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Prophecy is messy.


Often hard to hear.

But good and loving.

We’ll learn about this truth in a brief account of Paul’s trip to Rome. He was going there as a prisoner to be judged for his crime: preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Over ten years ago, Laurie and I taught English in China. (We were also there for just a year in 2001.) On one very special evening, we prayed for several young ladies to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The prayer time began when I laid hands on and prayed for a young lady whom I will call Mary, in order to protect her identity. I closed my eyes, put my hand on the top of her head and—clunk—felt a bonk on my forehead. I opened my eyes and saw that Mary had collapsed onto the floor of our apartment. She began wailing loudly, like she had lost a beloved friend or relative. Since there was a Chinese guard only a few yards from our front door, this was a concern to us. Thankfully, there was no ominous knock on the door.

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Laurie shared an interesting insight this morning from the life of the prophet Elijah. The Lord told him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”

Elijah goes to the city, finds the widow and asks her to bring him some water, which she does. He then asks her to bring “a morsel of bread.” She responds by saying, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

The Lord had already commanded this widow to provide food for Elijah. She was expecting him.

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