Sunday, January 06, 2019

Declaring the Kingdom

Today's Reading:
Judges 13:1-14:20
Acts 28:1-31
Psalm 71:19-24
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Focus Verses: Acts 28:23-24; 30-31
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. - - - 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.


When Paul arrived in Rome, just as God had promised he would, he was encouraged and thankful. He was enthused and invigorated with his sense of mission. He believed God had brought him safely to Rome for the purpose of proclaiming Christ. He believed that his chains and his imprisonment in Rome were being used by God to advance the Gospel. He saw purpose in his circumstances because he saw them as part of God’s plan and the "hope of Israel."

Paul evaluated every bit of his life and circumstances in the light of God's work in the world. Whatever his situation, Paul considered how God might use it to advance the hope and truth of the Gospel. His faith was intense; his life was focused; his testimony was genuine; and his preaching was  bold.

Response and Action:
It is dangerous and easy to think of my life in self-centered terms, and then try to fit God into my plans and wants. Paul thought of his life in Christ-centered terms, and then tried to see how his life and circumstances fit into God's plans and purposes. This is what made it possible for Paul to be thankful, and to have hope, purpose, and boldness in any situation.

I want to live like that. I want to see my life in the context of Christ's Kingdom. I want my perspective about what I do, what I have, where I go, what I suffer, what I need, and what I want to be centered and framed by God's will and purposes in the world.

O God, I want to find my life in you. Help me to lose my life and self-centeredness for the sake of Christ, and find myself in you. Help me to live a life that is motivated, focused, and guided by your purposes and ways. Help me to see every circumstance and blessing in the light of your will. Help me, by faith, to do the good things you've prepared in advance for me to do. Help me to be bold, alive, faithful, and fruitful as your child and servant. Through Christ, I pray. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Romans 1:16
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Growing Your Faith By Giving It Away: Telling the Gospel Story With Grace and Passionby R. York Moore

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