07/23

July 23

Acts 23:12-35

Have you ever had a Christian brother or sister to discourage you from doing what you knew God was telling you to do? Paul did, and he chose to obey God.

Has God ever called you to do something that involved facing opposition or difficulty? Would God do that? He called Paul to Jerusalem and Rome where more than one prophesied the trouble ahead. Paul obeyed God anyway.

What was the purpose in the trouble? In Acts 23:11, God says, “YOU HAVE TESTIFIED FOR ME IN JERUSALEM.” Paul was threatened by an angry mob of his fellow Jews, he was arrested and nearly interrogated by force, he was turned over to his religious leaders and punched in the face, and now he is back under Roman arrest. The purpose, even though rejected, was to testify of God and the salvation He offers through His Son. The conflict for the Jews from Rome would intensify and scatter the Jews, but it was not without cause. The Jews had more than one opportunity to hear God’s plan and to receive it. Some received, but many refused.

Also in verse 23, God says, “SO YOU MUST ALSO BEAR WITNESS IN ROME.” Not only did God use Paul to make sure the Jews heard the Gospel message in their holy city; but God also used Paul to be a witness to the Gospel to the Gentiles in their capitol city. God wants people to be given the opportunity to choose. Most rejected Paul, but many believed.

Paul was very effective in his ministry in Asia Minor. He got attention, but getting attention is not always fun, comfortable, or safe. When you make a big splash, then your life will need to be guarded from people who want to use you, pull on you, or harm you. The Jews that wanted Paul to be dead knew this was their opportunity. There was a group of 40 men who vowed not to eat or drink until Paul was killed. Why are they so intent on killing Paul? They are dedicated to the cause of stopping what they considered to be false teaching and a threat to Judaism.

The news of the killing leaked out, so Paul told the informant to go to the Roman commander. Because the Romans were protecting Paul from this threat, Paul was sent to Felix in Judea. It would be easy to think those 40 men had their own plot, but God was using it! When we see things happening in our government, let’s pray for them and our country; and let’s not forget that God is in control.

Psalm 38-40

In Psalm 38, David is asking for God to MOVE. The psalm is labeled as a song for remembrance, but remembrance in the sense of applying action, not in the sense of forgetfulness. He looks to God as his only hope, mentioning that others have turned away. If you have ever felt abandoned by friends or family, you are not alone. People are not our salvation. They are not perfect, but God is!

Psalm 39 is a psalm of David to be given to Jeduthun, the chief musician. The reason it is given to him is because the king wants this one incorporated into national worship. It is a song of dependency on God, acknowledging our weakness and God’s mercy and grace.

Psalm 40 gives another example of that reliant faith in God. In verse 1 it says, “I waited patiently for the Lord.” Waiting is an act of faith because instead of going ahead on my own, I’m not moving forward without His help. In the Hebrew, it literally means, “In waiting I waited,” which is a Hebrew expression meaning a continuance with fervor. This is not a complacent waiting, but one of expectation and readiness!

Psalm 40:4 says that when men rely on God, they don’t respect the proud. If you don’t respect them, it’s like saying you won’t turn to them. Instead, you lean on the Lord. If they say something that God isn’t saying, then it’s a lie. It doesn’t matter who they are or how big they are in your life, GOD IS GREATER. Them, we can see; God, we can’t see but we know in spirit. Spend time with God and put your confidence in Him. Don’t look to a person to make things happen for you; look to GOD! He loves to work on behalf of those who put their trust in Him.

Verse 8 says, “I delight to do YOUR WILL, Oh my God.” As long as our lives are lived in the surrender and obedience of faith, we are aligned to receive all the power and resources of heaven to accomplish HIS purpose.

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Note:
God is interested in leaders because leaders often are a gateway to reaching more people. Often in history, we see God place a prophet close to a king so that He has a voice with that leader. He also is a just God that gives a leader and a nation a CHOICE after hearing His message. If they repent, they will be blessed, but if they rebel, they bring judgment on themselves.

God wanted Paul to have a voice in Rome, the capital of the Roman empire. God presented Paul before Caesar and other leaders, even if it was as a prisoner. God gave Paul a platform to share about Jesus Christ and His kingdom to the leader of this great nation.

God has done the same thing in nations throughout history. The attention should not be on the minister or prophet, but on GOD. Which is more important, the messenger or the One who sent the message? Let’s not lift ourselves or others up on a pedestal, whether we are before a king or before a congregation or group, but let’s point to the Most High! May we see ourselves as bondservants of Christ, serving a SAVIOR. HE is the One we lift up for others to see.

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July 22

Acts 23:1-11 The commander that arrested Paul doesn’t understand what Paul has done wrong. He doesn’t want to interrogate a fellow Roman, so he decides to release Paul to the Sanhedrin. The commander does not...
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July 21

Acts 22 Paul has been arrested, saved from an angry, Jewish mob. He requests to speak to his haters, and the commander gives permission. We find what Paul says in Acts 22, speaking in Hebrew,...
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