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Remain Faithful

Remain Faithful

21 October 2009

Scripture:

21 After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, 22 where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. 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. (Acts 14:21-23 NLT)

What a wild ride this first missionary journey was! Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News and made many disciples. God gave them power to heal the sick and perform miracles that validate their Kingdom of God message. They were mistaken for “gods” and then stoned as heretics (did Paul live with scars and pain for the rest of his life from this beating?). They strengthened the believers, encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminded them that entering God’s Kingdom involves many hardships, appointed elders in each church, and entrusted the whole thing to the Lord.

There’s so much I see in these verses that challenges me to look at my Good News message and the expectations it produces in people. In this story, the Good News brought faith, but it also brought hardship and sacrifice. The believers experienced supernatural power, but they also suffered violent persecution. They were entering God’s Kingdom, but they were opposed, beaten, and run out of town. The Christ-followers were persecuted but filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

God loves me and has a difficult plan for my life! I want to be sure that my expectations are not selfish and simplistic. Being a Christ-follower is the path of blessing, significance, and joy. But it’s not without challenges and difficulties. For myself and for those I influence, my message and my example must include faith for blessings and faithfulness for the challenges.

Prayer:

Father, I’m sorry to be such a bother. It’s just that every time I read the gospels and the book of Acts, I wonder again if it’s all as easy and as difficult, as simple and as complicated as we make it. I purpose to keep pressing toward living the Kingdom of God life. May I and those I love and serve and serve with live in faith for the blessings. May we “by God’s grace remain faithful” in the hardships and challenges. Amen.

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