by Bobby Bruno
3/24/2014 / Devotionals
When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. The men who accompanied Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
Acts 17:1315 NIV
It's easy to see why the Jews turned against Paul when he began speaking about Jesus Christ as being the Messiah. To the Jews, Paul was the one who killed and jailed Christians, he was not supposed to be the one who helped their cause along. To their thinking, the Jews were betrayed by Paul when he converted over to Christianity and, apparently, away from Judaism. But Paul knew the truth, the whole truth, about this dead Jesus that the Christians were following instead of God alone. But, no matter how the Jews felt about him, Paul kept on preaching the Word to all who would hear his words from the Holy Spirit. How many Christians of today have backed down from their calling simple because they encountered some persecution along the way, or that their calling was too hard to accomplish and quit because they had to leave their comfort zone to tell others about the risen Christ?
Even though all of the Bible "greats" had their failings, they still listened to the Holy Spirit and accomplished what the Spirit had sent them out to do. David was still the greatest king Israel ever had; Moses still helped to set his people free from Egypt and got them to the Promised Land; Abraham still became the father of many nations; and Joseph helped the Egyptians make it through the years of famine and plenty. It doesn't matter how much you sin as long as you know God (David). It doesn't matter whether you are healthy or not as long as you know Jesus (Joni Erickson Tada). It doesn't even matter if you are the smartest or dumbest human on the planet (me), God can use anyone He wants to fulfill His plan for humanity. If all Christians allowed God to be in control of every aspect of their lives then God can do mighty deeds through them, just as He did with the "greats" of old. More than any other "great" in the entire Bible, Paul was persecuted and jailed more than even the Apostles who stayed in Jerusalem. Jesus said that Paul would suffer more than anyone ever had other than Jesus Himself, and he did, but Paul never back down even knowing that suffering would be his way of life if he continued to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Messiah. Even while jailed, Paul still got the word out about Jesus Christ. May we all allow God to use every part of us for His glory, and may the mercy that He has shown us come through our lives and attitudes towards other people so that they may find God's love and mercy for their lives. Like Paul, may we take all of our persecutions and turn them into testimonies for the Lord, our God.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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