As you pray, thank God that he promises to be with you in any and every situation, and at all times.
Read Acts 11:19-30
 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.  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.  The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  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.  He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.  Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,  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.  During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.  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.)  The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.  This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat distinction was Antioch given?
We continue with the spread of the Gospel, particularly to the Gentiles. The initial persecution of the church led to dispersion—Christians leaving homes, family, friends, jobs—a significant upheaval. How did those new disciples feel? Did they feel let down by God or did they accept that Jesus had said it would be this way? I expect in their new locations they were asked why they had left Jerusalem and many took the opportunity to share the Gospel. Initially they shared with Jews and then with Gentiles, leading to new churches being formed (19-21). Barnabas is sent from Jerusalem, where the ground has been laid for acceptance of the Gentiles. He brings words of encouragement and the church continues to grow, so much so that he needs assistance. Rather than soldiering on by himself, he brings Saul to work with him. As the church flourishes it obviously affects the area so much that a new name is given—they are now called Christians (22-26). We now read about prophets foretelling an imminent famine. This leads to a significant response of help (27,30). This section is a great example of the Lord using a variety of means and individuals to further his Kingdom.
To whom could you offer words of encouragement and support today? A pastor or other Christian leader?
Pray that you would be open, willing and able to pray for and encourage your pastor and other Christian leaders.
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