June 24

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“Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work” (Acts 15:37-38 NLT).

From: June 24, 2018

THE DISAGREEMENT OVER JOHN MARK
Paul wanted to travel to check on the new believers that had come to faith on their first missionary journey. Barnabas agreed. However, they disagreed on taking John Mark with them again. Apparently, Paul considered the young man unreliable after he had “deserted them” and went home early on their last trip. But Barnabas, being the encourager that he was, wanted to give John Mark a second chance. Just as Barnabas had seen the potential in Paul, he saw it in John Mark. This led to a sharp disagreement, so they ended up splitting up the power team. Barnabas began to travel with John Mark. And Paul took on Silas as his new missionary companion.
 
Even committed believers can have disagreements. In this case, it led to two missionary teams going out. Over time, apparently the disagreement was forgiven and forgotten. For Paul wrote in at least two places concerning John Mark. In his letter to the church at Colossae, he wrote, “Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way” (Col. 4:10). When others had deserted Paul while he was in prison, John Mark had remained faithful to him.
 
And in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he wrote, “Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11). Paul’s impression of John Mark had certainly changed.
 
Traditionally, John Mark or simply “Mark,” is considered the author of the gospel according to Mark. I’m glad Barnabas kept on believing in John Mark, and Paul too, for that matter!

“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14 ESV)

From: June 24, 2016

The movement of the gospel from the Middle East into Europe began with a woman named Lydia. She heard the Good News from the apostle Paul while gathering with a women’s prayer group by the Krenides River outside the city of Philippi. Apparently, there wasn’t a sufficient population of Jews living there to establish a synagogue, so Lydia gathered with some local women to pray on the Sabbath. Can you imagine her delight when Paul, Silas and Timothy sat down near them and began to preach? Perhaps she had been praying for sometime for someone to come and open the Scriptures to them. And now, the Lord had answered her prayer. After receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, she was baptized, and so was her whole household. Her home became the first base of operations for the Philippi church as she insisted on the apostles staying in her house. Amazing how God first called a business woman to help open up the gospel to the Western world!

“One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying” (Acts 16:14 NLT)

From: June 24, 2014

Our calling is to bear witness to the gospel and leave the heart’s receptivity to the Lord. We can’t “open the heart” of the hearer, but we can open our own mouths to speak the gospel message. Paul’s faithfulness to sow the seed of the gospel everywhere he went and leave the heart condition of the soil up to God was what resulted in churches being planted all over the Roman world. I wonder how many “Lydias” are apparently going about their business, yet desperately looking for God? Are we willing to be like Paul and spread the Word?