This morning, I my personal studies led me in to the first missionary journey of the Apostle Paul. His habit was to go to the synagogue at every new place he visited and to preach the Gospel through the Scriptures (what we now call the Old Testament). Many, both Jews and Gentiles believed, but some saw the crowds that Paul and Barnabas (his mentor) were drawing, and became Jealous, and so they stirred up the towns against Paul. I had to stop and reflect on this. In this season of my life, it seems that people are stirring up trouble, even when I'm simply preaching the Gospel (or not doing anything whatsoever). Something to consider in this: when you're a follower of Jesus it's not IF persecution or trouble will find you, but it's a matter of when. One of my former youth students is fond of saying "When you give your life to Christ there's a target painted on your back. You have an enemy now, who's seeking to kill, steal, and destroy, and you're getting in his way." Jealous of the Most High God, Satan will not take your living for God lying down. As Believers, we should not be troubled when trouble finds us, we should be on our guard for it always! Jesus told His disciples "In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33) If you're a believer, it's only a matter of time, so don't stock up on supplies, ammunition, or whatever else to prepare you for a worldly struggle; sharpen the sword of the Spirit by getting in to the WORD! The Scriptures hold the promises of Salvation that we can stand upon. It holds the sacred words and instructions of Jesus Christ; hold fast to them! The words can bring you life as the Spirit brings interpretation, so cling to life! Just put your armor on every day, and be on your guard. The Lord will fight the battle, just stand firm! Ephesians 6:10-20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
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