Good morning! Things may seem a little surreal in the US today, but the one sure thing is the Lord is still on the throne. Keep serving the Lord. Join me as we continue our reading on Acts 26.
Bible verse – Acts 26:13-22 (NLT)
“13 A few days later King Agrippa arrived with his sister, Bernice,[a] to pay their respects to Festus. 14 During their stay of several days, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. “There is a prisoner here,” he told him, “whose case was left for me by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the leading priests and Jewish elders pressed charges against him and asked me to condemn him. 16 I pointed out to them that Roman law does not convict people without a trial. They must be given an opportunity to confront their accusers and defend themselves.
17 “When his accusers came here for the trial, I didn’t delay. I called the case the very next day and ordered Paul brought in. 18 But the accusations made against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected. 19 Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive. 20 I was at a loss to know how to investigate these things, so I asked him whether he would be willing to stand trial on these charges in Jerusalem. 21 But Paul appealed to have his case decided by the emperor. So I ordered that he be held in custody until I could arrange to send him to Caesar.”
22 “I’d like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said. And Festus replied, “You will—tomorrow!”
The best verse in all these verses is verse 19, when Festus explained the crimes against Paul “it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive.”
Sisters and brothers, we have been reading for several weeks on Paul’s life as he served Christ Jesus. We have learned what it means to be a Christian (follower of Christ), we have addressed our attitudes, behaviors and hearts as Christians and we learned that being a Christian and choosing to do good comes with rewards, but also times of suffering.
If you have been a Christian for awhile you know that suffering is inevitable, but even if you chose not to be a Christian suffering is also inevitable. The only difference between the two is that for the Christian, God is with us through it all. We have hope that only comes through Christ Jesus’ death on the cross, victory over death and his ressurection, and Him being seated at the right hand of the Father with all authority over heaven and in the earth. I don’t know about you, but I rather spend my life knowing no matter what comes my way, the Lord is always with me in life and in death – for all eternity.
Sisters and brothers, suffering is temporal but our faith and hope in Christ is eternal. Let me further encourage you to let the Lord restore you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Allow Him to be your peace in the midst of the storm.
Take a minute out of your day (today), just 60 seconds and write down Lord, in the midst of everything around me, I will trust you. Help me to ________(fill in the blank) (e.g., Lord, help me to experience your peace today.)
Let the Lord be your firm foundation today and everday.
Father God, in the name of Jesus we want to thank you for the peace that only you can provide. Lord, thank you for your love and mercy toward us. Lord, help us to remember the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. Lord, help us to see your goodness in the earth and do likewise. Lord, when we are overwhelmed strengthen us and lead us in a way that fulfills your purpose for our lives. Direct us and help us to find time to sit at your feet and rest. Lord, during that time refresh our spirit and renew our lives in you. Lord, help us as we serve our sisters and brothers in the faith, our families, communities, churches and people we work with. Equip us to lead, strengthen and encourage one another. Lord, keep us humble and pure in heart as we glorify you in all that we do. Lord, we pray for the missionaries who are in the mission fields around the world. We ask that you refresh their spirits, touch their ministries (spiritually and financially), protect them from the plots of the enemy and give them peace. Lord, we pray for staff and volunteers at shelters, transitional living facilities, recovery homes and human trafficking recovery homes. Lord replenish their souls and minds. Refresh their hearts and and give them the strength and resiliency that they need to continue the work that they do in Your name. Lord, help us to live a life in Christ that brings a resemblance of heaven here on earth. Heal our nation from bitterness, hate and racism. Heal those who have COVID-19 and those dealing with the residual side effects. Comfort those who are grieving. In Jesus name, amen.
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