20" I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."It's verses 22 and 23 specifically that are speaking to me this morning. Because what amazing faith Paul had in his God!! He never knew what was to come in his travels, except that with certainty, he would find himself in jail and continuous suffering. And he continued! He continued with carrying God's message to the ends of the Earth, and he was so passionate about it that there are several times in this chapter where we find Paul weeping- which I like to think is because he knew he didn't reach everyone. He also knows that his time is coming to a close, and I think that he is thinking on all those who still need to hear the message of salvation. What a humbling example of faith.
We are praying earnestly these days for God's provision. And we have had that questioned and tested several times over the last few days. Andy is still at home this week, and things are getting a little tighter every day financially speaking. Yet we know that God will provide as long as we continue to seek his will in everything. We have complete faith that God will provide for us during this time that Andy is off work. This week we asked others to pray with us for God's continued provision, and the question to us was "so you want Andy to start back to work again?" and our reply was that we wanted God's will. If God wanted Andy to go back to work, that would be wonderful. If not, we wanted him to continue to bless our finances and help us make wise decisions concerning our dwindling funds. Andy is not sitting around doing nothing expecting God to take care of him. He has spent the last four weeks refinishing the kitchen church, and this week will begin to tackle the last remaining space upstairs at our church that needs to be finished. In a way, he is so grateful for the time off that he can serve God by taking care of his building. I am grateful as well- he has been able to go do work like a normal work day, instead of doing the work after putting in a full day on the job. God provides in such mysterious ways sometimes.
What I love about Paul's example is that he persevered. He did not stop even though he knew hardship was coming. He kept on going with his mission, despite what others may have said to him. He knew, without a doubt, that God would take care of him right to the end of his travels. And most definitely there was more than one person who questioned him on his choices to continue- you know, that one person who said "don't you think that you've done enough for God and deserve a break?" There is one certainty there- we do not "deserve" anything. We are not entitled to anything, other than God's Love. Though we may stumble every day, we always get a chance to start over each morning- and it is God's Grace that gives us that second chance, and third chance, and so on. I certainly don't feel that we deserve to be provided for. We've made so many mistakes, but it's through Christ that we have the ability to be provided for. Because of what Jesus did for us, we can ask God for his provision, and know that he will see our family taken care of.
I thank God this morning for opening my eyes to his word. That I may continue to have my faith in him and his provision. It is so wonderful to know that just when I may be on the verge of doubting and trying to control the situation myself, that my faith can be confirmed and reinforced by turning to the Bible.