Friday, September 22, 2017

The Book of Acts

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 265: Today, I am grateful for new eyes on the book of Acts.

"I spent years asking God to be part of what I was doing. When I read the book of Acts, I see people privileged to play a part in what God was doing." - Francis Chan

Have you ever read an old book with new eyes? 

Our SS class has been delving into Acts. Chapter by chapter. Slowly and with reflection and conversations. We are multigenerational and with different education backgrounds and work experiences. Together... it is better. 

Acts... as a child... I didn't like it very much. It seems the people were constantly as risk of jail, beatings and death. I was amazed by their constancy. They were like superheroes to me. Today, they are steadfast beacons of faith.

This time, I am in awe of their mission and their attentiveness to the Holy Spirit. When they were filled with the Spirit, their purpose became clear. They were driven to go and make disciples. They were compelled to bring hope and help to those they met along the way. The worked, lived, loved, laughed and played with a purpose.

Read Acts in the NLT and hear not just the boldness of the believers, but even a little humor. They carried the Good News. They seemed fearless fanatics for their cause, but in truth... they were living out the commission that would be written as Romans 12:1 and bringing it to life. 

"And so, dear brothers and sisters,I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him." -Romans 12:1

Yikes!  A living sacrifice? What we forget, is that the Holy Spirit was their constant comforter, guide and truth-o-meter.Supernatural support for what ails you. With the Creator and sent by The One who chose to be with us in human form. The Spirit is often the under assessed part of the Holy Trinity. The same comforter who whispers peace and direction into our crazy lives today. 

This time... with new eyes... we read about Paul in front of one of the many councils who believed they held his fate in their hands. At one point he reminds them of the damage control they were still trying to do after they crucified Jesus, tried to cover up his resurrection and silence those who walked with him and talked with him before his ascension to heaven recorded in Acts 1:9-11 

The ascension of Jesus felt like "the end", in the first chapter of Acts. It was, truly, a new beginning. In the gospels, we discover Jesus. In Acts, the Holy Spirit falls and fills believers with new hope, new power and new purpose. Acts requires action. It is one adventure after the another. 

Their faith was bigger than their fears. Their lives became filled with His life through the Holy Spirit. Earth's currency lost its value.

For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. -Romans 14:7-9

The price on their heads... worst case scenario... a ticket "home". Acts is a great book for those who enjoy dialogue and adventure. It's even better with friends. 

Today, I am grateful for new eyes on the book of Acts.

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