May 30, Paul didn’t have it easy. Neither should you.

Acts 20: 17-27

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
“You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

“But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

If anyone told you that being a Christian was going to be easy…they lied to you…especially in this day in age.  Apparently by what Paul says today, it wasn’t easy back in the first century either.  In fact we seem to be facing some of the same challenges today as the first century Christians.  It’s counter cultural.  It seems to divide families. It seems to divide friendships.  It can even divide a person.

I won’t lie, there are times where I wish I could just give in to all those desires and temptations.  Life would be so much easier.  Life would be so much more fun.  Oh wait, that was me 20 years ago.  And yet despite all of that ‘fun’ I was having back then, the whole in my heart grew wider and deeper.  The bigger it became, the more sin I committed in an attempt to fill it.  Finding Jesus is easy.  Staying with Jesus is the hard part.  That’s the cross he calls us to bear in the Gospels.

As we read today, Paul conveys that he’s not had it so easy in Ephesus.  He points out that he probably won’t have it too easy down the road either.  The establishment is out to get him.  Society doesn’t want to hear what he has to say because they know deep down inside of themselves in places they don’t want to talk about, he makes them feel uncomfortable.  They know their sin.  They just don’t want to admit it.  They know they need something to heal them.  They just don’t want to admit it.  So rather than saying yes to God, to Christ Jesus, they would rather persecute and destroy the very thing that can save them and His messengers.

Stay strong my friends.  Jesus can heal you.  Jesus can save you.  It’s not going to be easy.  In fact I dare say it’s going to become much harder as our society continues to turn their back on God.

Thought for the day:  Don’t turn your back on God for two minutes of fun instead of an eternity of Heaven.  Don’t try to fill the bottomless hole in your heart with what made that hole in the first place.  Jesus is the only true medicine for the soul and the only true way to Salvation.

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