Closing the Gap 10.2.18

By October 2, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 39 Day 2

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Acts 1:8-11 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.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Reflect:

This passage serves as the outline of the rest of the book of Acts.  The Holy Spirit did indeed come on them and the gospel spread out geographically from Jerusalem to Judea onto Samaria, and then beyond.  The gospel continues to spread across the globe. In many places it has ebbed and flowed over the years. There have been times when it appears that the gospel light is going to be snuffed out, but then like an ember blown alive by the wind, the fire breaks out again.  The gospel spread out from Jerusalem because of persecution. Trouble has often been a catalyst for the spread of the gospel, both on a macro scale as large populations experience hardship and also on a micro scale as individuals suffer and in their suffering they began to fully rely on God.  Why does it take trouble for us to see what is valuable? John wrote in Revelation to seven churches; he had different things to say about each of them. To the church at Laodicea he rebuked them for being “lukewarm.” They were never completely cold toward God nor were they hot toward him. You would think “lukewarm” would be preferable to God over cold, but that is not the case.  Perhaps because spiritual “coldness” is clearly distinguishable from being spiritually “on fire.” But lukewarm could pass for cold, or hot, or neither. It is confusing for people to look at a church that claims to follow the Messiah who died for the sins of all people and yet it is sitting idle, void of passion for the claims of Christ. Spiritual coldness is not confusing. Being spiritually on fire is not confusing.  But being spiritually lukewarm is confusing. Worse than confusing, it is disgusting to God. Part of what made the church at Laodicea lukewarm was their wealth. Listen to part of the rebuke they received. “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17). Most people in America have ready access to food, water, shelter, protection, and entertainment and would be considered as rich as kings when compared to people who lived in the first century or to people who live in most places in the world today.  We may not consider ourselves to be wealthy and feel like we do need many things, but nevertheless our relative wealth can blind us to our great need for God. As a result, our hunger for Christ is muted and, therefore, our passion for the gospel is as well. If we fail to understand our deep need for Christ, then we are unlikely to understand the need others have for him as well. The Lord went on to speak these words to all the churches and he speaks them to us still. “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Rev. 3:19). God, help us repent and be people with fire in our hearts for him.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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