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Posts Tagged ‘The Lost’

You would think there would be more to the beginning of what we now know as one of Paul’s missionary journeys, but it really seems like Paul and Barnabas were sitting around one day and Paul said: “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing”. And with that, a missionary journey was born.

I guess I’ve always thought of these journeys as something bigger than life. But really it is just the record of what Paul did. He went about encouraging and strengthening the churches. He was an evangelist. It’s what he did. It’s what he was good at.

But right after Paul’s ‘good’ idea, comes a ‘bad’ one. He didn’t want to take Mark but Barnabas did; and from there things got really ‘ugly’ fast. In Acts, Luke tells us that “They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.”

How often do our good ideas get sidetracked before they ever get off the ground? This exchange could have resulted in one less missionary journey; but in spite of how ugly it got, neither Paul nor Barnabas let it keep them from the good they had thought to do.

There will forever be an enemy to any good idea that God gives us. As much as God tries to initiate them for the purpose of encouraging and strengthening other believers, Satan does his best to stifle them.

Lord help me to see the ‘good’ ideas You give me, through to their end; to not let the ‘bad’ or even the ‘ugly’ keep me from what I think to do; to more and more use what I am good at for this purpose.

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Chances are you might hear a few kids say that today. It’s cute when they do. But in Acts 14 there is real ‘tricking’ and ‘treating’ going on and it is not so cute. Coupled with the rare occurrence of today being both Halloween and Sunday, it seemed too fitting not to tie them all together.

Our spiritual lives are in constant jeopardy of being ‘tricked’ or ‘treated’. We are susceptible to both. For those who are strong, they need ‘treats’ to keep them strong. For those who are weak, a ‘trick’ can cause them to do a 180.

Paul and Barnabus were strong; they spoke to persuade those who were not. Their ‘treats’ (seeing large numbers of people believe their message, plus seeing the wonders God worked through them confirming that He was with them) kept them strong.

Those who believed their message were not yet so strong. In one verse they were so excited they wanted to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabus. But they were easily persuaded by non believers and were soon willing to stone them. They were ‘tricked’.

Paul understood this ‘tricking’ and ‘treating’. It is for this very reason that he went back to those he had shared with to encourage and strengthen them. He knew that as soon as he ‘treated’, some would come behind him to ‘trick’.

And so with us today, as we go into our respective churches, we will likely be ‘treated’. Be assured that not too far behind, there will be some attempt to ‘trick’. Whether to weaken those who have been strengthened or to completely destroy those who are weak, ‘tricking’ and ‘treating’ will both occur today.

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The Lost

For the past few days I have read Luke 15. It is a classic chapter about the lost. There is the aspect of searching for the lost and the rejoicing when the lost have been found.

One of the stories that Jesus tells is the story about the woman who loses a coin and how she searched until she found it. It reminded me of a time when I was a kid walking to school. I was walking on a dirt bank, as kids will do, and dropped a nickel that for some reason I had in my hands instead of my pocket.

As soon as I dropped it, I looked down but didn’t see it. I looked and looked but could not find it. (A nickel was a lot back then) After a little while, I remember stopping and asking, Lord, could you help me find my nickel’. The next time I looked down . . . there it was.

After thinking about this event that took place about 50 years ago, I thought of the parallel to my life today. I have looked and looked for the lost, but so far I have not been able to find them. I prayed simply, ‘Lord, help me to find the lost’.

Last night, my wife and I had dinner with some friends. The guy has been involved in a prison ministry for years. Today I went to the sheriff’s office and filled out the necessary paperwork to become a part of that ministry team. For that I have to say, ‘Thank You Lord for helping me find the lost’.

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