Tuesday, June 11, 2013

One secret to perseverance

Illustration from Lyman Abbot Commentary on Acts

Oriental Prayer Meeting - Illustration from Lyman Abbot Commentary on Acts
Oriental Prayer Meeting
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 13:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "So being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus." Acts 13:4

What strikes me about the disciples here is their lack of personal agendas. They have no five-year plan to evangelize the world. There seem to be only two items on their to-do list: hear and follow God's instructions.

When those instructions come via the Holy Spirit saying "Separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" there is immediate obedience. No hanging back with—'Well, we had planned to visit our families, take a vacation, write a book…'

Their sense of being appointed and sent by God Himself on this mission was, I think, key to how they would handle what was ahead on this, Paul's first missionary journey (called Saul here, but his name was later changed to Paul). They didn't know it yet, but they would face opposition from a sorcerer, city-to-city hassling by the Jews, the desertion of a team member,  the threat of stoning in one place and actual stoning in another (Acts 13 & 14).

The lesson I take from this is  that I too need to listen to God's voice when I see opportunities to be sure that what I take on is by His leading and not my own idea. I need to be open to new tasks in areas I hadn't even considered. And when I don't hear anything specific, I need to be content to carry on faithfully with what I'm doing, knowing He is perfectly able to let me know when it's time to change course.

This sense of God's call is important because it is sure that I, that you, will face opposition, discouragement, misunderstanding, maybe even threats and physical danger while on Kingdom assignments. The knowledge that God has called us to any specific task will help us to persevere.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this clear picture of how You worked in Bible times. Help me to be as available as Paul and Barnabas were, and to follow Your direction, knowing that if You call me to a job, You will see me through it no matter what comes my way. Amen.

MORE: Feast of St. Barnabas

Today the church celebrates the Apostle Barnabas. The liturgy for today begins with this collect:

Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well­being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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2 comments:

  1. This is a good post and right on for me right now. I would like to post parts of it with a link to all of it on my blog, if that is okay.

    Thank you for all your faithful work each day bringing us gold nuggets from God. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Diana! It's so encouraging that this resonates with you too. And yes, you're most welcome to post what you would like of this.

    ReplyDelete

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