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Monthly Archives: February 2009

“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”    Acts 22:16

Gentlemen, let’s stop waiting around, wallowing in our sin and how incapable we seem to do anything.  Let’s get up, be cleansed and start calling on his name.  Let’s stop sinning against our brothers and sisters and start sharing the gift of life with them.

I am blown away at how willing Paul was to die for our Lord.  I say that I would die for him, but I can’t even live for him so how could I be willing to die for him?  In Acts 21: 13, Pauls friends are pleading for him not to go to Jerusalem.  A few lines prior in the passage, a prophet came down from Judea and took off Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet with it and said that Paul would be bound and handed over just the same.

Back to verse 13, Paul says, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

I don’t think his friends said, “The Lord’s will be done” out of apathy and giving up hope.  I feel that the phrase had more meaning then.  They really meant, may the Creator of this world carry out his purpose.  I think we tend to say that now a days to make ourselves feel better or as an umbrella phrase that sounds righteous…or even worse, we say it hoping we’ll someday actually believe and trust that the Lord’s will is best.  I pray for the day when we can say this and truly mean it.

It truely amazes me as to how many attempts to shorten Paul’s life there are in Acts.  Paul is stoned, imprisoned, and plotted against, and still, he remained on Earth spreading God’s word wherever he remained.  God has a purpose for each of us and will not let us join him until we are finished with his plans.  God used the Roman citizenship as a way to keep Paul out of the prisons.  Seeing God’s plan lay out throughout Acts is truely amazing.  I can’t wait to see God’s full plan for us, whether that be building an orphanage, leading kids at a nearby high school, or working with individuals at churches in the cities or other countries.  It’s reasuring knowing that God will always be with us and watching after us.

Acts 20: 20-21  “Yet I never shrank from telling you the truth, either publicly or in your homes.  I have had one message for Jews and Gentiles alike – the necessity of turning from sin and turning to God, and of faith in our Lord Jesus.

Preach boldly, hold one another accountability with fiery, don’t shy away from conflict.  Lay your life down for your faith. I’m scared that I’m not doing that for you gentlemen. We’re wavering too often and coming up short too many times for any of us to say we’re doing a good enough job. I apologize.

Samie and I have hit a small snag in our relationship which is slowly being fixed.  It doesn’t seem to be anything too drastic and I am doing a lot on my part to fix the problem since it is mostly my fault (go figure).  I just would like you guys to pray that she and I are able to fully work through our problems now and in the future with God’s help.  Thanks a bunch, it means a lot.

Andrew

(I really didn’t feel this needed to be anonymous)

I’ve realized how little we truly fear the Lord these days. Yes, we love him and exclaim that we love him. But look at Saul’s conversion in chapter 9. Ananias was told by God himself to go to Saul and heal him of his blindness. Ananias hesitates and says to God that he is afraid of Saul and his persecution towards the Christians. However, God speaks a second time saying “Go!”. I’m sure I would have been afraid of making God angry at this point and felt really foolish for making Him tell me twice. The wrath of God for not doing His will is worse than the wrath from any man, and His love is even greater! How many times have we been tugged by God to step into harms ways to spread His love and yet we say no? Don’t forget, this is a good fear and that not all fear is bad. I grew up on this Bible story and never really grasped the significance until now. Let us be fearful towards our God as we go throughout our days.

The determination of the apostles is incredibly prevalent throughout chapters 8-14.  Continually, the circumstances they are faced with are daunting.  They are driven from every town they visit, often violently.  They are persecuted and slandered.  Any time they seem to make some progress, an angry mob swings by and riddles new followers with confusion, hoping to sway them from their incubating faith.  All the while, the governing establishment is plotting their death and the death of their religion.

And yet, they remain determined, and Christ prevails.  It all kind of makes me feel like a wuss; I continually make excuses about why my relationship with God can’t progress.  

This week, I pray that the determination of the apostle’s finds us, and we can learn to better love the God who risked it all to be with us.

In Acts 14: 19-20, Scripture says “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city…”

Paul was stoned, assumed dead. But then the disciples show up “gather around him” and he rises from the rumble like the Phoenix. My question is, what did they do when they gathered around him?

Whatever they did, this is a beautiful example of the importance of brotherhood. I am blessed and thankful for you guys and your support through the years (punch yourself in the arm now to keep this from getting too emotional).

Chapter 5,  Ananias and Sapphira messed up. They sell a field to bring glory to God but then lie about the amount that they received. Why? Then Simon wants the power to heal people with his hands. Instead of praying to God, he tries to buy it from Peter in Chapter 8. I read these two acccounts and think “you fools.” But then I think, “I’m glad no one is scrutinizing my life like this because I probably can’t do much better.” What would life look like if we instantly knew when we messed up with God? Funny you ask that (well funny I asked that), because I think we do. It’s call our conscious.  You know when you’re not walking with the Lord. You know when you skip reading, prayer time, etc. You know when you’re looking at stuff that you shouldn’t be. You’re not two years old. Grow up. Take ownership and STOP IT (mad tv).

Chapter 13. I send you out by the Holy Spirit, commissioned to be God’s hands for the day.  Now go do it.

Through the first 7 chapters of Acts, we get to view the ACTS of the deciples.  It starts with the gathering of people, of whom will eventually be called Christians.  Then, Peter heals the crippled begger followed by Peter and John going before the Sanhedrin.  Then all of the believers share their possessions.  The apostles healed many people and were persecuted, but still shared God’s word.  Finally, becuase of his faith and how strong it was, Stephen was stoned.  All these acts of praise toward God make me ask myself, how far am I willing to go?  Am I willing to die for my heavenly father?  Am I willing to just give away my possessions and follow God living a life of physical poverty, but spritual wealth?  It’s tough.  The fact that these men could go on without Jesus and perform miracles and spread God’s love is absolutly amazing.  They knew they would be persecuted and possibly put to death.  I challenge us all, what ACTS can we do?

Excuse the lateness, I wasn’t told until Sunday what book we were now reading.