Read Acts 2:1-28
Key Verse: Acts 2:17 “In the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.” (NLT)
What an amazing experience that must have been for the disciples that day! Verse 4 tells us that everyone in that room was filled with the Holy Spirit. The evidence of that experience was, among other things, the ability to speak in tongues or languages that they had not learned. They had received the promised Holy Spirit and immediately the power of the Holy Spirit becomes real in their lives.”
The people around them that day began to question what was going on and even went so far as to accuse the disciples of being drunk. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, stood up and instead of yelling at the people or getting upset he used the opportunity for God. He witnessed to the people and told them about Jesus.
When you receive the Holy Spirit, God’s power allows you to see situations in a different light, even allowing you to turn hard situations into opportunities to Act Out and tell others about Christ.
Prayer: “Lord, I pray that you will help me to see opportunities in the many different situations that I face each day of my life. I need your strength and power of your Holy Spirit to make the most of those moments. Use me so my life can make a real difference. I want to be able to tell someone about you and your love for them.”
Read Acts 1:1-26
Key Verse: Acts 1:8 “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NLT)
Our key verse for today sums up for us exactly what Acting Out is all about. Remember, Luke is writing Acts as a letter to his friend, Theophilus, to describe in detail the things that happened after Jesus was crucified. Jesus had died and over the next forty days He showed up and revealed Himself to His disciples to prove to them that He was in fact alive again.
Jesus may have been alive but He was going to be taken up into heaven (v. 9). Before He left He told them that there was a lot of work to do. People all over the world had to be told about Him and what He did for them. He was going to be gone and could not lead them anymore. He told them they would need to start acting out if the work was going to be done.
The good news was that they would not need to do it alone. The Holy Spirit would come upon them and they would be different. They would receive power. Power to Act Out for God. The gift of the Holy Spirit is available for you today. God wants you to Act Out for Him so He will give you His Holy Spirit to supply you with power to do great things for God as well.
Prayer: “Lord, give me a heart that cries out for the people of my Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. I want to reach out and touch lives for you so please fill me with your Holy Spirit so I can receive power to do what you want me to do. Thank-you for hearing and answering my prayer.”
Read: Ephesians 1:1-8
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5 NLT
Sometimes children who have been adopted feel as though they never quite fit in or have the same place in the family as their siblings who were born into the family. These feelings may exist for any number of reasons and even those who were adopted into a genuinely loving and caring home can end up feeling this way.
Scripture tells us that all who trust in Jesus for salvation have become children of God through adoption into His family. As an adopted child of God you should never feel like an outsider because your Heavenly Father has made it clear that you have been totally accepted by Him. Paul reminds us today that our Father has blessed us with every kind of spiritual blessing (v. 3) and that He loves us (v. 4).
It is God’s plan to accept you and adopt you into His loving family. That can be a difficult concept to grasp because we never feel worthy of His attention or His efforts to reach out to us. Thankfully, Paul makes it clear that God’s feelings towards us are not based upon our actions or attitudes at all. God actually chose you and decided to love you long before you were ever born, actually even before the earth was born (v. 4). God loves you so much that He made a plan that lead His only Son to die on a cross in order to make it possible for you to be forgiven of your sins (v. 7) and adopted into His family.
God’s Plan: To choose you and love you and make you a part of His family.
Your Turn: Since God did so much to reach out to you, the right way to respond to Him is to reach back. Take time today to tell Him how much it means to you that He made a plan to save you from your sins and to adopt you into His family.
“God gave His child to make us His children.”
A person’s reputation is an important asset. It opens doors and creates opportunities for employment and social impact. Our reputation affects the way people approach us and how they present themselves to us. The problem arises when we lose sight of what truly makes for a great reputation and whom it is that we ought to be trying to impress. Christians have been taught for generations that it is important that we make a good first impression and that we must be careful about who we associate with. If we spend time in the company of the “wrong” type of people they might rub-off on us and give others the idea that we agree with or participate in their bad behaviours.
We all like to be liked. There’s nothing wrong with the desire to have others think well of us. But when you look at how Jesus lived His life it seems that we might focus a little too much on making a good impression on those around us.
“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!” – Luke 15:1-2 NLT
Jesus spent a considerable amount of His time with “notorious” sinners. He associated with people that everyone knew stories about. Those kinds of people that you may have crossed the road to avoid getting too close to. They had created very bad reputations for themselves because everyone knew the mistakes they had made. These were the people who were often at the center of all the juiciest gossip. The very same people that your momma warned you about.
Somehow the church has become infected with the idea that we need to be careful about the company we keep, even though Jesus himself clearly set a very different example for us to follow. Jesus didn’t let the potential damage to His own reputation stop Him from spending quality time with the very worst that society had to offer. He didn’t seem concerned that the religious people of His day didn’t like the choices He made.
There is really nothing complicated going on here. The simple fact is that if I am going to make any kind of impact on this world I need to be in contact with those who are the least like me. Spending all my time and attention on other Christians will not create a significant change in anyone. Meanwhile, if I lived more like the way Jesus demonstrated for me I would be able to shine the light of His love into many dark places. If I considered it to be more important to make a change than to protect my reputation I might be far more effective in the mission.
If religious people don’t find our spirituality upsetting, perhaps we are not living enough like Jesus. I would rather have a bad reputation and be like Jesus than have a clean reputation and have never made a real impact. Pray with me for more opportunities to change the world around us by shining His light into the darkness.
Have you ever fallen off a horse, or perhaps more likely a bicycle?
Learning to ride can be a trying process. There are often many scrapes and bruises along the way to mastering the skills of learning to pedal and balance, while watching where you are going and steering and braking when necessary. There is a lot going on all at once and it can be quite overwhelming. Falling off the bicycle is as much a part of learning to ride as anything else.
The same is true about learning to run this race that we call the “Christian Life.” Learning to put one foot in front of the other, while staying on the straight and narrow path, and resisting the seemingly endless number of distractions and obstacles that try to trip you up, can seem all but impossible at times. The truth is that we all stumble and fall on occasion, ok, sometimes it is more like constantly than occasionally. The most important thing that we can do is get into the truly stubborn habit of not giving up.
Falling off that horse, or bicycle, whichever, can often be a very painful experience that can leave you seriously considering giving up altogether. One way that we find the motivation to get back on and keep trying is by realizing that we are almost at our destination. We fall off, we get bruised and more than a little embarrassed, but then we see that we are closer than ever before to our goal. So we climb back on and keep going. Falling may have hurt and certainly slowed us down but it didn’t send us all the way back to the start to have to begin all over again.
When you stumble as a believer, and we all do, it is important to realize that although it hurts and leaves you feeling embarrassed and ashamed it is not the end of the line for you. You don’t have to start all over with God every time you mess up. Your race may have been disrupted a little but a simple heart-felt acknowledgement that you still need Jesus is all it takes to have Him pick you up, dust you off, tend to your wounds, and set your feet back on the track. He never kicks you when you are down and you should never kick yourself or anyone else. We are all running this race to the one common goal of receiving the eternal reward that Jesus died for. Don’t give up, get back on the horse, I mean bicycle.
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”2 Peter 3:9 NLT
There is a clear call going out to the Church today to be more than a group of like-minded followers of Christ. We are called to be more than what we have been for so long.
It is clearly time for us to be more than Spirit-filled believers. The call from the Holy Spirit is to be people of the Spirit. People who are not just filled by Spirit but who literally obey and move in the Spirit.
Spirit Affected verses Spirit Activated
The pentecostal, Holy Ghost baptized, experience is amazing! I love the altar, I believe in miracles, and I long for every opportunity to dance in worship to my King. Yes, we must be affected by Spirit of our living God. If He is alive, if His Spirit is real, how can we not be affected? But we are not called to be “affected” only. We must be activated by Him. We must move as He moves.
This is not a new call at all but a call that has been ignored by so many, myself included, for far too long. I pray that as you live and breathe today, the Holy Spirit will move in you and you will move in Him.