August 10

Bible Reading: 
            Ruth 3-4
            Acts 28
            Jeremiah 38
            Psalms 11-12
            '”Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” (Acts 28:30-31)
            Now you see how the book of Acts comes to a conclusion. The final phrase in the book of Acts is translated a little differently than it actually says. It is one word - it means unhinderedor unfettered. Even with his chains while under arrest, they could not chain Paul's tongue. He said to Timothy when he wrote to him, ''The Word of God is not bound." As a result, Caesar 's household was buzzing with the good news of Jesus Christ. Some have described this last chapter of Acts as the last page of the first chapter of the history of the Christian church. The church was commanded to take the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. This was the completion of that commandment as far as Dr. Luke was concerned. He thought this was the uttermost parts of the earth.  You will also remember, in the first chapter of Paul 's Gospel to the church at Rome, he committed himself to take the Gospel to Rome also, stating ''he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.''  Someone has asked, ''Why did Dr. Luke stop here?''  It could have been, and most likely is, that Dr. Luke was martyred about this time, and there was nothing else he could write about. ''How did God get the Gospel to Rome and thereby to the whole earth?''  It is mainly because of the servant He used -the Apostle Paul. Consider some characteristics in Paul's life that made this possible:
            He was aprotectedman. We have discovered he was in the will of God and, because of that, he was invincible until God was finished with him.  We have seen him protected on the Island of Malta, from the storm, and then by miraculous inoculation from a snakebite.
            Paul was also a powerfulman. He was not only the object of God's divine care, but also the channel of God's divine power. We have many people today spending too much time in the fitness of the body, and too little time in the fitness of their soul and their spirit before God.  God wants you to have spiritual power.
            Paul was also a man with a great purpose. He knew who he was and where he was going. He had a destination - it was Rome. Paul was guided to Rome because he knew he was a debtor to them. He was not ashamed of the Gospel. We go to Rome as a tourist; Paul went there as a missionary. In a circle of about 12 miles on 7 hills, there were two million people, divided into remarkable social structure. There were one million slaves - half the people of Rome; there were 25,000 aristocracy and 975,000 people who were not slaves but absolutely broke. In the streets of Rome, you could hear two cries - one was for bread, and the other was for sports. In the midst of poverty and hunger, they were crazy about their sports - sound familiar? It was an awesome challenge for ministry.
            Paul was also a preachingman. One of the early church fathers wanted to see three things before he died - Solomon's Temple in its splendor, Rome in its glory, and Paul preaching.
            In Rome, Paul preached to soldiers, prisoners, and the Jewish synagogue. He even wrote some of the Word of God while in Rome. His message was about Jesus. We see that some received the Word and some did not. An opinion poll would have revealed Paul more important than Caesar. May your legacy be that you had an impact for Christ on the world.
            Consider what is the greatest need for prayer for the Ivory Coast. Spiritism is still strong, and as a result of that, superstition and ignorance prevail. Pray that revival might break out among the pastors, church leaders and members. Amidst the tremendous growth, pastors have begun to prefer a role of power instead of one of servant leader. Pray that this kind of pride may be replaced with humility and continued burden for the lost, and that the church might develop missionary eyes and hearts to unreached people in this nation of 16 million.
            It is urgent that there be a spiritual awakening here since the level of Bible knowledge and discipleship is very low. Many people in churches have accepted the ''prosperity Gospel''. This heresy is disastrous to the church. Pray for Truth to prevail among God's people in the Ivory Coast.