The believers at Thessalonica were to become among Paul’s most beloved friends and supporters, a living model to all the surrounding area of what it meant to belong to Jesus and live by faith.
In Ephesians 5, Paul wrote about the “Sword of the Spirit,” saying it was the word of God. The author Hebrews said this sword was living and active, sharper than any actual sword. There are times when iron must sharpen iron
Plenty of times you and I can feel imprisoned by our circumstances … there are all kinds of ways to find ourselves bound in chains, as Peter was, having to fall asleep between hostile guards.
This world is not our final home. When terrible things happen, as happened to these shocked and grieving families so long ago, it is good to remember this fallen, broken world, riddled with evil, is not our final home. We were created for eternity, and tragedy can never change that.
You know how it feels to be stuck? You can’t see any way out, and you sure wish you could get out. This onramp at the end of Acts chapter 9, leading to Acts chapter 10, is all about breakthroughs, Peter willing to cooperate with God as God began to expand the church and take it in new directions.
I’ve been on my knees, pleading with God in tears. I’m at my most vulnerable, and I feel like nothing’s happening. So what’s the point of praying continuously?
This is a word to you and me who have, at one time or another, felt permanently condemned by something in our past, knowing with a certitude almost as hard-fast as Deuteronomy, that we don’t belong, that we have been permanently scarred or mutilated by something (or someone) unspeakable. Or, we know in our hearts it was us who did the unspeakable thing, and it can never be undone.
God working miracles through Philip drew the attention of a powerful sorcerer named Simon. He was the proud resident magician of Samaria, even considered by many people to be divine, and he had a wide and loyal following. But not, Simon was losing many of his followers to the gospel of Jesus Christ, so he came to investigate this new phenomenon.
I think, for me, this story means determining to see adversity and ordeals as opportunities to see the spiritual realm more clearly, and to expect God’s glory to be revealed in the moment, even in me. Growth is not the goal, it’s simply the side-effect. The goal is to incarnate Jesus, reveal Jesus, and to become ever closer to Jesus.
There are four important points to consider before wading into a Bible passage in order to try to understand what it’s saying and what it means, let alone to try and figure out how to live it out.