Devotional for October 28, 2020

Greetings in Christ,

  The selected scripture readings give us a look at some of the things we face as Christians.  We should be aware of these determents and be prepared to deal with them.  We do not always have a bed of roses so to speak as a Christian, and we can fall into traps along the way.

  In the writing of Ezra, Ezra is crying and praying for the exiles.  They have fallen into the trap of marrying foreign women.  They have allowed themselves to get complacent in the surroundings in which they live.  They have let their guard down and felt the foreign women were a good match for them.  They had forgotten the reason they originally offended God, and the reason they were in exile—they fell into the trap of worshiping foreign gods by following foreign people practices.

  By marrying the foreign women they were following wrong practices in their household.  It was also setting the wrong example for the children letting them think they can do the same.  The only recourse they had do was to do a one eighty turnabout and leave their foreign wives.  They were to obey God above all and set the right example. 

  In Acts, Paul is wrongfully being accused of desecrating the temple.  He is pleading his case to Felix the governor after the Jews have accused him of the wrong doing.  Paul is stating the accused have no witnesses to back up the claims being presented before Felix by the Jews.   Paul’s claim is he was there to worship God and to speak of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  Paul is pleading for Felix to reason the truth in the absence of the witnesses, but Felix was feeling the pressure of the Jews and did not let the truth be heard.  Paul had to remain in jail.

  Paul was remaining faithful in his beliefs and trusting in God even though he was being wrongfully accused.  In the course of the events, Felix summoned Paul on many occasions to talk to him.  No details are given as to the subject of the conversations, but it is believed they were discussions about God and the resurrection.  Pau remained true to God, and it allowed him to talk to many people even though he was undergoing hardship.

  Jesus speaks to the crowds in Luke about how they should invite the poor, the sick, the lame, and all people regardless of their status in the community to their dinner table.  It was in this light Jesus said it was better for this to be done because it would be a blessing on those inviting due to the less fortunate could not repay the kindness in the same manner.  Then Jesus went on to speak another parable about a man who invited people to his dinner.  The people invited gave excuses not to attend the dinner, and their excuses made the man angry.  The man told his slave to invite the sick, the poor, the lame, and anyone who would attend quickly so they could attend his dinner.  The man wanted to fill his house with guests, and he did not care who they were he just wanted to celebrate.

  We never know from one day to the next what is in store for us.  The best we can do is to hold onto God’s promise He has us in the palm of His hand.  It is in our effort to be the best in our spiritual life so we avoid those pitfalls which may come our way.  We must let God take those pitfalls and turn them to His advantage. 

  When those pitfalls come our way we are right where God wants us and when those things of life happen to us, we have the opportunity to share with the world our outlook of life.  We can display our faith in God by not being swayed by the moment or the occasion, but rather hold onto the truth we know.  We have to be careful we do not let the outside influences hinder our thinking or our heart’s knowledge of the real truth, but in doing the right thing; we will be tested and tried by those outside influences.  It is then we must hang on to our faith and trust in God to bring us through.  “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”  

  “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”  Psalms 34:3

  “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”  Psalms 34:8

  “Thy testimonies are fully confirmed; holiness befits Thy house, O Lord, forevermore.”  Psalm 93:5

  “Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.”  Psalms 96:8

  Lord help us to remain faithful and not be swayed by the world and be a good example for those who do not know you.  Amen


  Mark Johnson

  Psalm 34, 93, 96; Ezra 10:1-17; Acts 24:10-21; Luke 14:12-24

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