Tag Archives: Acts of the Apostles

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 27

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 27

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 27th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul sails for Rome
  • The storm
  • The shipwreck

Paul sails for Rome

Paul (and other prisoners) were now put on a boat (under the guidance of a centurion called Julius) to sail to Rome. Along the way they stopped Sidon, where we see how God touched Julius heart by allowing Paul to go to friends there and let them provide for him. Even in times of difficulties we will see that God has not forgotten us and is providing for us. Without God in Paul’s life I don’t believe that Julius would have allowed this. So I urge you even in your hardest times to trust on God to provide for you!

At some point they arrived at Myra in Lycia where they found an Alexandrian ship that was going to Rome. During this voyage they had already lost a lot of time due to the wind working against them. And Paul knew because the Day of Atonement was coming close that it became more dangerous, therefore he warned all of them the voyage would be disastrous and that great losses would come to both the ship and the men. God will always warn us if danger is coming, so that we can let God guide us away from that danger. Listen to the Holy Spirit and don’t think you should not listen, because if the Holy Spirit speaks than He does so for a reason!

Unfortunately they did not listen and they continued their journey to Rome.

The storm

We now see that the storm indeed came and all the predicted losses indeed happened. In our lives we will not be exempt from storms, but God will warn, guide and protect us. After a certain moment Paul told them about his warnings, but also that from now on they should not lose their courage and continue and know that no more losses would be incurred (through God). He told them that an angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid as he will stand trial in Rome. And that God has graciously given him the lives of himself and the lives of all that sailed with him. God is so good! Then he warns them that although nothing would happen to their lives they should know that they would run aground.

The shipwreck

When the men feared that a shipwreck was imminent they were trying to leave the ship, but Paul told them to stay on the ship and know that they will keep their lives. Through the Holy Spirit all of them listened and stayed. Then he told them to eat again, because the last 14 days they barely ate anything. And the next morning they reached land without any lose of life. Their some of the guards were planning to kill all the prisoners, but God intervened on Paul’s behalf and touched Julius’ heart and all lives were spared.

Know that God is continuously with you and will protect you!

 

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 26

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 26

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 26th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul before Agrippa

Paul before Agrippa

In this case Paul is now standing trial before Agrippa. I respect how Agrippa first gives Paul the opportunity to talk on his own behalf. Of course, if we are in a situation where we need to speak in our own defense, always ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Never do it on your own strength!

See how Paul is very respectful and thanks Agrippa for this opportunity, also because as a fellow Jew he is very acquainted with all the Jewish customs. In comparison with the trials before Roman people, this is a much more fair situation, because when Paul explains things, Agrippa can place them in the right context (of course the Holy Spirit needs to open his heart to be fair during the whole trial).

He explains that he has always live strict as a Pharisee, but that his hope has come to be on God and His promises, that he is now on trial. He ask Agrippa why it should be so horrible that he believes that God can raise people from the death. Furthermore, I find it very strong that he is fully open about his past in which he was very active in persecuting Christians. He could have acted like that never happened, but he trusted on God and decided to be fully open about his past, also the bad parts. We should also not hide the bad things, just to make ourselves look better. Because when we do this, than we are insulting God. But also when other people know about those bad things and they bring it out, than we will loose all credibility (and that is one thing our enemies will very actively try to accomplish). He then tells about his conversion to Christian and his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. This way he was given the opportunity to give a testimony of his faith. He also told Agrippa that God asked him to spread the Gospel and teach people about Jesus. And that this is the reason that he was doing all this journeys and talking about Jesus. And also that we need to repent. And that this was the main reason that some Jews wanted him to be death.

At this point Festus interrupted him and insulted him that he was way out of line and could not say this and that his faith made him mad. See how our enemies will do anything to discredit us. Because if they can discredit us, than all that we say can also be discredited. And the devil wants exactly this. He hates it if we talk about Jesus and other people listen to it.

Paul remained calm and just replied to Festus that all he was saying was true and reasonable and that also Agrippa should be well aware of everything about him. But also about what all the prophets have proclaimed about Jesus.

Agrippa then asked him if he could convert him to Christianity. Paul gave the only good response, by saying that in prayer he will ask that not only Agrippa, but all in the room will believe.

Then they left the room and Agrippa (touched by the Holy Spirit) said to Festus that he saw no reason to condemn Paul and that nothing warranted Paul to be imprisoned or be killed. God is really amazing how he can touch the right people to help us out in our time of need. Please pray that you grow closer to God, so that you learn to fully rely on Him!

Amen!

 

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 25

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 25

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 25th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul’s trial before Festus
  • Festus consults King Agrippa

Paul’s trial before Festus

Again we see that the chief priest and the Jewish leaders were determined to kill Paul. How can they call themselves followers of God, when the only thing in their heart seems to be hate.

At that moment Festus arrived in the province and travelled from Caesarea to Jerusalem, where the chief priest and Jewish leaders appeared before him and again brought their charges on Paul to him. Again they asked a favor to have Paul brought Paul to Jerusalem hoping to kill him along the way.

Festus however told them that he was held at Caesarea and if they wanted to press charges to could come along and press charges there. Again God saved Paul from this ambush! After being in Caesarea for 10 days they finally got to see Paul and they brought all wild acquisitions against him, but none of them they could prove. Paul again had as his only defense that he had done nothing wrong, which was actually true. Don’t spent your energy defending elaborately when your enemy isn’t even interested in the truth.

Festus, apparently, not being a very strong man was trying to appease the Jews and asked a favor to Paul to go with them and stand trial. Paul was led by the Holy Spirit and told him that he wasn’t unwilling to die if he committed any crime, but he hadn’t. Also he rightfully said that he did nothing to the Jews and if someone was to judge him it was Caesar, so he demanded that if he was to be tried and sentenced it was to be in Rome by Caesar. I love the book of Acts because we continuously see how Paul was protected and led by the Holy Spirit. Never allow a false court / accuser to demand to prosecute you as they have no right.

Festus consults King Agrippa

A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to pay respect to Festus. Because Festus now consulted Agrippa on the matter regarding Paul. Festus explained the whole situation and asked Festus to speak with Agrippa himself. See how God can really make all our enemies clueless. It doesn’t matter how powerful or smart a human may think he or she is, God can easily bring confusion in that person.

Again Paul was brought before an audience including King Agrippa. They did not know how to handle Paul’s demand to be tried in Rome, as they needed something to have to accuse him on and the Jewish leaders only could bring religious disputes before them.

God is amazing, because he will not allow our enemies to take us with lies!

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 24

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 24

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 24th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul’s trial before Felix

Paul’s trial before Felix

5 days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some elders and a lawyer, named Tertullus. See how determined enemies of God are to try and take down true believers. Luckily we can rely on the protection of God!

When Paul was brought before Felix, it was the lawyer that opened his statement. Here we can see how he tries to flatter Felix so much to get him on their site. People that are in a trial against believers will use others means like flattering or lies to get the believer to be convicted, because they know based on the facts they have no chance. Also for this reason it is important to continuously rely on the Holy Spirit.

After the flattering they immediately started their lies about Paul that he was nothing but a troublemaker, while during his whole ministry he himself did not cause any trouble at all. In fact, it were always his enemies (with their hearts hardened by the devil) that made trouble against him.

See how Paul silently waited his turn and did not interrupt until Felix allowed him to speak and he thanked Felix to allow him to defend himself. He uses the truth as his defense telling that the only reason that he came to Jerusalem was to worship and that he did not make any trouble and that he has more than enough witnesses to that fact. He also was lead by the Holy Spirit by telling that his accusers had no prove for all their (false) accusations against him. He did admit that they way that he follows God, is considered by the elders as a sect, but that he also holds the law and believes in all that the prophets have foretold. Also that he has the same hope of the resurrection of both the righteous and wicked.

He came to Jerusalem after years of absence and clean and was only bringing offering for the poor. See how Paul does not fear the attacks of his enemies. We also need to put our faith on God to know even in time of attacks that God is always with us. Also he confronted the elders to bring those accusers from Asia if they have proof.

We see however that although this Felix was part of the rulers of the land (as a Roman) he did not dare to make a decision and stopped the hearing and to appease the elders he let Paul stay in jail for 2 years when he was replaced by Porcius Festus. That we are in fact right doesn’t mean that all people will do what is considered to be the right thing. Bug even in those time God is always with us, so don’t despair.

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 23

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 23

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 23th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul before the Sanhedrin
  • The plot to kill Paul
  • Paul transferred to Caesarea

Paul before the Sanhedrin

This part of chapter 22 shows an amazing ability of God to put division in our enemies. Paul was put before the Sanhedrin for both Sadducees and Pharisees were joined together with the goal to judge (and eventually kill) Paul.

Paul opened the “trial” by stating that he had fulfilled his duty to God in all good conscience to this day, which was actually true. But this truth was not acceptable for the high priest, because they were not looking for the truth, but for a reason to kill Paul. So the high priest ordered his man to slap Paul the face. Paul told them that God would strike them, because they claim to defend the law, but they themselves were in violation of the law by striking him. And now the men claimed that Paul was insulting the high priest. How is it not insulting to hurt someone just for telling the truth?

Now we see how the Holy Spirit led Paul to bring confusion. The Holy Spirit let him now that amongst the men were both Sadducees and Pharisees. He told him that he himself was a Pharisee from Sadducee descent and was only on trial because he had hope for the resurrection  of dead. Because Sadducees don’t believe that there is such a thing as resurrection a dispute between both the Pharisees and Sadducees broke loose and they forgot about Paul.

The Roman commander however was afraid (because the Holy Spirit sent him to protect the  life of Paul) that Paul would be killed, he took him away barracks. That night God came to Paul and told him that he needed to testify the same way in Rome as he did in Jerusalem. See again how God continuously leads and protects us through the Holy Spirit Therefore it is vital that you are baptized in the Holy Spirit so that God can let Him work in your life.

The plot to kill Paul

I love the book of Acts so much, because it shows how the Holy Spirit continuously works in our life. People, of whom the hard has been so made full of hatred of God’s people (and knowingly of unknowingly also hate God) will not rest until they achieved their goal. But because we serve the Almighty God, He will always protect us.

Amongst Jews a conspiracy was formed to kill Paul. A total of 40 man took an oath not to drink nor eat, before they killed Paul. They discussed their plan with the chief priest and the elders and instead of  stopping them from this devilish plan, they actually agreed to it. The plan was to ask the Roman commander to bring Paul to the Sanhedrin for some further questioning, and on the way there the 40 would ambush and kill them.

The Holy Spirit however made sure that the sister heard of this plan and she went to Paul and told him. Paul asked the commander to listen to her and God really touched his heart because he listened and urged her not to tell anyone about this.

Paul transferred to Caesarea

The Roman commander was immediately guided by the Holy Spirit (not specifically mentioned, but the only one that can guide a non-believer to protect a believer is God himself. He arranged for a big escort and ordered them to bring him at 9 in the evening to Caesarea to governor Felix together with a letter explaining that Paul was captured by the Jews for a dispute on the law for which he found no reason to kill him, still the Jews were trying to everything to do so.

Paul arrived safely and gave the letter. The governor took him in and protected him and allowed him to stay there and took it on himself to order the accusers to come to him to discuss the whole situation giving Paul a fair trial.

I pray that we trust fully on the Holy Spirit (and listen to His guidance) in everything. Never hear Him and decide not to listen. If God tells you something, then it is the only good thing!

Thanks you God for protecting and guiding us!

Amen!

 

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 22

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 22

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 22th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul speaks to the crowd (continued)
  • Paul the Roman citizen

Paul speaks to the crowd (continued)

As mentioned in the previous chapter Paul silenced the crowd and addressed them in Aramaic. He now takes the opportunity to come to his own defense. We as Christians still have the right to come to our defense, but let it be guided by the Holy Spirit.

He tells them that he also is a Jew and just like them used to persecute anyone that did not obey the law. See how he doesn’t sugar coat his past sins, but he openly admits him. We also need to be open about our sins and do not pretend if we never have sinned, how horrible the sin may have been. He also tells them of all that happened on the road to Damascus were he was blinded and all that came after it, leading to him to become a follower of Christ. And how all this lead to God asking him to go the gentiles to spread the word of God. We should and need to take very opportunity to give witness to God and what He has an still does in our life. Our real life testimony of how we came to faith have so much impact on people that listen and open to hear about God.

Paul the Roman citizen

Unfortunately he was met by a crowd that were so hardened in their hearts that they demanded that he was still killed, but the Roman commander did not listen to this and took him to their barracks. They did however started to flog him, when he reminded him that they were actually flogging a Roman citizen. When the commander heard this, he was scared as were his men and they stopped immediately and released him. The day after the Roman commandeered ordered the chief priest and the members of the Sanhedrin to exactly find out what had happened.

See how God intervened. They were busy punishing him without even a fair travel, but through the Holy Spirit Paul knew to let them know that he was a Roman citizen and punishing a Roman citizen without a fair investigation and trial would really hurt themselves.  See how the Holy Spirit always leads us and lets us speak the right words in the right time.

Amen!

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 21

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 21

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 21th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • On to Jerusalem
  • Paul’s arrival at Jerusalem
  • Paul arrested
  • Paul speak to the crowd

On to Jerusalem

They traveled and after some time landed in Syria where they met disciples, where they stayed for 7 days. Through the Holy Spirit they urged Paul not to travel to Jerusalem. They continued their travel and reached Caesarea, where they stayed at the house of Phillip the evangelist which had 4 daughters which prophesied. When they were there for a couple of days a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He took the belt of Paul and held it with his own hands and feet and said to them that the Holy Spirit told him, that in this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and hand him over the the gentiles. Yet again, everyone urged Paul not to go to Jerusalem, but he told them all that he was ready not only to be bound, but even to die in Jerusalem in the name of the Lord Jesus. He wanted the Lord’s will to be done. I have deep respect that Paul was given more than enough chances to not go, but he felt in his heart that it was his time to go there and was willing to die for God. We should also be willing to lay down our life’s for God.

Paul’s arrival at Jerusalem

When they were in Jerusalem they went and meet James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done amongst the gentiles through his ministry.

They also informed Paul that Jews were telling that he was telling Jews that they should turn away from Moses and not have their children circumcised. They told Paul that there were 4 man that have taken a vow and told him to join in their purification rites and pay their expenses to show the Jews that the stories were not true and that Paul was living in obedience of the law.

And for the gentiles they decided that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the blood of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.

Paul arrested

When the 7 days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple and were putting the Jews against Paul, claiming that Paul was teaching everywhere against their laws.

See how some people will do everything to disturb God’s work and even try to hinder the ones that work for God. They put their own laws higher then God and were willing to kill Paul for it.

The news reached the commander of the Romans that heard that there was an uproar and arrested Paul and put him in chains. The romans asked what he had done, but could not get a good answer, so they took him to their barracks. See, how God made sure that Paul was not killed.

Paul speaks to the crowd

He asked the commander to address the crowd. He allowed it after Paul made it known that was not an Egyptian that started a revolt. For some reason they thought that Paul was guilty of this. But after he explained that he was a jew, he got permission to address the crowd. When the became silent he addressed them in Aramaic.

See my Bible study on Acts 22 for what Paul spoke to the crowd.

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 20

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 20

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 20th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Through Macedonia and Greece
  • Eutychus raised from the dead at Troas
  • Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders

Through Macedonia and Greece

After a while the uproar ended, and after calling for the disciples there and encouraging them, he left Macedonia. When we leave our brothers and sisters, especially in a time of uproar/hectic (for example in the church) we should never just leave them, but make sure that we encourage them before we leave, so that their faith becomes strengthened.

After Paul left Macedonia he left to finally end  up in Greece, along the way he spoke many words of encouragement to people. See how God really used Paul to continuously encourage other Christians. This also show that we should always encourage each others no matter where we are. As Christians we always need to be encouraged and strengthened, also because we never no in what way another believer is going through and is tested. Your words (through the Holy Spirit) can encourage another Christian just on the right time to stay strong in faith or even grow in faith.

Paul only stayed in Greece for three months, because some Jews (again) plotted against him. Again we see how the Holy Spirit protects us and makes sure that any plots against us will be in vain, when carrying out God’s work. Because of the plot, Paul decided to sail back to Macedonia. This time 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. All these man went ahead and went to Troas, while Paul first celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread, before also joining them.

Eutychus Raised From the Dead at Troas

Paul was only planning to stay for 1 days so he spoke  until midnight at the time that they also broke bread. During the long service a man called Eutychus fell asleep and fell 3 stories down. Paul immediately went to the young man and told everyone not to be alarmed and that the man was fine. And he was alive! See how faith in God, can make us even let people come from the death. Never doubt God and think that for God some things are impossible! Nothing is impossible for Him!

Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders

For now it was time for Paul to leave the Ephesians and head back to Jerusalem. Before he left he spent time with the believers there talking about all that had happened and how God has really done amazing work there, but also how it impacted the life of Paul that was facing literally jail and death in a lot of places, merely for teaching the word of God.

See how they first prayed with Paul before they let him leave. I believe when we meet with other Christians that is very important to start and finish with prayer. If it is someone visiting or when someone is new in a church or leaving a church.

 

 

 

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 19

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 19

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 19th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul in Ephesus
  • The riot in Ephesus

Paul in Ephesus

While Apollos stayed in Corinth, Paul travelled to the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he met some disciples and asked them if they received the Holy Spirit. They answered that they did not. And that they were not even aware of the Holy Spirit. They only received John’s baptism, which is only for repentance. This story shows how important it is spread the word of God and make sure that all (new) believers are fully aware of all that you have to do as a Christian. When we meet other Christians it is important to know if they not only know the Holy Spirit, but also if they received the Holy Ghost. Don’t be mistaken we need/require the Holy Spirit in our life!

Paul immediately baptized them and let them receive the Holy Spirit and we read how it immediately impacted their life’s.

Unfortunately, we again read that not all people are open to be real believers and they refused. Paul stayed there for three months to spread the gospel in the synagogue there. In the coming 2 years Paul’s ministry continued there and a lot of Jews and Greeks heared about the gospel and were baptized. Even some began driving out evil spirits.

There we see however how important it is to be very strong in our faith. Because they were driving them out in the name Jesus whom Paul preaches. The evil spirits are however not easily defeated if you are not commanding them to leave in the name of God and trust on God and not on Paul or another believer. Therefore make sure that the Holy Spirit guides you to do this, because in this case the evil spirit made the man attack these believers and beat them severely. This did have a good consequence, because the people now saw how mighty God was and that you cannot just take it lightly. A lot of people burnt and destroyed evil things in there life and there faith grew. Paul left some disciples there to continue the work. He left for Rome.

The riot in Ephesus

As always when God is working in a certain place, the people that make money or gain power by working for evil spirits, will work against God and us to prevent Gods work to be done. In Ephesus it was a silversmith called Demetrius that made statues of idols that was afraid to lose his business and he got others to join his “cause” and began rioting. Paul tried to speak to the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. When it becomes to dangerous, than God will make sure that we are protected. In this case we see that profit was more important to some instead of being saved. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and when people are refusing to change and come to God and leave there wicked ways behind, than God will guide you to another place.

 

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 18

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 18

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 18th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • In Corinth
  • Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos

In Corinth

After Paul left Athens, he travelled to Corinth, were he met a Jew named Aquila. He had recently come from Rome with his wife Priscilla. We see that they did not leave out of free will, but because Rome had become unsafe for Christians. Know that the more and more the end of times comes closer we will also see that persecution of us Christians will come closer to home.

While Paul was there he used his time to teach in the Jewish synagogue to testify that Jesus was / is the Messiah. Then Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia and began openly opposing Paul. Instead of makin a whole argument, he told them that their blood would be on their heads. Don’t think that actively working against other Christians that are spreading the gospel will not bring problems between God and you. Paul showed that it was of no use to argue of fight with them and left them and went to the house of Titus Justus (a worshipper of God).

Here we see that apparently he was not only opposed by his former travelling companions, but also by others. Therefore God sent him a vision to not be afraid and keep doing the work for God. God will always make sure that He keeps on encouraging us, when we are doing His work. Never let yourself be discouraged to stop working for God. Even if your own private life isn’t the best example. You will never honor God by fully leaving Him out of your life.

Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos

When Paul left Corinth, he left for Syria and this time Aquila and Priscilla travelled with him. Don’t always assume that certain friends or other Christians will be in your life forever. I firmly believe (also from my own experience) that God sent us specific people in our life to be a blessing, guidance or help in any other way. When they arrived at Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila stayed and expected and hoped Paul would do so as well, but He knew God was calling Him to be somewhere else. He went to Caesarea and then to Jerusalem, but kept it open that God could bring them together again.

After greeting the church there he moved on to Antioch. and also visit more churches in the regions of Galatia and Phrygia. See how important it is to constantly strengthen other churches. We as Christians need each other to know that God is in our midst and that God has not forgotten us.

In the last part we see why Paul and Aquila and Priscilla parted there ways. God knew that Priscilla and Aquila needed to meet Apollos that was very learned man which helped them in teaching that God was and is truly the son of God. Don’t think that if God brings changes in your life which could stop a relationship with another Christian that it is a bad thing, because God knows what He is doing. Listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and you will se how much of a blessing you can and will be to others.