Procrastination, or just Not Doing – 3-15-22

“Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.” Acts 24:13 NKJV

This I confess – I do my best to worship, love and follow the Lord with all my heart. I want to be like Paul. I may have faults, but I am a good t repenting when I realize I fell off track. I honestly try my best. And
Like Paul I am often accused – and they cannot prove the things they say. Yet often they are believed and I am oppressed by their lies. Then if I try to say, well, I am faultless – the enemy reminds me of my sins – and I say, but I am forgiven.
Yes, seasoned believers have some of the same types of attacks as new believers. Especially when the word drops, specific to us – the enemy comes in to attack the mind and heart to rob you of the word (Just like the parable of the seed on the soil). I strive to do my best with Jesus’s help, and grace and mercy. I love the Lord with all my heart.
Do you worship the Lord, believing all things in the Bible?

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Acts chapter 24 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Accused of Sedition

24 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.

And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and [a]prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight, we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your [b]courtesy, a few words from us. For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, [c]and wanted to judge him according to our law. But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.” And the Jews also [d]assented, maintaining that these things were so.

The Defense Before Felix

10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection [e]of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

17 “Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation, 18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult. 19 They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me. 20 Or else let those who are here themselves say [f]if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council, 21 unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’ ”

Felix Procrastinates

22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.” 23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.

24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” 26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, [g]that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.

27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 24:2 Or reforms are
  2. Acts 24:4 graciousness
  3. Acts 24:6 NU ends the sentence here and omits the rest of v. 6, all of v. 7, and the first clause of v. 8.
  4. Acts 24:9 NU, M joined the attack
  5. Acts 24:15 NU omits of the dead
  6. Acts 24:20 NU, M what wrongdoing they found
  7. Acts 24:26 NU omits that he might release him

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Speaking of seed being sown on soil – Today we read about Paul’s time with Felix the Procrastinator. He really never does anything but drag his feet.

First we must wait for Paul’s accusers then listen to their vague argument. They did not know, Felix had a Jewish wife so he had some understanding of their belief and customs. AND Felix also knew a great deal about Christians (some scholars have reasoned that this means his wife was a Christian Jew – but the Bible only says that Felix had knowledge about these things). Anyway, it seems that right from the start Felix saw through their nonsense.

Paul’s defense – this time he does not speak of his upbringing and his conversion. This time he does not give his testimony. You see this time he wasn’t speaking to the Jews who were accusing him.  This time he shows how he followed custom and law and did not break it. He does confess to worshiping God as a Christian (aka ‘The Way’) as well as to believing in the resurrection of the dead – meaning going to heaven. (Something that the Jewish council from yesterday’s reading was torn about.)

Now, if Felix really had some understanding. He knew this was a Jewish matter and not a Roman matter – but also not a matter (even by Jewish custom) worthy of death and Paul was a Roman, and must be protected, by law. Now, Felix also held a political position and needed to keep peace, for political gain. And since Paul was STILL not officially charged with anything, Felix cannot just pass it off. What can Felix do? Procrastinate! He says he needs to wait to hear it with a second person – this is a roman liberty, to hear a conflict with another so they can confer together. Great political move, as they both can blame an unpopular verdict on the other to appear blameless.

And as Paul is a Roman, he was in “light chains” essentially a house arrest type situation. Paul was free to see who he wants but limited in where he can go and has a security detail, I mean guard. (wink) cause what God actually did was give Paul security!

What do we do while we wait? Well, Felix brings his wife down to Paul to hear him preach. It would seem by this action that she had hear of him and wanted to hear for herself. Felix, he was convicted, and conflicted because he was hardened by political greed. So he sent Paul away. But then, He continued to call upon Paul and listen. It says here that it was because of greed – hoping Paul would pay, or bribe him, for his freedom. All these long talks with Paul – they had to have built some sort of comradery. All the seeds panted in Felix’s head and heart – was Felix just the fattest spiritual baby ever, learning the word but never doing it?! I often wonder, did Felix and his wife make it to heaven?

Felix’s term expired. He never did do anything but drag his feet. Everything was now the responsibility of the next guy, and Felix was well loved for never making anyone mad. As a parting gift to the Jews – he abandoned Paul in jail. Was this because his wife was a Jew and she was not a Christian? Or was it a political move to secure favor in the future? Luke doesn’t give us much insight.

It seem incredulous to me that someone can sit, one on one, under Paul’s anointing and NOT be transformed.  Paul was definitely still anointed – as (even though dates of writing are highly debated) he wrote letters during this time. (And the letter to the Philippians, some think, was written during this time and even more likely, Philemon.) So I am surprised that Felix’s heart was not softened. I know God told Paul he must go to Rome, and if Felix’s heart was soften, he would have let him free. I also know that in the book of Philippians Paul is saying to them that he needs money for his jailing and that he knows they are all needy as well, and encourages the commends them for giving out of their lack and need. This is where we get one of our favorite promises –
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19
If they had come up with the money, which they were unable to raise for Paul – Paul would have been able to bribe himself free… But God told Paul he was going to Rome.
I also find it incredulous that people sit under other teachers who I have learned from in our world today – and are fat spoiled babies, slumbering and sticking of poop in the pews of the church! I said it. How can they hear such an anointed word and NOT be moved to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer.
I have seen them in EVERY church I have interacted with. I have spoken with, tried to minister to (maybe change their stinky diaper) but they reject any help and ask to be prophesied to or miraculously healed – not by faith, but for their entertainment, so they can exploit it and come back for it again. Lord have mercy as grace abounds!
As we read yesterday – God loves them too, the Felixes of this world. He mourns their stiff necked ways. It is very sad – and I do not know how to reach them, or if they can ever be reached. They keep coming for more and more, but it has no tangible grace. You know the grace I speak of all the time and named this blog after – the grace that is an action word – because everything it touches is transformed. The grace that transformed the pure son of man into sin, that he may be the propitiation for us to then have opportunity to accept it and be transformed by the powerful touch of grace. Yet they do not let this grace touch them – they think it is powerless and just undo favor, a phrase spoken without giving it much thought. Because Grace is NOT God’s undo favor – it is the transformative action of favor we did not deserve but can receive because God loves each of us. His favor without his action is worthless – just as our listening to the word, without action is worthless. All just a construct of religion formed by man – but in action it is a relationship with a REAL and LIVING and POWERFUL God – through which we are transformed. AMEN?! Hallelujah!
Felix the procrastinator did not take action – in any area of his life. Let us make sure we are not like Felix and delay, even to the point of just not doing it, the things the Lord speaks to us to do.

But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.” Acts 24:27 NKJV

Tomorrow we see what happens next.

Also – I am struggling in my spirit about these world events, so I am being careful not to make applications to current events too much (unless prompted by God). I feel there is a lie somewhere. Something is not right. God gave us prophesy to prepare us and not to scare us – but things seemingly line up and yet they do not. Let us watch and pray so we aren’t deceived (Luke 21:36). I know avoiding current events may make me appear tone-deaf – but I am waiting for God to speak on these things first and not speak from my opinion.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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