Missionary Success: Year Two Day 226 Devotional

Passage: Acts 18:1-19:20
Psalm and Proverbs: Psalm 35

Acts 18:5-11

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

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Paul relied on the Holy Spirit for power and guidance. This reliance was the secret of his missionary success. We must rely on the Spirit in our ministries.

Teach us dependence on You for all things.

Psalm 35:1-3 (NASB)

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
    fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler
    and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin
    against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
    “I am your salvation!”

The Lesson from Acts: Year Two Day 225 Devotional

Passage: Acts 16:6-17:34
Psalm and Proverbs: Psalm 34

Acts 16:6-10

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

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The lesson for churches, pastors, and missionaries from Acts is simple. Listen to the Spirit; then, obey and follow the Spirit’s leading. If we do so, we may turn the world upside down.

Father, make us sensitive to Your Holy Spirit.

Psalm 34:3 (NASB)

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

Reliance and Method: Year Two Day 224 Devotional

Passage: Acts 14:1-16:5
Psalm and Proverbs: Psalm 33

Acts 14:1-3

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

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A few emphasize God’s sovereignty to the degree that it seems not to matter what we do—people will get saved anyway. Others act as if it all depends on us, and we have to struggle and study to find the correct methodology. Paul and Barnabas’ ministry shows a balance. They “spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed” and also “boldly with reliance upon the Lord.” It is not “find the right method” or “rely on God.” It is both.

Father, help us to minister and make disciples relying on Your power.

Psalm 33:5 (NASB)

He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

Called and Sent: Year Two Day 223 Devotional

Passage: Acts 12:5-13:52
Psalm and Proverbs: Psalm 32

Acts 13:2-4

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

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The call to apostolic missions is from the Holy Spirit. The local church confirms the calling and sends out the called. We should not circumvent the Holy Spirit or the local church in our missionary efforts.

Father, call laborers to Your harvest first and lead the church to send them out.

Psalm 32:3-4 (NASB)

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

Context: Year Two Day 222 Devotional

Passage: Acts 11:1-12:24
Psalm and Proverbs: Psalm 31

Acts 11:19-21

19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists] also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

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The believers at Antioch did two things extraordinary compared to others scattered from Jerusalem. First, they preached to Gentiles. Second, they preached a contextualized message. Jesus as Christ would mean little to the Greeks, but Jesus as Lord would fit their understanding. The believers did not change the gospel but found a bridge to help those in another culture understand it.

(Missiologist, Andrew F. Walls, helped me to understand the contextualization found in this passage.)

Father, help Your church contextualize gospel proclamation without compromising it.

Psalm 31:23 (NASB)

Love the Lord, all you his saints!
    The Lord preserves the faithful
    but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.