Living Grace Challenge - Week 5

Monday 11/27/17
Acts 25:23, So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then Festus gave the order and Paul was brought in.
The king, queen, military leaders, a governor, and other “prominent” men all gather to hold court in this chapter. Paul is then sent for and brought in to the hall shackled in chains. Paul is the chief “nobody” in a room of “somebodies,” at least that’s what they thought. Today close to 2,000 years removed, Paul the “nobody” is the most famous person in that gathering of great pomp. Paul is celebrated today for his faithfulness and courage. The moral of the story is not that those who serve God wholeheartedly will be remembered by history, but that if God knows your name it doesn’t matter who else does.

Tuesday 11/28/17
Acts 26:29, Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
Paul’s passion for people & sharing Jesus comes through so clearly here in this scene. He prays that all would receive forgiveness and salvation - even his captors! He prays that their life would be better than his! I read this and my prayer is that I would have Paul’s heart for the lost. God grows us as we pray and grows us fastest when we pray for those who persecute us.

Wednesday 11/29/17
Acts 27:35, After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat.
In the middle of this huge storm Paul is at peace because he knows Jesus is with him. I pray I could have that peace; always aware Jesus is with me. But, I am comforted because even when I’m not aware of it Jesus is with me - lifting me up.

Thursday 11/30/17
Acts 28:3-6, Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, when a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.
I love how the locals pass judgment on Paul because he has had a series of unfortunate events. They assume he is getting what he deserves. I assume that about them because that’s often what I do. I make snap judgments, which I later learn are wrong. I pray instead that I would give all people the benefit of the doubt and look for the best in them. You never know when the next Paul might be shipwrecked right in front of you.

Friday 12/1/17
Psalm 136:1, O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
This psalm is a great celebration of God’s goodness and steadfast love. It might get monotonous to repeat this line, “His steadfast love endures forever,” but it’s only monotonous if we fail to grasp the true depth of God’s love. Once we see it and experience is all we can say is, “His steadfast love endures forever!”

Saturday 12/2/17
John 1:43, The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
There is not a lot of explanation, just a simple invitation, “Follow me.” I believe today Jesus’ invitation is that clear and simple. You want to follow Jesus, then do it. May God help us all to be as obedient to him as the apostles were.

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