DAY 20: Preach, Strengthen, Encourage

Read: Acts 14:8-28

Think: Today’s reading describes how Paul and Barnabas, after preaching of the Gospel in Lystra, stirred up the faith—and miraculous healing—of a man who had been crippled since birth. This miracle caused a frenzy among Jews who did not want to see the people in Lystra converted to Christianity. Because of this, Paul and Barnabas were driven out of town and escaped to Derbe. Upon reaching Derbe, Acts 4:21 says, “After preaching the Good News. . . they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them they must suffer many hardships…”

Act: The Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus, was essential to the early church in fulfilling the Great Commission. Not only did He give them power to witness (Acts 1:8), but He gave them the courage to immediately and continuously preach, strengthen and encourage believers at every juncture. Some days were thrilling because of miraculous healing. Other days were filled with preaching and encouragement to those who were suffering. From my vantage point, not much has changed. We need to call on the Holy Spirit of God to help us to preach the Gospel, strengthen the church, and encourage those among us who are suffering. Today, identify (1) someone with whom you can share (or preach/proclaim) the Gospel, (2) someone in the church who needs to be strengthened (ex: visit them and offer to help them in a tangible way), and (3) someone who needs encouragement (ex: call or visit and pray for them).

Pray: Dear Jesus, remind me of how practical it is to be a believer. Make me willing to: share the Gospel today, strengthen someone in my church, and encourage someone who is suffering emotionally or physically. I need Your help, Lord. Amen.

Be full of faith today!