06/27

June 27

Acts 8:1-25

Persecution for Jewish Christians in Jerusalem was on the rise, causing many of them to leave Jerusalem. It drove Christians into Judea and Samaria, where the Gospel continued to spread. Saul (Apostle Paul) is specifically mentioned for consenting to Stephen’s death and for going house to house looking for Christians to drag to prison. We know the Apostle Paul was zealous for God and diligent to keep the Mosaic Law. Paul genuinely saw Christian Jews as a threat to Judaism. Paul was one those people Stephen prayed as he died, asking God to forgive his brethren, stating they did not know what they were doing. Paul thought he was doing the right thing.

The twelve apostles did not leave Jerusalem. Philip is considered to be one of the seven men chosen in church leaders from Acts 6, not one of the twelve. Remember there is a racial issue in Samaria. The Samaritans were half-Jewish, and hated by many full-blooded Jews. Philip was crossing a cultural divide. He went to where the half-Jews lived. He went into their territory with the message of salvation.

There was “GREAT JOY” in the city because Philip preached, then the sick were healed and the possessed were set free. Paralyzed people could move and function normally. Lame people were walking. People received the love and power of Jesus Christ that Philip presented. Many were born again, or saved. When someone is saved, the Holy Spirit comes to live on the inside of their heart.

The apostles in Jerusalem heard about the work in Samaria, so they sent Peter and John to them. When Peter and John came, they prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. We know the Holy Spirit was already living inside their hearts, but this receiving was for a separate work – the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Peter and John laid their hands on the believers. When we lay hands and pray for someone, we believe God’s power will flow through and into them. There is a transfer of anointing or power through our hands.

Simon the sorcerer sinned by trying to buy the power of God. What power was he observing? Something was happening among these people after they received prayer. In verse 21, Peter told Simon that he had neither part nor portion in this “matter.” The Greek word for matter in this verse is “logos” meaning “word, or kind of speaking.” This could be referring to what Simon was observing, perhaps people speaking in tongues, or unknown languages.

Peter rebuked Simon for his request to purchase the power of God. He also said that Simon was bound up by iniquity and poisoned by bitterness. Bitterness will take the life out of us. Bitterness is an anger or disappointment due to being mistreated. It’s a resentment and unforgiveness. The way to living in freedom is by trusting God with situations and relationships, releasing imperfect people from our judgment. It’s best if we allow God to take over the circumstances and people who have wronged us, keeping our heart open to God. If someone has been wronged and goes into self-preservation mode, the heart will harden from offense. Let’s remember there is only One Savior and One perfect person we can put our trust in completely – and that’s Jesus. Everyone else has the potential to fail or disappoint us. God is a jealous God. He wants us to look to Him for the love and fulfillment we need. He does not disappoint!

Job 10-12

Before sin entered the world, God intended for His children to only know His glory. There was no sickness, poverty, bondage, addiction, sadness, anxiety, death, or anything else that isn’t found in the life of God. If it isn’t going to be in Heaven and if it wasn’t in the Garden of Eden, then it was not God’s plan for us. In chapter 10, we read that Job’s soul loathes his life. He is grieving the loss of his children. He’s living in constant pain from the boils on his skins. He’s lost everything he owns. His wife didn’t support him, and his friends are blaming him for his troubles. Of course, he loathes his life – this is not the life God intended for Job or any of us.

In chapter 11, Zophar speaks, joining the other two men in urging Job to repent. In chapter 12, Job answers the criticism of his friends. In verse 4, Job says, “I am one mocked by his friends, who called on God, and He answered him, the just and blameless who is ridiculed.”

In the Bible, we know that sin has consequences. We see troubles and even death being experienced because of wrong choices. We see it in both the Old and New Testaments. Job’s friends witnessed the tremendous blessings on Job’s life suddenly and completely be removed. It seems logical that they would assume Job did something to deserve the quick and devasting condition he was in.

We also see these principles at work in the life and ministry of Christ on the earth. When Jesus ministered healing, He often said the person received because of their faith. At other times, the Bible says people didn’t receive because of their doubt. When the Bible talks about believing, it carries a meaning of surrender or reliance on God to the point of taking action, being obedient. Again, we see blessings on the obedience of faith and the destruction on disobedience of rebellion or self-sufficiency. It’s truth. It’s nothing new.

However, we don’t always know what could delay or hinder God’s promise to an individual. Sometimes it really isn’t our business to know; it’s God’s business. We know that God is merciful, always working to help us to grow in our relationship, knowledge, and experience with Him. Sometimes God broken places need to be restored, lies and word curses have to be undone, demonic activity has to be overcome, offenses need forgiven, sin has to be repented of, or areas that are misaligned with God’s life need realigned. Sometimes people need taught the truth of the Word. Sometimes we need to spend more time with God in the spirit. One thing we do know, God is always on our side, and He will never leave or forsake us.

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