Thursday 19th January 2017 - Daily Reading:
Acts 14 - Mighty Power, but not Their Own by Karen Cowling

Paul and Barnabas continued on their journey of taking the gospel to the Greek cities. They would always start with the synagogues though as Paul put in his letter to the Romans the power of salvation is (Romans 1:16). They then would speak to all people they came across. They have to leave Iconium due to a threat of being stoned. They then go to Lystra, where Paul, in the middle of preaching tells a lame man to get up and walk after seeing that he has the faith to be healed.

This causes a huge stir, although not quite what Paul and Barnabas were expecting. Instead of turning their faith to God the people try to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas, believing that Zeus and Hermes the Greek gods had come down and met with them. Even while trying to explain Paul and Barnabas struggle to stop the people from sacrificing to them. Then some Jews that seem to be following Paul and causing trouble for him win the crowd over and he is dragged out and stoned. However he is not dead, maybe just through healing as a result of prayer from the disciples with him.It's great reading in Acts all the signs and wonders that the early church saw and did. We have this same power. The Holy Spirit we have is the same Holy Spirit they had. God wants to perform signs and wonders; signs and wonders follow the gospel. We need to become a people that preach the gospel boldly. Not fearing signs and wonders but embracing them, as a way to show God's awesome power. We need to remember that this power is not our own, and we are merely clay jars carrying the treasure God has given us.However, being bold and performing signs and wonders comes at a price; verse 22 tells us: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,”.

This chapter ends with the end of Paul and Barnabas' first mission trip. They appoint elders for all the churches they have set up and then return to Antioch to share all that God has done and how God is bringing the Gentiles to faith in Christ. Paul and Barnabas are always quick to give the glory back to God, they knew that the power they had was not their own. We cannot save people, but God can through us.

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