Good morning! Have you ever felt good about an accomplishment, then someone ruined your joy by saying you didn’t do it right or it could have been done different/better? At times, those comments may discourage the course you are taking. Join me as we continue our reading in Acts chapter 21 verses 20-25.
“20 After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21 But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22 What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.
23 “Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24 Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.
25 “As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.” – Acts 21:20-25 NLT
It is unfortunate, but not unexpected that there would have been people spreading false rumors about Paul and what he was teaching Jews and Gentiles. Not only did Paul have to deal with that type of discrediting on his missions, but now even in the midst of the elders. Based on our readings, Paul did not teach the Jews to disregard circumcision or Jewish customs, his point was that those things would not bring salvation. That salvation is found in Christ alone.
Sisters and brothers, we will never be good enough to get to heaven on our own. We can never keep all the laws and traditions, continue the sacrifices, and live a spotless life. It is because of Christ Jesus that we are saved – that through Him we have salvation, he was the perfect sacrifice, and because of Christ there is forgiveness of sins. Our religious traditions and customs don’t save us, they help us to remember – it is Christ who saves.
Today, you may be facing opposition, opposition that is unjust and untrue, but do not lose hope or faith in the One who saves. Jesus is the One we must put our trust in. Keep doing was the Lord has called you to do. Stay the course.
Father God, thank you for your acceptance and love toward us. Thank you for reaching our hearts and for our lives which are secure in you. Lord, we thank you for your gracious mercy and love toward us all. Lord, we are chosen and accepted by you – no one else loves us with such intention and unconditionally love. Lord, as Satan tries to takeaway things planted in our hearts by you, bind and dismiss him. Strengthen our faith and resolve. Lord, do not let us give into the devil’s scheme. Give us peace and help us to remain obedient to you and what you have called us to do, help us to stay the course. In Jesus name, amen.
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“Interruptions. They’re aggravating. Sometimes infuriating. But how we handle interruptions actually tell us more about ourselves. What do we do when God interrupts our lives? Many times, like Jonah, we run! Priscilla redefines interruption and shows that interruption is actually God’s invitation to do something beyond our wildest dreams. When Jonah was willing to allow God to interrupt his life, the result was revival in an entire city.” – Priscilla Shirer
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