July 8

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‘Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”’ (Acts 26:29 NLT).

From: July 8, 2018

PAUL’S PURPOSE AND PRAYER FOR HIS AUDIENCE
After Paul gave his defense before Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice and a crowd of Roman military officers and Jewish dignitaries, Agrippa realized Paul’s purpose. It wasn’t only a defense of his innocence, but a testimony of his salvation through the resurrected Jesus Christ. Paul wanted to persuade his audience to join him in believing and trusting in Jesus. This is why Agrippa interrupted Paul, saying, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”
 
Agrippa got the point. Paul’s purpose and prayer was that they believe the gospel and follow Jesus. Agrippa had used the name “Christian,” a name first used in Antioch to describe disciples of Jesus (See Acts 11:26). It was a new name, more respectful than that which Paul’s accusers had used, calling him a “ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5).
 
The “Nazarene” is what they had called Jesus. And it is the name that ISIS recently used to label Christians in the Middle East, forcing them to wear the Arabic letter “N” on their clothes and painting it on their houses.
 
Paul was proud to wear either name, as long as they identified him with Christ. His purpose and prayer was that others would join him.

“I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.” (Psalm 6:6 NKJV).

From: July 8, 2017

David wrote of a time when he was so distressed in his soul that his nights were filled with groaning and his bed drenched with tears. Whether the occasion was because of his enemies without or of his own sense of guilt within, he described the torment he felt as he cried out for the Lord’s help, yet for a time, heard no response.
 
Some have described such a time as the “dark night of the soul.” Anyone who has been a believer for any length of time has probably experienced such a “night.” Which is really an indefinite period that can last for days or weeks, or longer, as one’s soul cries out for the Lord’s response. Such a state is intensified, in that night, which was meant for rest, has instead become a time of weariness and groaning. And the bed, which is meant for comfort and relaxation, becomes a place of torture and tears.
 
David experienced such a time. And certainly, so did Christ, as He cried out to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane. Yet, the Father is not far away. He never leaves, nor forsakes us. David’s sixth psalm closes with confidence that the Lord has heard him in his distress. And we too, can have that confidence. For ultimately, the dark night ends, and a new day dawns, and the Lord answers us in our distress.

‘But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.’ (Acts 26:25 ESV)

From: July 8, 2016

When Felix, the Roman governor over Judea, heard Paul’s testimony, he accused him of being “out of his mind.” Felix recognized Paul as an educated man, referring to his “great learning” (v.24). Yet, Paul’s report of his vision of the resurrected Christ was too much for the Roman governor. He dismissed it as insanity. Paul’s response was notable. He replied that his testimony was both “true and rational.”
This reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ observation that the testimony concerning Jesus as the Christ can only rightly be answered in one of three ways:
1) It was false and Jesus knew it = Jesus was a LIAR.
2) It was false and Jesus didn’t know it = Jesus was a LUNATIC.
3) It is TRUE and Jesus proved it = JESUS IS LORD!
Felix dismissed Paul’s testimony as lunacy. Yet, many others believed. The truth is, many are “out of their minds” in this world. However, it isn’t those who believe, but those who reject Jesus as Lord, who have been given over to a “debased mind” (Rom.1:28).

“I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:17-18 NKJV)

From: July 8, 2015

Paul gave his faith testimony before the Roman governor Festus and the last of the House of Herod, King Agrippa II and his sister Bernice. In his testimony, he quoted the calling that Christ had given him. First, he was one “sent” (“I now send you”). The Greek word for this is apostolos. Paul was an apostle of Jesus. Second, his ministry was to lead people into the light of the gospel and set them free from Satanic lies, so that they might “receive” the forgiveness that Christ offers. Both Festus and Agrippa reacted to Paul’s testimony. Festus thought him mad, while Agrippa admitted that he was nearly persuaded. Both decided Paul was innocent of the Jewish leaders accusations. And both remained unchanged spiritually. Festus continued in spiritual darkness, failing to comprehend the light. And Agrippa continued in bondage to sin, incestuously loving his sister Bernice and idolizing Rome. Yet, Paul had fulfilled his calling. He had shared the testimony that Christ had commissioned him to give. Some people choose to remain in ignorance, while others willfully choose to love their sin over submitting to Christ as Lord and Savior.

“But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest…” (Acts 26:22 NLT)

From: July 8, 2014

Leadership gurus often instruct their clients to write a personal purpose statement to bring focus to their life. Paul was a man who often declared his personal purpose statement. Here, he announced his purpose to “testify to everyone” about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. When a life is lived with such singular purpose, it burns like a laser with focused energy. Paul said, “This one thing I do,” not these thousand things I dabble in (Phil.3:13). What’s your life purpose?

“God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike” (Acts 26:22-23)

From: July 8, 2012

Paul’s testimony before Festus and Agrippa is an example for us today. God has given us a purpose- to testify to everyone of the Christ.

From: July 8, 2011

011 – “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
Agrippa’s response to Paul’s testimony. That the Roman Gov. Festus would invite him as a religious expert is ironic. Agrippa was the last Herod to reign. He never married, sharing his throne and bed with his sister, Bernice. They heard a clear presentation of the gospel, so they are without excuse.