Monday, April 25, 2016

What God Had Done With Them

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

By Melanie Rigney

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.  After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. And when they arrived, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent no little time with the disciples. (Acts 14:19-28)

Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. (Psalm 145:12)

Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

Lord, thank You for the gentle reminders of who is truly in charge.


Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
They are heady stories, the stuff of action movies and thrillers, the Acts of the Apostles. They are the tales of people in prison and people persecuted, of people fearlessly sharing the Good News and making converts among Jews and Gentiles wherever they go as they travel and travel and travel.

How did they do it? How did they establish a Church that has withstood nearly relentless persecution, internal scandal, and more than the occasional bout of apathy among the faithful? We find the answer in a short passage from Acts 14, after Paul and Barnabas arrived in Antioch: “They called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (emphasis added).

You see, Paul and Barnabas knew it wasn’t them. It was the Lord. They were privileged and humbled to be His vessels. And after their time with the disciples and at the Council of Jerusalem, they and others were back at it again, telling the world about Christ.
Spend “no little time” today with someone with whom you are privileged to share a belief in the Lord. Consider what God has done with each of you… and how you will open yourselves up further to His work.

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