Scripture reading for April 13th: Acts 6
Key Scriptures: Acts 6:1-7 “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complain by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the Word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. And what they said pleased the whole gathering and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.”
As the church grew, the needs of widows and their care became a point of conflict. The apostles called together the group of disciples and discussed how to deal with the problem. They knew that their responsibility was to pray and preach the Word so they asked that seven men, full of the Spirit and wisdom be identified and their reputations checked out. They then laid hands on them and appointed them to helping with the food distributions to the widows. This was God’s plan and He used it to multiply ministry and ministers! When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you can do God’s work.
Acts 6:7 “And the Word of God continued to increase and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for clear direction in how to multiply workers and servers in Your church. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and the gifts He provides to multiply disciples and serving! Thank You for those who lead in prayer and ministry of the Word.
Exodus 18:21 “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.”
Scripture reading for April 12th: Acts 5
Key Scriptures: Acts 5:27-33 “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this Name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those who obey Him.””
Obedience to God has rewards now and in eternity. The high priest was in authority over Israel and had brought the apostles in earlier and sternly commanded them to not speak or teach in the Name of Jesus. The apostles, in opposition to these instructions from spiritual authority, had continued to boldly preach repentance and forgiveness in Jesus’ Name. Many signs and wonders were also being reported through the Name. Peter, when directly confronted, plainly told the high priest that they must obey God rather than men. He then accused them again of crucifying the Lord Jesus Whom the Father had raised from the dead and exalted to His right hand. This was the ultimate position of spiritual authority. Listen to the witnesses!
Acts 5:38-39 “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, . . “
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Holy Spirit and the boldness of Your witnesses recorded for us in Scripture. Deliver me from the snare of fearing men and empower me to obey You alone.
Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Scripture reading for April 9th: Acts 4
Key Scriptures: Acts 4:27-31 “. . for truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant Your servants to continue to speak Your Word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the Name of Your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the Word of God with boldness.”
Peter and John had just been before the Sanhedrin and were warned to never again speak or teach in the Name of Jesus. They told the Sanhedrin that they must listen to God and speak what they saw and heard from Him. After more severe warnings, they were let go for the man that was healed of his lameness from birth was over 40 years old. They went back to the gathering of disciples and shared what had happened. They all began to lift their voices in prayer and thanksgiving to God, declaring God’s plans and asking protection and power to speak His Word even more boldly! In answer, God shook the gathering place and they went out in great power.
Acts 4:33 “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, shake my house and my church house as Your people gather to praise You and ask for more boldness! Work with us in signs and wonders to draw sinners to Jesus and heal broken people. Make me bold as the Lion of Judah! Amen! Let it be so!
Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Scripture reading for April 7th: Acts 2
Key Scriptures: Acts 2:32-38 “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”‘ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
In chapter two, Luke faithfully records the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. It was on that day at 9:00 am that the waiting and praying disciples, men and women, about 120 in total, were filled and baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. This empowered them to go out of the upper room speaking in new tongues, and telling forth the wonderful works of God in language inspired by the Holy Spirit. Those Jews gathered from the nations in the temple courts heard them extoling God in their own languages and were perplexed. Peter stood up to preach and explained what was happening as fulfilled prophesy. He pointed them to Joel’s and David’s prophesy and called them all to repentance and baptism. Their sins would be forgiven and the promise of the Holy Spirit was for them as well, Jew and Gentile! Hallelujah! Three thousand were added to the 120 that day!
Acts 2:39 “For the Promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the amazing grace and power You freely gave to Your disciples and all who would receive their word preached. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit that my witness will add many more souls to Your Church! Multiply the witnesses through me Lord!
Acts 2:41 “So those who received his Word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”
Scripture reading for April 6th: Acts 1
Key Scriptures: Acts 1:1-5 “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, ‘you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. “”
The book of Acts is a continuation of Luke’s eyewitness account of the events and acts of the Holy Spirit through Jesus’ disciples following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. He wrote these accounts to Theophilus, whose name means “lover of God”. He was a Gentile convert to Jesus and Luke wrote to give greater understanding to the Gentile church of how our Lord empowered witnesses to take the Gospel from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and the ends of the earth. Acts is the historical record of the growth of the early Church after the Promise of the Father came upon them. This book has inspired believers throughout history to be filled with the Holy Spirit and allow God to use them to further His mission to reach the ends of the earth before Jesus returns. It records the acts of the Holy Spirit, mentioned over 50 times, through Jesus’ followers. In a sense, it is still being written until Jesus returns.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for sending the Promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit to empower me and all Your disciples to reach the ends of the earth. Use me to add to the “acts of the Holy Spirit” in my life on earth and to multiply disciples who will take the Gospel of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:10-11 “And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Scripture reading for April 5th: Luke 24
Key Scriptures: Luke 24: 44-49 “Then He said to them, “These are My Words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the Promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
While He was with His disciples, Jesus Christ had repeatedly explained the Scriptures and plainly told them of His coming death, burial, and resurrection on the third day. Now, after the resurrection, on the evening of the third day, Jesus met with His disciples and showed them His glorified body of flesh and bones. They were full of joy and amazement but struggled to believe it was really Him. Jesus then again explained everything about Himself from the Law and Prophets, opening their minds to understand. He explained the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins that was for all nations and peoples, beginning with the Jews in Jerusalem. He declared them “witnesses” and told them to wait in Jerusalem until the “Promise of My Father” came upon them. This would clothe them with the power needed to fulfill His mission of reaching the lost world.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for fulfilling all the Scriptures, which are Truth. Thank You for Your amazing plan to reach the whole world with Your appointed “witnesses”. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit and power to do Your will on earth as in heaven! I open my mind and heart today to better know You through the Scriptures.
Acts 2:38-39 “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.””
Scripture reading for May 21st: 2nd Samuel 13-14, Acts 28
Key Scriptures: Acts 28:7-10 “Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.”
Paul and the two hundred seventy-five others on the ship all made it in safely to shore from the shipwreck. The ruler, Publius, received them and took care of them for three days. Paul found out the Publius’ father was sick with a fever and dysentery and visited him and laid hands on him praying for his healing. God answered and the sick people from the island flocked to Paul for prayer and all were cured! This brought great joy to the people and those ship-wrecked were loaded with blessings when they were ready to leave.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great generosity to heal those who are sick, regardless of race, color or creed. Empower me today to act in faith, praying for those who are sick and in need. Pour out Your blessings on the outcasts and give them life!
2nd Samuel 14:14 “We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and He devises means to that the banished one will not remain an outcast.”
Scripture reading for May 20th: 2nd Samuel 11-12, 1st Chronicles 20, Psalm 51, 32, Acts 27
Key Scriptures: Acts 27:34-38 “”Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.”
While on his journey to Rome, the ship’s captain that Paul had warned not to proceed had gone ahead anyway. A great storm arose at sea and all on board despaired of life. Paul was encouraged in a vision that none would be lost except the ship and that he would travel to Rome to testify there. Paul shared his vision with the crew and those aboard the ship and encouraged them to eat something. He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and ate! This was a type of Holy Communion, a remembering of Jesus’ death and indwelling life!
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I trust in Your broken Body and shed Blood for cleansing, healing, forgiveness and encouragement. Open doors today of encouragement and hope, where I can break the Bread of Life through sharing Jesus Christ and His mercy for those who are fearful in the midst of a storm.
2nd Samuel 12:13 “David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
Scripture reading for May 19th: 2nd Samuel 9-10, 1st Chronicles 18-19, Psalm 89, Acts 26
Key Scriptures: Acts 26:19-23 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
Paul was able to testify before King Agrippa, presenting his own testimony of encountering Jesus and how Jesus Christ came to save both Jew and Gentile. Paul was in jail because of the Jews’ resistance to the message. Paul was standing before King Agrippa because of God’s direction and help. Repentance and turning to God was required of all who would believe and respond!
Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for my testimony of being confronted with Who You are, Lord and Savior! Open doors for me to courageously share this message with small or great in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Samuel 10:12 “. . .Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to Him.”