Tag: full of Holy Spirit

Confronting the crucifiers

Scripture reading for April 14th: Acts 7

Key Scriptures: Acts 7:51-57 “”You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” Now when they heard these things, they were enraged and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.”

Stephen, one of the seven chosen to serve the widows, was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin. He was falsely accused of speaking against the holy place and God’s law. When asked by the high priest if this was so, Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit was given a wonderful ability to lovingly confront the religious leaders who had crucified Jesus. He shared Israel’s history of rejecting the prophets and confronted them of their complicity. Instead of listening and humbly repenting, they hardened their hearts and stopped their ears. As Stephen was about to be stoned, he saw a vision of Jesus Christ, standing at God’s right hand, ready to receive him! This was the trigger that moved the crowd to stone him. Before he ‘fell asleep’ he prayed, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” Saul, (Paul) was holding the coats of the stoners and was included in his prayer. God used Stephen to confront the ‘crucifiers’ of Jesus in another act of mercy seeking their repentance, and then took him home as Jesus stood to welcome him.

Acts 7:59-60 “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord do not hold this sin against them.” And when he said this, he fell asleep.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, what a moving testimony of Your grace and loving appeal to those who crucified You and stoned Your disciple. Help me to show that love and mercy to those I encounter today and turn evil around to work for good. I look forward to seeing You in glory!

Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Joseph to his betraying brothers)

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Preparing a way for the Lord!

Scripture reading for March 13th: Luke 1:1-25, Psalm 56:1-13, Proverbs 11:8

Luke was a Greek doctor who became a follower of Jesus Christ.  He wrote a detailed account of the life of Jesus that we now know as the Gospel of Luke.  He followed this with Acts,  a history of the early church from Pentecost through the spread of the Gospel to Rome by the Apostle Paul.  Luke’s theme  in his Gospel is that Jesus is the Son of Man.  (Luke 3:23-37)  Luke also emphasizes prayer.  Let’s begin our journey through Luke by looking again at the life of John the Baptist.

Luke begins his account with the supernatural announcement of a coming pregnancy and birth to a couple who had been barren but prayed for a child.  Zechariah was a Levite who served in the temple and his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.  They had served faithfully and were getting older.  Zechariah was chosen by lot to go and offer incense before the Lord in the Holy Place at the Altar of Incense.  As he was performing this duty, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and spoke.  “Do not be afraid, Zechariah: you prayer has been heard.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.  He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.  He is never to take wine, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.  Many people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

John was the child’s name and he was to be set apart for the Lord as a Nazarite.  He would be filled with the Holy Spirit and turn many back to the Lord.  He would go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet.  His would be a ministry of preparation for the coming Lord.  This preparation would bring restoration of families and repentance of the people.  Repentance prepares the way for Christ’s grace and rule!

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