Don’t Feel Sorry for James

Today’s reading is Acts 12.

If we aren’t careful, when we read about James’s death and Peter’s deliverance, we might start to feel sorry for James. Don’t! In fact, if anyone got the raw end of this deal, it was Peter. For the child of God, death isn’t an awful thing. James got to go be with the Lord. In fact, as he found Himself in the comfort of Abraham’s bosom, I imagine he felt sorry for Peter having to stay in the enemy territory of the this life. Certainly, we don’t really need to feel sorry for Peter either. He was given greater opportunity to serve the Lord and participate in His work. But let us not look at death like those in the world as if it is an awful thing to be avoided at all costs. Certainly, we don’t pursue death, but we don’t need to fear it or feel sorry for God’s children who face it. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 13.

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A Saving Message

Today’s reading is Acts 11.

When was Cornelius actually saved? Was he saved the moment the manifestation of the Holy Spirit was granted? I completely understand why people, in human wisdom, draw that conclusion. But look at what the text actually says, not just what makes sense to us. In Acts 11:13, Cornelius was told he needed to get Peter who would give him a message that would save him. Cornelius had to hear the message before he would be saved. However, when did the Holy Spirit manifest Himself in Cornelius? Acts 11:15 says it was as Peter began to speak. God told Cornelius he had to hear a saving message, should we believe he was saved before he heard the message? Surely not. Yes, God granted this miraculous manifestation of the Spirit to prove to Peter and the Jews that Cornelius and the Gentiles were allowed to receive the word of God (cf. Acts 11:1), but Cornelius wasn’t saved until he heard the message and received it, responding to it in water baptism which Peter commanded as part of his message (Acts 10:47). Have you received and responded to this same message? Can we help you?

Monday’s reading is Acts 12.

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No Partiality

Today’s reading is Acts 10.

“Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

Let us show no partiality as we proclaim the gospel. Look around at all the people you know. Have you started any spiritual conversations with them? If not, why not? Is it because there is something about them that causes you to say they wouldn’t listen, they wouldn’t like it, it’s not for them? Are you partial to people who are already more like you, perhaps not in gender or race, but in behavior? God doesn’t show partiality. He wants everyone to hear, and He will accept everyone who does indeed hear. Let’s impartially give them that opportunity.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 11.

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Today’s reading is Acts 9.

Saul had been breathing threats. But God told Ananias to Go. Saul had been persecuting Christians. But God told Ananias to Go. Saul had been putting Christians in prison and casting his lot against them. But God told Ananias to Go. And Ananias went. Despite his concerns, worries, and fears, Ananias went. God has told us to Go. Despite our concerns, worries, and fears, let us Go today. Make disciples wherever you go.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 10.

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Worthy to Suffer

Today’s reading is Acts 5.

Well, I am humbled again today. How often do I back away from evangelism and disciple making because I’m afraid of what I might suffer? Yet, here are the apostles motivated by what they might suffer. They saw it as an honor to suffer. How often am I convinced God doesn’t expect something from me because it will mean suffering? Yet, here are the apostles believing God wants something from them because it did cause suffering. Certainly, the point is not we are only evangelizing right when we suffer. However, may we keep on teaching no matter what suffering may come. And when we do, let us glorify and thank God for the opportunity.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 6.

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Annoyed Anyone Lately?

Today’s reading is Acts 4.

Obviously, our goal is not to annoy people. However, let’s just face it–many people will be annoyed by the presentation of the gospel. There is no need to be surprised when they register it, and there is no need to stop presenting it. I remember once reading a book by a fellow who said all kinds of nice things about Christianity and some of its teaching. He thought it was great that so many people were Christians and found meaning in Jesus Christ. He just wanted to convince Christians to keep their faith to ourselves because it annoys people when we try to make disciples. I commiserate with the fellow because it annoys me when people ask me to be quiet about the love of the Savior of the world who sacrificed Himself for our sins to save us from the wrath of God. Certainly, if you are trying to annoy people, stop. But when the loving presentation of the gospel annoys people, just keep on shining the light. People were annoyed in Acts 4, but people were saved too.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 5.

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Laborers in the Harvest

Today’s reading is Luke 10.

Evangelism and disciple-making do not actually begin with evangelism and disciple-making. They begin with prayer. We may develop all kinds of plans to sow, water, tend, and reap. However, without the hand of God, our harvest will be puny. Let us pray today that God send many laborers into the harvest. More importantly, let us go out as answers to our very own prayer laboring in the harvest by the strength of our victorious King.

Monday’s reading is Luke 11.

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