“Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.”  (Acts 7:25, NIV)

It surprises us — as it did Moses — that others do not realize our status as God’s rescue agent.  From “the outside looking in,” we see situations differently than those in the crisis.

At such moments — when we are filled with enthusiasm, energy, and ardor — we need to guard against the temptation to become “tactical”; that is, to become more concerned about a particular, single battle than we are the entire war.  Many have lost wars despite having won most of the battles.  The key is to choose, and to fight, the right battles.

Above all, it is crucially important that we keep our ego in check.  The recognition and praise of others is a poor barometer (as we saw with Jesus on Palm Sunday when he entered Jerusalem to the praise of the people, only to hear many of those same voices call for His crucifixion a few days later).

Instead, work assiduously for the honor and the glory of our heavenly Father.  – Luther

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“And it came to pass in our going on to prayer, a certain maid, having a spirit of Python, did meet us, who brought much employment to her masters by soothsaying, she having followed Paul and us, was crying, saying, `These men are servants of the Most High God, who declare to us a way of salvation;’ and this she was doing for many days, but Paul having been grieved, and having turned, said to the spirit, `I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come forth from her;’ and it came forth the same hour.”  (Acts 16:16-18, Young’s Literal Translation)

A single word can, sometimes, make a world of difference.

The young girl in today’s scripture passage “dogged” Paul and his companions as they proclaimed the Good News, saying: “These men are servants of the Most High God (TRUE), who declare to us a way of salvation (FALSE).”

Here, it can get confusing because except for a literal, word-for-word, translation of the Greek New Testament one will probably find the word “the” instead of the word “a” in other New Testament translations to English of the girl’s characterization of the disciple’s message.

Paul and the others were not announcing one way of many ways; they lived to proclaim the way of salvation.  It was this mis-characterization of their message that annoyed Paul and provoked him to “call out” the demon within the girl that was the true source of the half-truths.

As disciples of Jesus, our message today is the same as the message of Paul and the other disciples in the Acts: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12, New Living Translation)

If we believe that to be true, we, too, should be annoyed at any attempt to mis-characterize or to alter the whole truth of God’s word — and use whatever tools at our disposal to set-straight the record.  Words do matter.  – Luther

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“After proclaiming the Message in Derbe and establishing a strong core of disciples, they retraced their steps to Lystra, then Iconium, and then Antioch, putting muscle and sinew in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn’t be easy: ‘Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.'”  (Acts 14:21-22, The Message)

Expectations.  Set forth clear expectations today, and you will avoid a great deal of misunderstanding and disappointment tomorrow.

As disciples of Jesus, we are told numerous times in the scriptures to expect hardship, resistance, and trial for the sake of the Good News.  Difficulties come with being a citizen of heaven.  Expect it.

We are also told numerous times in the scriptures to expect the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in every circumstance, to empower, to cheer, and to guide us.

Are our expectations as God’s people based on God’s word, or are our expectations based on something else?  – Luther

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