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Acts 26 is chock full of material for a devotion.

Here we have Paul, the eloquent evangelist, “sharing his story” (for you postmoderns) or “giving his testimony” (for the rest of you), in an apparent attempt to win King Agrippa to the Christian cause.

Of course, there is the retelling of Paul’s encounter with Christ, where we catch a glimpse of God’s plan to rescue Gentiles and give them a place among His people.

This truly is a remarkable event in history, and we are benefactors from this gracious gift. Paul underlined that his message wasn’t just about repentance. He also preached about a lifestyle that proves a change has taken place on the inside.

But I don’t want to talk about any of these things. Instead, I want to talk about the last verse of Acts 26. It may seem insignificant to some, but it has bugged me for a long time. It tells us that Paul could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.

During a recent devotional with the Foursquare Missions International (FMI) staff, I brought up the fact that I struggle with this verse and what it implies. I inquired: “Did Paul jump the gun by appealing to Caesar? Did he not trust the Lord to deliver him earlier, and consequently had to pay with his freedom?”

FMI Director Jim Scott then brought up a really good point. He asked how much of this outlook is framed around a Western ideal that freedom is somehow linked with the absence of hardship, struggle and pain.

Fortunately for us, Paul responded differently than we sometimes do today. He wrote his letters to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and to his friend Philemon while incarcerated in Rome.

In reality, the reason I have struggled with this passage is that I see myself in it. In difficult times I have often wondered: “Lord, did I do something wrong to get into this tough spot? Could I have avoided this pain, hurt or struggle?”

Perhaps it would be better to ask: “God, what are You doing right now? How may I be a part of it?” Like Paul, may we all come to the place where we can produce great fruit for the kingdom of God, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.

By: David Wheeler, Foursquare Missions International Go Teams Coordinator
Share your journey through Acts » Comment below to share what God is showing you personally as the Foursquare family reads through Acts together this year! You can also subscribe to the weekly Foursquare Leader Prayer e-mail to receive insights on Acts from Foursquare leaders around the world.



is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Orlando, Fla.