Acts 22 Part 2–When a Roman, Do What Romans Do

We are uniquely prepared for our mission.  Paul was very outgoing about his mission.  He was uniquely placed by God to minister to the Gentiles and to change the paradigm of the Jewish community.  So, as he ventured across Asia and Greece, he had amazing success in building churches in cities that would change the world.  Well, when Paul returned, He was destined to be persecuted; and persecuted Paul was.

The Roman Legion in Jerusalem did not like the Jewish community.  They were quirky, rebellious, and hard to deal with.  Paul was causing a riot in the square and from the soldiers’ perspective, he was a rabble rouser himself.  Paul was dragged off to jail and was about to be beaten–when he told his accusers he was a naturalized Roman citizen.  That changed everything.  It was one thing to beat the nameless, faceless people of the empire’s occupied lands. It was another story to treat a Roman citizen shabbily–even when they were criminals.  Paul was uniquely Roman and Jewish giving him access to all things Roman–even the Emperor.  So, when Paul announced his citizenship, it began a set of events that would ultimately change the course of an empire.

We never quite know how God is going to use us.  The circles we run in, the jobs we do all impact certain people and communities that need Jesus and a person to introduce them.  Paul was such a person.  We are also such people.  If we would be willing to share our faith with those whom we encounter each day, Paul told us that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all Who would believe–both Jew and Gentile. 

We simply need to share Christ with those we meet and do life with.  We trust God to use His Spirit to change lives, all we can do is make the message known. Once we do, the world will take all its best shots to stop us.  But God promises that the Lord who calls us is faithful, and he will do it–prepare, protect, and provide what we need to complete the mission God has set for us.  Paul was a citizen of Rome, of Israel, and mostly of Heaven–So are we!!!

God Bless You


The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Acts 16 Part 3–The Adventure at the Philippian Jail

What had started out to be a great day turned nasty quickly.  The team started to see lives changed and even miracles done, then; they were arrested, beaten,  thrown into stocks, and placed into the bowels of the jail.  So, after such a rotten turn of events, Paul and Silas did what any mistreated Roman citizen would, they prayed and worshipped the Lord. Well, that captured the other inmates’ attention. 


That was just the beginning, though.  Next, God sent an earthquake, one violent enough to shake the stocks loose and the jail doors open.  The jailer, who became personally responsible for any escapes, was ready to kill himself. Paul cried out for the jailer to stop; as neither He nor any of the other prisoners had escaped.  The jailer was amazed that they had not escaped, and therefore spared his life.  


From there, the day improved greatly.  Paul and Silas’s wounds were treated, the jailer and his family heard the Gospel and were saved.  They were baptized, and the church was now well on its way.  The Philippian jailer was ordered to release the men. After a discussion, those that had wrongfully imprisoned the Paul and Silas, had to face them, apologize, and politely ask them to leave town.  The team, having successfully established a church in
Philippi, kindly moved on. 

 
The spread of the Gospel was never going to be easy. But God is faithful not to leave His chosen to complete the mission alone.  The Lord’s presence is felt by His missionaries, the people they touch, and many who are just there.  God never leaves us , nor does He ever forsake us.  Like any Father, He cares for us, leads us, and empowers us to complete the mission.  When we face trials, we must never doubt the Lord’s desire to carry us through it.  We must seek God and allow Him to complete the plan He has started.  If we will, the Lord will do great and amazing things in and though us.  All we will have to do is pray and worship.


God Bless You


And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Philippian Jailer Converted

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer[e] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

Acts 11 Part 1–A Nation of Priests

As Jesus selected His Apostles, He chose Peter very early.  Throughout the ministry, Peter both blessed Jesus with his loyalty and devotion, and, he frustrated Jesus with his impulsiveness and his simplicity.  But, from the start, it was always Peter that was 1st out of the gate and all in for every task.  Jesus needed a man like Peter to march forward into the battle without regard to the outcome. So, Peter marched forward into the home of Cornelius.  He preached the Gospel to the man, Cornelius’s family, friends, and close associates. They were saved, baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter then returned to Jerusalem to give an account for what had happened.  It is important to note that Jewish Law prevented such contact with gentiles.  Good Jewish folks were not supposed to associate with such people; much less help them to join the family of God.

Lest one forget, however, that was not God’s plan.  He built the nation of Israel to be His nation–a nation of priests.  The Father’s motive was always to restore the entire world back to fellowship with Him.  The Lord wanted all to know and have a personal relationship with Him.  The men in Jerusalem came to the meeting with Peter that day, to chastise Peter and possibly punish Him.  Yet, after hearing how God Himself called Peter to make the journey and preach the Gospel, there was only one step to take.  The Church would now carry the Gospel to the very ends of the earth.  This was and Is God’s mission until Christ’s return.  

For the Apostles, that meeting was mind-blowing.  It set the marching orders for the leadership to change their paradigm from a national relationship with God for the Jews; to a personal one for everybody who would accept the gospel.  We are the beneficiaries of that meeting, and, as we hear of mission efforts across the globe, we can point to this event as the catalyst for the movement.  Peter was the man and Jesus was the great gift to reunite all sinful people with a Holy God.  We like Peter need to trust God and share the Gospel with whomever God sets before us.  We need not make any distinction–because God did not!

God Bless You


Now the apostles and the brothers[a] who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party[b] criticized him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” But Peter began and explained it to them in order: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Luke 18 Final–The Surge

It is called the surge.  Critically ill patients will sometimes make a surge in recovery immediately before fading to their end.  In the Gospel, we see Jesus’ experience a surge as he enters into holy week with unprecedented popularity. Luke tells of His warning to the disciples.  He lays it out.  He would be turned over to the gentiles(Romans) to be beaten, taunted, spit upon and killed.  This is not the typical way one honors a King. The disciples must have been so confused.  Why would such a thing occur when everybody loved Jesus.  Crowds followed Him everywhere. He was healing, raising the dead, casting out demons! What was not to love.

Jesus knew what was about to transpire.  He had known the course of events since creation.   God told the animals after the flood that men were simply evil.  That definitely had not changed with time. Now, as the end of Jesus ministry was approaching, He was aware of how quickly men would turn on their Star and have Him disgraced and killed.  While it must have been a grueling time for the Lord, He knew it was the only way to restore the relationship between a Holy God and sinful men.  That was why the Lord was there.

The next days in the life of our Savior would define time, change history, and bring salvation to all that believed.  Our very spiritual life was purchased through the betrayal and death of this perfect Man.  As we look at Luke’s account of Christ and His ministry, we can never forget that this account was as amazing to Luke as it is to us.  We do not deserve such a great sacrifice, the grace, or the mercy Christ bestowed.  Still, we are the unconditional recipients of that gift; and, we should start each day–grateful for what the sacrifice of our Lord means for us now and forever.

God Bless You


31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Luke 10 Part 1–Sending out the Teams

Jesus’s ministry was growing.  He sent out 36 teams to prepare for his visits.  He taught then the importance of walking by faith.  Take no food and make no arrangements in advance.  The disciples were to experience ministry on the front line.  Jesus knew they would be rejected by some.  Jesus wanted to teach His folks that rejection of them was more accurately rejection of the Lord.  They need not give it a second thought.  So as Jesus sent them out, He armed them with peace and courage. 

Now, these thousands of years later, He is still sending us out.  He is still arming us with peace and courage.  Jesus is still reminding us that when our message is rejected it is at Jesus and not us that rejection is aimed.  He also still wants His chosen to remember He is with us always.  He is faithful to supply all our needs.  We are His workmanship, and we need to follow Him closely.  If we will; this journey will have purpose and make sense.  Otherwise, we will wander aimlessly to an empty conclusion.

God Bless You


After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Joshua 13–Don’t Worry, I’ve Got This

Reality Stinks…Joshua had simply grown old and there was still lands to take. Amid all the victories and the clear obedience of the people, God sits Joshua down and speaks of next steps.  The Philistines were left. God said to Joshua–don’t worry, you focus on getting the land distributed and I will drive out the mountain people, Myself.

In God’s mind, a covenant is a covenant.  He told the people He would give them all the land, and He intended to do so. 

For Joshua, it had to be a hard message.  He had done all that had been told to him to do and now he was at the end and could no longer lead campaigns.  But God was not threatening or disciplining Joshua; instead, God was comforting the strong and courageous leader that he could do the next part of the mission, distribution, and God would take care of clearing the land.

As in Joshua’s life, we have reality checks in our lives as well.  We are bustling along attacking our missions; when life throws curve balls.  All at once, we are faced with hard realities and fear the mission will not be completed.  In those times, our heavenly Father pulls us aside and through His word says, “I got this!”

It is often hard to hear, it takes a great deal of faith, but, if we will trust God; He will complete what He has started in our lives.  To God, it is not an act of discipline–instead, it is a simple act of love and faithfulness.

God Bless You


When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.

“This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek and the border of the Amorites; the area of Byblos; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

“As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.”

Matthew 12 part 2-He Came to Change the World

Jesus was on a grand mission.  He came to the earth to change the world. Not the topography or even the alignment of nations—he came to change the heart of the world.  Sadly, that is a tall order.  So Jesus changed the hearts of those he came in contact with.  That is why the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders and the volume of people with needs did not affect his passion.  In the prophecy of Isaiah, God promised he would drive on without complaint.  He would accept what was done to him and not withdraw and he would change the world and even nations would cling to him.

In America, we did that very thing.  For generations we declared ourselves one nation under God.  Yet today, we, his people continue to seek his face and beg for his mercy to restore us to that nation that clings to him.  It will take a miracle—a miracle of parents becoming passionate about passing on the truth to their children.  Churches standing for the truth and not bowing to the culture.   Schools realizing they need less culturization and more truth and prayer.  Finally, we have to accept the responsibility for our actions and follow God’s lead and not the easy path the world offers.  Help me, Lord to obey and humbly follow you as the Lord that changes the World.

God Bless You

9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”