Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK FOUR
ORBIT – DAY TWENTY
Hello and welcome to Orbit – the daily devotional thought from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying this experiment over the last few weeks – please get in touch and let us know what you think of it. We’re creating a new Orbit every weekday – our hope is that it will help you to establish just a small daily rhythm of time with God each day.
BIBLE READING – Acts 24: 11-16
If you’ve been following the story, Paul is in trouble. Accused by the religious leaders of blasphemy and inciting rebellion, he’s being held by the Romans partly for his own safety. Now he stands trial before the Roman governor Felix, and he steps up to defend himself:
You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
When I was a teenager, there was a song by the Christian band Delirious which used to really stir my soul. The lyrics went like this: “I’m not ashamed of the gospel. I’m not ashamed of the one I love.” I loved it because it reminded me to have a sense of pride in who Jesus was – rather than giving into the idea that Christianity was some kind of sad crutch, like many of my friends thought it was.
That song comes to mind when I read this passage – where Paul stands trial, wrongfully accused of troublemaking by a group of people who hate his religion and want him out of the picture. Paul could be timid in this moment, but he steps up and uses all the same authority he has when he’s preaching.
He is prepared to say things that will enrage his accusers even more – even as he stands up for himself. He claims that his is the true interpretation of their holy books; he refutes their allegations, and he even sneaks in a line about resurrection which would have divided the crowd against each other. This is not a man rolling over in order to escape punishment – Paul shows courage and tenacity as he answers, because he is not ashamed of the God he knows and loves. Speaking up for the truth is more important than escaping prison for him.
Paul is a Christian – he follows the way of love, and is prepared to do as Jesus asks and put the needs of others ahead of his own. But that doesn’t mean that he’s a pushover. He is not about to allow an angry mob to beat him, because he knows that he’s in the right. He’s courageous and bold in front of opposition – he stands up to the bullies who say that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.
Back in my teens when I used to listen to that song on my cassette walkman – Google that if you don’t know what it is – I sometimes found myself being pushed around for my belief in Jesus. Many of the kids in my school were strongly opposed to the idea that God was real, or that he could make a difference in someone’s life. While God didn’t compel me to fight back physically, I remember I felt encouraged by the Holy Spirit not to back down, not to be ashamed of the gospel. And over time, my refusal to be a pushover earned me respect. Even more importantly, it caused some of my friends to wonder if there might be a God after all.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord give me courage and boldness when I face opposition. When I don’t know what to say, please speak for me – just as you put words into Paul’s mouth. I pray that I would live my life in such a way, that it would cause others to ask if you might be real; help me to be consistent in my witness, and brave when I need to be. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Today we want to invite you to think about using social media to tell others about Jesus. You don’t need to post a cheesy video on Instagram – leave that to us – but you might want to find some small way to recognise your faith by adding a cross to your profile, or even sharing some wise words from the Bible. If you’re not sure, check with a wise Christian friend first, but social media can be a huge influence on our friends, so let’s use it to spread some positivity today.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit on Monday. Thanks for taking part today!