Paul begins his second missionary journey.
Inherent within man is a tendency to want to work his way to heaven. Accepting a gift with gratitude does not seem to be enough; human beings want to do something to earn it. While Paul and Barnabas are at Antioch, some men come down from Judea and teach: "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved" (v. 1). This issue grows into a major debate involving the leaders in Jerusalem, but in the final analysis, Peter's argument wins out: "Why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" (v. 10). The council in Jerusalem then sends a letter to the Gentile churches encouraging their faith and assuring them that they are not under bondage.
Since none of us could earn it, praise the Lord that salvation is a gift:
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. . . .
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite. . . .
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God . . .
The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy. . . .
He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise the Lord! (Psalm 147:1, 5, 7, 11, 20)
Pause for praise and thanksgiving.
Pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:
I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions,
And like a cloud, your sins.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 44:22).
Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind, and pray this affirmation to the Lord:
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)
As you make your requests known to the Lord, include:
- Unity in the body of Christ
- Greater commitment to the Lord
- Your activities for the day
Close with this prayer to the Lord:
Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! (Psalm 90:14)
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