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KINGS COMMENTARY: Facing opposition

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WESTVILLE, N.S. —

Acts 14:1-6

A while ago I played ball hockey, or tried to. I’m not very good. At one point in the game, I had a breakaway of sorts, and kind of like an out of control walrus I was barreling down the gym when an opposing player threw his stick from behind. “Penalty!” the captain screamed! “Penalty shot for Ryan.”
As this point our teams were tied 2-2, and it was a next-goal wins-type scenario. As I stood at mid-court staring down my opposition, I openly wondered why the team’s worst player is now in a position to score the winning goal. 
I kicked the ball with my foot forward (like I saw them do on the Mighty Ducks) and tried the famed triple-deke with all of the grace of the above walrus. At the last moment I saw my chance and fired the ball...
Right off of the goalie’s left pad. He didn’t even have to move, and just like that, my spotlight in the glory was over. 
It would have been nice if he jumped out of the way and let me shoot uncontested, but he didn’t. Instead, he was my opposition.  
I find that all throughout life, we have opposition. Again, it would be nice if they would roll over, and allow us to skate though life with no problems, but it doesn’t work that way. 
After being run out of Antioch, our team of heroes made their way north to Iconium, and again followed the pattern of going to the synagogue first. 
Things went so well, hundreds, perhaps thousands of both Greeks and Jews accepted the Lord. 
(Act 14:1)  And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
But alas, good times weren’t to last. 
(Act 14:2)  But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
The unbelieving Jews by lies and slander poisoned the minds of the community against Paul and Barnabas. But even with mounting opposition, they stayed on preaching. Many Bible teachers think this was a time of about 6 months. 
(Act 14:3)  Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Not to be discouraged, they continued preaching boldly. Soon the city was divided. The gospel certainly has a polarizing affect. 
(Act 14:4)  But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
When they became aware of a plot against their life, it was time to leave. 
(Act 14:5-6)  And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
Friends, God allows opposition in our lives for a number of reasons, and He uses it for our good. Perhaps our faith needs strengthened, perhaps we need humbled, and there could be a hundred other reasons. 
When following the will of the Lord and opposition strikes, don’t get discouraged. 
As Paul reminds us, (1Co 15:58)  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

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