Archive for February, 2010


Acts 22:2-5
When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

After Paul’s arrest, he requested an opportunity to speak with his accusers and this passage was the start of his response to them. Two things that stood out to me in this passage were the language he spoke and his introduction. Aramaic was the language of the common folk and was understood by the locals regardless of their own tongues. It was like a local from the province I live in speak with in a dialect of English with the intonation, accent and figures of speech only a local could speak in. His introduction was an effective way for him to strike a chord with the locals to equate him to them. Was Paul trying to buy favor in their eyes and what was the outcome?

Paul’s intent was not to buy favor but to show his accusers that he started where they are but God transformed him to what He wanted him to be. This was not Paul’s way of saving his skin but instead of sharing the gospel. Is is not amazing how God used the unwanted situation Paul got himself into by accepting to perform rituals to convince the Jews. God uses us to bring himself glory and this could at times cost us. However, the price we pay will never come close to God’s sacrifice for us. When we realize what God saved us from, as Paul explains of himself, then we appreciate what God is doing in and through us. Our reward is in heaven with Jesus and not here on earth. Lets always keep that in mind and serve God wholeheartedly.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting this group. Also, share it with your friends and family who need some encouragement and direction in their lives.


Acts 21:23-26
so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

Paul was a determined man and even though many hundred believers in a dozen or more cities begged him to avoid going back to Jerusalem, he insisted and continued his journey because he sensed it important to be there. This was a journey he knew would be the last of his travels and it might be the one that cost him his life. However, he was willing to make this trip because his desire was to glorify God. What then came over him to accept to perform rituals that would change the view of the Jews regarding what he was ministering to the world?

If Paul was in the business of building his credit worthiness, he certainly had not employed the best author for this book. Time and time again it seems like Paul’s shortcomings are brought to the fore and it puts him in poor light. Why was the Lord permitting this one would wonder because Paul was a servant of God. The entire Bible points us to God the father, Jesus his son and the Holy Spirit but certainly not to the apostles. As we progress through the book of Acts, we will see how God uses this situation to bring himself glory and that is a key learning for us today. Our lives are not about us or our safety or our glory or our dominion. Our lives are to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who deserves our all for what he has done for us, forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternity in his presence.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting this group. Also, share it with your friends and family who need some encouragement and direction in their lives.


Luke 20:22-24
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

Over the last many days, I have often referred to the Olympics and for this I apologize. Here in Canada, it is BIG and therefore everything presently revolves around the games as it is being hosted in Vancouver, the city we live in. Every time I see an athlete win a medal and hear the interviews, I long to hear the reason for their success and so far, the only thing I hear is how they did it through their own hard work and determination against all odds. That seems to be our attitude in everything we do. We long for recognition and glory and love to get credit for things we do. This is also the case in charity where the focus is on who gave how much. When we hear Paul speak, we see something totally the opposite and the impact of his life and work was considerably more than all the Olympians put together!

I sometimes wonder if I were in his place, would I do the same? Would I sacrifice my everything to serve the peoples of this world? Maybe if I knew my needs were met, whether it be shelter, food, finances, protection, etc. However, with Paul, Silas, Barnabas, Timothy and the many who served God, they were not funded or provided for by man. Paul, in fact supported himself and his friends through his profession of tent-making and used these resources to provide for his ministry. Every one of them suffered continuously but still believed it a privilege to serve God through their lives. What about us today? Do we live in the comforts of this world and are unwilling to complete the task the Lord Jesus has given us?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting this group. Also, share it with your friends and family who need some encouragement and direction in their lives.


Acts 19:23-27
About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: “Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”

As we continue to journey with Paul through his travels around Turkey, Greece, Italy and the surrounding regions to preach the gospel, we see how the Holy Spirit has been working in and through Paul, the new believers and the brothers who work with Paul to extend God’s dominion in those lands. The signs were obvious and the truth was revealed to everyone so that many submitted themselves before Jesus and accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior. This certainly had an impact on trades that were reliant on the religions of the land as people now had no need of idols, sacrifices, etc. Demetrius represented the silversmiths but the big gathering was anyone who was part of this community serving the worshippers of the Gods of that land. What a devastating effect it must have had on their trade?

Even today, many of us go through life with such a myopic view of God. We define God in a certain way and are unwilling to change that perspective, even if it means it hinders our walk with Him. Denominations, rituals, idols and all the paraphernalia seems to occupy us more than loving and serving God. Lets not be Demetrius’ and be locked in our cages of rigid understanding. Lets open our minds and ask God to lead us to a better understanding of who He is, what he wants of us and follow His lead. We have the Bible which is God’s word to us and that should be our compass in our life. The Holy Spirit is given to us to direct us to God and is available to every believer.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting this group. Also, share it with your friends and family who need some encouragement and direction in their lives.


Acts 18:1b, 4-6, 9-11
Paul left Athens and went to Corinth… Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles”… One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

For a long while, I imagined Paul to be a strong and courageous man for his ability to speak out against what was not right and stand up for the gospel. In today’s passage, we see another side of Paul; we see fear and frustration in a man devoted to the cause. So much so that God had to reassure him in a vision. Paul in his ministry traveled significantly with one goal in mind – to serve Jesus to the world and now he seems lost. What happened to Paul? Had he lost his drive and passion? Was it the strength of the opposition or the lack of support in his ministry? What is the Lord speaking to us this morning?

Like many, we tend to put our faith in things we can see and touch and so in Paul, we drew confidence from his powerful ministry and life because he is a person we can relate to. However, we are reminded again that Paul is not the role model we need to follow but Christ. Paul, like you and me, is a servant of God and lived to glorify God, not himself. We need to be focussed on Jesus and draw strength and direction from Him. As human as Paul was, he could only see opposition and hardened hearts but God sees the big picture and directed him to continue to serve. We need to ask God to show us the way to serve him and we need to give it our all. The reason should not be self glory but God’s glory and our eyes need to fixed on Jesus throughout.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting this group. Also, share it with your friends and family who need some encouragement and direction in their lives.


Acts:17:22-23
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

Paul was a trouble maker before and after the Lord called him to be his own. Before he was saved, he led the lay Jews against the followers of Jesus Christ and after he was saved, he tried to help the same people see the truth, both ways getting himself into trouble. In today’s passage, he is addressing the wise people of Athens who spent their days and nights debating. This was a sport of it’s own kind and these people wanted to hear him out before challenging him back. Why was Paul unwantedly getting himself in a knot?

We are all creatures of habit and we like to steer towards thing we are comfortable with more than things we are not. Paul was a man smitten by God’s love for him and for all mankind that he could not stop himself from sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, whatever the cost. Worse still, he was sure that if he lost his life, he would gain it with Christ and no one could ever take it away. When I watch the athlete’s daily in the winter olympics, I see human passion for being the best, even at the cost of life. Some of these athlete’s train all their lives for a few seconds of competition and only 3 out of millions in the world make it. As Christians, what are we passionate about and are we running the race?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting this group. Also, share it with your friends and family who need some encouragement and direction in their lives.


Acts 16:25-31
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 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?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

As we continue to journey with the disciples in their travels with the gospel from Jerusalem now to Turkey, we see the Holy Spirit working in powerful ways in the lives of people of different tribes and tongues. No longer is gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ restricted to Jews but also to the rest of the world. In today’s passage, there is a twist. The last time Paul was jailed, an angel of God whisked him away to safety but this time around, he and Silas did not move from their cell even though the jail doors were flung open by the earthquake. What caused them to stay back and why would the Lord use such trying circumstances in their lives to affect the jailer and his family’s life?

Note that Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Even though they were just stripped and beaten, their response was not moaning to God but praising God, an act of total foolishness or an act of faith because they could see beyond the physical beating. The jailer’s heart was hardened due to his job where he dealt with the worst of men. God chose to reach him in the place where he was least likely to believe and only because God loved him. Paul and Silas knew their lives were not their own anymore because they had offered it to God for his glory. What pain we face in life is nothing in comparison to the pain God went through when he sacrificed his own son Jesus Christ to save us from sin and an eternity with satan. Lets stop looking at the difficulties in our lives and crying about it, instead, lets offer praise to God for what he can achieve when we are broken for his light to shine through us.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting this group. Also, share it with your friends and family who need some encouragement and direction in their lives.