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Living Grace Challenge - Week 4

Here are my own reflections on this weeks reading. I hope that it inspires you to keep up with your own personal Bible reading. If you need a little help with the daily Bible reading try using the "Daily Reading Journal" page. It helps walk you through a short, reflective, practice that will help you get something to nourish your soul through the day.

Monday 11/20/17
Acts 19:15, But the evil spirit said to them in reply, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
The name of Jesus, just the name, is powerful. Today it is taken in vain and mocked, by those who don’t know it’s power. Here we have some itinerant exorcists who toss Jesus name around and while they may not know its power the demons do. The demons also knows Paul’s name, why? Because Paul takes the name of Jesus seriously and uses it. Paul has used the name of Jesus and found it works, because of that the demons fear Paul. Today may we take the name of Jesus with us and use it because it is powerful.

Tuesday 11/21/17
Acts 20:20, I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house.
Paul here is facing the end of his life and in many ways I hear him saying, “I’ve given Jesus everything. I did everything I could. I’ve got no regrets.” He is saying, “I’ve done all I could.” This includes small-unnoticed things like being “helpful” along with Paul’s bold moments in the spotlight. If it was for Jesus, Paul did it whenever, wherever, whatever. Today may we live our lives seizing every possible moment for Jesus big or small.

Wednesday 11/22/17
Acts 21:13, Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
God and every person Paul met warned him about the suffering he was going to face in Jerusalem. In this chapter the Spirit even told him to not go (Acts 21:4). Yet, Paul was convinced he must go to proclaim the name of Jesus. We won’t usually choose the hard path of suffering unless we believe it’s worth it. Paul saw that this path would lead him to lift up Jesus which is why he chose it. God give us the same Spirit of Boldness that Paul had so seize every opportunity to lift up Jesus.

Thursday 11/23/17
Acts 22:16, And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’
Pause can be good, but procrastination is not. We pause if the way is unclear. We procrastinate when we don’t want to go, even though we know the way. I pray that we would pause to listen and be clear. I also pray that when we know, what we need to do, we go do it - without delay.

Friday 11/24/17
Acts 23:11, That night the Lord stood near him and said, “Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome.”
I’m confident God met Paul right there at his point of need and that it was recorded for us to also be courageous. Jesus promised that he would be with us to the end of the age and that the Spirit would teach us to say when we were persecuted. Here we see one more time that God always keeps his promises. His faithfulness gives us courage to do what we need to do for Jesus.

Saturday 11/25/17
Acts 24:15, I have a hope in God—a hope that they themselves also accept—that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.
This simple statement stands out to me because it sums up the hope of my faith. I hope for the resurrection when all will be made right and good. While Paul is on trial, he does not hope for an acquittal or justice but the resurrection. His hope pervaded every aspect of his life and was what he oriented his life towards. Paul’s life made no sense apart from the resurrection. May the same be true of us. Today let us hold this truth, “My hope is in the resurrection” with us. May it be our prayer and increase our hope for the resurrection and direct our lives toward it.