Even though Paul was a prisoner, had been in a shipwreck, and had been bitten by a snake, when he saw those brethren from the Market of Appius and The Three Taverns “he thanked God and took courage” (Acts 28:15). The Choctaw congregation at the service of the Lord’s Day, November 3, was able to greet Mary and Geoffrey Kirima (whom we support to share the Gospel in Kenya), and to hear brother Jean-T-Elmera preach the Word, while giving a report of his work with us in Haiti. At the evening service, hearts were surely stirred to hear Mike Mazzalongo share his insights and blessings related to 40 years of preaching the Word. The edifying events of that Lord’s Day have stimulated some other heartening thoughts.
Have you ever mediated and calculated how many placed the Gospel has bene taught and preached by members of the Choctaw congregation? Here are the known places: Montreal (Canada); Guadeloupe; Switzerland; Haiti; Jerusalem; Nigeria; Capetown (S. Africa) ; Bangkok (Thailand); Madras & Bombay (India); Philippines; El Salvador; Trinidad (Tabago); Russia; Ukraine; plus many more places in over 32 states in the US! Add to this the preaching over the internet by the work of Mike Mazzalongo and Hal Gatewood through “BibleTalk,” then only the Lord knows all the places and people who have heard the Word preached by members of the Choctaw congregation!
Paul surely gave the proper two fold response for such outreach efforts by the brethren. 1. Paul did “thank God!” To God be the glory for great things He has done! (note John 15:5). Would you slip off somewhere and thank God for His grace and goodness? 2. Paul took “courage”! The noun and verb form of the Greek term Paul used (tharsos; tharseo) is defined as “be of good cheer, spoken by way of encouragement; be confident, be courageous; don’t be afraid.”(1) Note carefully that definition. Are You thinking and living like that? Let that splendid spirit lead you forward in the Lord’s service. Without fear and with confidence, be od “good cheer” and “be encouraged!” Daringly be a devout disciple for our Father in heaven! Why? Because there are so many other places and people who need to hear and heed the glorious Gospel of Jesus the Lord!
(1) Cf. Edward Robinson, A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, p.330; and William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gringrinch, A Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, p.352