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Category Archives: Easter

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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The Ascension of Jesus

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6-11, NRSV)

Why do we stand looking up into heaven? Because We were watching Jesus leave!

But that isn’t the important part here. The important part is where the disciples are going. They and we receive the power of the Holy Spirit and then we are to go out into our world. The disciples were told to go to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. To us these are just names of places. But they actually are link concentric circles a wider range beyond the next. Like ripples in water from a stone we are to ripple out into the world.

So be a ripple and cause a wave and share the good news!

 

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The Promise of the Holy Spirit

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:1-5, NRSV)

Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had received the Holy Spirit. Because this was the promise of the Father and the way that Jesus would always be with them.

Have you received the Holy Spirit? Been born from above?

The Spirit lives in us and moves us to do the will of God in the world. That is why Jesus didn’t want them going out with out the Spirit, He didn’t want them or us to ever go through this world alone.

 

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Christ Hymn

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:1-13, NRSV)

Humble seems to be a word out society has forgotten. We seem to only look out for ourselves and focus on the Un-holy trinity of me, myself, and I.

You see in our passage here we see Jesus who was God and is God. And even though He knew He was God and could do whatever He wanted, He set aside His own thoughts and His own self preservation and went to the cross to die for all of us, to die for you.

We get hung up on not wanting to follow where God is calling us but yet Jesus gave everything up for you.

God gives us the ability to be humble like Christ and think of others first. It isnt easy, but neither was Christ’s death for you.

 

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