DATE POSTED Tuesday, 2022-07-12
WRITTEN AT: O Brien, FL
SCRIPTURE FROM: Acts 26:10–11; 13–14
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)
BIBLE TEXT: 10 ….. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
13 …. as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. 14 We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’
APPLICATION: In some translations, the word ‘persecute’ is used several times in the few verses referenced. The word ‘persecutor’ means: “one who treats (someone) cruelly or unfairly especially because of race or religious or political beliefs”. I feel like God opened my eyes and reminded me that when we treat God’s messengers with contempt, then we are actually persecuting the Lord Jesus himself. This reminds me of a loving parent who feels condemned when their child is persecuted or ill-treated. So what is our lesson in this? After all, we don’t go about ‘persecuting’ our religious leaders… Or do we? How often do you see groups gathered in a corner in discussion over the questionable sermon they just heard, or the dress code of the pastor, or the attitude of the worship leader, or the audacity of the pastor to say what he did during his sermon? Surely this is not complimentary of God’s messenger, is it? Is that the precursor to a time of prayer that the group will have for their pastor? I’ve always said that one will get as much from a sermon, as they have prayed into it. Do you feel like we tend to persecute the pastor because God didn’t respond like we expected from our prayers for His messenger who stood in the pulpit? Friends, over in 2 Chronicles 7:14, God said that if we would humble ourselves and pray (not belittle or try to humble the pastor), and if we would seek His face, and if we would turn from our wicked ways, then He would hear from heaven, forgive our sins and restore our land. Notice the personal application there? Nothing about God taking care of all that we feel are inadequate, or the one who seems to have hi sown agenda and will not listen to our demands. Friends, I believe that these scriptures are a warning to us who have a full-time job personally doing all that God expects of us. So where do you suppose that we find a command, or order from God to ‘persecuting’ anyone? When we do, we are meddling in the powerful work of God through His earthly servants/messengers. Perhaps there is a great need for us to go back to the basics of what God demands of us individually. Anything outside of that places us squarely at the feet of Jesus in need of His forgiveness, and with no time to be critical of anyone else. Please don’t shrug this off as being super applicable to all of your friends – those ‘persecutors’. Allow God to search your heart and convict you of your sin and shortcomings. I believe you will find that there’s plenty enough to keep you on your knees for a very long time, including, praying for your spiritual leaders. In doing this, there just won’t be time enough to persecute others.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You created all things and You are above all things. Thank You for sending messengers, Your angels, to minister to folk like me, even though we tend to persecute the very ones that You sent to bless us, love on us and warn us about our sinful ways. Please help us to love these dear ones, in spite of them not meeting all of our expectations, and in spite of our sinful desire to persecute them. I believe it is obvious that Saul was not the only one that persecuted Christians. In spite of Saul’s evil ways, You had an awesome work for him to do under his new name, Paul. No doubt, You have so much to accomplish through us as well, so please rest Your hand upon Your children today, beginning with me, and help us to accept Your power and Your desire to use even us in Your service to win the lost. We are your messengers as well, please encourage us to treat other messengers in the same way that we want to be treated. May Your kingdom come oh Lord, and may we be ready and obedient in every way, every day! AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!