Paul was no ordinary man. As a non-believer, he persecuted Christians with obsessive energy. Likewise, when he met Christ on the road to Damascus, he became obsessed with presenting the Gospel to the world.
Some people have strong personalities and have an inner drive that is unusual. God can take them and use their temperament to serve His purposes.
I can’t wait to see how my granddaughter, Boston, can ultimately allow her strong personality to serve the Lord’s purposes.
READ/LISTEN: Acts 25-27
God used the fact that Paul enjoyed the privilege and protection offered to Roman Citizens. It actually bought him more time and opportunities to present the Gospel to many leaders and influential people.
Scripture instructs us not to worry when we are brought before authorities and challenged because of our faith in Christ. God’s Holy Spirit will give us the words we need in that moment.
Only God has the ability to call to task all the resources our lives and pasts offer. He accomplishes His purposes by using all we are and everywhere we’ve been to craft His message.
READ/LISTEN: Acts 22-24
Paul preached in a direct manner, presenting the truth and facts of Christ’s message in a way that contrasted vehemently with the Judaic and idolatrous doctrines of his day. When he spent time in Ephesus, he stirred up such a controversy that the believers feared for his life.
Contemporary Christians often seem rattled at the resistance they experience when they take a stand for Christ. It’s certainly nothing new. This struggle has existed since the days of Noah. We are wise to simply remain obedient to Christ’s command to be witnesses of His Truth, regardless of peoples’ reaction.
Paul said, “We proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, ALL that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.” [Col. 1:28-9, J.B. Phillips paraphrase]
READ/LISTEN: Acts 19-21
Paul and his evangelistic party decided to extend into Bithynia but God’s Spirit refrained them. He then gave Paul a vision in the night of a man in Macedonia beckoning him to come and help them. God shut one door and immediately opened up another one.
Life presents many options to us. God’s Spirit will help lead us into fruitful endeavors if we will allow Him. We don’t rely upon a contrived imagination … we keep close to the Lord through obedience to His Spirit and His Word and He orders our steps. It is an exciting life.
READ/LISTEN: Acts 16-18
After Paul healed a crippled man in Lystra, the town’s inhabitants deemed him to be a god and began to offer sacrifices of worship to him. He would have NONE OF IT. He and Barnabus tore their clothes and vehemently denied that they were gods, taking the opportunity to again restate the Gospel.
We all like attention, but to deflect praise from Christ to ourselves would be a serious mistake. Paul was fully aware that it was the power of Christ within him that did the healing.
God, forgive us for any selfish, personal desire for glory that may reside within us. We want to be totally humble and obedient to Your commands.
READ/LISTEN: Acts 13-15
Peter had been imprisoned by Herod and was being detained by 16 guards. His fate was worrisome, so the ordinary Christians began bearing down in prayer for his safety. God heard their prayer and sent His angel to miraculously walk Peter out of the prison right by his guards. When he showed up at the door of a prayer gathering of saints, they could hardly believe what they were seeing.
As Christians, we need to be reminded that God is not weak, nor lacking in energy, nor resistant to our pleas for help. He STILL wants to respond to the earnest, effectual, fervent prayers of His people. He will do His part. We must do ours.
We should always pray and not faint. [Luke 18:1]
READ/LISTEN: Acts 10-12
The Bible exposes persecution of those who love God from cover to cover. In Acts, we find that there was great stress upon the early church because the religious leaders hated Jesus and whomever served Him.
We see this today. What makes you glad makes others mad.
Amazingly, this was the spiritual climate in which Saul (Paul) miraculously came to the Lord and became one of the strongest believers EVER. We should pray and believe for similar conversions NOW.
READ/LISTEN: Acts 8.9