Acts: Day 40

Paul in Rome

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Today's Text: Acts 28:11-31, Isaiah 6:9-10, 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Text:  Acts 28:11-31, Isaiah 6:9-10, 2 Timothy 4:6-8

I recently came across a picture from my dad’s final months. He is wearing his hospital gown, sitting in the chair in his hospital room, and my three small children are sitting next to him, perched in a row on the window sil. Dad is grinning at them, eyes bright, and the kids are all carefree smiles and laughter, no idea the end was so near.

We visited him as often as we could back then, in the hospital and at home, stealing every moment with him we could get. And he was always glad to see us, drinking up our presence even on his hardest days.

It never occurred to me that he didn’t have to welcome us in. I never considered that the vulnerability of those final days was not just thrust upon him, but something he chose to embrace. We saw each day as an opportunity to be with him, and despite having every reason to opt out, he chose to see it as the same.

This last chapter of Acts does not tell us about Paul’s death, but we know he was eventually martyred in Rome. And we know this is how he spent his final years:

“He welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.”
- Acts 28:30

If it were me, I think I would need a minute. All those years of faithfully preaching the gospel, traveling from city to city, raising up young churches and mentoring new pastors, not to mention being falsely accused and imprisoned time and time again for speaking the truth—after all that, I would view house arrest as an overdue opportunity for a long, well-deserved nap. Not Paul. Paul didn’t need a minute.

Paul knew what awaited him.

Could he see his martyrdom coming? Possibly. But he could definitely see beyond it. Paul wasn’t living for this vapor of a life here on earth. He was living for something bigger. Paul was living for the gospel. And here’s how he did it: he lived for the eternal by making the most of the temporary.

The apostle didn’t while away his time on earth just to get to the next chapter. He did something radical—he believed the good news was true and he lived like it.

“From dawn to dusk he expounded and witnessed about the kingdom of God.”
- Acts 28:23

The book of Acts reminds us that, like Paul, we are part of the biggest picture—we, the Church, are part of God’s story. This is our story, and Paul is our brother. But the call of this book is not to be like Paul. The call of this book is to be like Christ.

Jesus, too, looked beyond the present while embracing it. Jesus, too, poured Himself out “as a drink offering” to His final day (2 Timothy 4:6). But He did so much more.

The Christ who was the hope of the Apostle Paul is also our hope, having taken upon Himself all of our sin—past, present, and future—and suffered separation from the Father so that we might be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Then, having endured the punishment of death that was due us, He was resurrected, making us alive in Him (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22). And now—right now—He sits at the right hand of the Father, actively advocating on our behalf (Romans 8:34).

This Christ is our hope.

You and I are vulnerable like Paul. We, too, will have last days. But we can live those and all our days fully, joyfully pouring out every last drop, knowing that our hope in Jesus will never, ever end. Thanks be to God.

SRT-Acts-Instagram40s

  • This was the first SRT study I’ve read beginning to end and I must say I will be faithfully following their studies from now on. What a blessing!

  • So sad to see Acts come to an end! It has been an incredible journey SRT!! Thank you so very much!! And thanks to all the faithful women who post-I’ve been so blessed by your comments!

  • Liz Walker

    What a wonderful study.

  • So sad to see this study come to the end. It’s my second study with you ladies. It is encouraging and stretching!! Comforting and pushing!! Christ is our ultimate role model. But Paul is fully man and mentor!!! I pray to be able to love and show mercy as he did.

  • “But the call of this book is not to be like Paul. The call of this book is to be like Christ.”

    Wow. I didn’t even realize that too many times I internalize my goal as being more like Paul – the ultimate follower. But thats not it AT ALL. Even when comparing ourselves to those who embody what we wish we could be, we are still comparing. And there is no comparison worth while other than that comparison which points to Christ.

    Thanks for this huge thought tucked sweetly in to this study. ABW, you never (ever) cease to open my eyes.

    • Amanda Williams

      I do the same. Thank the Lord the gospel is true!

      • Hope

        Yeah, there is something about your words that penetrate my heart. On an aside, how cool is it that your middle name is Bible. Is it really, Bible?

    • Veronica

      Yes! So good!

    • Kelsi Lee

      Ah. I did the same, and then as I read this line, took a step back and went: “Oh!”

      It makes so much sense, and is so human of us to forget to see the whole picture.

  • Paul’s perseverance has always astonished me. He lived for the eternal by making the most of the temporary.. what a statement!

  • “Jesus, too, looked beyond the present while embracing it. Paul was living for the gospel. And here’s how he did it: he lived for the eternal by making the most of the temporary.” I’ve been blessed by and my spirit has been lifted up by many of the readings on this site this year. I actually pulled this reading up at work, but didn’t read it b/c I went into our break room to fix my breakfast first. A little later I was called into a meeting with my supervisor and director only for them to give me my severance papers and fire me. I didn’t expect this today nor did I have the chance to go back and read about Paul. I am now at home and I took time to read. Though a little angry at being let go by someone who did not perform herself at ALL, I am thankful. God knows the when, where, and how things will play out i this temporary life. My job is to know the what…that God is my father and I am his child and He is covering me. Thank you for this story. It provides comfort to me right now and taught me to look beyond this present circumstance and embrace it, and move forward into the next chapter. God is my hope.

    • Kendall

      Praying for you, and I am glad this reading was so timely for you! God bless!

  • Marietta

    As a nurse who have witnessed a many final days during my professional services. This speaks to comfort many times for those reassured by their faith. I am also a product of a mother who like Paul knew emphatically that this life was only temporary, understanding she would join our Heavenly Father which is where she is today. These are words of reassurance that parents can pass on to their children.

  • He lived for the eternal by making the most of the temporary. I loved this. I am praying that today the LORD focuses us all on the eternal and what really matters. Be blessed today.

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying with you, Emily! Thanks for joining us today, friend!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Oh how I needed these words to encourage my heart. God knows when I am in need of His loving arms around me. Today’s reading gave me hope to embrace this new day with joy, to live with purpose & direction. To make the most of these temporary days. Thank you!

  • You could not have known the circumstances of the day before. But this sad and bewildered heart this morning truly needed these words and exhortation. Thank you.

    • Jerri

      Jamie, I am praying for you. Know God guides are path and He does nothing without a purpose. He uses our struggles to strengthen us and grow us closer to Him! Walk through today knowing you are wrapped in prayer!

    • She Reads Truth

      Jamie, I’m so glad God used these words to encourage you. Keeping you in my prayers, asking His presence to keep you company.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Caroline

    “he did it: he lived for the eternal by making the most of the temporary.” I love this quote. This is so powerful. What a beautiful reminder to make the most of the temporary!

    ww.in-due-time.com

  • Keri Underwood

    There’s just something about knowing that God is forever that makes death a little less scary. I think we all have that fear of our last days, and rightly so as we are human. But doesn’t it just give you warm fuzzies to know that He is forever. And one day we will be joined with Him! Can’t wait for that day!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • “Paul was living for the gospel. And here’s how he did it: he lived for the eternal by making the most of the temporary.” A wonderful reminder this morning and a challenge to make the most of the temporary by living for the eternal. Thank you Amanda for sharing your heart and hope.

    • TIFFANI

      AMEN!! That statement of how Paul chose to live stuck with me!! As Christians that’s the life we are called to live and I strive daily to make the most out of the temporary but what a reward we have with Eternity!!

  • After skimming through the terrible news headlines this morning, today’s devotional was a balm to my soul. Just as God had a plan for Paul in Acts, He has a plan for us today. And just as people back in Paul’s (and Isaiah’s time) “heard but did not understand and saw but did not perceive”, so many people’s hearts today are dull to what is really going on around us. We will not be able to defeat the evil in the world with political actions, more surveillance, etc. We just need more Jesus. Praying for my Sisters (and Brothers) around the world to stay strong and boldly declare the Gospel to the people around them. Like Paul, we need to make the most of every moment until His plan is finally revealed.

    • Amen

      Amen Ag.
      Thankful for the blessing to be able to recognize that through events like these, we continue being able to rise with love, in love, and persevere towards finishing the race and keeping the faith.
      Oh how I can remember the quiet peeps of my peers when I spoke back then of my thoughts of the roots behind these horrific events. It saddened me that they did not understand what I said, and yet it is what pulled me stronger toward learning more about and living for the gospel. Reminders are everywhere in the news that our freedom in this life comes from our faith in Jesus, not in the material things of this world.
      Appreciative for the reminder after reading today’s response that we are to live for the eternal by making the most of the temporary.
      Praying for everyone. Thankful for the luxury to read and absorb the gospel every day. Thankful to have found SRT and for their dedication to put studies like these together which cross continents and the various ways in which we meet as a community as worldly perceptions of what church is continue evolving.

  • Daniella Moore

    This made me a little teary. Its amazing how much we take for granted in life. Life is like vapor, it will all be gone. However in that small vapor I pray that it would be full. Living in Washington, D.C. is both a blessing and a hardship (I often seek the blessing side). I am excited to participate in this event in Washington DC tomorrow from 9am-9pm called: https://reset2016.com/. Praying that God will do his work for this amazing event to fill the mall in DC and that his will be done. Praying for all of ya’ll :)

    • Kendall

      What an incredible event! Praying that the Mall would be filled and that God would grant a “reset” to our nation. God bless you!

  • churchmouse

    My prayer is that, upon my death, it would be said of me all that is contained in verses 7-8 of 2 Timothy 4. And I pray today that the ears and eyes of many others would be opened because their last days are coming too. The exact date is not known. Just last evening : Nice, France. It sobers me, the fragility and brevity of life here on earth. These are the last days. We dare not be prepared. Christ alone is our hope. “If your hope is anchored in Jesus, the worst case future scenario for you is Resurrection and everlasting life.” Thank you Amanda and SRT, for reminding me once again to keep on telling, keep on telling, for all my final days. Amen.

    • Tochi Heredia

      Thanks for the reminder, churchmouse, that even our physical death can be a testimony of our eternal life in Jesus.
      The world looses hope and falls into despair when death and tragedy comes, but we can rest assured that even death can’t separate us from Him.
      Have a blessed weekend, sister. Let’s keep longing for His everlasting Kingdom.

  • What a wonderful example Paul is to us fellow believers. We too can have the ability to share the gospel of Jesus until the day we die. I attend a church that I absolutely love and the majority of the people there are older. It is such a blessing to see these brothers and sisters in Christ living their lives for Him. Being examples for the rest of us, just like Paul. It’s not about us at all…. It’s about Jesus. It’s always been about him. From creation to eternity. May we live our lives according to what we know to be true.
    Have a blessed day❤️

  • Courtney

    So thankful for this website. My husband and I are fixing to start reading one of these a day (He will be reading the He Reads Truth version. Please pray that we can be faithful in this and that it will continue to strengthen our marriage! I am already seeing so many answered prayers! :)

  • I pray that I am one who continuously opens my home and my heart to share my love of My Savior with others.
    Have a great day and great weekend all!

  • Good morning Tina. Thankful to hear from you sister.

  • Absolutely… AMEN…Amanda Bible…

    I recently attended a wedding of a young couple…the talk was on eternity and the bigger picture of our lives in Christ…I totally got it, because I love Jesus and I know where I am going, what I have to look forward to, one day…but this couple and others, as we walk towards the venue for drinks, began with the statement…’What was that talk all about? ‘
    I mentioned that it was beautiful and that the hope of eternity was the ultimate…..to which, and,this made me smile, he summed up the talk. Then said.. ‘..so what, what about joy here, what about the here and now, they’ve only just got married and they are talking about the end.. ‘
    He didn’t get it…He heard the talk got the gist in his head but bad not made the heart and soul connection to God and the gift we have through Jesus, of eternity….
    Definitely a conversation, proper for another day, but right now as I have been reminded prayers being lifted up for the man and his wife to be enlightened, (they are church goers), to be touched truthfully, by God’s Word, and to understand fully the hope of glory in eternity with the Lord God Almighty….

    Stealing a line from Rebecca’s devo the other day.. ‘See you in Heaven….’
    Sending love and hugs…always..xxx

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