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  • Writer's pictureMofoluke Ayoola

The man Paul; His unwavering conviction despite his challenges

Acts 25 - 26: Reflection of Nicky Gumbel's Bible in one year 2021 plan day 187.

A conversation with a friend yesterday inspired me to do this. We discussed some plans we had shared a year ago, but they never saw the light of day. Let us get this rolling, I said. She responded I am not at that point in my life. When things get better, we can. This resonates with me, as I am sure it does with many of you. My devotion on the morning of July 6th inspired me to get started on @yourlocalevangelist, an Instagram account I created to share reflections from my bible study. Logically it wasn't a good time. But I will share how my Nicky Gumbel's Bible in one year 2021 plan day 187, particularly the part that covered the story of Paul, had inspired me to start despite so much going on around me at the time.

Back to the man Paul, when I read through Acts 25 and Acts 26, two things indeed struck me about Paul.

  1. His Unwavering Conviction Despite His Challenges.

  2. Secondly, his audacity to share with Festus, King Agrippa, and the other dignitaries in Caesarea; the Gospel, his story, and his encounter with Jesus at Damascus when he was converted.

Paul had been in prison when Felix was governor, two years later, Festus took over from Gov. Felix, and Paul was still incarcerated. At the time, his accusers had no charge over him other than he preached and shared the message of the resurrection of Christ. Despite his challenges, he focused on his goal at every point in time. God had earlier revealed to him in Acts 23 that he would testify about him in Rome as he did in Jerusalem. During these two years, he took the opportunity to share the message of God. He longed to visit Rome because of what God had told him earlier, and he saw his incarceration as a good opportunity. In Bible in One the Year 2021, Nicky Gumbel mentioned life is a set of challenges, battles, and problems. We sometimes imagine that if we could deal with the immediate challenges we face, all our problems would be over. Unfortunately, life is not like that. Once resolved, others arise. Nicky further mentioned the temptation to see these challenges through is preventing us from carrying out the ministry God has given us or even moving forward with our lives. Most profoundly, I was struck by this, 'Dealing with problems is the ministry' and the Bishop of Kensington's quote in Nicky's devotion that said, 'These are not the problems associated with the ministry, they are the ministry'. I completely resonate with this. Life is not a happy or perfect place we arrive at; it is a journey. We must live through all these phases, whether a prolonged waiting period, a session of rejection, a financial crisis, or a medical problem. We must live our journey with grace. You remember Paul had a physical infirmity, which God did not take away but availed him the grace to live and function with it. Paul lived gracefully and focused on his journey rather than his problems. For example, my biggest challenge at the end of 2019 was getting a migration status that allowed me to remain in the UK, which is different from the one I have today, now that I have fantastic immigration status. Do I still have challenges? Yes, of course, but I felt at the time in 2019, that it was the worst thing I could deal with, but no, that blessing I prayed for came with its brand-new challenges. Like my friend and I, who have been putting so much on hold for the right and perfect time when we no longer have challenges. What if our journey and challenges are our ministries? Let us live through all the various phases of our lives, not putting our lives on hold due to one problem or the other. Let's carry our crosses with grace while we carry out our various assignments, just as Paul did. So help us God.

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