Saturday, March 10, 2012

Acts 4:23-31 - Multiplication by the Holy Spirit

Scripture: Acts 4:23-31

Summary: When Peter and John were released from prison, they went to their friends and told them what the elders had said. The group "raised their voices together to God," asking God to help them speak God's word with boldness while healing and signs and wonders are performed in the name of Jesus. When they prayed the place was shaken and "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

Thoughts: Peter and John not only told the elders that they couldn't keep from speaking about Jesus, but they went back to their friends and prayed with them. The result of this prayer was that all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and they all spoke God's word with boldness. Notice how God takes two men speaking about Jesus and multiplies it with the Holy Spirit! If we believe in Jesus and want to share his story with others, then through the Holy Spirit God can multiply the work that we can do. As human beings, there is very little that we can do on our own to change the world. But with the Holy Spirit multiplying our work, amazing things are possible! What can I do today to advance God's kingdom, that God might multiply?

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, come! Use me to change the world! Amen.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Acts 4:13-22 - I Cannot Keep from Speaking

Scripture: Acts 4:13-22

Summary: The people in power saw that Peter and John were uneducated, ordinary men and they were amazed. They told them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John told them that they "cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard."

Thoughts: Peter and John were uneducated and ordinary men.  And yet, they could preach to a crowd and 3000 people come to follow Christ! (see Acts ch 2) So when the people in power put them in jail overnight, you might expect them to be afraid. But they are not afraid. Instead, when the elders tell them they must stop talking about Jesus, they refuse, saying they cannot keep from speaking about what they have seen and heard. How brave these apostles were! But what does this scripture say to us today? We are not threatened if we speak about Jesus Christ. But that doesn't mean that we take every opportunity that we have to do so. Jesus Christ changed my life. Because of that, I should be just like Peter and John, unable to keep from speaking about Jesus and how he has changed my life. The grace that God has shown me, through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, has changed my life. How am I going to respond to that grace?

Prayer: God, make me fearless to share what I have seen and heard so that all may know about your Son and thus know Your love. Amen.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Acts 4:5-12 - By What Name Do You Heal?

Scripture: Acts 4:5-12

Summary: After Peter healed the crippled beggar, Peter and John were arrested. Then the people in charge came to them, asking them by what power or name they had healed the man. Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and tells them that the man was healed by the name of Jesus Christ, whom they crucified and God raised from the dead. He says that Jesus is the stone, rejected by the builders, that has become the cornerstone.

Thoughts: The scripture says that "their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem." These are the people who are questioning Peter and John about how they healed the man. Why are they asking them "by what name did you do this?" rather than being grateful that the healing occurred?  If a true healing occurred, wouldn't that always be a good thing? I understand that they believed that there were evil spirits in the world, but would an evil spirit do a good thing like healing someone? Does this happen in the world today, where people in power question why a good thing was done, rather than rejoicing in the good thing? Often we get so caught up in trying to explain everything that we see that we miss the miracle that occurred. What miracles have you seen today that you tried to write off as something entirely different?

Prayer: Lord, help me to rejoice in the miracles that I see rather than trying to explain them. You work in mysterious ways that I usually do not understand, but that doesn't mean that Your work isn't good. Amen.