Saturday, November 13, 2010

Acts 14

2But the unbelieving Jews [who rejected their message] aroused the Gentiles and embittered their minds against the brethren.

3So [Paul and Barnabas] stayed on there for a long time, speaking freely and fearlessly and boldly in the Lord, Who continued to bear testimony to the Word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be performed by their hands.

The unbelievers stirred up trouble and spoke against Paul and Barnabas. Things were not comfortable; maybe even tense. Pressure was being applied and bad things were being said about them and their response was to "stay on there for a long time" and continue speaking freely in the Lord Who evidenced their authority in Him through signs and wonders. Would I have considered the opposition and the growing unrest as a "sign" that it was time to move on? Would I have persevered in the work of the Word despite the animosity of the religious and locals? Would I have considered the great numbers that had come to the Lord to be enough and to get while the going was good? Thank You God for giving me Your heart for others and Your tenacity to see a thing through. Help me to look to You for direction and not only consider the lay of the land. Help me to stay on for a long time in Your freedom despite the harshness of a situation.

Another thing which I keep thinking about is how they stayed a long time in Iconium and then they stayed no small amount of time in Antioch, when Paul was left for dead, he went back to the city and then continued on. But everywhere they went it seems they stayed as long (emphasis on long) as they needed to stay to accomplish the mission. They were not concerned with getting back to Antioch by a certain date. They did not appear to rush through any part of their travels. Even when the soon-to-be-healed man was listening, Paul looked intently...he wasn't in a hurry to get the message out and get on to his next point or place. He wasn't on tour...he was on mission. They had an agenda not a schedule. In the busyness of my little life, do I act with generosity with regard to the time the LORD has given me. Do I allow the urgent to over-rule the mission? Do I do a thorough job when God calls me to do something just for Him, or am I inclined to rush through it because I live like I am on tour? Am I living simply enough to be ready for the call of mission?

God of Time and Eternity, You know what a mess I am; but You have plans for me, just the same. Please give me Your perspective from on High as I consider the day You give me. Let my plans match Yours, let my time-frame be overlaid by Yours, let my interrupts be sanctioned by You and let me overlook the emergencies which are not mine, let me have wisdom with the moments You give that the hours and days and life would reflect glory increasing to You. Be famous in my life today.

Acts 13:2 One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” 3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

At first the believers-community devoted themselves to the teaching, fellowship, breaking bread/eating together and prayer. I am sure they are still doing that; but this seems to be a community extension of their prayer-lives. An emphasis on prayer and fasting is showing up. It looks like one, it was a normal event; two, they engaged in prayer & fasting when they were waiting before the LORD and prior to ministry being undertaken.

Simply and quickly, I am always waiting for the LORD, ergo waiting before the LORD as I seek Him for the answer. And as I am a believer I am engaged in ministry in my life. So, I am challenged to be more intentional about prayer and fasting; this week I am doing something about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment