.  God wants us to understand that they were humans with fears and cares and worries just like us.  Does it not say that Elijah was, "a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. (James 5:17)"  No! There is another source of strength that all believers--including you and me--can draw from.

Picture, if you will, going to Rome where the most powerful man on earth is about to make a judgment that could end your life.  Your goal is to win converts and maybe even start a church but this looming trial has you uneasy.  Also, imagine that God is silent as of late.  You are drawing ever nearer to Rome.  At Pazzoli (Puteoli in verse 14) you are only 112 miles from an uncertain future.  You begin to pray even while your stomach is in knots.  The trial is so noisy that it is hard to hear the Holy Spirit.  This is what Paul is facing, but God is not silent and He cares for his child, Paul, just like He cares for you.  He sends Paul encouragement from Appius and the Three Taverns (areas about 40 and 30 miles from Rome respectively).  Paul then realizes who is behind this all and he TAKES courage and blesses the sender--GOD!  The iron will and nerves of steel are not his but blessings from the presence of Christ.  

Many are so fearful of what is going on that they are trying to ignore the warning sirens of the Holy Spirit.  If you begin to speak about the coming of the Lord or the Tribulation with many people they purposefully change the subject.  Why?  Because the full unfolding of all that will happen is too uncertain and the events are terribly frightening.  Have you ever shared a message about prophecy or mentioned how a current news item shadows that last days only to find your hearer almost in tears?  None of us like the bewilderment and anxiety of the future even when God has given very clear insights into what will happen.  If that is how you feel then take courage.  To take means to grab what is offered.  God in Christ is offering you the strength you need make it through these uncertain times.  All you have to do is reach out and take it.  Like Paul you can thank God and take courage! 

 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
Acts 28:30-31


  1. I love reading what God has given you.

  2. John,
    You've certainly carved-out a compelling word-picture argument to be prepared for future travails by listening to The Holy Spirit now and reaching out for Christ's strength before worldly chaos and distraction make it anymore difficult. I'm grabbing with both hands; might be a bumpy ride.

    In His Service,