Filled with Joy . . .
What turbulent times we live in! Not only are there divisions by age class, geographic regions, culture, religion, and social class, but also . . . our political parties purposely seek to divide and conquer their opposition in hopes of winning the next election. If any are unaware of this turmoil they are not keeping informed of current events. If any believe our generation is unique, they are not reading history books.
I recently read Dr. William J. Bennett's book, Tried by Fire: The Story of Christianity's First Thousand Years. Many names and events are covered over the course of that first millennium . . . with heart rending accounts of both horrible abuse and utmost devotion, but with a result that has provided us the Christian faith we now cherish.
Paul and Barnabas, on their first missionary journey, less than two decades after Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, encountered hostility from the very ones they were trying to inform of the good news message of salvation. The Jews were awaiting the coming of the Messiah and were educated in Scripture; however, Paul's attraction that drew crowds was bothersome to the establishment leaders.
"When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him." Acts 13:45 (NIV)
This was good news to the Gentiles. However, after being segregated and berated by their Jewish neighbors, they were included in this wonderful message . . . that through Jesus they would receive forgiveness for their sins.
"When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed." Acts 13:48 (NIV}
Leaving the persecution and banishment from Pisidian Antioch, Paul and Barnabas accepted their rejection, continued their journey, and simply moved on to Iconium. They had done what the Holy Spirit had led them to do. In our day . . . we are expected to do likewise.
"And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." Acts 13:52 (NIV)
Professor of Forestry, (Ret.), Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana
Writer, OPEN WINDOWS; Deacon--FBC, Ruston; Mission Work: Mexico
eThoughts Team--Extended Week-day Free Devotionals -- Vol. XIII, No.04-07RN -- Archived
Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita -- Editor and Publisher
Scripture marked (NIV) is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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