Tag Archives: prayer

What Do I Value? ~ Acts 10:1-8

He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. ~ Acts 10:2

English: Minnesota state photograph "Grac...

English: Minnesota state photograph “Grace” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Describing a very “devout and God fearing” man named Cornelius, this passage offers a very succinct definition of what “devout and God fearing” means: “he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” (10:2). This pleased God so much that Cornelius’ prayers and gifts “have come up as a memorial offering before God” (10:4) according to the angel that appeared to Cornelius.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Perhaps it does upon the first read, but as I examine my life I realize that, based upon this standard for “devout and God fearing”, I have a lot of growing to do. American society values things and possessions. Our society measures us to a great extent by how much we have, what car we drive, and where we live. To be completely honest, I am a microcosm of American society; I am a consumer of things. I spend most of the money I earn. Based upon my ratio of spending versus giving, I do not give generously; I give a pittance. God has blessed me with much, and I realize that I do not honor Him with those blessings. My prayer is not regular either; it is sporadic and brief. God forgive me and reform me.

Although the passage does not state so, I bet Cornelius’ generosity and prayer life were noticed by those around him and served as a witness to his faith – I say so because God took notice and honored Cornelius for it. Make no mistake: we do not give and we do not pray to elevate ourselves before man; we give and we pray because we know that it pleases the God who loved us so much that He died to pay the penalty for our sins. I’ve got some growing to do. Time to get to work.

Ponder this: What do people see when they see me? Do they see one who is devout and God fearing, or do they see just one of many? More importantly, what does God see when He sees me? Is He pleased or is He saddened?

My prayer for today: Father, give me the wisdom and the wherewithal to be more generous with what I have while meeting the financial obligations I need to meet. Guide and direct my footsteps and grant me the wisdom to lead a devout and God fearing lifestyle – not so that I may be honored, Lord, but so that You would be glorified. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.

Healed! ~ Acts 9:32-43

This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 

~ Acts 9:42

English: Dorcas Stained glass window in St. Jo...

English: Dorcas Stained glass window in St. John’s church, Healey. Acts IX-36 says “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Holy Spirit was working through the apostles in very miraculous ways, and thus the early church continued to grow. In this passage, Peter heals a paralytic and resurrects a deceased Dorcas. This, of course, is not of Peter’s own accord but solely by the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit working through Peter. In both situations, after describing the miraculous events, Luke makes a point to state that “many people believed in the Lord” (9:42) which I believe clues us in on why God was doing these things.

Does He do these things today? Are there miraculous healings that have no plausible explanation except for direct intervention by God? Are people gifted in this manner today? I believe the answer to each of these questions is an unequivocal “yes”. God is very actively at work in the lives of those who believe in Him, and even in the lives of those who do not believe in Him. All of this supports His good and perfect will for eternity.

I am troubled by a prevailing attitude in modern society that places God behind the competing priorities of wealth, position, and power. Our society has very low expectations of God. When God does work among us, society scoffs at the notion that it was He at work and instead assigns the praise and credit elsewhere.

The faithful disciples in Lydda who retrieved Peter to pray over Dorcas had very high expectations supported by a strong faith in the Lord. God honored their faith by bringing Dorcas back from the dead; and the church grew. Let’s not put God on a shelf. Let’s acknowledge Him and celebrate Him for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He will do. Our God is an awesome God. He is the one true God. He is the great “I Am”. And He loves you.

Ponder this: Do I fully trust God? What must I turn over to Him, today?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, You ask me to trust You, yet I hold back. Forgive my lack of faith. Renew me, redirect my focus, and help me to completely trust You and Your perfect will. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.

Available to Serve

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 !” Acts 3:6

While visiting Vancouver, BC on business I worshipped at Coastal Church, a nondenominational church on Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver. The worship was lively, vibrant, and sincere. The sermon was based on the story of Rebekah, courted by Abraham’s servant for the benefit of Abraham’s son Isaac. The sermon was about Rebekah’s approach to life in a positive, hard-working, manner of servanthood. Her attitude made her available to receive and respond to God’s calling on her life.

Peter and John most certainly availed themselves for God’s work. Acts chapters 3 and 4 cover the account of their miraculous healing of a known cripple and their subsequent arrest and appearance before the Sanhedrin. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter answers their question “By what power or what name did you do this”? (4:7) with this powerful and succinct testimony: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (4:8-13). (Italics added)

What a brave and powerful testimony! Sometimes I wonder if I’m holding back. I have a feeling of unworthiness at times as I read Scripture and craft these messages. I wonder if I could be more available to God than I am right now. I’m sure I could. I pray that God will give me the approach to life that Rebekah, Peter, John and so many others had.

Ponder this: What are the barriers separating me from God? What life changes might I undertake to make myself more available for His work?

My prayer for today: Father, make me truly available to You for whatever purpose You have laid out for the remainder of my life. In your Son’s holy name – AMEN.

Whom Do I Serve?

Devotion on Acts 1:1-11

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus’ words recorded in Acts 1:8.

These are the last recorded words of our Lord before he was taken up to heaven. They are powerful words that reveal God’s ultimate plan for the Messiah to save all the peoples of the world “to the ends of the earth.”

Prior to His final statement, Jesus said something else: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4b-5. We live in a society that wants everything “now”. We are impatient and demanding. God often tells us to wait – wait for His timing, His purpose, His place, His blessing. When we trust God by obeying His command to wait, we are reminded that His timing and purpose are perfect and we, as a willing vessel, are an important part of His plan.

By now the disciples surely realize that Jesus’ ministry had not ended with His death on the cross. It was really just beginning, and they were chosen to be His first ambassadors to a post-resurrection world. The ambassadorship that started with Jesus’ disciples continues today with each of us. We all have a place in this world – a place in which we interact daily with people who need the hope that only faith in the Lord can provide.

Ponder this: What kind of ambassador am I? Whom do I represent? When people encounter me, do they see Jesus?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, Thank you for the privilege of serving You. Keep me ever mindful of my attitude and approach to those around me, that I may be an ambassador that truly glorifies You. Should I be provided the opportunity to share my faith, give me the words that point directly to you. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.

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