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Posts Tagged ‘Acts’

Verse 24: “And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.”

Here we are, at the end of 2017. Tomorrow is January 1, 2018. Like most folks, I look back on this year reflectively. There are good memories and accomplishments; there are also some memories and incidents that I’d rather forget (and hope are not repeated in the new year!) Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a French critic, journalist, and novelist, once stated that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” (this is a loose translation; I referenced this from the Wikipedia entry on Karr: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_Alphonse_Karr). Sometimes you think things will be different, only to see that they still turn out the same way.

Paul must have felt some sense of this. After ministering on the isle of Malta, he finally makes it Rome. Granted some freedom to stay in a house while awaiting trial, he calls the local Jewish leaders to him and updates them on recent events as well as telling them the Good News. If you or I were Paul, we might be tempted to think, “well, this time will be different. This isn’t the local mob of Jews I’ve had to deal with. I’m in Rome now; the outcome will be much better.”

But what happened? The same result as before: some were persuaded and believed, but some disbelieved. It can be disheartening to keep trying over and over and yet feel rejected, but this didn’t stop Paul. He kept preaching the Gospel wherever he was and with whoever he was with. We should have this same attitude as well. God didn’t call us to save people to Him; only Jesus Christ can save people’s souls. God commands us, as Christians, to tell the Good News to as many as we can. We’re just messengers; we can’t make people accept Christ…but God takes the seeds that are sown in His name, and takes it from there.

So as we conclude this study of Acts, remember to be faithful messengers in Jesus’s name…telling the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’ll resume the studying in a few weeks with a series called “Jesus: I Am the (fill-in-the-blank)” It’s a study of some of the analogies that Jesus taught His disciples to better explain Who He is. These analogies are just as important to us years later, as well.

May God bless you this coming new year!

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Verse 7: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”

A good many years back, I received word from my old college friends that our beloved campus minister, who I befriended during my time with the Baptist Student Union, was dying of cancer. His wife and kids put together a “reunion” of sorts, so that all the kids whom Clete had mentored and ministered to, could come and visit with him…probably for the last time. My wife and I came and were one of the first in line to speak with Clete. This man had helped guide me a lot when I was in college, and it was bittersweet to see him, and yet see him in pain. He still smiled and listened as I proudly introduced my wife to him and told him about our family and life since college. I could’ve spent hours talking to him…however, there was a mile-long line of old friends wanting to have the same time with Clete! He touched a lot of students’ lives in college. Sheepishly, we stepped back to let the next folks visit with him, as we took time to talk to Nelda and their kids. He went on to Heaven not too long after that visit.

Acts is starting to draw to a close here. Paul is spending time with the disciples. Whether they asked him to preach long, or he chose to, or both, Paul taught and spoke with the gathered disciples well into the night (and to think, we complain nowadays when the pastor goes past noon in his preaching!) Later on in this chapter, we’ll see where he gathers the Ephesian elders to speak with them in person one last time…knowing that he may not see them again. He knows he must go to Rome, and is unafraid that his life may be forfeit in this endeavor.

The memory of campus minister Clete and the parallel to Paul speaking with some folks for the last time struck a chord in my head to make me stop and think. Don’t assume that you are guaranteed tomorrow. Get to work today in the work of Jesus Christ in your life. Reach out to others: family, friends, those you see every day, or those you haven’t seen in a while. God may use you to deliver a timely message to someone who needs to hear it…and might not hear it tomorrow.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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