Bridge Family Devotion (January 25, 2015)

Remember as we continue our journey in the book of Acts 22 that Paul had been arrested because of the religious people accusations. Paul asks to speak to the religious leaders himself and we pick up his testimony, Paul had supernaturally received his sight back and has given his life to the Lord and was baptized. Last week we discussed how religious traditions can hinder us from what Father God is doing now. The religious leaders could not accept the truth of Jesus being the Messiah and changing Paul’s life.

Acts 22:17 “After I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple and fell into a trance. 18 I saw a vision of Jesus saying to me, ‘Hurry! Leave Jerusalem, for the people here won’t accept your testimony about me.’ 19 “‘But Lord,’ I argued, ‘they certainly know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And I was in complete agreement when your witness Stephen was killed. I stood by and kept the coats they took off when they stoned him.’ 21 “But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!'”

Paul was saying, I’m was more religious than they are, surely they will believe what happened to me. They knew how I was such a religious fanatic and one of the leading persecutors of Christians before my conversion and I was even there when Stephen, the first martyr, was stoned.

Friend, when it comes to those who are just religious, if they won’t believe what happened to Jesus and His Word then they won’t believe what happened to us. The Holy Spirit finally told Paul, this is in my own words, you will never reach your own people so I’m sending you to the Gentiles.

That’s an important word for each one of us today. Many times we cannot reach our own family and friends, but we can reach those that the Holy Spirit puts in our path and as we reach them, the Holy Spirit will send others to reach those we can’t reach. It is the oldest spiritual law in the Bible, we reap what we sow. Too many times we get distracted by what we can’t do, and what we see not happening that we forget we are seed sowers but Father God gives the harvest. If you have a lost loved one, a lost friend begin to reach someone else’s lost loved one or friend and watch Father God show out in your own family.

Every time you pray for, witness to, do a good deed for, sow seed into someone else’s family/friend you are actually sowing for your own spiritual harvest with your family and friends.

Never give up on your family and friends coming to Christ and being used in His Kingdom. In fact more than ever let their salvation become your greatest desire as we sense the end of time quickly approaching us.

22 The crowd listened until Paul said that word. Then they all began to shout, “Away with such a fellow! He isn’t fit to live!” 23 They yelled, threw off their coats, and tossed handfuls of dust into the air.

Notice it says they listened but they definitely didn’t believe what Paul was saying and they judged him on the spot, ready to punish him by death for blaspheming their own beliefs.

We must be careful because we sometimes judge the things of Father God too quickly because we, like them, have our own personal beliefs based on our personal experiences. Never be quick to judge and kill.

As I studied this passage further I found this: “Cast off their clothes”: They did this in preparation to stone Paul, in horror at his “blasphemy “or in uncontrollable rage – or, most likely, for all 3 reasons. Their passions inflamed by racial pride, the members of the crowd lost any semblance of self-control.

“Threw dust”: A sign of intense emotion (2 Sam. 16:13; Job 2:12;
Rev. 18:19). Casting off their clothes showed their wild fury against Paul. The throwing dust in the air was their way of saying that their great anger was of God.

When we think we are right, we always want others to think that God is in our way of thinking whether it’s conveyed to them by our words or by our actions. So as they threw the dust in the air it was an outward sign to those around that they were simply obeying God in their decision to murder Paul which Father God did not allow.

Prayer Points: Father God help me to never to judge anyone based on my personal experience or personal interpretation of Father God’s word. You are the judge, help me to walk in love and build your kingdom.