BEGINNING OF THE SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY
The second missionary journey began when Paul took Silas to visit the believers on his first missionary journey. He first went through Syria and then to Cilicia. After going through Cilicia, they went to Derbe and Lystra, where Paul was stoned on his first missionary journey and left outside the city, thinking he was dead (Acts 14:19). Upon arriving in Lystra, Timothy, whose mother was Jewish and whose father was a Greek, joined Paul and Silas on their journey. Timothy became Paul's mentee, and Paul eventually wrote the book of 1 & 2 Timothy to encourage Timothy. Since Timothy's mother was a Jew, Paul had to circumcise him so that the Jewish community would accept him. They delivered the decision that the leaders or elders of Jerusalem to the believers in the region that the Gentiles did not need to be circumcised, only to abstain from sexual immorality and idols. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers (Acts 16:1-5). (Second Missionary Journey Map).
It is inspiring to see Paul's resiliency in making Jesus known and encouraging the believers to grow in their relationship with the Lord. He was willing to return to where he almost got killed for the sake of Jesus. Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 16:24-25). Paul surrendered everything to follow Christ because he believed that life could only be found in Jesus. As believers, we need to remind ourselves that God is the ultimate sustainer of our lives. The more we live for Him, the more we will have joy and contentment, even in the midst of problems and suffering.
Let us not be afraid of giving ourselves to God completely. Let God control and guide our lives, and we will live abundantly in Him. Life is more than the material things and success of this world. Life is about experiencing God and enjoying His presence and blessings.
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through these questions carefully and meditate on them while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speaks to you). What does it mean to follow Jesus? Am I willing to follow Jesus and willing to lose my life? What does it stop me from completely living for God?
Father in Heaven, You are the source and the savior of life. Please help me to continue to surrender everything and live for you. Do not let the desires of this world stop me from following you. Please help me to trust you completely and let go of trying to control my life. You are my life, and you know what is best for me. In your name Jesus, I pray. Amen.