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Devotionals :: Day by Day by Grace :: Today's Reading

Hoekstra's Day by Day by Grace (February 15th)

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More on Grace and Good Works

From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed. And when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. (Acts 14:26-27)

When the Apostle Paul and his team left their home church of Antioch, they were "commended to the grace of God." The believers at Antioch trusted in the Lord to impart sufficient grace for this demanding mission.

What an amazing journey it was. They encountered a false prophet early in the trip, as they attempted to reach a local official. Paul boldly confronted his opponent, by the power of the Spirit. "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?" (Acts 13:10). When the Lord struck this sorcerer blind, the civic leader believed.

Then, in Perga, Paul effectively preached the risen Christ in the synagogue. "And the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God" (Acts 13:44). When Jewish opposition arose, the team offered the gospel to the Gentiles. "Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord…And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region" (Acts 13:48-49).

Next, in Iconium, much fruit ensued, in spite of substantial opposition. "A great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace" (Acts 14:1-3).

Later, at Lystra, Paul was stoned by those who resisted the gospel. Yet, he would not be silent, continuing to Derbe and other towns. "And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned…strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith" (Acts 14:21-22).

Now the missionaries are back at their home church of Antioch. The work God intended was finished, because His grace brings His work to completion. "They had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed." Then, when they brought their report, they spoke of what God did, not what they did. "They reported all that God had done with them."

Dear Father, please teach me to rely upon Your grace for the tasks to which You are calling me. Lord, I too easily trust in myself, and end up with an unfinished job. Also, when the responsibilities are completed, may all glory go to You, and not to me, Amen.

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