The heart of mankind has not changed.
Sunday, August 15, 2021
By Cindy Ritter, Journey Small Group Leader
“The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.” — Acts 14: 4
Paul and Barnabas were going about their business, preaching “as usual” in the synagogue (Verse 1). With courage they spoke Truth and sure enough, people were offended. People took sides and the community was divided. Paul and Barnabas don’t engage in a screaming match. They pivoted and moved on and “continued to preach the gospel.”(Verse 7)
Conflict. Anger. Strife. Offense. Are we talking about 550 AD or 2021? Yes to both. The heart of mankind has not changed. Here I can grasp some critical points for my life. (1) Paul and Barnabas moved, spoke, and worked daily in sync with the Holy Spirit. They knew what He wanted them to do. (2) Paul and Barnabas focused on eternal matters and not temporal issues. They didn’t engage in the anger around them. (3) Pivot when it’s time to pivot. When it’s time to go, trust Him that He is in control of the situation and will direct me to where He needs me next. There were souls to win and bodies to heal, but they had to choose to move on.
“Lord, I give you my day. Speak to me clearly so I move and act in sync with You. Guard my heart to not become offended when I face anger and conflict. Help me to love people well and use my life to help win souls for you! In Jesus Name, Amen!”
Now You Try
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. Take time to read and allow God to speak to you. Write down the one or two verses that stick out. Even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make a basic observation about the scripture you just read. What stood out? Was something repeated? What is the author trying to communicate? What does the Scripture passage teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity?
Ask, “What does this verse(s) mean for my life?” How might this verse affect your heart — how you feel? How does this verse challenge your thinking? How does it affect your will, asking, “What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?”
Write out a prayer to God. Scripture is God speaking to you, take this moment to speak back. Take a moment to say, “Thank you,” confess to Him what needs to change, or ask for something that is on your heart.