The apostles and disciples proclaimed Jesus everywhere, again and again, and again. Nothing stopped them because they had to do what God told them to do!
I want you to do something. Think back on the conversations you had this week. How many of them were about Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, or ascension? How many conversations did you have that even mentioned Jesus? I’m not asking how many times you mentioned church; I’m asking how many times you mentioned Jesus.
What were the majority of your conversations about? Were they griping about something or somebody? If so, then guess what? You care more about griping about something or somebody than you do about Jesus.
There are times I feel like a stuck record. A friend of mine tells me that she likes listening to my sermons because I don’t say the same thing over and over again, but I do; I just don’t necessarily do it in the same sermon. As I write my sermons and prayers, I often feel like I’m saying the same thing week after week. But, as we work through Acts, I see that I am in good company. Peter and all of the apostles and disciples continued to preach and teach that God raised Jesus from the dead. God raised him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior so that He could bring people to repentance and forgive their sins. Because of Jesus’ ascension and our faith in him, we have the Holy Spirit within us who gives us the gifts we need to do the work God has given us to do. And, if that was the message of the apostles and disciples, then it’s my message too.
We may very well get exasperated or bored when dealing with things of the world, but if we are dealing with or talking about our passion, it’s exciting.
What is your passion? What do you get excited about? Cars? Sports? Grandchildren? Politics? Work?
Is God your passion? Do you get as excited talking about God and what Jesus did for you as you do talking about cars, sports, grandchildren, politics, work, or whatever else? If not, why not? If talking about God’s love and grace, if talking about Jesus doesn’t get you up on your soapbox, why not?
Sunday, August 14
30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.
Lord, you have assigned us our portion and our cup: you have made our lot secure, and for that and so much more, we praise You! (Psalm 16:5) Too often, we share everything under the sun with others but don’t share what we know to be true about your Son. Forgive us! Thank you for giving us opportunities to tell others about Jesus and the eternal life you want for all. Help our passion for Jesus grow to the point that we can’t restrain ourselves when your Spirit prompts us to speak Jesus! We pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen
Monday, August 15
32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Lord, you are the God who is in heaven. You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you! (2 Chronicles 20:6) The Holy Spirit in us continues to remind us that our purpose is to give witness to the power of Jesus, but sometimes, we are afraid. And because of that fear, we hold back and don’t share the good news with others. Forgive us, forgive me. Thank you for not taking your Spirit from me and helping me bear witness to everyone about Jesus. In His name, we pray, Amen
Tuesday, August 16
33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Lord, you are the King of Glory, The Lord Almighty! (Psalm 24:10) So often, we treat the Gospel like any other news we hear and hold back our witness from some because we do not think they will receive it well. Forgive us! Lord, we know our message to others is from you and will not come back void. Help us to share your word with everyone, Lord! In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
Wednesday, August 17
40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
We raise our voices with the trumpeters and singers with one voice to give praise and thanks to you, Lord! (2 Chronicles 5:13) Father, give us the strength and bravery we need to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior even in the face of danger. What is more frightening, personal threats or the real possibility of someone we know going to hell because we never spoke? Help us remember our purpose Lord, always. In the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.
Thursday, August 18
41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
Lord, who do we have in heaven but you? And earth has nothing we desire besides you. Our flesh and hearts may fail, but God, you are the strength of our hearts and our portion forever. (Psalm 73:25–26) What can the world do to us that negates the glory waiting for us? Nothing! Help us hold on to that fact and glorify you even when facing persecution. Hear our prayer Father in the name of your son Jesus we pray, Amen.
Friday, August 19
42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Father, we exalt you among the nations and on earth! (Psalm 46:10) Father, even in the face of rejection or losing friends and people in our lives, let our passion for Jesus and His message burn to the point that we can’t not speak of His greatness. Let everything in our lives take a backseat to glorifying and praising what Jesus has done and is doing in our lives. In his name, we pray, Amen.
Saturday, August 20
Lord, we praise you! 2 Chronicles 34:37 tells us that if our hearts are responsive to you and we humble ourselves before you, you will hear us. May the hearts of all who say this prayer grow in responsiveness to you, and may we all bow to your greatness. Help our souls be ready to hear your word tomorrow. Let us put any failures out of our minds as we prepare to gather to worship you. Send your Spirit to fill your servant with your word, and let us put everything aside to hear your word for us. In the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.