Re:Verse passage – Judges 3:31  and Acts 2:42-47 (day five)  

“Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.” Acts‬ ‭2:43‬ 

When is that last time you were awestruck at the work and presence of God?  According to Acts 2 it was happening over and over in the hearts and minds of those believers (kept feeling awe) in that first New Testament Church.  There is a diligence that is recognized in the attitudes and activities of these believers- God’s Word, genuine community, honest and engaging conversations with the Lord.

As more and more of our church body return to Bible Study and Worship, I see and sense awe in the countenance and the hearts of our members. Now would be the perfect time for each of us (and all of us) to recommit to be diligent to those spiritual disciplines and expressions of love and grace (listed in these 6 verses). We just might keep feeling a sense of awe at what the Lord is doing in and through our church!!

Day by Day

Re:Verse passage – Judges 3:31  and Acts 2:42-47 (day four) 

The Apostles were constantly proclaiming the gospel…repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  They recognized though that it was not the power of their preaching, but God’s calling the people to Himself.  Three thousand souls in one day…what a revival!  With so many new converts, the church was necessarily thrown together to learn what the Holy Spirit had to teach them.  Verse 47 says, “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Two things we can learn for the church today:  1) There must be a constant flow of the gospel message going out to the people.  We are all witnesses!  2)  It is God who calls the people to Himself.  We must ask God to call people to our church and Himself.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to see the gospel spread across the world like a pandemic.  What would we do with three thousand new believers in one day?

A Good Formula

Re:Verse passage – Judges 3:31  and Acts 2:42-47 (day two) 

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. vs. 42

What strikes me first about this passage is that the actions being described are taken by the new believers. This isn’t just an account of what the apostles were doing, but more what those with a new found purpose in Christ felt compelled to do. They immersed themselves in learning all they could about Jesus. The learned about his life, the stories he told, his incredible ministry, and the power of his resurrection. They spent time with other believers learning from one another, about one another. As an extension of that they also ate together. Is there a better formula for fellowship than food? More to the point, they honored the Lord by remembering his words at the Last Supper. And they prayed. Does this remind you of our church? Shouldn’t it? What can we do today to word for a better reflection of this early gathering?

The hope of Israel

RE Verse reading–Acts 28:17-31 (day seven)
“It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”  (vs 20)  Paul is careful here.  He does not to be misunderstood.  He has not done anything against the Jewish people or customs or ancestors.  (see vs 17)  Paul has nothing but HOPE for the Jewish people/nation, but his dream IS new and different!  Israel’s hope is in Christ.  Rather than retaining their separate status, they were to be included in a much larger reality–the church.  Losing their uniqueness, they would receive a larger place.  It was a trade that many were unwilling to make.  How true of us!  God has a wonderful place of blessing and service for us but we must die to the old life to embrace the new.  “I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live!”  said Paul of his own experience.   Lose privilege, gain power.  Lose self, become servants.  This is our hope as well.

Hardly hearing

RE Verse reading–Acts 28:17-31 (day six)
” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears. . .otherwise they might. . .hear with their ears. . .and turn, and I would heal them”  (vs 27)  Despite Paul’s love for his people, he knew their history and their tendencies.  Tendencies, I fear, we all share.  The Jews were hard of hearing.  (Greek–bareos, “heavily, with difficulty”)  Imagine a person who has gained weight, so much that he/she can barely move.  Normal tasks become difficult, with the added challenge that the less he/she moves the harder it is to lose the pounds.  Now imagine yourself in worship.  Do we hear the Lord with difficulty?  Sluggish?  Lacking enthusiasm and easy movement?  As a new year approaches, many of us will (again) set goals for physical health.  Shouldn’t we take an equally careful look at out spiritual health?  God promises His help.  ” (If they would) hear and turn, I would heal them” says the Lord!