S (Scripture): Acts 23:10 When the argument became so great the commanding officer feared that they would tear Paul to pieces, he ordered the detachment to go down, take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.
23:11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Have courage, for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
O (Observation): Paul has been upsetting the apple cart. People are very upset with him, even with no real argument against him. The mob mentality is in full swing. He is claiming to have been in direct contact with The Lord…and they don’t like it all.
And Paul’s next step seems to be a trial in Rome. Paul will be facing the powers of the time, the worldly power: Caesar. In death or life, Jesus gives Paul strength.
A (Application): This is a pretty intense scene. I don’t know how I’d stand in the midst of that chaos. Of course, this is not so much about what Paul is doing, but about what God is doing through Paul.
I forget that ALL OF THE TIME!!!! I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think I have to face the powers of this world, my own struggles..alone. Yet I am not alone. God speaks words of hope and peace to me, on the mountaintop, in the pit, and everyday.
The power of these devotions lies not in my intellect or will power to get up early. Sure, part of this is brute force: waking up early, slurping coffee to wake me up, reading words through sleepy eyes. But it’s all about that grace.
God encounters me and interprets me through the Scriptures. The reading of the texts is my effort. The transformation is God’s.
I’m reminded in the daily digging into Scripture, that you and I are not alone. God is with us every step of the way. Get into the bible daily…not to impress anyone, but to have God leave an impression on your heart.
So grab a shovel…and start digging into Scripture daily! I’ll join ya!
P (Prayer): Lord, remind us that you are with us. In our times of trouble, you carry us through. Amen.