Acts: Day 29

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey Ends

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Today's Text: Acts 18:1-28, James 4:13-15, Isaiah 51:1-2

Text: Acts 18:1-28, James 4:13-15, Isaiah 51:1-2

“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

They were lying. I had plenty to be afraid of.

I had just climbed up a steep lakeside embankment with nothing more than a swimsuit, Chaco sandals, and the intent of jumping off a 50-foot cliff into the water. My brother and his best friend were doing all they could to convince me everything would be fine, that there was nothing to fear.

What if I slip as I’m jumping and hit my head?
What if I hit the water at a bad angle?
What if this water isn’t as deep as we think it is?
What if I land on a floating tree branch?

Fear. It’s a big deal. It can keep us from doing things we’d really like to do. It can also keep us from doing exactly what God has asked of us. It can even cause us to live our lives in ways that leave us no room for faith; we become so seemingly independent that we begin to believe we don’t need God or anyone else.

I don’t know if you’re like me and have every “Do not fear” in the entire Bible circled, underlined, and highlighted. It makes sense to see it in the Old Testament, when the heroes of Israel are heading into battle. But Paul? Is this the same Paul who had already faced oppression, persecution, and imprisonment for the gospel? That Paul was afraid?

Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.”
-Acts 18:9-10

Do not be afraid. The Greek phrase used in verse 9 means “you must not be afraid any longer.” Literally, stop being afraid!

This is confirmation that yes, Paul was, in fact, already afraid. The text doesn’t give us much more context for Paul’s fear. Was his fear the “thorn in his flesh” that would always plague him (2 Corinthians 12)? Was this a one-time situation where he was especially afraid? The Jews had opposed him and abused him before, but that can’t be something one gets used to.

Regardless of the details, we can be sure of one thing: Paul was afraid and God commanded him to not be afraid any longer.

Like Paul, I’ve faced some crippling fears (yes, even more terrifying than that time I jumped off a cliff). God has called me to things and I’ve stood frozen, still paralyzed by a fear of failure or defeat. Instead of embracing the strength and victory He promises (1 Corinthians 15:57), I’ve let fear dictate what I believe and what I do.

Even in the most intimidating situations, God is faithful. He gave Paul the assurance that He would protect him. Just look at how perfectly God provided for Paul:

He brought him fellowship and friendship with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:18).
He provided for his physical needs, allowing him to continue working as a tentmaker (v. 3).
He allowed him to spread the gospel in Corinth for another year and a half (v. 11).

Our God provides for us too. Despite the moments we feel crippled with fear, He knows exactly where we are and what we’re feeling. We can trust that God is bigger than all our fears.

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  • Deb Thompson

    I was never one to think that I “live in fear”, I don’t feel like I worry too much or let fear navigate my life. I love the song- “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God…” and yet it didn’t resonate with me like it has with so many other people- until! Until I realized that God has been working on my heart for the last 3-4 years and really chiseling away in the last year, that work and that chiseling showed me just where my fear and faith meet. After many mornings in prayer and going back and forth with God, I am leaving my job this summer to pursue my own business in order to be home with my kids more. I felt like the child on the side of the pool- floaties off- daddy standing in the water, arms out, saying JUMP! JUMP! I’ve got you! You’ll get a little wet, and it will be scary, but I will never let go, I will always hold on and you will always be safe- even if it’s scary! Just JUMP!!!!!” So I have acknowledged my fear, I have given it to the Lord, I am clinging to faith and moving forward knowing HE has provided this opportunity, HE loves me- therefore I can sing with the masses from my heart- “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God!!!”

  • Do it afraid .God will provide your needs and more when you step out in faith doing his will.

  • Thanks for the reminder that Paul was human just like us.

  • This message really called out to me. For a while now, I would have moments of fear which stops me from doing normal things like travelling out into town alone or going out for dinner with friends. I don’t want to be tied to that fear anymore and look to God for peace everlasting.

  • As I considered Paul’s fears in his mission work, I kept returning to Priscilla and Aquila, and the fear they must have carried as exiles and helpers to Paul. Despite their hardships, they were a couple that stuck together and ministered Jesus as a team. Paul mentions them a few times in his letters and praises their hospitality and faith. Very inspiring and motivating to me as someone always trying (and struggling) to turn my marriage to God. Maybe I need to keep acts 18:9-10 as my new marriage mantra

  • Marissa Canez

    Alayna, I know this fear all too well. Three years ago, I was trying to stir up the courage to look at my room, pack up all my stuff & come to terms that I was spending the last month in my house full of family. It is scary. I cried every night for a straight month leading up to move in day because I didn’t want to accept change. But I couldn’t not be more thankful that the Lord gave me courage. He gave me courage to hope right out of my comfort zone & grow. He with honor your faithfulness, He will bless your courage, He will love you all the way through it. Praying for you, chica. You got this because you have the ONE who conquers all living inside of you.

  • Hey ladies! I would really appreciate some prayer. I am leaving for college soon and I am completely terrified. I don’t feel ready to leave my safe bubble I’ve created at home and yet I know that God is calling me to move on and do bigger things with my life. I have been praying for peace and excitement for college but I’m just not feeling any better.

    • Amanda

      Hey Alayna,
      I will definitely be praying for you as you embark into a new chapter of your life. I am also going to begin college in the fall and feel overwhelmed and terrified as well. I pray that you find peace and comfort in this time of uncertainty and know that God’s plans are to prosper you. I wish you the best of luck as you begin college.

      • Hannah

        Praying for you Amanda. I too am headed off to college and am having my doubts as to if that’s where I need to be. We have so many choices and no longer can rely on telling people our grade levels.

    • Hannah

      Prayers for you Alayna. I am torn between the many options we have as graduates.

    • Kyla

      Hi Alayna,
      I’m praying peace and calmness for you as you venture into this new chapter. I know that the excitement will catch up to you, and the fear will subside; just keep praying, and continue to move in faith. When I was 20, I moved away from home to a city I didn’t know existed. I was terrified, but I felt God tugging me there; and that move shaped my life into fulfilling every dream I ever had for myself. Praise be to God! He is always in your corner. The beginning of anything is always the toughest, but with Christ in the center e v e r ything will fall into place.

      • Hope

        Hi, congratulations as you look toward a new future! I’m a young college professor and I wanted you to know that I pray for all my students before each class in my office. I’m not the only one that does in secular schools. You may never know it but there is a crew of us that actively lift your names to the heavens while you are at college. Blessings & do not fear!

    • Cindy

      Oh Lord, thank you for these mighty women of God who are facing their fears, leaving their “safe bubbles” and going out of their comfort zones to where you will stretch them build them and guide them into Your next steps for them. Please help them to hold on to all you have planted in their hearts. Though the grounds they walk will be different grounds, you have given them that ground. Help them therefore to stand firm, relying on You, relying on the truth of Your Word.
      Help them to find community in Your Spirit. Though there will be man spiritualisms offered to them help them to not waver from pursuing You, Your word, and walking in faith. You have already equipped them to do this – help them to remember and to walk in Your ways. Please lead each one through the labyrinth of academia and class choices. Please provide excellent roommates, suitemates, friends, professors. Pleaase provide a strong church of which they can be a part and benefit from others gifts and share theirs. Bless these women as they pursue You and follow You. Amen
      PS And help one of them or their godly friends, or other godly young women to become the wife of one of my four sons :-)

    • Alexandra

      Alayna, I’m in the same boat you are in. I’m leaving for college in 6 weeks and I’m fearful of some of the changes, but let your faith in God be greater than any fears you have!!

    • Julie

      As someone who was in your shoes just last year, I want to encourage you that the fear doesn’t last. God is already preparing a place for you in your new college life, and He is in total control of your circumstances, so you can confidently “cast all your anxieties on Him.”
      I’d also like to add one more “don’t be afriad” and encourage you not to be afraid to find a new church, even if you have to go on your own. Finding a good church group during college has been the biggest blessing of my college experience. Having a church home makes being away from home so much easier. the church really is your family, so don’t hesitate to jump right in!

    • Emily

      Thank you for asking for prayer on here Alayna. I am facing a similar situation. It is so comforting and encouraging to know that I’m not the only one in this boat, or should I say about to step onto the waters :)? For those of us facing this fear, I pray God blesses and strengthens and provides all our needs.

  • Alexandra

    I loved reading this scripture passage today!! I recently wrote an essay for my Latin class on a motto I like and I used the phrase “faith over fear” (or “fides super terror” in Latin!). I talked about how I am fearful of the changes I will experience when I leave for college, but I know that God is on my side and I need to let my faith in Him be greater than my fears. So ladies, Faith over Fear!! Do not be afraid!!

  • Hello ladies! I could really use some prayer for direction as I step into this next part of my life. There are so many choices and we have so much freedom, but I ask for the desire to choose the life Jesus died to give me.

    • Nikravesous

      Heavenly Father, I pray that you would guide Hannah at this pivotal time in her life. Help her have clarity and courage to move forward in Your will and stand boldly for the truth. We know that you have a wonderful plan for her and I pray that You help her walk in faith along Your path. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • I too was born and raised Catholic and baptized as an infant. As a teen I was born again within the Catholic Church as part of the renewal of the Catholic Church (charismatic movement). Few years after that I started attending a Bible believing church. And one Easter Sunday as an adult I was baptized again in the river. I’ll never forget it!

  • My, how timely! This morning a lightning strike caused a fire that totaled our house. …but we are safe, praise God! Thank you, though for your prayers, dear SRT sisters!

  • Really cool point about fear effecting even Paul, I think I needed to hear that.

    I’ve often been the “anchor”, the storm-worthy, emergency person in my family and even in some of my friendships– but just because doubt and fear are not the particular footholds I often stumble in, does not mean that I am never afraid. I definitely have felt fear, especially when God calls me to something that seems crazy to other people, or that might be humiliating, and I’m not sure that I’ve called it what it was: fear. I find that we need to accurately identify sin (yes, I consider submitting to fear, sin) in order to adequately address it, and sometimes our uncommon sins have a way of seeming “not that big”.

    “You must not be afraid any longer” and the entire concept that these calls to depart from fear are commands, makes it easier to stand up in (for me)– literally reminding myself that I have no choice, and that GOD is responsible for the consequences (“hitting the water at the wrong angle”, or “a tree branch” when we jump). I feel so much freedom in knowing that he’s already thought about that stuff.

    • Paige Garrison

      this was so encouraging to read Erin, thank you!! So much truth!

  • Adding my 2 cents worth to the above responses – it is definitely ok to be baptized again. I believe that God is urging you to do this and He wants you to be born again through the sacrament of baptism. When you arise from the water you are starting anew (born again) and your sins have been “washed away (by the blood of Jesus)’. God bless you, Mackenzie.

  • This could not have come at a better time, as I leave for basic training for the USAF in three weeks. I am grateful to know that my God is bigger than my fear. Thank you for this timely reminder!

    • Anne

      May God bless you and keep you…

    • Kelly Smith

      Praying God’s army of angels stand guard around you! Thank you for choosing to serve our country and defend our freedom!

    • Mamajonk

      God bless you Nikki and thank you for your service. Praying you always feel our Saviour’s presence no matter where you are.

    • Michele

      Prayers for you, Nikki! May the Lord’s presence strengthen you throughout training and bring you great peace. Thank you for your service. ❤️

    • Jennifer

      YES, Nikki! Your God is indeed bigger than your fear! The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (Deut 31:8). I’m a Navy mom whose son has been in for 9 years. I’ve witnessed God’s protection over him through basic training/officer candidate school, rigorous nuclear training & a 6-month submarine deployment in the North Atlantic that allowed only limited communication with the topside world. I’ve witnessed God’s provision as my son was transferred to shore duty in San Diego when he could have been sent to other high-risk locations around the world. There are always fears associated with military service, but you can rest assured that God will be holding you in His strong, loving, capable hands. Thank you for your willingness to serve! Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).

    • churchmouse

      Yes thank you for your service. Will pray for your safety and that you will be a light for Christ wherever you go

    • Cathy

      I’m an Air Force Mom and have seen God’s hand in my son’s life many times during the last 5 years!! He is soo Faithful!! Thank you for your willingness to serve!!

    • Lisa

      Nikki fear of the unknown is a normal feeling but keep reminding yourself that God has led you to this so he will get you through it. When you are feeling scared or tired or weak reminded yourself of Philippines 4:13 I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. I am an Air Force mom and I’m here to tell you that you can do this. You know going into this that basic training is physically, mentally and emotionally draining and you may find yourself thinking “what did I get myself into” but you will continue on and come out the other side stronger. Before you know it you will be at graduation weekend receiving your coin and becoming an Airman. Thank you for doing this. You are going to do great!

  • Mackenzie

    Also I’m not catholic

    • Cathy

      I was raised Catholic & decided to be baptized as an adult also!! So thankful to be able to make the choice for Christ!! It was & still is very special to me!! Blessings to you!!

  • Mackenzie

    I have a question: I grew up in a catholic family but we basically just went to church on Christmas and Easter. I was baptized as a baby. I accepted Christ a little over a year ago and He has shown me so much over this past year. I know I was baptized as a baby, but I feel like it wasn’t a real baptism because I wasn’t a believer then and it wasn’t my choice and an action of obedience to God’s command. So I want to get baptized as an action of obedience and not because my parents decided. I’m not sure how they will react if I told them, but is it okay to be baptized as a baby and then later as you become a believer?

    • Jillian

      It is awesome that you want to get baptized now. My husband is a pastor and he has baptized quite a few people after salvation who were baptized as babies. Since you seem to fully understand the difference, my mother (who was baptized as a baby) likes to think of her infant baptism as something akin to her parents dedicating her to God and to raise her in a godly way and her true baptism as the one after salvation. I am sure your church would be eager to baptize you now as you follow Christ’s command to be baptized.

    • Anne

      I have a testimony similar to yours and as a young adult I chose to be baptized again. I felt like this time it was my decision, and was my public demonstration of my decision to walk with Christ. Blessings to you as ponder this step and continue your faith journey!!

    • Darlene

      I believe that when you were baptized as a baby your parents were giving you to God to do with as He pleased. That was their decision. Getting baptized now is a choice you are making to serve God to the fullest. It doesn’t mean the first one wasn’t meaningful. If or when your parents ask you about your decision you will have an opportunity to tell them how you feel and to share what God lays on your heart. “Do not be afraid” God will use your words for good.

    • Amber

      My husband was baptized as a baby in a Presbyterian church. He didn’t accept Christ until he was a teen.We now attend a small Mennonite church. A few years ago he decided he wanted to be baptized again. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to make a declaration of faith! When you were a baby of course you didn’t know what it meant. I was glad I could be a part of my husband’s baptism, it was very special!

    • Veronica

      Mackenzie, definitely yes! As long as you know Baptism doesn’t do the saving- Jesus saved you when YOU asked him. :) Baptism is a public display of your fresh, new life with Christ! So doing it more then once as a sign of commitment and his forgiveness is okay. I was baptized in 5th grade, by choice, because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. In high-school and college, I fell away from God and pursued lots of sin… My relationship with God was torn. My husband follows a similar story. Once we got married, we decided to get baptized once again, as a symbol of separating from our sin and a reminder for us to pursue God fully. Of course since then we are not perfect, by any means, but I feel in that time of our life it was a right choice. Do what you feel is right!

  • Cheryl M

    This hit home today! I’ve been feeling God calling me to duty but I am afraid. Lord help me to overcome my fear and step up.

  • churchmouse

    I can so easily talk myself out of sharing my faith because I fear my inadequacy in defending the faith and because I fear the response of those to whom I am speaking. From today’s Scriptures I glean that my fears do not release me from my responsibility. “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. For I am with you…” What do I have to fear when the great I AM is standing right beside me? Thank you, Missy and SRT, for this reminder today.

  • This is certainly powerful teaching in light of what’s going on in the world around us! Father help us not to fear, but to trust that You are indeed Sovereign & in control. I pray that those I love who seem to have little or no faith would come to trust in you before it’s too late.

  • Happy Independence Day!
    Thank you Lord for the freedom you give. No reason to fear when I have Jesus by my side.
    Have a blessed day ladies!

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