November 16

Read Acts 20 -- 22

In Today's Reading:

Paul's mission to Macedonia and Greece; raising of Eutychus from death; message to the Ephesian elders; seized in the Temple

The Apostle Paul met with the Ephesian elders at Miletus, saying: I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall (happen to) me there: Save (Except) that the Holy Spirit witnessed in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide (await) me. But none of these things move 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 (solemnly affirm) the Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:22-24).

The indwelling Holy Spirit will strengthen us to withstand our trials and temptations as He did for Paul. Jesus promised believers: I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide (remain) with you for ever (John 14:16). We have not been left alone, but are strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). With the assurance of the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit, we can face life with certainty concerning our future. This enables us to enjoy a deep, inward peace that comes from God (John 14:27). We experience a contentment that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), one that outward circumstances cannot affect. Because God, Who is merciful and loving, is within us, we can respond with love and mercy for others that sweeps away all prejudice, jealousy, hate, and envy. No opposition can rob us of the peace God bestows when we permit Christ the King to reign over our emotions. Though we have not always permitted Christ to rule our emotions, we can say: "Though I'm not what I ought to be, I'm not what I used to be; thanks to Christ, I'm becoming what I was intended to be."

Spiritual growth takes place as we give, not just material things, but what people need most, our love, our forgiveness, and our understanding. In doing this, we are becoming more like Jesus. Paul never denounced the evil Roman Emperor Nero, but he prayed for him. Even as a prisoner in Rome, Paul wrote: I exhort therefore, that, first of all . . . prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:1-4).

Word Studies:

20:12 not a little = greatly; 21:15 took up our carriages = packed our baggage; 21:24 be at charges with them = pay their expenses.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Youth With A Mission and Ron Boehme · for the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · Country: China, Mainland (1.2 billion) in eastern Asia · Major languages: Standard Chinese (Putonghua) or Mandarin (based on the Beijing dialect) · Renewed persecution of the Church · 18% Chinese folk-religionist; 6% Buddhist; 2% Muslim; number of Christians unknown but growing · Prayer Suggestion: Humble yourself, pray, and seek the will of God as you read His Word (II Chronicles 7:14).

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:23