Held Against Your Will
Day: 26 | Plan: Acts
Today's Reading: Acts 24
Acts 24:27 (NIV) “When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.”
Are you like me? Do you skim over dates and time periods in the Bible? I think, Get me to the good stuff. The words “two years” in our key verse are part of the good stuff God has for us today. To grasp the full impact of these two simple words, let’s break down exactly how long two years is.
Paul sat in prison, falsely accused. Two years of his life were lost. Even though he had some freedoms, the fact remains he was unjustly held captive. Being a prisoner of anything for two years would be enough to kill your faith, destroy your testimony and rob you of your sanity. Paul didn’t allow this to happen. His strong faith helped him endure the injustice. As we read through Acts 24 we know Paul stayed strong, regardless of the situation:
1. Paul never wavered in his innocence. He wasn’t guilty and he knew it. His confidence in the truth helped him maintain a sound mind. The length of our captivity can often convince us they were right. (Acts 24:16)
2. Paul never hesitated to tell the truth to everyone who would listen. He told the same story in the same way before every official he went before. (Acts 24:17-21)
3. Paul never lost his cool. He treated everyone with the respect they deserved. This was recognized. He was given freedoms other prisoners did not have. (Acts 24:23)
Paul trusted God and believed even hard times can and would work out for his good. The same confidence is offered to us. God desires our trust. The way to learn to trust God is to trust Him, one opportunity at a time. These small acts will be like deposits in our trust bank. Then when times get difficult, like we are falsely accused or held in a type of prison for a long time, we can make the withdrawals we need to maintain our well-being as we watch God work all things for our good.
I know, easier said than done. When we stay strong, we have the opportunity to watch the hand of God work, in spite of our circumstances. And when the prison door opens we will see clearly how He worked all things together for our good because we loved Him and held tightly to our faith.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to cling to You in this prison but it is hard. I’m thankful for Paul’s example. I pray Your Spirit will prompt me to remember the truths of today’s message and I will draw on the joy of strength, maintain my innocence, keep repeating the truth and choose to remain respectful. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Paul never wasted an opportunity to tell someone about his Jesus. Even in prison he shared his... Read More
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