From the pen of Dr. Sam Jones
God help me make it through this day! This has become my daily request of God. I don’t think about tomorrow; I have truly learned to take one day at a time. The words of the Psalmist has come to define my perspective in life, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psa. 118:24). The Bible reading for today is Acts 17-18:18. As I was reading these chapters, the following thoughts occurred.
1. In Acts 17:2, the Bible says the following about Paul “as his custom was.” Paul had a practice on the Sabbath of going to the synagogue. What is your custom on the Lord’s Day? Some have a practice of going fishing, to the lake and others of watching football all day. Some people enjoy shopping in the mall; then there are those who have a practice of worshiping the Lord. What is your custom on Sundays?
2. In Acts 17:5 (NIV), the text says the people of Thessalonica became upset with Paul’s preaching. “So they rounded up some bad characters” to run him out of town. The phrase “bad characters” caught my attention. I hope that I am not perceived or known by others to be a person of “bad character.” It should matter to us as Christians, how others perceive or know us. How are you perceived or known spiritually around the campus of FHU? Avoid being known like some of the people of Thessalonica.
3. “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character” than the people of Thessalonica (Acts 17:10 NIV). It’s a reality you are being compared to others. When you are compared to others, you may fall into a particular group. Strive to be labeled with the group that is of a “noble character” and not the group known as the “bad characters.” So, I ask the question, “What kind of character are you?”
4. As Paul entered Athens, “he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols” (Acts 17:16 NIV). Paul was greatly troubled by the culture of Athens. The changing American culture troubles me to no end. The rapid decline of Christian values in our nation troubles me. The statement “In God we trust” is fading in America. It troubles me that maybe my grandchildren will not experience an America that trusts in God, as my generation. What troubles you?
5. Paul enlightened the people of Athens to several truths. One of the truths was that God “from one man He made all the nations” (Acts 17:26). Paul answered the age old question, “Where did the different races come from?” They came from Adam who was created by God (cf. Gen. 1:26; 2:7). Adam is my brother and God is “my Daddy.” George might be the king of the jungle, but he’s not my daddy.
6. “Do not be afraid” these are the words God spoke to Paul (Acts 18:9). It’s normal to experience fear, but Christians should develop the ability to manage their fear. Over the centuries, God has often challenged His people to conquer fear. Fear robs a person of peace and content. Don’t permit your life to be governed by fear; if it happens it happens, whatever it is. God will help you or be with you regardless of what you face tomorrow. Paul tell us, God will not permit us to be confronted with anything He doesn’t think we can handle (cf. I Cor. 10:13). God knew Paul could handle the challenges before him. God has confidence in Rhonda to handle the challenge before her. God believes you can handle the challenge(s) in your life. The problem facing us is “do we believe that we can manage the challenge that God has allowed to come our way?” God help us to confront and overcome the challenges facing us today, this is our prayer!