Thank God for the day ahead. Ask God to prepare you today for the work he has for you.
Read Acts 28:1-16
 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.  The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.  Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.  When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.”  But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.  The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.  There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days.  His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.  When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.  They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.  After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island-it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.  We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.  From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli.  There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.  The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged.  When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat was positive about Paul’s arrival in Rome?
A leader during the shipwreck, Paul now collects firewood and brings healing. Christian life is like that. There is no place for opting out of the more menial roles, nor of avoiding the more prominent roles when God calls. Jesus himself provides the example of servant leadership when he takes a towel and a bowl and washes the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). Are we genuinely open to whatever God might call us to, even if it makes us feel uncomfortable? Much of Paul’s ministry has been accompanied by miraculous signs and healings. While we have no right to expect anything like this from God, we should be open to the possibility that he may use us in this way. For the early church, practical demonstrations of God’s power and love went hand in hand with speaking the message. How might we do more to show people the love and power of God? Paul arrives in Rome and is welcomed by the Christians. We do not know the origins of the church in Rome, but it is thriving. Paul is encouraged by those he meets. That’s how Christian fellowship works.
Thank God for fellow Christians and for the encouragement that they bring. Who will you encourage this week?
Lord, I pray that You will use me in any way You can today. Allow me to be an encouragement to someone soon.
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