GOD SHALL OVERCOME
‘… in all things God works for the good of those who love Him …’ (Romans 8:28). My God, bring good in my life as only You can do.
Read Acts 11:19–30
The Church in Antioch
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectCan you think of any ways in which God has brought good out of difficult situations you have faced?
The first Christian to die for his faith was Stephen (Acts 7:54–60). This marked the start of a wave of persecution that forced many Christians to flee Jerusalem and become refugees in foreign lands such as Cyprus and Syria (19). Imagine how these Christians must have felt! They had not been believers for long and already things were not going well.
Yet Christianity grew. Those who fled shared their faith with the people they met in these new countries and many came to the Lord. Indeed, as a result Christianity became established outside Israel for the first time, and in the cosmopolitan city of Antioch in Syria a hugely important church was established (20–24). That church pioneered the mission to the wider Roman empire and launched the career of Saul, better known to us as the great evangelist Paul (25,26).
Although we live in a fallen world where bad things happen, we believe God is victorious over evil. Rather than His plans being crushed when wrong occurs, God brings good out of bad just as our passage shows. How does that comfort you?
Think back to that time when God brought good out of bad. Write it down. Hold onto this remembrance and the promises of God when you are tempted to stop trusting God’s hand in your life.
Thank You, Father, that You are more powerful than evil. Help me to keep on trusting that You are at work for good.