LIVE FREE Galatians Study Week One

Day Five. January 14. Acts 14:21-28

In this reading, we get to see the completion of this first missionary trip to Galatia as Paul and Barnabas reverse course and actually dare to go back to the cities where they were stoned and attacked in order to strengthen and encourage the believers there. I can’t even. I am such a timid person by nature, and PTSD would be right there for me if I was told I had to go back where angry mobs had recently tried to kill me. It would require supernatural strength from the God who is quite able to give it, to help me do that hard thing! How about you? How comfortable would you have felt re-visiting these towns? And yet, our wonderful missionaries’ love for the people of Galatia outweighed any fears of a repeated stoning or two!

It’s interesting to me that this time around they appointed elders to care for the new churches and made sure each church was equipped for the hard days ahead. They stayed at some of these towns “a long time” so when they did their return visits, they had time to see if these believers were sincere in their faith. They were. What a joy that must have been, to fellowship with them once again and to pray for them as they shone their lights now for Jesus in dark places!

Can you imagine the gathering at Antioch when Paul and Barnabas returned? Oh, the rejoicing must have been great as the church that had sent them and faithfully prayed for them heard that many Gentiles and some Jews had converted to faith in Christ! As they heard about the near-death experiences, they must have wondered if their prayers had enabled Paul and Barnabas to carry on and to live. I am sure they felt a part of the work through their prayers. I know that is how I feel, when I am invested in praying for someone. I might not be physically there, but I know that my prayers are working in God’s marvelous hands in ways too awesome for me to fully grasp. It’s exciting to be prayer support and I suspect the church at Antioch rejoiced at their part in all of this. Also, how nice for Paul and Barnabas to get a break. Right? We don’t get very detailed time lines, but verse 28 assures us that they “stayed there with the believers for a long time.”


My verse: Acts 14:22 “where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”

My response: What a prescription for us, today! Lord, help me to be a strengthener of the believers and an encourager. Give me the boldness to acknowledge that there will be sufferings and hardships along the way, and help me to cope when they come, please.



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