Refresh

Re: Verse reading–Acts 3:1-20  (day four)

We call it a refresh button .  It brings the screen of our phone or computer up to date.  It replaces the old with the new.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a refresh button in life…making everything new and right?  Good news!  We do.  Verse 19 says, “Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;”  Repentance is more than just a desire to do good, it involves action…a turning away from one behavior (sin) and decisively turning to a right behavior according to God’s plan.  Repentance is always to a behavior in line with God’s Word.  Replacing the old with the new!  Repentance can lead to forgiveness of sin and salvation, or it can lead to a correction in the direction of life and a return to righteousness.  Is it time to hit the refresh button in your life?

 

 

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Frame

Re: Verse reading–Acts 3:1-20  (day three)

“He asked them for money.”  Money was the only remedy in society’s framing of the situation.  But Peter and John broke that frame.  A handout was no longer the best thing a person might hope to receive.  The eternal kind of life they were learning from the Holy Spirit enabled them to imagine new possibilities.  This is not imagination like we understand it, which is essentially “make-believe”.  Rather, it is a future redefined by Christ.  As Jesus’s disciples, we have the power to usher in new ways of living.  At least for now, we have social standing and power unknown to the first century church.  Can you give money?  Do it.  Can you heal?  Do so.  But can we leverage our social standing and power to alter the economic landscape for the sake of the least of these?  We must.

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More than Your Gold

Re: Verse reading–Acts 3:1-20  (day two) 

But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you:” vs. 6a

I learned this verse from a more poetic translation: Silver and gold have I none…it has always stuck with me. I don’t think we modern American Christianity resonates as much with this anymore. It’s almost like, “I’ve got money, that should be enough.” The easiest thing we can do is write a check. It is in the act of serving that challenges us. Meeting our brothers and sisters where they are, praying, sharing, loving; these are the acts of service that will require more than your pocketbook. These are the acts of service that will pay eternal dividends.

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Repentance

Re: Verse reading–Acts 3:1-20  (day one)

“Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”–v 19

It was not something I heard when I first followed Christ.  Still recovering what was lost by this partial gospel.  Jesus preached repentance and faith. (See Mark 1:15)   Peter, in Acts 3, faithfully repeated the wisdom.

The word meant to “change your mind” (metanoia).  Referred to all thoughts in a person’s mind.  About God, about self, about priorities and values.  Unconscious ideas, mainly, but vitally important.

As we believe in God, these ideas have to change.  They are abandoned. Rejected. Repented.  Without it, the head is so full of false that True cannot take root.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”–Proverbs 23:7.

“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”–Romans 12:1.

What thought do you have in your mind that is not true?

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Spirit-filled witness

Re: Verse reading–Acts 2:1-41 (day seven)

“And they began to speak. . .as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”–v 4

When I was a young believer, I was made to feel guilty for not “sharing my faith”.  I don’t know whether this was intentional, or not.  I do know that I was told, again and again, that it was my “duty” to present Christ to everyone I met–strangers, members of my family, roommates, people I sat beside on airplanes.  And, the less I did so, the more guilty I felt.

I wish someone had helped me focus on the Holy Spirit.  Him–the Great Communicator. Me–the conduit and co-laborer.  I wish they had helped me read Acts 2.  When He fills with power. . .we speak.  Not something forced and awkward.  Joyful witness!

I am reminded again today and with a grateful heart.  HE gives power.  HE draws men to Himself.  HE gives utterance.  The focus is never on me.

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Out Not Up

Re: Verse reading–Acts 2:1-41 (day six)

God confused all those gathered at the Tower of Babel by introducing new languages. They  had insisted on staying together, building a tower to the heavens, and making a name for themselves. That is not what God had commanded; “fill the earth and subdue it,” he said.

The Holy Spirit’s arrival during Pentecost is another reminder of the eternal purpose of God, to advance His Kingdom, to fill the earth and subdue it. The Temple courtyard was full of Jews who had traveled from many nations, and by the power of the Spirit, each heard the Gospel in their own language (not confused), and many believed and were baptized. Peter did not have them build a tower, or insist that they stay in Jerusalem and start the first mega church, no they returned home; they went out bearing witness to Jesus. You can’t get any more Holy Spirit-strategic than that. God is committed to advancing His Kingdom out, not up. Our tendency is to be preoccupied with building towers, but God isn’t. It would help us if we thought the same way. Out not up.

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The Work of the Holy Spirit

Re: Verse reading–Acts 2:1-41 (day four)

God had placed the nation of Israel at the crossroads of the world.  At the Day of Pentecost, there were devout men from every nation under heaven present.  God had assembled His band of ambassadors to carry the gospel around the world.  The Holy Spirit spoke through the disciples so that every man heard the message in his own native tongue.  The message each man heard was of the mighty deeds of God.  Immediately, the Spirit began to give insight and understanding of Scripture.

Today, we look for and attribute many deeds to the Holy Spirit.  Lest we forget though…the Holy Spirit leads people to God.  Evangelism is the work of the Holy Spirit.  In our electronic age of internet and social media, we have an even greater opportunity to spread the gospel to every nation under heaven.  God used Israel’s position at the world’s crossroads to distribute His message…how will he use our church to be His spokesman in the center of our city?

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Find

Re: Verse reading–Acts 2:1-41 (day three)

“They have had too much wine.” It is a feature of this universe that what one looks for, he will find.  One might say, “Well I looked for financial wealth and didn’t find it.”  Ah, but what is actually being sought in the search for money is a zero-sum world—and whether you find riches or not, you certainly find that world.  So again, you find what you seek.  If you decide to explain events by ruling out some things in advance to satisfy an anti-miracle bias, you seek a miracle-less world, and that’s the world that will be your home.  God’s Spirit could blast a city with sound and light and super-human abilities, and some will call it a bender.  What do your explanations reveal about what you’re seeking?

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Piercing Power

Re: Verse reading–Acts 2:1-41 (day two) 

“Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart…” – vs. 37

What is the power of the gospel fueled by the Holy Spirit? It is the power to pierce the heart of anyone who hears. Consider that these people who were pierced were only a few verses earlier accusing Peter and the others of being drunk. How do you go from callously dismissing someones ramblings to being utterly convicted by their testimony? That is the power of the Spirit. Jesus said that it was to our advantage that he go away so that the comforter might come (John 16:7). Do not think that your testimony lacks power. Jesus used ordinary men. He still does. His message can still pierce the heart of the unbeliever. Who will go and tell the world his story?

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All flesh

Re: Verse reading–Acts 2:1-41 (day one) 

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams”–v 17-18

Pentecost was what God promised!  What John predicted.  What Jesus prepared us to receive. (See John 20:22)  The blessings of God’s Spirit poured out on all flesh!   Not “all” in the sense of “every”, but “all” in the sense that no one is excluded by gender or age or social standing.  Sons/daughters.  Young/old.  “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”–Romans 10:13.  Whoever is saved will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit–Acts 2:38.

In the Old Testament era, the Holy Spirit came to a small, selective group of people.  In the New Testament era, the church age, He comes in power to ALL OF US.

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