Eat More Pasta!
April 20 – by Pastor Bob Huisman
If you asked my Italian mom for a recipe for joy in life, she might tell you “Eat More Pasta”.
Actually, she wouldn’t. As expected, she would probably say something about family and faith being the best recipe for joy. But “eat more pasta” would follow closely behind. Perhaps I am thinking about pasta today because we had homemade lasagna last night (thanks in part to sous-chef Annah Rose Huisman). We were super hungry and it was delicious. Homemade lasagna with “Huisman Garlic Bread” is definitely a formula for joy.
But you are reading a devotional and expecting a recipe for joy that has a little more substance – especially during this time of the COVID pandemic. Let’s see what else God has for us…
I was reading Acts 13:44-52 today as part of a devotional plan and I was shocked at the ingredients that led to joy for Paul and Barnabas in Pisidian Antioch. At first glance it seems like an impossible recipe:
Persecution + Expulsion = Joy???? Hard to imagine isn’t it?
50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Ico′nium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
How strange – persecution and being driven out of town equals joy?
But there is more to this story.
The rest of the story is that Paul and Barnabas had been sharing the “good news”(Acts 13:32) and that “through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed” (Acts 15:38). And many believed (Acts 13:48).
Paul and Barnabas were faithful to the calling that God had given them to share the good news of Jesus with the Gentiles even though their circumstances became increasingly difficult and dangerous.
Looking at the bigger picture, it seems like their recipe for joy might have been:
Faithfulness + Holy Spirit Filling = JOY
We experience JOY when on the outside our actions are faithful to the calling God has given to us and on the inside, we are filled with His Holy Spirit.
Keep the faith. Open your heart to God’s supernatural filling of His Holy Spirit. And know His JOY.
My daughter shared with me this beautiful summary thought from her Bible Study Fellowship lesson on Acts 13 –
“Difficulties, spiritually root and confirm God’s power to prevail in every situation.”
Our great God and Christ’s good church will prevail until He comes again!
Gracious and loving God, our Father in heaven, give us strength for this new day that we may be faithful to you. Fill us with your Holy Spirit in order the world may know your love, joy, and peace through us.
In Jesus name, Amen.