July 18

Acts 20:17-38

The remainder of chapter 20 is Paul’s late address to the Ephesian leaders. Paul is coming closer to his imprisonment, and he seems to know it. We see his heart for the people, not only from the words he spoke, but from the actions he took. We see him warning the leaders to guard the church from wolves that would divide the church family (verse 29). Paul also encouraged them to continue being built up and fulfilling their callings, taking their portion of responsibility, their inheritance (verse 32).

To the leaders Paul said, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Paul, an apostle, traveled to reach people for Christ, start local churches, put pastors over those churches, and move on to gain new territory. Paul valued the local pastors working with him, and the local pastors valued Paul. The five-fold leadership gifts that Christ gave to the kingdom are to work together to see the believers, the majority of the kingdom, equipped to do the work of the ministry.

Paul also mentioned his sharing the “whole counsel of God.” This is one reason why it is important to read through the entire Bible, and reading the Bible can be easily done in a year, reading 3-4 chapters a day. When we read the whole Bible, we get a better overview of who God is and what God is doing. If we only pick out bits and pieces, we are limiting our understanding.

After Paul speaks, the leaders pray together and share an emotional goodbye. They are moved because of the words he spoke to them, but also because they knew they would not see Paul again. They took Paul’s words seriously, knowing they were being charged with the responsibility of the ministry in Ephesus, helping to launch Christianity, a faith that has now spread around the globe. As end-time harvesters, we should honor these men and women for what they did in the beginning of the Early Church. Together, we have been part of preparing a kingdom for Christ to rule over. Jesus is coming back soon to reign over the nations of the earth. Let’s keep working until He comes!

Psalm 25-27

Psalm 25 is a partial acrostic (alphabetical) psalm. The first letter of the first word in each verse begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In this psalm, we see the word “way” mentioned four times. This word is used many times in the Old Testament, used as either walking in God’s ways or our own ways. When we walk in God’s ways, we are living righteously. For a man or woman to walk in their own way, or to be lost in their way, is usually referring living a sinful life. The definition of sinner in the Hebrew language is “to miss the mark” or “to lose your way.” In verse 12, it says that God chooses those who reverence (fear) Him to TEACH His way. That person who lives in humble, surrendered obedience will do well. In verse 14, it says God will reveal His secrets and show His covenant to those who fear Him. God’s ways are much different from the world’s ways, so to understand and know Him and His benefits, one must have a heart of faith that will look to God and follow Him. This will also cause a person to be saved from being caught in a net, which is a Hebrew illustration of the dangers of being ensnared by an enemy or by sin itself.

Psalm 26 is a psalm of David for redemption. He says in verse 8, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells.” We can know the Presence of God and the glory of God.

Psalm 27 is a psalm where David declares his faith in God, his reliance and obedience to the Lord. Even in difficulty, David waits on the Lord. Waiting is an act of faith, an act of dependency. Those who are self-sufficient do not wait on the Lord; instead, they go forward in their own limited strength and ability.

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