Passage for Study: Acts 24: 1 – 9 … Acts 24 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Today’s highlight passage tells another story of the persecution Paul experienced, put upon him by the Jewish leaders who felt that his witness to the Gospel afforded a threat to the traditional teachings of the Old Covenant. Paul would not relent from declaring the New Covenant; and the Jewish Sanhedrin, of which Paul had been a member when he was Saul of Tarsus, now saw Paul as being blasphemous. So, in today’s passage we read of the beginnings of his trial before the Roman Governor, Felix, where the case against Paul was presented, by the Jewish prosecutor, Tertullus.
But God’s hand of protection was on Paul at the time; and if you read on beyond verse 9 today, you’ll read that Paul was allowed to stay quite some time in Caesarea, being restrained, but protected, by the Roman order; and knowing Paul’s character as we do from Acts, he likely pressed on to declare Christ and defend himself to anyone who’d listen by relating his testimony and the Gospel message, just as he did to defend himself to Felix.
The point of today’s devotional by Swindoll is to encourage his readers, like me, to keep-on-keeping on in living and sharing the life-changing message of Christ no matter what one might encounter in life. And Pastor Chuck tells a poignant, personal story of how his mother compiled a hand-written book, a journal, of God’s promises from the Bible, claiming many of them for her children, husband, and family in her book of promises. This became part of Chuck Swindoll’s legacy; and he encourages readers like me or you to know and live in the truth of God’s promises as well. But that implies, or in reality, convicts us, to know what God’s promises are and have them readily sharpened into our hearts when we might need them as did Paul when he was falsely accused of blasphemy.
Like Swindoll wrote to his readers, I don’t know whether you have ever had someone who falsely accused you or put pressure on you because of your faith. I certainly have; and it’s no fun, to say the least. When good people, good Christians, learned of my jaded past of habitual sexual sin – before I became a Christian – some would not associate with me in our church, not wanting to be seen as being close to someone who represented a ministry for Christians who were imprisoned by such sin strongholds in their lives. It hurt me at first to be rejected like that; but God led me through that valley of rejection to the place that now my involvement in leading BattlePlan Ministries (again see www.battleplanministries.org) is even admired by most in our church.
But during those years (and it was fully five or more years), I had to rely upon God’s truths to overcome the feelings of rejection by my fellow Christians in our church. My mentor had led me to internalize (and memorize) such passages as Prov. 3: 5 – 6, Isaiah 41: 10, Phil. 4: 13 (the verse which led me to Christ), 1st Cor. 10: 13, 2nd Tim. 1: 7, and 2nd Cor. 12: 9. And I not only memorized these verses, I would claim them and pray them into my daily devotionals on many days when I felt discouraged. And My Savior, by His illuminating Spirit, led me through those feelings into a place where I now wear such armament against such feelings that I don’t allow myself to be taken down by those who might reject me in ministry.
I pray that you’ll get God’s word so deeply in your heart that it becomes defensive armament against your own deceitful heart; and I pray that it also becomes part of your sharpened and ever-ready sword of the Spirit to bring down Satan when he comes against you, trying to make you feel unworthy of God’s love and grace. Dear one, never forget the message of Romans 8; and right now I charge you to go back and read and meditate on that great passage by clicking on this link.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, there is no condemnation for one like me, who loves You; and all things You allow into my life are for my good, being called according to Your purpose, … and nothing can separate me from Your love. I live and move and have my being in those promises. Amen