Friday, July 22, 2011

A Passage of Question

Romans 5: 1-11 Ananias and Sapphira

Oh, how this story has always troubled me.  If anyone reading this has more insight to it, please share.  I have never quite understood everything that occurs in this short little section of scripture.

Everyone else in their group of believers was sharing everything they had equally with all of the others.  No one was in need and no one had too much.  They were all equal.  Yet, for some reason Ananias and Sapphira felt the need to hold some back just for themselves.  What was their motivation behind this?  In such a group of strong believers who were living out loud for God, Peter can only explain it well.  "How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?"  Only such selfishness in a group of equality could come from the devil.

Yet, the thing that troubles me most is how both are stricken dead for their lie.  Isn't the message forgiveness?  Neither man nor wife are given the chance to repent of their sin.  In my Study Bible, the footnote tells me that since this was the first account of deceit in the church the consequences had to be serious so as to be an example of how God will not stand for hypocrisy and deceit.  This I do understand, but I still struggle with the raw wrath that was shown in their punishment.  To me, it seems more like the God of the old covenant than the new. 

But, who am I to argue with the Bible or God's decisions on matters?  The good Lord knows that if consequences for far more serious matters were this stringent in today's society, we might have far fewer social issues.  Maybe that is the lesson I am supposed to learn.  Trust His decisions and fear His true consequences...  Probably a good point.  :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Speak Boldly

Acts 4:23-31 (Peter and John released, believers pray, Holy Spirit fills)

OK, so I have already mentioned that I am not one to boldly share my faith.  Something about confrontation, acceptance and all those other wimpy, cop outs drag me down.  Definitely an area of my spiritual life that needs some work.  Oh, I can be as bold as I want on here.  Typing doesn't require much for a spine and there is a very little key to push when something just doesn't come out quite right: Backspace! 

But, today's reading really challenged me to rethink that.  The followers of Peter and John were so moved by the power of God in their arrest situation that they praised God in prayer.  They prayed that God would "consider their threat and enable your servants to speak His Word with great boldness" v29. 

Truly, this is all I need to do as well.  I don't have the spine to speak His Word in boldness, but He does.  Granted, I am still working on getting a great knowledge of His Word to be able to share it, but surly I have all the knowledge I need to share His love and the Gospel message.  Heck, these people had only been Christians for a few short days.  I need to remember that when I chicken out because I don't think I am studied or scholarly enough to get into a great debate over being a Christian.

God has all the knowledge I need and if He puts me in a place to profess His words, he will give me the knowledge I need to share it. 

How about you?  Do you ever pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you with  a great boldness to share His Word?  Add it to your prayer list this week and see where it takes you?  I know I am excited (and, yes, a bit scared) to find out!  Let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Keep On Keepin On

Acts 4: 13-22 (Peter and John go before the Sanhedrin)

OK, so not a total insight today, but a little glimmer given to me by the Holy Spirit.

So, the Sanhedrin, in all their wisdom could not figure out what to do to punish Peter and John for all their preaching in the name of Jesus.  They just decided to tell them to move on and stop it.  Don't spread the Word of Jesus anymore around here and a little slap on the wrist was all they could do. 

You see, they couldn't do anything else because Peter and John were so well-liked by the people who had heard them speak and seen the miraculous healing of the cripple man.  They brought five thousand onlookers and listeners to believe in Jesus in just a few short days.  And, they were thought of so highly that the authorities couldn't do anything to punish them without starting a riot. 

Now, that is some preaching and sharing and no doubt some major loving!  To spread the news of Jesus in such a fashion that people flock to you and protect you and love the Jesus you share.  "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." v12

Love it!  Are you loving on someone in such a fashion that they want the love of Jesus in them too?  Are you loving in a way that no one can find a fault in which to punish you?  In which those around you would stand up for you and protect you?  Are you sharing the news of Christ in this way?

I know I struggle with it.  I am not naturally one to evangelize, and, even more so, I know I can be a bit pushy.  I always want people to agree with me and think my ideas are best.  I need to open up and let them in.  Let Jesus' love shine through me and share His Words.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Giving the Glory

This was my quiet time yesterday, but I didn't get it!

Acts 3:11-16  Peter speaks to the onlookers and those amazed by the healing of the beggar.

"Why does this surprise you?"  This is the question Peter asked all those gawking at the healed man.   Really, we need to ask ourselves this question many times too.  Why does anything that God can do surprise us?  We know His Power.  Well, actually, we don't.  We can't even begin to imagine the great power He has.  So, when He does something miraculous, why does it surprise us? 

I am guessing most of the time it is due to the fact that (as Peter goes on to say) we forget who does it all.  Not us.  We all too often, forget to give the glory, forget to point to Him, and forget to thank Him. 

It is way too easy to say, "WOW" and move on, rather than, "What an amazing God we have." Why is it so hard to give Him the Glory?  He does it all.  He can do it all and nothing is out of His amazing power to accomplish. 

Don't forget to give Him the glory today.  Even if your miracle was just getting out of bed.  My miracle today?  My living room is clean and I have 5 kids all 5 and under in my house.  My work?  Nope, only by His power have they not distroyed what He gave me the strength and time to do.

Another miracle that isn't too big for Him is needed right now too.  Will you help me by praying for it to happen?  An old co-worker and friend of mine just found out that her daughter, Gracie (age 6), has a golf-ball sized tumor on a very sensitive part of her brain stem.  It is inoperable.  Doctors have given her 9 months to 2 years to live.  There is a 2% chance she will survive past these 2 years, but God can do it if it is His will.  Either way, His Glory will be revealed through this little girl in His way, whether we understand it or not.