But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Acts 17:5-6 NKJV
Envious Jews accused the missionaries of turning the world upside down. Paul must have been pleased by the accusation. Paul must have praised God and gave thanks that he was found worthy of their accusations.
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12
Jesus did not come to turn the world upside down. Jesus came to turn the world right side up. The Word of God is a sword that separates bone from marrow. It divides the world into camps of good and evil!
Jesus did not come to clean up a sinful world. He came to transform it by pulling down the stronghold of evil. In Genesis chapter 3 the Lord told Satan, He (Jesus) shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel. Make no mistake, Jesus is a warrior king!
The Jews were envious because people chose to follow Jesus rather than the religious establishment. They chose to obey the Word of God rather than men. The Jews responded by turning to evil men and gathering a mob. They were kindred spirits!
The Jews accused the disciples of being disloyal to Rome and worshiping a king other than Cesar. They secretly yearned for a Messiah to free them from Roman oppression. That did not stop them from accusing Paul of the desire that was in their own hearts!
Paul was engaging in spiritual warfare. He proclaimed the Word of God in the stronghold of evil. He spoke the truth to a world reeling and listing from deception. Paul revealed that Jesus is the light of the world to people walking in darkness.
Paul was opposed and oppressed everywhere he went. That is because the people of his time walked in the darkness of unbelief and deception. The people of this age are blinded by unbelief and deception as well. Will they oppose and oppress us?
Jesus does not want to clean up our sinful world. He wants to transform it by pulling down strongholds in people’s lives. He will not do it by sending angels to preach to the gospel. He will not do it by sending angels to engage in spiritual warfare.
Jesus wants us to stop playing church and be the church. He wants us to follow Hm not worldly trendsetters. Jesus wants us to obey Him rather than going along to get along. We can be disciples of Jesus or kindreds spirit of the world. We cannot be both!
Will people accuse us of turning the world upside down? Will we praise God and give thanks if they do?
Now when they had passed through Amphiopilis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. Acts 17:1-4 NKJV
Paul and Silas arrived at Thessalonica. Paul made a beeline for the synagogue. He began a dialogue by reasoning from the Word of God. He demonstrated from the scriptures that Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead.
Paul told the people in the synagogue of this important city, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” A great multitude of people responded in faith. They got saved!
Paul focused his message on demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead because Jesus did not live up to the Jews expectations of the Christ. They expected Christ to deliver them from the Romans. Jesus did so much more!
Paul used the scriptures to make his case because they are the source of truth in this dark world. The scriptures reveal Jesus Christ to a world that desperately needs salvation. Paul lifted up the name of the Lord. He made Jesus famous!
Paul served Jesus by going into the stronghold of evil. The Jews persecuted Paul. They wanted to kill him. They stoned him and left him for dead. They put him in prison for casting a demon out of a young girl.
The Jews would follow Paul and oppose him everywhere he went. Paul’s future was hardships trials more imprisonment and martyrdom. Paul continued in his relentless pursuit to make Jesus known among the nations!
God gave Paul incredible grace to continue to run the race set before him. Paul would continue to fight on in the faith God gave him.
There are people all over the world running their own race today. Multitudes are fighting their own battle of faith. Most will not make a mark on history the way Paul did. Each and everyone of us can make Jesus famous in our corner of the world!
I am humbled and amazed at how many people read these daily devotions. It is not because I am a famous teacher preacher or writer. It is because I use the scriptures to demonstrate that “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ!!
God’s Word does not return void. It accomplishes the purpose for which the Lord sends it out!
Ask God to give you the grace to make Jesus famous in your corner of the world!
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31 NKJV
Paul and Silas were in prison. They were praying and singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. There was a great earthquake. Suddenly the prison doors were opened. All of the prisoner’s chains were loosened.
The keeper of the prison was going to kill himself. Paul called out to the jailer saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” The jailer fell down before Paul and Silas and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Paul and Silas shared the word of God with the jailer and his household. The jailer washed and dressed their wounds. He took Paul and Silas into his home. He fed them. The jailer and his household rejoiced because they believed in God!
After receiving Jesus as both Lord and Savior the jailer immediately started serving the Body of Christ. He tended to Paul’s and Silas’s needs. They were Jesus to him. He became Jesus to them!
The jailer did not wait for a church elder to announce a need or call for servants. He did not wait for a sign that God wanted him to serve. Paul and Silas do not appear to have asked for help. The new disciple saw a need. He stepped out in faith. He met the need.
The jailer and his household rejoiced in their new faith. They rejoiced at the opportunity to serve the Lord.
God revealed Himself to the Philippian jailer in a miraculous way. God met him right where he was. In his workplace!
If you do not know Jesus Christ call out to Him. The Lord will meet you right where you are. If you do not know what to believe ask God to show you the truth. He will introduce you to the one who is truth, Jesus!
If you do know Jesus don’t wait for a sign from God. Do not wait for a call from the pulpit. Look around you. There are people in need everywhere. There are opportunities to serve Jesus by serving His people right where you are!
Do you rejoice at the miracle of your salvation? You should. Life is hard. The days are evil. That should cause us to rejoice even more. The world and all that is in it is passing away. The life Jesus is preparing for you has only just begun!
Pray for God to reveal Himself to the people near you. If you are at work pray for your unsaved co-workers. If you are at home pray for your unsaved family members. Take the time to pray today!
Ask Jesus to perform His greatest miracle. Ask the Lord to save someone!
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out that very hour. Acts 16:16-18 NKJV
The slave girl was speaking the truth. She was possessed by an evil spirit. The evil spirit was drawing people away from Christ!
This attack came as God’s servants went to prayer. The enemy of our souls attacks when we step out in faith. Satan seeks to distract us. He wants us to focus our attention on things other than Jesus.
The devil perverts the truth. He uses it against us. No one can serve two masters. This girl was speaking the truth about Paul and his companions while practicing witchcraft. When people claim to speak for God we must consider how they live.
The girl followed the disciples for several days before they cast the demon out of her. It is important for us to wait on the Lord before stepping out in faith. The bible tells us Paul was greatly annoyed by this girl. Paul was not fearful. The Lord was with Him!
Paul and Silas were put in jail. The owners of the slave girl were angry at the loss of income when the demon was cast out of her. While Paul and Silas were in jail they shared the gospel with the jailer. His entire household was saved.
God uses Satan’s attacks for His glory and our salvation!
Satan is a real being. He takes people captive to do his will. There really are demons who seek to destroy God’s people and bring destruction to our world.
We have nothing to fear from the devil or his demons when we live according to God’s will. We have nothing to fear from anyone or anything when we step out in faith to serve Jesus!
Jesus wants us to fear Him and Him alone. He wants us to know His power and authority are unequaled in all of creation.
God wants you share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people in your life. Jesus wants you to walk in great boldness because He is with you everywhere you go!
Jesus can use you to shake the foundations of the prison and set people free!
Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. Acts 16:14-15 NKJV
When God opened her heart to the Gospel Lydia and her household were baptized. She set an example of obedience that was followed by her household. Nowhere in the scriptures is there ever any mention of a husband.
Lydia persuaded the disciples to come into her home as guests. None of this would be out of the ordinary today. In that culture it was very unusual for a woman to be in such a position of authority. It was unusual for a woman to invite men into her home.
God is not a respecter of persons. We are all equal in His eyes. The Lord does appoint leaders in the Body of Christ. He places one person in this position and another person in that position. We are all called to lead people to Jesus!
We are all called to be followers of Jesus Christ!
We are not called to follow any one person. Christians should never be locked into a designation of either being just followers or just leaders.
The bible does not teach authoritarian leadership. The bible teaches servant leadership. In biblical vocabulary the words “leader” and “servant” are synonymous. Jesus said, he who would be the greatest among us must be the servant of all!
Maybe you are the Pastor of a church. The Lord is calling you to follow the example of Jesus Christ. He laid down His life for His church. The Lord is calling you to serve Him by serving His people.
You may be very young in the faith. God is calling you to be a leader among His people. The Lord is calling you to lead other people to Jesus Christ.
Be faithful a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Lead other people to the Lord by setting an example of obedience to God!
This would not be the last time the missionaries would enter Lydia’s home. Paul and Silas went to Lydia’s home when they were released from jail. It was there that they encouraged the brethren before pressing on in their journey.
It does not matter if you have been walking with Jesus for decades or got saved yesterday. Jesus can use you to influence people and events to bring glory to God and change the spiritual atmosphere in your corner of the world.
Follow Jesus wherever He leads you. Lead people to Jesus through servant leadership!
Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison;
and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!”
And his chains fell off his hands. Acts 12:7 NKJV
Herod killed the Apostle James. When he saw that it pleased the Jews he had Peter arrested. Herod’s intention was to kill Peter. But the church was in constant prayer for him.
Peter was bound with chains. He was sleeping between two soldiers. There were other soldiers guarding the prison door. An angel appeared and loosened Peter’s chains. Peter returned to the disciples who greeted him with astonishment and thanksgiving!
Peter was delivered from the forces warring against the Most High and the people of God. He was freed to serve the Lord!
My wife had surgery to replace three discs in her neck. She needed around the clock care. She was transferred to a rehabilitation facility. The care was atrocious. The conditions were appalling. I became her caregiver.
Our son walked of into sin. We were overjoyed when he returned. We were heartbroken when he left again.
I was a year or so into a position with a new company. I used all my paid time off. It was make or break time. The company invested heavily in me. They expected a return!
There was a sales meeting. I asked my supervisor if I could skip it. She said no. I rushed out the door. Something rose up within me. I call it righteous faith. I like the sound of furious faith as well. I wasn’t having anymore!
In the imprecatory Psalms David called down curses and cried out to God for vengeance against his enemies. I cursed the enemy of my family and called on God to take vengeance for us!
I could not change my circumstances. I did not surrender to them. I rose above them!
I could not change my wife’s health. I could be Jesus to her. I cannot live my children’s lives for them. I can trust God to transform them. I can do my job as unto the Lord and trust Jesus to provide for my family!
I prayed like a man who believes my enemies are God’s enemies. Just like David did. I prayed like a man who believes the Lord listens. Just like the saints of old did!
You cannot change your circumstances. You can trust God with them. You cannot defeat the forces of evil. You can be more than a conqueror through faith in Jesus Christ. You are free to serve Jesus Christ today!
Pray like someone who believes God is for you and not against you!
“If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Acts 11:17-18 NKJV
Peter witnessed to Cornelius and his family. God saved them. This was the first time the Holy Spirit was poured out on gentiles. They were the first non-Jews in the Body of Christ.
When the Jewish believers heard what happened they argued with Peter saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!” Peter explained his vision and the events that followed. They glorified God and received the new believers into the household of God.
All sin is primarily against God. And yet it is people who suffer the effects of it. The great unpardonable sin is grieving the Holy Spirit. Despising other people is also a great sin.
The Jewish people looked down on other races of people. They would not associate with gentiles. It was considered an uncivilized act to eat with them.
Bigotry and racial arrogance were no longer acceptable after Cornelius was saved. Jews Romans Greeks and eventually people all over the world became brothers and sisters in Christ. Many were persecuted. Some were killed. All were loved by God!
Unity of Spirit and diversity of races, heritage and cultures enriched and blessed the Body of Christ. These things gave glory to God!
Jesus sent His followers into all the world to make disciples. They went forth in unity. They gave their hearts to God and each other. They were recognized as disciples of Jesus because they loved one another!
We were all created in the image and likeness of our Heavenly Father. Jesus saved us so that we could be joined together in His eternal family!
When we divide along racial ethnic or cultural lines we rob ourselves of the richness of God’s diversity. When we allow economics to divide us we miss out on God’s blessing. People will not believe we represent Christ if they do not believe we love each other!
Jesus is sending us out to make disciples today. We must obey that command in unity with other believers. It is not important for us to look alike or even act alike. It is important for us to be Christ like.
Jesus temporarily gave up His right to rule and reign when He walked the earth. He chose to serve His brothers and sisters in love.
Will you choose to serve your brothers and sisters in love?
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the gentiles also. Acts 10:44-45 NKJV
A devout man had a vision. An angel called him by name. Cornelius answered, “What is it Lord?” The angel answered, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter”
Cornelius was not Jewish. He did not know the Lord. And yet his prayers and good works are described as a memorial before God!
This event did not fit into Jewish theology? It fits into God’s theology. It was part of His divine plan!
I was employed as a route salesman. I pulled up to a store and parked. A man dressed in robes and sandals was sitting in the driveway. He had long hair and a beard. I looked down from my truck. He smiled and said, “I have been waiting for you.”
I had never seen anybody dressed like that before. I didn’t know what to say or do. I jumped out of my truck. I ran to the back door. I pulled out a loaf of bread. I gave it to him. I stood in silence and watched him walk away until I could not see him anymore.
Something happened that day. Maybe he was an angel. I cannot say for sure. I do know I did not know the Lord. I also know whatever happened does not fit into my theology!
Cornelius gathered his family to hear what Peter had to say. Peter shared the Gospel with them. For the first time non-Jewish people received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. Everyone present was amazed!
God works in amazing and mysterious ways. Some of the things He does will not fit into our view of theology!
Calvinists theologians will be amazed at some of the people who get saved. Arminian theologians will be perplexed by some of the people they see in heaven. Cessationist theologians may witness miracles with their own eyes. All of us must stop judging the unsaved and people who have wandered into sin!
I once suffered a drug induced psychotic episode. A Christian friend came by to visit. He did not judge or criticize. He did share Jesus with me. A short time later I fell on my knees before the Lord. The seeds my friend planted bore fruit for the kingdom of God!
Do not call what God has cleansed unclean. Encourage people who have fallen into sin. Love unsaved people. The Lord will move in mysterious and miraculous ways.
Jesus will save lost, lonely and brokenhearted people!
And he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do? Acts 9:4-6
Saul breathing threats and murder went to the high priest. He asked for permission to arrest the disciples. His intent was to bind men and women like animals and present them to the authorities in Jerusalem.
Saul studied under Israel’s greatest teacher. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews and a Pharisee of Pharisees. He heard the religious authorities explain away the miracles Jesus performed. When Stephen was stoned Saul guarded the clothes of the murderers!
Saul heard the words Jesus spoke. He saw lame men walk. He witnessed blind eyes being opened. Sinners were repenting. The Lord was preparing Saul’s heart even as he arrested and tortured disciples of Jesus Christ.
Saul was at the forefront of the battle between good and evil in his day!
When the light from heaven shone around him Saul fell to the ground. Was he prostrating himself before the Lord? Have you?
Saul heard a voice from heaven saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul recognized the Lord’s voice when Jesus spoke to him. Do you recognize His voice when Jesus speaks to you?
Jesus was working in Saul’s life long before they met on the road to Damascus. That is why He told Saul, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Jesus wanted Saul to know it is easier to surrender to the Lord’s will than it is to fight against it!
I do not know how long Jesus has been preparing you for the work He wants to accomplish in your life. I do know Jesus wants you to stop kicking and fighting against His will. Jesus wants you to surrender to Him!
The man who would become an Apostle heard the voice of Almighty God and responded by saying, “What do you want me to do Lord?” He immediately repented and surrendered to God’s will for his life.
Have you surrendered to God’s will for your life? Do you ask Jesus what He wants you to do?
You are at the forefront in the battle between good and evil today!
Saul could not become Paul until he became small in his own eyes. Jesus wants you to humble yourself so He can lift you up into His will for your life!
If you have not prostrated yourself before Jesus do it today. If you have not asked Jesus what He wants you to do there is no better time to ask than right now!
The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So he opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”
So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So He commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Acts 8:32-38 NKJV
Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch on the road as he was living for Jesus. He shared the Word of God with him. Then Philip continued on his journey praising God!
We assume the eunuch’s conversion was genuine. Philip could not have been sure. He obeyed the Lord in faith. He left the outcome to God!
A murderer struck up a conversation with a prison employee. The conversation turned to the gospel. Jesus Christ was preached. God loves him. Jesus died for Him!
Two options were presented. If he continued in sin eternal separation from God would be his destiny. Hell would be his ultimate destination. If he confessed his sin repented and surrendered his life to Jesus he would spend eternity with the Lord in paradise!
The prison employee shared the gospel with a gang member behind the wall. There is no way of knowing the result of his witness. We do not know if he will trust God with his life or if he was looking for a way to exploit God’s servant.
The prison employee stepped out in faith and obedience. The result belongs to God!
Jesus wants you to serve Him in obedience. He wants you to step out in faith and proclaim the risen Lord. God does not want you to be preoccupied with the results of your service!
Our job is to share the Word of God with people and let Jesus be Lord. He is not asking us to save anyone. Jesus is calling us to live for Him!
Walk worthy of your calling. Praise God as you go!
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