Living Faith Devotional 33

10/1-10/7 Overview
This week we are returning to the book of Acts after our break from it during the all-church worship series in August and September. Our journey through Acts began in April 2023. If you have not read the previous chapters with us, you are invited to WATCH the Bible Project videos that summarizes Acts. If you have been reading Acts this year, you may find it helpful to watch the Part 2 Summary video as a reminder of what you have read and where the story goes as we continue reading during the coming weeks. Below are the links for the summary videos available on YouTube:
A Book of Acts Summary (Part 1) by the Bible Project:
A Book of Acts Summary (Part 2) by the Bible Project:
The last chapter of Acts that we read before The Art of Neighboring series was chapter 20. Acts 20 is a portion of the account of Paul’s third missionary journey when he left the city of Ephesus, after spending two years there, to continue towards Jerusalem. On the way to Jerusalem Paul met with the church elders from Ephesus in Miletus sharing a farewell speech not knowing if he would ever see them again. Near the end of the chapter Luke, the gospel writer and author of Acts, writes this, “Paul knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him” goodbye, sorrowful because “they would not see his face again” (Acts 20:36-37 ESV). This week we will read the conclusion of Paul’s journey to Jerusalem, as well as what Luke shares about the apostle’s time there in Acts 21 and 22, while also reading portion’s of The Gospel According to Luke to see the parallels between Jesus’ ministry and Paul’s.
Below are some suggestions and questions to help you as you read scripture this week:
1. Approach scripture with humility. Seek to receive what the Bible reveals without trying to make it say what you want it to say.
2. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak a message to you through the verses you read.
3. What do these verses reveal about God?
4. What do these verses reveal about humanity?
5. What do these verses teach me about myself?
6. How do you see yourself in the story when reading biblical narratives?
Which of these characters would I be?
In what ways is their story similar to my story?
7. Read, study, and discuss scripture with a small group or another person.
8. Use a Study Bible. A Study Bible is a very helpful tool that includes information shared by scholars about historical and cultural realities during the time depicted or the era of the document, the author, when the book might have been written, the intended audience of the document, themes and messages within a book or letter, and more. The NIV, NRSV, ESV, and NLT Study Bibles are worth considering if you do not own one. There are a few available from the AUMC Library in the back of the chapel. You can also purchase a Study Bible from,, or
*If you do not have a Bible, consider downloading the YouVersion Bible App for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play for your smartphone or tablet. You can also use to look up and read various translations of Bible verses online for free.
World Communion Sunday (10/1)
READ part of Psalm 78 to set your focus on the God who leads us:
“God led them with the cloud by day; by the lightning all through the night.” – Psalm 78:14 CEB
LISTEN to a hymn or worship song that helps you to worship the Lord.
READ Psalm 108:1-5, the beginning portion of a song of praise that reminds us of the love and goodness of our God. Today we are invited to receive what the Lord gives and offers us, which includes his “steadfast love.”
PRAY now and throughout the day letting the words of Psalm 108 guide your prayer. Pray for our sisters and brothers in Christ who are part of Avon UMC, as well as for fellow believers in Greater Hendricks County, and Christians throughout the world.
PRESENCE – You are encouraged to be with your brothers and sisters in Christ today during one of the AUMC worship services either joining them in person or online. This is World Communion Sunday, so we are joining fellow believers throughout the world at the Lord’s Table today.
Monday (10/2)
READ part of Psalm 78:14 to begin your devotional time:
“God led them with the cloud by day; by the lightning all through the night.” – Psalm 78:14 CEB
WATCH the Bible Project videos that summarizes Acts if you have not read the first 20 chapters. If you have already read the previous chapters of Acts then consider watching the Summary video Part 2 as a reminder of what you have read and the coming portions of the book. The videos are available on YouTube and the links are in the Overview portion of this devotional.
READ Luke 9:51, Luke 19:28, and Acts 21:1-16. Notice how Jesus’ determination to go to Jerusalem in Luke’s gospel is the same determination seen decades later in the apostle Paul in the account recorded in Acts 21. Jesus’ ministry transitions from being in the region of Galilea to his progression towards Jerusalem from Luke 9 to Luke 19. As Jesus goes into the city as written in Luke 19:28, it is his last time going there before his crucifixion. In Acts 21 Luke is again traveling with Paul during this portion of the missionary journey noted whenever he writes “we.” In this account Paul has a Christlike determination to go to Jerusalem even if it means he will be imprisoned or killed.
PRAY for:
– Those Who Are Closest to You (family members & friends)
– Those Who Point Others Towards God (parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, professors, coaches, musicians, authors, filmmakers, influencers, churches, etc.)
– Leaders (locally, nationally, & globally)
– Those Who Are Vulnerable & In Need (children, orphans, widows & widowers, the hungry & homeless, refugees, sick & diseased persons, prisoners, etc.)
– Yourself (tell God your thoughts, concerns, feelings, and desires)
PRESENCE – Where do you need to go today or later this week to be with the living God? Outside in nature? The chapel or sanctuary in the church building? With sisters and/or brothers in Christ wherever they are gathering? A prayer space/place in your home, apartment, or dorm room? Somewhere else?
Tuesday (10/3)
READ Psalm 78:14 to help you to center yourself in God.
SOLITUDE and SILENCE. You are encouraged to spend a few minutes alone with God sitting, kneeling, laying down, or walking. Spend these minutes letting the message of the psalm roll around in your heart and mind. Let it fill your thoughts.
READ Luke 19:37, Luke 19:45-48, and Acts 21:17-26. The verses reveal Jesus being received favorably by the crowds of Jews in Jerusalem during his triumphal entry, while Paul is also received favorably decades later by his fellow Christians in the same city. The writer of Luke’s Gospel and Acts notes how important the Temple was for both Jesus and Paul.
What is a holy and important place where you go to be with God and worship the Lord? Why do you go there? Would you go there if you knew that you might get arrested? Why or why not?
PRAY through your day, including offering thanks for the presence of the Spirit of Christ with us, as well as praying for the people you will be with or have been with.
PRESENCE – Look for opportunities today and throughout the week to rejoice with others when they are rejoicing, to comfort those who need it, and going with someone to a place that is hard for them to go.
Wednesday (10/4)
READ Psalm 78:14 to begin your devotional time.
READ Luke 22:54, when Jesus was arrested, Luke 23:18, the angry mob shouting about Jesus, and Acts 21:27-36, when Paul was arrested and the mob shouted nearly the same message that had been shouted about Jesus. Consider using the questions and suggestions from the Overview portion of this devotional during this study time.
PRAY for prisoners in Greater Hendricks County and Indiana, as well as for Christians imprisoned throughout the world because of their faith in Christ.
PRESENCE – Who is a person that you know who probably feels isolated or separated from others? Is it a family member, friend, or neighbor living alone? A widow or widower? A person you know in prison? Try to contact them or go visit them today or later this week as a way to love others by being present with them.
Thursday (10/5)
READ Psalm 78:14 to focus your heart and mind on the God who is with us.
SOLITUDE and SILENCE. You are encouraged to spend a few minutes alone with God sitting, kneeling, laying down, or walking. Spend these minutes seeking to simply be with the Lord.
READ Acts 21:37-22:21, Paul’s testimonial shared with the crowd in Jerusalem.
Which word, phrase, or verse is the Lord using to speak to you today from what you read? If you are unsure, slowly read Paul’s testimonial again inviting the Holy Spirit to reveal the message God has for you for today.
PRAY thanking God throughout the day whenever you are in a new space or setting, including the various rooms in your home, outside, in a workplace, in a vehicle, as well as whenever you are with a person you haven’t been with yet today.
PRESENCE – Seek to learn things about the people you are with today, anyone you speak to on the phone or communicate with directly using electronic communications, including social media posts & comments, text messages, email, chats, etc. If you have the opportunity, ask someone you know who is a Christian if they would be willing to tell you their faith story. Seek to set aside distractions to listen to their story with your full attention.
Friday (10/6)
READ Psalm 78:14 to begin your time with God.
READ Acts 22:19-29. Consider using the questions and suggestions from the Overview portion of this devotional as part of your study time.
PRAY offering yourself to the One who offered his life on the cross for us. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you, our congregation, and Christians throughout the world to live as Jesus’ representatives and apprentices, growing more like Christ by living His virtues and God’s values, while sharing the Good News in our homes, workplaces, communities, and throughout the world. The virtues include Humility, Compassion, Forgiveness, and Love.
PRESENCE – Look for signs that God is with you today in the midst of whatever you are experiencing or going through. Rejoice when you see and experience the Lord with you!
Saturday (10/7)
How are you going to remember and observe the Sabbath this weekend? The Sabbath is a day each week that is set apart from the others to stop, rest, worship, and delight in the Lord and what he has given us. If your life and schedule are too busy to observe an entire Sabbath day, try incrementally observing the Sabbath by setting aside an increasing portion of a day each week beginning with an hour, then increasing it to multiple hours or part of a day, and eventually designating an entire day for remembering and observing the Sabbath.
LIGHT a candle and LISTEN to a worship song or hymn before reading the verses for today as a way to prepare your heart, mind, body, and soul for observing the Sabbath.
READ Psalm 46:10 and Psalm 37:7 during the morning. These verses are a reminder to stop and “be still” in God’s presence. Our Sabbath theme for this weekend is “STOP.”
How does stopping and “being still” help you to remember that God is in control?
What are the things you need to stop worrying about today and during this season that you can offer to God in prayer?
What work do you need to set aside for another day so that you can stop and focus on the Lord as you observe the Sabbath?
How are you going to help others to stop working for at least a few hours this weekend?
SOLITUDE and SILENCE. You are encouraged to spend ten, twenty, or thirty minutes alone with God seeking to rest in the peace that can only be found in and from the Lord. If you struggle to stop and rest, consider laying down, kneeling, or sitting on a very comfortable chair or seat. If you need a nap, then sleep so that your mind and body receive the rest that you need.
PRAY in response to God’s work within your life this past week and in response to the messages from the Lord in the verses in the psalms that you read.
READ Genesis 1:1-2:3 during the afternoon or evening. Notice what God did on the seventh day of creation. God set an example for us and established a rhythm for life by working six days then stopping on the seventh day. If you are not finished with the work you have been doing during the past week perhaps the verses from Genesis are your reminded that you are not God. Your limitations are part of your humanity and reveal our dependency upon God.
– How are you going to set the Sabbath apart this weekend as you follow God’s example?
PRAY – If the weather cooperates and you are physically able, go for a prayer walk outside. You may find it helpful to go to a local park or nature preserve to observe God’s creation and spend time with our Creator.
What does the created world, including the sun, moon, stars, bodies of water, sky, land, plants, animals, and people, reveal about God?
Thank our Creator for the things you see and hear that were not created by human hands.
Thank God for the people you know and come into contact with remembering that they were created in the Lord’s image. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you to see people as God sees them.