Reading through the book of Acts these last two years, I have been amazed and challenged to learn from what I’ve read and to live it each day.
In the beginning, as I read one chapter each day, I was most excited about setting up my heart and ministry for miracles of multiplication. I have since learned that Acts is also about how we live daily in a culture that is not church-friendly. It’s about how we act in a way that shows the power of Christ’s love.
In Acts 24, Paul’s life-journey gives us an example of responding to those who reject Jesus and “ 'spitefully use you' ” (Matt. 5:44, NKJV). Paul was falsely accused by religious leaders, and then protected from an ambush and taken by a security army to Caesarea to appear before Governor Felix. Through it all, we see Paul’s response guided by the power of the Holy Spirit and the evidence of his deep relationship with Jesus.
In the middle of much pressure, Paul did not lose his joy. He answered the governor by saying, “ 'I do the more cheerfully answer for myself' ” (Acts 24:10).
When I read this, I asked myself how I would react under such pressure.
Whatever you and I face today, joy is the deep abiding work of the Holy Spirit in us, and my prayer is that I don’t lose our joy during seasons of stress.
Paul did not forget his message, even under extreme circumstances. Paul spoke his message clearly: “ 'I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men' ” (vv. 15-16).
In our world today, the enemy has worked hard to diminish our voice and confuse our message. In response, may we raise our voices with a clear message that Jesus is our only hope for resurrection to eternal life.
We also learn a lesson from Paul that he did not lose sight of his purpose. In the middle of persecution, slander, injustice and imprisonment, the purposes of God were fulfilled in Paul’s life and ministry as he shared the gospel with Felix and his wife.
Oh, by the way, Paul also had to be patient as he was held for more than two years. At the end of the day, Felix—the very person Paul had preached Christ to—left office and left Paul bound in chains.
May the Lord be glorified in our lives today as we serve with joy and preach the message of His love and forgiveness, all while being patient, not losing sight of His purpose in and through us every day.
By: Dan Mundt, district supervisor, Heartland District
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