Paul worked his lips together, feeling the dryness in his throat, feeling his tongue stick to his teeth. He could sense the Spirit helping him in his weakness, interceding for him as he sighed a prayer too deep for words.
Imagine Paul, outwardly road weary but inwardly growing warm with spiritual fervor as he neared the thriving metropolis and port city of Ephesus, in the height of its glory
Apollos had everything you could possibly want to be effective: he had education, talent, skill and experience. But until Apollos had the Holy Spirit, his ministry was not effective.
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.
Often, it seems, the way God does that is to shake things up with the unexpected, the unanticipated. Depending on how entrenched you and I are in the way we view something, will determine how willing we are to even entertain the new ways, new perspectives, and new challenges God presents.
My church, New Hope Chapel, Arnold MD, is finishing up a four-part Advent series called “We Were There.” Each member of the teaching team took a character from Jesus’ birth narrative and told the tale from that perspective. I got “The Midwife”
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.
Trouble came pounding, they prayed, and God answered powerfully with a fresh infilling of His Spirit.
This sign was a reversal of God’s judgment at the Tower of Babel. God’s judgment scattered and separated those people then, now He was uniting His people in the Spirit. At Babel no one could understand anyone else, but at Pentecost everyone could understand and hear God’s praises.
So, why did Peter choose Joel’s prophecy to explain what was happening? Yes, yes, he was saying what the Spirit was giving him to say. But, why Joel, in particular? Because of who were in that upper room, praying and waiting. Because of who were pouring out into the streets of Jerusalem, publicly prophesying and evangelizing in foreign languages. Women