Tag Archives: Paul

Why did that happen to me?

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”  Philippians 1:12.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Song of Solomon 5-8, and Philippians 1.

God has plans for us.

Silly us when we try to make our own plans.  We do not know best.

If we cling to God’s leadership He will see that we are exactly where He wants us to be.  It may well not be the place we envisioned being BUT it’s His place.

Paul is in prison.  On at least one occasion, an angel appeared and his chains were removed and he escaped.  That isn’t happening this time but Paul has used the change of plans to please God.  Others in his current midst have been exposed to the Gospel.

God used the “inconvenience” of jail time to spread the Gospel there.  It wouldn’t have worked otherwise.

“Lord, You know best.  Forgive me for being troubled by “inconveniences” that come along.  You have Your Own ways of getting my attention.  Thank You for that.  Help me to trust You second by second.  I love You, Lord.”

God has a plan for my life.  Will I let it play out?

 

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Are you wearing a veil?

“Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:15-18.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Judges 17-18, Psalm 89, and 2 Corinthians 3.

Folks feared looking at Moses when he came back from Mount Sinai.  He had this “glow” about him that scared them off.

Believers can be like Moses: We can glow.

The reactions we get from our “glowing” will surely vary.   Some people are going to want to avoid us or they’ll insist that we became less obvious in our beliefs.  Other people will find our “glowing” to be attractive.  They may be equally “glowing” so that there is a camaraderie or they may want to increase their “glow.”

If I am filled with God, there will be an overflow.  It will spill out of me as I live: I’ll say things, I’ll do things that will give it away.  I can’t help myself.

If I am restrained in my “glowing” then I am not filled with Him.  I do not have enough of Him to naturally share with others.

The “veil” referred to in these verses had to be worn by Moses because of the Israelites’ sinfulness.  They weren’t ready to be exposed to God and they knew it.

I have no reason to limit my attempts to reflect God’s glory.  I love God and I want to glow of Him.  My restraints in this effort are of my own doing.  They reflect my sinfulness.

“Lord, forgive me for not reflecting You in my midst.  I have You within me.  I open every part of my being to Your control.  Take me over, now.  Run my life.  I want there to be a natural overflow of You from within me.  I trust You to help me do this.  I love You, Lord.”

We should have no restraints in “glowing” of God.

St. Lucia

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We can’t persuade anyone to believe

“Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you thing that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’  Paul replied, ‘Short time or long – I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.’” Acts 26:28-29.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Numbers 5-6, Psalm 22, and Acts 26.

Paul had just explained to King Agrippa his background and why he was where he was now.  He gave the King the Gospel along the way.

King Agrippa realized that he had been now told of what God/Jesus had done and what his responsibilities now were.  However, instead of rejecting or accepting the Gospel, King Agrippa sidetracked into the shortness of Paul’s presentation.

God must prepare the hearts of those who present His Word as well as those who are receiving His Word.  Paul covered his side.  King Agrippa wasn’t ready to receive the truth and he missed a life-changing opportunity.

I have had very little opportunity to present the Gospel in person.  I sometimes wonder if I need to be better prepared but I know that is a mistake on my part.  What I must be is abiding in Him for all I’m worth and seeing where that leads me.  Paul ended up in front of a King with a perfect opportunity to share the Good News.

“Lord, have Your Way with me.  Be light to my path.  Forgive me for lagging behind Your Will.  Forgive me for running ahead.  Empower me to get it right.  I want to rightly represent You in every minute of the rest of the day.  Prick my conscience when I am messing things up.  I love You, Lord.”

We must let God do the heavy lifting when it comes to sharing the Good News.

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Who is this Jesus?

“When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him (Paul) with any of the crimes I had expected.  Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.”  Acts 25:18-19.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Numbers 3-4, and Acts 25.

Festus was on the scene I suspect during Jesus’ lifetime but look how he describes Him.

Jesus is a dead man but Paul is claiming that He is alive.

Aren’t people in our day following the same thinking?

Jesus is someone they dismiss as a story that has nothing to do with them.

The thought of someone coming back from the dead is very hard for many to believe.

The fact that the return of Jesus from the dead is somehow important (Good News?) is rejected as pure folly.

It is a hard sell for believers.  Doubters and dismissers seem to have the upper hand.

But if these folks only knew Who Jesus really was.  If they only knew that a loving God and His loving Son Jesus did something about our sin problem.  If they only knew that God raised Jesus from the dead to a new life which we also share because all our sins are taken care of.

Becoming a believer of such things necessitates a “seeker” mentality.  If you don’t think you’re sick, you have no interest in a doctor.  If the sins-forgiven life doesn’t interest you, then the Good News won’t be something you will investigate.

Festus was not a seeker of a sins-forgiven life.  He was collecting information about Paul.  He was missing something wonderful.

“Lord, You are God.  You have provided a way to rid me of my sins and to give me new life.  I must be about preparing this world for Your return.  Help me, Father, to be doing what I should.  Help me to rightly represent You this day.  I love You, Father.”

Who is Jesus to you?

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“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

“The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.  He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” Acts 16:29-30.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Leviticus 10-12, and Acts 16.

What an important question!

I am sure that the jailer hadn’t spent time pondering when the best time would be to ask such a question.  He just blurted it out.  He was sure that he had to have the answer as soon as possible.

What a difference there is when the questioner strongly desires the answer, compared to answers being floated to the disinterested.

I fear that so many of us waste our time floating answers to the disinterested rather than to the potentially responsive.  We preach to the choir.

Paul and Silas gave their message where they were.  They lived Godly lives and they spoke of God in their current location.  Why?  Because they believed that they were in those places for His reasons.  They had no clue that their jailer and his family would be believing the Good News.  P&S just lived it out and spoke it out in their midst and a glorious thing happened.

In John 15:7 it says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you want, and it will be done FOR you.”  I want my life to rightly represent God in the midst I’m at.  This verse is very certain to those who are abiding in God: if we’re abiding in Him then we will be asking for things from God.

If I ask to be enabled to rightly represent Him then I MUST let Him take it from there.  The promise in this verse is that He will do (what I asked) FOR me.  He will arrange things.  He will provide the setting and the audience.  He will give me the right words.  I must let Him do the heavy lifting!

“Father, I long to rightly represent You this day in my midst.  I ask and I trust You to orchestrate what happens next.  You are a great God.”

Are we ready to live for Him and speak of Him in our current midst?  Abide, ask, and follow His lead.

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The evidence of Him is among us

“In the past, he let all nations go their own way.  Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their season; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Acts 14:16-17.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Leviticus 4-6, and Acts 14.

Those who deny that there is a God have a lot of explaining to do!

Those who insist that God is removed from what is going on in our midst have a lot of explaining to do!

God is in our midst.  The line, “Yet He has not left himself without testimony,” sets the tone.

The evidences, often taken for granted, include things such as rain and food.

Who is in charge of the weather if it is not God?  Without the right assortment of rain and sunshine we would not have food.

Elijah was able to bring rain BUT he did it by being in contact with God.  He didn’t ask the weatherman to change his forecast!

Paul and Barnabas, in chapter 14, went nuts when some on hand were treating them as if they were gods.  P&S didn’t just say, “Aw, shucks we’re not really that good,” they tore their clothes.  That was being ultimately upset in their day.  After that act they went on to give full credit to God for everything.

The evidences of God are in our midst.  Will we recognize the evidence and give credit to God?  He is the one we must be turning to in all situations.

“Lord, You are real.  You are here with me.  I thank You, as I see snow falling outside, for Your protection.  I thank You that You are in charge and that if I trust You then anything that comes along will be Your gift to me.  I love You, Father.”

Do you see Him in your midst?

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Blessing those you are with

“God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.”  Acts 27:24.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Job 18, Psalm 114, and Acts 27-28.

Paul is on a boat that is in a northeaster.  It looks like certain death for all on board.

BUT Paul hears from an angel of God that despite the boat being destroyed all the passengers will be saved.

I seriously doubt that those on the boat were believers.  It could have been arranged, by God, that just Paul survived but that wasn’t how God worked.  The others were saved because Paul was on board.

Many of us work in godless places.  Our opportunity to present the Good News hasn’t surfaced there.  We want it to and pray that it will.  Today’s verse offers another role we can fulfill amid unbelievers: blessing by association.

Because we are in the midst of the godless, we can impact what goes on there.  How else can you interpret what happened with Paul?

I have no doubt that Paul was actively praying for all those on board.  We can do the same regarding the folks where we work.  How God will transform those prayers is His business.

“Lord, forgive me for limiting You.  No storms are beyond Your control.  Bless the folks where I work.  Use me as a Godly influence in their midst.  Thank You for Your Word.”

God will use believers to bless those in their midst.

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Size doesn’t matter

“But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.”  Acts 26:22.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Job 17, and Acts 24-26.

Paul is doing the talking in this verse.  He is in front of a King.

The role-model aspect to what is happening is that Paul is not adjusting what it says to fit the audience.  Truth is truth and Paul plans to tell it like it is wherever he is.

Then there’s us: How often do we say something in one place and then deliberately not say it elsewhere?

We size up the audience.  We estimate the repercussions.  We play it safe.

Paul wasn’t like that.  Paul was consistent.

Our tempered speaking is often the result of counterfeit gods in our lives.  Having the approval of others is one of those counterfeit gods.  We think, “If I say this then they will be offended and I will lose them as a friend.  I can’t risk that.”

I believe that there is a place for manners.  However, I know that there have been times when I have not spoken up about the place God has in my life.  There were natural openings that I chickened out of.  God can’t be pleased.  There is Scripture about “disowning” Him on earth and the consequence of that action.

“Lord, why do I hesitate to rightly represent You verbally?  I am certainly weak and as long as I function in my own strength I will represent You weakly.  Fill me with Your strength.  I have Your Holy Spirit.  Help me to rightly represent You in every aspect of today.  Thank You, Lord.”

Challenge yourself to rightly represent God in everything you do the rest of today.

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“What shall I do, Lord?”

“’Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ He replied.  My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.  ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.” Acts 22:8-10.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Job 16, and Acts 21-23.

Are we willing to ask such a question?

When we realize that God is the ONLY source of the right answers, we will constantly turn to Him.

Too often we turn our attention to counterfeit gods.  We lower God to an alternative.

When things are going well I often accumulate alternatives to God.  My job becomes a god.  My wealth becomes a god.  My health becomes a god.  If those things are all set, then I’m all set.  But they aren’t all set if they replace my trust in God.

If I start to nurture those things rather than my relationship to God, then trouble is on its way.  Those things are terminal.  They have importance but not ultimate importance.

When Paul meets Jesus up close and personal every other influence in his life melts away.  He now wants to do whatever God wants him to do.  That approach will transform Paul and it will do the same for you and I.

Are we willing to sincerely ask God, “What do You want me to do?”  It starts there.

“Lord, what do You want me doing and not doing?  Reveal Your will to me.  I yield control.  Direct my path.  Thank You, Father.”

Will you ask God, “What do You want me to do?”

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My only aim is ……….

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”  Acts 20:24.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Job 15, and Acts 19-20.

Paul had plenty of threats on his life and numerous near-death experiences.

In today’s chosen verse we learn how Paul endured such things.

Paul took himself out of the center.  The earth wasn’t revolving around him.  God was at the center.  Paul was on the outside “revolving” wherever God took him.

Despite the turmoil, Paul did not lose his intensity to get the job done.  It was his only aim: “In God, how can I get His work carried out?”

Paul’s “work” was to reveal God’s Good News to as many folks as possible.  What is the Good News?  A God with a history of loving the world prepared a way for our burdensome sins to be removed.  How?  He sent Jesus to die for those past/present/future sins of ours.  He raised Jesus from the dead without those sins which were long gone as far as the east is from the west.  Jesus modeled new life, a life unburdened by sin which is ours as well.  Jesus is also coming back, so our task is to prepare the world for His return.

My task is to rightly represent God in my midst.  My words/deeds must shine of Him.  The consequences for me of rightly representing Him are in His hands, not mine.  Hallelujah!

“Lord, thank You for role-model Paul.  His desire to do whatever You wanted must be my desire.  His insistence that the consequences of living for You did not concern Him is admirable.  Infuse me with that courage.  I love You, Father.”

What is the ultimate goal of believers?

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