Acts: Day 38

Paul Appeals to Caesar

by

Today's Text: Acts 25:1-27, Acts 26:1-32, Proverbs 2:6-8, Psalm 37:28

Text:  Acts 25:1-27, Acts 26:1-32, Proverbs 2:6-8, Psalm 37:28

At just the right time of day, my home floods with sunlight. There are only two front-facing windows downstairs, but for a few moments the sun angles in just right and, from front to back, there’s a rush of light across the house. It’s my favorite time of day.

This morning, I am sitting at our dining room table trying to sort through my workday needs (this post being at the top of the list). And in that stream of light, all I can see are the particles of dust floating, the worn edges of chairs and tables in the living room, and the small cobweb growing in the corner of the window. The light, beautiful as it is, reveals the grime.

I’ve been busy, see, trying to do what I think God has called me to these days. I’m caring for the needs of my home and trying to figure out what my purpose is in this new foreign place we’ve moved to. I’ve been so preoccupied with learning to be faithful in these things, that I haven’t even noticed the cobweb in the corner of the window. But the light reveals my lack.

None of us likes to have our sin brought out into the light and revealed to ourselves, let alone to others.

No one wants to have that Paul-on-the-Road-to-Damascus moment, where the light as bright as the sun shone around him, pinning him to the ground, and delving into the darkest parts and intentions of his heart (Acts 26:13-14). But God once called the light good (Genesis 1:4), and we have to believe this is one of the reasons why. The light reveals what the night has hidden and brings to sight what has been forgotten.

Psalm 37:28 says, “the Lord loves justice,” and I am a little like that. But mostly I love justice when it’s given to others. I squirm when I myself come under the light—my faults revealed and my sins displayed. I hate justice then. I feel the same about the dust particles and cobwebs as I feel about my propensity to doubt, to fear, to sin with my words and deeds.

In the light I am embarrassed, ashamed, and fearful of being found out. But God loves the light.

As we see in this passage, He wants His children to turn away from darkness and step into the light. The thing that makes us feel most naked and exposed is one of the things our God loves most—not because of the pain and discomfort we feel in the midst of it, but because it reveals our greatest need: God Himself.

What is the light exposing in your life today? What dust particles and cobwebs have been lurking in the living room of your heart? What besetting doubts and fears have taken up residence in your soul?

God is preparing for you a Damascus Road experience, whether here or in eternity, in which every one of your thoughts and sins will be exposed. But He is also like the father of the prodigal son in this and in every moment: picking up His robes and running, undignified, toward His child who has come to his senses and come home (Luke 15:11-32).

Don’t run from the light today, friends. Go stand in it, be blinded by it, and see the manifold magnificent grace of the Father who shines it on you.

SRT-Acts-Instagram38s

Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, tweets @lorewilbert, and posts photos @loreferguson. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

  • This right here is conviction on a cake stand. This right here is redemption in its truest form.

  • Caroline

    As a high schooler, I so often hope and pray that my peers and friends that continue to make harmful decisions would “see the light,” but maybe it’s truly been me that needs the light. Conviction is so much easier to handle when it’s placed on others. It’s when God reveals our own faults and sins that we truly must rely on Him. Yes, I pray that my peers would see His light, but I also pray that I would be guided to it as well.

    • Caroline

      “Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” -Psalm 139

    • Nikravesous

      That’s very insightful Caroline! It is so much easier to see the sins of others, especially when those sins are reckless and physically as well as spiritually dangerous. But to see that we are in just as much need of grace as those who, by the world’s standards, are greater transgressors is an absolute Holy Spirit insight! Praying along with you that we all would expose ourselves to the light and let God’s grace fill in every nook and cranny of our souls.

  • Alexandra

    Today’s reflection reminds me of a song by the Josh Blakesley Band called “You Are the Light”.

  • Everyday I sit down with my She Reads Truth on my computer, bible and highlighter to one side, and journal and pen to my other side. But, something extraordinary happened today. I was just finishing writing in my journal the question… “So, what is the light exposing in your life?”, when all of a sudden the lamp across the room switched on. I looked around to see the bright light shining in the dark room where I was sitting. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe there was a timer for it to turn on at that time. Maybe someone had turned it on at that time. But, for it to switch on at that exact time I was sitting doing my bible study and writing that question, makes me think it was something much bigger. Maybe it was God telling me to stop running from the light. Maybe it was God showing me how much I need Him. Whatever it is, I’m happy that it happened.

  • We in our nation are being exposed by God’s light. May we all discover to recover that we have all made errors, some voiced, some hidden. Not just our leaders, but all of us, too. Discover to recover with the help of a Savior! Thank you, Lord for the painful state of affairs that we all might make an individual heartfelt course correction in order to manifest Your love.

  • A church nearby my apartment has a sign up currently that says “Justice is what Love looks like in action”. I really like that, and always reflect upon it while walking by.

    Before the end of the school year, I was working with a group of 2nd-5th graders on what it looks like to “let your light shine”. Some examples they came up with were helping others, loving people who you don’t even know yet, standing up for the brokenhearted, and “giving the last piece your favorite candy to a friend instead” ;).

    I love how Paul recounts Christ proclaiming light will come both their people and the gentiles, that it’s for each and every person on earth.

  • “Listen to me patiently” was Paul’s request – he asked to be heard how he was changed by an experience.
    How often and easily do we forget to love?
    Love opens our eyes during moments of darkness so we can see the light. Every time.
    Doing works worthy of repentence, and turning to God, seems to get complicated because our internal and external compass just spins as we try to evaluate if our works are worthy enough.
    Just have faith. In Jesus.
    Ask, and receive forgiveness of sins, and share among those who are sanctified.

  • Caroline

    I love this! I always love the reminder of his light outshining ALL darkness. Light always wins!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Erin Cox

    What is the light exposing in your life today? For me, fear. Of the world, of the reality of what my children face for their future, of the evil that lurks around every corner. We’ve homeschooled for almost 5 years and the Lord is working on my heart, lighting up the realization that there’s “school at home” then there’s “hide from the world”… The indicator of which being the inclinations of my heart. I’ve realized recently we’ve been the latter. My girls’ lives are little bubbles, carefully constructed with all the right inputs and a filter for all the wrong. And they are precious, sweet girls. But I’m hiding them. I don’t regret the past choices, to create this little bubble, but it’s time to allow them to experience the reality of life, that others face on a day to day basis. It’s time to allow them to experience real conflict and real friendship and real witnessing and real forgiveness. The cobwebs in my heart are riddled with keeping us all in our little bubble and making life “just perfect” which has zero to do with the life Christ has called us to or the example that He gave us to follow. He was in the thick of it, with the underbelly of ancient society, casting out demons, healing brokenness and washing dirty feet. He walked alongside the least of these so that he could have a perspective that would change humanity forever. So, we are breaking out of the fear, inviting reality back into our lives and boldly stepping out in faith that God will use us in our schools and community. Lord, I praise you for letting the light shine in!

    • Holly

      I commend you for your courage and pray that God would bring about an authentic faith in your children deepened by watching God work in the real world.

    • jeanne

      God knows your heart and intentions for homeschooling and keeping your little ones in a bubble. I’m not a mother yet, but I am a pre-k – 8th grade teacher and understand the desire to keep your children away from all the unknowns of the world. Just an idea– maybe you could bring your kids to a local gathering to support a cause? It could show them the concerns of your community outside of the home, and allow them to be a part of something bigger, with people they aren’t normally around. A friend of mine has been doing that by bringing her kids to peaceful protests in our city, and they’ve really learned about the desires and hearts of those around them :-) They’re participating in justice-in-action. I’m sure God will provide different avenues for you jump into, as He knows your heart well. <3

    • Ann Holman

      Yes Erin!!! Let your girls let their little lights shine for Jesus!!! He will go with them and uphold them, guide them and help them… This broken world needs them… And, statistically speaking, if most people become Christians before age 18, then our kids who know Jesus need to be out in the world sharing Him and reaching their peers… And God never promised any of us (our kids included) 70 or 80 years of life on this earth… We who believe ALL have to get out there NOW… “The fields are ripe, but the workers are few.” BLESSINGS my friend, I will pray for your new journey:)

  • Keri Underwood

    Such a wonderful visual you gave here! I just love this picture of our “cobweb in the corner of the window”. And it’s so true, the light absolutely reveals the hidden corners of our hearts and souls. My prayer today is that the Lord shines His light in my heart today and shows me the cobwebs I need to work on cleaning.

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • I love that, when asked to defend himself, Paul simply shared his testimony. This is who I was, this is what Jesus did, this is who I am now. His was a radical transformation, but each of us that know Christ has a story to tell as well. I’m praying this morning that I would have opportunities and boldness to tell my story.

    • Janny

      I love that thought Jess! Paul had the knowledge to make an intelligent argument, but he chose to simply give his testimony. Thanks for pointing that out!

    • Keri Underwood

      Such good insight! Love this reflection, thanks for sharing!

    • Kayla

      JessHH, I saw the same things from Paul. One other thing I noticed was that Paul gave King Agrippa II time to respond to what he had been told about Christ. He questioned him saying,” King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?” Even while Paul is on trail he is doing everything he can to share the gospel and bring people to Christ.

  • churchmouse

    Lore, thank you for your words this morning! One of my favorite visuals of God is as the father searching the darkness for his prodigal son to return. There he stands on the front porch, watching every movement of anything in the distance, hoping it is his beloved offspring. When the son emerges from the darkness, the effects of his rebellious journey are all too apparent : the tattered clothing, the disheveled appearance, and the unmistakable odor of pig slop. But what is that to a father who is yearning for his lost boy to come home? Yes Lore, I see that grinning dad lift his robes (who cares who might be watching? !) and run with a speed he didn’t know he had at his age. He hugs his son with such force it nearly knocks them both to the ground. No matter the pig stench, love is in the air. Love overwhelms. Love overcomes. Love overlooks. Love welcomes home. And that is the joy that is the result of repentance. The father’s arms, our Father’s arms, are always open to receive. Again, today, I run to my dad. Thank you Lore for the reminder. Thank you Paul for your testimony of light penetrating darkness, drawing us into the love of our God.

  • Bryan and Katie Torwalt’s “Let There Be Light”. (Just released this month) http://youtu.be/EyMAACDZuoU

  • Never thought of Paul as having a sense of humor.

  • Elisabeth

    When I was a kid, our pastor taught us about just that: That nothing will stay hidden, that God will bring everything out in the light. I got really scared (although the things I thought should better stay hidden probably weren’t even that bad, I was just a kid!) and missed the point that God still loves me – whatever I have done. Sure, it’s still scary to know that everything I’ve done wrong doesn’t stay in the dark, but it gives me hope that God wants to change me and make me the best version of myself.

    Although, can I point out that I just had to laugh when I read Paul’s answer in Acts 26,28: “I wish before God”, replied Paul, “that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am – except for these chains.”? I love that Paul keeps his good humour even in a desperate situation!

    • Dana

      That part tickled me as well : )

    • cindy

      That IS funny! And that is interesting to note as well, his God gifted realness and sense of humor may have caused both leaders to say.. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, w“This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus,  “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”… except for these chains. We all need a sense of humor and God given graces to over come them. Have a blessed day!

Further Reading...