Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20, 2012 … Paul Hits the Road for Jesus

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 325

{Click on map for larger viewing/study}

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Acts, Chapters 13-14 To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passages: Acts 13: 4-5; 13-14; 38-39; 46-47; 50-52 : [NLT] … { Saul, who had become the Spirit-filled Apostle Paul, was led by God’s Spirit, traveling with Barnabas, his encourager, and John Mark, who would later author the Gospel of Mark, to the island of Cyprus; and then after John Mark left them to return to Jerusalem (probably in fear), Paul and Barnabas traveled onward by ship to Antioch, in Asia-Minor, which is now Turkey. The rigor of traveling, mostly by foot, across foreign lands like Cyprus and in Asia, is not fully captured in Acts 13-14. But with the encouragement of Barnabas and the courage of Paul, these men, led by God’s Spirit spread the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike; and many were saved because of these early church missionaries. } 4 Sent out by the Holy Spirit, Saul and Barnabas went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus [see map]. 5 There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. (John Mark went with them as their assistant.) … 13 Now Paul and those with him left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port town of Perga. There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 But Barnabas and Paul traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia. 
{To the Jews and converted Gentiles to Judaism in Antioch [see map], they preached.} … 
38 “Brothers, listen! In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. 39Everyone who believes in him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God—something the Jewish law could never do. …  {To the Gentiles they also preached the gospel, angering many Jews.} … 
46 Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that this Good News from God be given first to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life — well, we will offer it to Gentiles. 47 For this is as the Lord commanded us when He said, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’” {see Isaiah 49: 6} 
{After being “run out of Dodge” by angry Jewish mobs in Antioch [in Asia Minor – not the Antioch in Israel], the two gospel missionaries went on to Iconium [see map].}
50 Then the Jewish leaders stirred up both the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them and went to the city of Iconium. 52 And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Highlight Passages: Acts 14: 1-2; 5-7; 23-26 : [NLT] … { Moving on in Asia Minor to Iconium, Lycaonia, and into the cities of Lystra & Derba (see map), these two preached boldly, often inciting angry Jewish mobs. Could you imagine going into places like Iran or China and openly and boldly preaching the Gospel truth today? You get the picture of what Paul and Barnabas were facing. But onward they went for Jesus! }  
1 In Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went together to the synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Gentiles believed. 2 But the Jews who spurned God’s message stirred up distrust among the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas, saying all sorts of evil things about them. … 5 A mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6 When the apostles learned of it, they fled for their lives. They went to the region of Lycaonia, to the cities of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area, 7 and they preached the Good News there.  
{If you read in Acts 14 of the challenges these two faced in Asia-Minor as they traveled, preaching truth and healing in the Name and authority of Christ, the men finally returned by ship to the other Antioch (in Syria [see map], having left converts and churches in Asia Minor on this Paul’s first missionary journey.} … 
23 Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church and prayed for them with fasting, turning them over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had come to trust.   24 Then they traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia.   25 They preached again in Perga, then went on to Attalia.  26 Finally, they returned by ship to Antioch of Syria, where their journey had begun and where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 

My Journal for Today: If you read through the accounts of Paul’s first missionary journey, where he was accompanied by Barnabas, looking at the map and seeing the distances these men walked, as well as reading about the risks to their lives (where they were stoned and beaten for their faith and bold preaching), there is little that can be added by any weak journaling from yours truly. My blogging here likely detracts from what these men went through to take the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel to Cyprus and Asia Minor.

 As I said above, it reminds me of friends we have who are missionaries to hostile nations today, going into Iran, or living in Turkey or in Northern Africa, where some of their missionary friends have been murdered for preaching the Gospel. I really am paled by the courage of such dedicated Christians; and here I am sometimes afraid to share the Gospel with family or friends in this very protected USA … because I fear what they might think of me.

I am shamed by the study of Paul and Barnabas and their dedication to the Gospel message.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, give me the strength to overcome my fears and to share YOU with others in my very safe world. Amen

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