January has been an interesting and trying month. Between COVID and the flu I have not felt like writing devotions. Consequently, while I started writing February’s thoughts, they were not nearly finished. Because of this I reprinted the 2018 February Devotion. This month will take you through the Book of Acts, which is a good follow up on Missions Month.
The Book of Acts is a tremendously important book. It records the exploits of the Apostles, the birth and early development of the Church and the Acts of the Holy Spirit regenerating lost souls and working through the redeemed to accomplish His plan. May He bless you as you read and meditate on this great New Testament book
February 1 - Acts 1
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
This promise did several things for the followers of the Lord Jesus. First, it filled their hearts with hope. For the rest of their lives this hope would sustain them, encourage them and help them endure difficulties they would face. It would motivate their hearts to continue in faithful service to Christ despite bitter opposition they would face in an unbelieving world. And it would motivate them to seek to be the witnesses that Jesus called them to be.
Thank God for this "blessed hope" we have been given. For two thousand years our brothers and sisters in Christ have been longing and waiting for the "glorious appearing of our great God and Savior." Keep looking up child of God. He is coming again, and His coming is nearer than it has ever been. Just keep trusting, serving and watching!
Lord, we believe and are more certain than ever of Your soon coming. Help us to continue to serve You faithfully until that blessed day when we see You face to face. "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
February 2 - Acts 2
New births are always exciting. It was when our children were born, and it was when God blessed our family with grandchildren. The birth of the Church of the Lord Jesus was exciting beyond words. The Holy Spirit filled the Church with power and with gladness. The Gospel of Christ was preach, souls were saved and the Church multiplied. Believers were filled with joy and their joy was most contagious. It is still exciting!
Oh Christian, we are part of the greatest and most exciting work going on in the world today; the work Jesus gave His life for and that He is still most concerned with today. We have the same Holy Spirit, the same message and the same hope that thrilled our first brothers and sisters in the church. Let's get excited! Let's pray the the Holy Spirit will so fill our hearts and our church
Lord Jesus, keep us excited about Your Church, Your work in the world. Help us to sense Your presence and power in our church, and fill us with the Holy Spirit.
February 3 - Acts 3
"...such as I have give I thee...."
The early church soon learned that it could not meet all the needs of the world, but it could meet it's most pressing need. The church had the Truth that the world was literally perishing for a lack of. Peter couldn't meet this man's financial need, but he could offer him Jesus. And in so doing effected his forever.
Many think it is the job of the church to feed the world. Unfortunately, some churches have taken up that mantle and have left off doing that which the Master has commanded. We could feed all the world, and they still would perish without the knowledge of Christ.
Of course there must be works of benevolence, and we have always been involved with such. But our most pressing responsibility is the clear presentation of the Gospel of Christ. This is what we have to give, and must give to a lost and dying world.
Lord Jesus, help us to busy ourselves in meeting the greatest needs of the world, an understanding of Your salvation that they so desperately need.
February 4 - Acts 4
Act 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
From the beginning, the world was opposed to the church and it's message, and sought from the beginning to silence it. Peter's answer to the council was precise and unwavering, the answer that the church must live by today.
As Christians, we should ever endeavor to be good citizens and to abide by the laws of the land. However, when those laws contradict the Word and will of God, we must choose God's way over man's. Should that time come, we must be willing, like the first church, to patiently and lovingly bear the consequences of our actions.
Father, help us to be faithful to You, Your Word and Your will for our lives. Amen.
February 5 - Acts 5
Attitude. The early church had the right attitude. They were filled with joy, gladness, and excitement in their faith in Jesus Christ. When their faith brought them to a place of suffering, their attitude did not change. In fact, when they suffered, when their faith brought them to a place of suffering, there attitude did not change. When they suffered, they were thankful that they had been counted worthy to suffer for the cause of their Savior. Oh, how we need the positive attitude that was found in the first church.
Too often, our attitudes are not what they should be to give a proper reflection of Christ in our world. We are tempted to moan and to groan over our difficulties. We find ourselves complaining, whining, or bickering about our situation. That is all natural because we are human. However, when we stop to think about what we have been given in Christ, and to think of what has been promised us in the future as followers of Jesus Christ, we should have hearts filled with joy and gladness as those of the first church. This is something for which we need to seek God in prayer. We need to pray that our Lord will help us to look beyond the present distress, and look ahead to the glorious future that we have in Him.
Father, help us to be as this first church. Help us to be willing to suffer for your cause if need be, and to do so with hearts that are filled with joy and gladness. Help us to have the right attitudes for our Savior in the midst of a world that so desperately needs His saving message.
February 6 - Acts 6
l From the beginning, the Lord chose certain individuals to act as spiritual leaders in the church. Among these leaders there would be pastors, teachers, deacons and others who would serve in his church. We read of some of these leaders in the book of Acts. Not only did the Lord establish the guiding principles for choosing these leaders, he also established the duties they would perform. In reading the book of Acts, when these individuals were chosen, and performed the duties that God had ordained, the church continued to grow and prosper. It is also interesting to note that the early church saw it had a responsibility toward its leaders. One of those responsibilities had to do with constant prayer. When those leaders were persecuted, the Church got together and prayed for their deliverance.
God's work today is much as it was in the beginning. While here in America we are not suffering as the church is in other parts of the world, we still see that the church's leaders have special tasks that come with special trials and difficulties. Let's pray together for all in the church that serve as spiritual leaders.
Father, bless those in our church that serve both You and us. Fill them with Your Spirit, and with Your joy. Keep them safe, and in the center of Your will.
February 7 - Acts 7
The Book of Acts, like the Book of Genesis, is a book of beginnings. In this chapter, we read of the first Christian martyr. Stephen was a godly man, a deacon who was certainly filled with wisdom and the Holy Ghost. He was like those Paul described as those "of whom the world was not worthy." When his summary of the Old Testament was given, they were "cut to the heart" and filled with Satanic hatred; a hatred which resulted in the death of this godly deacon.
Standing to welcome this martyr home, the Lord Jesus honored his faithfulness to the Word, the Church and to Himself. Let's be faithful whatever the cost. We have a godly heritage. Christians like Stephen have left for us examples to live by, and if needs be to die by.
Lord Jesus, help me to be knowledgeable of Your Word, faithful to Your cause, and help me to do so at all costs.
February 8 - Acts 8
In the last three chapters, we have read of two men, both deacons in the early church. Both men were well qualified for their ministries, and obviously both were very godly men. One of the men, Stephen, was cut short in what would have seemed like the very prime of his life. The other, Philip, continued on faithful for years, being known in later years as Philip the Evangelist.
Was Stephen martyred because of some shortcoming in his life. Was Philip a more dedicated and holy man than Stephen, thus enabling him to have a greater ministry than his fellow deacon? No, that is not the case. God's will for each man was different. Stephen's greatest service for Christ was martyrdom, while Philip's was a long ministry of evangelism.
The greatest joy in life is finding the will of God and doing it faithfully. Paul's challenge to believers was that they might "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will for your lives." When found and accomplished, the will of God brings joy, fulfillment and contentment; even when the costs seem so high as in the case of Stephen.
Lord, help us to know Your will for our lives, and help us to live out our days in Your service.
February 9 - Acts 9
It is ever amazing to observe the workings of our Lord. In the first part of this chapter, God is miraculously working in the life of Saul, who will later be know as the Apostle to the Gentiles. In the latter part He is working through the man known as the Apostle of the circumcision. Paul's service for Christ would take him throughout many regions of the Roman Empire, establishing Gentile churches. He would be used of God to write over half of the New Testament. Peter's ministry would seem somewhat less in reach, but would be crucial in the establishing of the Church in the world.
Only God could see the potential in a fisherman of Galilee and a Pharisee who was once a hater of Christ and His Church. He knows each of us and the potential in our lives. He knows what we could be and do for Him. When our paths cross one who seems so alien to Christ and His Church, the Lord knows his potential, too.
Father, Your workings in and through us are as miraculous and wonderful as they were in the days of the early church. Help us to see the mighty power that worked in the lives of Peter and Paul work in our church and in our lives today.
Feb 10 - Acts 10
"What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." "...God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean."
The contents of this chapter are so important to you and I, for like Cornelius we are Gentiles. The prophets foretold of Jesus being a light to Gentiles, and we have been blessed to have been given that Light. Cornelius was given that light when Peter presented to him the Gospel of Christ. It wouldn't be long after that there would be more Gentiles than Jews receiving Christ as Lord.
The Lord told Peter, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." The thought in the word, "common" is unclean, or unfit according to the law of God. We were all unclean because of sin, and were condemned as such. When we placed our faith in Jesus, we were cleansed by His blood, and declared right with God through faith. Now we Gentiles who were once condemned as unfit and unclean by the law of God are part of the Church, the Body of Christ, where there is neither Jew or Gentile, just cleansed brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you see now why Acts 10 is so important to us as Gentiles?
Lord Jesus, thank You for opening the door of grace to us, for cleansing us and for making us one in Your body, the Church. Help us to make this great news of salvation known to as many Jews and Gentiles as possible.
February 11 - Acts 11
A great church was birthed in this chapter and a great team was formed to be spiritual leaders in Antioch. This church would become an important hub for Christian ministry throughout the Gentile world. It would be from the Church at Antioch that missions would launch forth with the sending out of the team of Paul and Barnabas. Gradually this church would take the place of the Church at Jerusalem, leading the way for the advancement of the cause of Christ.
There needs to be churches today that, like Antioch, see the need and have a vision for the spread of the gospel around the world. That can only happen when individuals in those churches get that burden and vision. Let's do it!
Lord Jesus, help us to be an Antioch Church with a vision and a burden for the lost here and around the world.
February 12 - Acts 12
An interesting comparison is found in verses 1, 23 and 24. In verse one, Herod is persecuting the church; executing James and imprisoning Peter. In verse twenty three Herod is smitten and dies. In verse twenty four the Word of God continues unhindered by the attacks of the ungodly. Jesus had promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His work. Here is an illustration of that assurance given. Two thousand years later and His work continues in His power today.
The devil still attacks the church today. We still have Herods that would crush the church and silence her message. But it cannot and will not happen. The church is not a work of man, but of God. Sure there will be attacks and attempts, but the gates of hell will never prevail. Like this faithful group of believers in Acts 12, we must find the secret and power of prayer. Trusting the Captain of our salvation, we will march from "victory unto victory." Amen!
Father, make us conquerors, victors and not victims. Fill our church with Your power, and lead us to victory. In Jesus Name, Amen!
February 13 - Acts 13
Opposition. One of the ways we know that God is working is the opposition that comes. It was true for the first missionary team of Paul and Barnabas, as it has been true throughout the ages. We are in a supernatural conflict, and that becomes obvious from the opposition we face anytime we endeavor to do God's bidding.
Opposition can cause us to grow so discouraged that we give up and quit. When that happens, we have allowed our adversary to win the battle. Rather than that, opposition should encourage us in knowing that we must be doing something right, something that glorifies God and infuriates the adversary. If there is never opposition, it really should cause us concern. Paul and Barnabas faced the opposition with faith and truth, and the result was victory. May God help us to face spiritual opposition the way these great men of God did in Acts.
Lord, we know our adversary will battle against us with every weapon in his evil arsenal. Help us to face his opposition in faith and in a determination to go forward until You come for us.
February 14 - Acts 14
"...exhorting them to continue in the faith...."
This was the challenge Paul and Barnabas gave to the Christians of Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. They knew the difficulties facing these new converts. Their faith would be tested throughout their lives, but especially at this stage of their spiritual development.
Child of God, this is the challenge, and the command, that the Holy Spirit gives to each of us. There is much we will face that will try our faith, that will tempt us to keep our faith to ourselves, or even to abandon our faith altogether. You live in a hostile world when it comes to faith in Christ. It has always been that way, but even more so as the day of the coming of Christ approaches. Don't give in, and don't give up. Continue in the faith. Walk in faith. Live in faith. Work in faith. Look up in faith! There is no place to stop, or even to slow down. When we get to the other side we will surely be glad that we continued in the faith.
Father, help us to continue in faith. Help us to fight the good fight of faith and finish the course that You have given us.
February 15 - Acts 15
"But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
This was a most important meeting concerning the doctrine of the church, the doctrine of salvation. The problem had arisen through efforts to mix requirements of the law with the Gospel of Christ. Praise the Lord the Holy Spirit guided this council, maintaining the purity of the doctrine of the grace of God.
It is interesting that the same attacks are launched against the church today. There are still those who would like to attach rules and regulations that accompany, or even add to the message of salvation as found in the Word of God. Remember child of God, it is not through works of righteousness that we are saved. In fact, all our righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight. No, we are saved by grace and that alone. While it is a given that God's people ought to be careful to maintain good works, all the good works in the world could not save one soul. Thank God for the grace that brought us into favor with God through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, we praise You for grace. We praise You for Your death, burial and resurrection, and we are trusting nothing else for our salvation. Help us to guard this great doctrinal truth, and to share it with everyone we come in contact with. In Christ's name, Amen.
February 16 - Acts 16
As Paul and his team followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit, taking the routes He chose and dealing with those that He brought them in contact with, souls were saved. We see that as they deal with the young demon possessed damsel, when they preach at the river where prayer meetings were held and even when they found themselves imprisoned for their faith.
If we will allowed the Holy Spirit such control in our lives, we will see blessed results just as these missionaries in the first church. Hopefully we won't find ourselves imprisoned, but in our everyday situations, the Lord will bring those in our paths that desperately need the message of the gospel. Let's seek to be sensitive to Him, and to the spiritual needs of those about us. Let's pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare our hearts for service, and then give us opportunities to be used for His glory.
Lord, we are challenged to a closer walk, and a more faithful service when we read the exploits of these early missionaries. Help us to be faithful to You, and to be used in helping others come to know our Savior.
February 17 - Acts 17
"...they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily...."
The Berean Christians were more noble than those of Thessalonica because of the above statement. This is what you are engaged in just now, searching the Scriptures. Oh, how important this is, child of God. We need the wisdom and direction of the Word, we need its warnings and its encouragements. We need to hear from heaven, and God has chosen His Word to fulfill that need.
Today as you meditate on the chapter you have read, ask God to bring back its truths to you through the day. Ask Him to make its truths real to you, and to give you opportunity to see those truths in action. You will find that He will bless and answer this desire of your heart, and will cause His Word to be a "lamp" and a "light" in this dark world.
Father, thank You for Your Word. Make it real to me today. Help me to meditate on it though the day, and to walk in the light of its precepts. Amen.
February 18 - Acts 18
As we read the Book of Acts, we are confronted with ordinary people like Aquila and Priscilla, people who gave their hearts to Christ and yielded their lives to His service. They were not preachers. They weren't church planting missionaries, but they were essential to the work of Christ in the world. These ordinary Christians made up the most important body on earth, the body of Christ.
Never underestimate your value to the cause of the Lord Jesus. Your are the church, His body on earth, and your part in His work is of great worth. Just as God calls men to preach, couples to go to the mission field, and others to labor in various ministries, God has called you to labor for Him in His church. You do so with your faithful attendance, faithfully supporting all the services possible with your presence. You serve Him in the church with your contributions, your financial contributions and the contributions of your talents. You encourage His other servants in the church. Together we represent Him in the world, and your part in that cannot be overstated. What an honor it is to serve the King of Kings in and through His Church.
Lord Jesus, help me to be a faithful servant in Your church. Help me to see my part in Your work as essential, and as a blessed privilege You have given. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
February 19 - Acts 19
Try to take yourself back in time to the day when this uproar occurred in Ephesus. This huge crowd of people were unruly, screaming and yelling for over two hours. They were infuriated that someone was threatening their false religion, and the financial benefits the silversmiths received from their silver shrines. They were driven by greed, hatred - they were driven by Satan.
Jesus warned His disciples not to be shocked when they found that the world hated them. It had hated Him first. This scene in Ephesus was just a proof of the prophecy that Jesus had given. Don't be surprised, Christian, if the world's reactions to Christ and His cause are extreme, and extremely hateful. We should not be surprised when the majority thinks that Christians are the problem in the world. That is the way it has been from the beginning. The world is reacting to the reality that the church, when its right with God and filled with His Spirit, turns everything upside down (or, really right side up!).
One other thought: We should be so excited and vocal about our faith as they were about theirs. Of course, we cannot be violent as these idol worshippers were, but we should be ever ready to defend the faith once delivered to the saints.
Father, help us to have an understanding of the world and its animosity toward You and Your church. Help us to be faithful in the face of the world's anger or ridicule. Give us the excitement and determination to be the church in the world that we need to be.
February 20 - Acts 20
"And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship." Vs. 36-38
Imagine this scene, then think back to Chapter 8 when Saul was consenting to the death of Stephen, and then to Chapter 9 when that same Saul was on the way to Damascus driven with hatred against the church of the Lord Jesus. Here we are witnessing the great love that Paul (formerly Saul) had for the church, and how much love they had for him. What a difference Jesus makes in the lives of those who trust Him as Savior! From the time Saul met Christ on the road to Damascus, throughout the rest of his life, his love for the church consumed him. He dedicated the rest of his life in ministry for the church; first, as a missionary church planter, and then as the Apostle to the Gentiles rooting the church in sound doctrine. And the church of that day reciprocated by loving this dear man of God. You can see this in this image of the broken hearted souls learning that they would never see Paul again.
Father, bind us together in Your love. You tell us in Your Word that our love sends a message to the world that we are Your disciples. Help us to grow in that love that all may know You are our Lord and that we are following You.
February 21 - Acts 21
Paul never lost his burden for his people, the Jews. He expressed it clearly in Romans 10:1, "Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." Throughout his ministry, his motto was, "To the Jew first." This final trip to Jerusalem was the result of Paul's great burden for his people.
In Jerusalem, Paul was encouraged by the Jewish Christian leaders to prove to all the Jews that he was still a practicing, believing Jew. This would be accomplished by joining a band of men who had made a vow before God, were going through a period of cleansing, and were awaiting an offering or sacrifice to confirm their vow. These leaders affirmed that no such requirements were made of Gentiles, but that he being a Jew was still bound by the law. Paul's burden for the Jews was so great that he complied with their council and entered the purification with these men, agreeing to help cover expenses involved. His actions were motivated by a pure heart, but these actions were contrary to the doctrine of grace that is in Christ. All of the offerings in the law had been fulfilled by the offering of Christ on the Cross. Unfortunately, Paul's actions did not work to further the cause of Christ. As great a man as Paul was, and he was a great man of God, he was yet human and prone to error, as are we all.
Christian, we are prone to error because we are still sinners, sinners saved by grace, but sinners nonetheless. At times our greatest peril can come from the desires of our hearts that may be pure in themselves. As in Paul's case, we may be tempted to do something that is questionable through the desire to do something that is not. Oh, how we must rely on God's Word and His Holy Spirit to guide us in paths of righteousness and right choices.
Lord Jesus, keep my heart and my actions pure for You. Help me to know and to ever choose that which is right and brings honor and glory to You.
February 22 - Acts 22
As Paul began his defense before the Jews, he spoke in the Hebrew language. Hearing this language quieted the crowd and they listen to his defense attentively; that is, until he uttered one word - Gentile. Upon hearing the word, the Jews were enraged and ready to kill Paul. Such was their disdain for the unclean Gentiles.
You will recall how that the Lord had confronted Peter concerning the Gentiles, how that he was not to consider unclean one that had been cleansed by the blood of Christ. This was something that the early church had to overcome, the feeling that one group or another was unclean or unfit. Actually, there is none clean in God's sight and it is only through the grace of God that we can lay any claim on the gospel of Christ. One of the repeated messages of the New Testament is that there is no respect of persons with God. In other words, there is no place for prejudice of any kind in the church of the Lord Jesus. We see so much prejudice in the world today. There are still those in this country that are prejudiced against those of different races. There is still tremendous prejudice around the world against Jews, and various ethnic groups hold prejudices in their hearts toward others. As followers of Christ, there must be no room in our hearts for such feelings of superiority or feelings of loathing for any ethnic group. May God help us in this!
Father, help me to view others as You do; through eyes and a heart filled with love.
February 23 - Acts 23
Ps 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
Paul could say that his life was a living example of the above verse. From Jerusalem he was transported safely to Caesarea. The plot that had been made against him was foiled. The Lord promised Paul that he would reach Rome to there bear testimony of the gospel, and it was being fulfilled just as he had been promised.
In our lives as followers of Christ, our steps are also ordered by the Lord. At times those steps are in places and times that we might would rather avoid, but God has a plan for our lives just as He did for Paul's. There are several important keys to remember. First, we must endeavor to be in the place called the will of God for our lives. We can find that through His Word and through His Spirit that guides us. Second, we must trust God's will and know that He knows what is best. Third, we must look for the guiding hand of God, be sensitive of His providence and seek His wisdom that we might know His way and follow it. We must not follow our own course, but His. Then, as we are seeking and endeavoring to follow His will for our lives, we should look for opportunities of service, opportunities to be a witness for Him. Our lives as Christians are certainly in God's hands, and those are most capable hands.
Lord Jesus, my life may not be as exciting as Paul's, and may not seem as meaningful, but I want You to control it in every way. Help me to follow You, and to let my life count for Your.
February 24 - Acts 24
24:24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
The above verses bring to mind the truth expressed in Isaiah 55:11, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it." Paul is standing before a high ranking official of the Roman government. He stands there as a prisoner of Rome. Felix has the power to detain Paul, or to release him. But as he stands there before Felix, he preaches Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. When Felix heard this message, the Bible says he trembled. The word of God presented in the power of the Holy Spirit shook this man's souls. Unfortunately, he did nothing about that conviction that he felt.
There is tremendous power in the testimony of a Spirit-filled child of God, especially when he wields the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. God has placed you where you are now in life for a reason. He wants you to be a bold witness for Him. Never underestimate your potential as a witness for Christ, child of God. Be faithful to Him and to His Word. Speak for Him and watch Him use you and your testimony to effect others for Christ.
Father, use me as a witness for You. Let others see Christ in me. Make Your Word alive in my heart, and help me to share it with others in the power of Your Spirit.
February 25 - Acts 25
This chapter is about man's judgment. Paul was being brought before the authorities that represented Rome to face judgment for the accusations made against him by the Jews from Jerusalem. The Jews were judging Paul guilty of violating God's law, and of what they considered to be a desecration of the Temple. Festus judged the accusations to be without sufficient grounds for Paul's confinement, but left him confined nonetheless. Also, Festus made a judgment concerning the claims of the resurrection of Christ in which he determined it to be doubtful. And, finally, Paul was being brought before King Agrippa to stand in judgment before him.
Man's judgment is flawed and prone to be faulty. Of course, in this chapter, all of the judgments were in error. How different from God's judgment. In Romans, Paul wrote that God's judgment is "according to truth." When God judges, whether it be at those final judgments or in the judgments of the past, His judgment is true and cannot be challenged. When all mankind stands before God in judgment there will be no appeals and no questions. His judgment will be final.
Praise God that those who are in Christ will not stand before an angry God in judgment for sin. Our sins were judged in the Person of the Lord Jesus on the Cross. While we will stand before Christ at the Judgment Seat to account for our lives as Christians, it will not be to answer for sin. He took care of that for us two thousand years ago.
Blessed Savior, I praise You for taking my sin in judgment at Calvary. Thank you for taking all my guilt and shame, and for giving me Your righteousness and peace.
February 26 - Acts 26
"...rise...for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness ...Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee...To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins...."
Paul was not disobedient to this Divine call he received. Even as he stands before these Roman authorities, Paul is presenting the Gospel of Christ with the desire that these men might place faith in the Lord Jesus. Note their response. Festus replied that Paul was "beside" himself, that much study had made him "mad" or crazy. Agrippa's response was, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Today the responses are much the same. Some think we are "beside" ourselves for our faith in Christ and His Word. Others are "almost persuaded," but refuse to trust Christ as Savior. However, like the Apostle Paul, we have a message to tell, a gospel to present. Let's be faithful to that call as was the Apostle Paul. We will share our message with folks who will ridicule, and who will refuse to come to Christ, but there will be those like Lydia and the Philippian jailer who will trust our Lord and be saved. Just be faithful, dear Christian, to tell others about our Savior.
Lord, help me to be a faithful witness. Prepare my heart, prepare my opportunities and prepare the hearts of those I come in contact with to hear the message of hope.
February 27 - Acts 27
Ac 27:25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
Have you ever been in a terrible storm? One of my earliest memories as a child is of a bad storm. Dad was at work, and the storm was so scary that mom got all of us boys in her bed and we watched as the lightening lit up the room from the safety of mom's presence.
We all go through personal storms in our lives, some much more severe than others. This was a terrible storm that Paul had to endure on his way to Rome. When everyone on board was frantically trying to manage the boat in the storm, Paul was seeking God's face and council. When Paul received assurance from God, he stood and proclaimed the words in the above verse. These words are worthy of our attention. The next time you are in a personal storm, and there will be storms, remember these words of the Apostle. We have been given many precious promises in God's Word, promises that are meant for our guidance and comfort through every trial we will face in this life as believers. Let's "be of good cheer" and "believe God."
Lord Jesus, thank You for the fair weather in my life, and thank You for the storms. I don't like storms, but I know that all things work together for my good and Your glory. Help me in the time of the storms to look to Your Word and to be of "good cheer."
February 28 - Acts 28
Acts 28:29-30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
Think of all this man of God has endured over the past couple of years; apprehended in Jerusalem, tried in Caesarea, shipwrecked on the Island of Melita, and now under house arrest in Rome. The Book of Acts ends with the above verses. There has been debate through the years as to how many imprisonments there were before Paul was martyred for Christ. Some say there was one, this particular imprisonment in the latter part of Acts. Some say there were two. The Biblical account ends here.
What we do know is that Paul never ceased presenting the gospel. Whether in a storm tossed ship, on a "barbarous" island or in a Roman imprisonment, Paul continued preaching Jesus. There is no place is stop or to be silenced. Like Paul, we need to see our every circumstance as another opportunity to shine for the Lord Jesus. In doing so, others will be able to see Christ in us. Sometimes the greatest message of the truth of the gospel is seen in its effect on the lives of His followers in all the varied circumstances that life brings their way.
Lord Jesus, help me to be a faithful witness for You in all the circumstances I face in this life. Help me to shine for Your so that others might have the opportunity to know and to trust You.
February 29 - Romans 1
What a wicked world we live in! Reading verses 24 through 32 seems like reading an account of the spiritual conditions of our world in 2024. These verses explain the reason that the world is in this horrible spiritual condition, because of the rejection of truth by mankind, and his refusal to acknowledge and believe in God.
What should our response be when we see the terrible spiritual condition of our world? Paul's response was, "...I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth...." We cannot change the world, or even our small corner of it, but we can offer the world hope through the Lord Jesus. And while we can't change the world, we can witness the blessed change wrought in the lives of those who hear and receive the message of the gospel. Thank God for its "power of salvation."
Father, help me to never be ashamed of the gospel, but to live it and to share it at all times and in all places. In Jesus name, Amen.