Good morning Friends! I stumbled on a few amazing resources accidentally yesterday that I wanted to share. Year of the Bible seems to be a great resource to help you focus on putting the Bible first and foremost this year. They have a very well designed website. Also this Saturday, there is a web event called Make Jesus Known. Both YOTB and the Make Jesus Known are part of a larger evangelical team called Pulse Movement. Check out all the highlighted links. One of the special guests for the Make Jesus Known event Saturday is my favorite, Kari Jobe and her husband, Cody Carnes. They will no doubt be performing the song below. I am sharing my favorite new version Ms. Jobe released last Friday.
15“‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20First 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. 21That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22But 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-23that 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.”
24At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” (Acts 24:15-24)
Paul’s trial has stretched on for over two years. He is before his last judge in Caesara, King Agrippa, and Paul tells his story one last time in the book of Acts. To the Roman Governor, Festus, he thinks Paul is “out of his mind.” I am sure to the Roman authorities, who only know of Christianity as a crazy, zealous sect called “The Way,” any devout Christian would be considered out of their mind. Most thought Jesus was out of His mind when He stood before the religious leaders and allowed His emotions to get the best of Him. But you know who never thought either Jesus or Paul were out of their mind? The sick. The broken. The hurt. The invalid. The insane. The possessed. These were the ones that saw the miraculous power of Jesus and Paul. Never when the blind received sight, or the lame were able to walk did they respond to their Healer, “You are out of your mind!” But because the affluent and healthy do not actively feel they need the miraculous healing, love, and grace of Jesus and God, they are the ones who struggle to believe. And for the Romans, in this time when they believed in gods for every different avenue of life, hearing of the Truth of the one true God and the miraculous work of His Son would lead many of them to question either their own sanity or the sanity of this religious sect. But we know how history played out. The Roman empire, the most powerful empire in the world would soon recognize the truth in Christianity, and Jesus would use an emperor named Constantine to establish The Way throughout the modern world of that time. But that’s still a few hundred years away. In our verses today, we see Paul giving his final argument to a Roman King. The King would find no fault in Paul, and would soon transfer him to Rome to stand before Caesar.
As you know by now, when I compiled this devotion, I had tired of our culture. We let our Bibles gather dust while we sit on Tik Tok for hours on end. We see those that stand up for Jesus as crazy and out of their mind. We ignore the miracles around us because they do not happen right in front of us. But there are those of us that have seen the divine power of God work in our lives time and time again. That is where my conviction came from. Holding my firstborn was all the proof I would ever need of God’s existence. Reading the entire Bible was all the truth I needed of Jesus’ love, compassion, and grace. Read the Bible. This plan will get you there in one year. But feel free to read ahead. There is freedom in the truth. And the truth is you are loved more than you could ever know. You are cherished, forgiven, and free.
Reading plan: Acts 26
Deeper reading plan: Job 28, 29, 30
Prayer and meditation: Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones. Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet. Pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much. Pray for all the businesses trying to recover and keep their associates able to provide for their families. Pray that the world reopens without a surge of new COVID outbreaks. And pray that the world has undergone a lasting change and the flame of revival has been lit!
Fitness challenge: Calisthenics day. I want to stick with this circuit for the month of May, so today, let’s bump up the reps all the way to our max of 25, and add a second round. But get ready, we’ll be stepping this up these last two weeks of the month.
- Hand-release Push-up
- Jumping squats
- Diamond push-ups
- Supine Bicycle (4-count)
- Pistol squats (25 each leg)
- Burpees (as many as you can, but 25 is the goal)