Snuggled into my bed, long before bedtime on a Saturday night I begin trying to share a piece of myself when I honestly feel that there is only a few pieces of me left. But I feel compelled to share how very inept I feel at life. And before any of my wonderful friends who encourage my soul daily try to come to my rescue, hear me out. I am blessed beyond measure with gifts of God that I would not want to forsake, offend or fail to come to the aid of anyone of them. And then add to that a new found passion for being the keeper of the news and a typical day starts at 4 a.m., ends around 10-11 p.m. and is filled with people, puppies, obligations, virtual meetings, in person meetings, laundry, supper, news stories and occasionally, but now rarely a strum on the guitar. My conversations with God are all day in between and I feel like I am giving Him pieces of my day. That’s not a good feeling.
But better it is than that of what the Apostle Paul faced in Acts 23.
Acts 23:1-11 KJV
 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.  And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.  Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?  And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.  But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.  And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.  For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.  And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.  And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.  And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
That was a lesson for myself. As I whined instead of shined. It’s a lesson for us all that struggle with the busyness of life. And for me so often it’s more mismanagement of time than too much to do. With that being said, I want to dig into this lesson of Paul, the Pharisees and Sadducees and the Chief Captain. In this passage we have different secs of religion verses the truth of the gospel and a member of the government coming to the rescue of the man of God to send him away from being “torn into pieces” by the religious. Ananias had him mashed in the mouth for daring to speak about living for God. It makes you want to ask “do you feel guilty much, Ananias?
The Tactless and Unteachable Teachers
That’s how I view the over zealous religious people. Those who love wearing the right thing, and speaking the right thing and lording their position in the church over those who sin, as if to say “follow my own righteousness, for I am godly.” Paul could say he lived in good conscience because he had not only lived the life they professed (but didn’t live) but now he lived the life of building a relationship with the Lord as these Sadducees and Pharisees had never known. Because they were trusting in being right, not searching for truth. With the exception of a few.
The Scrappy Scribes
When the scribes, which were of the Pharisees, arose and defended Paul, scripture saying they “strove” for him, they did so at a teachable moment. They were willing to at least consider that Paul had been spoken to by God or angels. Are we “teachable” in moments of contention? I can be every bit as stubborn as the Pharisees and Sadducees when I get something stuck in my craw and don’t want to disbelieve what I have been told. What it boils down to, I believe, is not so much what I’ve been told, but who told it to me. I have some mighty mentors in my past. Men and women with good hearts who would have never lead me astray, but accidentally did on some things. They taught as they were taught.
Before anyone thinks I’ve lost my mind, I have never been taught incorrectly on the salvation of Jesus Christ which is by far the most important thing in life. But rather there was teaching regarding foundational truths that mattered in how I viewed eternity and my role and purpose in this life that when studied deeper, were not correct. I do not have all the answers about eternity, nor does anyone else. But I’m open to learning. I am teachable and I am grateful and humble that God gives me the desire to want to know more about His Kingdom.
The Caring Captain
The Chief Captain was not so much concerned for Paul as he likely was himself. With Paul being a citizen of Rome, should the captain allow him to be killed at the hands of the Jews, he would have to answer for it. There are still those in the world today that do not believe as Christian’s do but will defend us because it’s the “right” thing to do. I have some of those friends that I long to see saved because I know that they’re zealousness for right, could be used by God. Now, the captain was so much for what was right, but what would keep him out of hot wat,er. I have those friends too.
My lesson for today is this: When I think about all that Paul got accomplished, and how any given day in his life was filled with people, obligations, meetings, etc. and within those events the very real threat of death, it makes my whine seem even whinier. And when I think of all that Paul accomplished in his life it makes me desire to do more.
When eternity comes… and it will… what conversations do you think you’ll have about your life down here? Will we stand around and talk about the piles of laundry, the mud drug in or the people who got on our last nerve? No. But will we have worthy conversations to chat about regarding what we’ve done for Christ? Dear Jesus…. Let it be said of me, she told her world of You.