Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the [a] Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and [1] poisoned their [2] minds against the brethren.

Acts 14:1-2

[14:1a]

The the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?”
John 7:35

And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
Acts 18:4

I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise…For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Romans 1:14;16

For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom.
1 Corinthians 1:22

[1] embittered
[2] literally soul

Paul and Barnabas were ministers who were called to spread the Word of the Lord and share the gospel of Christ. While in Iconium they taught in the synagogues the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ and many people, both Jews and Gentiles, came to know Jesus and His kingdom. But there were Jews who knew the Law but not the Lord, who sought signs, but not wisdom, who were intimidated by the fact that God was available to all men; not just Jews. These people did not believe their message. These unbelieving Jews lied to other Jews and Gentiles, who had not heard the gospel message, in order to make their souls bitter toward Paul and Barnabas and anyone trying to share the salvation message. The unbelieving Jews did not want Paul and Barnabas to be heard and in some cases, they were in grave danger.

We see this today in churches, families, society, politics…anywhere humanity can be mistaken or misled. This is why a personal relationship with God is vital. Within our personal awareness of Christ and His life in ours, we can be led by the Holy Spirit when the people around us are wrong. Through our relationship with Our Maker, Our Lord, Our Adopted Father, we can see our identity as He created it. This identity will keep us strong while the people who are not understanding or caring about us and maybe do not know a loving God, who is full of grace and forgiveness, try to tear us down, reject us or worse. This same identity will also draw us to other believers who are seeking wisdom and not signs. In these relationships we can work together to right wrongs, abolish oppression and learn to see God in each other so that we are strengthened when others try to tear us down or judge us wrongfully, or at least without the intention of leading us to a spiritual growth and health.

…Not to say that God doesn’t use signs and wonders—in fact He says:

“At it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
Joel 2:28

…But relationship with God is grown as we learn about the names and attributes of God’s character and begin seeking His character inside of ourselves because Jesus builds our testimony of Him so we don’t need to think about what we will say or do before it is time to act because He will put His wisdom in our mouths that no one can contradict. We will be betrayed by parents, siblings, relatives and friends—some of us will be hated or even executed for Jesus’ Name’s sake—Yet they cannot change who we are as long as we maintain our souls in the peace of God.

Luke 21:13-19

“But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom in which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair on your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.”

Even if it seems we have lost too much or we can’t heal, we must remember that we came into the world naked, just as we will die. But all glory belongs to the Lord for He is good!

Job 1:21

And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
1 Peter 5:6

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

Lord, You know all things. You know my soul. Your Holy Spirit lives in me. You are loved by me and those who believe in You; You are hated by those who fear the extent of Your grace and those who have been misled by similar-minded people. You lift up those how rely on You in Your timing.

You know me when no one else wants anything to do with me. You knew they would reject me; not wanting anything to do with me until they wanted something from me or they needed to look good for others. You knew some would lie about me and others would believe them. You knew they would terrorize me when I was weak and hanging onto You for dear life. You knew they would never be strong enough for me. You knew they would accuse me of their own sins. You knew they would despise my gentle spirit. You knew they were unable to love me in truth and spirit. You knew they would not be able to extend forgiveness to me or peace. You knew they would never clear their ledgers against me regardless of what I did. You knew I would fail their expectations because I was made to fulfill my own—the ones You guide me to. You knew I would react in my humanity instead of respond in Your love. You knew I would allow the abuse and even create some of it. You knew I would have to trust You to love and care for them because they don’t understand what I want or even want to engage.

Thank You that Your grace is sufficient.

Please find glory in my steps Lord.

Amen

Feel free to leave your comments below!

My name is Summer. That is how you can call me. I hope that I am a blessing to you. I am not perfect. I will fall again. But I am forgiven.

Do you know Jesus? Do want the Holy Spirit to fill you and give you understanding and salvation? Ask Him. Want someone to pray with you? Contact me.

If you would like to know Jesus as your friend, but want to make this amazing commitment by yourself please pray something like this:

Thank you Jesus that You are the Son of God, the God that created heaven and earth. Thank you Jesus that You came to earth in the form of a man so that You would be able to empathize with my humanity. Thank You that You did this in order to fulfill the promises You made at the foundation of the world.

I realize that I am a sinner and do things that hurt myself and keep myself away from you. Thank You that You died for my sins so that You could defeat death and bring me into Your life. Please forgive me.

I ask You to be Lord of my life. I ask you to heal my hurts and show me what my new life, empowered by You looks like. Thank You for Your mercy.

Amen

The Lord is with you always.

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