Daily Readings & Thought for November 4th. “….POISONED THEIR MINDS”
No one likes friction, yet it is impossible to totally avoid it. News bulletins are usually dominated by information about troubles, friction of various kinds. God often uses human friction to test men and women as to whether they will follow what is good and true – or not!
It is of great concern when it occurs inside churches between church members, but it serves a purpose. Our readings today, in Acts 14 & 15 once again include accounts of friction as the Gospel spread in the First Century as a result of preaching. Paul and Barnabas spent a long time in Iconium and a great number believed “but the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds” and “the people of the city were divided” [v.2,4].
A threat of stoning arose so they fled to other cities and preached and made more converts. Later they made a return journey “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God.” [v.22]
None of us have faced troubles like this! Is that a blessing or not? All previous generations have faced difficulties, usually because they will not join the army – when I was 19 I had to go to court because I refused to join. Some of the relatively few believers in Germany were killed by the Nazis; also in Russia in the 1930’s they all died.
Friction results in conviction – whether you are really certain of what you believe. If you are not certain that what you are defending is vitally important, you will not defend it, or only half heartedly so. The only really convinced people you seem to hear about these days, at least in this country, are those who are certain there is no God. What are we certainabout? How much oil is in our lamps?