27 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ — Acts 28:27 NLT
The Jewish leaders there in Rome had already heard the message of Jesus. They wanted to hear it again from Paul and to hear what he believed. Any time and every time the name of Jesus is mentioned, it requires that we make a decision. Whether we decide to reject Him, accept Him or to think about it, we make a decision. Some of these leaders were persuaded to believe by what Paul said and others were not. It is a mystery to us why all the people hear the same message but some respond positively and some respond negatively. Did Paul quit preaching the Word because some refused to believe? No! For two years, Paul supported himself and continued to tell others about the Good News. Paul understood that the results of his preaching the Word were not up to Him. His part was to continue to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are to do the same thing. Keep preaching and/or teaching and not be discouraged because we don’t see any results. The results are up to the Lord and the Holy Spirit, not to us. We will see the results when we get to heaven. Until then we just keep living out God’s plan for each of us and let Him handle the results.
21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends. 22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return. — Job 16:21,22 NLT Here and in other verses in this book, it is as if Job gets a glimpse of the future and the plan that God has in place to redeem fallen man. Job realizes that it is useless for a man to argue with God. We need a mediator and God had a plan in place to provide one for us. We are certainly free to state our case in any situation. When we are speaking to God, we should always be as honest as both Job and David. They were not afraid to pour out their disappointments to God. They did not blame God. However, just as we do, they questioned why God allowed certain things to happen in the life of His children. But when we do this, we must realize that we are in the presence of the Almighty God. We can be bold but at the same time, we must be humble and ready to accept His answers. God listens carefully, but He does not negotiate. In the end, we, like Job and David, must come to the conclusion that God is God and He truly knows what is best for us. We all must go through the valleys and the dark nights. But the key thing for us to remember is that we are going through, we are not going to be there forever. For every valley, there are two mountains and for every dark night, there is light on both sides. As the McKameys sing, “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley and the God of the daytime is still God in the night”. Do not be discouraged nor dismayed, our God will never leave us alone and He will never forsake us.
“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” 13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted,14 so ignore them. — Matt. 15:12-14a NLT
Pilate washed his hands and declared that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus. He could have just as easily told the crowd that he would not allow them to take Jesus because he found nothing deserving of death in the actions of Jesus. Without Pilate’s permission and without him furnishing the guard detail to carry out the crucifixion, the crowd would not have been able to crucify Jesus. The Jews had no authority to sentence anyone to death or to carry out the death sentence. Though Pilate did not participate physcially in the crucifixion, neither did he stop it from happening even though he had the authority to do so. Pilate had worldy authority to do something. We have a hgher authority who has authorized us to speak out when the name of Jesus is being blasphemed and God’s name is being taken in vain. Do we think that we can hide behind our fear of offending others and not speak out? Do we think Jesus is pleased when we stand by and do or say nothing when injustices are taking place before our very eyes? Jesus put His life on the line by offending the religious leaders and rulers of that day. He gave up His life so that we could have the authority to speak and act in His name. If we can trust Jesus to save us and keep our souls safe throughout eternity, surely we can trust Him to protect us when we follow His example and His commands.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NLT
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:7-9 NIV
For years, Joshua had been the faithful assistant of Moses as they led the Jewish nation through the desert. Now, that Moses was gone, the role of leadership was passed to Joshua. This would have been a very trying time for Joshua or anyone who had just lost their leader and their mentor. But God had a plan for comforting and encouraging Joshua. The Lord spoke to Joshua. Now, instead of getting his directions from Moses, Joshua got them straight from the Lord. “Be strong and courageous”, “meditate on the Book of the Law day and night”, “be careful to do everything written in it” and “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. God has a plan for each of us, as well. When we are down in the valley after a great loss or for any reason, He speaks to each of us if we are willing to listen. He has the same message for us that He had for Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous”, meditate on the Holy Scriptures day and night. Be careful to follow the instructions given. Listen to and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Because God has given us the Holy Spirit to abide within us, He is always with us wherever we go. Jesus has been where we are now and He is already where we are going, so, let us lift up our heads and our hands and rejoice. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are assured of reaching our destination. No thing or no one can separate us from the love of God or from His protection. We can depend on God, He has never failed on any of His promises. “Be strong and very courageous”.
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.– Romans 8:37-39 NIV
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. 20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. 25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.–Col. 3:18-25 (NLT)
Our attitude should always be one of obedience to God. This attitude should be reflected in our love and service to our fellow man. What that relationship is does not allow us to change the way we do things. We are working for Jesus, He is our only Master. If we can be sure that what we are doing and how we are doing it pleases Him, then He will give us an inheritance with Him as our reward. Working here on earth does not get us rewards from God in the here and now. Those rewards are laid up in heaven where nothing can destroy them. The blessings we receive here on earth are just that, they are blessings given to us freely by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?–Romans 8:32 (NASB)