Raising the Stakes–Acts 14 Part 1

Without fail, when one walks consistently with the Lord and ministers freely, two things happen. First, lives are affected. Second, the opposition grows and the stakes increase. As Paul and Barnabas preached in Iconium, people’s lives were being changed. The church was established and many were converted from among the Jews and among the gentiles. But, there was also rising opposition from among competing priests from the Jewish temple and rival foreign gods. Still, Paul and Barnabas remained faithful and simply spoke the truth without fear of the enemy or thought of personal consequence. 

In our journey, as we follow God, we see him do amazing things in our lives and the lives of others we touch. When we remain faithful, we have significant influence on our family and community. Proportionally, the greater the influence we have, the greater the opposition and trials in our lives. We are certainly in a spiritual battle with a seasoned enemy. If we do not recognize that truth we can be defeated, neutralized and destroyed. If, however, we remain faithful–trust God with our future and its timing, then he will also be faithful and lead  us, protect us and prepare us for what lies ahead. 

One can remain assured that it will not be easy, it will not be fun, nor will it transition quickly–this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. But, the faithful will–without a doubt, see God do incredible things in and through their lives. It is that truth that makes this an amazing journey. 

God Bless You

At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.

But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.

So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.

The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.

There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them.

But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country,

where they continued to preach the gospel.

In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked.

He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed

and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

Joseph–Genesis 37 Part 1

The favored one–Joseph was surely adored by his dad and chosen by God. What an amazing place to be. The honor of being chosen and favored come, however, with a price. Joseph lived differently than his brothers and was treated differently by the rest of the siblings. His behavior always honored his Father. He loved his dad and would never intentionally hurt or bring shame to him. Sadly, his brothers resented this favor and his attitude and failed to realize they should model him and not hate him. 

In our lives, we like Joseph are chosen. It is a great honor and gift. It does, however, come with a price. We are called to be like Christ. We, out of love, strive to honor him daily. This is not always easy nor does it win favor with the world at large. We are considered at least ignorant or gullible. Often we are hated, singled-out and persecuted. Mostly, we are never supported for our choice. 

Take heart though, the Father loves us and will give his best for and to us. We simply walk faithfully an trust him completely and we will stand out like Joseph did.

God Bless You  

This is the account of Jacob’s family line.Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him.

When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.

He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had:

We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”