Archive for the ‘Acts’ Category


Acts 28:30-31
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sometimes, the most challenging aspect of our walk with the Lord is the monotony. Paul was a man after God’s own heart and from the moment of his conversion, he was a man with a zeal for God and served God to the Jews and gentiles with his all. Yet he was imprisoned, doubted, challenged, mocked and rejected for his faith. As Paul’s journey continued to Malta, then to Syracuse, Rhegium, Puteoli and finally to Rome, he continued to serve God faithfully by sharing the gospel with all whom he met, by encouraging the brothers in each location if there was a body of believers and by walking the straight and narrow. What did it take for him to be so driven to serve God through such trying circumstances?

Yesterday at Church, we were introduced to a new believer who just got baptized. In him, I saw a deep yearning for God and a walk that I would love to call my own. In him I saw the joy of forgiveness and the realization of what Christ had done for him. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, is it not a challenge that soon we start living life back in our own terms and drift away from God? Is that not a worry to you? I now remember how the Lord saved me and what the sweetness of His forgiveness was when I was saved. I now know what Paul saw daily as he served the Lord faithfully until his final days. Lets remember and lets certainly not forget!

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

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Acts 27:21-25
After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.

Eventually Paul was sentenced to prison based on King Agrippa’s ruling and this began a treacherous but significant journey for Paul, the other prisoners, the guards and the crew of the ship transporting them. Against Paul’s advice, the centurion, based on the ship crew’s advice, decided to proceed to Phoenix because they believed it to be safer to berth the vessel there rather than Crete. Paul spoke up after many days of suffering in the storm and gave them an assurance of safety revealed to him by an angel of God. This might have sounded reassuring to those seeking God’s intervention or ridiculous to those who were cold to the very mention of God. What is God saying to us this morning?

We like to hear good things about ourselves and our situations and dislike being corrected. Paul’s initial warning might have sounded silly to anyone who had no faith in Paul or his God or to anyone who felt they knew better. Doesn’t that sound like us? We would rather focus on reading what astrologers have to say because they always have nice things for us than read God’s word which seems harsh and painful. God’s direction is like our parent’s advice that seems hard and painful but really is meant to build us up. We need to open our hearts and minds to Jesus through his word because through obedience to him, we have an assurance of salvation, forgiveness of our sins and an eternity in God’s presence whereas without him, we have the world and all the frustrations and disappointments that come with it.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Acts 26:24-25, 28-29
At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable… Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

As Paul presented his own defense to King Agrippa, we see once again how Paul continues to speak the truth in gentle love. However, King Agrippa is quick to realize that Paul is not just speaking in his own defense but that he is giving his listeners reason to believe in his God. In his eyes, Agrippa wondered if Paul has lost his mind in his new realization and therefore acted like a driven lunatic in sharing this new found truth. What was the point of all this we might wonder?

When I look back at the many years Paul was on trial, the one trend that is clear is how God used Paul to share the good news with people who otherwise would never care to give a ear to such a message. Paul’s ministry was focussed on serving Christ to the Gentiles in far away lands and the same man was now standing trial before governors, rulers and people in authority in Caesarea who may never have had the opportunity to be transformed by the truth of Jesus. I am reminded again today that we are called to wear Christ on our person every moment because God will use us to shine his light and love to the lost.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Acts 25:18-19
When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him 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.

Years after Paul was first charged by Ananias and then brought to Caesarea, his trial continues under the new leadership of Festus and now King Agrippa. This is part of a conversation Festus has with Agrippa regarding Paul and what stood out to me was Festus’ understanding of Paul’s belief in a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. It made me wonder about what the Jews and any non-believers thought about Paul’s beliefs and similarly our belief. It made me wonder why people found it so hard to believe at all?

To most people, religion is a something they do and they do it because it is taught to them, expected of them and makes them feel secure. It is something they cling to for self-comfort and therefore is about their needs being met. For Paul and believers in Jesus, it is about a relationship with God that saved us from the depths of hell. It is not an act but a realization of the truth. Today I am reminded that I need to stop judging those around me, those in authority, etc. but that I should be focussed on seeking the Lord and living a life modeled on His own and let God use our lives as a testimony of lives transformed by Him.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Acts 24:5-9
“We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.” The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

Paul was brought to Caesarea for his trial by Governor Felix and the passage above is the charge that was levied against him. This charge was levied by Ananias, the High Priest, who traveled with other prominent Jews for the hearing. When I read this charge, the first thoughts that came to mind were the false charges made by the Jews against Jesus Christ. From what we have read about Paul in the various gospels, I had to agree with the charge if the Jews were referring to Paul being a troublemaker before submitting his life to Christ but not after. Do you agree?

Yesterday I had to vote for people in key positions on a chapter of marketing executives here and to help me decide, there was a brief description of each person along with a promise from them to do things to support the cause. How was I to judge their character from these well written briefs? In much the same way, when the accusations were made against Paul and with eyewitness (From the court’s point of view) testimonies to support, would he not have looked guilty? This is our story even in today. As Christians, we will face persecution if we stand for Jesus and the price we pay might be our lives but what we gain is an eternity with Christ and an opportunity to share the Love of God that transformed sinners like us, with the lost world. Is that not pure joy?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Acts 23:1-5
Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Those who were standing near Paul said, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?” Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’”

What a tense many moments that must have been for Paul and his accusers. Paul’s statement of completing God’s will did not go well with Ananias who ordered he be hit on the mouth for such an utterance. Paul reacted because he knew Ananias was making a mistake of calling on judgment without a decision being made on whether he was guilty or free because Ananias, as President of the Sanhedrin, could only pronounce judgment on the accused when proven guilty. All of this changes when someone from the crowd reminds Paul that Ananias needs to be respected and Paul corrects himself. Was Paul wrong in condemning Ananias and what is the Lord speaking to us through this?

Paul was aware that there were a few among his accusers who might be open to the gospel and instead of confusing them chose to correct himself. However, we have to note that he does not apologize to Ananias but only corrects himself for speaking against those in authority as is taught in the Bible. For a man wrongfully accused, he certainly showed grace in the midst of persecution and this is not something that comes naturally to us. I am reminded today that in this life there will be trouble because we stand up with Jesus against the forces of evil and we are to always remember that we are to be lighthouses for Christ in this dark world. We are mirrors of God’s love to those who need him and our joy is to serve God with our all.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


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

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