Saturday, November 13, 2010

Acts 3-4

Regarding Acts 3:4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,[a] get up and[b] walk!”
 7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

Pete and Johnny saw a need, they supplied the need and in verse 7 they physically touched the needy and walked with him.  the healing and ability came "as he (Pete) did (take the man ...and helped him up).  Ministry is more than just throwing money, your endorsement or your ability at a situation.  It is reaching out, grabbing hold and walking a ways with the person.  Christian community is not an "online endeavor"; it will be personal and physical and we may get run into/over by the opportunities as they get up, walk and leap around in freedom.  But that's how we get to be witnesses with actually seeing the thing play out "In the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene."

Lord, please give me eyes to look intently, generosity to give what I have, strength to reach out and help another up and the heart to walk on with those You bring my way (or is it that You brought me their way?).  Please let me do all in Your Name and for Your Name...Jesus Christ.

Regarding Acts 4:24 When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—,,,29And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
 31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. 32 All the believers were united in heart and mind.

In response to the threats of the powers that be, ALL the Believers prayed for God to remove the threat?  for God to keep them safe?  for God to raise up believers within the Jewish priesthood or for more workers for the Harvest? for God to continue to work for His glory while they kept their heads down so they could just pray for others to embrace the opportunity?  for God to confirm His will in the matter?  Nope, they simply prayed for boldness for themselves.  They did not try to crawl off the altar of living sacrifice, they did not even wiggle around by trying to network their underground relationships to help influence the religiosity; they simply prayed for boldness for themselves.  Their mission did not change with the circumstances and they realized that the Name of Jesus did not weakened  in the face of the the very real threats.  They did not have their leaders pray for them; all the believers prayed in unity. 

Then they were filled with the Holy Spirit and preached God's Word with boldness.  No boldness training, no seminar, no sermon series to screw up their courage; they just preached God's Word with boldness.

And in verse 32, after the adversity, the prayers, the filling, the response comes this little line that is so compelling to me.  Again, it is ALL the Believers were united in heart and mind.  They had worked and prayed and obeyed in tandem (they had even been devoted to the teachings and sharing what they had amongst each other from chapter 2); yet only now are they described as being united in their emotions, priorities, logic and will.  

The thing that is crescendo-ing in my soul is they knew the mission; when hard times came, they did not rethink, reorganize or regroup.  They all cried out to God for boldness for the mission and they continued the mission.  Now, in light of my life and the circumstances in which I (still) find myself and our family; why have I not been this committed to the mission, why have I not asked for boldness?  God's Word is replete with histories of people who had some circumstances, some issues, some enduring problems and when they took the Sovereign LORD of the Universe at His Word, there was triumph, healing, rescue. 

The question I keep hearing is, "What if this is the most dangerous thing God calls me to do?"  Am I really living the way that I want to live through this?  Is this the testimony I want to give my God about what He entrusted to me?  Do I want to be a wimpy, namby-pamby believer who  cowers at the prospect of discomfort or loss of leisure?  Really?  Really?  Sure, Stephen had his stones, Abe had his long wait, Paul had his...well...ordeals, Daniel had his lions; but me...well, somehow that's different because...why?  There is no answer for least no good answer.  Not on this side of Heaven's gates nor on the other.  Either I lift my eyes to the mountains or I don't.  But when I lift my eyes to the mountains and ask where does my help and courage come from?  I know it comes from the only One with any help or courage or strength or power in this life or any other.  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  

Lord, I receive Your help and courage and boldness to go on in what You have for me today...that's all I need...just for today.

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