Acts 15:3 – And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
When you leave a place, what marks do you leave on the people there? There are four basic kinds of marks. (1) Wrinkles – all you did was make and impression. (2) Wounds – you hurt or injured someone, leaving them with open wounds. (3) Scars (Stitch Scars) – while you may have caused some discomfort, you succeeded in closing some wounds and at least starting a healing process. (4) Stretch Marks – you truly have helped people grow, to stretch themselves to go beyond where they were.
One of the greatest ways to leave stretch marks is to cause, provoke, deposit, grow, and/or produce JOY in the lives of those you encounter. We know JOY to be a fruit of the spirit. We know JOY to be a drawing agent or tool from the well of salvation. We know JOY is measurable; that it can be “counted.” We know that JOY is a powerful spiritual force; it can handle the pressures of life. Take another look at our Text for Today. This verse gives clear indication that JOY can also be “CAUSED.”
That brings us to this question. How does one “cause great joy unto all the brethren?” Look more closely at our Text for Today. We read that Paul and Barnabas passed through the region “declaring the conversion of the Gentiles.” Do you see that? They were testifying to the salvation of lost souls. The Scriptures tell us that there is great rejoicing in heaven over the salvation of a single soul. So, can you imagine the rejoicing over many souls? Now add to that one additional thought. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, one of the points of prayer He emphasized was, “Thy will be done in heaven as it is in earth.” Dear reader, we need to realize and be continually cognizant of the truth that heaven and earth are connected; that to some degree, there is a shared atmosphere. That atmosphere is shared because the Word works in both arenas, God’s interest in man serves in both arenas, and there is a joint rulership in both arenas. The Head of the body rules from the right hand of Majesty, and the body rules under the Lordship of the head in the earth. The point is simple. We are heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, and ambassadors of God in this earth. Live up to your identity. Be who the Lord has made you to be, rule with the authority He gave you, and live in the bounty that is yours through Christ.
Manna for Today – Acts 15:1-21; Galatians 5:22-23; Nehemiah 8:10; James 1:2-