But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold,
but what I do have I give to you:
In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene--walk!"
And seizing him by the right hand,
he raised him up;
and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.
With a leap he stood upright and began to walk;
and he entered the temple with them,
walking and leaping and praising God.
This was a wonderful miracle pointing to the power of God. A lame man, now walking and leaping (I love that word!) and praising God! What a testimony to everyone who saw him for so many years lame and begging. Peter doesn’t waste a minute and turns the audience of amazed people to Christ. Read it!
What do I have to offer people? I don’t have money, I have something so much better. Jesus! This same Jesus is alive and able to save today! Wonderful good news!
To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light
and from the dominion of Satan to God,
that they may receive forgiveness of sins
and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.
God’s commission to Paul was to carry the message of the gospel and God Himself would transform lives! He would:
Open peoples eyes.
Turn people from darkness to light.
Release people from the dominion of Satan to God.
Give forgiveness of sins to believers.
Give an inheritance to believers.
We have been trusted with that same message!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
for it is the power of God for salvation
to everyone who believes,
to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
What a privilege! I love this thought as Craig will go to camp tomorrow. But everyday we carry this treasure to share with people and watch what God will do! What a treasure we carry!
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God
and not from ourselves;
2 Corinthians 4:7
In view of this,
I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience
both before God and before men.
Paul, looking intently at the Council, said,
"Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience
before God up to this day."
But the goal of our instruction is love
from a pure heart and a good conscience
and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5
Keeping faith and a good conscience,
which some have rejected
and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
1 Timothy 1:19
Conscience is the wonderful God given ability to feel guilty when we do wrong. Today people do everything to put down their guilt feelings. To say “no” to their consciences. We love our sin and don’t want to feel guilty about it! The sad thing is, when one rejects his good conscience, shipwreck! Shipwreck of faith! Horrible.
What a warning! Keep a good conscience! Do you have a red flag about your behavior. Listen. Stop! Confess your sin! Then go forward with a blameless and good conscience!
Thanks, Paul, for your great example! Thanks, Lord for the important reminder!
God told the disciples to be His witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. Acts 1:8
In Acts 23 the gospel was in the process of moving out. The goal of the uttermost parts was accomplished in persecution. During that time all wasn’t joyful and triumphant, It may have looked like defeat. There was uproar and there were threats. Paul ran for his life! But God knew what He was doing! In fact the Lord stood at Paul’s side and said,
"Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem,
so you must witness at Rome also."
I’m rejoicing today in God’s sovereignty. He is in control. He knows what He is doing. I find that to be a place of rest. And rejoicing!
Paul’s attitude toward life is really seen in Acts 21. He went forward knowing he was headed to persecution and possible death. Paul stated this attitude clearly in these verses:
According to my earnest expectation and hope,
that I will not be put to shame in anything,
but that with all boldness,
Christ will even now, as always,
be exalted in my body,
whether by life or by death.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:20, 21
Paul had an unstoppable desire for Christ to be exalted!
He wanted to be fearless in speaking of Christ.
Christ was his life!
I recently saw a post named “Soccer is life.” At different times in my life I called various things “Life.” Oh, to have it be true that Christ is my life!
Only one life
’twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ
Today is the last day of school here. Kids are finishing the course for the year. Some finish well, others don’t. One day we come to the finish of our life. Will we finish well?
And now, behold, bound by the Spirit,
I am on my way to Jerusalem,
not knowing what will happen to me there,
except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city,
saying that bonds and afflictions await me.
But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself,
so that I may finish my course and the ministry
which I received from the Lord Jesus,
to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
The Spirit directed Paul into bonds and afflictions at the end of his life!
To not consider his life dear, but lay it down in order to finish the course God had for him in sharing the gospel.
This is a great response in following the Lord.
My life is not dear.
His life is dear!
I can lay down my life for the sake of the gospel!
Later he said:
be sober in all things,
do the work of an evangelist,
fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering,
and the time of my departure has come.
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the course,
I have kept the faith;
in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord,
the righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day;
and not only to me,
but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:5
I want to finish like that! Do you?
In order to do so we must not consider our life dear.
That means we don’t live for ourselves and love ourselves.
We love Him! We live for Him!
Fear fell upon them all
and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.
Many also of those who had believed kept coming,
confessing and disclosing their practices.
And many of those who practiced magic
brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone;
and they counted up the price of them
and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.
As the Name of the Lord was magnified two events took place that stood out to me.
The first, earlier in the chapter, (read it) is the opposition of Satan. When God is working, Satan tries to stop the work, or hinder the work! I love what F B Meyer wrote about it.
When the sons of Sceva started on the demon, he turned on them, and said, “You little dwarfs, you lilliputians, who are you? I know Paul! I don't know you, I have never heard about you before; your name has never been talked about down in Hell. No one knows you, nor about you outside of this little bit of a place called Ephesus.”
Yes, and there is the question that was put to me today: “Does anyone know of me down in Hell?” Do the devils know about us? Are they scared about us? Are they frightened by us? Or do they turn upon us? When we preach on Sunday, or when we visit in the streets, or take our Sunday School Class, the devil says, “I don't know you, you are not worth my powder and shot; you can go on doing your work. I am not going to upset Hell to stop you.
This is encouraging to keep on in the work of the Lord through opposition!
The second event that stood out to me is that the believers were confessing their sin and leaving it in big ways. Book burnings! When God is magnified, sin is confessed and left behind!
May the Name of the Lord be magnified!
And he found a Jew named Aquila,
a native of Pontus,
having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla,
because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.
He came to them,
and because he was of the same trade,
he stayed with them and they were working,
for by trade they were tent-makers.
Now a Jew named Apollos,
an Alexandrian by birth,
an eloquent man, came to Ephesus;
and he was mighty in the Scriptures.
This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord;
and being fervent in spirit,
he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus,
being acquainted only with the baptism of John;
and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue.
But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
I love Priscilla and Aquila! They became good friends with Paul along his journeys. This became a lifelong friendship. In Romans, Paul says they risked their necks for him! I love that they were a team, as we always see them named together. From Corinthians we learn they had a church in their house. Here, together, they take Apollos aside and explain to him the way of God more accurately. And Apollos was used by God mightily. What a couple serving the Lord together!
I want Nancy and Craig to be like Priscilla and Aquila.
Helping God’s workers.
Helping the church.
Risking their lives for the gospel.
Working as a team.
Teaching in their home.
If you aren’t married, and you want to serve God, find a mate with whom you will be a team in God’s work! We need more couples like Priscilla and Aquila!
A vision appeared to Paul in the night:
a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying,
"Come over to Macedonia and help us."
When he had seen the vision,
immediately we sought to go into Macedonia,
concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Acts 16:9, 10
I took special note today of the way God guided Paul. Paul was looking for direction from God as he was serving Him. The gospel was going out. Which way did God want him to go? As Paul sought to go in one direction, God said “no” and guided him in a different direction. When God showed him the direction to go, he immediately went!
This blessed me! God guides. There are people around you needing the gospel. Will you be a willing servant who goes immediately? Do you know the gospel? Later in this chapter, from jail, (yes, God’s direction led Paul to jail) Paul tells the jailer “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
Today I am encouraged to follow the Lord immediately! What an exciting life!
Only one life to offer Jesus, my Lord and King;
Only one tongue to praise Thee and of Thy mercies sing;
Only one heart’s devotion Saviour, O may it be
Consecrated alone to Thy matchless glory,
Yielded fully to Thee.
Only this hour is mine, Lord may it be used for Thee;
May ev’ry passing moment count for eternity;
Souls all about are dying, dying in sin and shame;
Help me bring them the message of Calv’ry’s redemption
In Thy glorious name.
Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself
about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.
This is so wonderful! Just like God called Abraham, God called people from the Gentiles to be set apart for His name. The church. Not to replace Israel. Always in the heart of God. A special people.
I love it. God had to show these men that God wasn’t a partial God. He was calling Gentiles for Himself. If you are a believer, you are part of a larger group for His own glory. Called by His name. To support His cause. To declare His excellencies! This reminded me of these verses:
But you are a chosen race,
A royal priesthood,
a holy nation,
a people for God's own possession,
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
for you once were not a people,
but now you are the people of God;
you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers
to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
1 Peter 2:9-11
We belong to Him. We are FOR Him. Let's act like it. Let's declare His excellencies!
More than anything I would like to encourage you in your walk with God!