How far does your love go?

Devotion for Friday, April 13, 2012

Read Acts 22:1-16

Paul stands up before the crowd of people who included both the Roman guard as well as the jewish believers who had just been beating them. He then goes on to share his personal testimony how that God had saved him from his sins, and called him into a life of evangelism.

Isn’t it interesting the amount of compassion that Paul had for the people who really weren’t for him. If someone was beating me, or had taken over my nation and were governing over my people I wouldn’t really be to favorable to either one of those parties. Yet Paul loved God and had a such a heart for God and for those people that he was willing to risk more hatred and hurt to share the Gospel with them.

Do I love God and others that much?
Do I believe the gospel that much?

Lord, please grow my faith and increase my boldness.


Devotion for April 12, 2012

Read Acts 21:27-40

This is incredible. Paul was warned that if he went to Jerusalem he would be bound, and persecuted. Paul doesn’t seem to be there very long and this is exactly what happened. He was falsly accused, beaten by a crowd of people, and then found, and bound by the Roman guards that were there. While he was being lead by the Roman Guard he asks him if he can address the people who had been beating him and hurting him. He then goes on to address these people in the next few verses.

How can I apply this to my life?

What I find so incredibly amazing is this- I am often not very bold in my witness. I get scared to say something when that something needs to be said. I worry that I may be seen as too pushy or whatever. Paul was so motivated by the gospel that he was willing over and over again to be beaten, maligned, imprisoned and much worse. Eventually Paul did give his life for the gospel.When I read about Paul, I don’t sense a spirit of fear in his life. I believe that there was a confidence in the Gospel that lead him to do what he did!

The Gospel is the HOPE FOR THE WORLD! I need to be bold and stand out in bringing that hope every chance I get, NO MATTER WHAT!

Submit to others…

Read Acts 21:15-26

When Paul gets to Jerusalem a few really cool things happen.

First, he gets to report all of the cool things God had done with his ministry among the gentiles. The neat thing is that the church leaders that he talked to were excited and glorified God as a result.

Second, Paul showed submission to the Jewish church leaders. These leaders had already worked through a right theology when it came to what they should ask of the new gentile believers. The leaders of the church at Jerusalem also told Paul that some people believed that Paul was spreading an irreverent attitude toward parts of the Judaic law among the gentiles. This of course was not true. They suggested that Paul showed them differently by still taking part in some of the traditions that they had not yet forsaken that God was still permitting at this time.

Why would Paul do this? He gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law. To them that are without law as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men that I might by all means
save some.”

How can I apply this to my life?
Paul and these men give us a wonderful example in the text today…

If what is being asked is not wrong, sometimes it is better to submit to it for the sake of harmony. Is there something that you are doing that is offending someone or making it difficult for them to live rightly? Even though you may have a right to do it, it may be better to stop it for their sake.
Ultimately, Paul’s motivation was the proclamation of the gospel to all people. This guided his thoughts and actions. Do they govern mine?


Devotion for Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Read Acts 21:1-14

Paul continues to travel back toward Jerusalem. On his way the followers of Christ that he meets keep telling him not to go. It gets to the point that a guy named Agabus prophesies by the Holy Spirit that if Paul goes to Jersualem that he will be bound (put under arrest.)

What an incredible response that Paul gave! Paul essentially says, “BRING IT ON! Whatever God wants to do, I am ok with. The will of the Lord be done.”

How can I apply this to my life?
Do you ever get scared about doing what God wants you to do? Are you ever worried or scared about what other people think of you?  We have to be able to say, no matter what, “the will of the Lord be done.” It starts with knowing that what I’m doing is what God wants me to do.