Daily Devotional 08-20-11

Scripture: Acts 13:46-50
Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you [the Jews]. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region.

Thoughts for the Day: It’s amazing how God’s Word spreads, almost like an organic organism looking for a home to settle in. The Word is passed from person to person, often being rejected, but many times changing the life of the person who is open and accepting to the Love of God. God’s Word can mean freedom for the oppressed and relief for the suffering. But the word must be proclaimed and heard for any effect to occur. Paul and Barnabas traveled the globe spreading the good news of Christ, and were often met with rejection, ridicule, persecution, and imprisonment. Yet, God continued to inspire them to spread the news that humanity has an intrinsic relationship with an infinitely divine consciousness that, if we allow it, can guide our thoughts and actions and shape our heart, so that we may transform from creatures of sin into creatures of love.

Where might God’s word take us on our own evangelical journeys? Can we find the courage to proclaim the good news of God’s freely-given grace, even in the face of derision and ridicule? Can we be compassionate and respectful as we spread God’s word, acknowledging that God speaks to different people in different ways, and through different messengers? As we spread the good news, let us be mindful that we do not preach a message of exclusion. For different reasons, our job today is as difficult as Paul’s and Barnabas’ was then. Televangelists and fundamentalists are not helping God’s cause (or ours, when we attempt to proclaim our faith). But the necessity of proclaiming the Word of God has not diminshed.
PrayerHoly God of love, may you ignite in me the passion and courage I so desire to speak your word and proclaim your glory. May your Word flow through me in a way that will be seen as compassionate, caring, and full of your love. Help me show the world that my faith comes from a religion of love, acceptance, peace and forgiveness, not a religion of zealotry and hate, as is too often portrayed. Amen.

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