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Category Archives: Devotional

Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico

“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.’ And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days. You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” (Acts 3:17-26, NRSV)

Are we trapped by our ancestors?

Are we held to beliefs because that is what our family told us and learned and believed?

We need to realize that the things we hold as truth and were once thought to be heresy. Some of the things we think have always been have not. They have only been for decades…

We need to allow God to move through our lives and allow Him to move us to His truth.

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Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico

While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico, utterly astonished. When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. (Acts 3:11-16, NRSV)

Why are they amazed?

Why are we amazed?

We don’t think the lame should be miraculously cured. We’ve never seen it so it can’t be.

We get hung up on the I haven’t seen it so it can’t be. We like to put God in our neat little box and keep Him tucked away where He won’t change our world with things we don’t understand.

So why can’t we believe things we’ve never seen?

 

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Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Acts 2:1-21, NRSV)

Are we ready for the Spirit to descend upon us?

Did you see here that everyone is surprised by what happens? Even Peter seems to stumble about what to say about what is happening. We are usually surprised by how the Spirit works in our lives or moves us in the world.

You see the Spirit comes in and takes us from a comfortable place and changes the world around us.

Are we really ready for the Spirit to come and shake our world up or do we want to be comfortable in life?

Are you ready for the Spirit?

 

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Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (Acts 3:1-10, NRSV)

Have you ever done this?

It is hard for us to believe these things happened because we have never seen them happen?

But how many of us believe things we have never seen?

Is seeing believing?

Many believed because they saw Jesus but we never have and we still believe. Many times we see things that aren’t real either. I saw the Statue of Liberty disappear. But it was an optical illusion. Not real but one second it was there and the next it wasn’t.

One of the best quotes I believe there is from a movie comes from The Santa Clause 2, “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.”

If you believe it you will see it. If we believe we can heal we will. Christ said we would do greater things than him and we do see people healed everyday.

Believe it and you will see it.

 

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Life Among the Believers

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:43-47, NRSV)

As those who believed shared everything in common and fellowshipped together, God added to their numbers.

The believers took care of each other and learned more about who Christ is and who they are together in Him. And doing this had others around wondering and seeking what was happening with these people. And God opened their hearts and brought them in to see what was going on.

How do we live our faith so that others wonder what we have and how they can get it? Or maybe the question is do we do this?

Do you?

 

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The First Converts

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:37-42, NRSV)

I know of several congregations and ministries called Acts 2:42 and for good reason. That is what we all need to do as believers. You see we think we have to do all the work of sharing the message, helping others to believe it, and helping all of the world.

Well no that isnt it. We need to devote ourselves to the Apostles’ teaching and being in fellowship with others who follow this teaching and breaking bread with them and praying. God will take care of the rest.

So are you following the teaching of Christ and fellowshiping with others who do, and breaking bread together and praying? That is what will spread the word faster than ever if the world sees us devoted to what we say we believe!

 

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Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it’; and ‘Let another take his position of overseer.’ So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:12-26, NRSV)

So I wonder, did Matthias draw the short straw? Most of the time we hear about casting lots the one who gets the short straw gets selected. And while it might be nice to be numbered with the disciples it would also mean a hard life.

Judas did his part as Peter says and was foretold in the Hebrew Scripture.

So what is your part? Judas led those who arrested Jesus to Him, Matthias replaced Judas. What are you to do?

What size straw did you get?

 

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