Friends Who Pray

Today’s reading is Acts 4.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be arrested and threatened? Once released, what would you do? Go into hiding? Get out of town? Peter and John “went to their friends.” But notice what kind of friends they had. They didn’t go to friends who merely commiserated with them. They didn’t go to friends who decided to take up arms against their enemies. They didn’t go to friends who groused and complained about how bad things were. They went to friends who prayed. Those are the kinds of friends we need to have. Those are the kinds of friends we need to be. And not the kinds of friends who simply promise to pray sometime off in the indeterminate future. Friends who drop everything and pray right then and there. That is a good kind of friend. Don’t you agree?

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 4.

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Speak!

Today’s reading is Acts 4.

They had been arrested. They were being threatened by the Council. If there was ever a time to say, “Surely the Lord wouldn’t expect us to deal with this,” this was it. If there was ever a time to say, “We’ll just go along to get along for now, but just try not to get caught again later,” this was it. But they didn’t. What did they say, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” We must speak. The Council was charging them to be quiet. They could have said, “Yes, sirs,” but then gone and done what they wanted. But they wouldn’t even do that. They let the Council know right up front. “Nope, we’re going to keep on speaking.” Then it was up to the Council what to do with them. If we speak, our friends might not like us. If we speak, our family may disown us. If we speak, we may become unpopular. If we speak, even brethren might get mad at us. I know I’m tempted to say, “God wouldn’t want me to deal with all this negative press.” But Peter and John are staring me in the face. What an example! What Jesus has done is awesome. What Jesus has taught is life. Let’s Speak no matter the response.

Today’s reading is Acts 4.

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No Other Name

Today’s reading is Acts 4.

Yesterday I encouraged you to be annoying. Today, I have to say something annoying. At least it is annoying to our culture. Like it or not, Christianity is exclusive. In our modern culture, we are encouraged to think every religion is as good as every other. I’m not sure why this appeals to anyone who actually has a religion. I understand why atheists try to convince us of this. It is only true that every religion is equal if there is no God. After all, if God really does exist, then the religion that gets the closest to portraying Him accurately, most accurately describes how to serve Him, and most accurately describes how to be in fellowship with Him is obviously the best religion. Christianity simply will not allow the every-religion-is-equal approach. The moment you bring that in to your Christianity, you have ceased practicing Christianity. Christianity makes a declaration. Jesus the Christ rose from the dead. Because He rose from the dead, He is King. Because He is King, there is salvation in no other name but His. Mohammed can’t save you. Joseph Smith can’t save you. The Pope can’t save you. Vishnu can’t save you. Augustus can’t save you. Wicca can’t save you. Mother Nature can’t save you. You can’t save you. I can’t save you. Only Jesus can save you. Turn to Him and don’t let go, no matter what.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 4.

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Be Annoying

Today’s reading is Acts 4.

I’m going to go out on a limb today. I want to encourage you to be annoying. Yep. That’s what I want to provoke you to be today…annoying. Peter and John had healed a lame man who went walking and leaping and praising God. Then they started preaching the gospel and explaining the power of Jesus to heal that man and to save everyone’s souls. But then the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees come up and are greatly annoyed with them because they were teaching about the resurrection from Jesus. Of course, Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection. Thus, Peter and John annoyed them with this teaching. Based on this, I want to encourage you to be annoying. Now, don’t misunderstand. I actually do not mean that you should teach in an annoying fashion. I don’t mean you should purposefully strive to annoy people. However, we need to be aware that when we teach what the Bible says, there will be plenty of people who don’t want to hear it. There will be plenty of people that don’t believe what the New Testament says. No matter how kindly, carefully, and lovingly we teach it, they will be annoyed. When that is the case, we have a choice. We will either quit teaching or we will be annoying. With that in mind, today, I want to encourage you to be annoying. Go ahead. I give you permission.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 4.

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Get Back Up When You Fall

Today’s reading is Acts 3.

Let’s think about the healed lame man for one more day. He responded to Peter in faith and accessed the healing grace of God meaning he could walk. He went walking, leaping, and praising God not just that day but for every day thereafter, knowing with every step he was walking because of God’s power and grace and not his own ability. No matter how he felt about the responsibilities of walking, he knew he had been healed, so he kept walking. And then…then the unthinkable happened. He tripped and fell. Who knows? Maybe he just stubbed his toe on a rock jutting out in the road. Maybe he simply got his feet tangled up with one another. Maybe some of the local kids made a game out of tripping up that old beggar man who used to be lame. However it happened, he is lying face down in the dust, that old familiar position. What do you think went through his mind in that moment? I can imagine what would go through my mind. “I knew it was too good to be true. I knew it couldn’t last.” But even with those fleeting thoughts, what did he need to remember? “I have been healed by the power of Jesus Christ. I’m a healed man. It is time for me to get back up and keep walking.” That is just like our salvation. We are going to trip. We are going to stumble. We are going to fall. For any number of reasons, we will find ourselves face down in the spiritual dust. And in that moment, Satan will whisper in our ears, “You knew it was too good to be true. You knew you couldn’t keep it up. You knew you couldn’t make it. You should just stay down here in the dirt and grime and filth of the ground with me.” But what do you need to do? You need to remember you are a healed Christian. You have been saved by the crucified blood of Jesus Christ. Your sins are washed away. You are healed. You need to get back up when you fall and walk like the healed Christian God has made you into. That is who you are. You aren’t the fallen sinner, you are the saved Christian. Get back up when you fall and walk like a healed Christian. Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Acts 4.

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Don’t Atrophy

Today’s reading is Acts 3.

The lame man was healed. He reacted to Peter’s statement with a faith-filled response accessing the healing grace of God. He went walking and leaping and praising God. He spent the day making sure everyone knew. Then he went home, went to bed, probably didn’t sleep well for joy. Finally, the sun is rising, the city is coming to life. The man starts to get out of bed, and then it hits him. “Oh, wait. I have to get a job!” He has spent his entire life, laying here and there, begging for money. But today, he needs to go to the marketplace and try to get someone to hire him to go into the field and pluck grain or go into the vineyard and pick grapes. Wouldn’t it be silly for him to say, “I don’t like that! I think I’ll just go lay back down at the Beautiful Gate and keep begging”? In fact, what would happen if he decided that he didn’t like the responsibilities that came with walking? What would happen if he decided to lay back down, act like he couldn’t walk, get his friends to start carrying him around and laying him places again? What would happen to his healed legs? They would atrophy. They would lose the healing strength they had been given. In fact, there would come a day that if he did try to get up and walk, he wouldn’t be able to…again. Yes, despite what so many say today, that is exactly like our spiritual healing. That is exactly like our salvation. If we decide we don’t like the responsibilities of walking with the Lord, if we decide to lay back down and beg, if we decide to go back to living like we did before we were healed, we’ll atrophy. We will lose the healing, the salvation we were given. God healed us to walk. Don’t atrophy. Walk like a healed Christian.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 3.

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Walk Like a Healed Christian

Today’s reading is Acts 3.

When Peter healed the man and he realized exactly what gift he had been given, what did the man do? Exactly what you would expect. “And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” I can just imagine the man for the rest of the day grabbing the attention of every passerby. “Hey! Look at me. Do you remember me? I’m walking.” Then, “Watch this!” as he jumped in the air. I imagine this happened until night fell, people were no longer wandering in the streets, and the man finally went home. He laid down in his bed. Then he woke up the next morning. How long do you think it took before he remembered he could actually get out of his own bed? What was he supposed to do on that next day? He was supposed to walk. Why? Because he was healed. That was the purpose of the healing. When he got out of bed, do you think he praised God some more? How could he not? Then a week went by. Then a month. Then a year. Maybe a decade. He wakes up in the morning. What is he supposed to do? He is supposed to get out of bed and walk. Why? Because he is a healed man. And even though he has been walking for a decade now, who gets the credit and the glory? Is he finally walking because he is just so amazing at walking? No. Here is a person that knows every day, every step, he is walking because of the healing power of Jesus Christ. Every step is a reason to praise God. And that is our Christian walk. On the day we are baptized into Christ, we are full of joy. We are walking and leaping and praising God. We want everyone to know. We are so happy. Then we go to bed and wake up the next day. What are we to do? We are to walk as saved Christians. And when we have been walking like that for a week, a month, a year, a decade, we still give God the glory, knowing that it is by His power and grace we are walking. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 3.

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