In reading of the New Testament, the reading plan has taken me to the book of Acts. This is such a powerful book!
As I have read through chapters 1-4, I am once again reminded of God’s greatness and strength and my responsibility!
I was reminded that Jesus did not leave right after his resurrection. I know that there was some time of teaching to the disciples, but had forgotten that it was 40 days. So after going through the emotional ride of Jesus dying and resurrection, the disciples and other followers needed to put aside emotion and focus on the teaching of Jesus as their time with him was limited. While I am trying to put myself in their shoes (or sandals!!), I imaging that there would be this great desire to soak in everything that Jesus said. While Jesus was doing his ministry on earth, he did warn people that he would not be around forever, but I don’t think it really became real to them until he died. These 40 days had to have been very precious to the disciples and followers. They had to wonder how much time they actually had and want to take advantage of every moment — I know that I would.
Then Jesus finally ascends into Heaven and the waiting for the Holy Spirit continues. They disciples go about regular business of picking a replacement for Judas. I guess they re-grouped and made sure that they were ready for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. They prepared, they prayed.
The importance of praying before action was very clear in this chapter. Seeking God’s direction for everything.
The Holy Spirit arrives!!! People were confused with everyone speaking different languages, but during this whole processed there were many believers made that day. Many joined the church, sold their possessions to help those in need and prayed together. They realized through the teaching of Peter that this was all a fulfillment of the promises made in years past.
God always fulfills his promises. This is so wonderful to remember especially when things are tough, no matter what, God will fulfill his promised — BUT in his time. That last part is always difficult for me as patience is not easy for me.
I was encouraged by the words of Peter to keeping preaching the Good News. Peter had the strength and determination to fulfill God’s plan for him which was to educate people to the true message of salvation.
Peter heals a lame beggar and people are shocked! Really??? After all that Jesus did, and all the prophets taught, people were still amazed when Peter helps the lame beggar.
This chapter encourages me to keep teaching people. That no matter how often they have heard the message, they may still not truly believe it. Keep preaching and teaching. Persevere!!!! In times of discouragement, I need to remember Peter’s strength and maybe a little stubbornness in the command given to him to go and preach to all the nations.
I find strength from Peter’s example. His faith is strong, he knows the truth and he was determined to reach as many as he could, no matter of the difficulties he faced.
Peter and John met some resistance from others when they preached. We all will. But they persevered and went to the church to seek prayers for the mission. The church of believers united and prayed. They were bold, just like Peter was. They prayed for courage to keep teaching others even if they faced difficulties.
What powerful examples these first century Christians provide us. I know that I will face difficulties but I need to be bold and go forth in the strength of the Holy Spirit.
A few words to really summarize these chapters:
Pray first. Have faith. Keep preaching. Persevere. Be strong. Be Bold. Take Courage.
Remember the importance the early church placed on meeting together for prayer. Pray with one another. Keep focused on the mission. Remove unnecessary things from your life.