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Paul, the ringleader!

I finished up reading the book of Acts today. I can’t shake the feeling that there are some things I want to share with you all about Paul. The Lord impressed on me that someone reading this today needs this word. You need encouragement today, before you go into your weekend.

It is in the last 4 chapters of Acts that we see some character traits about Paul that serve as a motivation to us. In Chapter 24 Paul is brought before Felix, there is a “case” against him, he is being wrongly accused.  Verse 5 says they found Paul to be a plague, and the best part is they called him a “ringleader.” Sister, have you been wrongly accused, misunderstood, or even worse do you feel like others avoid you like the plague? Well, I want to encourage you to keep going…..be a ringleader for the Gospel of Christ! If you are wrongly accused, let it be for the sake of Christ. If you are going to be treated like the  plague, then I hope it is for spreading the Gospel. Spread love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Spread it like wildfire, leave your mark. Leave a trail of evidence for the Kingdom of God.

Chapter 26 Paul finds himself before King Agrippa. He knows he is on trial because of the hope he has in God. Verse 9 shows us that Paul recounts his life apart from Christ. As I read this it occurred to me that Paul knew well the condition God delivered him from, it is part of his testimony. Ladies, don’t ever forget where you came from. Don’t ever forget your salvation experience. Another thing I don’t want you to forget is your deliverance. Many of us have a deliverance story to tell. I know I do. Somewhere on my journey with the Lord I strayed and got off course not even realizing how crooked my path had become. BUT PRAISE GOD, He reached down for me, He pulled me up from a slimy pit and off the slippery road and He set me straight. Here is what I want you to get, if you are God’s child, He WILL NOT LET YOU GO. But you have to be willing. Oh, if I had died I would have gone to Heaven, but my journey from here to there would not have been all it could have been. I had to be willing to change, I had to be willing to be brought low, I had to humble myself, repent and move forward. The enemy hates it when a Christian has a moment of crisis that changes them so that God is glorified. So what he does is continue to accuse you with your past so that you think you will never be free of it. Paul did not let this happen. He remembered, he used his story to bring attention to the Father but he DID NOT let satan keep playing the broken record. I don’t want you to either. So remember where and what you came from, and take it and use it to help someone else and bring glory to God. Use your testimony as a positive tool of growth, don’t ever ever let the enemy use it as a hindrance.

At the end of Chapter 26 King Agrippa said to Festus, “this man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar”. This literally made me laugh out loud! Paul WAS free! Paul KNEW he was free…..he was free IN CHRIST. Listen to me, NO ONE can steal your freedom and don’t you let them. Don’t even let them try. You press on, you keep going, you shut out the voice in your head that says you will never be free, you shut out the voice in your head that says you will never be good enough, you shut out the voice in your head that says God can’t and won’t use you.  If Paul ( a murderer of God’s chosen people the Jews) is not enough proof for you,  let me throw out a few names for you…..Moses, Jonah, Peter, Abraham, Rahab…..I think you get the idea.  YOU matter to God and He will not only restore you, He will use you if you will yield to Him.

In Chapter 27 another verse struck me. Verse 3 tells us the centurion Julius treated Paul kindly. Please don’t miss this. God will make your enemies to be at peace with you. No matter what the circumstances, God will grant you what you need at just the right moment. Paul needed his friends and he needed their  love and care. God made sure he got it and He will do the same for you.

Let’s not miss the storm at sea either. Verse 13 of Chapter 26 tell us a tempestuous wind, a northeaster rose up. Have you ever felt like this? You are trying to go forward and the winds of life are just blowing against you. It feels like they will never let up! This is when God shows up. An angel of God appeared to Paul. Can you imagine? “Do not be afraid” were the words Paul heard and I want you to hear them today. I don’t know what you are going through, I don’t know what you are up against but God wants me to tell you today, “DO NOT BE AFRAID.”  God has got the storm in His hands. It may not feel like it, but trust me, I have been in quite a few of them and God has never left me alone. He has always brought me through it and He will do it for you. Verse 44 says, “and so it was that all were brought safely to land.”  The shore is ahead of you my friend, don’t look back. 

As Acts comes to a close we see that Paul arrives in Rome. Was it easy, was it smooth sailing? No! But God will always get us where we need to go and look at verse 14, “There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days.”  God always has His people waiting on us right where we need them to be. He knows we need a little comfort in the company of other believers and if you will let Him, He will show you who they are and where they are.  I want you to learn to surround yourself with the right people, Godly people. We need each other, God designed us that way. If you will do this then you will not only find the blessing of fellowship but you will learn to be a blessing to others as well. God wants us to learn from our hard times and then come alongside someone else and help them with the same help that was shown to us.  There is always purpose in the pain of God’s children. God wastes NOTHING, all things really do work for our good to bring HIM glory! God has got this ladies, He has got you. 

Don’t miss the last 2 verses, ” He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”  Get out there ladies! Leave the past behind you. Tune out the enemy and be bold, be loud, be a cheerleader for the Kingdom of God. Be His number one ringleader! 

Living free, (and loud)

Rene’

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Rene' Collins

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