Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Winding Road of Encouragement

As you probably know by now I've been doing Beth Moore's 90 day journey with Paul and I am making progress.  90 days may take me more like 120 or something, but that's OK...that's where God's grace comes in.  He loves me even when I miss a day.  It's me that suffers and misses out on a blessing or encouragement if I skip a day.

Anyway, today we were in Acts 14:21-22 when Paul and Barnabas are in Derbe, but to get there they had to backtrack through several places. 
'They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.'  Acts 14: 21-22
Places where they had barely escaped being stoned, Paul had been stoned, and another where they were persecuted and expelled.  Which leads to the question of why in the world would they do that?  Were they just out for punishment?  Crazy? 

I think that they loved Jesus so much and wanted other converts to have the same kind of love for Him that they did.  They went back to encourage the new believers to stand firm and not be swayed or scared by the hardships that may come their way.  They wanted to show them that He was worth anything that happened due to their belief in Him. 

'In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.'  John 16:33

I'm sure that the new believers in the cities they revisited were glad that Paul and Barnabas came back.  I think it reaffirmed what they had originally been taught.  If He wasn't everything Paul said He was, then why in the world would he have risked his life just to come by and encourage them?  Doesn't that make you think about what new believers in our time see when they look at our lives?  If we say that we trust God completely but then we fall apart at the seams when the stock market takes a tumble or the price of gas goes up what is that showing them?  What is it saying about our trust in Him?

Not too much I'd venture to say.  Sometimes actions speak louder than words.  So  make sure that your actions are following your words.  We are the light of the world, through Him, and I know I want to be a good ambassador of the torch I've been entrusted with!



Jenifer said...

Great post. A lot to think about. I want the world to see Christ in me but as you said if I fall apart at all of the bad things, it isn't showing Christ. I want my light to burn bright. Thanks for posting this.

Way off topic, lol, but is Belton close to Myrtle Beach? Our family LOVES Myrtle Beach. That is our favorite vacation spot! :)

Allison Morrison said...

@Jenifer...Yes, well somewhat. Belton is about 4 1/2 hours from Myrtle. Our family also goes there every June. We have a camper so we stay at one of the campgrounds and have a BLAST! It's a great spot...

Heidi said...

You're so right, I remember being a new believer and wondering about older believers when their faith didn't measure up to what I thought it should be. It's hard to keep up that faith, but thankfully we're not asked to do it alone... we just need to be disciplined and as He says "remain in me and I will remain in you" and it will all pan out. Great post! I remember one of the first bible studies I did as a new believer was Beth Moore study on Paul... I think I did David first, then Paul. All of her stuff is so good!!!

Lisa said...

I've said before that if my life as a Christian is just like that of a non Christian, why would anyone want to become a Christian? We have peace, joy, hope, and love because of Christ and we need to show that to the world. Our actions need to follow our words.
Thanks for this great post!

Phather Phil Malmstrom said...

Wonderful post Allison! We all have moments of doubt and fear now and again, but if we trust in Him completely, His Grace gets us right back on the Path. Have a Blessed Day!