21They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking about this sect.” (Acts 28:21-22)
I am closing the month out with the last chapter of Acts. Luke finishes this extremely important book with detailed accounts of the final leg of their journey to Rome. Paul is placed under house arrest and begins to preach to the people of Rome. As we see in the verses above, when Paul explains why he was imprisoned the local Jewish leaders say they have received no communication from Judea about Paul. So either the Jewish council in Jerusalem was too lazy to send word to condemn Paul, or once Paul had left, they realized that there was no crime in his actions. But here the Jewish leaders in Rome ask to hear Paul’s view, because “people everywhere are talking about this sect.”
People everywhere are still talking about the religious sect called “The Way.” Now known as the Christian body, and existing in pockets and large populations all over the world, many still talk about these Christians. And it’s not always good things they say. That’s because the Christian body struggles to be an accurate representation of Jesus. There are so many Christians in the world, that if we actually practiced what we preached we could end most of the struggles the world faces every single day. COVID-19 was a great opportunity for the world to pause and see what is truly important: restoring the world to a healthy state, and loving one another. But did we learn that lesson? Or are we going to return to the ways of the world, where we let popular culture dictate how we act, who we value, and what we find worth in?
Reading plan: Acts 28:1-16
Deeper reading plan: Job 34, 35, 36
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. And continue to 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: Free-day Friday. Here’s a great HIIT workout. You will need a watch or timer and a way to do pull-ups. Once you find a bar to attempt pull-ups on, if you cannot do a complete pull up, pull yourself up as high as you can and hold for the working set. 20 minutes of work:
8 rounds each exercise, 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest. So do as many reps as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10, repeat for 8 rounds.
Elbow plank crunches