Below is our Devotional for the Month of May that chronicles the book of Acts.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Read Acts chapter 1
“So they nominate two men:
Joseph (called Barsabbas) and Matthias…”
The Scriptures in Psalm 109:8 said that another was to replace the betrayer. Peter suggested that someone be selected from among the 120 in the upper room to replace Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed the Lord and hung himself. Joseph and Matthias, both qualified and nominated by the group. Only one was selected… It was Matthias and not Joseph! For whatever reason, God, in His sovereignty, did not select Joseph to be one of His apostles, although he was qualified.
How do you feel when you realize that someone else was selected and not you? Scripture doesn’t tell us how Joseph reacted, but I would like to believe, that because Joseph was with Jesus, from the time of His baptism until He ascended to Heaven, that he accepted this as God’s will for his life.
God does not always “release us” to do those things that we are qualified to do. Not every good opportunity is God’s opportunity for you. God is more concerned on our being qualified, which means we have “traveled with the Lord Jesus,” (verse 21) than being selected for a position without the required experience. God is concerned with your experience in Him.
The point is, do not focus on “not being selected,” rather focus on “being qualified.” What are some things that you are currently doing to prepare yourself for His service?
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
The Holy Spirit to renew in you a hunger for His Presence
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Read Acts chapter 2
Be filled with the Holy Spirit
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other
tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
God is willing and able to fill us with His Holy Spirit today just like He filled the 120 believers at Pentecost. They were unsure of what would happen, but they waited in the upper room as they had been instructed. Then “suddenly,” they were filled with a supernatural power and “declared the wonders of God” in other languages they had never spoken.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a free gift from the Lord for all persons who are saved and are hungry. If you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoken in tongues, this wonderful experience is for you. When you accepted Christ as your personal Savior, it was the Holy Spirit that brought you to Him. Now, it is Christ that wants to take you to the Holy Spirit and immerse you completely. Jesus is the Baptizer!
Do you need a “suddenly” in your life? Take time to “wait” on the Lord today. Close the door to all distractions and seek the Lord. Seek His face, seek His heart, and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. He said, “ask, and it will be given to you…” (Matt. 7:7)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”
A personal revival in your life
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Read Acts chapter 3
Onlooker vs. Participator
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,
that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may
send the Christ, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus.
Acts 3:19, 20
Like the Onlookers who witnessed the healing of the Lame Beggar earlier in this chapter; we too can witness the power and move of God in our midst but fail to recognize it.
We fail to recognize the move of God because like the Onlookers, we have our own form of religiosity, legalism, and tradition. Yet, we are called to be “participators,” like the lame beggar who received his healing.
We become “participators” when we repent, turn to God, and allow Him to pour out His Spirit in our lives and revive our spirit within us. In Hosea 10:12 we read, “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers you with righteousness.”
Are you an “onlooker” or a “participator”? What is keeping you from experiencing the Power of God in your life?
A renewed sensitivity to the move of the Holy Spirit
Friday, May 4, 2012
Read Acts chapter 4
Jesus’ Second Trial
“We cannot stop saying the things we have seen and heard.”
Be assured of one thing, the enemy will always try to keep us from sharing what we have seen and heard of the Lord. I call this the “Second Trial of Jesus.” He had just been tried and found guilty and even crucified, and here again, the religious enemies are saying, “Guilty, don’t speak anymore in His name.”
In our modern times, He is still on trial. In the office where you work, they tell you “don’t speak about Him.” In the media, we hear same message. The public has once again tried Him and found Him guilty. His followers are told, “Do not speak in His name.”
Peter and John said it right, “is it right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God?” No! They paid a dear price – imprisoned, stoned, even killed – but they did not cease to speak to the whole world that which they had seen and heard.
Dear friend, do not obey what man has said, listen and pay attention to what He said, “Preach this Gospel to the whole world…in season and out of season.” Do this, whether they like it or not. We will obey God!
A boldness to share the Gospel with everyone
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Read Acts chapter 5
Sharing in All Things
“..a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the Apostles feet. But Peter said, “Ananias why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
The deaths of Sapphira and Ananias stunned and frightened the small congregation. God showed Sapphira and Ananias as well as the Jerusalem church that He allows no dishonesty in His relationship with His disciples.
The above not only applies to the disciples of that era, but to us as His disciples today. Through this tragic story, God shows us that we must base our relationship with the Lord upon integrity and a heart commitment – not only in our giving to His Kingdom, but also in all that we say and do in our lifetime. With the Lord’s help, we will leave a Legacy worthy of mention!
Integrity in our hearts
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Read Acts chapter 6
“These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.”
Acts 6:6, 7
Working together is an important part of being a believer. We see an example of this facet of our faith in the selection of these men to carry out the work of ministry.They were followers of Jesus, who had grown in the faith and known by the members of their local congregation.They were Disciples of Christ.
A disciple of Christ believes that Christ is who He said He is; abides in His Spirit and works at being more like Him every day. We do this by following His example, which we learn by studying His Word. Every believer is commissioned by the Lord to make disciples.
With the many different needs within the Body of Christ, we must be open and willing to serve one another and to serve with one another. We are part of God’s plan and method for His ministry to the world. The work of the church is to make disciples and expand the kingdom of God to His glory.
When disciples are made, unbelievers are displaced.When disciples are made, the world is changed.
The Holy Spirit to lead us to Christ daily; to be like Him
Monday , May 7, 2012
Read Acts chapter 7
Know the Word
“Brethren and fathers, listen…”
One thing that is clear in this chapter is that Stephen definitely knew Scripture. He presents a clear understanding of Old Testament history up to Solomon. In fact, while being stoned, he dies with the word fresh off his lips. Stephen repeats the words of Jesus, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,”
As a body of Believers, it is important for us to know the Word! How can we really understand what we are reading and see what God is trying to communicate to us through the Bible? Use the following to help make the most of the way you study the Word.
Read the Bible in its proper context and setting: God used certain people, at a certain time, in a certain place, living in a certain culture. Read it that way!
Do not ask, “What does this passage mean to me,” but instead ask, “What does this passage mean.” After you discover what it actually means, apply that specific truth to your life. Use reliable commentaries for the help you will surely need.
See the Bible as a whole and be sure to connect the Old Testament with the New Testament. This is important since the New Testament is based on Old Testament truths. The disciples changed the world with just Old Testament Scripture available. What was concealed in the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament!
Pray and rely on the Holy Spirit for insight!
Follow these steps and discover God’s word like never before!
A renewed passion for the study of His Word
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Read Acts chapter 8
How Do We Respond?
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’”
When The Lord Speaks To You, How Do You Respond?
In Acts chapter 8 verse 26, the Angel of the Lord gives Philip the direction that God had chosen for him. Philip’s response was a resounding, “I will GO”!
In obedience, Phillip took the path that God prepared for him. There he saw an Ethiopian eunuch in his chariot, reading the book of Isaiah. The Spirit told Philip to go to the chariot. He was able to explain the scripture the eunuch was reading, and share with him the good news about Jesus. The eunuch received Jesus and Phillip baptized him, then he went on his way.
God will guide and direct our paths. We may not always understand his will, but we can be sure of this, He has a plan! We will cross paths with different people because God wants you to tell them, and wants them to hear, the Good News of Jesus Christ. He puts you on this path because He wants to use YOU, not your neighbor, or your friend.
Like Phillip, be listening for the voice of God, and then obey. God wants to use YOU!
The Holy Spirit to lead us to share the Good News with others
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Read Acts chapter 9
A Man of Destiny
“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will
show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Acts 9:15, 16
This chapter’s primary focus is Saul’s dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. Here the hater of the Church is knocked off his horse, loses his sight, is taken to a stranger’s house not knowing what’s next, and finally the Lord sends a local believer that feared Saul (who later becomes Paul) to heal and baptize him.
The local believer that feared Paul was Ananias. Although he didn’t want to serve as the healer/baptizer, God gave him strict orders. Why? Because God needed Paul to take His Gospel to a whole new world of people.
This was Paul’s destiny. Paul would become the most significant character in the early church. He would be the most aggressive preacher and evangelist in God’s kingdom. He would go to places no one else would dare go and challenge the greatest minds of the day.
But it required a trembling saint to get things going! Are you like Ananias? Is there someone in your world that’s a hater or an incredible thinker that needs Jesus?
Let me remind you that we still have much to do in the expansion of God’s Kingdom. That one person you dare not share Christ with may be the next Paul that may take the gospel to a whole new world!
The Holy Spirit to lead you to that one person who needs Jesus
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Read Acts chapter 10
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking
in tongues and praising God.
Acts 10: 44-46
In John 4:7-42 Jesus modeled crossing racial barriers when he shared the message of the living water with the Samaritan woman. The woman went back to her village and told the entire town about what Jesus had shared with her and many became believers.
Acts 10 is also about crossing racial barriers, this was Peter’s first major barrier, and he had been invited by Cornelius a Gentile centurion to come to his house. Cornelius and his household needed to hear the way of salvation from a human messenger. Peter saw that the barrier between Jew and Gentile had been removed. (See Eph 2:11-22).
What kind of barriers are you facing in reaching your world for Christ; Racial, Religious or Economic?
Holy Spirit, help me to see through your eyes, your heart and most of all with your love, anyone whom I have treated differently. Help me to cross those barriers that I have set up before me. (Let me always remember that my God does not show favoritism and he accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. – Acts 10: 34-35) Amen.
God’s deliverance of any barriers in our lives
Friday, May 11, 2012
Read Acts chapter 11
Being Led Outside our Circle
“Hearing it all laid out like that, they quieted down. Then, as it sank in, they started praising God. It’s really happened! God has broken through to the other nations, opened them up to Life!”
We all have the tendency to think and believe we know how God wants us to proceed when he reveals a specific work he has entrusted to us. We automatically layout a game plan and create the strategy. The Apostles and the church in Jerusalem had plans for the new converts in Antioch but their plans were tempered with caution and reservation because they were gentiles and therefore were foreign. Foreign often times means different or unknown, so we hold back in hesitation, unsure of the road we are being asked to walk.
The church in Jerusalem was still trying to establish where it stood in regards to the gentiles, but the Holy Spirit pushed them into an uncomfortable situation at once! He brazenly reasserted “Those who were not My people I will call My people, and her who was not beloved [I will call] My beloved… they shall be called sons of the living God.” (Rom. 9:25-26)
What is your perception of the Holy Spirit? Have you ever truly pondered upon Him? To me He is wise, gentle, kind, spontaneous, unrestrained, passionate, alive, and young. He is Life ablaze with love! We foolishly assume that we know where God places limits, much like the church in Jerusalem did by thinking that Christ was not for the gentiles, but the Holy Spirit corrected them quickly and redirected their mind to the focus on the will of God.
As we reflect upon Pentecost and it’s powerful message for us today don’t forget that the Holy Spirit came to us, a gentile peoples, long ago and he sealed us (Ephesians 1:13) and made us part of Christ’s inheritance (Psalm 2:8) and like Barnabas in this story let us be filled with joy.
The Holy Spirit to lead us outside our own circles
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Read Acts chapter 12
Wait then React
“The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.”
How could Peter be asleep while he’s facing execution the next morning? Most of us would be wide-awake devising ways to escape. This was not a moment to doubt. Rather it was a moment in which God would demonstrate His power. Peter was certain of this. He remembered God’s promises for his life. Peter did not weary, but was confident that God would intervene on his behalf.
When God responded, then it was Peter’s turn to react. The angel woke Peter up and asked him to follow him; Peter followed in obedience, although he did not know where the angel was taking him. If Peter had not obeyed, he would have faced death the next day. This is why James 2:17 says, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
As believers, we must learn to depend only on God. We will wait upon the One that will never fail us. We must not only have faith that He will hear us and rescue us from our woes, but we must also be ready to respond obediently to His requests. Do not grow weary in waiting on the Lord, He hears you and will answer.
Faith to wait on God, knowing He will answer
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Read Acts chapter 13
“Then the proconsul believed (became a Christian) when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished and deeply touched
at the teaching from and concerning the Lord.”
Paul and Barnabas, set aside by the Holy Spirit for a special work, and then commissioned to go by the teachers and prophets at the church in Antioch. When they arrived in Paphos, the proconsul (governor) wanted to hear the message of truth. However, they faced opposition to the Message when an occult spiritualist argued with Barnabas and Saul, known as Paul, in an attempt to keep the proconsul from placing his faith in Christ. Paul, full of the Holy Spirit, looked at that sorcerer directly in the face and rebuked him.
Many believers fear facing opposition when speaking to others about Christ. This fear has kept many from fulfilling the Lord’s command to share His Gospel. The Word teaches us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Why should we be afraid? Remember that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword and will penetrate even the most hardened heart.
Therefore, let us speak, with boldness the Message that gives life to all. Let us do as Paul did and confront head-on, whatever hostility or hindrances we may face. Keep sharing the Gospel, the power of God, for the salvation of everyone who will believe.
An urgency to share the Gospel with all, no matter the opposition
Monday, May 14, 2012
Read Acts chapter 14
Faith to Be Healed
“In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healedcalled out, ‘Stand up on your feet!’ At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods
have come down to us in human form!’”
While the Apostle Paul was speaking, he took notice of a man who was lame. Paul did not know how long this man had been unable to walk. By looking into the eyes of this poor man, what he did know was that this man had faith to be healed.
“In Lystra there sat a man who was lame.” Imagine never knowing what it’s like to run and play or never going for a stroll in the cool of the day. Imagine having to pull yourself around on your belly to move from one place to another.
This man could have decided to not look beyond his circumstances and determine that he would remain lame for the rest of his life. As he listened to Paul speak, something within him changed. Faith, yes faith is what changed. Hearing Paul speak the Message of Life brought faith into his heart. He knew that he would be healed.
Dare to look beyond your present circumstances. Dare to believe that your situation can change. Dare to do the impossible.
Jesus said that if we would have faith the size of a mustard seed, we would move mountains and nothing would be impossible for us. Matthew 17:20.
A strong faith in God to believe for healings and miracles
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Read Acts chapter 15
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
In chapter 15 of the books of Acts, some Christians were telling the new believers that they had to follow, the law, including circumcision for salvation. Paul and Barnabas strongly disagreed, which led to intense arguments with the Jewish Christians. The church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to discuss and resolve this teaching with the apostles.
Paul presented the issue to the apostles and some believers belonging to the “party of the Pharisees, who also agreed about circumcision for the gentiles. The Apostles met to consider the issue. The leaders of the church were able to sort out the problem and come to a decision. Their example serves as a model on how we can deal with conflict in our lives today.
Here are two principles they used in making their decision: 1) They listened carefully to both sides, and 2) they sought God’s guidance through scripture and prayer.
You may have disagreements in your life daily, even with family. Too often, we blow up over the smallest issues, the small stuff. However, some issues cut to the core of who we are, what we value, and what we believe. For those problems, we should seek wise counsel, who will adopt the principles the apostles used to help us find a solution.
So remember, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and seek wise counsel for the “big stuff.”
The Holy Spirit to help as you confront and resolve any conflict
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Read Acts chapter 16
How Do You Handle Your “No’s”?
“They made their way through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit prevented them from speaking God’s message in Asia. When they came to Mysia they tried to enter Bithynia, but again the
Spirit of Jesus would not allow them.”
This passage highlights the Holy Spirit’s role in growing the church. His guidance sometimes comes in the form of a NO. The idea here is that we are to be ready when the doors open and when they close. Tune-in to the Holy Spirit, so you can know when to go and when to turn another way.
You may be going through a job loss, a foreclosure, or a business deal gone bad; a closed door of sorts. However, through your situation, the Holy Spirit wants to open other doors for you. Begin by taking the high road and walk with your head held high, confident that the Holy Spirit is leading you. If Paul had not taken the Troas road, he would not have seen the prepared mission field of Macedonia.
How do you handle your “NOs”? Walk on; press in to the Holy Spirit so you can look and see that the fields are ripe and ready for harvest at work, at home, in your life, and in your church!
A Spirit-led discernment to see God’s closed and open doors
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Read Acts chapter 17
Sharing the Good News
“Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order
to bring them out to the crowd.”
Acts 17:4, 5
People can have very different responses to the message of the Gospel. In Thessalonica, Paul used the scriptures to reason; “explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead” (Acts 17:3) Most of the people joined Paul and Silas. In addition, another group wanted to cause harm. They formed a mob and rioted in the streets, with the purpose of starting trouble.
Paul not discouraged by the reaction of the Thessalonians, went to Berea, and continued to teach the same message. The Bereans received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to confirm that what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews and Greek men and women believed in the Gospel.
When he arrived in Athens, Paul noticed that the Greeks were very religious people. They worshiped many idols. In Athens, there was a temple of the unknown god. Paul used their belief in different gods to make a connection with them. Once he made the connection, he made (the True) God known to the Greeks, God Creator of everything in heaven and in the earth, the God that does not live in temples built by man.
Paul showed us the importance of knowing the Scriptures, being courageous when sharing the message, and finding a common ground to make a connection with people.
The Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned all of his children to share the Gospel with the unbelieving world. We will never be sure how people will respond to the message of salvation. Not knowing makes many of us uncomfortable. To move beyond that fear, we must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us whenever we share the message of life with others.
A Holy Spirit sensitivity towards those without Christ
Friday, May 18, 2012
Read Acts chapter 18
Refuse to be Silent
“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’
So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half,
teaching them the word of God”.
Paul a disciple and follower of Christ dedicated his life to preaching the Gospel. While he was in Corinth, every Sabbath Paul would try to reason with the Jews in the synagogue. However, the Jews did not accept Paul’s teaching and became abusive. Following this incident, the Lord spoke to Paul telling him not to be afraid and continue speaking the truth.
We can grow weary of doing God’s work and become afraid when there is great opposition to the truth. We may even wonder if God has turned a blind eye to our suffering and a deaf ear to our cries. Just as God knew that Paul suffered and that he was afraid, He knows the troubles and pain we face. God lovingly spoke to Paul to comfort him and He will speak and comfort us.
We must not fear men or any circumstance because God is with us as He was with Paul. We can learn from Paul to speak the truth of Christ despite our fears.
Our missionaries in other countries that preach the Gospel
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Read Acts chapter 19
“Did any of you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he encountered a group of believers and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They had never heard of the Holy Spirit.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “Comforter,” and “Helper.” Some of the names the Bible gives for the Holy Spirit are – Spirit of God, Spirit of Jesus, Spirit of Christ, and Spirit of truth.
The Word makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is God. He is present everywhere. Ps 139:7 He is knows everything. 1 Cor 2:10-11 He is Eternal. Heb 9:14. The Holy Spirit is the source behind the writing of the books of the Bible. 2 Peter 1:20-21 He is the third Person of the Trinity. These attributes belong to God and God alone.
A church without the Holy Spirit is not “The Church.” We need the Holy Spirit to empower every believer so that we can carry out the purposes that God has set for our lives. Begin by reading His Word daily. The Holy Spirit will transform our minds and draw us closer to Him. Walk with Him and you will see His mighty power at work in your life.
A fresh baptism in the Holy Spirit in your life
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Read Acts chapter 20
Flow through Me Holy Spirit
“Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. ‘Don’t be alarmed, he said. He’s alive!’ Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate.
After talking until daylight, he left.”
Paul is an example of the Holy Spirit flowing through the believer; encouraging those we encounter and allowing nothing to hinder our calling.
Paul was preaching for hours when the young man fell three stories to his death. Yet Paul did not deter from his purpose. Instead, he went down to the young man and let God’s Spirit heal him then returned to complete what he was there to do.
Can you say as Paul did, “I consider my life worth nothing, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (vs. 24) Allow the Holy Spirit to flow through you. Be willing to listen to the Holy Spirit, follow His lead, and go wherever He has called you to go. Would you be willing to lose sleep for someone who is in need?
Take time to listen and you will hear His call. “Here I am Holy Spirit, flow through me.”
The Holy Spirit to flow through you to bring life to others
Monday, May 21, 2012
Read Acts chapter 21
“But he said, Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the
sake of the Lord Jesus.”
In Acts chapter 21 we follow Paul in his travels toward Jerusalem spreading the Gospel to the entire known world. Once he arrived at Tyre, Paul encountered other believers and prophets who urged him not to continue towards Jerusalem because their prophetic insight had warned them danger awaited him there. Paul however responded with unwavering determination because God had previously directed him to go to Jerusalem despite the outcome. Paul understood the task God set before him and the possible outcome, and yet he chose to be a willing instrument in the Lord’s plans.
This passage is an example while it is wise to listen to the council of fellow believers; we are ultimately required to get our direction from God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the council of friends, filtered through fears and concerns, can be a misguidance. Like Paul we must not be lead by our rational or others, but allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. Proverbs 3:5-6, states “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (NLT). You may ask how walking into a possibly dangerous situation be the right path to take? Deuteronomy 31:8, says not be afraid because the Lord will personally go ahead of us; neither failing nor abandoning us (NLT). Only God holds our future, and His plans & thoughts are unlike ours. We must trust the Lord and allow him to lead us.
This chapter makes it clear that prayer, discernment, and communion with the Holy Spirit play a major role in fulfilling our God- given purpose.
As we reflect on the life of Paul and the early disciples, we must ask ourselves, “Has our own fear of radical obedience ever prompted us to crush someone else’s determination to do the Lord’s will?” Ask yourself, “Do I trust the Lord with my life and future?” “Am I a willing participant to follow the Lord with radical obedience just like Paul?”
An unwavering determination to be obedient to God
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Read Acts chapter 22
They SAW but didn’t UNDERSTAND
“My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.”
Paul’s companions saw a powerful manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ when they “saw the light” that appeared to them on their way to Damascus. There was no question that they knew something powerful (and someONE powerful) was getting Paul’s attention. The interesting thing was these companions could not “understand” Jesus’ voice and message to Paul.
Many times, those close to you may not truly “understand” your salvation experience… the time when the Lord “showed up” in your life. Even your family may not truly understand what God is speaking to you. They may know that God is doing “something” in your life, they just don’t understand.
Stop trying to convince those close to you that God has spoken to you, and let them see the Light of Christ in your life. When they see a life that has been transformed by the Light, then, and only then, will they believe.
A powerful move of the Holy Spirit upon your family
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Read Acts chapter 23
Purpose in Pain
“The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Be of good cheer, as you have testified about me in Jerusalem,
so you must also testify in Rome.”
The Pharisees accused Paul of taking a gentile onto the temple grounds. Jerusalem was in an uproar and the men began to beat Paul. The Roman guard arrested Paul and put him in chains. When he was being carried away to be flogged, Paul advised the guards that he was a Roman citizen. Instead of punishing him, they took Paul to the barracks.
It was there, in the dark of the night, that the Lord spoke to Paul. The Lord came to encourage Paul, not by freeing him from jail, but by telling him that he would testify about Him in Rome. It was then that Paul understood that his life would not be over until he stood before Caesar. The situation where he found himself was God was preparing the path for this to happen.
Sometimes we pray for things that are not part of His plan for our lives. We might ask God to remove our pain (whether physical or emotional) or to make the trial we are going through disappear, when in fact God has allowed the pain in order to strengthen us. You may be experiencing a trial like no other, it might not be easy, but you can take comfort in knowing that He is there with you.
Strength to live for Christ, even through difficult times
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Read Acts chapter 24
Do Not Delay, Go Forth!
God takes us from our comfort zone to the exact place we need to be. In Acts chapter 24 Paul went from being with his people, in his comfort zone to being seized and beaten then handed over to Felix the Roman governor. False charges were brought against him and he became a prisoner. The Jews wanted Paul dead but God had different plans for Paul. Felix and Drusilla needed to hear about Christ. In verse 24 Felix and his wife Drusilla come to Paul to hear about Christ. Felix and Drusilla had a divine appointment with their Creator.
We were called to take the message of salvation to the world. Understand your calling and make it your purpose. Fill yourself with the Holy Spirit, be brave and step out in faith. You might encounter resistance, people might try to discourage you but you need to continue. False charges might be brought against you but you must continue. Economic hardship might slow you down but do not worry your needs will be met just like Paul’s in verse 23. There is a person waiting in a critical, life or death, situation and they need to hear what you have to say. There is an abused hurting child and a forgotten battered mother that need to hear about Jesus. There is a lonely suicidal teen that needs to hear that there is someone that loves them. Leave your comfort zone and take a step of faith into God’s will because you have a divine appointment with an abused child, a battered mother or a hopeless teen. You need to take the message of salvation to the world. May the Holy Spirit lead you, do not delay, and go forth!
A compassionate heart to minister to those in need
Friday, May 25, 2012
Read Acts chapter 25
Paul answered, “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. If, however, I am guilty of doing anything
deserving death, I do not refuse to die”
Acts 25:10, 11
You and I are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of a hostile world, and the only way we are going to be able to stand against the pressures of this world is to be willing to give up everything to follow Him.
Yes, everything! But why should we be surprised? He gave up everything for us, and it was Jesus who said, “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NIV) The cross is a symbol of death and through this symbol, He is teaching us that we must be willing to die to be His followers.
In spite of the false accusations, years of imprisonment and impending death, Paul maintains his focus on his purpose. I am so thankful for Paul’s total commitment to his testimony and to the power of the Holy Spirit that helped him persevere. Paul spoke directly, fearlessly and powerfully. Those who listened could have argued with his doctrine but they couldn’t argue with his changed life. Let us learn from Paul, and simply be a witness to what we have seen, heard and experienced and to tell faithfully of His saving, life changing grace.
A fearless determination to follow Christ
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Read Acts chapter 26
Share the Gospel to All
“Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be Christian?’ Paul replied, ‘Short time or long – I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am except for these chains.’”
Acts 26:28, 29
King Agrippa is listening as Paul shares about the ultimate change that Jesus had done in his life. Agrippa was touched by Paul’s story but he was not fully convinced with his argument. Paul’s main interest was the salvation of Agrippa and the men who were listening to him. Paul preferred their salvation over his freedom. Wow!
The gospel that is changing us, can change others, our job as a Christian is to share the Word with everyone that does not know Christ. We need to share with our family because we socialize constantly with them; share with your mother, father or son or daughter, they need to know who Jesus is. How about the coworkers we hang out with or the friends we visit on a daily basis? They need to know about the miracles Christ has done in you.
If we really want to bring change to our world, then we must preach the Gospel.
“…God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.” 1 Cor. 1:21
Our Pastors of our city who preach the Gospel
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Read Acts chapter 27
Be a Person of Influence, by Trusting in God’s Plan
“But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor—a poor place to spend the winter—most of the crew wanted to go on to Phoenix, farther up the coast of Crete, and spend the winter there. Phoenix was a good harbor with only
a southwest and northwest exposure.”
Acts 27:11, 12
Be a Person of Influence, by trusting in God’s plan, regardless of how lost you may get along the way. Chapter 27 details Paul’s journey to Rome. In the chapter we see the trials Paul faced, the trust he earned with the prison guard, and the witness he was able to be in the light of devastation. This chapter teaches us that even when we are not in command of our situation; we can still be led by the spirit, and be a witness to God’s plan for our life.
In verse 11 there was a choice to be made; to go and make up lost time, or to stay and wait out winter. What would you do in this moment? Would you trust in our Lord, or go with the flow and follow the Leader. While Paul did not have the authority to make the choice, he did speak up and warn them to follow God’s wisdom.
Now as you read on you can see what happened. They had to sacrifice their cargo, their food, and their possessions, to save themselves. Paul said not one of them would die and every one of them was alive when they reached shore.
God has a plan for your life. When you consult with Him on your journey, He will guide you. Although, there are times when you must follow the rule of man and it may cost you things, but our Lord is always with us. He will save you, and that is what matters most.
A heart that will totally trust God in all circumstances
Monday, May 28, 2012
Read Acts chapter 28
The Holy Spirit did a tremendous job establishing the origins of the modern church through Paul. Many of the philosophies and standards that we still have are based on his works with the Spirit. Paul performed miracles and proved the power and mercies of God. We see that the Holy Spirit provides Paul with the perfect situations to glorify the Lord, establish His church and do His work.
In the island of Malta, we see people that are starved for the Truth and ready to consider the Lord. The Holy Spirit is with Paul as the people greet him with kindness. The Bible states that a snake bit Paul and those same people who ushered him in with kindness turn on him saying that he must be a murderer and that “the goddess justice” would not let him live. But the Spirit is with Paul and He uses the snake incident so Paul can heal the sick on the island which presents Paul with the opportunity to sit down with the religious leaders to debate the truths of the Lord.
In short, Paul demonstrates that you must know scripture if you are ever going to truly be able to ‘testify’ about the Lord. Your testimony comes to life when it’s supported by scripture. Paul’s works in this chapter illustrates to the church the power of the Living God and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Let your “works” and “words” glorify the Living God as you live your life today.
A Powerful Revival in your life and in your city