Today’s scripture: Acts 24:24-27 (NRSV) (The Message) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Steve Adams):

One day when I was about nine, I forgot to brush my teeth. It was so pleasant to skip this bothersome chore that I decided to let it go for an entire month! How no one noticed my bad breath is a mystery to me, but it remained my own little secret!

Then I got some bad news. My mother told me I had a dentist appointment. This presented an obvious problem, since I knew the dentist would surely discover my shenanigan and report his shocking findings to my mother, who would render due judgment. I would have done anything to use a Felix-type excuse and say, “Well, mom, how about we make this dentist appointment at a better time, like when I’m 30?” But, of course, I was the kid, and she was the parent, so, no such plea could be made!

Felix had his own reason to procrastinate when he told Paul he would come back to see him when it was more convenient. Why did Felix say this, when the hope of receiving a bribe from Paul had been such a sure motivation to repeatedly visit him? It seems that Paul’s words about justice, self-control, and judgment cut right through Felix’s hypocrisy and went straight to his heart. As Hebrews 4:12 says:

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Felix became afraid when Paul forced him to see the truth about himself. Did he value justice? Not enough to set Paul free. Did he have self-control? Not enough to be able to resist granting a political favor that kept Paul behind bars. And what about future judgment? He seemed to think, “Let’s talk about that later, MUCH later!”

It’s easy to see how off-track Felix was, but what about you and me? Since we’re imperfect humans, there are surely areas in which we’re getting off-course in our walk with God — probably more often than we’d like to think, and likely in ways that can be more harmful than not brushing our teeth.

Thought for the day: Lord, I need to open my heart to you today. Show me which areas in my life need “course corrections.”

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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