Paul’s Ministry at Rome
17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”
21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
A new teacher, a new covenant, a new way including new people to join in on the salvation granted to the Jews, the Father’s chosen, whom He protected, loved, rebuked, punished, and restored since the foundation of the world.
He gave to us, through them, the Son of Salvation, and the man who had the largest missionary calling of them all, the one who started with zero faith and one hundred percent hate. The Lord took every skill he’d used to persecute the church and turned it upside down to spread the Father’s message that all mankind was invited to dwell in His kingdom, but only through faith in His Son.
When Simeon had seen Jesus, he said to Mary and Joseph that the child’s life and ministry would reveal the thoughts of many hearts. As Jesus grew to find favor with G-d and man, Simeon’s prophecy was borne out.
We stand in such a moment now, where the thoughts of many hearts have been revealed, and in whom they place their trust; we who count ourselves among the faithful must be vigilant that we not only honor Him with our lips.
We live in the “land of the free,” up to a point.
We live in the “home of the brave,” where unarmed men and women can be shot in the back, brutalized, and summarily executed with no consequences for the offenders.
We say justice is blind, but only the rich and powerful go free.
We say all men are equal, but we love one and hate the other.
Where do our ministries find us in those moments? Where does the Lord find our hearts? Is he filling our mouths with bold words, or are our hearts trembling within us? Are they hearts of flesh, or stone? Are our ears tickled and deaf, or open to a new teaching that changes the course of our history, and heals our land?
Hatred will not result in good fruit. Cruelty will not be justified before the throne. Blindness will not be claimed by those the Lord healed of blindness, both physical and spiritual, yet we now live out the words: “Seeing, they do not see, and hearing, they do not understand.”
The parable of The Wheat and Tares is among us, the harvest is maturing, and soon, the culling will begin. I believe it’s already started, if the West Coast fires are any indication.
Where will the angels’ scythe find you? In the sheaves of wheat being brought in with rejoicing, or the furnace, to be destroyed with no remedy?
“Choose this day…”
Therefore I pray:
We look to You now, to whom all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given, to guide us into all Truth in this moment through the conviction of our Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Our spirits grieve within us, our hearts fail, and our boldness grows silent as we flee the blades and bullets of our enemies because we did not seek You to go before us.
We seek you now, from the hiding places, and ask that You forgive us and grant us mercy. We stand now to be fully seen in robes of white, standing in the gap and pleading Your blood to stay the Father’s wrath.
We repent of our cowardice and pride, we repent of our own self-righteousness, we repent of our own self-reliance and sense of importance. We repent of forgetting this is not our home, and that Your words will not pass away. We repent of not speaking with power and authority, speaking truth to power, to sinners, doing both with love and compassion for the lost.
You told us this faith would come at a price, and that if we testify to the world, as You did, that its works are evil, we would be hated, as You were. The question you put before us now is, Will we also turn away?
Strengthen us, Lord. We would not be the disciples of Gethsemane, but the Apostles of the Book of Acts, praying, preaching, and manifesting the Father’s love among the faithless.
We ask that You give us the strength to withstand the onslaughts of the hateful, the sexually confused, the ‘spiritually free’ who are in fact in bondage, and those who place their faith in the sands of science, which will never be fathomed from the infinite mind of G-d.
We speak Your Word to stand against evil, and do not bend to call it good.
We speak Your Word, and let the Spirit call those appointed to receive it.
We speak Your Word, and love without judgment, for judgment is in Your hands.
We speak Your Word, and don’t seek vengeance, because that belongs to the Father.
But we do ask for mercy if we fail in the midst of oppression, for those lapses that come to us when we say, like Peter, “I do not know the Man!” because to share in Your glory, we must share in Your trials.
Seek and restore us, Lord Jesus, when we are lost in darkness. Bring us back to the light of Your grace, and wash us clean in the blood of the New Covenant you’ve bestowed to a people who were not Yours, grafted in by grace.
We would be profitable, fruitful, faithful servants in the darkest hours, and it is night in this nation. You have told us to let our works so shine, that mankind may see them, and glorify the Father, worthy of all praise now and forever. We ask that You search our hearts, and test the work we do, that it may be found worthy of Heaven, and please our Father’s heart.
In righteousness, peace, and joy may we honor You.