Father, make a difference in my heart that’s daily evident in my life.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“The brothers there had heard that we were coming and they traveled … to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.” (v 15)
After a long treacherous trip and a bit of refreshing along the way, Paul was more than ready to see kindred souls. It’s the sense of family that comes among us, Your children, Lord, when we encounter one another. Thanks for the times when You’ve allowed my life to connect with others who know You — whether I’ve hardly known them or known them well.
“It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” (v 20)
The “hope of Israel” was Your Son, Lord. It’s like what Paul wrote to the Philippians, “…it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ” (Php 1:13 NIV). No matter what state in which he found himself, Paul knew where his hope was. Since the word “hope” most often denotes “assurance” when used in Your Word, here Paul expressed the assurance he had in knowing that even his chains were part of Your sovereign will … I have that same assurance available to me, don’t I? … Would You help me to relish it as much or more than Paul did, Father?
“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” (v 28)
Paul knew exactly what You had called him to do and he knew that You had been carrying him along to do it. He was seeing evidence of Your handiwork all around him, even in the one who guarded him. He was convicted to carry out Your plan for his life right up to his death.
Father, what is that “one thing” You have for me to do in Your kingdom? Have I been doing it and not recognizing it fully? Have I been doing my own thing and not following You completely? So many lives around me who need to know Your Son or know Him better … show me the niche You have for me and pump in that conviction like Paul had.
“Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ” (v 31).
Paul’s life was Yours; doing Your will was his life. More and more, with each new dawn of Your mercy, may my will conform to Your will … May I know the reality each day of Your empowering presence within me as You keep on making me just like Jesus. Amen.