Bible Reference: Acts 18:8-11
Translation: The Message (MSG)
Bible Text: 8-11 In the course of listening to Paul, a great many Corinthians believed and were baptized. One night the Master spoke to Paul in a dream: “Keep it up, and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you. No matter what happens, I’m with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you. You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.” That was all he needed to stick it out. He stayed another year and a half, faithfully teaching the Word of God to the Corinthians.
OBSERVATION: I have always heard that most pastors that quit the ministry or a church, makes that decision on a Monday, because the decision is made after a feeling of failure from the Sunday before. As we meditate on these verses today, let is try to understand why God saw it so important to encourage Paul about the work he was doing. Perhaps this might encourage us to be more encouraging to our pastors, Sunday School teachers, and other ministers of the Gospel.
APPLICATION: The commitment you make to serve God through various ministries, is often one that you may find brings no earthly rewards, or there may appear to be no appreciation shown at all for the sacrifices you make. Many Pastors will tell you that this matters little to them, for they are looking forward to their heavenly reward. However, show me a pastor who is praised and encouraged by their congregation, and I believe I could show you a very happy pastor who often feels accomplished. Just as a simple illustration, I had a pastor at one time who encouraged my church to say ‘Amen’ if you felt that he was on target with what he declared from the pulpit. He said it was like saying ‘sick-um’ to a bull dog!! Think about this and realize how something so simple could help a pastor. It shows him that you are listening, and it encourages him to know that you feel very similar to what you just heard him say. We teach, preach and minister, because we want God’s work to be accomplished through us and in anything we might say. Whether we sing, preach or teach, when we look at a nonparticipating audience it will only dampen our spirit and discourage us in our delivery. I believe that when one seeks the wisdom of God, and shares from the Word of God, with a heart that is close to God, then God’s people will be stirred, and they will respond accordingly. I once heard someone complain about the lack of substance spoken by the pastor in his Sunday morning sermon. I asked how much they had prayed for the pastor and his sermon that day. The negative response told me that they got as much from the sermon as they had prayed for. What about you dear friend? Are you a prayer warrior for your pastor, or other teachers/ministers at your church? In Scripture we are told that ‘if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, then I will hear from heaven and…..’ Wouldn’t we also see better results if we humbled ourselves and prayed for our pastor? Perhaps then he will also hear from heaven and….. In our scripture verses today God shows us how important it was for Him to encourage Paul. I believe He wanted to show us how important it is for us to also encourage our church leaders and pastors. Don’t do this out of habit, but from a deep, sincere heart, in celebration for what you saw in response to your prayers.
PRAYER: Lord, it was precious to see You honor Your servant Paul, and to encourage him to continue ministering in Your name! Thank You heavenly Father for using the foolishness of preaching to reach the lost of our community. Thank You for using humble men and women like my readers and I to share Your Word with others. It’s like one beggar sharing bread with other beggars who are starving. People all around us need the Lord. Please use all those who are willing to share Your Word in such a way that the lost will understand and desire. Please open the hearts and minds of the unsaved, and cause them to either hear Your Word proclaimed, or read attempts such as this blog. Please use our efforts in whatever form You know will touch hearts today, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to attend my home church. Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!