06/17

June 17

Acts 2:14-47

Peter speaks up and over three thousand are saved and water baptized. It was not a small gathering that came together over the sound from heaven. Peter gives a message to Jews, and inasmuch, he speaks of the history of the Jews and the fulfillment of prophecy.

In verse 38, Peter gives an altar call, so to speak. He invites them to receive salvation and to be water baptized. He then tells them they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In verse 39, Peter says this promise of salvation and the Holy Spirit is for them, but not only for them. He says this is for your children and to all who are afar off. In our day, we can look back and see how this promise has crossed through many generations and many people groups. God has been calling many to Himself, millions of us through the centuries. The Gospel has gone into every nation. It is currently being translated into every language, and it is going into every tribe. The promise of salvation and the Spirit is going out through missionaries, the internet, the written word, and even supernatural visitations. The time is drawing close for Christ’s return.

After the salvations took place, people met in small groups, breaking bread in fellowship, listening to teaching, and prayer. This has not changed. Local churches are part of kingdom of God. We all need a home church where we have these groups where we grow together.

There was a fear, or an awe, that came on every person, observing the signs and wonders happening through the apostles’ ministry. Signs and wonders have happened throughout the years, but not everyone is in awe. Like with the initial outpouring, some were in awe, but others mocked. The same is true today. Some will see the hand of God, surrender to the Lord and church leadership, and participate in the local church vision. Others will despise it, meaning they will not recognize or appreciate the thing God is doing.

This was more than a move; this was the beginning of a movement. God was giving them favor with people. They were gaining strength by coming together, sharing their resources. Many people were being added to the church daily.

God knew the city and the temple would be destroyed in less than forty years from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This amount of time was being used strategically – spreading the Gospel to the Jews and beyond. Then when the Romans attacked Jerusalem, this movement had already started a flame. The scattering of the Jews took that flame and spread a wildfire among the nations. Christianity had begun!

This wildfire started with the help of the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders following. Let’s not attempt to do our calling without the help of the Holy Spirit. He is the power we need to carry out the plan of God. He helps us to go way over and beyond what we could ever accomplish in our own strength and ability. He is eager and willing to accomplish God’s purpose. Let’s follow His leading and have a large impact on our generation!

Nehemiah 4-6

In chapter 4, we read about a conspiracy against Nehemiah from leaders from the Plain of Ono, 25 miles northwest of Jerusalem. They ask Nehemiah on four different occasions to come meet with them, and Nehemiah wisely rejects their offer. When the opposition saw Nehemiah was set against coming to them, they charged Nehemiah with treason against the king.

Anything you do for the kingdom of God is likely to have opposition. Satan is at war with God, so if you are God’s, you have a target on you. If you are building something for God – a ministry, a church, a charity, you are even more a target. However, God is greater and Jesus stripped Satan of his authority. Then Jesus gave us His name as His delegated representatives and instructed us to use our authority over Satan and his army. We are to open our mouths and make commands against Satan, and the Spirit of God will be the power to back us up.

In chapter 5, we see Nehemiah’s integrity against extortion and usury. The people were taking advantage of their brethren who were struggling financially, charging high interest charges. Nehemiah let people borrow what they needed without taking advantage of his own people, setting an example for others.

Satan has many strategies for trying to tear down what God is trying to build up. One strategy of the enemy is in the area of finances. Finances are simply a tool, like a hammer is a tool. Depending on the person using the tool, the tool can be used to either tear down or build up. In addition, when people are involved, control is often an issue, and when control is an issue, finances are usually involved.

In chapter 6, the walls are completed in spite of conspiracies against Nehemiah. This is true of ministry, as well as business, education, or any other endeavor. As pastors, we have weathered enough trials to see what God will do if we are faithful:
The plan isn’t ours – it’s God’s; therefore, ultimately the work is on His shoulders. We have our part, but we can lean on Him as the One in charge. Remember how Moses would turn to God and say, “They’re Your people.”
God will do what He said He will do. The situation may be difficult; it may even seem impossible, but remain faithful and watch God move.
People will come and go. Resources will come and go. Keep your eyes on the Lord, and let Him show Himself off.

If we lean on God through the process, then we will praise God in the completion.

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