! Acts 28:1-6
1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness.
They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.
3 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.
4 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, Justice has not allowed him to live." 5 But *Paul shook the snake off* into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
6 *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.
* A viper driven out by the fire..
* These are the times when we will see the Devil most.
There are times when we are doing the will of God and the heat is too much for him.
* Open doors because of sin is different than the normal everyday things.
Bad weather, accidents, hard times,…
* Let me also say that bad things happen to all.
It is not always the devil.
* When they saw the snake hanging from his hand, *they said to each other…*
* Here we see the tendency of people to want to explain bad things.
* Looking for reasons in the person that it happens to.
They saw the rough seas as a punishment from God and the snake as a final move to stop him, he must be a criminal.
Man made religion to fit to his experiences.
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too *superstitious*.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, *I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD*.
Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
!! Thinking people are some of the most religious!
Horoscopes, palm readers, omen watchers, etc…
* *After a long time of watching him…*
* *Isn’t it terrible that when people get hurt, when accidents happen (traffic jams) then people want to stop and watch!*
* *Watch and expect the worst!
The people expect the worst…*
* *Well he’s not a murderer, so he must be a God!*
* *It is amazing what people base their judgments on.*
* *Also how quickly people will turn on you.
For or Against.*
* *Paul shook the snake off* into the fire and *suffered no ill effects*
* *This should be our response whether devil or circumstance!
SHAKE IT OFF!*
* *Don’t give up!
Stay faithful in the hardest times*
!!! 2 Cor 11:21-28
21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
What anyone else dares to boast about-- I am speaking as a fool-- I also dare to boast about.
22 Are they Hebrews?
So am I. Are they Israelites?
So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants?
So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ?
(I am out of my mind to talk like this.)
I am more.
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move.
I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
*~* Even though I am equal with everyone, I have still gone through bad things!
It seems he sees these things as qualifications.
Not only the suffering, but the continuing through them.!*
* *Trust God! Don’t rely on your own strength.*
!!! 1 Sam 17:33-40
33 Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth."
34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep.
When *a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep* from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.
When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.
36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
37 *The LORD* who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
Saul said to David, "Go, and *the LORD be with you*."
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic.
He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.
39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
"I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them."
So he took them off.
40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
* Sometimes we look more at the problems than we do at the answer.
The devil didn’t send the Lion and the Bear, or the snake to Paul.
But God does send the answer!
!!! 1 Sam 17:45-47
45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but *I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty*, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
46 This day *the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head*.
*Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.*
47 *All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands."
I believe that is what Paul demonstrated when he shook off the snake!
*God is for me!
What did he do next?*
*He healed the sick on the island!*
*Are we superstitious?
Are we looking for the devil in everything or are we looking for God!?*