(Read Acts 14:21-28)
This morning we continue our series “Grace that is Simply Amazing” by continuing to learn more about the amazing life of the Apostle Paul. Yesterday we learned of how Paul was stoned in Lystra, dragged out of town and then left for dead. By the Grace of God Paul got up, he fearlessly went back into town, he reunited with Barnabas, got some sleep, and then left the next day for Derbe.
After preaching the Gospel in Derbe many were converted and discipled by Paul and Barnabas. The Apostles then, in a move that seems risky, returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia. These were the three towns they were kicked out of. In Antioch and Iconium the Apostles were forced out of town and in Lystra Paul was nearly stoned to death. However, Paul and Barnabas were on an assignment from the Lord and they had the courage to carry it out, regardless of the risk. Their trust was in God.
As the Apostles stopped in each town they took the time to encourage the believers to continue in the faith, reminding them that pursuing God and living as a Kingdom of God citizen might cause them to endure hardships, but Paul and Barnabas made it clear that the hardships were nothing in comparison to the Kingdom. To ensure the newly formed churches lasted the Apostles appointed elders in every church. The Bible says, “Through prayer and fasting they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”
Paul and Barnabas then traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia. They preached the Gospel in Perga and then went down to Attalia. Finally, they returned by ship to Antioch of Syria, where their journey had begun. The believers there had entrusted them to the grace of God to do the work they had now completed. Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. This was the end of Paul’s first missionary journey.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. You have a unique assignment. Paul did not have Peter’s assignment, nor did Peter have Paul’s. God used Paul in a completely unique way and He will do the same with you. You were not born to do what someone else is supposed to do and they were not born to do what you are supposed to do. We are all born with a purpose and our job is to FIND, FOLLOW and seek to FINISH that purpose before we die. Paul was doing something no one else was doing. You may not be called to preach, like Paul, but you may be called to be a teacher and leave a mark in the lives of children, or start a business and make an impact in the lives of your employees, or make large sums of money in order to finance ministry, or etc. The point is that you are not a mistake, so whatever you were born to do, pursue it with all your might. No one else on the planet can be YOU, so be the best YOU you can be.
2. Mission accomplishment will not come without opposition. Paul was called to do what he was doing, he was being led of the Holy Spirit as he did it, and God’s blessing was on his life. But even with all of that going for him Paul still faced tremendous opposition and he was almost killed on his first missionary journey. This reminds us of two things. First, you can be in the center of God’s will and still face all sorts of challenges. I wish being in God’s will meant we would never face challenges, but that is certainly not the case. Second, the challenges we face cannot stop us. When we are doing what God called us to, it is true that we will face challenges, but it is also true that God will see to it that the challenges do not overtake us.
3. You have divine Grace to fulfill your assignment. Said another way, you have Grace for your race. What Paul faced would have probably crushed Peter, but then again, Paul might not have been able to do what Peter did. Why? Because Paul did not have Peter’s Grace, neither did Peter have his. That is why you don’t need to waste time attempting to be someone you are not called to be. You only have Grace to be YOU. But what this also means is that as you are seeking to maximize your purpose and potential in life, seeking to run your race and fulfill your divine assignment, you will have divine Grace to face everything that comes your way. God will see to it that you don’t face anything you cannot handle. Therefore, if you are facing it, it is because you can take it and God trusts you with it. So this morning, encourage yourself in the Lord with this thought: “I have divine Grace to run my race. Everything I face on the path to God’s destiny for my life is something I can handle, I have the Grace for it, and God trusts me with it!”
Closing Confession: Father, I know You made plans for me before the foundations of the world. I was born in this season for a reason, and I am determined to FIND, FOLLOW and FINISH my purpose in life before I die. You have given me a unique assignment. No other person on the planet was born to do what I am supposed to do. No one else has the Grace to be me. I embrace my uniqueness and I am determined to be the best ME I can be. I seek to maximize my purpose and potential, while I am in the land of the living, and I seek to do it by Your Grace. You have Graced me to do what You assigned me to do, and I declare by faith that Your Grace towards me shall not be in vain. I know I will face opposition along the way. I know it will not always be easy. I know it will not be a cakewalk. But You never promised me a perpetual picnic. What You did promise was to never leave nor forsake me. Therefore, I know You are ON me, IN me, WITH me and FOR me. With You on my side, I am ready to take on any challenge and come out on top. I have Your Grace to run my own race and I shall run it with unyielding determination. Everything I face on the path to Your destiny is something I can handle. If I could not handle it, I would not be facing it. The fact that I am facing it is a reminder that I have the Grace for it and that You trust me with it! Father, I have the courage to keep going and I shall make You proud as I overcome every obstacle, win every battle, and keep pressing through any opposition. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.