Posts Tagged ‘Caesarea’


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 10:9-18
Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

Have you read through a passage in the Bible and wondered why some parts seem out of context. The first time I read the chapter, this vision of Peter’s seemed out of place to me and I could not make the connect. Why would God give Peter this vision? Was it because he was hungry that his mind was hallucinating about food? Couldn’t be because some of the animals were not the kind that people would eat. Did Peter miss the point of the vision and not act on what the Lord was asking him to do? What is the Lord speaking to us through this vision today?

Peter’s first reaction to the vision and the demand of God was to say no because these were not sacrifices that he as a Jew could make and neither were these appropriate food. To the Jews, only certain animals were permitted to be sacrificed and specific meats to be eaten. God’s response clarified the entire confusion. To Peter, the gospel was to the Jews and not Gentiles. God was preparing him to share the gospel with the Gentiles (Non Jews) and he got the point when the Gentiles were at his door to take him to Caesarea (Italy). To us today, we are also happy to talk Church to the Churchgoers and reach out to our family but what about the Gentiles (In our minds)? Has God not created them? What about the people considered low in society, immoral, unclean, poor, devious, etc? Don’t they deserve to know God’s love as much as we do? In God’s sight, we are nothing but SINNERS saved by Grace and so there is no difference between any two humans. Lets share God’s love with the world without our blinders on.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Acts 8:5-8, 26-27, 38b-40
Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city…Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians…Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

The book of Acts gives us a sense of how the Church exploded after Jesus’ resurrection. Nothing was the same and followers of Christ were doing things that were not of them. Philip seems to be the man of action mentioned throughout this chapter and he was involved in some real mystifying acts like healing people with evil spirits inside of them, healing cripples and paralytics and even disappearing after baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch who accepted Christ. What is God speaking to us today through this passage?

For many weeks, a dear friend of mine has been plagued by a rasping cough. It’s trying and hard when the medication he has been taking has had no effect and his faith is being challenged. It is at times such as these when one doubts why the Lord permits suffering in the lives of his cherished and those living far from God seem to be in bliss. The reality is that like Philip, we are called to serve God regardless of when and where and we should consider it a privilege to serve for the salvation we have received from the Lord. Philip was not acting in his strength but through the Holy Spirit at work in him. The Lord works in mysterious ways when we submit to his will and we need to pray for humble hearts that we might serve faithfully and God is glorified through our lives.

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.