We are reading chapter 21. I actually chose the same verse and question that goes with Good Morning Girls for today's SOAK.
Acts 21:13 "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."
Paul is traveling to Jerusalem where he knew he would be beaten and imprisoned. The other disciples and followers were afraid for his life and constantly begged him not to go. But Paul knew that it was God's will and he was so convicted to God's mission and purposes for him that he was at peace with going to jail, being beaten, and even his impending death because he trusted and had complete faith in God.
If faced with imprisonment, being beaten, and death in your future, how would you respond?
I personally would be scared. I would like to think of myself as a strong Christian, but I am only strong through Christ. I do know that I will always put Jesus above all, even when it is hard (like my boys and my Husband). I am willing to die for Jesus. I will not give up on him, because he never gives up on me. That doesn't mean I won't be scared or cry a lot but he gives me the strength to get through anything. A couple years ago, I couldn't honestly tell you that I would be willing to die, be beaten, or imprisoned for Christ. I was at a different place in my faith walk but now my faith has convicted me to always fulfill God's will and purposes that he has laid out for my life.
Where are you at in your faith walk? Are you to this point yet? If not, it is ok. Keep growing, and one day you will be <3
This chapter is definitely more so a transition chapter but we again see Paul's bravery and courage that God gives him. He stands up for his faith, even testifies to his faith by speaking to an angry crowd that wants him killed and he doesn't even waiver. Paul is such a powerful person, someone who we should try to mimic in our everyday lives.
I like today's GMG's question. I try to share my testimony or at the least a part of it the majority of my days. I can do that with you, through my blog, on social media, when I'm at the store, on a play date, and any time I choose to. Where I'm 9 months pregnant, I mostly share mine through social media which is nice. I also use the First 5 app and can talk to other believers and new believers through that. I believe it is just as important to help new believers and other believers grow in their faith as it is to bring new believers to Christ. By equipping and growing others, we strengthen Gods cause by making better equipped warriors for him. :)
My past is filled with mistake after mistake, pain after pain, and many life lessons that I can use as my testimony. Everyone has a past and God gave us that past for a reason! Use it today to help others that need you!!!
Today we are in Chapter 23, Paul is taken to the Sanhedrin where he is placed in front of the High Priest, Sadducees, and Pharisees. Again, the crowds become violent when questioning him. The Sadducees are totally against him where the Pharisees relate to him because of his past as a Pharisee. It's an absolute and utter mess!
What struck me most though is that after being questioned, Paul was comforted by Jesus by being told "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome." (Acts 23:11)
Can you imagine Jesus himself coming down to you and comforting you. What peace Paul must have felt in that moment! That in itself is truly powerful! Oh how the Christian community would be so different if everyone had a literal personal connection to Jesus like that. Even though we can't meet with Jesus physically, Jesus gives us this option every day through reading the bible, Prayer, attending worship and church, small group fellowship, and serving others. The more we strengthen our relationship with Jesus, the less we worry because we are comforted by him more and more.
I don't really relate to today's discussion question because I've never felt like God was done using me. I feel the opposite in that I won't be done until I'm in Heaven and sitting at the table with Jesus in person. And even then I want to serve him for eternity! I would love to hear others responses to this question. Please share!!!
In Chapter 24, we see Paul being taken before the Governor to be trialed once again. He couldn't find anything to accuse Paul of and even hoped he would bribe him so he could have something to go off. He kept Paul for two years and spoke with him, but he never actually accused him of anything.
"So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man." (Acts 24:16)
Paul lived in such a way that he never had to lie or push the truth in order to get his point across or to defend himself. He lived in the light, he lived in pure righteousness. He allowed God to lead his life choices which freed him from ever having to defend himself. Instead God's wisdom was enough of a defense.
I am always faced with unjust judgement because I live almost exactly the opposite of society. As we grow in our faith walk and draw closer to God, we seek Gods righteousness in everything. It doesn't all come at one time but over time we change our ways more and more. As I've learned, society is driven by the King of Earth (Satan) but we follow the King of everything (God). They are total opposites. I run in to issues of judgement a lot because what we are told is right on earth isn't always what is right with God and when I choose God it's like people can't comprehend that what I am doing is right because it isn't what the majority believes is right or it isn't what they are comfortable with. We must also understand that Satan is tricky, he isn't just going to make everything black and white for us to see plain as day. He wants us to stumble and come to his dark side. We must arm ourselves with Gods word and be filled with the Holy Spirit to guide us! If not we will stumble in to the clutches of Satan.
What is something you are currently changing in your life that brings upon judgement from others?
In Acts 25, we see Paul still in prison even though he still has not been condemned of a crime. We see the Greeks scrambling, not really knowing what to do with this man who as they see it, only has disputes with Jewish religion.
We see Paul still standing firm and speaking with righteousness and bravery through God. He does not seek to get out of death, but wants to make sure his death comes for real reasons and not accusations that can't be proven.
GMG Discussion Question:
People like to judge other people. It is just the world that we live in, a world filled with sin. I try to live righteously in the name of God and don't have too many disputes with others. I try to stay out of drama as much as possible. But I have found when dealing with the youth and those that still need to rapidly mature in to adulthood, my words can be twisted in to something that I didn't say. I see this with my two little sisters, one is 15 and the other is 21. I can speak to them about God but if they don't really like what I am saying, they can twist it to other family members in a way that makes me look bad even though it's not what I meant at all. I deal with this most of the time with love, patience, and holding my tongue. Sometimes I have blown up, and I am not proud of those moments. I usually also consult my Husband and we make a plan together, rather if it is to leave it alone or pursue it further by sitting down with them and explaining things. My sisters are like my own children to me, so they weigh very heavy on my heart. Where if it were other people I probably would let it roll off.
How do you deal with these situations?
Have a wonderful weekend!!! It is suppose to be absolutely beautiful on Delmarva! I hope where ever you live that you're having great weather also! Love you all!!!
Walk Gracefully with God,