Act 13:49-14:3 And this Message of salvation spread like wildfire all through the region. (50) Some of the Jews convinced the most respected women and leading men of the town that their precious way of life was about to be destroyed. Alarmed, they turned on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave. (51) Paul and Barnabas shrugged their shoulders and went on to the next town, Iconium, (52) brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples. (14:1) When they got to Iconium they went, as they always did, to the meeting place of the Jews and gave their message. The Message convinced both Jews and non-Jews--and not just a few, either. (2) But the unbelieving Jews worked up a whispering campaign against Paul and Barnabas, sowing mistrust and suspicion in the minds of the people in the street. (3) The two apostles were there a long time, speaking freely, openly, and confidently as they presented the clear evidence of God's gifts, God corroborating their work with miracles and wonders.
In Chapter 13 we find ourselves in the assembly at Antioch, and in the midst of the independent action of the Spirit of God. Certain prophets are there, Saul among them. They fasted and were occupied with the service of the Lord. The Holy Ghost commands them to separate unto Him Barnabas and Saul for the work to which He had called them Such was the source of the ministry of these two. Assuredly it bore testimony to Him in whom they had believed, and whom Saul, at least, had seen, and it was under His authority they acted; but the positive and obvious source of their mission was the Holy Ghost. It was the Holy Ghost who called them to the work. They were sent forth (Acts 13:4) by Him - an all-important principle as to the Lord's ways upon earth.
As they preach and teach the Word of God, people begin to stir up trouble and caused a large group of people to turn on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave. Paul and Barnabas dusted off the dust from their feet, or as the Message says, "shrugged their shoulders and went to the next town brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples."
This truth speaks into my spirit man as I read over it again and again, and meditate upon it's truth. In spite of people turning on them (I'm certain that some of those that turned on them were some of their new found friends and converts), they were able to move on: without bitterness, without getting "mouthy", without feeling the need to retaliate, without trying to defend themselves, without becoming so offended that they stop working for God, without allowing their spirits to become poisoned, etc. I literally could go on and on.
The devil often uses a "whispering campaign" to do his work. He uses whatever available and willing vessel that he can. There are so many "carnal christians" (I used that term christian lightly) that he usually doesn't have a hard time finding someone willing to do his work. God takes a "trouble maker in the family" very serious. Listen to what Proverbs 6 says:
Proverbs 6:16-19 Here are six things GOD hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: (17) eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, (18) a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, (19) a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.
In the KJV it says, "he that soweth discord among brethren." The sower of discord, the troublemaker in the family is the one that God "loathes with a passion." In a whispering campaign the enemy uses people in a very covertly way. Phone calls, emails, text messaging, Face book, Twitter that very slyly put doubt in someone's mind about a person. My friends, this should not be happening among Christian men and women. If someone sends you a message via any vehicle of communication that puts a brother or sister or church down, please KNOW they are not being used of God but being used of the devil. We ALL have to search our hearts daily and declare to the Holy Spirit, "I will not allow my flesh to dictate and determine how I will be used today! I die to my flesh, my carnal nature!"
It is so easy when someone is treating me in an unkind manner to respond in the same way to them. Afterwards, I can allow guilt, anger, bitterness, discouragement, and even depression to come over me. It is very easy to think that because someone points out the negative in my life, to allow their negative to become a negative determent to my heart and spirit. My prayer today is that I will respond to attacks like Paul and Barnabas did. I want to be able to shrug my shoulders and continue on with what God has called and equipped me to do. I must refuse to allow anything or anyone to hinder me from "brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit".
May I walk out of conflict the way Paul and Barnabas did...they went on their way, following God's Spirit, "two happy disciples." As I go into the next chapter, I see that they faced conflict once again, as people sowed "distrust and suspicion in the minds of the people in the street." Isn't that just like the devil? He uses whomever will allow him to. And his plan is to hinder the gospel of Jesus Christ from being spread. However, if I respond like Paul and Barnabas I can expect to see "God corroborating their work with miracles and wonders" in spite of the conflicts and opposition.
"Lord, my prayer today is that you help me to understand that NO ONE has the power within their actions or words to keep me from brimming over with the joy of the Holy Spirit. No one but me. I ask you to help me to shrug off the attacks on my faith today. I ask you to help me shrug off the discouraging things that are constantly bombarding my mind. I ask you to help me shrug off the doubts that tell me my prayers will never be answered. I ask you to help me shrug off the fears that permeate my mind when I am attempting something for your name and glory. I ask you to help me to shrug off the whispers in my ear in the middle of the night that tries to tell me that this situation is too big for even God. I could go on and on, Lord, with the things that I need to shrug off today. As I shrug these hindrances off, may I also go on about the work and business that you have for me today. And as I do it, help me to walk through today, brimming over with the power and person of the Holy Spirit, and at the end of the day, may I still be a "happy disciple" for you. I know in my heart that you will corroborate your work with miracles in wonders...in YOUR time. I love you Lord, and thank you for this day that you have made. I will continue to rejoice and be glad in it. In Jesus name, amen!"