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Paul, listening & not listening Acts 21

4 Jun

Phillip, one of the seven, first deacons. Paul is surrounded by prophets by the end of Acts 21. He has Phillip’s four unmarried daughters, prophetess’, Agabus and Phillip himself, a deacon who taught, baptised, anointed and spoke prophetically.

These prophets, Acts 21 Luke tells us, tell all that he, Paul), should not go to Jerusalem, but also that “… he would not be dissuaded, “

Paul, a man of many, many words, surrounded by word speakers, does not listen. He goes, head down, focused to imprisonments, to Jerusalem, to a death.

Why doesn’t Paul listen? Below is part of the prophets’ speaking their stories, (‘we’ includes Luke )

8 “Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”

12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

So, Why doesn’t Paul listen to these prophets?

Paul allows them to speak as they hear; and he eats them.

But Paul also heard his own heart, and this is what Paul has to follow to Jerusalem: his heart, not others.

Today, no matter what others say, no matter what they hear, I must follow what He, my Lord, has placed in my heart.

my prayer: lord, may I always be tired to you; your word and your love.

Lord, tie me, in all ways, to you. To you.

Paul, at a beach Acts 21

3 Jun

Acts 21, final goodbyes

remember how your mother and her sisters do the ‘good bye’ kissing tour after a family event? Taking 4’ever to leave?

And remember how anxious I was to hit the road, get moving?

I still get anxious today especially after spending brief moments with these past family images.

I want to…

run away from those past memories

run away from further days, nights, times of ‘goodbyes’

run away and sit metaphorically ( as my father sat physically ) alone in a car passing the wordless but screamed message, ‘leave! Now. Goodbye.’

Paul in Acts 21 probably felt in this passage on his way, path to Jerusalem as I did,

“After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.

Paul desires the journey, not the home; the visit, not the settling. Yet, Paul allows them and himself a frozen moment, a picture moment of memory, on a beach, on knees, with prayers.

verse 5, ‘When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.’

All, men, women and children, all walked Paul and his companions to the beach. Why? to cry, to kiss, to kneel and say ‘goodbyes.’

They kneel in sands and cry tears as grains in the sand.

In, at this ‘beach home,’ Paul’s family, (and not just the guys, the men, ) come to say goodbye.

This was a ‘real goodbye’; a final fare thee well. A kneeling goodbye. Prophets and companions; disciples and friends; understanding children and in-understanding adults, come and speak final goodbyes. These are kisses with and without words. Final, real ‘goodbyes.’

And everyone kneels, everyone together. Why?

So Paul would feel part of community; not alone orb isolated, by choice or circumstances.

He would feel as a grain, one bit of sand. He would be a beach. This is Paul’s ‘goodbye’ moment.

Me, I have always hated such moments. I have always had trouble with accepting gifts, goodbyes and loving kisses. I still run away from compliments and put thank cards and texts on the side ‘for later,’

Feeling unworthy, I make myself unworthy.

But truthfully, I am as He-Jesus- sees me: to Him I am precious- worth gold, silver, worth countless kissing, innumerable prayers. To him I am a dearly loved grain of sand.

So, now, I try not to worry over time or goodbyes. I try to …Pause and…

…pause again. Breathe and kneel, sit, stand, walk, on a sandy beaches. ( and not in cars )

This day, I let others hold, speak, sit and pray over me. Today, …

Allow a memory to hold you, sit with you and speak and say ‘goodbye.’

For if Paul could walk, pause on a beach, so can you.

So can I.

This is how a final goodbye appears, is, exists in communities.

It is a sand of tears, a beach of memories, a life well felt, well remembered.

NYC lulu 2 June

2 Jun

Good Day, this June 2020

Thank you all for your prayers; your cards and calls; especially thank you for love- your love have has covered me,

Some context .,,

Last June 2019 I had a partial right knee replacement surgery. The doctor had good reviews; the partial replacement was an old surgery that was becoming new again. Three months easy recovery and no more pains.

Then we were to do the left knee as it also needed surgery.

Easy.

Well, twenty years ago I had a car hit me while I was crossing a street. My right leg was broken; then it healed and was forgotten.

Till August 2019. Till my my new right knee replacement and my physical therapy put so much pressure on my leg that the old brake came back again.

My doctor missed it in the X Ray and he didn’t see me in a follow up till Mid August, two months after the partial replacement.

So, after seeing me in his office he said this is not right and then he said we need a surgery right now before my leg had a total collapse.

But, shocked after working so hard in PT, I needed some time to get ready for a second surgery that was to put a plate in my leg with connecting screws.

I trusted this doctor. I wanted to trust. But even though he said he was going to treat me like his father, he was not the guy. The clues I should have faced and seen?

No follow through on seeing details, seeing the old break. No Seeing or listening to me. Unseen.

The right leg broke further after more Physical Therapy. Now six of the seven screws were broken in the leg.

You see, I should have had a total redo. Whole new total knee replacement; a fitted cast to walk with; a rod to support the leg.

But some young smart doctors don’t want to admit a mistake; they want to keep the partial because that was still ‘ok’

His first call was ‘right’ and he could prove it. The second operation would prove it.

And myself? Well, this smart guy was too trusting to ask his doctor medicine friends for help. Advice. No, I was alone and would manage alone.

So I had a second operation that failed; my spirit was empty and broken more than my leg.

My doctor said maybe I could get by for awhile on, with the one screw that was holding everything together.

I started asking, seeking other advice, consults. And I went to medical friends and found through one of their recommendations my present doctor.

He is the one who last Friday gave me a whole new reset. Knee; bone, the works.

He was very happy that he could re drill the screws out of my bone without breaking my bones further. As he told Priscilla, I had ‘a waterfall, a landscape of small fractures.’ I feel that he saw, that he sees me.

So, nine days out I have restarted PT and I am healing.

It feels different this time.

But whether it – my leg- is healing now or not, I am at peace. How?

Because of you, you who have seen, you who have love me.

Priscilla and I have, during this time of virus, been taking care of our NYC grandchildren Sam -9- and Charlotte-7- while Elisabeth was caring for patients at Sloan. I have been writing.( see charlesosewalt.com for both pictures and writings)

The kiddos returned to Queens on Mother’s Day; we had the, I had the third surgery on the 22nd.

Friends took us to the hospital and back; friends bought food for us. Friends sent books to read. Practical.

And friends prayed. The spiritual.

You all are both. Practical and spiritual partners, coverers.

How can you help, give, going forward?

Pray for Priscilla and I to love each other; to love this process and to love those He brings towards, to, us.

Pray for a love supreme, a divine and defining love.

Thank you all for your patience as we communicate. I wanted to send this update out earlier, but now, this is the time.

tear,

2 Jun

dearest, a verse. A single verse today. No, actually, just a part of a verse, the first of Acts 21,

On to Jerusalem

“After we had torn ourselves away from them, …” 1

I tear myself everyday. I miss London, Stewardship; my family; my friends. My school Morris. Memories and moments. Why?

I am, made, firmed in His image. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Jesus was made to be torn. And he was for us.

Tear today; miss and love well today. Tear for someone, even yourself, today.

Tear.

how to kneel

1 Jun

Acts 20, how to kneel

dears, dearest readers, today we finish Acts 20

today,

now…

36 ‘Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.’

today-make a list of those whom you want to kneel, weep, pray, and kiss

now..,

Pause, pause again, now.,,,

compose your list carefully, thoughtfully, and then communicate to each on your ‘kneeling list’

…your and His love

💓 for them,

kneel

held, part 2 Acts 20

31 May

from yesterday’s Acts study,

two questions today (May 31) please consider how to answer them ( both together) after reviewing today’s passage also from Acts 20 below) … consider yesterday’s Acts’ reflection in Paul’s talking v Paul’s holding… my thoughts will be posted on Sunday, 31 May  

Today, no thoughts, only questions that desire to ‘hold’ 

Before we can conclude, answer, probe any questions, here are some thoughts on how questions, essential, thoughtful questions can hold.’

I read the word systemically. In the early morning a book fm the Old Testament; ( presently Jeremiah ); in the evening a book from the New Testament ( presently 2 Corinthians ) and the Psalm of the day. ( presently I am at the 61st Psalm- and I will repeat this Psalm on Monday 1 June; Tuesday will be the 62nd Psalm )

In the midst of reading I pray ‘ Lord show me your living.’

The word lives and as a living being must be seen and felt; engaged. Loved and loved by, the, His word.

As I pray, I ask, ‘speak.’ And He speaks through how His word, His flesh, connects – images and words; events and people; connections and questions, essential questions He raises in my heart, my mind.

Thus, yesterday’s questions.

essential question 1: why didn’t Paul with his companions travel to the city of Ephesus …? ( besides being in a hurry)
eq 2: how is Paul held by the Ephesian elders? How is it/was it similar to how he held Eutychus at Troas ? What does such ‘holding’ speak of, mean?

my answers, after prayerful questioning, pausing, asking…

1. Paul does not travel to Ephesus,at this time, because he was being held by another people, another city, another image: Jerusalem. He wanted, desired to be held by his spiritual home, parent. Held by both his past and present.

2. The Elders of Ephesus come out of their city to Paul – to pray, kneel, hold and cry with him. They are holding him as all those who can ever hold; who can ever love.

They hold Paul as a new born. They hold to give life, as Paul held Eutychus: their touch brings life. This is what Paul covets, a life well held, a life well examined.

And this is what, as I question the living word brings to me: life, daily life.

The text – my life- ( Acts 20 with my questions follow) from yesterday follows.

‘We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.
17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.”

essential question 1: why didn’t Paul with his companions travel to the city of Ephesus …? ( besides being in a hurry)
eq 2: how is Paul held by the Ephesian elders? How is it/was it similar to how he held Eutychus at Troas ? What does such ‘holding’ speak of, mean?

Holding means life. Life.

‘holding’; as being held Acts 20

30 May

two questions today- please consider how to answer them ( both together) after reviewing today’s passage also from Acts 20 below) … consider yesterday’s Acts’ reflection on Paul’s talking v Paul’s holding… my thoughts will be posted on Sunday, 31 May


Today, no thoughts, only questions that desire to ‘hold’

essential question 1: why didn’t Paul with his companions travel to the city of Ephesus …? ( besides being in a hurry)
eq 2: how is Paul held by the Ephesian elders? How is it/was it similar to how he held Eutychus at Troas ? What does such ‘holding’ speak of, mean?


Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders from Acts 20:13

“We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.
17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.”

Paul, …’talked on and on’ Acts 20

29 May

Acts 20… ‘as Paul talked on and on’

as I have grown older, as I have walked 40 years with Priscilla, I am learning to talk less, much less, and listen,

Listen to hear Him,

more, and more of Him, more.

I don’t want to be a ‘Paul,’ – who was quite ‘quiet’ in Ephesus, in the theatre and the town’s marketplace. The quiet Paul of Ephesus speaks much after, the first day at Troas …

“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “

Eutychus is made whole, alive, by Paul’s arms, not by words

As I get older, I need more arms, less words; more coverings, more holds.

I need the Paul in my life to hold, not talk. And I am then …

held,. I am then hear into life.

Paul, encourage, becomes an encourager, Acts 20

27 May

Why does Paul journey? How does he journey?

David, in Psalm 57, (4-8) sings of Paul’s journey, he sings of his, David’s own entombment in a cave pursued by Saul, … he sings

‘I am in the midst of lions
I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!’

And David closes verse 8 with ‘ I will awaken the dawn.’

David’s night in a cave, in darkness, without physical companions, sings to his own soul and spirit. He encourages himself with the only companions he raced to a shelter with: his musical instruments- his harp, his lure. His words. His songs. Paul, in David’s footsteps, has people as his lyres and harps, his choir….

from Acts 20, the magnificent 7

after the uproar, Paul decides to continue on his journeys. What is his purpose?

verse 2 tells of his …. “speaking many words of encouragement”

Acts 20 speaks of Paul

‘When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, 3 where he stayed three months. Because some Jews had plotted against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas….’

Paul has seven men with him.

“He was accompanied by Sopater ..,Aristarchus and Secundus … Gaius, …Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus …’

Saul, who becomes Paul after Barnabas’ encouragements, is now the encourager. Changed, he speaks; he is followed; he is ‘accompanied’.

Paul, in need of companions, is blessed by these 7 men. In need of campions, he both accompanies and is a ‘companied.’

Encouraged by Barnabas, Paul begins to encourage. This is his journey; this is ours.

Encourage another now; today. Encourage.

Ephesus, part 4 ‘I know’

25 May

Ephesus, part 4, from Acts 19 with a focus on verse 15

“One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” NIV

When Tim Keller speaks about ‘knowing God,’ this passage calls to my heart. In Tim’s analogy, one can know about honey, can read about it, can have another person share on how it tastes, but without experiencing it yourself, you can never ever know honey. One can know about honey by without tasting, bout one can’t know honey.

And the evil spirit that speaks here in Acts 19 knows, truly knows, Jesus. The Jewish exorcists don’t.

‘And certain of the wandering exorcist Jews, took upon [them] to name over those having the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, `We adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul doth preach;’

14 and there were certain — seven sons of Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest — who are doing this thing;

15 and the evil spirit, answering, said, `Jesus I know, and Paul I am acquainted with; and ye — who are ye?’

16 And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaping upon them, and having overcome them, prevailed against them, so that naked and wounded they did flee out of that house,

17 and this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who are dwelling at Ephesus, and fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified, many also of those who did believe were coming, confessing and declaring their acts,

19 and many of those who had practised the curious arts, having brought the books together, were burning [them] before all; and they reckoned together the prices of them, and found [it] five myriads of silverlings;

20 so powerfully was the word of God increasing and prevailing.’

“five myriads of silverlings;” translates into 137 years. This is what the Ephesian people burn: the life they burn.

we can know about honey; about love; about a new job we are just beginning, but to know to really know God we have to experience Him as honey; as love; as He himself.

We can and we must know him. Know, and love. Love and know.