Unstoppable! 'Facing Hostile Powers' — Acts 13:4-10

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus. There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.

Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing.

Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. Then he said, "You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?"

— Acts 13:4-10 NLT

Key Thought

All too often, modern churches look at culture, language, travel, conflict, danger, and disease as some of the main challenges facing missionaries today. However, our biggest challenge today is the same as it has been through the ages. We face powerful, evil, malevolent, and vicious foes: Satan and his minions. Our struggle isn't against flesh and blood, but against powerful evil in unseen, dark places.* Satan opposes us every step of the way. He sows discord among mission team members. He tries to steal away the word before it has a chance to reach a person's heart. He causes disease, military conflicts, and territorial pettiness and spreads false rumors about those who bring the Good News. We must not forget that we are in a war for the eternal lives of people Jesus died to save! This war against Satan, against powerful evil, has been a reality since the Garden of Eden, but we need to remember that our victory over the kingdom of darkness is assured when we depend of Jesus and put our trust in him.*

* See the Related Scripture Readings below for Bible verses that remind us of our spiritual warfare in sharing the message of Jesus.

Today's Prayer

O God, we need your power, your strength, your guidance, your courage, and your love for the lost if we are going to be able to reach the lost in our world. Please, pour out these blessings in abundance on us so we can be effective in serving and spreading your word. We ask this in Jesus' mighty name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Romans 1:16-17; John 1:1-18
  • Ephesians 6:10-12; Luke 8:5, 9-12; Colossians 1:12-14

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 13:4-10 NLT — So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus. There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.

Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing.

Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. Then he said, "You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?"

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.