28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

Have you ever binge-watched an entire season of a show over the course of a few days?  

Day 15 – The Yoke that Chokes  

Read Acts 15.  

We read in the beginning of Acts 15 that some false teachers from Judea have come to trouble the believers. They are insisting that unless people are circumcised, they cannot be saved. This sparks a fierce argument between these false teachers and Paul and Barnabas, so Paul and Barnabas head back to Jerusalem with a few others to meet with the apostles and elders of the church and resolve this issue.  

This is what happens next.  

Acts 15:5-11 (NIV) reads:  

“Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”  

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”  

Peter explains clearly that the Gentiles have been saved by the grace of Jesus in the same way that they too were saved and that God showed He accepted them by giving them the same Holy Spirit that they received.  

Peter points out that insisting on their circumcision now is like putting yokes of religious duty on the shoulders of the believers, yokes that neither they nor their ancestors could bear. This is a simple reminder to us today that it is not adherence to a set of rules and regulations that ever saves anyone... instead it’s the uncomplicated but beautiful grace of God.  

·      What are some of the “yokes of religious duty” we might be tempted to put on believers today and how can we make sure we avoid doing that?  

·      What are some of the benefits of being “free in Christ”? How would you explain that to a friend who is not yet a believer?    


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

If there were no restrictions on travel or budget, what would be your dream holiday?  

Day 16 – Closed Borders  

Read Acts 16.  

In the opening of Acts 16, we read of Paul and Silas’ journey from Derbe to Lystra and of Paul’s decision to take Timothy with them on their journey.  

Next we read in Acts 16:4-10 (NIV) –  

As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.  

Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”  

Notice that the Holy Spirit prevents Paul and his friends from preaching the word in what was then called the province of Asia. Later they try to cross the border of Mysia and enter Bithynia “but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to”.  

At the time of the writing of this devotional, the borders between NSW and Victoria have just closed as a result of the spread of the coronavirus. This is a decision that has been made by authorities for the protection of the people.  

In the same way, the Holy Spirit closed certain borders to Paul and his missionary team as they travelled. We may never fully know the reasons that the Spirit did this – perhaps for the protection of the men, maybe the hearts of the people were not ready. However, we must simply trust that God knows best!  

How often do we blame the devil when a door in our lives closes? What if the Holy Spirit closed that door?  

It is interesting that no sooner has one door closed then another one opens. Paul has a vision of a man of Macedonia who is begging him to come over to Macedonia and help them. Paul knows he cannot fight God, knocking on doors that the Spirit has closed. He also knows the wonder of being found right in the heart of where God wants him to be.  

·      Have you witnessed doors closing in your life recently? Although not always so, often it is the Spirit who closes these doors for our own benefit. Why not ask God to speak to you in the midst of your situation?  

·      What doors do you believe that the Spirit has opened to you recently? Spend some time thanking Him for God given opportunities today. Every day is filled with them.    


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

If you could interview anyone in history, who would you choose and why? What one or two questions would you ask?  

Day 17 – A Junkyard of Idols  

Read Acts 17.  

When Paul arrives in Athens, he becomes distressed, angry in fact, as The Message Bible says, as the city has become a junkyard of idols. The people of Athens love a good discussion and so they invite Paul to a meeting of the Areopagus.  

We read from Acts 17:22-28 (NIV) –  

“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.  

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”  

Even though these words from Paul were written some two thousand years ago, it is as if he could be addressing society today. How often do people worship an unknown God right now?  

Paul’s very point is this – God, creator of the Universe, does not live in a man made building. Selah – pause and think about that! He doesn’t need the human race to run errands for Him. He made us; we don’t make Him (or statues that we fool ourselves into believing are God). And God desires that we seek Him and find Him. He is not playing hide and seek. He yearns for us to have a living and breathing relationship with Him.  

·      God does not live in temples built by human hands. How does this verse encourage you right now?  

·      ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’. Spend some time meditating on this thought and thank God for it at the start of this new day.


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

What would you like said about you at your funeral?  

Day 18 – Keep on Speaking  

Read Acts 18.  

Acts 18:1-11 (NIV) says:  

“After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.  There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.  

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptised.  

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.”  

Have you ever noticed – you can’t reason with some people?  

Maybe that is because when it comes down to it, it is the role of the Holy Spirit to convict of truth. Paul knows this... and so he decides not to waste his time trying to persuade these Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. They only want to argue contentiously with Paul and contradict him at every turn.  

So he symbolically shakes the dust off his clothes in protest against them, saying in verse 6 “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  

Then God encourages Paul in a vision one night, telling him to keep on speaking, and not to let anyone intimidate or silence him as God is with him, no one is going to attack or harm him.  

·      How do these verses encourage you today?

·      Is there someone you have been trying to reason with lately and you find yourself getting nowhere as Paul did? Maybe you simply need to hand it over to God. With God, nothing is impossible.  


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

Your house is on fire, and everyone is safe. You have 30 seconds to run through the house and collect three or four articles you want to save. What would you grab? Why?  

Day 19 – Wade In  

Read Acts 19.  

Acts 19:1-7 (NIV) reads:  

“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”  

“John’s baptism,” they replied.  

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.  There were about twelve men in all.”  

These Ephesian disciples displayed that they really did not know much about God’s nature as revealed in Jesus. They were obviously students of Jesus, disciples, but they had not yet grasped all that Jesus did for us, especially in His promise to send the Spirit when He returned to Heaven.  

They had only a basic understanding of the Messiah’s message, which they had gained through John the Baptist’s ministry. As Paul instructs, John’s baptism was one of repentance. It did not guarantee faith unto salvation.

 John’s calling and ministry was to point the way to Jesus. But it is up to each person individually to make the journey towards Jesus for themselves, to receive Jesus. These men were ready to receive Jesus fully. And so they were baptised into His name. When Paul laid his hands on them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and received His gifts.  

·      If someone were to look at our lives today, would they notice the person and power of the Holy Spirit at work in us? Are we living under His divine influence? Are we filled with His power?  

·       God always wants us to go deeper, to drink deeply, to wade in. In what areas is God encouraging you to go deeper into the things of the Holy Spirit today?


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

What is one thing that is completely unique about you?  

Day 20 – The Longest Sermon  

Read Acts 20.  

Acts 20:7-12 (NIV) reads:  

“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third storey and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.”  

Ever fallen asleep during a sermon? Of course you haven’t! This guy, Eutychus, will never forget when he did.... although he may have forgotten what Paul was preaching on.  

This account seems to be our first clear example of Christians making a habit of gathering together on the first day of the week for fellowship and the Word, although here they gathered in the evening as they had worked during the day.  

Paul senses the need to preach a long sermon, at least six hours in fact, as he knew he may never see these particular Christians ever again! Did he have notes?  

And so the lateness of the hour, the heat and maybe the fumes from the oil lamps become too much for Eutychus, who falls asleep in the window and to his death three storeys below. How do you think this would have changed the atmosphere in the meeting?  

Paul clearly receives the gift of faith from God and, knowing that God would raise the boy from the dead, throws himself on him and he is raised back to life. Once Paul has their attention again he continues to preach until daybreak.  

·      What do you imagine Paul may have been preaching on? It kept the crowd engaged for more than six hours.  ·      In the middle of his sermon, he raises a young man back to life once more. Why do you think that the working of miracles accompanies the preaching of the Word so often in the Book of Acts? 


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

You’ve been exiled to a deserted island for a year. You are told you may take three things you want, apart from the essentials. What would you take and why?  

Day 21 – Powering On  

Read Acts 21.  

Paul and his missionary team have now made their way back to Caesarea and are staying at the house of Philip. It seems that, just as you cannot stop the move of God, you cannot stop Paul in his tracks. Paul is aware of the fate that lies ahead of him, yet he is still willing to return to Jerusalem, and if necessary, to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.  

So we read in Acts 21:8-14 (NIV):  

“Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.  

After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”  

When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”  

Notice how The Message Bible translates verse 13 –  

“But Paul wouldn’t budge: “Why all this hysteria? Why do you insist on making a scene and making it even harder for me? You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that?”  

What a great challenge for all of us!  

·      What if the issue were not what happened to us in life, when things aren’t going so well, but what Jesus did through our obedience to Him?  

·      What testimonies do you have in your life of the blessings that came through obedience to God, even when the circumstances in front of you were not as you’d like them to be?  


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

If you could live one year of your life again, which one would you go back to? Why?  

Day 22 – The Outsiders  

Read Acts 22.  

Paul is in Jerusalem now and has been arrested after accusations from the angry mob. Paul requests permission from the commander to address the crowd. Now in Acts 22, we read of Paul’s defense.  

He starts at the beginning, explaining his Jewish heritage and his zealous persecution of followers of the Way. He retells his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus where he was blinded by the light of Christ, and of how he met Ananias who laid hands on him so he could see again. Ananias tells Paul of God’s destiny for him.  

Now listen to what Paul says from verse 17 of Acts 22 (NIV) –  

“When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’  

“‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’  

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’     

The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”  

This is the same crowd who had tried to kill Paul and who had then listened intently to his whole sermon. So what has enraged them once more? It is one simple word – “Gentiles”. The Jewish mob is incensed at the thought that God’s salvation could be freely available to believing Gentiles. Outrageous!  

The Jews of the day had no issue with Gentiles becoming Jews but they were incredibly offended at the suggestion that Gentiles could become Christians just as Jews became Christians, as this implied that Jews and Gentiles were equal, having to approach God on the same terms. Surely this could not be correct!  

The beautiful truth of the message preached by Christ, and now here preached by Paul is this – we may come to God exactly as we are, Jew or Gentile, Australian or North Korean; no matter our nationality or culture or upbringing, our marital status or our bank balance, we come to him exactly as we are..... but we must come to Him through Jesus Christ. He is the gateway back to God.  

·      Who in your world might be considered an “outsider” to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  

·      Who can you pray for today, remembering that for us, as believers, we were all enemies of God at one point but God, by His grace, thought to include us all?    


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

When you were at school, what was your favourite subject? Did you enjoy drama and starring in school productions?  

Day 23 – Truth on Trial  

Read Acts 23.  

Acts 23:1-11 (NIV) reads:  

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”  

Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”  

Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’”  

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)  

There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.    

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”  

When Paul stands before the High Council, we see a Godly passion and boldness exuding from him. When the High Priest, Ananias, orders Paul be struck on the mouth for his opening remarks, Paul turns to him and says “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”  

Paul calls the High Priest a fake, a “corrupt pretender” (TPT) in verse 3. Paul accuses Ananias of judging Paul according to the law, yet violating it himself, as he has ordered that Paul be struck. It was not lawful for someone to be struck who had not yet been found guilty (Deuteronomy 25:1-2).  

Ananias was a greedy man, well known for his corrupt deeds. Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrote that Ananias stole for himself the tithes that belonged to the priests.  

In spite of the fact that Paul stands before a corrupt man “on trial”, Jesus Himself speaks to Paul and exhorts him to take courage, reminding him that just as Paul has been Jesus’ spokesman here in Jerusalem, he will now be His spokesman in Rome.  

·      Why do you think that Paul calls Ananias a “whitewashed wall”?  

·      God is never impressed by our outward actions if they do not line up with what is going on in our hearts. This is where the Pharisees fell short. How important is authenticity to God? How will Paul’s courage and conviction encourage you today?    


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned in life?  

Day 24 – Flattery and Fabrication  

Read Acts 24.  

Acts 24:1-9 (NIV) says this:  

“Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.  

“We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”  

The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.”  

Things are getting serious now as the Jewish leadership is very keen to obtain a conviction against Paul. So they have called in one of their “big guys”, Tertullus, a skilled lawyer to present their case to Felix, the governor.  

This Tertullus opens his arguments with lavish flattery of the governor, Felix, saying Felix has brought peace and prosperity to the region. These are lies disguised as flattery. Instead, Felix was renowned amongst the Jewish population for his cruel brutality, even ordering the massacre of thousands of Jews in Caesarea.  

Note what Romans 16:18, Jude 1:16 and Proverbs 20:19 says about flattery.  

How do you think God views flattery? Why do people flatter?  

Tertullus could bring only one specific charge against Paul and that was that Paul tried to desecrate the temple, but Tertullus presented no evidence as there was none to present. This was merely a fabricated charge based on a rumour (Acts 21:26-29). Tertullus, the flatterer, is now Tertullus, the fabricator. The two go hand in hand – flattery and lies.  

·      Why is flattery a dangerous habit? What does the Bible say about it?  

·      In spite of false accusations and the corrupt nature of the trial, Paul is unafraid. He has Jesus on His side. How will Jesus’ presence help you today?


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

Have you ever been at a restaurant and asked to speak to the manager? Or would you prefer to stay silent and let things slide?  

Day 25 – Paul Appeals to Caesar  

Read Acts 25.  

After a couple of years of waiting, the trial against Paul continues, though now it is a retrial before Festus, and it is here that Paul appeals to Caesar.  

Acts 25:1-12 (NIV) reads -  

“Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. They requested Festus, as a favour to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”  

After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.  

Then Paul made his defence: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”  

Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favour, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”  

Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”  

After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”  

The religious leaders know that Paul would be acquitted in any fair trial and so this is why they are plotting instead to ambush and murder him, before the trial begins. These are religious men, religious leaders who have become so corrupt as to sanction lying and murder.  

So this is why Paul cleverly appeals to Caesar, which was the right of every Roman citizen. It was the equivalent of appealing to the Supreme Court of the Roman Empire.  

·      Do you think that Paul used common sense to make this decision, or was he guided by supernatural knowledge of the plot to take his life?  

·      Have you ever been in a situation where you felt the odds were stacked against you but God supernaturally showed you a pathway out? Praise God we are His sheep and we hear His voice. You can expect God to guide you in the same way today.    


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

What’s something in your house you want to get rid of but can’t?  

Day 26 – Still On the Case  

Read Acts 26.  

Paul is still giving his defence, this time to King Agrippa. Agrippa ruled a kingdom of the Roman Empire to the northeast of Festus’ province and he was known as an expert in Jewish customs and religious matters.  

So as a true evangelist, Paul never wastes an opportunity to present the Gospel in the most compelling way to Agrippa.  

In Acts 26:19-29 (NIV) we read part of Paul’s address to King Agrippa:  

“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 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.  That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”  

At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defence. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”  

“I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”  

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”  

Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”  

Notice the tactics that Paul uses here with the King in verse 27 – “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”  

Why is Paul so direct with Agrippa? Paul knows that if Agrippa did believe the prophets, then it is reasonable to expect that he might also believe upon Jesus. It seems a natural progression. So Paul brings a challenge to his listener and then he asks him to make a decision, such a key part of bringing the Good News to people.

·      Even in the midst of his greatest trials, literally, Paul gives us a wonderful example of how to bring the Good News to an audience with a simple but strong challenge. Circumstances will never limit us... unless we allow them.  

·      Who can you pray for today as Paul did for his listeners? Then why not trust that God will use you to share the things you have seen Jesus do in your life too.


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

In a crisis, do you tend to panic or are you the one “calming the crowd”?  

Day 27 – Keep Calm and Carry On  

Read Acts 27.  

As if things aren’t bad enough for Paul, he has now finally set sail for Rome to appear before Caesar when he finds himself shipwrecked. Can it get any worse?  

Of course, Paul did not possess a “fair weather faith”. He is on a ship headed to Rome with soldiers, sailors and prisoners in a heavy storm. It is Winter now and conditions are dangerous for sailing. He has survived three shipwrecks already and is unphased. Listen to his words of encouragement to the other men onboard -  

Acts 27:22 (NIV) -  

But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.”  

You may be facing a storm right now and you may feel you are in unchartered waters, but here are two simple thoughts that may encourage you today.  

·      Stay the course (Don’t abandon ship.... i.e. don’t panic!)  

The ship is in danger and the sailors are planning on jumping ship. We read this in verses 30-32 –  

In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.”  

Wherever God has planted us right now, that’s where we need to stay until He tells us to shift.  

·      Feed your soul.  

What are you feeding your soul right now? Are you feeding it with bad news or good?  

In Acts 27:33-34 (NIV) we read –  

Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”  

In the middle of a crisis, “a storm”, the world often does one of two things... 1) they either run around and PANIC or 2) they hold their breath. But Paul encourages the crew to eat.... as they will need the strength to survive the shipwreck. We also need to eat (from the right source) and feed our souls so we too can survive the storm.  

And, Paul took Communion – why? The ship is about to be broken into smithereens and here is Paul breaking bread. Why? What a great time to remember Jesus’ body was broken for you and me. So what if the ship is about to break into a thousand pieces? Paul knows not a single person will perish so he pauses...... and he takes time to give thanks.  

It may not make sense in the natural but in the middle of the storm, it’s an excellent time to stop, break bread and give thanks! Paul gives us a great example of keeping calm and carrying on.  

·      Are you staying the course, are you choosing to grow where God has planted you? If He put you there, He will sustain you.  

·      What are you feeding your soul in this season? When is the last time you paused to give thanks to God? Why not do that right now?  


28 Day Devotional on the Book of Acts – To Be Continued  

Has anyone ever thrown you a surprise birthday party? How did you respond?  

Day 28 – Walking in His Grace  

Read Acts 28.  

If any single believer has come to understand the wonder of God’s grace, it is Paul and the final chapter of Acts is a testament to this. Grace is the unmerited favour of God toward man, the undeserved kindness of God shown to His people. Paul walked in the favour of God, which is why he was so well treated by the centurion on the ship.

Now Paul and the crew have survived the shipwreck and they find themselves on the island of Malta. Being shipwrecked on an inhabited island could have ended very badly for Paul’s group but listen to what Luke writes in verse 2 of Acts 28 (NIV) -  

The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”  

The islanders showed them “unusual kindness”. Does that sound like the grace of God to you? It seems the local wildlife is not so welcoming, however, as we read on in verses 3-5.   

Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live. But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.”  

In the same way that the viper fastened itself to Paul’s hand, the enemy may try and attach himself to us but we too walk in God’s grace. Paul just shook that thing right off into the fire. It had no authority over him! He had every authority over it!  

Whatever comes our way, we have the same authority, in Jesus’ name, to “shake it off”. These things will not cling to us..... why? Because we walk in His grace.  

You may have felt fear, you may have felt anxiety, you may have felt despair but don’t let that thing cling to you, attach itself to you and suck the life out of you. We have the same authority as Paul did. The same Jesus lives in us. We can EXPECT to walk in His grace, in the same way that Paul walked in the grace of God.  

·      Is there anything clinging to you right now that you need to shake off into the fire?  

·      How have you seen the grace of God moving in your life recently? Begin to thank Him for it. His grace is sufficient for you today.