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Day 18 – Bold Sacrifice – 2

Paul – Acts 20:22-24

             Acts chapter 9 records the account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to, as we refer to him, “The Apostle Paul.” Three days after appearing to Paul, the Lord called Ananias to pray for Paul in order that he might receive his sight, be filled with the Spirit, and be baptized. Jesus tells Ananias that Paul is a “chosen instrument” to evangelize the Gentiles and that he will “suffer much” for Christ’s name. Years later we find Paul (Acts 20) traveling through Ephesus on what will be his final pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There he will be imprisoned, and then be transferred to Rome where he is eventually executed.

            Paul has lived out his commission; fearlessly preaching the gospel throughout Asia Minor; courageously facing staunch and often violent opposition to his message.  Picking up in verse 22, we find insight into Paul’s willingness to sacrifice all for Christ, and the courage with which he did. First, he was compelled by the Holy Spirit (Note:  Acts 1:8); second, he had a realistic view of the Christian life. Remember, Jesus called his disciples to take up a cross, not a couch, and follow Him (Note:  Mt. 16:24 – 26). And third, Paul lived with a sense of destiny. He had a mission to fulfill, an assignment from God which was of more value to him than his own safety or security. For these reasons, he was willing to boldly sacrifice all for the cause of Jesus Christ. 

            What if the church of Branch County were to live with that same sense of courageous commitment? What if you and I were to fully yield to the compelling presence of God’s Holy Sprit within? How might that embolden our witness? What if we were to reject social status, creature comforts and cultural conveniences in favor of sacrificially serving Jesus Christ daily out in our community? What difference could that make? And what if, like Paul, we esteemed God’s purpose for our lives of ultimate value and lived accordingly? We also have a mission to fulfill, one that will require bold sacrifices day in and day out. A mission well worth the investment of all we have to give, and a mission that will impact lives, not only on earth but even in eternity.

 “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race

and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” (Acts 20:24)

 J.E.E.

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Day 2 – Bold and Courageous

Joshua 1:6

             One good thing about growing up in the 1950’s was the abundance of heroes that were portrayed in those earlier days of television. My heroes were cowboys! And I wore my cowboy hat, boots, and holster with 2 “Fanner Fifties” practically everywhere I went.

            There was Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the ever so stoic Hugh O’Brien playing Wyatt Earp. Wyatt had a theme song, remember?

“Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp

Brave, courageous and bold.

Long live his fame and long live his glory

And long may his story be told.”

             Wyatt stood tall as he worked as a U S Marshall to clean up Tombstone. Earp’s courage no doubt flowed from an inner confidence in his own strength and skills as a gun-slinging lawman. But clearly the type of courage that flows from an unshakable faith and trust in God was at the  core of the life of Joshua, who moved westward into the Promised Land, conquering and laying claim to the territory God had  promised him and his people.

            Trusting God and embracing his promises with bold faith are two indispensable qualities of an effective walk with God. Of course we count on Him to deliver our salvation; but we must also trust him to provide everything we need to navigate the course set before us. It’s a BOLD FAITH that allows us to experience the things God has in store for us.

            As we move through this month’s series, ask God to increase your faith, to make it like Joshua’s; BOLD AND COURAGEOUS!

 “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the

land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6)

 D.P.

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