Scripture reading for October 14th: 2nd Kings 24-25, 2nd Chronicles 36, Psalm 126, 1st Peter 3
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 3:13-16 “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your heart honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
Peter encouraged the church to do good works, even if it brought suffering. Suffering for righteousness was part of the package. There should be no fear of those who trouble us, because we honor Christ as Lord of all. He is holy and will protect and defend us. Our job is to be ready to make a defense when asked the reason for our hope and peace, and to make the defense with gentleness and respect. Honoring Christ as holy exalts Him and gives us a clear conscience.
Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping; bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I honor You alone as holy and will be prepared to give a defense to all who ask the reason of my hope. Help me to humbly reflect Your holiness and character as I share the gospel. I look forward to the shouts of joy in heaven because of those who are saved!
2nd Chronicles 36:15 “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent (His Word) persistently to them by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place.”
Scripture reading for July 6th: Acts 24:1-27
In reading today’s passage, there is a lot of drama! The high priest, Ananias and some of the elders from the Sanhedrin travel down to see Felix with a lawyer named Tertullus. Tertullus presented the case for them before the governor and accused Paul of being a troublemaker and desecrating the temple. The Jews with him agreed. The governor asked Paul to speak in his own defense. Paul refuted the charges stated that the only thing that could be the cause of the charges was his own stand for the resurrection of the dead. (Acts 24:19-21) Felix postponed making a decision and had Paul taken away and kept under guard.
Some time later, Felix and his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess sent for Paul and listened as he preached about Christ Jesus and the coming judgment. Felix came under conviction and cut Paul off from speaking any more. “That’s enough for now!” You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.” (Acts 24:25b-26) This went on for two years until Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus. We can see that Felix was a hard man and looked out for himself. His power and position allowed him to receive bribes and extort money for favorable rulings! His Jewish wife made it easy for him to favor the Jews and keep Paul in jail. The “convenient” time to hear more about Christ never came in his life that we know of! The world has not changed much!
Paul shared the Gospel where ever he was placed by the Lord. God opened doors through imprisonment that Paul would never have had otherwise. He lived with integrity, in spite of pressure to work the system through bribes. He was his own lawyer, listening to the Holy Spirit for what to say when taken before judges, governors or kings. God provided for him daily and spoke encouragement to him when it was needed. Paul knew he was in the center of God’s will, even if it did not look like it to those outside the faith. God’s ways are different than man’s and lead to fullness of joy and the Holy Spirit!