Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9: Acts 18

Acts 18

After preaching in Athens, Paul goes west, to the city of Corinth. There he spends time working in the union as a tent maker and preaching in the synagogue (a place sort of like a church) on Saturdays. Priscilla and Aquila are also making tents in Corinth because the Roman Emperor kicked all Jews out of Rome. As refugees in Corinth they become friends with Paul. But Paul has almost had it with Corinth and must be ready to give up, because God speaks to him in a vision and encourages him to keep going.

Have you ever tried to reach someone and been so discouraged and tired that you’re at the end of your rope and ready to give up? Paul had split with Barnabas but still had God as an encourager. If you are doing the work that God has called you to, God will make sure to get you through it.

Paul later sails for Ephesus with his new friends and new do. While in Ephesus, Paul continues to do the work God called him to by starting another church. After this he sails to the nation of Israel and makes his way back to Antioch in north Syria. This ends his second missionary journey. Remember that he went west from Antioch and started churches in Turkey but was routed north instead of to the coast, ending up in Greece. There he started churches in Philippi, Berea, Athens, and Corinth before sailing to Ephesus, where he started another church. From there he made his way back to HQ in Antioch.

Paul is a driven guy, so he sets out a third time to strengthen the churches that he had started on previous journeys. At this point another apostle, Apollos, shows up on the scene. This guy is from Alexandria in Egypt and knows the bible. But it says that he only knew the baptism of John, perhaps indicating that he knew only that Jesus came as the Son of God and Savior of the world but not of Jesus' death and resurrection, so Priscilla and Aquila explain to him the way of God more adequately.

Are you willing to do whatever God wants you to do? Are there limits on what you are willing to do for God? I’ve heard that God often calls people to do things that they are good or talented at and are WAY out of their comfort zone. But don’t get all worried about what God is going to make you do, because he will be there by your side to encourage you, just like he was there for Paul.

- Written for Verve by Mike Zimmerman