Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 39/260: Read Acts 15

Paul, along with his traveling companions, exemplified the spirit of the Great Commission. Jesus commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Through teaching, one makes disciples for Jesus. Paul and his colleagues went all over doing this very thing, baptizing those who believed. His work did not end there, however. Paul wanted to check in on those who had been converted. He said, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.”

Our job in evangelism is not complete once a person comes up out of the water. Continual teaching is necessary. Those who decide to follow Jesus must make the commitment “to observe all things.”

Think about those that you have helped in their journey to Jesus. Have you checked on them lately? How are they doing?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the same hour of the night and _______________ their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were _______________.

Pray

Pray for those in whom you have planted the seed of the Word of God, and send them a note to let them know you have been thinking of them.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 38/260: Read Acts 14

Who are your heroes in the faith? Do you ever exalt them more highly than you should?

When Paul and Barnabas preached in Lystra, they performed a miracle to confirm that their words were truth (Mark 16:20). Those who witnessed the miracle, however, exalted Paul and Barnabas to the status of their mythological gods. They called Barnabas Zeus and thought Paul was Hermes, and intended to offer sacrifices to them as deity!

Paul and Barnabas discovered their plan and wasted no time in stopping them. They cried, “We are also men with the same nature as you!” Rather than accepting the worship and adulation of the people of Lystra, these men of God turned the focus upon the true God of heaven.

We must be careful that we do not elevate the servants of God to the level of God. Yes, we can look up to them, and imitate them in the faith, but recognize that as men, they are fallible and can commit sin, falling short of the glory of God.

God is God. Man is simply His servant. Whatever you read or hear from men, compare with the inspired, infallible Word.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the _______________ hour of the night and washed their stripes. And _______________ he and all his family were baptized.

Pray

Pray for wisdom to recognize and imitate those with strong faith, putting your hope in God of heaven. Pray for stronger faith when you witness the shortcomings of mortal man.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 37/260: Read Acts 13

“I was here first!” “That’s not fair!” “Don’t you know who I am?” “I deserve better!”

Do these thoughts ever cross your mind? The Jews were God’s chosen people to bring the Messiah into the world, but when Paul and Barnabas began teaching multitudes of Gentiles, “they were filled with envy.” They disputed the truth that the messengers of God spoke.

Paul’s response gives us an idea of the entitlement they may have been proclaiming. He said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.”

Yes, the Jews were God’s chosen people, but they rejected the Almighty and His plan. They rejected the gospel. When God then sent the good news to the Gentiles, the Jews got mad. “I was here first!”

No one deserves everlasting life, but by the grace of God it is available. If you accept His grace for your sins, it is only right that others should have access as well, no matter how terrible we believe they have sinned.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Pray

Pray for patience with others who are seeking God’s truth, and pray for opportunities to be gracious and helpful toward them.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 36/260: Read Acts 12

James the brother of John had been martyred for the cause of Christ. Herod planned further violence against the church as the Jews reacted favorably to this action. Peter was arrested, but before Herod could strike him down, an angel rescued him from prison.

The church was offering “constant prayer” on Peter’s behalf. But did they really believe what they were praying? When Peter showed up at the door and John Mark’s mother told the others, they didn’t believe her. They thought she was crazy. “You are beside yourself!”

Finally they opened the door and saw the apostle standing there, “they were astonished.” Why? Hadn’t they been praying for this very outcome?

How confident are we in our prayers to the Almighty? Why are we often “astonished” when our prayers are answered? Do our doubts hinder the success of our efforts in the kingdom?

James tells us to ask God for wisdom, but warns, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” We should never be amazed by the power of God.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Pray

Pray for more confidence in God’s ability and desire to answer the prayers offered according to His will.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 35/260: Read Acts 11

“And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Wearing the name of Christ is an important part of the church’s identity.

When one opens the Yellow Pages, he can find all sorts of denominational names. Many of them exclude Christ from their identification.

The renowned Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon, who lived in the 19th century, once said, “For I say of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ’s name last for ever. I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living. I hope they will soon be gone.”

Christ prayed for unity in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 17:20-23). Paul commanded it in his first letter to Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:10). The rampant division of the religious world today is a far cry from the unity demanded by a love for the Savior.

May we all turn back to the Bible for our doctrine and for our daily living. May we all restore in our hearts the love for our fellow man and Christ and strive for unity based on the Lord’s revelation.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Acts 8:12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Pray

Pray for unity in the local congregation and the church at large. Pray that all may turn to the Scriptures for doctrine.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 34/260: Read Acts 10

“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” The King James Version reads, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

In short, God doesn’t care where someone works. He doesn’t care what color someone’s skin is. He doesn’t care how much a man has in the bank, or how big his house is, or what kind of car he drives.

God is no respecter of persons, and God’s children should follow His lead. Racism and classism are sinful attitudes and must be rejected by God’s people.

Children often sing about Jesus’ love for all:

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

May we all develop the same innocence and love and show no partiality in our dealings with God’s creation.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 8:12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the _______________ of _______________ and the name of _______________ _______________, both men and women were baptized.

Pray

Pray for understanding toward those who are different than you. Pray for tolerance without compromising the truth.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 33/260: Read Acts 9

The story of Saul’s conversion is one of the most inspiring and encouraging in the New Testament. Our first introduction to this man has him consenting to Stephen’s death (Acts 8:1). Here, he is “breathing threats and murder against the disciples.” Later, he says of himself, “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (1 Timothy 1:13).

Despite his attitude and actions against Jesus and the church, Saul of Tarsus “obtained mercy” and became one of the greatest champions for Christ—Paul the apostle—the world has ever known.

I have heard people say they could never visit a church service for fear that the building would collapse on them. I doubt any of them have sinned like Saul, though. Even if they have, God’s mercy and grace and love is strong enough to overcome their past, if they are willing to submit to Him like Saul did.

Saul, who would become Paul, was “a chosen vessel” of Christ’s. Don’t neglect opportunities to teach your neighbors about Christ, no matter how sinful they may be in your eyes. Don’t allow your past to hold you back from the future God has planned for you.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 8:12. But when they _______________ Philip as he _______________ the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were _______________.

Pray

Pray for the ability to see the best in people, even if they can’t see it themselves. Pray for opportunities to teach them about Christ.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 32/260: Read Acts 8

What does it mean to preach Jesus? When Philip went to the city of Samaria, “he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” The result was an obedient faith. The Scriptures tell us “they believed” and “both men and women were baptized.”

Later, Philip was sent to the Ethiopian eunuch as he traveled from Jerusalem to Gaza. The man was reading from Isaiah’s prophecy, but had trouble understanding its import. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” The result was again belief and baptism.

Many in the religious world attempt to circumvent the grace of God, seeking loopholes to avoid obedience. Some want the benefits of Christianity without submitting to the commands of Christ.

This chapter shows that obedience based upon faith is a part of believing the message of Jesus. “Preaching Jesus” is not just telling stories about the Lord, but includes instructions on how to follow Him and how to access the blessings available to His followers. May we always strive to teach and preach the whole counsel of God.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Acts 8:12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Pray

Pray for wisdom in teaching others about the Savior. Pray for strength to resist compromising His truth.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 31/260: Read Acts 7

Isn’t it amazing how the same message is received in different ways by different people? On Pentecost, Peter told the Jews gathered there that they had crucified the Son of God. Their response was one of repentance and obedience. Here, Stephen delivers the same general message, but the response was much different.

Both audiences were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37; 7:54), but instead of inquiring how to fix their condition, Stephen’s audience “gnashed at him with their teeth.” They didn’t want to hear the truth; they didn’t want to accept responsibility.

Stephen was murdered because of his faith and his boldness. He refused to back down; he declined to compromise the message even in the face of death.

How strong is our faith? How easily do we bend to the will of our friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors and reject the truth of the Word? It is not likely we will face the same level of persecution as Stephen and others in the first century when Christianity was illegal, but far too often we compromise when the stakes are much lower.

How can you take a stand for Christ today?

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Acts 8:12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Pray

Pray for those over whom you may have a positive influence for Christ, that they may receive the message with an open heart like those on Pentecost.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 30/260: Read Acts 6

How important is your reputation? When the apostles sought men to help serve the widows, a good reputation was important. Yet, a good reputation does not guarantee a wealth of friends. Winston Churchill said, “If you don’t have any enemies in life you have never stood up for anything.”

Stephen stood for the truth, and his stand created enemies. There were some men who disputed with Stephen, accused him of blasphemy, and even set up false witnesses against him.

Peter wrote, “But even if you should suffer for righteous-ness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness has fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:14-17).

Suffering can come from good or from evil. Do an honest evaluation when you face trouble to be sure your suffering comes from standing for the truth.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Pray

Pray for strength in your stand for the truth, and for patience in the face of persecution.