Isaiah 1: 27 and 28

Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness.  But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the LORD will perish.

Repentance brings redemption and righteousness – sounds like the “3 Rs” of spirituality.  Those who forsake the Lord will perish.

Here it is in the prophecy of Isaiah – the Gospel, pure and simple.  Repent and be redeemed, or forsake God and perish.

Acts 28: 26 & 27

“Go to this people and say, ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’  For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”

This can happen to us.  If we neglect our time in God’s Word, if we choose to do things our way instead of the way God has clearly laid out for us, we too can become calloused and hard-hearted.  We will know it when this happens.  When what WE WANT becomes more important than what God wants, when having our own way is more important than the needs of others, we are on our way to a calloused heart.

 

Acts 27

Their ship ran aground and was destroyed, but they were saved.  The vessel that carried them through the storm was damaged, but they were saved.  What a great analogy for our lives!  We may suffer through storms of physical illness, financial struggles or broken relationships, but we are saved.  As Christians, our lives are secure in the palm of God, no matter the storms that buffet our lives.

Acts 26:17 and 18

I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles.  I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that the may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

Before we knew Christ as Saviour, we were governed by the power of sin and Satan.  We lived in darkness.  Only Jesus, The Light of the World can pierce this darkness, heal our blindness and release us from the power of sin.  Sometimes we look at people and shake our heads.  How can they act the way they do?  If they are not Bible believing Christians, they are in the dark still.  This is a truth to remember when we are praying for unsaved family and friends.

Acts 25

We often speak of Paul’s missionary journeys.  My Bible has a map in the back of it that highlights the missionary journeys of Paul.  But here in Acts 25 we read of the most amazing missionary journey of all.  From Felix (like a county commissioner), to Festus, the governor, to Agrippa the king, and then on to the highest authority in the land – Caesar himself.  Would Paul have had access to these people and places any other way?  Most likely not.  God had a plan.  Paul’s suffering was not in vain.

How are you suffering?  Do you feel trapped or imprisoned?  Lift your eyes.  Look from your circumstances to the God Who loves you.  What is He doing for you, or for others through the struggles of this life?

Acts 24:27

When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

Felix kept Paul in prison, his case undecided so he could continue to hear Paul speak to him of Jesus and the Way.  This is an unusual mission field – Felix, his wife, Paul’s jailers, but also,this is the birthplace of most of the epistles, the letters to the churches. found in the New Testament.  If you feel that you are confined, and have no ministry opportunities, look around, you may have a greater impact than you realize.

Acts 23

Take the time to read this chapter.  You will find intrigue, violence, conspiracy, action and adventure.  Reading this is like watching an action movie: Bourne Ultimatum, Oceans 11, and National Treasure all wrapped into one “edge-of-your-seat-” story.  People who say the Bible is boring, haven’t read this part of it.

It reminds me of the birth of a child.  Through fierce struggle, pain, and suffering, a baby is born.  So it was with the birth of the Gospel into this sin-darkened world.

Acts 22

When we read this chapter, we again follow the history of Paul – righteous protector of the Jewish Law, committed warrior against the One Who Is the Way, the Truth and the Life, murderer of His followers.

Yet, it was God’s will that Paul be a great missionary, spreading the Good News of salvation to all the known world.  This should give us great hope as we pray for friends and family who are unsaved, and seem impossible to reach.  Don’t give up .  Nothing is impossible with God.

Acts 21:12-14

When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?  I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Paul knew the work set before him, and the journey he must take.  The others were dismayed, in fear and in sorrow, so they tried in every way to persuade him not to go.  This reminds me of when Jesus first told the disciples He would suffer and die.  Peter rebuked Him, and with confidence said, “Surely not, Lord.”  When we love and respect someone we want to protect them from harm, but there are times when we must let them go, trusting God for the days of their lives.

Acts 20:32

Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

This passage just begged to be researched in the original language, so I studied out “word”, “house”, “inheritance”, and “commit”.  This is my understanding of this verse with all of its original meanings – full of promise and hope.

Now I entrust you to the charge of God, and I entrust you also to the very real expression of His friendship, which in no way was earned by you, but was given to you as a gift.  This promise of His unearned friendship will build you up in the same way a house is built – foundation to roof.  This unearned friendship which God bestows on you, will give you your position in Christ, and all of your possessions as a believer, when the new order of Christ is established on His return.