Friday, August 8, 2008

Over in Malta

People once saw illnesses cured and a man survive a poisonous snake bite on the island of Malta. If you'll take a peek at Acts 28, you can read the story, where Paul was shipwrecked on the island and spent three months there, along with all the people on the ship.

This was a ship of prisoners being escorted by Roman soldiers to Rome. They had started too late in the season and gotten caught by the winter storms, forcing them to stay at Malta until spring.

Shortly after the bedraggled group from the ship crawled ashore, Paul was bitten by a snake. In that pagan culture, such an event was evidence that Paul was some sort of evil person being punished by the gods. "Maybe he's a murderer," was the idea of the islanders. They assumed that, although he had survived the shipwreck, justice would be done anyway.

However, Paul lived and soon was invited into the home of Publius, the main landowner of the island. When Publius became ill with dysentery, Paul prayed for him and laid hands on him. Publius was healed.

During the three months that Paul was on the island of Malta, many others were healed as well. When the Roman entourage headed for Rome in the spring, the Maltans gave them many honors and send along all the provisions they'd need.

Knowing Paul, I am sure that he spent those three months telling the Maltans about Jesus. I suspect he left many believers behind when he sailed on to Rome.

I tell you this because my friend, Angela, is in Malta right now. She is part of a prayer team walking through the island and participating in the International Day of Prayer there. Please pray for her daily if you can.

There have been believers on Malta since the days of Paul, but these days I'm told their faith has tilted toward formal traditionalism with little life. Angela is on the front line there, trying to pierce that apathy. Let's support her with our prayers.

She'll be in Malta 10 days and will be posting updates to her blog. Please keep her in your prayers.

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