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Acts 14:1-20 (NIV)
14 At Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5 There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. 6 But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7 where they continued to preach the gospel. 8 In Lystra, there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas, they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. 19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
Describe the way in which Paul gave himself to the LORD.
Which text most speaks to you?
How might you still need to give yourself to the LORD?
You never said that it would be easy to follow You. It sure wasn’t easy for Paul. Even though his heart was in the right place, he followed Your will and said the right things, when dealing with unbelievers the message can get turned around and difficulties, hardships, hatred and even death can be the result. One might expect that You would give clear sailing to Your servants who are delivering Your message, but that is not usually the case. The devil seems to notice those who are making a difference for Your kingdom and looks for ways to discourage us and literally take us out. Following You is not for the weak-hearted but it is for those who get their strength and endurance directly from You. You have the power, the ability and the plan to use those things that we do for You and accomplish Your will with them even if it doesn’t look that way to us in the short term. Help me to not look at the circumstances surrounding me, but focus on You in heaven for eternity because that is where my real treasures lie. Amen