Make Your Appeal

Now is the time to appeal unto Jehovah God.

Acts 25:12 – Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.


To whom do you turn when you need comfort?  Family, friends, church family?  They may all be great listeners, but there is only One Who can guarantee all the comfort you need.  To whom do you turn when sickness attacks your body or your home?   Doctors, clinics, hospitals, family and friends?  They may all be trained in medicine and have the latest tools, but there is only One Who can guarantee complete healing, and even health.  To whom do you turn when circumstances pile up against you?  Attorneys, legal aid organizations, the courts, even influential friends?  They may all be highly trained, educated, licensed, and skilled in every possible legal ploy, but there is only One Who can guarantee complete victory.

I’m sure you’ve gotten the point by now.  No, I am in no way excoriating Paul for turning to the legal system in which he found himself.  Part of his problem was that he had not fully listened to the Lord before going to Jerusalem.  And it was his trip there that brought him to where he was.  And remember, he had just spent more than two years with very limited access to the world about him in Caesarea under the arrest of Felix and then Festus before he made a second appeal to come under the protection of Roman law.  But even there, God had His hand on Paul.  Paul understood that those who were in authority in the land, and that included law enforcement (Romans governors and soldiers), were God’s ministers for his good, and he utilized that knowledge.  So, even in what looked like a precarious position, Paul put his trust in the Lord to take care of him.  Though in the natural, it looked like Paul was putting his trust in the system, he was not.  He was using the system, but trusting the Lord.  You can be assured that the apostle Paul, this man of God who wrote so much in his epistles about prayer, had made his appeal to the Lord before he made his appeal to Rome.  He followed this pattern throughout his life, and it can be seen even while on board a ship in a great storm.  He first went to the Lord before going to the captain and crew of the ship.

Once again, I ask you; where do you appeal when any need arises?  Make it first to your Father, and let all else be tools.  If you build a house, you don’t put your trust in the hammer and saw, but in the craftsman who uses them.  Put your trust in the Wise Master Builder, and let Him use any tool He desires; doctor, lawyer, government, family, or friends.  Just make your appeal to Jesus.

Manna for Today – Acts 15:1-12; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Romans 10:13; ; Luke 1:37; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Romans 13:1-7

He Reasoned – Part Five

Let us not forget the fear of the Lord.


Acts 24:25 – And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.


What was the result of Paul’s reasoning with Felix?  Well, he received a powerful witness, and from that came an insight that he needed to talk more with Paul; obviously there was more he needed to know.  But part of the delay Felix desired arose from Felix’ thought that Paul might offer him a bribe to get out of his predicament.  The bribe, however, was not forthcoming.  And allow me to insert just a thought here.  If Christians are to be poor, why would Felix, after having time with Paul, ask him to meet later, with hopes he would receive a bribe?  Just a thought.

Another insight here is that those who do not understand the depth of the need for a strong Christian witness is Felix’ words to Paul; “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”  The problem with folks not understanding the importance of that strong Christian witness is they don’t realize a “convenient season” may not come.  Only those who are in Christ have a promise of tomorrow.  Some would say no one has a promise of tomorrow, but the believer certainly does.  Read Psalm 91:14-16.

But something happened to Felix that cannot be ignored.  When Paul had given his witness, “Felix trembled.”  My friend, when the Word of God, when a true witness for Christ is given, it carries with it the power to shake those who hear.  In too many churches today, the only shaking is from the vibration of the drums.  We need the return of shaking or trembling that comes from the power of the witness of the Word.  For that to be accomplished, we may have to put the program aside for the power of God.  It might be said that in many cases, the power of God in the upper room has given place to the program of man in  the supper room (a paraphrase of Leonard Ravenhill).  I hear this almost daily from men of God, and see it far more often than I would like as I travel.  The only thing shaking (trembling) in most praise services is the tambourine; in the preaching service, it is the person nervously reacting to his cell phone ringing, and in the alter service, it’s the hands of two folks greeting one another.  Oh, that we may see shaking once again that comes under the power of God, anointed preaching of the Word, and conviction of Holy Ghost at an alter service.  If we see trembling in those places, we’ll see it in the homes, marketplaces, schools, and even business and industry.

Manna for Today – Acts 24:22-27; Isaiah 1:18-20; Daniel 5:1-12; Acts 4:31; Hebrews 12:18-29;            Acts 16:26

He Reasoned – Part Four

If you want to get attention, stir some, and even cause some to recoil, just bring up the word judgment.

Acts 24:25 – And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.


Today we examine a subject that some fear, many more use it to dodge their God-assigned responsibilities, and still others ignore to their own detriment.  That topic is judgment.  Those who fear it are afraid of being judged.  They have something to hide.  Those who use it to dodge their God-assigned responsibilities are afraid of upsetting the status quo, and especially of being shunned by other people.  And just as sad are those who just ignore the entire matter, saying all judgment is up to God.  They are either scared or lazy.  In any of these circumstances, judgment still awaits, and they are in no position to reason of judgment as a witness to any lost person.

But take a look at our Text for Today once more.  Paul reasoned with Felix about judgment.  While it is little understood by many Christians today, it is still one of the points of reasoning that is vital in the winning of the lost.  Allow me to share some points concerning judgment that will serve you well.  While there is not space here to even begin deep study, simple use of a good concordance examining these points will serve you well.

·         We are to judge righteous judgment.  That is judgment that is based solidly upon the instruction of Scripture, applying it in love.

·         We are to judge ourselves in light of our Covenant, for if we do so, we will not be judged by others.  They may pass opinions for judgment, but there is no power or authority behind it.

·         We are to judge the fruit we see in the lives of others, and if we see no fruit, we must make a Biblical judgment of that.

·         We are to judge the works we see, using that Biblical judgment as a line of demarcation to keep us from entering into fellowship with that which God says to avoid.

·         We are to judge as though making a summary judgment between brethren who are found at odds with one another and cannot be reconciled.  And in this case, if a mature believer is not available to make the judgment, even a young believer can do so, for doing the right thing according to the law of love should be easy to discern.

Within the church lies a very dangerous failure to apply the principles of judgment that belong to the believer.  To overcome this danger requires deeper study on the part of all Christians, and especially among the five-fold ministry.  And among the five-fold ministry there is the grave responsibility to teach these truths in their divine assignment to “perfect the saints.”

Manna for Today – Acts 24:22-27; Isaiah 1:18-20; Matthew 7:1-2; Luke 12:57; John 5:30; John 8:26; Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 4:3-5; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 1 Corinthians 6:3-5; Ephesians 4:11-13

He Reasoned – Part Three

Self-control is great, but there is much more to temperance.  Consider being tempered.

Acts 24:25 – And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.


As Paul witnessed to Felix, he reasoned with him about three elements; righteousness, temperance, and judgment.  Today we take a more in-depth look at temperance.  That word, temperance, is found in the New Testament three times.  You can read them in our Manna for Today.  It is the same Greek word in all three instances.  That word is engkrateia.  In its simplest form, it means self-control.  But when one considers that Proverbs speaks to us that “iron sharpens iron,” the implication of the word temperance creates an image for us of the tempering of metal that we really should not ignore, but should rather study to show ourselves approved unto God, realizing that we have a great hand to play in the production of temperance in our own lives.

The temperance one exhibits is dependent upon how well one is tempered.  If you speak accurately about temperance, you must address the process of tempering.  Consider this.  The metals we utilize in our daily lives do not occur in a natural state.  They are made through some process, and in almost every case, there is some tempering of that metal to make it perform in the setting where it is needed.  Some metals must be flexible, some more brittle.  Tempering is what makes the difference.  While I am not, in the purest sense, a smith, I have read enough to know that in the tempering process, three key elements are essential in the process; fire, liquid, alloy elements.  Fire makes the metal malleable for necessary shaping.  Liquid, usually water, but other liquids can be used, is for cooling the fire-forged metal.  Alloy elements are used to affect such things as strength and flexibility. 

Now consider this.  You are the metal.  You need the consuming fire of Holy Spirit to make you malleable and consume flaw-making elements.  You do NOT need ANYTHING from Satan (sickness, poverty, depression, pressures of life) to help shape your life.  Holy Spirit knows how hot to make the fire, and now long you need to be in it.  Yield only to Him.  You need the water of the Word of God, and the proper blending of the oil of Holy Ghost for the cooling work that will ultimately produce in you the proper strength, stability, rigidity, and flexibility you need to be a highly sharpened tool in God’s hands that can maintain keen sharpness when used.  And you need other people of like precious faith to help sharpen you and maintain that keen sharpness.  Allow me to say it this way.  If you will produce and model the fruit of temperance desired by the Lord, you must first yield yourself to the work of His tempering.  You MUST be continually fired by Holy Spirit and bathed in the water of the Word.

Manna for Today – Acts 24:22-27; Isaiah 1:18-20; Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:3-11; Proverbs 27:17

He Reasoned – Part Two

Righteousness is much more than a position. 


Acts 24:25 – And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.


Paul “reasoned of righteousness” with Felix.  Let’s take some time today to give ourselves to reasoning of righteousness, and go deeper into seeing the bigger picture. 

  • Righteousness – the Position – this seems to be the most common thought when the word righteousness is used – it is a position, or place, of right-standing with the Lord
  • Righteousness – the Apparel – the Scriptures are replete with righteousness being used as clothing for the servant of the Lord, especially with terms like “robe of righteousness” commands like “put on righteousness
  • Righteousness – the Work – Isaiah tells us that the “work of righteousness shall be peace”
  • Righteousness – the Effect – Isaiah also tells us that the “effect of righteousness” is quietness and assurance
  • Righteousness – the Person – Jesus has been made to be our righteousness, and He became sin so we could be made the righteousness of God in Him
  • Righteousness – the Speech – Paul asserts in Romans 10 that the righteousness of God which is of faith “speaks” in a certain manner, and that manner is always speaking that which the Word of God has declared
  • Righteousness – the Armor – our breastplate in God’s armor He has given us to wear as soldiers of the Lord is the breastplate of righteousness

With more than 300 uses of the word righteousness in the Scriptures, you can be assured that there are many more uses, purposes, and functions of righteousness than we have room to mention here.  Righteousness is an incredibly powerful force in the kingdom of God.  It will serve the believer well to recognize as many of those uses, purposes, and functions of righteousness as he possibly can.  And this is especially true when a person who is witnessing for the Lord Jesus Christ recognizes how they apply to himself as a witness.  While there are clearly many functions and identifying tags of righteousness, allow me to mention one more.

Righteousness – the Upholder – time and again throughout the Scriptures we are strengthened and encouraged that our God will protect, uphold, and undergird with His righteousness those who are righteous before Him.  And with that, please allow me to charge you once again with the statement, “If God said it, that settles it.”  Never forget, the Scriptures plainly declare that YOU ARE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN JESUS CHRIST.  Believe it, embrace it, stand on it, and expect God to uphold you in it.  He has said He would.

Manna for Today – Acts 24:22-27; Isaiah 1:18-20; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 21, & 30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21;        Isaiah 32:17; Romans 10:6-17

He Reasoned – Part One

Reasoning is one of God’s great methods of raising up a people to victory in life.

Acts 24:25 – And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.


Read our Text for Today once more.  Felix trembled.  He was so shaken by the words of Paul that he sent him away until it was convenient for him to hear Paul again.  I don’t know if that time ever came, but of this you can be assured.  He had received a witness.  Paul reasoned of three things; righteousness, temperance, and judgment.  While we must at all times be led by Holy Spirit, especially in matters of witness, we can learn a great deal from Paul’s approach to Felix, a man in high position.  Paul’s approach was not social, comfortable, entertainment, or seeker-sensitive.  It was Biblical.  It was the “foolishness” of the preaching of the Gospel.  And he spoke on three elements; righteousness, temperance, and judgment. 

Righteousness is perhaps defined in the simplest of terms as right standing with God.  But we shall look more deeply at this glorious truth of God’s Word.  Temperance is thought of as self-control, or continence, but there is much more to that word when we consider passages such as Proverbs 27:17 – “iron sharpens iron.”  That word, too, need a deeper examination.  Then we shall look at judgment.  It is a word we typically connect with going to law to make a decision against crime of some kind.  That, too, is a word we need to examine for deeper understanding.  And examine it, we shall.

But look first at the word “reasoned.”  According to Strong’s Concordance, it means “to say thoroughly, that is, discuss (in argument or exhortation): – dispute, preach (unto), reason (with), speak.”  God calls us to come and reason together with Him.  Think of that.  God is calling all people to come and reason with Him.  And when He did, look at the subject of that reasoning.  He said, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”  That is the very thing about which Paul was reasoning with Felix.  He was reasoning with him for his soul.  While we do not know all the words Paul spoke to Felix, since he (Paul) was certainly a scholar of the prophets, I am sure he reasoned from a purely Biblical perspective.  We have the world around us.  They need Jesus.  We have the Word of life.  We can reason with them, but will we reason Biblically.  Use all the tools you will.  If the words you speak do not reason Biblically, there is no power in your mouth to same.  Let us never forget Romans 1:16.

Manna for Today – Acts 24:22-27; Isaiah 1:18-20; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 21, & 30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21;        Isaiah 32:17

Prisoner of Freedom

How paradoxical does it seem that one could be a prisoner, and yet be totally free?


Acts 24:23 – And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.


The following logic is truly quite simple.  If you’re a prisoner, you’re not freeIf you’re free, you’re not a prisoner.  To say that you are free while you are indeed a prisoner in maximum security would be considered an oxymoron by some, while others would consider you a total fool, bereft of all good sense.  But dear friend, that is simply a way of life in living out a divine prerogative that belongs solely to the child of God.  Consider for a moment the physical circumstance in which Paul found himself.  He was a prisoner of Roman government, and at the same time experienced every freedom a non-prisoner enjoyed.  He lived in a state of liberty that gave him any desire of human contact he desired. 

Now let’s look at the life of the believer.  On at least five times in the Scriptures, Paul referred to himself as a prisoner in the possession of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And yet we fully recognize that in Christ, we are free, having been fully redeemed from the curse of the law.  It was Paul who penned the words, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  Oh, what an oxymoron this is to the world.  The unsaved cannot understand this at all.  They can read the words, hear the words, and even speak the words, but without the light of Jesus living in them, they cannot under- stand the words. 

But if you are in Christ, everything, for you, has changed.  You have indeed been redeemed from the curse of the law, Jesus having been made a curse for you.  However, in that work of redemption, Jesus paid the total cost for your redemption, spirit, soul, and body.  And through the completeness of that work, you have become His prized (peculiar) treasure.  You belong to Him, totally and completely.  You are His.  In Him you live and move and have your being.  Without Him, you are lost, aimless, powerless, and fruitless.  But in Him all those things change, completely.  You have a free will, to be exercised as you desire.  Though He owns you, He does not control you.  Many people say God is in control.  Of some things, yes, but of all things, no.  You are one of those things He has left outside His control.  But though not in control, He is in charge.  And if you will enjoy the fullness of freedom Jesus has purchased for you, you must control yourself to be yielded to His charge.  Whatever He says, goes.  What a joy it is to be the prisoner of the Lord Jesus!  Freedom beyond compare, yet fully His possession; His prisoner.

Manna for Today – Acts 24; John 15:7; Ephesians 3:1 & 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:8; Philemon 1:1 & 9;     Romans 8:1-2

You’re in the Hall

No matter how reserved you are, if you’re alive, you’re being observed.


Acts 23:35 – I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall.


If you are a child of God, you’re in a relationship with the Almighty.  If you’re a human being, your life is exposed to light at least some of the time.  If you shop, use community services, have ever paid taxes, drive, commute, work, attend a school or church, you are in the public eye.  That’s not just for those who hold public office or serve the public.  Somebody sees you; somebody hears you; somebody studies you; somebody uses you.  That, dear friend, is the estate of affairs in life today.  There are cameras everywhere; on the street, in businesses, banks, schools, churches, on private property for security.  And almost everyone has a cell phone, and almost all of them have HD cameras.  There is no way your life is hidden. 

When Paul was brought to Felix, this was a bold move on the part of the chief captain of the Roman guard in Jerusalem.  A plot was fomented against Paul to kill him, and the fomenters took an oath that they would not eat again until Paul was dead.  (It is my estimation that they broke the oath, or died very hungry.)  Paul being a Roman, such actions would not be tolerated.  Therefore, when Paul was brought before Felix in Caesarea, he would not be treated as some rank-and-file prisoner.  So, he was in Herod’s judgment hall, a magnificent group of buildings in which government actions were handled.  This was no ordinary structure, so it is evident that Paul was well-attended. 

My friend, as a child of God, you are of no ordinary culture or heritage.  You don’t belong to some nation’s government; you belong to God.  If you are living in your covenant, according to Deuteronomy, the world should be afraid of you.  The world in which you live, though they may despise you, the fact you belong to God carries influence wherever you go.  There is no need for you to fear.  You are the “head and not the tail.”  You are “above only and not beneath.”  “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”  But whether you accept it or not, when you became a child of God, you found yourself in a kind of Herod’s judgment of the world in which you live.  You are being constantly observed.  People are watching; some to see now you act, others to see how you react, or respond.  People are watching; some hoping to see you fail, some hoping to see you succeed.  And even among those who want you to fail to make them look good and many who pray you won’t fail.  After all, they will need someone they can call to help them when their way won’t work, and only the way of God will.  So, like it or not, you’re in the hall of judgment.  Live well.

Manna for Today – Acts 23:23-35; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Isaiah 54:17


Who you know is important, but one connection trumps them all . . . Jesus!


Acts 23:27 – This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.


I once heard Leonard Ravenhill, great preacher and author, tell a story about his father, also a minister of the Gospel, that occurred, I believe, during World War II.  The story went like this.  Leonard Ravenhill said,

My father was visiting servicemen in a British hospital, praying for them, and ministering to them as the Lord directed him.  He came to one British soldier, and asked him if he would like to have prayer for his injuries.  The soldier responded, “I don’t hold much with prayer.  I’ve never gotten any results.”  Ravenhill, in his very astute manner responded with a question.  “If you would ask King George for 100 pounds sterling, would he give it to you?”  The soldier quickly responded, “No sir.  He has no relation to me at all; in fact, he doesn’t even know me.”  Then Ravenhill asked,  “If the Prince of Wales were to ask King George for 100 pounds sterling, do you think King George would give it to him?”  The soldier immediately responded, “Of course he would.  The Prince is the King’s son.”  At that point, Mr. Ravenhill said, “Precisely, good man.  The relationship makes all the difference.”

In the story surrounding our Text for Today, Paul had identified himself as a Roman.  Being a Roman gave one a distinct advantage in dealings with government and religious systems that were under the control of the Roman Empire.  For a Roman citizen, Roman law held sway over Jewish law.  It superseded Jewish law.  Paul fully realized that and used it for his advantage in the matter.  While we may not think about it, most of us use the same kind of procedure in our daily business.  For instance, if you go into a bank with which you do not conduct business, the likelihood that you can cash a check there is very low.  On the other hand, if you go into the bank where you have your checking account, they will likely cash your personal check without question.  All you have to do is prove your relationship with them.

What do you need from the Lord today?  Is it legitimate?  That is to ask, is it legal, can it be done within the guidelines of the person with whom you are dealing?  In this case, that is Jehovah, and He does indeed have guidelines.  They can be found in the Scriptures.  My friend, I assure you of this.  If you have a personal relationship with our God, and if you are operating according to the standards He has set forth, and if you come to Him in faith and in the Name of Jesus, you can conduct any business you need with Him.  But without that personal relationship, it simply won’t work.  As Mr. Ravenhill said, “The relationship makes all the difference.”

Manna for Today – Acts 23:23-35; John 15:7; Isaiah 54:17; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Ephesians 2:10

More Than Sufficient

Don’t ever think, even for a moment, that God is insufficient in any way at any time.


Acts 23:23 – And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;


The longer I live and do so in relationship with the Lord Jesus, led by Holy Spirit, and knowing the love of Father, the more I am convinced that there is no way I can turn from the authority of the Word of God.  I have coined a phrase for myself that I hold fast, and believe it with all my heart.  That phrase is this: “If God said it, that settles it.”  I even use it in a number of languages where it has carried a strong impact.  I remember a bumper sticker on a car that read, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”  It may be cute, but it makes the speaker far too self-important.  You see, the end of the story is this; if God said it, that settles it, whether you believe it or not.

The Scriptures tell us clearly that God does “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that is at work in us.”  We also read that we can “do all things through Christ which strengthens” us.  We can further examine one of the names of Jehovah God in the Old Testament.  It was the name used by Father when He approached Abraham.  He said His name was “Almighty God,” which is also translated “El Shaddai.”  One of the meanings of “El Shaddai” is “the God Who is more than enough.”

A songwriter wrote, “He’s never late, He’s never early…He’s always right on time.”  The truth is that He always is; He’s always right now, and right now is when you believe; when you release your faith.  You see, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” 

In all this, I want to help you create an accurate recognition of our God being at work.  As you study the Word, you begin to see a pattern develop about our changeless God.  Your heavenly Father NEVER does just enough.  He knows the end from the beginning.  He always has a means of escape for you from any and every temptation, test, or trial that comes your way.  And when you consider that Father has made you to be the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath, and more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ, you cannot see yourself as someone who just makes it by in life.  Your must realize that God, Who “works all things together for good to those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose,” never does just enough.  In all He does, He is always more than sufficient.

Manna for Today – Acts 23:12-35; Ephesians 3:20; Luke 1:37; Philippians 4:19; Matthew 18:19-20; Hebrews 11:1; Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 9:8