Chapter-a-Day Acts 13

Dscn0910The congregation in Antioch was blessed with a number of prophet-preachers and teachers:

   Barnabas,
   Simon, nicknamed Niger,
   Lucius the Cyrenian,
   Manaen, an advisor to the ruler Herod,
   Saul. Acts 13:1-2 (TM)

"Is that what you’re wearing?" my wife asks in a soft voice, her eyebrow twitching into just the hint of an arch.

That’s all it takes. I’m going to be changing my outfit. For whatever reason, something I’m wearing hasn’t passed muster. Because she rarely says anything remotely critical about my clothes, I trust that something is truly amiss.

No one has as much influence over me as my wife. She is my constant companion, lover, advisor and best friend. When she speaks, I listen (even when she doesn’t think I hear her). She influences me and my behavior in a million different ways.

I have no idea who Manaen was. I know nothing about the man and don’t ever recall paying attention to his name the numerous times I’ve read the book of Acts. What we do know about the man is that he was an advisor to one of the most evil, arrogant, ruthless rulers that the middle east has ever known. Herod wielded great power and influence. He was as paranoid as he was arrogant, killing most of his own family to protect his position. Herod had people around him killed as easily and non-chalantly as I might change my shirt. And, Manaen the Christian was Herod’s advisor.

I can’t imagine being an advisor to the likes of Herod. Manaen’s life would have been in constant jeopardy. One small political misstep, one wrong piece of advice offered to Herod when the ruler was in a bad mood, and his life was forfeit. Yet, God placed this believer in a position of power for a purpose. Manaen was an agent of God in the court of evil’s dominion. God placed this man in a position where he could have tremendous influence.

I’ve often heard people asking how God might use them. Instead of looking for some great project to which God might call us, we would do well to consider how God wants to use us in our circles of influence. We greatly affect our spouse, our children, our family, our friends, and our co-workers.

How can God use me in influencing those around me for His good purpose?

One thought on “Chapter-a-Day Acts 13”

  1. 50-52Some of the Jews convinced the most respected women and leading men of the town that their precious way of life was about to be destroyed. Alarmed, they turned on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave. Paul and Barnabas shrugged their shoulders and went on to the next town, Iconium, brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples.
    This is a good lesson in spiritual toughness. It is hard when you are in ministry (when you are a people pleaser) and you learn that some don’t like how you lead. We have learned this past year that some parents don’t like how we lead youth group. We felt it early and over time have had those feelings affirmed. I don’t know if they are jealous or the source of their angst, but I have learned to shrug my shoulders, smile and keep serving as God has called me, not according to some human’s perspective. Paul and Barnabas faced this too. Once again, scripture proves I’m not the first to face trial 🙂

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