True Spiritual Renewal

27th June

So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped up to his feet and started walking. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!””

Acts 14:10-11

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He healed many sick people, cast out evil spirits and even raised the dead to life. Yet not all of Jesus’ miracles led people to believe He was God. Paul and Barnabas experienced the same thing in Lystra. Having just healed a man with crippled feet, the people of Lystra, instead of giving praise and honour to the one true God, tried to enthrone Paul and Barnabas, as gods in the flesh. Paul and Barnabas, to their dismay, tore their clothing as a sign of grief and utter shock. They must have thought, ‘these people are missing the point’! Sadly for Paul in particular, things didn’t go well at all, and Paul ended up being stoned, almost to death.

Reading this story, really does remind us, that just seeking the supernatural for evidence alone, really is not enough. Yes, God does support our words and preaching with His miracles (as seen in Acts 14:3), but more than being caught up in an eagerness to see only the miracles, signs and wonders, we should never lose sight of the One who gives them, God Almighty. He should always be the focus. Of course, when God’s word is boldly and powerfully preached, the miraculous does happen, but it is never for human gain, but so that men might experience Heaven on Earth.

While our emotions can be touched or moved by spiritual renewal, miracles, signs or wonders, we must make sure that our faith is built on the truth only; the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord of Heaven and Earth, He lived, died and rose again for us, and stands forever, as our eternal ransom. When you understand this truth, nothing can sway you from it.

Encourage Us With The Gospel

26th June

After the usual reading from the Book of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.””

Acts 13:15

Paul and Barnabas, after leaving Cyprus, arrived in Antioch of Pisidia, for the next part of their missionary journey; to preach the Gospel to all people. On the Sabbath day, Paul and Barnabas went to the local synagogue to take part in the service and to hear the word of God. Incredibly, and very unorthodoxly, those in charge of the service asked Paul and Barnabas if they had any words of encouragement for the people. Paul, eagerly responded, and beginning from the call of Abraham, to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s promised Saviour of Israel and all mankind, he showed the people how salvation had come for all men to be saved, forgiven and declared righteous through Jesus Christ. “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God – something the law of Moses could never do” (v 38-39).

Friends, Paul’s message of encouragement, the words he chose to speak, is also an encouragement for us today: The truth, that our sins are forgiven and we are made right through Jesus’ Christ finished work on the cross. Paul, purposefully chose to show people that by doing, ‘the law’, we will never be righteous. It is only through what Jesus has done, ‘His death and resurrection’, that we are forgiven, made whole and made right before God. This is our encouragement. This is our hope. This is the reason we live. And this should be the message we share with others too.