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Be encouraged because God is in control!

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‘Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: ‘Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years.’ (Acts 13:16-20)

Stephen’s example

We notice that the introduction is of the same style as Stephen’s great message, recorded in Acts 7. Stephen had stood before the Sanhedrin, of which Saul of Tarsus was a member, and had recounted the history of Israel in order to try to awaken these Jews to an understanding of God’s love and concern, and of His sovereign direction of their nation. The Apostle Paul never forgot the power of that message. It had reached his own heart, had cut through all his egotism, and had planted a seed of faith in his heart which eventually resulted in his conversion. So here he is following the same tactics as Stephen.

God who is working!

Most of the history books center upon certain men who have done certain deeds, either great or foul. History as we usually read it is a study of the deeds and influence of men, but not this history. This history centers on God. It is God who is working! The Apostle points out eleven different instances of what God did.

1. God...chose our fathers.

2. And made the people great.

3. He led them out of Egypt.

4. God bore with them in the wilderness.

5. God destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan.

6. And gave them their land as an inheritance.

7. God gave them Judges.

8. Then they asked for a king and God gave them Saul.

9. And when he (God) had removed him.

10. He raised up David.

11. And finally, God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus, as He promised.

The prophet Isaiah wrote the words of God: ‘I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please… What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.’ (Isa. 46:9b-11). The message of the Apostle culminated in the coming of the Lord Jesus Himself. The Apostle quoted John the Baptist’s witness to the fact that the One who came after him was so great that John said he was not worthy to untie His shoe.

When we face difficulties, we tend to forget God’s past faithfulness. We see only the detours and the dangerous path. We need to look back and see the joy of victory, the presence of our traveling Companion who has promised never to leave us nor forsake us! Be encouraged, He is in control!

Dr. Czeslaw Bassara (czeslaw7@eta;


James N. Spurgeon wrote:

'A job is at your choice; a ministry is at Christ's call. In a job you expect to receive; in a ministry you expect to give. In a job you give something to get something; in a ministry you return something that has already been given to you. A job depends on your abilities; a ministry depends on your availability to God. A job done well brings you praise; a ministry done well brings honour to Christ.'

This ministry is to bring honour to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

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