February 7 - Acts 14
STILL GOING: This chapter opens with Paul & Barnabas going to the synagogue 'as usual.' Even with the extraordinary ways that they've seen the Spirit active and been blessed by Him, they still continue their weekly habit of gathering for worship with God's people. Granted, in this case they're going there to convert God's people, but the point remains that they maintained a regular weekly habit of gathered worship. You should as well.
STUBBORNNESS = MAN'S CHIEF TRAIT: The NIV translates v2 as 'the Jews who refused to believe.' This really captures Luke's intent. Paul & Barnabas are able to perform signs & wonders confirming God's grace, but the human heart is so set against God that unless the Spirit totally regenerates (makes new again) our hearts, it doesn't matter how much evidence for Christianity we are given, we will stubbornly refuse to believe. That means that if you have even the slightest inclination to believe in Jesus Christ, the Spirit is actively at work in you!
THE CROWD IS BACK: Remember how we saw the fickle crowd following Jesus around hoping to witness miracles? Those kind of people are everywhere, and Paul & Barnabas meet them in Lystra. In v11-18 the crowd is so enamored with the miracle they witness they start to worship Paul & Barnabas as Zeus and Hermes. But then the stubborn unbelievers show up and in the span of one verse (v19) they are picking up rocks and stoning Paul. Beware of following the crowd.
THE CHURCH ISN'T ALL PUNCH & COOKIES: Most of us have been tremendously blessed in our Christian walk, having enjoyed many good things as members of the church. It's easy to get the idea that God is building His kingdom among us. But Paul gives us a needed correction in v22: First of all, we must endure hardship on behalf of Christ; Secondly, God is bringing us into His kingdom, not building it here. This may seem like subtle semantics, but how you understand this has a dramatic effect on your worldview.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: He made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them (v15).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will strengthen you to endure hardship and to live with a focus on entering His kingdom (v22).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: Thank God for what He has given all people: rain, crops, food & joy (v17).
Worthington CRC members are preparing to celebrate communion this coming Sunday.
MONDAY: Examine your faith. Are you fully trusting in Christ for your salvation? By this faith we take to ourselves Christ and all his benefits, so that for us to live is Christ.
TUESDAY: Examine your hope. God's children rely wholly upon the merits of Christ, find in him their strength and victory, and confidently expect his return in glory.
WEDNESDAY: Examine your love, both for God and your neighbors. Consciously determine to live a life of loving service to him, through Christ our Lord.
THURSDAY: If these marks of spiritual life are not evident in us, we may not presume to approach his table. Yet we should not be deterred by any sin lingering within against our will. As we find faith, hope, and love within us, we ought gladly to obey our Lord's command and come with full expectation to God's open house of mercy.
FRIDAY: Pray - Gracious God, we love and adore you in Christ our Lord. We thank you for reconciling us to yourself in him. We rejoice in being received as your children.Prepare us by your Holy Spirit for the sacrament. Help us to come in the assurance that by it we shall be spiritually revived, and strengthened in faith, hope, and love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
TODAY IS THE DEADLINE: MAKE YOUR RESERVATION NOW!