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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

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Acts 14:19-28
Psalm 145
John 14:27-31

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no pain, no gain

"They retraced their steps to Lystra." —Acts 14:21

At Lystra, "they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him there for dead. His disciples quickly formed a circle about him, and before long he got up and went back into the town" (Acts 14:19-20). Paul returned to Lystra again (Acts 14:21) and again (Acts 16:1). This is a common pattern in the Christian life. The Lord calls us to return again and again to the place of pain, persecution, and rejection.

The place where we have suffered persecution for Jesus is the most fertile ground for the growth of God's kingdom. Suffering pain in Jesus' name is like planting seed. At the place of pain, we can expect new life. For instance, at Lystra, Paul raised up Timothy to be a new missionary (Acts 16:3). At the place of pain, we receive the miracles of forgiveness, repentance, conversion, healing, and peace.

We naturally are afraid to return to the Lystra of our lives. Yet, we must return, sometimes repeatedly, for the Lord will be present with us there in a most intense way. At Lystra, we will receive the Lord's promise of life to the full (see Jn 10:10). By faith, go back to Lystra as often as the Lord calls you to go.

Prayer:  Father, may I rejoice in the measure in which I share Christ's sufferings (1 Pt 4:13) and at the place I shared them.

Promise:  " 'Peace' is My farewell to you, My peace is My gift to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace. Do not be distressed or fearful." —Jn 14:27

Praise:  After being mocked and ignored, Jane didn't want to face her brothers and sisters about their lifestyles, but by the grace of God she does.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007

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