Acts 28:1-16, vs. 3, “But, when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. Vs. 5 “But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm”
In the previous chapter, Paul a prisoner with other prisoners had just survived shipwreck, and not only that, the soldiers planned to kill them, then they battled their way to an Island called Malta. The natives of the land showed then unusual kindness, made fire for them to keep them warm and Paul being the man he was, began to serve by gathering bundle of sticks for the fire to keep the fire burning and keep them warm.
Note that Paul is not stopping to live because they were shipwrecked, he is forgetting those things which are behind and moving forward (Philippians 3:12-14) knowing in the back of his mind that he has to suffer great things for the sake of the call (Acts 9:16). To be in the cold would mean dying, to have the fire and not continue to feed it with sticks would cause it to die.
We have to remember there is a great chance of having to go through our own shipwrecks with family, ministry, finances, life, etc. We may even find ourselves in some islands cold. Paul knew he was in God’s will and even in his tough time, you don’t hear him complain. What we need to ask ourselves are we in God’s will?, if yes, what will we do to keep the fire burning while in His will? You have something to do to keep the fire burning to warm you and those around you. You have the word of God, prayer, fellowship, evangelism to keep the fire burning. There are people who abandon their faith, put off their fires and die of cold. In cold and rainy seasons, a believer who keeps adding sticks to his fire will cause it to keep burning hotter and brighter. Seasons will not dictate what he can and cannot go through, he will know that as long as He is in God’s will and living through it, God will bring him through Job 23:10, “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. ”
Be aware that as the heat intensifies, so will things hiding that cannot stand the heat will surface. Vs. 3 “a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand”. I found that as you intensify the heat by serving the Lord whole heartedly, you discover that there are vipers present only heat can reveal them. Vipers of pride, selfishness, fear etc., things that were fine and present as long as the fire was not burning hot. And these vipers will not come out and run away, they will come out to fasten onto your life and my life. The key is to shake them off into the same fire and let it be consumed. What did Paul do, Vs. 5 “… he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm”.
I remember 2-3 years ago when my wife and I began to intensify the heat of our prayer lives that vipers of every kind were coming out to fasten on our lives. More attacks were present, doors were being shut tight and the fire revealed some things that were present we had to cast them before the Lord by throwing them back in the fire to be consumed. The burning fire is keeping us warm with joy and peace through what we call our cold season. What makes it joyous, we know who is in control. Daily we are adding sticks to our fires to keep it burning in all seasons, what about you?. 2Timothy 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day”, blessings Ev