Witnessing With Boldness!

even-smaller-bug-light119 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” — Acts 4:19      

Acts 4:16-31

The council meeting in Jerusalem consisted of all the rulers, elders and teachers of religious law.  It also included the high priest and several of his relatives. They wanted to discredit Peter and John but the miracle of healing the lame man had been seen by too many and was too well known.  They would have preferred some harsh form of punishment but they were afraid that any such action would start a riot. So, they decided to just command them to stop talking about Jesus and never to speak to anyone again in the name of Jesus.  After telling Peter and John this and warning them of more harsh punishment in the future, they dismissed them. Peter and John told them they could not stop talking about everything they had seen and heard.  As soon as they were dismissed, they returned to the other believers and told them the whole story.  As soon as they had heard the story, all the believers lifted their voices and began to pray.  They asked God for boldness to preach His Word and that the preaching of the Word would be confirmed with miracles, signs and wonders.   When they had finished praying, the building where the meeting was taking place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  They went forth and preached the Word with boldness. 
When we are rebuked or offended because we mentioned Jesus, what do we do? Do we react with anger and unkind words or do we pray and respond with the love of Jesus?  If we take the time to whisper or even just think a prayer, the Holy Spirit will guide us, giving us the Words to speak and the boldness to speak those words.
Post 04-04-2016

Obedience Is Our Part

even-smaller-bug-light11 On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.  — Acts 2:1-4 NLT

Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavout (Hebrew for “Weeks”).  Shavout was the celebration for the giving of the law to Moses at Mount Sinai.  That occurred fifty days after the Passover in Egypt.  It was now the fiftieth day since the Passover had been celebrated in Jerusalem.  The Holy Spirit was given at this time confirming the New Covenant of Grace and the beginning of what we call the “church” age.  When the Bible says that we can do nothing without Jesus (John 15:5) but we can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13), the verses are referring to the strength and direction that we receive from the Holy Spirit who abides in us.  He gives us the words to say and the ability to say those words.  We need to make plans, study and be prepared to always give a reason for our hope in Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 3:13), but we should always be flexible enough to make an adjustment in our plans.  Why?  Because we can’t plan for every conceivable event but the Holy Spirit can and does.  It is He Who will give us the exact words to speak and the strength to speak them in any situation. (Luke 12: 11-12).  Just be obedient and trust the Holy Spirt for strength and safety.
Post 03-30-2016

Use It or Lose It!!

even-smaller-bug-light111 Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” — Exodus 4:11, 12 NLT

God has given each of us particular gifts and we use those gifts daily in our secular lives but when God asks us to use them for His work, we suddenly pretend we don’t have those abilities.  Take Moses, for instance, forty years earlier, Moses had no problem taking charge.  He killed an Egyptian who was beating a slave. The next day, he comes out and tells the slaves to quit fighting each other.  Those are characteristics of a leader. But, now after forty years of desert training, when God wants Him to use those same talents to free His people and lead them through the desert, Moses suddenly can’t.  If  you think God was happy with Moses, you are wrong.  In fact, He met Moses and was about to kill him and would have except for the actions of Zipporah.(Exodus 4:24-26)  
In today’s world, think about the effectiveness of the church if:
​E​very school teacher volunteered t​o teach Sunday S​chool​
Every​ CEO or business leader volunteered for a leadership/mentoring position
Everyone who served others in any position served in the church
Whatever talent you have, you used that talent in the church
Just think about this:  The Creator of the universe, the Omniscient God would not ask us to do a job that He has not specifically given us the talent and the training to do.  If God knew someone else could do the job better than we could, then He would have called them instead of us!  The next time we feel that little nudge to volunteer, before we say “no”,  think about the results in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30).
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ​ — Eph. 2:10 NLT​
Post 01-24-2016

A Secret Formula??

even-smaller-bug-light127 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27 NIV

In our daily lives, why do we not experience the peace that God has made available to us? Is there a secret to finding and holding onto that peace?  Is it necessary to do something special or quote a particular verse to access the peace that God has so freely given to us?  Is that peace for now or for some time in the future?  Is that peace even real?  If we could discover how to find and hold onto that peace, wouldn’t it be a great blessing to us and a great message to a world in chaos? 
Maybe, it starts with our definition of peace.  God’s peace isn’t the absence of troubles or violence or loss or storms.  It is learning to have peace while we live in and go through those times.  Jesus, as a man suffered rejection, ridicule, betrayal, and tremendous persecution, yet He did not sin by worrying or being afraid, but held onto the peace that the Father gave Him.  We say,”Yes, but Jesus was _______”  and you can fill in the blank.  The truth is that while He was on earth, Jesus was fully human.  He walked, talked, grew tired, rested, became hungry and ate common food. He was, in fact, just like us, except that He didn’t sin. He is our example that peace is not a lack of certain issues but a gift that we must learn to experience everyday.  When He was in the boat with the disciples in the midst of the storm, He slept.  The disciples became anxious and feared for their lives. Jesus spoke, the storm dissipated and peace was restored to the sea. Jesus is with us in the boat as we sail through life.  When the storms come, ask Him to speak to your storm and experience His peace. So, it is not some secret formula, it is complete faith in believing what Jesus said.
Post 01-16-2016

Demonstration of the Spirit’s Power

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9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned. — Titus 3:9-11 NIV

​Paul’s advice to Titus​ was given at a time when the discussion about the law was the single most divisive issue in the new church.  Did Jesus fulfill the law or abolish the law?  We have grace but don’t we still need to be circumcised? Even the apostles had differing opinions on some of these things. In today’s church, we get involved in foolish controversies over things not nearly as important as the law. Carpet colors, steeple or no steeple, immersion or sprinkling and the list goes on and on. Not one of these discussions will lead a soul to Christ but they may very well turn people away from the church altogether. They are definitely unprofitable and useless.  Jesus instructed us to “go and make disciples”.  He did not instruct us to go and make denominations, etc.  When we are in front of outsiders, our conversations and teachings should be limited to instructing people in how to be saved. All true Christians agree on the plan of salvation. That is the story Jesus wants us to tell. It is simple and powerful. Wherever we are or whomever we are speaking to, our sentiment must be the same as Paul’s:

2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. — 1 Cor. 2:2-5 NIV

Post 08-17-2015