You know those times when you find yourself in a jam... when even your best intentions got you stuck in a bad position? What a relief when help finally comes!
So the last thing you want to do is go back to a place where you could get stuck all over again, right? But what if an angel told you to?
For that's what happened to Peter and John.
They continued to preach about the death and resurrection of Jesus in the temple complex even when the teachers of the law had warned them not to. So they got arrested and thrown in jail.
But somehow without the notice of anyone else, an angel opened the door, releasing them with instructions to go back to the temple... and tell the people about this life.
It's pretty clear these guys had never seen a jail-break movie because they do exactly as the angel says. They don't even consider making a run for it.
It would seem that when God wants to be Our Open Door, releasing us from what binds, His intention is that we openly use it to tell others about the life it brings us, the freedom found in it. Even though it's possible that it may bring persecution and trouble.
But I guess if He sent one angel, He can certainly send another. It's not like God is short on angels or open doors. And He wants us to realize that His word of life has more meaning when we boldly return to the scene of the crime and share it from our personal experience.
Thank You, Lord for being Our Open Door of opportunity. Let us enter in boldly to tell others about this life You gave, so that we could live.
Don't you hate it when you think of something clever to say, but the moment has passed? You wish you had been quicker, sharper, wittier?
If I'm honest in those moment, all too often I realize it's just me wanting to impress others. Then I read about people like Peter and John who made a real impact, who had something amazing to say at just the right moment... and said it.
In the depth of my heart, that too is my desire. But does my prayer life truly reflect it?
The early church was started by the apostles of Jesus. These were the eye-witnesses of His life, death and resurrection. They were convinced and convicted to spend the rest of their lives telling and re-telling His story to spread the good news, even if it meant persecution.
And their prayer life showed it.
When they were threatened... like literally threatened, by rulers who could imprison and put them to death for such, they prayed all the more for boldness and the hand of God to show wondrous signs.
When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.
Acts 4:31 HCSB
How I desire this boldness as well.
How I desire to be like these.
So what holds me back?
I'm not persecuted for my faith.
What are my threats?
Could they be the doubts in my mind which tell me I'm not good enough? Could they be the daily distractions of a life I've built too busy? Could they be the wrong influences I allow to cloud my vision like social media feeds and binge watching?
Lord, consider these... my threats, and grant that I can serve as Your slave. Help me to speak Your message with complete boldness, while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. Let the place where I stand be shaken, let me be filled with Your Holy Spirit and begin to speak Your message with boldness.
How many days I've wandered.
Confused in my own thoughts.
Trying to reason, trying to understand.
If you've ever suffered times of hopelessness, uncertain of which way to turn, I totally get it. You think back on days when life seemed easier. The times when your routine was simple and ordered.
Maybe you've made a choice that has turned your world upside down. You can't take it back. You can't get a do-over. But it's so hard to move forward when you're beating yourself up, wishing you could just re-wind.
You are totally normal.
Everyone feels this way at times.
It's how disciples must have felt after they had been following Jesus for three years. They grew more and more dependent on His leading, believing t
all that Kingdom talk meant He was going to overthrow the Roman rule. They must have believed freedom was near.
Then He was crucified.
He was dead.
He was gone.
All their hopes and dreams died with Jesus. And they had no history book to make sense of it like we do.
So on that third day when He reappeared to Mary and the two on the road to Emmaus, the stories were just too much to believe.
But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. Luke 24:11
How much like our life today.
Confusing, filled with nonsense, difficult to find our way.
Thankfully, we have hope knowing that Jesus left us the gift of His Spirit... the breath of life. How beautiful that He appeared to the disciples and He spoke a word of peace over them, then breathed on them.
But this was not just earthly oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanged. This was a holy breath, like that given at the creation of the first human.
Dust gathered together from earth, breathed into, life given... eternal life.
And we too can receive such.
The Holy Spirit, full of peace to take away the hopelessness.
The Holy Spirit, living within us daily to light the way in darkness.
The Holy Spirit, comforting us, even in the lonely times.
Breathe in, Christian...
RECEIVE the breath of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is yours for the taking.
He can help make sense of the confusion.
He can lead you even after a mistake.
He will love you no matter where you are, no matter what.
Breathe in, Christian...
RECEIVE Our Breath of Peace!
This Psalm gives a great synopsis of the history of the Israelites. But change up the places and titles and it might as well be an account of my life.
For how often have I cycled through the highs and lows of my relationship with God? The seasons I am faithful and drawing near. The times I rebel and crave my own way, only to find that my own way doesn't satisfy. And I cry out to God once again... "Save me." As if I've fallen into a pit that was not my own doing.
And thanks be to God for His rich and faithful love. How amazing His grace and forgiveness to turn from the justice I fully deserve for my rebellion and lift me out of my sin, setting my feet back on the solid ground of His righteousness.
Lord, I am completely undeserving of Your forgiveness, yet ever grateful knowing it is always there. Thank you for so generously offering the riches of Your faithful love. You are the Trustworthy Treasure which redeems me.
What amazing visions Ezekiel saw!
This was the Spirit of the Lord, ablaze in fire from the waist down; gleaming like amber from the waist up.
He is majesty.
He is power.
He is uncontainable.
Yet, He has made Himself always available to us. For this is the same Spirit whom Jesus gave... the same promise made that we could all receive, if we would only believe.
Just as Jesus told His disciples...
When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me.
Let us not quench the Spirit of Fire, as we allow Him to work in and through our lives. And let us be thankful for this gift we have received through Jesus. This miraculous gift of grace, through faith.
from my heart...
I write as an overflow... an expression of my true love for God and with a deep desire to encourage others in their day to day lives. For we can only find peace, joy, and satisfaction when we yield to the One who yielded His life for us.