Rome was the end of the journey for the weary apostle Paul.  After a sea journey filled with excitement, danger, and shipwreck, he landed in Italy.  He had spoken earlier to the Corinthians of the rigours of his life as an evangelist for Christ. He told of the perils in the wilderness, in the sea, and among false brethren.  He spoke of cold, nakedness, weariness and pain.  He suffered much.

     Now a Roman prisoner, Paul was heading to an uncertain future in the capital city.  He was among strangers, and few were sympathetic towards him.  He could be forgiven if his arrival in Rome filled him with foreboding instead of joy.

     Upon disembarkation at the port of Puteoli, some ways south of Rome, Paul was refreshed by some believers.  Then the aging apostle was marched, under the centurion’s guard, towards the great city.  No doubt the sense of concern increased in his heart as they approached Rome.

     The Lord, however, had a blessing in store.  When they reached Appii forum, Paul was met by some other brethren.  They had heard he was coming and so had made their way out several miles to meet him.  They were a balm to a weary soul, and when Paul saw them, “he thanked God, and took courage”  [Acts 28:15].

     God never leaves His saints without comfort, and He promises never to forsake them.  How good to have Christian friends to share with us in our joys and sorrows.  Let us thank God He has not left us alone, but has given us a natural family and a church family to love and encourage us along life’s way.


     Probably no part of the human anatomy receives more care than the hair.  It is combed, cut, coloured, permed and so on.  Each of us at birth receives about half a million hair follicles and none thereafter.  The average number of hairs for each human is about 100,000 although many people have much less!  Hair is strong, each one being able to withstand the stress of 0.25lb.

      The Lord who created us tells us that each hair is numbered individually, “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” [Luke 12:7].  He tells us this to encourage us of His continual presence, and watch care over us.


‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bidden, good folk?” he cried, “Who’ll start the bidding for me?”

“A dollar – a dollar” – then two, only two – “two dollars, and who’ll make it three?”

“Going for three” –but no – From the room far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow.

Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loosened strings,

He played a melody pure and sweet as a carolling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,

Said, “NOW what am I bid for the old violin?”

And he held it up with the bow.

“A thousand dollars – and who’ll make it two” “Two thousand – and who’ll make it three?

“Three thousand once – three thousand twice- and going – and gone,” cried he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not understand what changed its worth?”  Quick came the reply,

“The touch of the Master’s hand.”


And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,

Is auctioned cheap, to a thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin.

A “mess of pottage” – a glass of wine, a game and he travels on:

He is going once – and going twice – he’s going and almost gone!

But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought, by the touch of the Master’s hand.  [Myra Brooks]


     Psalm 77 is interesting for it starts with a litany of woe.  The Psalmist said, “I am so troubled that I cannot speak” [v4].  Notice the emphasis on the personal pronoun “I.”  He is thinking about himself and not God.  He even questions, “Hath God forgotten to be gracious?”

     Then he remembers God [v11] and the rest of the psalm is taken up in His praise.  Often our discouragement stems from the fact that we have forgotten God.  Let us count our blessings and our grief will soon turn to joy.