Bible Reading Day 189
Day 189: July 8 (Acts 14)
After being run out of Antioch in Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas go to Iconium, where history repeats itself! Many Jews and Gentiles believe, but soon opposition increases to the point where a mob is ready to stone them!
So Paul and Barnabas flee again – to the twin cities of Lystra and Derbe in what is now southern Turkey. Here Paul noticed a man crippled from birth who was listening intently to Paul’s preaching. Seeing he had faith for healing, Paul called out “Stand Up!” and the man did!
This caused a great commotion and the people mistook Paul and Barnabas for gods. They wanted to sacrifice to them and worship them, but the two were able to restrain them. However, Jews from the previous towns caught up with them and turned the crowds against them, stoning Paul until he seemed to be dead.
The believers gathered round and prayed, and he got up and went back into the town. All this upheaval must have made quite an impact on the people there! In fact, we will see later that Timothy, a young convert there, becomes a traveling companion for Paul on his second missionary journey.
Paul and Barnabas go on to Derbe and then back to all the towns where they have made converts. They appoint elders in each place to lead the churches, and strengthened the believers with the encouragement that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God!
Finally they return to Antioch in Syria and report back to their sending church about all that God has done.
How amazing that these men would go back to every place where they had been attacked by hostile religion. Not only did they go back, but they made sure each group of Christians had leadership and honest encouragement.
How can you encourage someone today? What hostile situation or place of past discouragement is God sending you back to? Maybe you have had a hard time – how does God want to turn that around into rejoicing?
Have a great day!