Monday, August 17, 2015

Prayer:  Lord, help me see your purpose for my life and how I could be a witness.  Open this scripture to me that it may transform me from the inside out. 

Read:  Act 1:1-11 NASB - "1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

 9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."”

Reflect:  The book of Acts is a follow up to the gospel of Luke.  The best way to approach it would really be to read Luke first and then continue with Acts.  You could make that a spiritual goal to try to have the book of Luke read within the next couple of weeks so that as you spend time in Acts you will have read Luke’s first book which was a gospel about the Messiah Jesus carefully researched to get the facts clear and straight. 

Luke has made clear in both his gospel and in this record of the continuing ministry of the Messiah Jesus through HIS Church, that what is being presented is not a myth or fable but cold hard reasonable facts.  Note how here he makes clear that the Messiah Jesus provides “convincing proofs” of HIS resurrection and HIS claim to being the Messiah of Israel.  So what is being asked is to have faith in the truth. 

The Messiah is telling them that to seek first the Kingdom of God they must now experience the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” that had been promised by John the Baptist and the prophet Joel.   This experience will give them the power to move forward and enable them to be suffering and sacrificial witnesses of HIS life, atoning death, resurrection, and return.  The Greek word for “witness” here is the one that we get our word “martyr” from, so it indicates that like their leader, they may be called upon to be physically abused and killed for their proclaiming the truth. 

Their hope is still focused on a political victory over Rome and the creation of a new Israel ruled by Messiah Jesus.   They are mistaken for the focus now is not on the judgment of the nations but on their salvation.   Before judgment day the word of hope and promise must come out of Jerusalem and call all nations to faith and repentance in Messiah Jesus (Isaiah 2:1-5; Micah 4:1-4).   Their role is to be Spirit empowered and committed proclaimers of the victory of Messiah Jesus in HIS death, burial, and resurrection. 

With their purpose clarified they watch as the Messiah Jesus is taken into the third heavens and are given a promise of HIS return in glory.

Apply -  I see that I need to have less faith in political answers and more faith in the Spirit guided and empowered telling of the gospel to others.   I need to ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit and divine appointments with others so that they can know of God’s love in Messiah Jesus.  I must strive to see that my witness is part of a long chain of witnesses that began with the Apostles of Messiah. 

Prayer – Lord help me to be filled with your Holy Spirit today and share the faith to those whom you provide an opportunity.  Convince me full that YOU are true. 

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