6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” — Acts3:6 NLT
God has a plan for each of us and following that plan, we will intersect with the plans He has for others. Every minute detail of every plan is laid out and weaved into the patterns of our lives. The lame man was laid by the Temple gate every day. No doubt, Peter, John and even Jesus had passed him before on their way to worship in the Temple. Why did God choose this particular day to demonstrate His power? We could say that we don’t know the specific reason and that would be true. But we can assume without doing any injury to the Scriptures here that there was at least one person present in the crowd that day that needed to see this miracle occur. Probably more, but at least one, needed to see a lame man made whole. God doesn’t waste miracles. He has His reasons for when, where, and why. We have no idea of how big the impact of this particular miracle became as time passed. When reading the Bible, it is important to remember that the acts we read about are only a small sampling of what was going on at the time. One of the people in the crowd may very well have become a church founder or maybe just a missionary to his own family. Either way, it was necessary for this miracle to happen at this exact moment on this day in front of this crowd. God excels in doing the extraordinary in ordinary places and times. Listen for the small, still voice. He is asking some of us to allow Him to take our ordinary lives and do something extraordinary with them today. At least one of us, maybe more.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. – Romans 12:1 NLT
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” — 1 Peter 2:4-6 NIV
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was rejected by His own people. He could do very few miracles in His own hometown because the people there thought of Him as just a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary. We can expect to be rejected as well, the created should not expect better treatment than the Creator received. Just as Jesus was ridiculed and rejected by those who knew Him only as a human, so can we expect to be treated the same way. This rejection did not keep Jesus from loving and ministering to those around Him who accepted the words that He spoke. Neither should ridicule or offensive remarks keep us from loving and witnessing to those around us. Jesus was chosen by God to give up everything, come to earth and live among humans who would not welcome Him as the Son of the Creator. We are chosen by God to give up nothing to receive everything and live among humans as holy priests. Our sacrifice is spiritual, we speak the words that the Holy Spirit gives us. This is acceptable to God. The ultimate end of the earthly ministry of Jesus was not shame but glory. If we trust in Him and remain faithful, our ultimate end will not be shame but an eternity in heaven praising Jesus because He was faithful and was chosen to rule the universe.
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” — Rev 5:13 NIV
14 Continue teaching these things, warning people in God’s presence not to argue about words. It does not help anyone, and it ruins those who listen. 15 Make every effort to give yourself to God as the kind of person he will approve. Be a worker who is not ashamed and who uses the true teaching in the right way. 16 Stay away from foolish, useless talk, because that will lead people further away from God. 17 Their evil teaching will spread like a sickness inside the body.– 2 Timothy 2:14-17a (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the way.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is encouraging Timothy to continue his witnessing. He urges Timothy to avoid foolish arguments. We have all gotten into those discussions where no one is going to win and we are all worse off for our effort. As Benjamin Franklin put it: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” We need to study and be ready to witness to those God puts in our paths. As Paul tells Timothy later in 2 Timothy 4:2 (NCV) 2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching,
We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel or change it to make it more acceptable. But every word we say must be spoken in love which will draw others to Christ and not push them away. Wrong or evil teaching will spread through the Church (body of Christ) just like a sickness spreads through the body.
1. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.–Romans 12:1,2 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
We were created in God’s image and then sin entered into the equation. Sin has taken us from what God created us to be into a fallen state. This was no surprise to God, He had a plan in place before the foundations of the world were laid. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we become a new creation. It is not an instant change, it is a process that takes the rest of our lives to complete. I am reminded of a kids’ song that says it very well in a way that is easy to remember:
He’s still working on me to make me what I really ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He’s still working on me.
If you are planning to wait until you are perfect before witnessing to those around you, you will never be of any use to the Kingdom. So when satan shoots his fiery darts at you and tries to discourage you, just sing this chorus to him. It will remind satan (and you) that you are God’s child and he has no authority in your life. God knows we aren’t perfect, but He will bless our persistence.
1. I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual[b] worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d] 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.-Romans 12:1-3 (NRSV)
God is waiting to show you the way.
Yesterday, I mentioned being obedient unto death because of our love for Jesus. God only requires obedience to that point for a few of His children. But all of us should want to be living sacrifices for Jesus. That requires us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In other words, allowing God’s Holy Spirit to change our thought patterns and habits. This can only happen through the grace of God. We should never think of ourselves as worthless, after all, Christ died for us. But, at the same time, we should never think of ourselves as better than others. Jesus considered them worthy of His death as well. We all say, “O, I don’t think of myself as better than……”. But our thoughts lead to our actions and our actions often betray us and show the world what we are really thinking.