Takeaway Verse: Acts 13:52
And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
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Welcome to The Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica Parkerson. This is the place where we meet up to read half a chapter of God’s word together and remember how loved we are. Jesus extends an amazing invitation to us in the Bible. He says, “Come to me and I WILL give you rest.” This is us RSVPing: Yes!! to that invitation. So take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
Today’s episode is called, “There Ain’t Nothing Gonna Steal My Joy.” That’s from a Zach Williams song called Old Church Choir. Before we dive into more of Acts chapter 13, the final portion, would you join me in a word of prayer? Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus asking for peace, knowing you’re the Prince of Peace. Lord, we come to you asking for joy today, knowing you tell us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. So we ask for those things and we ask for you to open our minds and our hearts to what you want us to receive from the Lord, from your word. In Jesus name, Amen.
Okay, so Paul and his companions have been preaching, and now you’re gonna see as a whole city turns out to hear them. Let’s pick it up in Acts 13:44. “The following week, almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, ‘It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. For the Lord gave us this command when he said,
‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. So the Lord’s message spread throughout the region. Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium.” Here’s our takeaway verse, and it’s powerful. Think of everything you and I just read together, Verse 52, “And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Look at all the craziness that’s going on in this city. They’re running the preachers outta town, I’m sure that they were fearing for their lives, craziness going on, and yet the believers were filled. The joy of the Lord and the Holy Spirit that tells me that you and I can be filled with peace and joy in the middle of whatever we’re going through today. I have a beautiful quote that I wanna share with you, and it goes like this, “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
I have a very precious friend who is living out the joy of the Lord in a difficult situation right now. My friend Deborah, she’s my neighbor, is on heaven’s doorstep. I don’t like the word dying. She’s in hospice care at her mama’s house, and she’s being well taken care of and loved by her precious husband, and her children, and her mama, and her sisters. They’re just surrounding her with love. Deborah texted me at 3:20 this morning, or 3:40? One of those, it was early. And she invited me to have one last latte together, to come up to her mom’s house. And she said, if you come, I have a couple of rules. She said, you can’t feel sorry for me. You can’t feel sad, cuz Deborah knows where she’s going, she knows the Lord. She’s about to meet her Lord. She said the joy of the Lord is my strength. Her second rule is, you have to laugh with me before you go. If you’re gonna come to my mama’s house, you’re gonna have to laugh. And I thought to myself, here’s a woman who is saying goodbye to the people she loves most in the world, knows she’s not gonna see her kids grow up. She has the joy of the Lord, that’s the only place it could ever come from in a situation like that, but it’s there. Deborah is so brave, and she encourages me to be brave. I hope that her story encourages you to be brave today, that no matter what you are going through or what faces you in the future, none of us knows, you can have the joy of the Lord, and nobody can steal that from you. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Until next time, know you are really loved.
Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts that will recharge you at onpurposely.com.