Acts 20 -- 22
Before going to Jerusalem, Paul called for a meeting with Ephesian elders at Miletus, saying: I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall happen to me there: except the Holy Spirit witnesses in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions are awaiting me. But none of these things concern me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:22-24). Paul could say this because of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in his life and his wholehearted submission to the Lord.
Paul reminded them and us, saying: After my departure grievous (savage) wolves shall enter in among you. . . . speaking perverse things (distorting the truth). . . . Therefore watch. . . . And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His Grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified (20:29-32). Although deceivers distort the truth, we can be prepared to recognize them if we study the Word of His Grace.
The indwelling Holy Spirit will strengthen us to withstand our trials and temptations, such as those that Paul experienced. Jesus promised: I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter (Helper, Friend, Counselor), that He may abide with you for ever (John 14:16). The Lord does not expect us to live the Christian life without Him, so He sent the Holy Spirit to literally "go alongside to help" and to live His life through us! We are not alone, but strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). Once we recognize that His indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to accomplish His will regardless of adverse circumstances (Philippians 4:13), we can respond in love to anyone who causes us to suffer. No opposition on earth can rob us of the peace God gives if we permit Christ the King to reign over our emotions. True peace comes, not from the absence of conflict or suffering, but from allowing Christ to rule over our minds and hearts. Each believer has the privilege of strengthening other believers by word and example. Jesus died for the Church; Christians must live to strengthen it.
The Word of God is our unique source of protection, as well as our source of spiritual growth. It assures us that we not only belong to the Lord, but that we are becoming like Him. We should be able to say: "Though I'm not what I ought to be, I'm not what I used to be; and praise the Lord, I'm becoming what I was intended to be."
Spiritual growth takes place as we give of ourselves, not merely material things, but of what people need most -- love, forgiveness, and understanding. And, in doing so, we discover that we are becoming more like Jesus. Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
BPM Staff: Barbara Jean Jackson · Pray for John and Sharon Harvey and Open Door Ministry International · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Thursday Morning Prayer · Country: Jordan (3 million) in southwestern Asia · Major languages: Arabic and English · Religious tolerance · 93% Muslim; 5% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Pray in faith that God will bless your family (Genesis 17:18-20).
Memory Verse for the Week: