Founding the Corinthian Church

Open Your Bible

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

When I was in college, I wanted to work for the State Department. Specifically, I wanted to be a foreign service agent and work in embassies around the world. I interned for State, which was an incredible experience, and returned home with a tension brewing in my wandering heart. I had learned that foreign service officers moved every two or so years. But not only did they move, they often changed regions, learning new languages and cultures. It seemed exhilarating but exhausting, and I felt the Lord calling me to set down roots in Nashville. It didn’t come easy, and it still doesn’t. I am learning the balance between deep and wide, between rooted and winged, between slow and never-resting. 

I think Paul must have been surprised when the Lord tapped him to stay put in Corinth, to water the seed of a church he planted there. Paul was a traveler, a prisoner, a letter-writer. He’s a man known for his journeys, not his stayings. But he did stay, in Corinth and later in Ephesus (Acts 19:10). 

In Acts 18, the Lord’s command to Paul is simple. “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). 

Paul shows us what it means to obey the Lord, and to let God do the work. He wrote to Timothy that as a follower of Jesus he would be “a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master” (2Timothy 2:21). And the Corinthian church grew because of Paul’s commitment to those people, the early conversion of Crispus (Acts 18:8), and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 

When Paul left Corinth, he began his third missionary journey. And this same chapter that records Paul’s 18-month stay in Corinth also shows us his short visits to Ephesus (v.19), Jerusalem, Antioch, and his “traveling through one place after another in the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples” (v.23). 

The Bible is full of stories of goings and stayings, the way our lives tend to be shaped and shake out as well. We don’t know where the Lord will call us next; whether he is going to fling us across the globe, or have us stay in the same place forever. And one is not necessarily better than the other, despite what my wandering heart wants to believe. God’s Church is global, and local. It is the singing of hymns across time and continents, but it is also the ordinary prayers of a small country congregation. And the Lord will always do the work. He will always go before us (Deuteronomy 31:8). We can give thanks for Paul, and for the ongoing spread of God’s gospel around the world and through time, and petition God that He would always make our steps abundantly clear.

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55 thoughts on "Founding the Corinthian Church"

  1. Emily Morris says:

    Verse 26 stood out to me today! I love how we as Christians can build up one another and help each other grow in Christ in a way that is not critical or embarrassing. ❤️

  2. Rebekah Carlin says:

    Hey Whitney, your prayers are still being heard and still being addressed, even two years after you asked for prayers. Depression is HARD. I hope you’ve had some relief in the last few years. I’m praying for you girlfriend. You are loved!

  3. Portia Strange says:

    Lord, make my steps abundantly clear as I navigate what’s next for me as far as career & housing. As you make my steps abundantly clear, Spirit give me the desire, power, & strength to obey however You lead me.

  4. Whitney Autumn says:

    A lovely, timely read. I believe Yahweh lead me to this devotional today. Prayers as I ponder and discern where He will lead me next.

  5. Sarah Morrison says:


  6. Marilyn Jones says:

    God knew what his people need at that time. Paul was very important to God.

  7. Truth Seeker says:

    VICTORIA E ! I grew up in Thousand Oaks from age 5 – 18. Born in Hollywood CA my parents moved to T.O. just before my fifth birthday. At that time there were 2 main roads – which the shepherds used to move their flocks – an outside mall and not much else.
    By the time I was 18 it had become a huge city with a massive indoor mall right off of the main highway and it took forever to get from one side of the city to where ever you had to get to. That is why I left the state of CA as soon as I was able.
    Soooo glad to hear that the baby is healthy and growing and that God is blessing you so very much.
    I love knowing where all the SRT ladies are from.
    Blessings on you and baby and hubby !

  8. Sky Hilton says:

    Hello ladies!! Happy November!

    I love reading about groups of people falling down to their knees, and giving themselves to Jesus. Theres always something so amazing in that, seeing so many people choose life over death, chose Jesus over idolatry, over their own selfishness and pride. It’s what inspires me to grow deeper in my faith. I would hope that it would inspire you too.

    Reading about the story of Apollos made me think of the fact that we should ALL share the responsibility in sharing the faith. Sometimes many Christians push all of that onto newcomers, which is unfair. ALL of us, as christians, need to profess our faith publicly.. no matter what stage we are in of faith!

    Happy November! May it bring many blessings to everyone!

  9. Viola G says:

    Oh sorry, just found your name! Thank you Melanie Rainer.

  10. Viola G says:

    Thank you for this great devotional!… please sign your name. I don’t know who wrote this. Love in Christ, Viola

  11. Victoria E says:

    Thank you to all who prayed/ are praying! The anatomy scan went well, the baby is looking perfectly healthy praise God! Lara Castillo how crazy you were reading my comment right at 10:30! Jennifer Anapol I live in Thousand Oaks, a bit north of LA! So thankful for you all ❤️

  12. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I have never been a wanderer and always want to plant down roots. I always get sad when I hear friends say they are moving out of state and just wish everyone could live together forever. I have to resist the temptation of planting too deep of roots here on earth, since our forever home is in heaven.

  13. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Victoria, I hope your appointment went well! I too live in Southern California. What city do you live in, if you feel comfortable mentioning it here?

  14. Lara Castillo says:

    Victoria E- Usually I do SRT right when I wake up. For no good reason today, I didn’t, and as I am sitting here reading and praying through the responses, o

  15. Cheryl says:

    Penny, the transition back to the US can be difficult. It is not as simple as returning “home”. I volunteer with an organization called Thrive ( advocates for global women workers (missionaries). They have a number of resources that you might found helpful in this time of change for you. Let me know if I can be of help..

  16. Dorothy says:

    Even though I’m not a great writer or speaker like Paul or the others, I feel like God wants me to spread the Great News of Christ and the Holy Spirit. We know that if we let God “take the reigns” in helping to spread the Great News it won’t matter whether we are good at it or not. God doesn’t care how many times I fail or sin as long as I continue to come back to Him and His Son and ask for forgiveness. I have written this quote from Beth Moore’s “Portraits of Devotion” on an index card, “God sometimes uses us most powerfully when we feel least adequate.”
    Lord, help us to spread the Great News of Your Son and the Holy Spirit and of You to every one we meet whether by mouth or by action or just by a smile. Watch over all of us, You know our needs. Amen.
    Have a blessed day and spread the Great News sisters.

  17. Cindy Hanna says:

    I love that even Paul needed encouragement. How sweet that God took the time to speak words over him to strengthen him in a dream.

  18. Traci Gendron says:

    I like in James 4:14-15 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring – what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” IF the Lord wills. I need to pray more for God’s will in my life. I pray for Tanner continuously. I recently have learned add to that prayer for perseverance and courage to keep on through Tanner’s illness. None of us know what tomorrow will bring. Paul definitely did not know, yet he kept on doing God’s work. May I be so brave.

    HAILEY LOTT – If I could go back, I would keep my eyes on God. I would not feel so pressured to have everything figured out. Time does go fast. Try not to panic about that. Ask God for guidance in everything you do.
    MARI V – Praying for your situation living with your mom. I’m sure it is hard, yet you feel blessed to have her.
    TAYLOR – Praying
    LINDSAY SETTER – Welcome!
    MELANIE – praying for healing
    PENNY W – Bless you on your mission work

  19. Ruth Long says:

    Hi Hailey! I’m a senior in HS too. I’ll pray for you, as I totally understand the difficulty of balancing responsibilities, your own plans, serving and love God and others. You are not alone, and the first thing I learned is that peace may not always show itself in a calm heart rate or simple schedule but it can begin with a daily dedication of your schedule to God. That could automatically take the pressure off you to be perfect and in control. I found just saying, “here’s my tasks today God, I don’t know how they’ll get done and I need your energy and discernment to complete them. Grant me your peace every step. It’s all for you.” What you do is all for the glory of God, and that means that YOU are not a failure if things are difficult. Remain planted and going to him for every need, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. I have no doubt you are already scheduling your tasks out, but remember to rest and be intentional in physically resting too. You have got this! You’re going to do well.

  20. Victoria E says:

    Searching and Kelly, and all those who are praying thank you so much. My ultrasound is at 1030 am PST today. Whitney Autumn, I hear you so clearly because I too am struggling with direction for my career and life and have struggles with anxiety that complicates the picture. We moved to Southern California about 18 months ago for the weather because of my depression, but it is much more expensive than I remember from a few years ago when I was here as a resident. Now that we are expecting I feel this unexpected desire to go back East to be closer to family for the baby’s sake and for my parents to be able to see him more. I have a lot of confusion- do I stay in research or go back to seeing patients? Do I stay with my company or find a new one out East ? Do I even move or is that just my desire? I pray the Lord gives me direction. I do feel it is not yet time to move , I pray that when it is time that the Lord will make my path clear. I pray this for all of us here also seeking direction. Love you all have a wonderful day!

  21. Victoria E says:

    Hailey Lott, bless you for being here and making your relationship with God a priority! I am super proud to see you here and I still be praying for you.

  22. Mari V says:

    Penny W. What I was trying to say as it’s hard to communicate on comments is I needed to “hear” your words. And I felt convicted but not in a bad way. I sometimes need to hear those words and not forget where I was and where I am today. If it weren’t for this home and my mother I don’t know where I would be. It’s like we are helping one another. I will be praying for you as you transition from the mission field to the mission of caring for elderly parents.

  23. Lexi B says:

    Melanie- happy to hear you had your surgery; praying for a swift healing and sweet rest.

    Whitney- I am so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with depression. I have this verse for you: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps 34:18. The Lord is with you and knows your pain. Praying for peace of God to overcome you and help guide you in every decision you need to make.

    Hailey- Praying that you are not overwhelmed with everything on your plate and that God helps you to priortize what you need to do and things you can wait on.

    Penny: Praying for you as you return home from the mission field and for those you are leaving.

    Taylor: I totally understand how you feel; I have a HUGE desire to travel and see everything. I went to God to see if I am to remain in one spot or if I am meant to travel all my life. God told me this; “you’re like a tree. You’re planted here in Fresno; your roots hold deep. However, you have many branches and your branches may reach out to touch many places. But Fresno, where your roots are, will always be home.
    God has fullfilled my travel desire through road trips, overseas trips and trips right here in my backyard. I found that it is enough to satisfy that wanderlust I have and still see the amazing things that God has created. But oddly enough, I finally settled on Fresno being my home and I am happy to have it that way. Excited to see what plans God has for you, whether you are meant to stay or meant to go. Whatever you’re meant to do, God will bless it.

  24. Mari V says:

    Thankful for all of you here this morning. I wrote down your name and will be praying for all of you. Penny W thank you for your words this morning. I needed to hear your words this morning. I now live with my elderly mother and sometimes it is not easy. Because of lack of communication yesterday I was firm with my words mainly because of safety. I am a single middle-aged working mom and I cannot leave my job to stay home. I pray that my mom would “think“ before she does certain things around the house for everyone’s safety. but I am grateful she took in my kids and I when I had to leave an abusive marriage.

  25. hailey lott says:

    Prayer request- I’m a senior in high school. I’m trying to balance a long distance relationship, being in the church and thriving in my relationship with God, leading clubs in my school, scholarships, choosing which university I’m going to, and grades. It’s weighing on my heart and I don’t have peace most of the time. It always feels like I don’t have enough time and my mind is constantly thinking about all of these things.

  26. Nancy Singleton says:

    Praying for you, Whitney Autumn. I hope you have help in your struggle with depression. Remember “feelings have no IQ”(a quote from Dr Laura Schlesinger), & must not control us. Stay in the truth of God’s word, & know that you do not struggle alone.

  27. Annelyn P says:

    Melanie, good to hear you had the surgery and it went well. Praying for your healing. You are in God’s hand.

  28. Susie H says:

    I had to laugh when Paul gets mad at the Jews in the synagogue saying he will go to the gentiles and then moves in with someone who lives right NEXT DOOR to the synagogue!

  29. Christina Fowlkes says:

    @whitney autumn praying for healing in your heart and mind and for God to guide your steps and that you find you joy in Him each and every day

  30. Aimee D-R says:

    Father God let me be your instrument of faith, grace, mercy and the Gospel. In Jesus name, Amen

  31. SarahJoy says:

    TAYLOR – I didn’t get past your comment because I was you 15-20 years ago. Asking God why I was back in my hometown when I had gotten back from traveling for a year with a second language learned. Really God, Iowa? Yes, really. And he showed up in these years. He has provided ways to love the nations as many people come to our area for work. I use my Spanish regularly (with my requests that I can’t fulfill). God can give you opportunities to serve and grow, even if it feels like a place that’s so known. Granted I have had multiple seasons here and changed churches and communities over the years as I have grown from child to young adult to married with kids.

    God may call you to another place someday, but He most certainly will not waste your time as you seek to follow Him right where you are. ❤️

  32. Michelle Patire says:

    Arina, I remember also feeling this way as I graduated college. I thought I had to make this big leap, but the Lord made my steps clear day by day. I pray He does the same for you, in the most practical sense. Keep asking and knocking, and He will answer :)

    Welcome Lindsay!! I’m glad you made a post and introduced yourself. I pray you feel encouraged, too.

    Whitney, I am sorry you are hurting. I know the Lord has lifted me from feelings of depression. I pray you believe He can do it for you, too. I pray He would restore your heart and give you purpose, joy, and peace. I just thought about my big heartbreak, years ago… I was so hurt, broken, and broken. I remember listening to “Heroes” by Amanda Cook from her Brave New World album. I was a very immature believer, but a friend recommended that album to me and the lyrics of that song struck my heart, amidst my distress.

    “You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment and I will worship.” I pray God would encourage your heart to know you can be full of such joy, you can dance, amidst your sorrows. I am proud of you for seeking Him through the Word, clinging to Him in this way, and asking for prayer. He is with you and He sees your heart. Prayers for your hallelujahs to resound.

    God bless you all, today. May we be open as Apollos was to being corrected — May we increase in wisdom and effectiveness !!

  33. Taylor says:

    I loved the quote “I am learning the balance between deep and wide, between rooted and winged, between slow and never-resting.” I feel that tension so much in my current season being back in my hometown. I desire to go and explore the world, work in different places, never settling and always on the move but what if that’s not God’s will for me? Will I be okay with that? Do I think I can still have an abundant life if I never leave this area? My initial reaction is no, but I am trying to be open-handed with my life and my plans and keep praying for the Lord’s will to be done in my life because His plans are so much better than any I could dream up for myself. May the Lord grant me contentment in this season, yet still provide opportunities for my wandering spirit to be satisfied <3

  34. Lindsay Setters says:

    Hello all. I am new here, but I wanted to thank each of you for sharing. I appreciate this sense of community of fellow believers and that I may join it. Continue praying for each other, uplifting and encouraging one another. Whether Paul, or we, are grounded or wandering, we are connected through our faith, can share experiences from our lives, and will bear abundant fruit if we are in the will of God, trusting Him to lead us where we should go. I pray each of you has peace, joy and contentment today in whatever your situation.

  35. Debbie PursuedbyHim says:

    Praying for you, Whitney.
    God grant her wisdom concerning her career and give her strength only You can provide.

  36. Debbie PursuedbyHim says:

    Praying for you, Whitney. grant her wisdom concerning her career and give her strength through You.

  37. Melissa W says:

    @Arina – that is a hard thing to face. I remember my own graduation almost 10 years ago, facing that same scary feeling of uncertainty. Everything I though was going to happen when I graduated was not the case. God has different plans for me, and it was a scary feeling to let go and let Him guide my path. And my path since has really looked a way I could never have expected. But God is truly faithful in keeping us in His hands. His guidance and love are always with us, wherever we end up. And you’re right about just keeping on working, doing what our hands find to do. Live every day to glorify God.
    “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118;24)

  38. Melanie says:

    It’s hard leaving what you love. Maybe Paul didn’t like getting to close to people and building relationships because they get sticky and hurt. ——my surgery went well on Friday. I am very sore and in pain Praying that I heal beautifully

  39. Carrie Malone says:

    Helen S- that is really profound and so very true. Penny- praying for you today.

  40. Whitney Autumn says:

    ARINA- found your comment so encouraging today. Thank you, sister.

  41. Whitney Autumn says:

    Please pray for me. Just struggling with direction in my career and life. I have depression which makes work so hard to keep up with regardless of what work I’m doing. Prayers for my healing and insight into what God wants for me, thank you. Also, healing from my divorce.

  42. Kelly says:

    VICTORIA – praying you receive a good report today.

    SARA P- praying for your step-daughter. May her eyes be openned to her situation.

    PENNY – may God give you a new joy in your new mission field.

  43. AG says:

    After graduating college 3 years ago, I was nervous and had no idea where I was meant to be. God sent me a job at a school near me in my college town and as much as I thought I was meant to leave, I stayed and 3 years later have had the best 3 years growing as a teacher and having the opportunity to love so many kids that NEED it. I am so thankful for this opportunity and am waiting to see what God does next in my life.

  44. Kelley Fuller says:

    Praying for you for peace and for patience as you begin this new journey. Caring for aging parents as both a challenge and a blessing.

  45. Angie says:

    “I am learning the balance between deep and wide, between rooted and winged, between slow and never-resting.” I think there is a wisdom in the mixture. As I remain in “the same”, my comfort grows in that place, and if “the same” is a nice and good place, I begin to covet remaining there. (I am just speaking for me, things I am noticing in me as I grow older.) For me, remembering that where I am matters less than WHO I am dwelling with makes all the difference. Dwelling in, my God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit brings glory to God and value to my days whether deep and wide, rooted or winged, slow or busy.

  46. Arina says:

    I don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing what’s coming next. I’ll be graduating next month from college hopefully. It’s scary, I’ve no clue yet what my life will look like after that. Would Paul have felt the same? Always travelling, fearing for the next time the Jews would come after him. God told him, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. For I am with you.” Even when we don’t know what the future will look like, we know God is be with us, now and forever. So we can keep working, doing what our hands find to do. Trusting that God will make clear what our next step should be.

  47. Searching says:

    PENNY W – praying for you as you prepare to enter a new season, and for the transition to come. Caregiving (in whatever form that takes) may very well be the most difficult thing you’ve done so far. Praying for wisdom, strength and encouragement.

    VICTORIA E – praying for today’s ultrasound

    SARAH P – praying for your stepdaughter, for wisdom and strength to make right choices

    TINA – great insights today, thank you! You really have a way with words, full of wisdom and encouragement – and shared in a way that shows caring, understanding and always pointing others to Christ. So good to see you today.

  48. Kristen says:

    Hi Everyone, I know I just left a comment above, but I then went over to the First app where the new study officially starts today on the book of Joshua. The title of the teaching is: When We are Overwhelmed. I felt like devotional relates to what with what Melanie was saying about petitioning God and asking Him to make our steps abundantly clear. The devotional reminds us to stay in God’s Word and to meditate on His Word. Here is a link to the teaching:
    Here is the prayer that was shared: Prayer: Heavenly Father, sometimes I have no idea how to handle what life throws at me. But You do. You’re always there. Thank You for showing me, once again, that Your Word holds true in every situation. The next time I’m overwhelmed, please help me remember to be strong and courageous in You, and to seek You in the pages of Scripture. In Jesus’ name, amen.
    Just thought I should share! Hope this makes sense as to the connection I saw.

  49. Helen S says:

    I was struck by v6 today. It’s our responsibility to speak truth in live. How people respond is on them. I pray that we will have boldness and that those we share Jesus with today will have receptive hearts.

  50. Helen S says:

    Yes Penny. We’ve found in ministry that it’s easy to make the ‘sacrifices’ we choose and much harder to make the unexpected sacrifices. I’m praying for wisdom and obedience as God guides your steps.

  51. Mary Ann Graves says:

    Sometimes I haven’t understood why or where God wanted me to be but I have tried to follow him faithfully.

  52. Kristen says:

    @Penny,prayers for you and your family. May God bless you and give you peace wherever you are or go.
    This part from above stuck out to me, so
    I copied Melanie’s words: and petition God that He would always make our steps abundantly clear.I know I need this, as we all do! I want to be sure I do the right thing in a certain situation. However, how awesome to think that we can petition and ask Him to make our steps abundantly clear! His ways are always best for us. I know that I am guilty of worrying and fretting instead of seeking. Please forgive me, God. Help me to seek You and then leave my cares with You. God bless you all today.

  53. Tina says:

    @Penny, I’m sorry for your troubled heart. I expect there is much you will miss, and much that you feel you have not finished or accomplished..,
    Stand back, my sister in Christ, and look at the works you HAVE done, the years you gave for the Word of God, and the Hope you have brought to many, many, many..

    But God..
    As Ecclesiastes says there is a season for everything..
    Mission away from home is not the only way to Mission, right there on one’s doorstep we can still ‘do Mission.
    Coming home, in itself, already sounds like a mission..

    But God..
    He calls us, we listen, He sends us, we obey and do the best we can, because in the long run, to be in the Mission field, is to follow where we are lead by Him who has the plan and purpose for our lives..

    I wish you well, and I will hold you and yours up in prayer, hopeful that you will have and know peace in this new season to come.
    God bless you @Penny and thank you for all you have done and I know, will continue to do..❤

  54. Dana says:

    Praying for you and your family Penny.

  55. Penny W says:

    Serving on the mission field for 25+ years and counting, I can relate to this devotional. I’m finding that the most difficult calling may be returning home sooner than we had planned in order to help with my aging parents. It turns out that leaving the mission field is a more difficult calling than going in the first place. Doing exactly what you want to do is no sacrifice. Giving it up is hard.