Too Hot To Handle!
Ask God to tell you what you need to hear today rather than what you might like to hear.
Read ACTS 9:19-31
 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.  At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”  Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.  After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him,  but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.  But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.  When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.  So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.  He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.  When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.  Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
ReflectWhat good service did Barnabas give to Saul?
Saul’s conversion is so thorough he seriously upsets his hearers. The Jews of Damascus liked it when he was persecuting the new sect who called on the name of Jesus; but now that he has changed his tune, they want to kill him, too. His followers have to rescue him (25). Similarly, the disciples in Jerusalem were wary of this new enthusiast, but they also end up rescuing Saul from death threats (29). Bold witnessing to our faith sometimes causes upset, but God uses these difficult experiences to strengthen our faith and to help us grow in Christ-likeness. The peaceful times will in all likelihood come back (31), and we will be the stronger for them. Did you spot Barnabas and his role in bringing Saul into the fellowship (27)? Maybe there are people on the edge of your Christian group whose stories you could learn about and whom you could encourage to share their gifts for the group’s benefit? Think of any Christians you know who are going through tough times and who need encouragement (27), or a complete break (30). What could you or your group do to help them?
Is there someone for whom you could be a “Barnabas” in the next few days? Ask God to show you.
Lord, You encourage me through others and I want to do the same for those around me. Use me, I pray.
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