Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 22, 2012 … On The Road Again – For Christ

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 327

[Click on map to get a larger view]

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Acts, Chapters 15-16 To study these chapters, go to this link -
============

Highlight Passages: Acts 15: 36-41: [NLT] … {From Chapter 15-16 of Acts, we read of God’s Spirit driving Paul and Barnabas to “hit the road” again for Christ; but they hit a glitch with Paul’s lack of willingness to take John Mark, Barnabas’ cousin, with him, given Mark’s history of balking on Paul’s 1st journey in Cyprus, caused Paul and Barnabas to agree to disagree and split company; and Paul took Silas and Luke with him on his second missionary journey and they went to cover different territories than did Barnabas and John Mark. So, isn’t it cool how God even uses a confrontation and controversy to turn a negative into a positive as the two teams were willing to cover far more area and ministry for Christ by being separated. Also, if you read Col. 4: 7-11, you’ll see that Paul and John Mark were later reunited in Christ for the spreading of the gospel.}  
36 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return to each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are getting along.” 37 Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not shared in their work. 39 Their disagreement over this was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas, and the believers sent them off, entrusting them to the Lord’s grace. 41 So they traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia to strengthen the churches there.
============
Highlight Passages: Acts 16: 1-10: [NLT] … { I can’t help but think of Willie Nelson’s famous old country classic, On The Road Again, [linked here from You Tube] when I think of Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke traveling together on Paul’s second missionary journey, referred to on the map provided. And the differences between Willie Nelson and the Apostle Paul really cause me to laugh inside. ;) }  
1 Paul and Silas went first to Derbe and then on to Lystra. There they met Timothy, a young disciple whose mother was a Jewish believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, 3 so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. 4 Then they went from town to town, explaining the decision regarding the commandments that were to be obeyed, as decided by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew daily in numbers. ... 
{And note how responsive was Paul and his companions to the calling and direction of God’s Spirit, allowing themselves to be guided and directed by God’s Spirit to directions of ministry/mission which they would have never sought in their own logic and focus.} … 
6 Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had told them not to go into the province of Asia at that time. 7 Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not let them go. 8So instead, they went on through Mysia to the city of Troas. 9 That night Paul had a vision. He saw a man from Macedonia in northern Greece, pleading with him, “Come over here and help us.” 10 So we£ decided to leave for Macedonia at once, for we could only conclude that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.

My Journal for Today: I’ll not blog extensively here, having made some comments above bold text; but I hope you’ve read through Chapters 15-16 of Acts and gained (or regained) an appreciation of just how dedicated were these early missionaries. And Paul’s zeal, which at one time was for the destruction of Christianity, is now – in these chapters as documented by Luke – on display FOR CHRIST and the spreading of the same gospel he had once so adamantly opposed. Doesn’t God have the greatest sense of humor.

And I personalize this because once I, too, was a “devil’s advocate,” doing all I could to try to rip away the faith of Christians who openly witnessed for Christ. I made my former secretary’s life hell as she did all she could to show me the foolishness of my atheistic pronouncements; and she had a whole cohort of prayer warriors praying for me to be broken and see the eternal degradation of my ways. And some reading here have read or heard my testimony of being delivered by God from myself, coming to a saving faith in Christ on April 13th, 1983. And now I’m an ordained minister of the gospel, being called to minister to those who’ve become imprisoned by their addictions to sexual pleasure and sin.

Yes, though I’d never claim to be a missionary with the zeal and commitment of the Apostle Paul, we still BOTH are poster-boys for Paul’s pronouncement in 2nd Cor. 5: 17"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; … the old has gone and the new has come." I pray that anyone reading here has experienced the newness and transformation from God’s Spirit in the salvation and sanctification which can only come when one yields to the Spirit of God as Paul exhibited on his second journey for Christ.

As I write this journal entry today, it’s THANKSGIVING DAY, and it’s so easy for me to pray what I do here today …

My Prayer Today: … Lord, on this Thanksgiving Day, I’m so thankful You pursued me so that I could pursue You. Amen

2 comments:

Karli Caruso said...

I am so thankful for the Berry Patch Blog. I have faithfully read it as I have read the chronological Bible plan. I really appreciate your obedience to God's calling to maintain this blog! Happy Thanksgiving!

Bill said...

I'm humbled and touched, Karli, by your expressions of thankfulness - on this Thanksgiving day - for the Berry Patch Blog. The latter is quite simply my way of the thoughts God seems to give me as I go through His word chronologically with the YouVersion.com daily program. I do imagine that someone might be reading along with me; but really I so seldom get feedback that I just thought it was my imagination which keeps me accountable. But now your feedback is so encouraging. Thanks and have a lovely Thanksgiving Day in Christ. ... Bill