Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.
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In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And the man sprang up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, "Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good - giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy." Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
Claiming the Opportunity
I think we’re constantly given the opportunity to do what God has called us to do. The problem is that we generally never notice them and if we do, we come up with an excuse to be still and silent. Let me tell you what I mean. You see, we’re often in situations where we might demonstrate the faith we claim by showing love to our neighbors or by inviting them to come and see Jesus. But we hesitate. We convince ourselves that we need to wait for a better situation. And as a result, we completely miss our chance to do what Christ has called us to do. You see, although the opportunity was there, we failed to claim it. And sadly a person for whom Jesus died and was raised will have to wait to hear about the meaning of love and grace.
But what if we make an intentional effort to change the way we see the world around us, and we make the assumption that we always have the opportunity to serve God? Now I recognize that for some this might seem overwhelming. I mean, sharing our faith makes a lot of believers uncomfortable in the best of times, because we’re afraid that we might say something wrong or not have all the answers to all the questions. But of course, that concern really isn’t necessary. I mean, even though it’s a real gift to be able to explain what we believe to anyone who’ll listen, our opportunity to respond may be as simple as to show some random act of kindness to another person or to invite our friends to come with us to a place where the truth about Jesus is shared and taught. But regardless of the kind of opportunity we have, it really means nothing if it’s not claimed.