Re:Verse reading—Acts 16:11-34 (day three)
“The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Jesus said that his Father is always working. He also said he had “other sheep that are not of this sheep pen” and that “they too will listen to my voice.” Just as with Lydia, who was already seeking the truth and had become convinced that God was where truth would come from if it would come, God is engaging people in ways that we do not know. God has granted human beings a great deal of power—more than we probably realize—and we can employ that power to cultivate and nurture his work if we want. We would be surprised to see the extent of God’s work in the world, but then again, our surprise might indicate how little we’ve been expecting it. So, what can you nurture today?
Re:Verse reading–Acts 15:1-29 (day six)
The stakes were incredibly high. For some Jewish believers it may had more to do with self-preservation than salvation (gentile believers would soon outnumber them). But for Paul the stakes couldn’t have been higher; the very salvation of humanity depended on the church elders in Jerusalem getting this decision right. For Paul it was simple, you cannot hold on to Jesus, if you are clinging to something else, i.e. circumcision or the Law. Telling gentiles that they must be circumcised in addition to believing in Jesus to be saved is like insisting someone carry an anvil while hoping to stay afloat wearing a life vest. The anvil is not meant to be a life saving device, nor the Law of Moses or wearing a nice tie on Sunday. This why Paul would declare to the Galatians, “If anyone teaches you a different Gospel than the one I taught you, let him be accursed.”
The stakes are still high. What obstacles are in the way of saving faith today? What kind of gospel do we articulate to those who are not like us? Maybe one of those obstacles is our silence.
Re: Verse reading–Acts 3:1-20 (day six)
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. Acts 3:1
I imagine going to the Temple to pray was a matter of meaningful routine. They found themselves there often, along with many new believers. They continued in their Jewish temple traditions in a renewed and refreshing way, in the power of the Spirit. They did not go to the temple to be accosted by a man lame from birth, and yet they were.
“Look at us.” Peter said. Amazing. He did not look the other way to avoid an awkward moment or inconvenience, or hope that the lame man would move on to someone else. No, he said, “Look at us.” Peter and John entered into interruption, and a man was healed, and no less significant, others heard the good news of Jesus.
They went to the temple for meaningful prayer and ended up with a meaningful interruption. Your interruptions can be just as meaningful. Don’t miss them.