Tag Archives: Acts

Called to be

11 Apr

Yesterday I found out that my pastor and his family are moving to another  state in June.  I am sad that they are leaving; I almost cried during our last worship song.  At the same time, I want the best for them, so I am happy that they are following what they feel led to do.

I hope that the members of our small church stick together despite the loss of our pastors; we really have become a family in Christ.  I think that the good thing is that it is pushing us all to take a more active role in our walk with Christ. I think it has left everyone thinking, ‘well, what can I do to make this work? How can I help others and myself stay strong in faith?’

Changes can be hard.  I also am left thinking, ‘man it took us so long to find a church that we really loved and now we have to search all over again.’  But, I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am trusting in God for this one.  After all, the reason we go to church is to feel nearer to God, and he is not limited to a single church or location or person.  He is everywhere and it is him that I seek.

Jeremiah 29:11 speaks to this situation perfectly:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

See, God has plans for us.  He wants us to call on him with our whole heart so that all of his wonderful plans for us can be fulfilled. He doesn’t want half our heart; he wants it all.  I think that sometimes changes like this one in my church can be good because it stirs in us a desire to seek God more; to do more.

This morning as I prayed about this, these scriptures really spoke to me:

“fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of timidity and fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Timothy 2:6-7

“the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

We have to count on God to lead us and strengthen us, allow ourselves to be filled with the hope that he graciously gives us and trust in Him.

“‘I see that the LORD is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life,
and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.” Acts 2:25-28

I pray for each of us to call on the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to be everything that we are called to be.

I’m counting on you, God.

Please bless us father and help us to be the people that you want us to be. To do all of the things for you that you deserve and desire.  Lead us father. Guide us through this life.

Amen.

Bound and Bold

24 Jan

Paul spent a lot of time in jail because of what he believed in.  Despite being a prisoner, he spoke out boldly about the Messiah.  When he was on trial before Festus and Agrippa, he recounted the story of how he became a Christian.

“I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene. Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison.  And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.

“One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.

“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.

“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

“And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.”

Suddenly, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!”

But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth. And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not done in a corner! King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do—”
Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”*

Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:9-29

Despite the hardship that he endured in his life, Paul kept his eyes on the Lord and turned to him for strength.  I pray that we too will seek God in our lives, whether during hard times or great times.  I pray for boldness to carry out God’s will and to trust in the plan that he has for our lives.