Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 18 - Acts 24

Today's reading in our daily plan is Acts 24. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • At this point in the story, Paul was waiting around in the Governor’s palace for five days before the High Priest showed up with his lawyers to press charges. The case against Paul included rioting and desecration of the temple. Paul refutes this by saying the charges cannot be proven. He admits to being a follower of Jesus, but also makes the point that he believes in the law and prophets and hopes in God, just like his accusers. After the trial, Governor Felix decides not to make a decision until he hears from commander Lysias.
  • In the ensuing days, the Governor invites Paul on multiple occasions to speak to him about his faith. He is actually hoping Paul will bribe him to get out of jail, but Paul never does. Paul takes these opportunities to explain to Felix what it means to have faith in Christ. 
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Paul had to endure the difficult process of waiting. While he waited to see what God would do next in his life, he still served God in the here and now. He could have moped around a jail cell and begged God to rescue him. Instead, he spent his time sharing Jesus with the governor. On those days when he thought he would never leave prison, he reminded himself that God had promised him he would make it to Rome.
  • There was one particular time that Paul was sharing Jesus with Felix, and he became very afraid and sent Paul away. Sometimes, when God is trying to speak to us and get our attention, we may feel a sense of awareness of God that we never felt before. It can be scary at first. This is most likely what the governor was feeling, and he didn't know what to do. Instead of asking Paul for more insight, he sent him away.
  • We often find ourselves waiting for something we hope God will do in our lives. But what do we do while we wait? We should learn from Paul's example. Even if we hate where we are waiting, even while we hope for bigger or better places or opportunities, we need to serve God faithfully -- right here, right now. And in those moments of pain and patience, we can lean on God's promises and find encouragement in them.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Are you growing impatient? Are you waiting for that big moment? Most of life is spent in a million little moments that sweep by us on any given day. What are you doing with them? How are you serving God with those mini moments? Are there even more opportunities to serve God you may be missing out on, right now, while you wait? Be faithful to God where you are now, and he will be faithful in return.