Acts 26:20 What Everyone Needs To Hear

First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. Acts 26:20

At different times there are important messages that need to be broadcast or given out to a group of people. Some of these messages are of extreme importance, while others are not as important.

One common broadcast, that is not of high importance, is telling of a major sale going on. Messages of high importance would be warnings given out when there is a hurricane coming in and major disaster is expected.

As Paul was being tried in court, he tells the court that he did was God called him to do. He had brought a message of repentance and demonstration of that repentance by deeds to all the world, both Jew and Gentile.

Every day people are talking about many different things. Most of those things being talked about deal with their immediate life, but not at a high level of extreme importance. People talk about the weather, work, economy, politics, family, sports and more.

While these things can be interesting and somewhat important, they are often not of extreme high level of importance. Rarely are they dealing with life and death.

The greatest message that every person on this earth needs to hear is one that deals with their life for eternity. It is the message that every believer has heard and believed. That message is that every person needs to repent of sins and turn to God and then show that they have repented by their actions–live for God.

Every believer has a mandate from God to get this message out to every person, regardless of their ethnicity or background.

If you are a believer in Jesus, someone had taken time to bring you the greatest message of all time. They took time to tell you about Jesus, the need to repent and the need to live for God.

Now it is your turn to pass that great message on to someone else. Strive to get the message out to everyone and anyone you can. There is no one too great, too small, too good or too bad that does not need to hear it.

All need to be given a chance to repent and turn to God, gaining eternal life.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that your life will demonstrate by action the repentance you have done; that you will pass the message of Jesus to all you meet; and that many will come to Jesus and repent of their sins through your message.

Acts 15:19 Don’t Make It Difficult

It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Acts 15:19

Everywhere a person goes there are some rules or regulations guiding people how to live or work where they are at. Some places are very lenient, having very few regulations, while others are extremely strict with an overload of rules.

The more rules that are laid out, the more difficult it is for people to follow them. It can become much easier to break the rules with many rules. It can also make it very discouraging to attempt to follow all of them.

The Jewish leaders in Antioch were laying down a lot of rules for new Gentile believers to follow in order to follow God. Paul told them they should not make it difficult for the new Gentile believers as they turn towards God.

One of the constant struggles for churches is in knowing what the rules are to be and remain a believer. While many believe that believing in Jesus and repenting of sins is enough to become a follower of Jesus, there are others that add a lot more.

There are also many churches that want the new believer to clean up his life completely before becoming a member. A long list of things to do or not do is given immediately upon becoming a Christian.

While it is good to begin guiding a new believer in how to live for Christ, giving a long list can be overwhelming and discouraging. It can push people away from God, because of the impossibility of fulfilling a long list of legal regulations, just as the Israelites had a problem with following God’s Law.

The focus for new believers should be building them up, little by little in what it means to follow Jesus, not all at once.

You may be a new believer who is struggling with being burdened with a load of regulations, or you may be an older believer who loads others down with rules. Either way, do not forget that the only thing required to be a believer is to believe in Jesus and repent of sins.

God will change your heart to be able to handle more rules as you continue to grow in Him, learning to trust and obey Him in every area of your life. Do not burden yourself or others with too much, too fast.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will give you strength and wisdom to obey His commands; that you will guide new believers in the ways of the Lord; and that God will guide you in helping new believers grow in the Lord.

Acts 11:23 Encouragement To Remain True

When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Acts 11:23

When something major changes, most people want to go back to the old way of things. They do not always want to accept and embrace the change, even if it is a good change.

One of the ways they stay with the old is they keep talking about the old ways, rather than moving forward. This can occur when a person changes for the good, they keep remembering the person’s past.

The church in Jerusalem heard that the Gentiles in Antioch had become believers. They sent Barnabas to verify what had happened. When he saw what God had done he encouraged the new believers to remain true to the Lord with all of their hearts.

Some believers in the church can sometimes be the worst critics of new believers. Just as the Jewish people could not believe that a Gentile could be saved by God, believers today often believe certain people cannot really be saved because of their past. Instead of encouraging the new believers, they cut them down.

Every believer has some faults with sin, however, that does not mean he is not trying to serve and love God with all of his heart. Instead of the church pushing against the believer, he should encourage him to remain true to God all the more and more as He grows in God.

Encouragement can often be the key that gives a person strength to continue to walk with God. It will create a change of focus from the problems of life to God and His life. Life has enough problems and struggles to not have more added by those in the church.

Just as you need encouragement to keep moving forward with God, so others need encouragement. As you see new believers, give them encouragement, rather than judgement.

Show them ways in which you have learned to walk closer to God. Give them stories of how God has helped you make it. Talk about how being faithful to God has strengthened you all the more when you have seen God fulfilling His promises in your life.

Be the one who will encourage new believers in the walk with God, rather than the discourager.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will see how God has strengthened you; that you will share how God has helped you with others; that you will encourage others in their walk with God; and that you will be true to the Lord with all of your heart.

Ephesians 4:17 A Way Not To Live

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. Ephesians 4:17

The majority of the world lives in a way that is to please themselves in the moment. People have the mindset that if if feels good, looks good, or tastes good, then do it. It is all about in the moment of personal pleasure, regardless of the long-term outcome.

The world believes in a freedom that is actually a bondage. They are unable to think in any other way, other than of self.

Paul gets demanding in that he demands that the people no longer live like the Gentiles.

Although on the surface the thinking and ways of the world seem like freedom and good, they are in reality actions leading towards death and destruction. It denies the truth and authority of God.

With this mindset, there is no solid foundation of rules. The rules of the world change according to the feeling in the moment. What was wrong a while back, is now considered good.

There have been many in the church who have chosen to continue to live in this way, while claiming to believe in Jesus. They have chosen to continue to hold onto sinful acts and habits to please themselves.

Alternate lifestyles, abortions, drugs, abuse, sexual immorality and other actions are sadly common among believers as acceptable. Many have been deceived into thinking that living this way is really loving and accepted by God.

Every believer in Jesus is supposed to become a new creation. This means that his ways of thinking and acting are different. He is to longer think and live like the world. One is either living for God or he is living for self, there is no middle ground.

If you consider yourself a believer and follower of Jesus, you must leave the ways of the world behind you. Give up thinking and acting like the world.

Change your thoughts and actions to become like those of Jesus in everything you say and do. Live your life to please God for what He has done for you, not to please self or others.

Living as the world does will only bring God’s judgement of wrath upon you and death.

How are you thinking and living your life today?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will think and act like Jesus; that God will give you strength to reject the ways of the world; and that you will know how God wants you to live your life.

Romans 9:30-31 Pursue Righteousness By Faith, Not Law

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Romans 9:30-31

People want to feel as if they can do the right thing all the time. They want to be known as a good person.

No one wants to be seen as a bad person, who is in the wrong. In order to combat the view of being bad, many will do good things to make themselves look good.

Paul points out that the gentiles had received righteousness by faith, not the law. The Israelites were unable to attain righteousness by following the law.

There are many believers who know the laws of God very well and push them on everyone. They stress that one must follow the laws of God to be a believer and be righteous and holy.

Following the law is man’s effort to look good before God. Once a person sins, he can never look good enough or be truly righteous before God.

The only way a person can become righteous and holy before God is by accepting what Jesus did on the cross. This acceptance is what faith does. It is faith in the works of Jesus, not self works.

However, this does not nullify the law. One must now pursue the law out of faith in Jesus. He must strive to be holy, not to gain righteousness, but because of what Jesus has already done. Jesus gives every believer in Him His righteousness and holiness.

Through faith one is made righteous, not through self work, following God’s law. Faith in Jesus must precede following the law. Following the law must always follow faith.

As you trust in and believe in the work of Jesus, you are saved. There is nothing more you can do to be saved more. This is faith in action. Once you are saved, you are given the righteousness of Jesus.

As a result of what He has done, pursue following God’s law and commands to you. Pursue the law out of love for what Jesus did for you, not in order to be righteous or better in God’s sight. Jesus has already done that work for you.

What is your reason for following God’s law? For righteousness or out of love?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will have faith in the works of Jesus; that you will love God with your actions; and that you will trust in the righteousness of Jesus given to you.