Scripture Reading:  Acts 14:24-28

“And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done for them, and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.”  (Acts 14:27)

It must have been an exciting time in Antioch when Paul and Barnabas returned from their missionary journey.  The church in Antioch commissioned Paul and Barnabas as missionaries and sent them out.  The believers there were anxiously awaiting the return of the missionaries and were eager to hear a report from them.

Once Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch, they gathered the church together and “declared all that God had done for them, and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles”   I am sure that the believers who heard the report were elated.  It must have been so encouraging to them.  I am confident that Paul and Barnabas gave a full report including both the good and the difficult things they experienced.  But it was obvious that in spite of the difficulties these missionaries focused on the blessing of God.

We can easily become discouraged in our Christian walk.  We will face times of trials and disappointments.  Paul and Barnabas faced opposition, rejection and persecution.  But they focused on God’s providence and blessings.  We can become so easily overwhelmed with the difficulties we face that we fail to see all the good things God has done for us.

I need these verses today.  I have been facing some difficult challenges and have found myself focusing on the negative.  Yet, when I think about it, I find great delight in what God has done and is doing in spite of these difficulties.  I see God’s providential hand at work and I see blessing upon blessing being poured out on my life.  “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” (Psalm 103:1,2).

Lord God, when I take time to reflect upon all You have done for me, I am so thankful and so encouraged.  Forgive me for focusing on the difficult things I am facing rather than trusting You and seeing Your sovereign hand at work.  I bless Your holy name and remember the good things You have done for me.


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