Text: Acts 14:8-18
Theme: What we put our faith in determines our actions and outcome.
Key verses: “Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he sprang up and began walking. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying…’The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!'” (v. 8-11). “But when Paul & Barnabas heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God…'” (v. 14-15). “Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them” (v. 18).
What God said to me: Three different men or groups of men and three very different perspectives and experiences. The crippled was in need, had eyes of faith, and was healed. Paul & Barnabas had the cure, brought the message of healing and fulfilled their mission. The men in the crowds were confused and deceived, had carnal eyes, and could not see the spiritual significance and truth of what was taking place. Paul immediately called them to the true perspective. He pointed them to the why behind the what. He said they should turn “from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” Do you see how Paul had the right perspective? Those men could not see past what their physical eyes beheld. All they understood was that Paul spoke to a cripple man, and that cripple leapt up and walked. They had no clue the power that made that miracle happen. Faith made all the difference in this story: The cripple man had enough faith to be made well. Paul had much faith to see things well. The townsmen had the wrong faith that would send them to hell. You see, everyone puts their (human) faith in something. The men in this passage had “faith” that the gods they worshiped were worth following and sacrificing to. They also had a frenzied, falsely-placed faith in Paul and Barnabas. But the faith I alone can give causes people to change their ways and follow my Way. The faith that comes by hearing my Word affects not only a man’s body but more importantly his soul. It gives a fresh and accurate perspective that’s impossible to have apart from my Truth illuminating their minds. Seek my Way and place your trust and hope in my revelation found in the Bible. That is the only faith that counts in my book. That kind of faith will stand the test of time and fire. Everything else is fickle, fleeting and fatal.
What I said to God: Good morning, Lord. I choose to first of all focus on HE who put the stars in place and HE who is my Father in heaven. I choose to believe that the faith You give is Your warranty, certifying that the revelation You in-birthed in me will come to pass (Your way). Secondly, I ask You to forgive my unbelief, for it is great. As much as I should trust You and believe Your Word, I sometimes doubt You can and will handle my particular circumstances and situations. We’re in a difficult place right now, for example. Will I choose to believe that You will come to our rescue and keep our ministry afloat? Or will I believe the lies of the enemy that I’m out in the deep alone and abandoned? That is the choice before me. To boil it down even more: the real choice is whether I believe You to be Lord or a liar. Of course, I know You are trustworthy. You have never and will never leave me or forsake me or my family. This ministry was initiated by You. It’s Yours. I don’t have to save it or provide for it. I just have to ask, seek, and knock each day and then obey whatever You tell me to do. I choose not to worry or fret. You’ve got this! Finally, I choose today to focus on other people more than on myself and my little world. You are at work around the globe. You have sold-out saints everywhere–many more committed than me. I pray for them now. I pray for our team leaders who are ministering today to people whose homes were burned out by evil Muslim extremists in Pakistan. I pray today for our pastor Joe who is ministering in Zambia. I pray for our NLWI staff members to be filled with Your Spirit so they can bless those they come in contact with today. Truly, this is my Father’s world–I’m just living in it. I say that in full faith and confidence! What a privilege to know You more and walk in Your Ways. I choose to believe You and You alone!