II Corinthians 11: 23-27 (KJV)
April 30, 2018, 10:41 AM

II Corinthians 11:23-27 states, "...in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."

The more I read about the life of Apostle Paul, the more remarkable his life becomes to me.  He is the classic example of God’s grace being extended to everyone.  Think about people that say they have gone too far for God to save them.  Then think about Apostle Paul, Acts 8: 3 states, "As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."  Before his conversion, Paul was literally imprisoning Christians, even consenting to the death of some of them.  However, in Ephesians 2: 4 we read, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast."  I don’t believe any of us have ever gone that far against God.  No one is beyond the grace and mercy of our God.

Another encouraging trait of Apostle Paul was he never gave up and rejoiced in his sufferings for Christ.  Colossians 1:23-24 states, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church."  The best research I can find indicates that Paul spent about five to six years total in prison.  He was imprisoned at Caesarea for two years, in Rome for at least two years and various other accounts found in Acts.  However, this did not stop him from continuing to witness for Christ.  He would talk to the Roman soldiers, the jail keepers, anyone that would listen.  He even wrote the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon while in prison in Rome. 

So, in conclusion, my thought for this week is this:  No matter where God places you, stay positive, keep trusting in him and witness to the good news found in Christ Jesus.  In Romans 8:28 we read, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Bro. Kenneth Hagan  

  July 2020  
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