Tag Archives: Acts 15

What to do when we differ

chick pondering

Fights in the faith, contention in the church pews, mayhem in the ministry…they make me nauseous. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been involved in confrontation with someone else in the ministry. I do not have enough fingers and toes in the whole family, including cousins (and there are many) to tell you the times I have bitten my tongue off to keep from saying hurtful  things, or walked away rather than battle it out. That’s not because I’m all “holy and happy”, but rather the fact that I’ll avoid conflict at every opportunity because I hate it so much. So as I’ve been in a study of Barnabas and Paul, their friendly fallout caught my attention.

Acts 15:39

And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

Here were two friends in the faith who had worked side by side, fought the fight of good faith, ministered to one another and now stood toe to toe in disagreement about the direction of their ministry. Not the color of the carpet, who’s in charge of what committee, or why Susie Seat Saver wasn’t selected for the choir special. This contention was over Barnabas desiring to use Mark in the ministry, and Paul’s determination not to because of Mark’s prior record of failure. It wasn’t a tiff, it was a sharp contention according to scripture that caused them to part company. It’s also an unfished story in the Bible, leaving us to wonder if the fence was ever mended between these two men of God.

That bothered me; even though there’s little I could do about. It did however cause me to re-visit some past “parting of company” of my own which was ironic because Paul and Barnabas’s parting was over their decision to revisit the churches they had planted and encourage those ministries. That trip didn’t happen as planned but other trips did. Paul went on his second missionary journey teamed with Silas and Barnabas and Mark went their way. The unity was still there, but the uniformity had gone. They didn’t do it the way they always had. It doesn’t say in the scripture that anyone else was brought into their argument to take sides, but rather focus’ on the fact that their division was an expansion of the ministry not a separation. I’m inclined to believe from Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:11 that there was no animosity betwixt them when he wrote to Timothy, Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” Paul had obviously forgiven Mark for his discrepancy leading me to believe that Paul and Barnabas either patched it up or agreed to disagree. Both Paul and Barnabas continued on in unity of the original mission. As I reflected on this today it was a reminder to me to mind my own ministry. In the case of disagreements which may come and its okay, move on. Don’t dwell on the negative, but love one another and preach Jesus!

Our goal is to see souls saved. Satan’s job is to thwart that any cost.  I don’t want to be a pawn in his hand causing someone’s eye to focus on me instead of the Master.

Another Day… Another Faith Lesson

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Faith! How on earth do the unsaved survive without it? I was one of them for 34 years, and yet it feels like I’ve never been. Has it been so long that I’m just walkin’ in perfect peace? The answer to that would be a big “No.” There are times, more often than not, that when a crisis occurs I get a smile on the inside of my heart (that sometimes eeks its way out to my mouth) that knows “God’s got this!” And then there are the times when I fall to the flesh and get that queasy stomach and feelings of uncertainty that cause me not to walk by faith but rather walk by sight which is no doubt the worst thing we can do. There is no peace to be found in relying on self, anyone, or anything in this world.

WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH

Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

We are made innocent, guilt free by faith. Just as if I’d never sinned. How many worries and concerns in life come because of something that in err we have done or said and the guilt is heaped upon us. Satan loves to poke us with that big stick does he not? Reminding us again and again of our failures and recommending solutions that only end up making us tired when all the while God is waiting for us to let Him fix the issue. It may be with an apology if something’s been said that shouldn’t have been, or perhaps we need to right a wrong, but the guilt gathers at the door is laid their by Satan. Jesus took ours as far as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:12

WE ARE PURIFIED BY FAITH

Acts 15:8-9

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

That grin I get in my soul. That’s the Holy Spirit! How awesome that feeling is when it wells upside of you and comes out on your face, that God Himself dwells within your heart cleansing the junk that I add daily into my life.

WE ARE SANCTIFIED BY FAITH

Acts 26:18

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Sanctification: Set apart. In order to have that faith that brings a smile to your soul there must be separation from sin and the things that lead into sin. You can’t hang out on the Devil’s door step and think that God’s going to join you. He said to “be ye separate.” 2 Corinthians 6:17

One of the greatest stealer of the joy and peace Christians are afforded is the idea that you can continue as a part of the world, loving all the things in and about it and “fit” God in when it’s handy. God won’t play second fiddle to anyone or anything; and there’s a long list of things that we are all guilty of putting before God.

So I realized again today that much of my faith failures come because I spend too much time “working” on trying to get life right and not enough time Reading the Word of God, Relying on the Grace of God and Remembering Who it is that has my world in His hand.