God's Holy Fire: 'Hard Times in the Spirit'

Friday, June 17, 2022

[Paul, to the Ephesian elders at Miletus:] "But there is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I'm completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won't be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead."
— Acts 20:22-23 MESSAGE

Key Thought

Paul faces an incredibly difficult dilemma: The Holy Spirit is drawing him to Jerusalem and yet warning him that hardships await him there. Too frequently we have all sorts of simplistic answers for difficult things that happen to God's people. These answers may work fine when those bad things happen to someone else, but they are quite inadequate when bad things happen to us. Paul's impending return to Jerusalem is filled with all sorts of difficulties, yet his return is necessary for him to accomplish God's mission — reconciling Gentile churches and the church in Jerusalem as well as his journeying on to Rome. Walking in the center of God's will and directly following the lead of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily mean that our lives will be easy. In fact, quite the opposite may be true. The goal of the Spirit in our lives is not our comfort, pleasure, or happiness; rather, it is to accomplish God's mission for us and to bring about Christ-likeness in us!

Today's Prayer

O Father, I appreciate the example of Paul as he faithfully goes to Jerusalem to do your will even though he knows tough times await him. Help me know and do your will no matter what circumstances I face, and help me know that you are going to use me to accomplish your will through those circumstances. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


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Illustration of Acts 20:22-23 MESSAGE — "But there is another urgency before me now."

About This Devotional

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.