Read Acts 17:16-33
Key Verse: Acts 17:32 “When they heard Paul speak of the resurrection of a person who had been dead, some laughed, but others said, ‘We want to hear more about this later.” (NLT)
When we want to share our faith with others we are often nervous and hesitant because we are afraid that someone might laugh at us. The desire to Act Out for God is there in our lives but the idea of being laughed at makes it so difficult to do what we really want to do for God. The important thing that we need to remember is that we are not alone in this, even the Apostle Paul was laughed at, yet he never let that stop him from continuing to Act Out.
People always laugh at ideas that seem strange to them, it’s just a human reaction to try and deal with being forced to accept new ideas. People laughed at the idea of the world being round instead of flat, they laughed at the idea of space travel, they even laughed at the idea of gravity. It does not really matter that people laughed at those ideas in the past, what matters is that we have accepted them all now. Imagine if people stopped trying to prove that the world was round simply because they were laughed at. North America would hardly be populated at all and it certainly would not be the home of some of the world’s greatest nations.
People may laugh at you when you share your faith and Act Out for God. But the real important thing is that while some may laugh others may come to believe and you may be able to help change the world for somebody.
Prayer: “Lord, it is very hard to share about your love to people who laugh at me but I know that they only do it because they don’t know how to react. Help me to stand up and Act Out for you because although some may laugh, others may come to believe in you.”
Read Acts 17:1-15
Key Verse: Acts 17:12 “As a result, many Jews believed, as did some of the prominent Greek women and many men.” (NLT)
By this time it seemed that everywhere Paul went to spread the Gospel message people opposed him and tried to stop him for doing God’s work. Time after time the same things happened. Paul would arrive and start teaching people about Jesus. People would get saved and some people would try to stop them from teaching about Jesus there anymore.
The exciting part is that Paul was always a couple steps ahead of the bad element that wanted him stopped. He always seemed to be able to get to a new place and sow the seeds of the Gospel into people lives before he was forced to move on. Another great thing about this was that Paul never seems to get discouraged by the whole process. It must have been frustrating to just barely get a chance to start the work before he had to run off and try again somewhere else. But Paul kept on doing it anyways and according to verse 6 he and Silas turned the whole world upside down.
You may not get to see the fruit of your labor as you try and plant the seeds of the Gospel into people’s lives. But the important thing is to never give up and to keep Acting Out for God no matter how much bad seems to be following you around. You can turn your world upside down for Jesus if you refuse to give up and keep doing whatever work you can for Him. God will use you and only time will tell how much of a change you really made in the world.
Prayer: “Lord, I want to keep on Acting Out for you even in the face of the bad things that try and stop me. Give me the strength to keep on working for you and the courage to face anything that may come my way.”
Read Acts 16:1-18
Key Verse: Acts 16:10 “So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, for we could only conclude that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.” (NLT)
Paul and his companions traveled about looking for places to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to people who had never heard before. The Holy Spirit would not allow them to enter Asia at that time nor were they allowed to enter the province of Bithynia. God closed those doors, or opportunities, because He was about to open a different door for Paul and his friends.
God, through a vision, directed them to go to Macedonia. This was the open door they were looking for and as they went into this area God used them in great ways. They meet Lydia and she became a Christian. They even healed a demon possessed girl.
When an opportunity presents itself we often rush towards it and are excited to do whatever it takes. Sometimes God closes doors that we think are good. He has His reasons and He knows what He is doing even when we don’t understand. It is at those times that we need to wait upon Him and trust Him. What we want and what we want to do is not always what is best. God’s will is always best for us. We need to look for opportunities to share the Gospel. But we also need to be willing to let God lead us by showing us, through His Spirit, which doors are open to go through and which ones are shut for now.
Prayer: “Lord help me to accept the fact that your will is much better than mine. I want to trust you and know that you know best.”
This world is an incredible place, no doubt about it. There are wonders to experience around every corner and each of these amazing spectacles are a testament to the creative power of our Lord. From the enormous scale of the universe to the craftsmanship of the microscopic, there is seemingly no limit to the wonders that we can look upon. We can see pictures of celestial bodies today that no human eye would have ever seen even a few years ago, and thanks to advances in technology we can explore minuscule parts of creation with ease. The same kind of wonder and awe can be experienced through our sense of hearing as well. The beauty of sounds, from the calls of whales frolicking in the open sea to the singing of birds, has amazed humanity since the very beginning.
As incredible as all of nature is, few things are as impressive as the human mind. The creativity and resourcefulness of humanity to change our environment and produce works of art and literature is seemingly unmeasurable. It is with these kinds of thoughts in mind that the apostle Paul tried to emphasize just how amazing God’s plans for us truly are. When talking about the plans that God has made for us and how the wisdom of man can not know depths of His plans, Paul writes,
“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT
Wow! The plans that God has for those of us who love Him must be beyond impressive to say the very least. According to Paul God’s plans for us are such that no one has ever seen anything or heard anything or even imagined anything that compares to them. That ought to get you excited today. Just how spectacular are Gods plans for us that nothing we have ever experienced or even dreamed about can hold a candle to them?
No, you can’t see or hear or imagine God’s plan for you but that doesn’t mean He wants to hide them from you. Paul goes on to explain that through the Holy Spirit God reveals His plans to us (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). Our eyes can’t take in God’s plans, our ears can’t perceive them, and our minds can’t construct them but we can know them if we listen to the Spirit of God as He reveals them to us. May it be our prayer to seek God’s plans and purposes for us and to receive those plans through His Spirit.
Read Acts 11:19-30
Key Verse: Acts 11:21 “The power of the Lord was upon them, and large numbers of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.” (NLT)
We are told in chapter 8 verse 1 that after Stephen was stoned a great persecution of the Church began. This seems like it would be enough to make the Christians keep quiet about their faith and cause the growth of the Church to slow down. According to 11:19 the persecution of the Church really served to cause the Gospel message to spread faster and farther than anyone could have imagined. It is interesting to note that Saul, who was instrumental in starting that persecution, was now being used of God to further teach those who only heard about Jesus because of that persecution.
The believers spread the Gospel wherever they went even if they went there because their lives were in danger. Saul and Barnabas traveled to Antioch to teach the Christians there and they in-turn decided to send help to those in need in Judea during the famine. All of these activities are missionary work and these kinds of work are very important.
All of us can be missionaries for Jesus Christ if we do our part to Act Out in the name of Jesus in these ways. Wherever we find ourselves in life we ought to tell others about Christ. We can look for opportunities to teach other believers more about what it means to a Christian and everyone can, in some way, give to meet a need that we are made aware of. Acting Out for Jesus is about letting your faith show up in every part of your life and in every way possible.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to look for every possible opportunity to Act Out for You whether it be with my words or my actions.”
Read Acts 11:1-18
Key Verse: Acts 11:18 “When the others heard this, all their objections were answered and they began praising God. They said, ‘God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of turning from their sins and receiving eternal life.” (NLT)
Once again we see how difficult it was for the Jewish believers to accept the idea that Peter would go into a Gentile’s home for any reason. We know that Peter himself struggled with this as well. It is so hard to do something after we have convinced ourselves that it is not right or that it is not appropriate for whatever reason. The good news is that despite even his own objections Peter obeyed God and as a result the Gospel spread throughout the entire world.
Sometimes we have a difficult time doing things we ought to do for God because we think it is inappropriate. One example would be that many Christians have come to believe today that we don’t have any right to share our faith with other people because we will somehow step on their right to be left alone. We have come to think that sharing our faith is somehow wrong and unacceptable.
We need to hear from God just like Peter did. When God says do something we are to do it despite any objections even our own. We need to realize that God is in control and He wants others to hear about His love. He allowed His Son to die for the sins of the world and He wants us to be sure that the those around us know that it was for them. He feels that the most appropriate thing that anyone can do is to share the message of ultimate love with those around us.
Prayer: “Lord, I thank you for allowing your Son to die for everyone’s sins. Help me to share that good news with others.”
Read Acts 10:24-48
Key Verse: Acts 10:45 “The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles, too.” (NLT)
For the last two thousand years Christians have debated whether or not the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was meant for all believers or was it just meant for the early Church. In our key verse for today we see that the Jewish believers had a similar concern. They had difficulty believing that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was meant for all believers and not just the Jewish ones. In fact, they even thought that Christianity was strictly meant for the Jews and that no one else would ever be accepted by God.
It seems very obvious in this passage that the Jewish believers had to change their minds about whether or not all people could be saved. Now that God had proved that He accepted them by giving them the Holy Spirit how could the Jewish believers disagree.
If God used His Holy Spirit as proof that He accepts all people as believers of Jesus Christ we can know with great confidence that God also intends the Holy Spirit to be available to all believers. The baptism was not simply meant to jump start the church’s growth as some believe. It is meant for you. God wants to fill all believers with the Holy Spirit so we can all know that we have been accepted by God and so that we can Act Out for Him with the same kind of power, boldness, and faith that the early Church had.
When someone offers you a gift don’t you usually accept it? Why should gifts from God be any different?
Prayer: “Lord, thank-you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Please help me to be a witness of the great things you have done in me.”