Daily Word

Philemon

Read Philemon – Advocate, amends and acceptance are the themes in this epistle from Paul. 

Paul advocates as a picture of how Jesus advocates for us, when he asks Philemon to “put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” :6  Paul is asking that Onesimus, a runaway slave of Philemon, be received as a brother in Christ.  Paul assures him that Onesimus will be much more valuable now that he is a believer.  

Onesimus will be tasked with the responsibility to return to his past, make amends and work alongside Philemon.  Beloved, part of being a healthy member of God’s family requires that we settle accounts from the past.  One cannot be truly free while hanging on to guilt, unforgiveness or anything that hangs over one’s heart.  Once you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are a new creation.  Beforehand, you weren’t too useful, now you have purpose.

Philemon is tasked with acceptance that his slave, who deserves punishment, will now work alongside him as a fellow believer.  That is what putting your faith in action looks like.  We must change our minds about the things “owed” to us, because it all belongs to the Lord anyway.  When Jesus blesses us, that blessing should pour out upon those around us.

Beloved, this is such a sweet epistle to rest in.  Which character do you relate to the most?  Have you been holding on to something, and now sense that the Lord wants you to let it go – entrusting Him with the outcome?  Are you in position to advocate for a believer who needs someone on her side?  What can you do today to share your joy and freedom in Christ with another?

Next we will visit the adventures and adversity that the Israelites encountered alongside Moses in the book of Deuteronomy!  It’s been on my heart to dive into this exciting fifth book of the Old Testament for some time now.  You will find it in the beginning of your bible between Numbers and Joshua.

Daily Word

Acts 27



Read Acts 27 – Sailing through the impossible with God will keep your head above water. 

Paul sets sail for Rome and in verse :2 we find a tiny word “us” that suggests Luke was with him.  Remember, Luke is the author of Acts. 

Paul is a prisoner, but his concession to be allowed to go ashore and visit friends (:3) suggests he was revered and trusted.  If you recall from previous chapters, Paul is no stranger to the seas, having taken several missionary journeys.  When the winds get difficult Paul addresses the ship’s officers about it (:9-12).  They do not heed his warning and press on.  The results are perilous, the sun and stars were blotted out and all hope was gone (:20). 

Paul addressed the men again, an angel of the Lord assured Paul he would stand before Caesar, and that God, in his goodness, would also grant safety to everyone sailing with him.  Paul said, “So take courage!  For I believe God.  It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” :25-26.  The night was still quite dramatic, and Paul urged all to eat something.  Paul took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it.  Then everyone was encouraged and began to eat. 

Beloved, sometimes things escalate and the very best thing is to get back to basics.  Thank God.  Eat. The Lord keeps things very simple for us. 

Our chapter ends with, “So everyone escaped safely to shore.”  They lost everything but their lives, the cargo, the ship, yet not one perished just as God told Paul.  What is the Lord telling you through this chapter? 🚢⚓🥖🙌🍞⚓🚢

Daily Word

Acts 26

Read Acts 26 – Every reason to share your testimony is a good thing – King Agrippa invites Paul to speak, and he opens with a compliment.  Knowing your audience, knowing their starting point of knowledge is very useful. 

Paul reviewed his childhood foundation, his resolute belief in the Scriptures and the fact that he is on trial because of his hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises made to their ancestors (:6).  He spoke of his original persecution of anyone who believed in Jesus (:9-12)…. Beloved, don’t shy away from the worst thing in your past, the thing that brought you to repentance.  God can bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3); let the Holy Spirit use your story to open the eyes of the blind. 

Paul shared his incredible road to Damascus experience with Jesus and all the good fruit that resulted from it, circling back to the prophecy found in Scripture (:23).  Festus interrupts, calling Paul crazy from too much study.  King Agrippa interrupts, asking if Paul is trying to  persuade him to become a Christian.  Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”  :29  And with that, the men, Bernice and all the others stood and left. 

How close to salvation were they to have been almost persuaded.  What causes a person to get so close and turn away?  It is tragic.  They left knowing Paul hadn’t done anything to deserve death or imprisonment, yet because Paul had appealed to Caesar, to Caesar he would go.  

Daily Word

Acts 25

Read Acts 25 – The Lord works in mysterious ways – Paul is able to share the Gospel because of the false accusations against him.  He has an audience in Festus, the new governor, King Aggripa and his sister, Bernice.  Notice all that is recorded in verse :23, “So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Festus ordered that Paul be brought in.”  This was a big show… yet what the accusers meant for evil, God used for good.  Paul has appealed to Caesar, as was his right as a Roman citizen, :11.  Festus agreed, but couldn’t even articulate what the charge against him was.  Our chapter ends with Festus declaring: “For it makes no sense to send a prisoner to the emperor without specifying the charges against him!” :27.  Beloved, when life seems unfair, look for the bigger picture.  Look for ways to show God’s goodness and mercy to those around you.  May you always have eyes for Jesus.😍

Daily Word

Acts 24

Read Acts 24 – Some people are so open-minded their brains fall out! 

I don’t know where I heard that expression, but it certainly applies to Governor Felix.  Through his time with Paul, he learned about Jesus.  His heart had a curiosity.  He kept Paul safe and permitted his friends to visit and care for him for two years.  He, himself, sent for Paul frequently. 

Doesn’t Governor Felix sound like a nice person?  Doesn’t he sound like an open-minded, worldly person?  Yet in the end he did not act on the information given.  He did not accept Christ.  He simply left Paul in prison for another to decide – all for the favor of men. 

Felix’s life was stuck in this world.  He heard the Good News.  He heard wisdom and logic, and yet he rejected Jesus by his inactivity.  Beloved, we all know people like Felix.  Polite people who ask good questions and seem to listen, but in the end, simply turn away.  We know that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (see Philippians 2:10-11)  There is one road to heaven and it is narrow (See Matthew 7 and Luke 13).  Beloved, don’t let these people discourage you.  Answer their questions, God’s Word never returns void… It could be the timing, and your “Felix” will process your answers years later, perhaps someone on the periphery is hearing, or perhaps God is building you up with the sharing of your faith.   Keep the good faith, my beloved. 📖🗨🧏‍♀️☝🧏‍♂️💬📖

Daily Word

Acts 23

Read Acts 23 – See God’s hand of protection beyond the detail. 

The details are bad.  Paul is on trial.  The Jews are against him.  The Politicians are curious, but don’t want the responsibility.  Discouragement would be understandable, but for God’s hand of protection…

Beloved, as you read, try to imagine being in Paul’s shoes, there was no earthly reason for him to have hope, but for Jesus, there was hope.  See Paul hold his ground when the High Priest wants him slapped, :3.  Yet when he is informed that he was speaking to the High Priest, he honors the Word of God and apologizes, :5.  Paul is sharp to recognize the division between his accusers, and use it to his advantage.  The commander sees the escalation and the soldiers are once again called in to rescue him, :10.  The Lord appeared to Paul that very night with encouragement! (:11).   The Jews form a plot to kill Paul, and bind themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until he is dead.  I wonder how they justified themselves when they failed?  Paul’s nephew overheard the plan and tipped the commander, who then sent Paul to Caesarea to meet with Governor Felix. 

Beloved, rest in the fact that God’s love is unfailing.  You may be up against humanly insurmountable odds, but Jesus’s plan and purpose will always prevail.

Daily Word

Acts 22

Read Acts 22 – We left off with Paul, having been rescued from the chants of, “Kill him!  Kill him!” (21:36), on the steps, addressing the angry crowd. 

Paul speaks in the Hebrew dialect to the Jewish crowd, and silence washes over them.  He tells his story, his testimony, who he was, where he came from, the encounter with Jesus that changed everything, and what he was to do with it. 

The crowd must have been captivated because Paul speaks fluidly for 21 verses… but that 21st verse:  “But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’’ That sent them over the edge, and the riot started back up.  The commander brought Paul inside and ordered him whipped to coerce a confession as to why the crowds were so agitated.  But Paul uses his Roman citizenship for immunity.  Nobody better mess with a Roman citizen.  The commander knew it; he paid a great price to obtain his, but even greater,  Paul was a citizen by birth(:28). 

Beloved, there is so much to learn about God and his purpose for you in these verses.  The Lord knew Paul before he was born and used every event in Paul’s life for His divine purposes – and the same is true for you.  Paul gave his testimony.  Beloved, your testimony is irrefutable.  It’s yours.  You may feel ill equipped with Scripture references, yet, your story is yours to display God’s gracious, merciful, saving love.  Now, who can you tell today?😍🙌🙏💖🙏🙌😍

Daily Word

Acts 21

Read Acts 21 – I remember being pregnant. (my son teased me and said I lost my entire make audience with this opener. Stay with me, Gents!) It was such an incredible time, filled with joy at the creation taking place inside me, and dreams of what my little girl, then my little boy, would be like.  But delivery bewildered me.  How was this giant baby going to come out?  I knew women much weaker than me did it – and did it more than once – but logically, it was a scary thought!  I see a similarity in Paul’s purpose.  He has the beautiful Gospel to share, yet many prophets tell him it will be difficult for him in Jerusalem.  He will be bound.  He will be turned over to the Gentiles.  The believers begged him not to go, :11-12.  Paul accepted that he was risking jail and even death, but it was for the sake of the Lord Jesus, and he would not be persuaded otherwise. 

Beloved, don’t let hard things scare you away from doing whatever the Lord lays on your heart to do. 

Sure enough, Paul arrives in Jerusalem and meets with James and all the elders of the Jerusalem church.  He gives a detailed account to them, and I found myself wondering if this was the very account that Luke used to write Acts.  (21:19) 

Paul soon gets arrested, a riot ensues, and that is where he gets his platform to address the crowd with the Roman commander’s protection… Our chapter ends with that cliffhanger.   The Bible is exciting! I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow – 😍☝💯

Daily Word

Acts 20

Read Acts 20 – It’s like a divine scavenger hunt.  Did you discover the miracle?  The treasure? The drive?  The blessing? 

First, Paul is saying goodbye to the believers in Troas, and no one wants the preaching to end.  He goes on until midnight.  One believer, Eutychus, was lulled to sleep, causing him to fall to his death from the 3rd story.  Paul took him into his arms and declared, “Don’t worry.  He is alive,” :10.  And sure enough the man was taken home, alive and well, :12.  MIRACLE! 

Paul moves on the next day by land and sea to Ephesus.  There he declares the message, simply and clearly:  “I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike – the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.”  :21.  Beloved, that is the TREASURE! 

And Paul speaks about his hardships, and the fact that he provided for himself, and he is glad for it because he knows he represented Jesus full and well.  “I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know,” :26-27.  DRIVE! 

And Paul leaves them with this assurance:  “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself,” :32.  And that, Beloved, is the BLESSING! 

My prayer for all of us is that we see these things in Acts 20, and that we see these things in our own lives as well.  Beloved, be aware and alive to the miracles, treasure, drive and blessings that are all part of a life lived for Jesus our Savior!

Daily Word

Acts 19

Read Acts 19 – Paul is on his third missionary journey. 

Let’s recall that Paul was a Pharisee; he would have known the Torah by heart (that is the first 5 books of the Old Testament).  He had a unique and dramatic conversion to Christianity by Jesus; and it is estimated that he spent about 10 years getting solid in his faith before his first missionary journey. 

Early in my walk with Jesus, I felt so inadequate.  I wanted to share like Paul, but I didn’t know God’s Word so well.  My friend reminded me that Paul didn’t just walk out of the house on Straight Street (Acts 9:11) and set sail.  The Holy Spirit took his time preparing him. 

Beloved, that same Holy Spirit is walking this journey within you as well.  You may not be aware of all he is preparing you for, just trust that Jesus has your life in his hand and you are important in your own way for the work he designed you for. 

…And now a little highlight from our passage:  Sometimes obstacles will attack your faith that have nothing to do with you. 

In verses :23-41 there is an encounter stirred up by a silversmith named Demetrius.  He manufactures silver shrines for the Greek goddess, Artemis, and Paul preached that handmade god’s weren’t really gods at all, :26.  Demetrius presented his greed as false concern for Artemis, and gathered a riot against Paul and those with him.  The town was thrown into confusion.  In fact, most of them didn’t know why they were there, :33.  The mayor is able to halt the frenzy with a call to logic.  This is a matter for the courts, not mob justice. 

Beloved, when revival comes, the devil is also at work to kill, steal and destroy. Expect opposition from strange places when you are walking out your faith.💪🤺🙏💖🙏💪