Thursday, July 29, 2021

Acts 14 Devotions by Stephen Taylor

Acts 14:18-19

18Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. 19Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.


What a difference a verse can make! Things in this life can change in a flash. A text message, a phone call, an email, something can come out of left field and knock you down. These people so revered Paul and Barnabas that they were offering sacrifices to them because they thought they were gods. Then, a verse later, they want Paul so dead that they don’t even drag him outside of town to stone him but do it right there. In those days, the customs and Levitical Law was to take them outside the camp to stone them, but these people were so stirred up against those they had just tried to worship that they couldn’t wait!


Oh, how our lives can change so quickly, but you know what doesn’t change in these verses or ever? Our God (Hebrews 13:8)! He never left Paul. He never told Paul to figure it out on his own. He was with Paul all the way through this stoning and beyond. He wants and will do the same for you! He wants you to trust and turn to Him completely and watch how He can take a dark spot and turn it into a bright light for Him!


Something the Lord gave me this morning was that you can either embrace the hurt or the Healer, the past or the Promise, this life or the Lord! But we can’t hold onto both. Something has to be let go of. Think about it like this: Have you ever watched a movie, and someone falls over a cliff, but someone grabs them but with only one hand because in the other hand, they have something they deem valuable and they refuse to let it go? What happens if they refuse to let it go and take the other hand? They fall and die. That’s Christ holding us and us trying to hold onto Him and the world at the same time. We have to let go of the world and grab Him with both hands and let Him pull us to safety and eternal life in Him!


1 Corinthians 10:21 - You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.


1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


God bless! I love you all! Glory, Honor, and Praise now and forever to Papa God, Jesus Christ our King, and the Holy Spirit! 



Acts 14:19

Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.


God didn’t stop the rocks from being thrown at Paul, but He did see him through this attack. Sometimes, in life, the enemy is going to start chucking stones at us, and we have to be fully prepared, putting on the full armor of God each day if we are going to be able to withstand these attacks!


We might think Paul had this coming. After all, he persecuted and tried to destroy the early believers in Christ. But I don’t believe this was a punishment from God but rather a way God could display His power and favor through Paul and show everyone that Paul was changed and now was operating with a heart filled with Christ! Look at the very next verse:


Acts 14:20 - But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.


It doesn’t say that Paul went back into the city and taunted or condemned those who hurt him but rather just went quietly, humbly, and meekly back into the city and then continued on his way! Imagine the people who just stoned him running into him and not getting the reaction they would expect. Imagine them receiving a prayer or a smile instead of a curse and a fist! That, my brothers and sisters, is one of the stories that shows me the true conversion that comes when you turn your life over to Christ!


I found it later in the book of Acts as well, when Paul was in chains (unjustly) for some time. Acts 26:29 - Paul replied, "Short time or long - - I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."


That, my friends, is a statement that only Jesus Christ living in us can make! We could never respond like that unless the love of Christ is overflowing in us, through us, and around us!


God bless! I love you all! Glory, Honor, and Praise forever to God Almighty, Jesus Christ the King, and The Holy Spirit! 



Acts 14:27

On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.


Acts 16:14 - One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.


The Holy Spirit showed me that there is a beautiful truth and freedom found in these verses. The truth is that God prepares the person and the heart, not us. And that brings us the freedom to operate freely in Him and let Him worry about the results! It’s not up to us to make anyone believe or receive the Truth but just take it to them humbly, lovingly, and honestly through the power, direction, and guidance of the Holy Spirit! The power isn’t in ourselves and how “good” we share it but rather in Him, who is sharing Himself through us.


There is freedom in this, brothers and sisters! We don’t have to come up with the next great sermon series or develop some new brilliant theology, but rather just wait for God to open the door and walk through it with Him! I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be creative or use the inspiration the Holy Spirit gives us, but what I am saying is the pressures off!


That being said, it also means that we as a church need to walk in this more. What I mean by that is that it’s never been only the pastor or leader's job to share the truth. Jesus didn’t just send His top few disciples but told all 11 to go. He didn’t say, “Peter, you and John go ahead, but the rest of you hide behind the scenes.” He basically said it’s game time, and everybody’s got a part to play. God makes the way and prepares the heart, so we have no reason or excuse not to walk in it.


Matthew 28:16-20 - Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


God bless! I love you all, but He loves you perfectly! Glory, honor, and praise now and forever to Papa God, Jesus Christ our King, and the Holy Spirit!






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