DAY 7– The Gospel Spreads Beyond Jerusalem.
READ: Acts 8:1-5, 14-15, 18-20, 26-27, 37-38
Yesterday we learned about the church’s first martyr: Stephen. Today we see how his stoning kicked off a major flight and a persecution of the church. People literally ran for their lives. But leaving town, Jerusalem, was exactly part of God’s greater plan. Jesus mentioned it right before He left (see Acts 1:8). The believers’ escape to outlying areas only helped to spread the Gospel to the very ends of the earth as Jesus had commanded. In today’s reading, we see how Phillip preached in Samaria (Jews detested the people that lived there). After that, he met an Ethiopian official on his way home to Africa and won him to Christ. And, as usual, trouble in the church continued too. Peter and John met a man trying to make a profit off of the Gospel and ended up having to set him straight. There was rarely a dull moment to be sure. Those were trying but exciting times.
How Does this Apply to Me?
When painful or difficult experiences come our way, we need to be willing to accept that they just might be a part of God’s greater plan after all. Why? Because many times they simply are. Circumstances in life, good or bad, can bring about opportunities to share Christ. And too, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves that when we are struggling, people are watching. They are looking to see how we handle the situation and how we respond to it. Let’s ask the Lord to give us eyes to see His plan when we’re in the midst of our pain. Just like the Apostles (and those early church members), no matter where we wind up, or are sent, let’s be willing and ready to faithfully share the Gospel.
Acts 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
Praying Together: Let’s ask the Lord to help us see beyond our difficult moments and to look for the opportunities to share the Good News with the hurting world around us.