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The Next Two Years

The Next Two Years

27 October 2009

Scripture:

30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him. (Acts 28:30-31 NLT)

Paul was a missionary. God could call Paul to missions ministry because he was more cosmopolitan than most Jews, he had no strong ties to a particular place, he could endure hardship and had no desire to accumulate wealth and possessions. During the parts of his life we know about, he had spent longer periods of time in Antioch, Corinth, and Ephesus. But he always moved on.

Now Paul was unavoidably detained. He had spent two years in prison in Caesarea Philippi awaiting trial, then four or five months of travel, now two years under house arrest in Rome. At his own expense.

We know that those two years were productive in terms of Paul’s daily meetings with those who came to visit him and that the message of Christ spread throughout Rome, even making converts in Caesar’s court. But the big thing is the writing. Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Philemon during his imprisonments in Rome. Think of the truths revealed in these letter-books and think what our life and faith would be without them!

There are seasons of life and ministry. God loves us so much he calls us to serve him in ways that we already function to some degree. He calls us to use our strengths and our gifts in difference-making Spirit-empowered ways. But God also requires us to do some things that are not as natural or joy-making because he has longer-range and deeper-impact purposes for us. We must keep functioning and find new ways to use our gifts and abilities when the seasons of our lives change.

Prayer:

Father, I’ve never been more aware of the changing seasons. The leaves are golden and falling outside my window. The weather is colder. But it’s not only the annual cycle of climate that’s changing. The seasons of my life are changing. Please help me respond in faith-filled and creative ways to the changing seasons of my life. Amen.

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