Years went by


After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison.

Acts 24:27

The ruins of Caesarea, where Paul was imprisoned under Felix, are pretty amazing to see.

The big amphitheater, the chariot racing track and the beautiful blue water of the Mediterranean Sea stay imprinted on my memory.

There was also a large collection of stones forming a peninsula under the water. They used to be part of Herod’s headquarters where the governors would stay and where Paul was imprisoned. He was stuck there. Two years.

I tried to imagine what he heard, felt and thought while he waited.

Felix was familiar with this new movement we call Christianity.

Paul spoke to him and his wife about Jesus.

It was quite the movement of the heart as Felix was made more than a little uncomfortable listening to Paul speak about righteousness, self-control and judgment.

He kept calling Paul to come talk with him and kept sending him back to the prison for two-o-o-o … lo-o-o-ong … years.

As he waited, he was always ready at any moment to share about his source of hope — Jesus.

How long have you waited for something or someone? How long have you waited patiently?

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, meaning we cannot manufacture it, only God’s Holy Spirit can produce it.

Waiting well will never be forged within by the want of our will.

It grows when we lay our will down at the feet of Jesus and say, “Your will be done.”

Isaiah the prophet reveals the secret to knowing if we are waiting well, in patience: “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.”

In Christ, waiting produces strength, not weakness.

Tell everyone

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing praise to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

— 1 Chronicles 16:1-36

I sat there in quiet reflection as he spoke. It was my wedding rehearsal dinner, and my dad got up to speak.

He’s not known for keeping his comments short, but on this night, in this moment, with every word, he nailed it.

In front of all my family and my wife’s family, he verbalized very personal and specific reasons why he was proud of me. Very few things in this old world encourage and inspire one’s heart like sincere public affirmation from someone we love and respect.

As David and the people of Israel brought the Ark of God’s covenant into Jerusalem, there was only one person on their minds and hearts — Yahweh, the only true and living God. He and he alone dominated the affections of their hearts.

Catch the flurry of commands David uses to direct this worship moment: Give thanks, proclaim, sing, tell, exult, search, seek, remember, recognize, give glory, bring offering, shout, cry out, rejoice and praise.

To worship God, as it is revealed here, is to publicly acknowledge who God is and all he has done.

Tell everyone. Our public acknowledgement of God is not something he needs. It is not something that encourages him or inspires him as it does us.

Nope, but it certainly pleases him.

To worship him in this way lines us up with how he created us. It reveals a person who is living consistently with who they are.

That reality makes him smile.

No growing relationship with Jesus can ever be experienced without a genuine heart of worship.

So, let’s sing! Let’s proclaim! Let’s rejoice! Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds!

Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.