October 24 Paul and Companions Head for Galatia

 
 
 

WOW THE BIG PICTURE

Acts 13:1-43;  Psalms 118:22-26;  Proverbs 21:1

 

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Bar- nabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

 

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.

 

Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will younot cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”

 

And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

 

Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”

 

Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it. Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness. And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.

 

“After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior-Jesus-after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’

 

“Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings-that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm:

 

‘You are My Son,

Today I have begotten You.’

 

And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus:

 

I will give you the sure mercies of David.’

Therefore He also says in another Psalm:

‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’

 

“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:

 

‘Behold, you despisers,

Marvel and perish!

For I work a work in your days,

 

 

A work which you will by no means believe,

Though one were to declare it to you.'”

 

So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devoutproselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 13:1-43

 

WORSHIP

The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief cornerstone.

This was the LORD’s doing;

It is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Save now, I pray, O LORD;

O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

Psalm 118:22-26

 

WISDOM

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD,

Like the rivers of water;

He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 21:1

 

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A Knowledge That Repels – Wholly Loved – October 24

WhollyLoved.com

A Knowledge That Repels

By Jennifer Slattery

“Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” 1 Cor. 8:1

Pride, rooted in self-love, is at the root of many of my ugliest behaviors.

About ten years ago, I began to ask some hard questions regarding my faith and the credibility of the Bible. I wanted to know—was Jonah really swallowed by a whale? Was there really a worldwide flood? Did Lot’s wife really turn into a pillar of salt?

Those questions led to an in-depth study I soon wanted to share with others. My motives were pure and stemmed from my love for God and the Bible. Initially our time felt special and inspired. Each week, I’d meet with a group of women while volunteers taught our little ones arts and crafts.

Until Sue arrived and quickly turned argumentative. I took her challenge as an invitation and, puffed up with “knowledge,” accepted.

Soon, the pleasant, Christ-centered discussion among a handful of moms turned into a tense battle over words.

My focus shifted off of God, others, and the truth and onto a desire to win the argument. My self-love, my pride, pulled me in when I should’ve walked away, and I allowed the woman to dominate and divert our previously pleasant conversation.

Truth and love, real love, are intertwined.

Scripture tells us God has entrusted us with the gospel. This saving truth has the power to set man free. With each word, we’re either pointing others to our Savior and an eternity with Him, or we’re getting in the way.

May we always be ready to speak truth, but may that truth always be blanketed in love.

Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is a multipublished author of Hometown Healing among other titles who also writes articles, Bible studies, and devotions. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com or book her for your next women’s event.

Visit WhollyLoved.com for more inspirational messages or to book them for your next women’s event

Happy Are the Unhappy

Thursday, October 24, 2019


For Godly Sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

—2 Corinthians 7:10

Happy people are unhappy people, because Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” In the Beatitudes, the word “blessed” that Jesus used is interchangeable with “happy.”

To put it another way, happy are the unhappy.

“Well, that makes no sense at all,” you’re saying. “Either you’re happy or you’re unhappy.”

No, before you can truly be happy, you first have to be unhappy. You have to see your real state before God, which is a sinful state. And you have to mourn over that state.

Also, the word that Jesus used here for “mourn” is the most severe of nine Greek words for grief that we find in the Scriptures. It’s reserved for mourning the dead. While this verse applies in principle to all who mourn, let’s look at it in context.

Let’s go back to the previous beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3 NKJV). It’s a little scary to see what sinners we really are. But when we cry out to God and mourn over our condition, then we will find comfort.

As commentator Warren Wiersbe has pointed out, “It is as wrong to mourn when God has forgiven us as it is to rejoice when sin has conquered us.”

It’s better to mourn now and laugh later than to laugh now and mourn later. When you really mourn for your condition and repent of it, you can experience the true happiness that God wants you to experience.

Have you ever shed a tear over a sin in your own life? Have you ever done something you were ashamed of and wept over it?

The Bible tells us that godly sorrow will produce repentance (see 2 Corinthians 7:10). This can be a good thing, because that mourning can produce tangible results.

I’m Still Single… Is Something Wrong with Me? 2019,24 Oct

  • Caroline MadisonCrosswalk.com Contributing Writer

I'm Still Single... Is Something Wrong with Me?

Editor’s Note: Crosswalk’s Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a Crosswalk.com reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single contributors.

 

It saddens me and scares me that I’m a 27-year-old single woman and have not yet met any special guy. Sometimes, I feel like something is wrong with me—like I’m ugly or something. I want to be in a relationship, but I feel as if God has destined for me to be alone. I don’t know what to do because guys won’t talk to me, and the ones that have tried I’m just not interested in. How do I get through this until someone comes along?

 

Let me start by saying that you are not alone. I have known many young ladies who felt this way and have grappled with these doubts myself for years. But God doesn’t want you to “get through this until someone comes along,”–His plan for you is so much better than survival!

He wants you to thrive and grow in confidence no matter what your circumstances. Here are a few things God has shown me over the years that helped me to not only navigate but even begin to embrace my time of singleness.

Stop Comparing

We know we shouldn’t, but how difficult is it to avoid comparing ourselves to others in this modern society where every milestone is a social media post? And when we want something, doesn’t it seem like everyone else is getting it?

For me, it became difficult to find anything on Facebook that wasn’t an engagement announcement, a couple’s photo shoot, or a wedding. And most of the women were at least four years younger than I was. I wondered what was wrong with me and woke up every morning feeling ugly and undesirable.

It wasn’t until I took a step away from social media that I realized what was happening. Every person I saw online had become a measuring stick that I would hold up to my own life. And if I was too tall or too short, I felt like a failure.

Why don’t I have a boyfriend? Why am I not married yet? Why doesn’t my life match up with everyone else’s?

Because it was never meant to. We’re all on different journeys. My mom was married at 18 and had my older sister at 19. Others are married at 23, 35, even 60. There’s no schedule, and the only footsteps we should be straining to follow are those of Jesus Christ.

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” Ephesians 5:1

Remember, a Man Will Not Complete You

A deep desire can feel like the one thing that will make us happy—the missing puzzle piece that completes the picture. But going into any relationship expecting that person to soothe all your heartache only sets them up for frustration and you for disappointment.

Our God has not given us a single need that cannot be met in Him. Our completeness, our wholeness, is dependent on Him alone.

Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians, “and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority” (2:10).

In Christ, you lack nothing. Your life doesn’t begin when you meet a “special man.” You can’t wait for that magical (fictional) moment when you find what you’ve been missing and everything becomes clear. And none of us are meant to simply pass time until we find a soulmate.

Surrender Your Desire to God

Now comes the hard part, and the most important: spend some time with God and tell Him the desires of your heart. Tell Him how you feel, your fears and hopes. Press into Him. Ask Him to guide you on the path He has for you, and then keep asking.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). This is a bitter truth, but a promise follows: “desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

That sounds great, doesn’t it? But how do we exchange a sick heart for a tree of life? Take a look at these invitations in Psalm 37:4-7.

  • “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
  • “Commit your way to the Lord”
  • “Trust also in Him”
  • “Rest in the Lord”
  • “Wait patiently for Him”

That heartsickness, those feelings of ugliness and inferiority, won’t be whisked away when you find a man. Delight in, commit to, trust, rest, and wait patiently for God. He wants to heal your heart now with His truth.

Cling to the Truth

God speaks to all of us in different ways, but the Bible is always a dependable source of truth. Here are a few verses that He has used to speak to me in my loneliest moments.

“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.” Psalm 119:76

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“As a young man marries a oung woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:13-18

God made us to crave relationships. It is your deepest desire and mine because He fashioned our hearts to be satisfied by connection—first with Him and then with others.

So, ask God for that special relationship that you want and then seek Him. Invest in your other relationships while you wait to see what God has in store for you. I don’t know if it’s a man or not, but I do know this: it will be more wonderful than either of us can possibly dream of.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

 

Caroline Madison is a freelance editor and writer with a passion for the written word and a special interest in telling and reading stories that present biblical truths in fresh ways. She also enjoys writing flash fiction, drawing pencil portraits, and playing piano.

Disclaimer: any single editor replying to reader questions through this advice column is a Christian seeking God’s direction through his Word. We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. As we explore issues with you, we will seek God’s guidance through prayer and the Bible.