Psalm 34:8

Get a fresh taste!

In Today’s Bible reading from Acts 4, we see Peter and John responding to an accusatory question from a room full of Jewish leaders, “By what power or by what name have you done this? (Acts 4:7)

The question reminds me of the same question posed to Jesus by perhaps the same people. Jesus responded with a question about the origin John the Baptizer’s authority (Luke 20:3). When they responded, we don’t know, Jesus told them that He wouldn’t respond to their question. (Luke 20:8)

Peter and John’s response didn’t follow the same route as Jesus’. They simply responded that their authority came from Jesus. (Acts 4:10)

The response of those religious leaders is stunning. They recognized that neither of these Disciples was a seminary; they were simple, ordinary men. But these leaders also recognized that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

Application

Perhaps you are like Peter and John and you’ve never been trained by a seminary faculty to study and preach. That’s OK! Nowhere in the Bible are we told that a believer — or a preacher for that matter — has to go to seminary in order to speak God’s Word. Now, there is nothing wrong with going to seminary; ordinary people can learn a lot in seminary classes and in relating with other believers in a seminary environment. But the Bible does not make a seminary education a requirement for proclaiming God’s Word.

The only true qualification for proclaiming God’s Word is found at the end of Acts 4:13, “They recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

Have you been with Jesus? If you have, you have an authority that you can never gain by taking classes in a theological institution. No panel of church leaders can grant you that authority. Sure, you can have a wall full of diplomas and certificates, but you won’t have Kingdom authority unless you’ve been with Jesus.

Studying the Bible

OK, Jesus isn’t walking among us now. So how is someone supposed to be with Jesus?

That’s a great question! Going to seminary is good and can help. So can going to church. But if you really want to be with Jesus, you have to spend time with Him in His Word. You have to log time in His Word and in prayer. You have to practice the spiritual disciplines. (see affiliate links below for more information about the spiritual disciplines)

All of these things are tools to help you spend time with Jesus. As you spend time with Him, people will recognize that you have been with Jesus. So there! Go spend some time with Jesus!

In today’s Bible reading in Acts 3, we see Peter and John heal a lame beggar. For his entire life, he has sat in a public area in the Temple, begging for help.

Everybody knew this man; maybe not by name, but they recognized him like we often recognize the person at an intersection with a “Will work for food” sign. Perhaps people passed him every day like we pass the intersection beggar today. Now, I don’t know your local intersection beggar, but everybody knew that this man legitimately needed help; he had been lame from birth. (Acts 3:2)

Peter and John told him that they couldn’t help him financially, but they could help him in a much deeper way. They told him to stand up and helped him to his feet. Immediately, his ankles and legs became strong and he was able to stand, walk, run, and jump! (Acts 3:8) And perhaps for the first time in his life, he was able to go inside the Temple and worship God!

Everyone is awestruck at what happens and Peter calls everyone to repent.

Application

How often are you awestruck by seeing God do something amazing? Perhaps a different question should be asked first: How often do you see God do something amazing?

God is always at work around us. John Piper has noted that God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you may be aware of three of them. It’s true! Unfortunately, we can’t see the big picture of what God’s doing, because we’re obsessed with a couple of lesser things. We miss the forest for the trees.

Spend a few minutes asking God to show you a few more things that He’s doing in your life. Things that you have been blind to. And as He shows you, feel the awe. And do like the lame beggar! Celebrate the God Who does such wonderful things. Then tell other people what God’s doing in your life! And as the old hymn says.

Count your many blessings,

Name them one by one.

Count your many blessings,

See what God has done.

On Tuesday, January 22, 2019 — on the 46th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision — New York Governor Mario Cuomo (D) signed into law the state’s making abortion legal up past the twenty-fourth week (6 months). And on Tuesday Night, Cuomo directed the 408-foot spire on the One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany to be lit pink to “celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow.” (Source)

The law for the first time allows abortions after the 24-week mark to protect the mother’s health or in cases where the fetus won’t survive. (Source)

Newsflash…

Every pregnancy puts the mother’s health at risk to some extent.

Would someone please tell me how this new law can be acceptable to anyone with a conscience? How can this be tolerated, much less celebrated in a civilized society?

I promise to post your (PG-13) comments without editing (Note: I moderate comments to keep spam off my website, so you only need to comment once; I’ll post it, just give me time).

I didn’t point this out in yesterday’s devotional, but Acts 1:8 is the key to seeing the entire book of Acts. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would empower believers to tell people about Him. In today’s Bible reading, we see the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise. Jesus said that his followers would bear witness around the world. How would that be possible for these unschooled, mainly Aramaic-speaking homebodies?

Dr. Luke answers that question as he describes the events of the Day of Pentecost, especially in Acts 2:1-12. Jesus’ followers had spent the past several weeks together in Jerusalem. Together describes more than just their physical proximity. The word is used three times in this one chapter to describe the attitude of the disciples toward each other. They shared everything.

Hands together, making a heart

They would have to share everything because many of them (then and now) would be kicked out of their families and perhaps lose their livelihood for identifying themselves as Christ-followers by being baptized.

As the church grew from 120 to 3120 in one day, and as more were added every day, they would have to rely on each other for their daily needs. The rest of the New Testament records how the believers bore each other’s burdens and met needs. And we see it continuing even now, almost 2000 years later.

As I said in yesterday’s devotional, on the Day of Pentecost, God fulfilled Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2:28-32 where God would pour out His Spirit on all kinds of people. No longer would He speak to only special people; He would now speak to ordinary people. Ordinary people like you and me. The result of God speaking to ordinary people was that three thousand people heard the Gospel spoken in their own language at the same time.

Application

As I said yesterday, if you are one of God’s kids, you have the same Holy Spirit living in you that the Disciples did on the Day of Pentecost. And He can (and will) empower you to tell your story to your friends, family, coworkers, and even complete strangers.

The Disciples that day could have kept their mouths shut. And if they had, thousands — and eventually millions — would have died without knowing Jesus. Will you shut your mouth? Or will you speak up and tell people about Jesus? All you need to do is tell them what Jesus has done in your life. It’s not up to you to convince them to believe; God will handle that part. But you must choose to open your mouth, simply tell your story, and invite them to repent of their sin and trust Him. Just like you did.

Will you?

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