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Paul and Jonah

Acts 27:1-28:16 describes Paul’s voyage to Rome to stand trial before Caesar.  It was late in the year, when sailing on the Mediterranean was dangerous.  At one point they had to decide whether to continue to Rome or spend the winter where they were and finish their voyage the following spring.

Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”
Acts 27:9-10

They rejected Paul’s advice and continued their journey.

But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
Acts 27:11-12

A storm rose and the crew of the ship gave up all hope of survival. Read the rest of this entry

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Acceptable offerings

Under the Law of Moses the Israelites were required to worship God by offering animal sacrifices.  There were several different kinds of sacrifices required but one thing they all had in common was that the animals had to be free of any defects.  In the time of the prophet Malachi many of the people were dishonoring God by offering imperfect animals.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear?” says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name.

But you say, “How have we despised your name?” By offering polluted food upon my altar.

But you say, “How have we polluted you?” By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil?
Malachi 1:6-8

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God will judge our works

The Bible teaches that salvation is a gift of God that we receive through faith and is not the result of any work that we have done.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

But the Bible also says that we will be judged for what we do.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:10

How can these two facts be reconciled?

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Your bucket list

Some people make a bucket list, a list of things they want to do before they die.  The name comes from the expression “kick the bucket”, a slang expression for dying.

If you are a Christian you don’t need to make a bucket list.  God has already made one for you.

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

The purpose of these works isn’t to achieve salvation.  Salvation is a gift that God gives us by his grace and we receive it by faith.

By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

We aren’t saved by our works but one of the reasons we are saved is to serve God by carrying out the work he has given us to do.

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