Read Acts 17:16-33
Key Verse: Acts 17:32 “When they heard Paul speak of the resurrection of a person who had been dead, some laughed, but others said, ‘We want to hear more about this later.” (NLT)
When we want to share our faith with others we are often nervous and hesitant because we are afraid that someone might laugh at us. The desire to Act Out for God is there in our lives but the idea of being laughed at makes it so difficult to do what we really want to do for God. The important thing that we need to remember is that we are not alone in this, even the Apostle Paul was laughed at, yet he never let that stop him from continuing to Act Out.
People always laugh at ideas that seem strange to them, it’s just a human reaction to try and deal with being forced to accept new ideas. People laughed at the idea of the world being round instead of flat, they laughed at the idea of space travel, they even laughed at the idea of gravity. It does not really matter that people laughed at those ideas in the past, what matters is that we have accepted them all now. Imagine if people stopped trying to prove that the world was round simply because they were laughed at. North America would hardly be populated at all and it certainly would not be the home of some of the world’s greatest nations.
People may laugh at you when you share your faith and Act Out for God. But the real important thing is that while some may laugh others may come to believe and you may be able to help change the world for somebody.
Prayer: “Lord, it is very hard to share about your love to people who laugh at me but I know that they only do it because they don’t know how to react. Help me to stand up and Act Out for you because although some may laugh, others may come to believe in you.”
Read Acts 16:1-18
Key Verse: Acts 16:10 “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.” (NLT)
Paul and his companions traveled about looking for places to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to people who had never heard before. The Holy Spirit would not allow them to enter Asia at that time nor were they allowed to enter the province of Bithynia. God closed those doors, or opportunities, because He was about to open a different door for Paul and his friends.
God, through a vision, directed them to go to Macedonia. This was the open door they were looking for and as they went into this area God used them in great ways. They meet Lydia and she became a Christian. They even healed a demon possessed girl.
When an opportunity presents itself we often rush towards it and are excited to do whatever it takes. Sometimes God closes doors that we think are good. He has His reasons and He knows what He is doing even when we don’t understand. It is at those times that we need to wait upon Him and trust Him. What we want and what we want to do is not always what is best. God’s will is always best for us. We need to look for opportunities to share the Gospel. But we also need to be willing to let God lead us by showing us, through His Spirit, which doors are open to go through and which ones are shut for now.
Prayer: “Lord help me to accept the fact that your will is much better than mine. I want to trust you and know that you know best.”
Read Acts 15:22-41
“Key Verse: Acts 15:36 “After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return to each city where we preciously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are getting along.” (NLT)
It seems that disagreements and even arguments were not uncommon among the early church. There was the big debate over the gentile Christians and now we see Paul and Barnabas disagreeing. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them to visit the cities where they had preached, while Paul dd not want to bring him because he had a bad experience with John Mark.
Whatever the disagreement was about is not really important. What is important is how the two handled the situation. It was okay to disagree with each other but they needed to handle it appropriately. They decided to agree to disagree on this issue and went their own separate ways.
It is not wrong to disagree with someone. It is not a sin to have a different opinion then someone else. Disagreements become sinful when we allow our tempers to get out of control or when we fail to use wisdom and end up saying things that are meant to hurt one another. God used Paul and Barnabas’ separating to allow both of them to go their different ways and do even more work for Jesus.
We need to learn from their examples and discover the importance of being able to walk away from a disagreement without destroying a friendship in the process.
Prayer: “Lord, please give me the wisdom I need to learn how to end all arguments appropriately and without saying or doing something I will regret. Help me to have Godly attitude in all disagreements.”