Acts 9:23-31 Devotional: Persecution and Peace

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. – Acts 9:31

Saul’s turn to Christ also led to a turn of the tide of persecution against the early Church. Yet, this was at his personal cost. He was now the one being persecuted, hunted down like a prey.

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Acts 9:1-22 Devotional – The Persecutor Surrendered

5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” – Acts 9:5

15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” – Acts 9:15-16

Acts 9 continues the narrative of the persecution of Christians, starting from the stoning of Stephen, which Saul of Tarsus participated in. We have seen how persecution led to dispersion of Christians and the gospel to Samaria. The next part of the narrative shows us how persecution gave rise to the apostle to the Gentiles. The chief prosecutor surrendered to Christ and became the great apostle of the Gospel.

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Acts Meditation 8:20-21 – Seeking God with the wrong heart

20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. – Acts 8:20-21

Have we taken a wrong attitude to the gifts of God and to God, the giver of good gifts?

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Acts meditation 8:14-16 – Receiving the Holy Spirit

14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,

15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,

16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. – Acts 8:14-16

Is receiving the Holy Spirit always a matter of being prayed for by a leader? Is it always marked by an outward manifestation of the Spirit?

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4-Step Method or Framework for Daily Contemplative Reflection or Examen

As Christians, we need to pause and look, and ask God for the ancient paths, which gives rest for our souls. I suggest here a simple framework for a 4-minute, 4-step daily contemplative reflection or examen. You can do it at the end of each day. Or you can do it along with your quiet time after you read the Word and when you pray.  You can use the same method to reflect on the week or month.

  1. Rest in God’s presence.
  2. Relish and give thanks for what happened in the day.
  3. Recognise failings.
  4. Resolve to live tomorrow well.

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