Friday, August 20, 2010

FINISHING WITH JOY

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FROM EPHESUS TO JERUSALEM

Read Acts 19:21–41; 20:17–38

     Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. Acts 20:37b–38a NKJV
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     For the first three months in Ephesus, Paul preached in the Jewish synagogues, but when opposition to the gospel escalated he began to reason daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. (19:9b–10 NIV)

     After three years of ministry in Ephesus, Paul was forced to leave. Later, when he arrived at Miletus, he sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said, "And now compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me." (20:22–23 NIV)
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     Paul traveled on three missionary journeys, planting churches everywhere. Then he would go to prison and accomplish the greatest task of all – writing inspired letters that are still ministering to us today as part of the Word of God. Lord, help us to build carefully on the foundation others have laid – and be faithful to pass on the message of Your grace.
* * *
     But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 NKJV

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