23: "As I was going through your city, I saw the objects you worship, I found an altar that had these words written on it: TO A GOD WHO IS NOT KNOWN. You worship a god that you don't know, and this is the God I am telling you about!" - Paul was in Athens, upset by the amount of idol worship he witnessed. And then, in the midst of it all, he sees evidence of God's presence.
26: "God began by making one person, and from him came all the different people who live everywhere in the world. God decided exactly when and where they must live." - Paul witnesses by beginning at a point of reference in which they are familiar. Teaching from strictly a traditional Jewish perspective would have had little meaning to the Greeks in his audience.
27-28: "God wanted them to look for Him and perhaps search all around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any of us: 28'We live in Him. We walk in Him. We are in Him.' Some of your own poets have said: 'For we are His children.'" - God wants us to search for Him and when we do we will find evidence of Him actively involved in our lives everywhere we look.
30: "In the past, people did not understand God, and He ignored this. But now, God tells all people in the world to change their hearts and lives." - Repent. Turn from sin and towards God. Be transformed into the image of Christ.
31: "God has set a day that He will judge all the world with fairness, by the man He chose long ago. And God has proved this to everyone by raising that man from the dead!" - Not everyone who heard Paul's message chose to believe, but those who did were changed for all time.
Points to Contemplate:
Have you worshipped "a God who is not known?"
Do you feel that there is 'Supreme Being', 'Greater Power,' or 'Center of the Universe' that, in some way, plays a role in your life? Do you find yourself praying to this unknown Being in times of need? Do you pay tribute to Him, just in case? As Paul walked the city streets of Athens he found idols and monuments for every god the people could think of. In addition and just in case, they created a monument to an Unknown God because they sensed they were missing something. Do you worship the idols of our modern society but feel something is missing? Is God still unknown to you?
Are you searching for God? Have you spent your life seeking? Do you have an emptiness that cannot be filled? Has every other god you have found - the god of beauty and acceptance, the god of wealth and success, the god of indulgence, or the god of denial - left you empty and unfulfilled? Do you recognize that God created within you a desire and craving to find Him? Do you now realize you are a child of God? That you live in Him, walk in Him? Do you feel His fulfilling love living you? Do you see that you are in Him?
Is it time to change your heart? Are you willing, today, to set aside the resistance you have fostered and your lack of understanding in order to let God into your heart? Will you set down the idols of life to which you cling without gain of sustenance or purpose? Are you ready to repent (turn) from godlessness to holiness? Do you see that in your acceptance of Christ's love for you that the world grows one step closer to becoming the kingdom of heaven God has imagined for us all? Today, right now, ask Christ into your heart and begin to feel the difference the One can make in your life. Promises of the Gospel:
Paul is not preaching to the choir. He is walking around the streets of Athens and becomes overwhelmed by their godlessness. But he comes to realize that the idol worshipping prevalent throughout the city is simply an attempt to find God. His voice rings out in the street and calls people to the One who created them all. He calls them to step into the Light and to leave behind their lives of frustration, hopelessness, and despair. In the writing of this devotional page I have seen that most of my readers have already made the turn to Christ. In a way, I am preaching to the choir. However, I know that there are some of you reading these words that are hesitant to make a commitment to Christ. You are seeking but unsure which of the many gods you find provides truth and the way to life. Today, my prayer is that you will listen to Paul's words and accept Christ as your Savior, for He is waiting to live and walk with you. If you would like to find God and need a few more words of encouragement, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally pray for God's revealing love to shine to you and for you.
"Are you willing, today, to set aside the resistance you have fostered and your lack of understanding in order to let God into your heart? Will you set down the idols of life to which you cling without gain of sustenance or purpose? Are you ready to repent (turn) from godlessness to holiness?" Yes, yes, and yes! My friend, "in Christ," though it may seem at times as though you are "preaching to the choir," we are all in need. Besides, you share with us the wisdom that God has granted to you so that we may, in turn, share with the lost... those not "in the choir." Your works are not void or without fruit... though oftentimes, the Lord doesn't allow us to see the fruits of our labors. I think that just maybe it would tend to make us proud. Be blessed today, my brother. And know that your deeds are noted in heaven. Love, Treava