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.
Continue reading “Acts 9:23-31 Devotional: Persecution and Peace”
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.
Continue reading “Acts 9:1-22 Devotional – The Persecutor Surrendered”
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. – Acts 8:26
What if one day, you feel a strong sense that you must go to a faraway deserted place? Would you go? What for God?, you would ask. There’s nothing there, you would say.
Continue reading “Acts Devotional 8:26-40 – God the Orchestrator”
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?
Continue reading “Acts Meditation 8:20-21 – Seeking God with the wrong heart”
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?
Continue reading “Acts meditation 8:14-16 – Receiving the Holy Spirit”
Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. – Acts 8:4
How should we respond to persecution? In this part of the narrative, Stephen had just been stoned to death for preaching about Jesus. That triggered a widespread persecution of Christians in Jerusalem. Continue reading “Acts Meditation 8:4 – Scattered to Witness”
3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” – Acts 6:3-4
What should leaders do when more must be done to serve the people of God? Delegate!
Continue reading “Acts Meditation 6:1-7 – the Privilege of the Spirit”
28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. – Acts 5:28-29
When human authorities silence you from speaking the word of Life, you must make a choice. Obey God or obey men.
Both choices carry consequences.
Continue reading “Acts Meditation 5:29, 40-42 – Obedience & Honour”
19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. … – Acts 5:19-21
Can God’s people be imprisoned? Surely. Can the words of Life be imprisoned? Certainly not.
Continue reading “Acts Meditation 5:19-21 – The Great Rescue”
9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. – Acts 5:9-10
The sins of the believer are severe, only that we fail to recognise it.
The Church was up to this point on a spiritual high. They were devoted to God’s word, to fellowship with one another, to breaking bread together, to prayer. Their care for and sharing with one another was to the point that there was no needy person among them. They accomplished by grace and Spirit what Israel failed to do.
This backdrop sets the stage for this story, presenting us with two sets of people with two different destinies.
Continue reading “Acts Meditation 5:1-11 – Sin and Destiny”