July 9

Acts 15:22-41

Christianity is a Jewish religion that started in Jerusalem, and in Acts 15, when the apostles were still in ministry and the city was still standing, leaders got together to make a decision that concerned Judaism and the Gentiles. Paul did not feel the Gentiles should be forced into Jewish regulations, but Barnabas did (Galatians 2:13).

The leaders decided that Gentiles would not have to be circumcised, but they were to embrace what was moral and abstain from what was immoral from the Jewish law. They wrote it in a letter so the church in Antioch could hear what the Jewish leaders thought was right. God revealed Himself in the Law. His holiness led us to our realization we needed a Savior. Jesus removed the penalty of sin and the need for animal sacrifice, but righteousness never changed. We are now made righteous through Christ, and we continue to grow in Him and with His help, we walk uprightly. It’s not a performance; it’s a surrender. The decision brought resolution between Paul and Barnabas and others.

Judas and Silas delivered the letter. Judas returned home, but Silas decided to stay in Antioch and then accompanied Paul on his next missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas decided to go in different directions because Paul did not want John Mark on his team and Barnabas did. Let’s remember it was also Barnabas that united Paul with the twelve apostles – he was a gracious minister, believing in mercy and transformation. However, Paul’s life was often in danger, and Paul knew he was taking risks to go back and visit those places, especially where he was stoned and left for dead. Paul didn’t trust John Mark because he had left them on the first journey. The Word does not say that Paul did not love John Mark or had unforgiveness towards the man – he just didn’t want him on the trip. Paul also had commended Barnabas’ ministry (1 Corinthians 9:6), so we don’t see any bitterness after their disagreement.

Barnabas and John Mark, who were related as cousins (Colossians 1:4), also went out to spread the Gospel and build churches. The New Testament is made up of Paul’s writings, so we know more about Paul. John Mark was close with Peter and ended up writing one of the Gospels (1 Peter 5:13).

Later, Paul does ask for John Mark come to him, saying he is “useful to me for ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).” Paul valued John Mark, even though he left him, failing him on that first mission. Let’s learn from this:
If we fail, it doesn’t mean we are disqualified from future ministry.
Our past mistakes don’t define us. We should give ourselves and others room to grow.
If our hearts stay open, we should be able to truly reconciled and reconnect with people without issues.
When we show grace, we can extend opportunities to those who once let us down.

Job 40-42

Job had questioned the justice in his suffering, and in Job 40:1, God asks who would try to correct or rebuke Him. Job answers with wisdom, saying he’s going to keep quiet.

God continues to speak of His power and might to Job, mentioning creatures that are not familiar to us, creatures that could now be extinct. God will restore Job, but before He does, God reveals Himself as the One to be trusted and worshipped.

It’s not difficult to praise God in times of blessing, but in times of testing, praising God requires faith in God. We don’t go by what we see; we go by what we don’t see. Many of us know more about God now that Job knew before his testing. We have the Bible; Job did not. We have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us; Job did not. We have a new nature, transformed by the salvation offered through Christ; Job did not. Let’s be confident of God’s love, justice, and goodness. Let’s be certain of what Jesus provided for us through His atonement, including provision and healing. Even in times of testing, let’s trust God’s character and look to Him to see us through.

#covertocoverwithmelanie #covertocover #growchurches #bible #biblecommentary #melaniestone #readthebible #readingthroughthebible #biblereadingplan



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