Today’s Reading: Acts 14:2 NIV
2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
Acts 14:2 CEV
2But the Jews who did not have faith in him made the other Gentiles angry and turned them against the Lord's followers.
I was on my way to pick up Mom from the beauty shop yesterday when my cell phone rang. A friend was on the other line, seeking assistance with the “track changes” feature in a Word® document. She began to describe how the computer had seemingly taken on a life of its own when she innocently tried to find and replace one word with another in a document she had been editing. Without warning, her text lit up the monitor with color-coordinated strike-through marks and underlines across the page. She had absolutely no idea what it was or how to remove it. I did not have my laptop with me, but was familiar with the feature she was describing. I made a suggestion and told her I would pray as she made the needed change. A few minutes later, she called me back and confirmed that the document had been saved and all is well.
How do we track changes of the heart? Our insatiable “need to know” has sparked a cultural worldview and media frenzy unlike any other in history. Think about it – when the early church began to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, they did not have the help of computers, text messaging, blackberries, or satellite television. There were no magazine subscriptions or newspapers on the street corners for people to purchase. No random opinion polls or surveys were being taken; and yet, the Word spread quickly, like a brush fire spreading through a parched and dry forest. Even without the help of modern technology as we know it, people formed opinions of late breaking news and opinions about the men and women who were spreading it. Many, at first, disagreed with their personal testimonies. Have you ever been swayed by the popular vote? Did you choose to go with the crowd just to keep peace and not stand out as a lone dissenter? How many do you think had a serious change of heart after they had the opportunity to stop and weigh the evidence?
Paul and Barnabas knew what the Holy Spirit power could do. They had personally experienced a change of heart in their own lives. Paul, who was formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, felt so vehemently offended by the early church and its beliefs, that he personally sought out and killed many of the new converts to the Way. It was only after Christ appeared to him on the Damascus Road that he was able to truly track the change of heart in his own life. This was his life’s testimony; and it was stirring up the belief system of his brothers. Planting seeds of faith will often fall on rough and rocky soil. We know that our own simple words, when prompted in and through the power of the Holy Spirit, can bring about a drastic change in the place where any change of the status quo seems virtually impossible.
It may take years and we may not fully realize the eternal impact our words have now. Parents, do not give up teaching your children in the way they should go. The Word promises that when our children are old, they will not depart from it. Do not give up speaking the Truth to your friends and neighbors, even if it is difficult to track a change of heart right now. You never know how or when the Holy Spirit will move in and set His Word aflame. Keep looking up and do not look back. I am a witness who has experienced a deep and personal change of heart in my own life. This is what I testify to today. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Him.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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