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Acts Reading Plan | Week 10 | Day 3
Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our times with Jesus are vital as we face a world of spiritual battles. As you come to spend time with Him, ask Him to surround you, to help you be strong in His mighty power.
Bible Reading: Acts 13:1-12
Read these verses three times slowly.
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Reflection & Questions
Yesterday, we read of the demise of Herod because he refused to praise God. Today we read of a different ruler, Sergius Paulus. We’re told he was a proconsul, which was a governor of a Roman province. In sharp contrast to Herod, Sergius “sent for Barnabus and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.” As he was beginning to believe, evil was right there trying to stop him. Elymas the sorcerer “tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.” Saul (who we’re now told is also being called Paul), is having none of this and in the power of the Holy Spirit causes Elymas to be blind for three days. When the proconsul “saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.”
We live in a world where there is good and evil. There is the Holy Spirit and there are evil spirits. It’s real. And we face spiritual battles daily. And we can be assured that as we try to reach our ONEs, just like in the case of the proconsul, there is a battle going on for them in the heavenlies. This is why we must stay connected to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Only in the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit can we know how to fight these spiritual battles.
- As you reach your ONE, have you experienced spiritual battles or seen evil trying to oppose them? How do you think Saul (Paul) would advise you?
- How do you stay connected to Jesus and the Holy Spirit? As we go into summer, how will you do that?
Take time to pray for your ONE and ask God to be present and to guide you in the spiritual battle.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
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