The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed ... Acts 11:21
The Jewish leaders hoped that by persecuting the church of Jesus Christ, they would extinguish people's faith in him. But persecution caused the Christian faith to spread like wildfire. Believers who were scattered did not leave their faith behind in Jerusalem. Wherever they went, they talked about their newly found faith in Jesus Christ. And "a great number of people believed."
What was the reason for this widespread growth of the church? Our reading for today says that "the Lord's hand was with them."
The same is true for us today. The mission of the church is to spread the good news of Jesus all over the world. But how do we do that? In whose name and whose power are we trying to win the world for Christ? Today we often put so much emphasis on programs, facilities, strategic planning, and other church-growth strategies that we often forget the most important "strategy" in evangelism and church growth: the power of the hand of God.
How can we expect lasting results if our presentation of the gospel is based on our own strength and planning? Only if we live and serve under the power of the Lord's hand can we be effective tools of God. And the hand of God will not be with people who secretly or openly live in sin.
Lord, forgive our sin. Help us to serve you faithfully, knowing that the power of your hand is our strength. Spread your Word and build your church, O Lord. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!