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God is still speaking to me that I should continue to blog here weekly. So here I am. I am excited that as I continue to meet with him daily He is speaking to me a lot. I am going to keep blogging here on this quiet blog the things God is speaking to my heart.

Acts 2:42 – Acts 7

I love reading about the Acts 2 community! What stood out to me this time that many signs and wonders were taking place. I like to think that one of the wonders was how everyone got along and shared with one another. Later in chapter 3 we find out that healings were a part of the signs and wonders.

I was praying for my church, River City Community Church, and wondered what it would be like if my church acted like the Acts 2 community. I think that if many miracles were happening everyone would be telling their story. I then had a vision of testimonies of God’s power pouring into the church office from all the different ministries and individual people. The church office would be so overwhelmed with testimonies that they would have to dedicate a whole Sunday service telling these incredible stories.

Faith is going to grow at RCCC. God is alive and wants us to call out to him. Oh, I can’t wait! I will be praying for this vision to come true.

Another scripture that stood out to me is what Stephen told the Council. Stephen was being falsely accused of blasphemy and he replied explaining how the leaders of the Jews have rejected prophets in the past.  Stephen said, ” ‘You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!’ ” (Acts 7:51)

The Message puts it this way, “And you continue, so bullheaded! Calluses on your hearts, flaps on your ears! Deliberately ignoring the Holy Spirit”

I know I can be stubborn and hardheaded. Our hearts can be hard toward the work God wants to do in us. This verse is certainly a warning of what not to be!

Lord Jesus, soften our hearts towards your will for our lives. Please help us trust you and have faith that you know what is best. Open our hearts and ears for what you want to say to us. I pray that we would not ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We don’t want to miss you! Let us focus on you and know when you speak to us. Forgive us for our stubbornness and our selfish  motives. We love you, Lord. Speak to us and give us faith! Amen.

There is nothing like starting your day off with a story of a healing! You can’t help but let your heart be filled with joy over hearing how someone who couldn’t walk before can now leap and dance! This is what happens at the beginning of Acts chapter 3, but we’ll get back to that in a moment.

Acts 1

The beginning of Acts picks up where John lets off. Jesus taught for 40 days after His resurrection. Then He ascended to heaven and everyone waited for the promise of the Holy Spirit to come true.

Jesus’ family came to know Him as Savior!

Jesus’ mother, sister, and brothers were with the disciples waiting in the upper room. His brothers didn’t believe He was the Messiah in John 7:5. If Jesus couldn’t save His own family when He was alive, then how much hope is there for me to help my family know Jesus? Somehow His brothers came to believe in Him!  I was so encouraged knowing that His brothers were there waiting for the Holy Spirit too. There is hope that my family will be saved too.

Acts 2 – The Promise is Fulfilled

The Holy Spirit comes to live on earth. The Holy Spirit didn’t sneak in unannounced. He shows up in a big way!

2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The people in the street could hear the wonders of God being told in different languages by the local Galileans. They were amazed and perplexed. Many thought they they were drunk, but it was only 9:00 in the morning.

You will be Jesus’ Witnesses to all the Earth

Jesus did say in verse Acts 1:8 that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Those in the upper room received the power to be Jesus’ witnesses by speaking in other languages. We have the Holy Spirit today and He has enabled us to be witnesses too! He not only helps us cross cultures, but gives us the words to speak in our own culture!

Peter stood up and explained the situation. He quotes the prophesies of God and explains how Jesus fulfilled them. He then encourages the crowd to, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (verse 38.)

About 3,000 people repented and were saved that day! Revival came to Jerusalem that day. The rest of the world was yet to come!

The Acts 2 Community

I had to spend one whole morning of study just to learn from the Acts 2 community. I love these verses explaining their unity. They were together and had all things in common. That in itself seems a miracle! The devoted themselves to learning from the disciples, to prayer, and eating together. Then they got radical. They sold their possessions and shared with those in need. They praised God together and had favor with the people.

I love this example of how the church should act. How much more people would be saved if the church could really show what loving one another looks like. We need to remember not to be so stingy with what God has given to us. We need to remember to praise Him for everything!

Acts 3 – The Crippled Beggar

There was a crippled beggar that was being carried to the gate called, Beautiful. All he seemed to have was his life and the care of the people who carried him to the gate. He begged for money from Peter and John when he saw them. I love the boldness of Peter. “Look at us!” The beggar looked at them and Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” He then grabbed the beggar’s hand and made him stand up! The beggar was instantly healed and began praising God while jumping through the court. Saying that the beggar was just a little excited is an understatement. He will forever be grateful for this miracle.

The joy of the beggar filled my own heart this morning. There are many things that God has done in my own life that I could jump up and down and shout and be thankful for. I will remember those things this week as I continue on with the story of the gospel in Acts!

What has God done in your own life that would warrant public shouting and jumping in praise? What do you think is the role of the Holy Spirit today? How do you think you receive the Holy Spirit?

As I have been reading through John this past week I couldn’t just settle for one chapter. The story got intense and I didn’t want to put it down.

I have heard of scripture being called a Love Letter. As I was reading I was thinking about Jesus’ death in the context of a love story. The great news is that this story doesn’t end tragically. He died while hanging on a wooden cross with nails in his hands and a nail in his feet, because he loves us.

Even while in extreme pain he took care of his mother and told his disciple to look after her and care for her. He didn’t leave her alone with Mary Magdalene and her sister. I wonder if that is because women in that culture needed a man to help care for women. We know that he certainly loved Mary.

While meditating what Jesus’ death meant I believe I heard the Lord say, “Even if it was only for you, I would have done it.” – Isn’t that hard to fathom? If you were the only one that needed saving he would still die on the cross!

Jesus fulfilled at the prophesies including the one that said “not a single bone would be broken.” Jesus died before the soldier came around and broke the legs of those hanging on the cross so it would speed up their death.

The body of Jesus was carefully laid in a tomb. On the first day Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was still dark. I love that. I love that she couldn’t wait to get back to Jesus. I wonder if she fretted the whole weekend and if she couldn’t sleep. She was certainly a passionate woman. She then RAN to Peter and John.

Jesus wasn’t in the tomb and later revealed himself 3 different times! The last time he showed up on the shore while a few disciples were fishing. He miraculously provided a huge catch of fish and they ate breakfast together. After they ate Jesus talked to Peter. He asked Peter 3 times if he loved him to restore Peter after he denied Jesus three times. He asked Peter if he loved Jesus more than his job and then to shepherd and tend to His sheep. He finally said to follow me.

I really like the verse, John 21:18 – “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

When we are young Christians we have a little bit more freedom to do what we want as we learn what it means to follow Jesus. Then at some point God requires more of us. We may not want to do what God is asking, because it is scary or seems stupid. As a mature Christian we are required to be lead by Jesus no matter what. So let’s keep following Jesus!

  • On that note I prayed about this blog and I feel like the Lord is asking me to continue it. I don’t know why, but I will be obedient. It could just be a test to see if I will do what He says. Who knows. So I will continue to post here every Wednesday.
  • I am going to be blogging about the book of Acts next. I will be blogging about a few chapters at a time instead of one book a week.

See you next week after I have dived into Acts! Can’t wait.

In John 18 the story of Jesus’ crucifixion begins to unfold in a garden where he often taught his disciples. Judas brings the officials and soldiers to arrest Jesus. Jesus is brave and boldly says that he is the one they are after. He doesn’t run as a coward would. His proclamation stuns the officials and they ask him again.

Peter is mad and cuts off a soldier’s ear with his sword. He probably would have continued with his sword if Jesus hadn’t stopped him. Jesus tells Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Jesus is resolute on following God’s plan.

They bring him to Annas and then he sends them on to his son-in-law, the high priest, Caiaphas. They question Jesus about his disciples and his teachings. He then points them to the people He has taught. I do wonder what would these people say. I am sure the people who weren’t Pharisees or Jewish officials would have nothing but good things to say about Jesus. They didn’t like this answer and accused Jesus of being disrespectful. I love that Jesus stand up for himself here.

Because the Jews can’t have someone killed they get the Roman Governor to do it, except Pilate can’t find anything wrong with Jesus. Following a Passover custom Pilate asks the crowd which prisoner they want to release by asking, “Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?;” The crowd yells in reply, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!”

Jesus is sentenced to die. I found it interesting that they had a hard time pegging Jesus to a crime. Of course, He didn’t have any sin and they would find it difficult. I don’t really know the weight of blasphemy. If someone claimed that they were God today we would probably just laugh at them and say they were crazy. But Jesus had His teachings and signs and wonders to back up his claim. What would move people to want His death? We find out more in the next chapter, John 19.

John 19 is heavy and full how Jesus gave his life for us. I couldn’t wait and already started reading the next chapter.

I didn’t even mention Peter denying Jesus 3 times just like Jesus said he would. I definitely think it shows how human he was.

On to John 19…

John 17 focuses on “The High Priestly Prayer.” I think it is cool that we get to eavesdrop into how Jesus prayed here. It seems a little different than the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer in John 17 is more like a conversation with God.

There are many things that we can take away from this chapter: Jesus did everything God asked of Him, they must be glorified together, Jesus wants to give us His joy.

One verse that stood out to me is verse 11:

11“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” (NASB)

What does it mean “keep them in your name?” It reminded me of a wife taking her husband’s name when they get married. She has entirely new name and is known by her new name. She becomes a part of her new family. In the same way we are married into God’s family and we take His name. There is power in His name!

The second verse that stood out to me is verse 15:

15“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” (NASB)

This is a good reminder of how we can pray for our family and friends. We can pray for God’s protection from the evil one that comes to steal, kill, and destroy their lives. We can even pray for our protection.

There is a lot more to Jesus’ prayer than these two little things. My quiet time was good and I wrote down a vision I had at church. Basically I saw the Holy Spirit washing each person. He was washing away the grime in our lives with the truth of the Word of God.

Also, while I was in my quiet time God changed my desires for something I wanted to do and gave me some clarity about my goals for this year. I was bursting at the seams to tell my husband. When I told him about what I felt God said I had peace come over me. It was also neat that my husband was in full agreement too. I knew it was God that changed my heart in that quiet time. I need to remember this experience so I am motivated to meet with God more consistently!

Did any verses stand out to you in John 17?

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! This week we look forward to new beginnings as 2010 quickly approaches.

Two things have stood out to me in scripture this last week.

Rewinding back to John 15, verse 14 says “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” The commandment I walked out this week is “Honoring your father and mother.” I do my best to follow this out. I realized that I don’t serve them so much because I am overflowing with love for my parents. I serve them because I am overflowing with love for Jesus. I really want to serve Him with the best of what I have. This is what He told me to do, so I follow His command, because I love Him. It was great for me to connect so realistically in life to a scripture I had read in my quiet time.

The second thing that stood out to me in the scripture reading is the talk about the Holy Spirit. John 16 sheds more light about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I sometimes wonder if we miss seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the lives around you, because we don’t really know how the Holy Spirit works.

John 16: 7 – 11 (NIV)

7But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

The Holy Spirit is a Counselor. The NASB version says, Helper. The Helper will convict the world concerning three things: sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Sin, because people are lost and need to know that they are sinners in need of Jesus.

Righteousness, because Jesus is no longer tangibly with us to show us what is true righteousness. We need a Helper to point out righteousness when it is in front of our faces. Righteousness can be hard to see in our fallen world.

Judgment, because Satan is already condemned. We can understand the judgment of God better and His justice with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Everything the Holy Spirit does is to glorify God and He doesn’t have his own agenda. He only wants to help us walk out what God is calling us to do in our lives. Sometimes this is doing what God commands, even when it is difficult.

  • This week we will be reading John 17 (12/30 – 1/6)

Does having a chapter a week to read help you? Is it hard to find time to read over the holidays? What verses stood out to you in John 16?

John 15: Abide in Me

So how was John 15 for you? Did you fight for quiet times this past week? I wrote about fighting for a quiet time this week over at The Mom Crowd.

John 15 seems to be divided into 2 different themes. The first part is loving ang encouraging, but then the second part seems to be about dealing with hatred and persecution.

I was thinking about the juxtaposition of these 2 themes. They divide in verses 17 and 18.

17This is my command: Love each other. 18“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

How do these 2 verses tie together? I think we need to love each other, because the world is looking on us. We need to be examples of Christ’s love! The world will either want to be like us or be jealous of us and hat us for it.

But then verses 22 – 25, say that people hated Jesus without cause. Sometimes there will be no logical reason for why people don’t like us. They just will and we can only pray about it.

Going back to the first part of the chapter, verses 1 – 17. I wrote down the words that stood out to me:

Abide

Joy

Love

Friends

Fruit

more Love!

These are wonderful things. We need to abide in Jesus, because it is good for us! God doesn’t want to cut us off from the vine when we don’t abide. He doesn’t want to watch us dry up and die, but we choose this for ourselves when we look to other things to fill us with life.

There is so much more in John 15! Like we are friends and not slaves. Jesus trusts us and shares His vision with us.

Holy Spirit

Did you catch the attributes of the Holy Spirit in verse 26?

- He is a Helper.

- He is from the Father.

- He is the Spirit of Truth

- He testifies about Jesus

So good. Let’s keep abiding this week as we dig into John 16.

Merry Christmas!

  • We are studying John 16 this week (12/23 – 30)


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