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Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later


Acts 14:21 After they had <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27436AR" data-link="(AR)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>preached the gospel to that city and had <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27436AS" data-link="(AS)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>made many disciples, they returned to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27436AT" data-link="(AT)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Lystra and to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27436AU" data-link="(AU)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Iconium and to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27436AV" data-link="(AV)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27437AW" data-link="(AW)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the disciples, encouraging them to continue in <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27437AX" data-link="(AX)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the faith, and saying, “<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27437AY" data-link="(AY)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” 23 When <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27438AZ" data-link="(AZ)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>they had appointed <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27438BA" data-link="(BA)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>elders for them in every church, having <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27438BB" data-link="(BB)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>prayed with fasting, they <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27438BC" data-link="(BC)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

24 They passed through <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27439BD" data-link="(BD)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Pisidia and came into <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27439BE" data-link="(BE)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Pamphylia. 25 When they had spoken the word in <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27440BF" data-link="(BF)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27441BG" data-link="(BG)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; color: white; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Antioch, from <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27441BH" data-link="(BH)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; color: white; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>which they had been <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27441BI" data-link="(BI)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; color: white; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>commended to the grace of God for the work that they had <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-27441p" data-link="[p]” style=”background-color: black; box-sizing: border-box; color: white; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[p]accomplished.27 When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27442BJ" data-link="(BJ)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>report all things that God had done with them and <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-27442q" data-link="[q]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[q]how He had opened a <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27442BK" data-link="(BK)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>door of faith to the Gentiles.28 And they spent <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-27443r" data-link="[r]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[r]a long time with <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-27443BL" data-link="(BL)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the disciples.

Did you get this?  Paul and his followers are going back to Lystra where he got stoned and was left for dead but miraculously lived.  There is an old commercial put out by Fram Oil Filters that is based on the premise that buying high quality oil filters will keep you from having to get a new oil filter much sooner than you wanted.  And also any other filter than a Fram may cause your engine to shut down.  So Fram would say, “Pay me now, or Pay me later!”  Paul was “stoned out” of Lystra and the ones who rose up against him thought they were rid of him.  Not so.  They did not know what Paul would come back and do at this later date.  He came and established leadership in the churches that would live in Lystra and continue to grow the work of those following Jesus.  They just had Paul and a few others to deal with before.  Now they were going to have to deal with the Holy Spirit working through the very people who lived in their community.  All they did in stoning Paul was set on fire his desire to establish a strong fellowship of believers and leave them there to continue the work.  They could have let Paul and his followers continue to do their ministry in peace, but no…..  Now the church at Lystra was going to be well established and growing and reaching people from the inside out.  Just imagine how inspired those believers in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch were when Paul showed back up.  He inspired them even more in verse 22 by saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”  We can consider those words their “marching orders.”   And march they did.  Paul and his companions passed through Pisidia, Pamphylia and then sailed to Antioch, their base of operations.   They shared with those believers all that God had done and continued to spend time with the disciples in serving the Lord there.  Ministry success is always judged by changed lives and the movement of God in circumstances.  Paul’s ministry success meter was “pegging out” at the top level and God was using this missionary journey to not only reach new converts, but encourage the disciples to step up their game and reach as never before.

Today we believers are no different than any others as we have our tribulations and trials, but James encourages us in James 1:2-3 where he says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”  Are you encountering trials?  Could be God is up to something in your life in a big way.  Could be He is preparing you for a great movement and a great journey of faith for Him.  Whatever may come your way, keep your eyes on the hills and your heart in Him and God will show up and show out through you.  Yes….YOU!

The Pilgrimage continues….

David Warren

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