Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Amazing Things

Scripture--Acts 16-Acts 18

Observation:  I suppose you aren’t surprised that this section that the stories of the women (Priscilla and Lydia)  stuck out to me.  I love the story that Paul went back to tent making to help him spread the gospel, and through that met people to accompanied him on future journeys.  But the story of Lydia always makes me so happy.  This is a wealthy, seemingly self sufficient woman who ran her household.  She dealt in purple cloth—the cloth of royalty.  So, she was probably rich!  And when she heard Paul’s message, she believed.  This is one of those passages that we use to show that there probably was in fact infant baptism in the Bible.  16:13 says, “Once she and her household were baptized”.  We take that to mean her whole household—which probably included servants, elderly, children, babies and more!  So, if you are ever looking for where infant or child baptism is in scripture, this is one of those scriptures that we as Methodists use to substantiate that.

Application:  Its amazing the things that God can do through us.  I wonder if Paul ever imagined that his life would end up this way.  That after an experience on the road, he would be so changed that he would go to places he didn’t know, preaching a gospel to people that hated him.  That he’d be thrown in jail and have to go back to tent making to support himself.  That he’d have to ask a follower to circumcise himself and preach to influential women.  What could you do if you let God guide you?  If you let go of your preconceived notions and just let God work?  God is ready to do amazing things in our lives, the question is are we ready to let go and let God work?

Prayer—God, we surrender to you.  We give it all up.  Let us be what you call for us to be.  Let us love who you call us to love.  Let us change the world by changing our own minds.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!  Amen.

Pastor Emily


Lynne Watts said...

Today I am struck by two things; Firstly what a world traveler Paul was! He is constantly leaving one place for another and all this is done without complaint, with anticipation and excitement really. Never does it say that he longed to be home... does he even have one?
Secondly, I am struck by the political unrest of the region. What would it be like to be constantly in fear of your life and well-being? To be beaten and thrown in jail? Would we continue to speak out and to spread the good news? What an easy life I have in comparison!

Mary said...

I noticed that everywhere Paul went he always went to the synagogue, trying to give the good news to the Jews first and the Gentiles were added in. But finally in Acts 18 in Corinth, Paul says from now on I will go to the Gentiles. I think that was God's plan all along.

Barbara said...

I have developed a new appreciation for Paul, his perserverance, and the way he followed through and went back to the new groups of believers to check on how they were continuing in the faith. I understand how some of the others may have disagreed with him---I also do sometimes. But Paul's focus on his mission of spreading the Word and letting God work through him sets the bar for us as Christians and as the church.

Carol Flores said...

Yes I know I am behind..hoping to be caught up in a few days :)

The first thing that struck me about this was that the Holy Spirit forbid them from preaching the word in Asia and the Spirit "did not permit" them to visit certain places. It had not occurred to me that the Spirit doesn't just lead us places, it can keep us from going places we are not ready for yet.

But the thing that stood out the most was again the seemingly blind and joyful obedience of these early disciples, in this case Paul. He sees a vision one night about going to Macedonia, and BAM, he adjusts his plans to go there right away. Could we do this with the lifestyles we make for ourselves here? Oh to be so free to follow a calling! I have to ask myself, what in my life is binding me and keeping me from hearing and following the Spirit?