Good Morning Girls & Guys,
Can you believe that we are already on Week 3 of our Acts study! Time is flying! I hope everyone had an absolutely wonderful weekend! I had my baby shower on Saturday and am officially going to on my 36th week and 9th month of pregnancy this Wednesday! I am so ready for our new little bundle to be here!!!
Today, we are going over Acts chapter 11.
Acts 11:17-18 "So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, 'So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."
God commands us as Christians to love, not judge or discriminate, although we all fail at one point or another. We have to be intentional when loving others and never assume someone is too far gone to be saved or that a specific group of people don't deserve the same Grace that God gives to us. We should seek to help ALL God's people, not just those who are easiest for us to help or those who are convenient. We are commanded to love and spread the good news to EVERYONE.
What are some ways that you can be more intentional at loving others?
Some ways that I thought of are:
- Pray for those on your heart everyday.
- Physically reach out to those in need and spread Gods word.
- Ask God to change your heart by getting rid of your prejudices and judgements and filling you with love for others.
- Volunteer for something that is out of your comfort zone. (If your comfortable, you're not growing.)
GMG Discussion Question:
Acts 12:16 "But Peter kept on knocking and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished."
Even though those who had been consistently Praying for Peter were putting effort in to Prayer, they didn't have complete faith in God that he would actually save Peter.
I don't know about you but I catch myself in this loop all of the time. Right now it's with the safety of the delivery of my Son. I constantly Pray and Pray that he will be healthy and the birth will go smoothly but I still have anxiety about it, I still have doubt. What's more frustrating is that I Preach that only with full Faith comes contentment. There is no room for stress when you have Faith in God. It shows that I still have a lot of maturing to do in my walk with God. My flesh is trying to fight the Holy Spirit inside me but I so want the Holy Spirit to win. I've felt the peace of full faith and I will be a warrior and fight until the bitter end!
What sends you in to your loops of doubt?
Mine this time was all of the risks associated with a c-section that were listed out yesterday at my Doctors visit. Also, reading articles and seeing posts about still born babies. It plants doubt in my head and I have to fight my flesh and know without a shadow of a doubt that God will deliver me a healthy baby and I will be ok through surgery.
GMG Discussion Question:
Acts 13:52 "And the disciples were continually filled with joy and the Holy Spirit."
Even though the Jews treated the disciples poorly, over and over again, they still were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
I don't know about you but this is hard to grasp! I am at the point on my Faith walk that culture and those who aren't close to me don't bother me at all. No, I don't feel the need to post on Facebook about how they don't bother me because they REALLY don't bother me. BUT it's those who are close to me that hurt me the most. When Family directly attacks you because of your beliefs or your morals and values of obedience that's when it hurts me.
It doesn't hurt me that I feel that I am not righteous, it hurts me that they aren't to the point in their faith or life to know what is righteous and what is not. Because I want all my loved ones to be raised up, I want them all to be filled with joy, and I want all of them to have a relationship with Jesus!
How do you feel when others treat you badly because of your Faith?
GMG Discussion Question:
Acts 14:22 " they strengthened the disciples and encouraged them to remain true to their faith."
This was the verse that I pulled out which is the first half of the verse that GMG's chose as today's verse. I have tied this verse in to point number 3 that I got out of this chapter. See below for more information.
(1) Paul and Barnabas show how true their Faith and Trust in God is in this chapter. They started off by going straight to the "Lions Den" (the synagogues) to speak "boldly" about God. These are the same people who continually plot to mistreat and stone them. They don't just go to surrounding areas and hope that the word is heard, they literally go right in to the center of those opposed to them at that time. This take strength and courage that only can be found by Faith in God! It astounds me of the bravery of these two Men.
But it doesn't stop there, after preaching in Lystra, Paul was stoned and drug outside the city. But a little death didn't stop him, he got up and went right back in to the place where he was stoned and won over more disciples. Then he decided to go back to Antioch, the place where the leaders of the stoning were from, and preached more there!!! Wow! I would love to have an ounce of that faith that he had. He is definitely someone to strive to be like, learn from, and to gain wisdom from. He is a true believer in God!!!
(2) Paul and Barnabas when preaching in Lystra get mistaken as the Greek Gods Zeus and Hermes. Instead of allowing all of the honor and glory the people were given them to go to their heads, they gave all the Glory to God. How hard is this for us? It's easier to give glory to God after a negative experience that God brings us out of. But when things are going well for us and we are at our highs we tend to dismiss that it was only God that brought us that success. Don't forget to give every moment back to God. Every morning my Son Liam comes up to me and asks for hugs and kisses, these moments are brought to me by God alone. My little one is one of the biggest blessings that God has given me in my life and I am so thankful every day for him. Give everything up to God! He controls everything for his Glory!
(3) The last point I chose directly correlates with my verse for today. When Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, they strengthened and encouraged the disciples and established an organized Church. They didn't do this by making rash decisions but instead trusted fully in God and decided to seek his guidance through Prayer and Fasting. This relates to our household right now because my Husband's ministry is in transition. This was the perfect verse for us because we really need to be in Prayer and Fasting a lot more to be guided by God and shown what the next step is. It is truly difficult for us this time around where our Son can be born any day.
That leads me to a Prayer Request from you guys :)
Please Pray for God to guide us as a Family in making the right decision for our Family as well as God's vision for my Husband's ministry. Please Pray for God to show us that balance and for strength for the both of us. Strength for Matt to be the leader God wants him to be in his ministry and as the Man of the Household. And strength for me to run the household and support my husband in any way possible! Thank you guys so much for the Prayers! I would love to Pray for you!
GMG's Discussion Question
^^^ I touched on this in point number two :)
Acts 15. The verse I chose was:
Acts 15:11 "We believe it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as everyone else is."
The Gentiles were confused and still thought that they had to be circumcised to be able to enter Heaven. The Apostles on the other hand concluded that everyone automatically enters Heaven simply through the Grace of God. Not by our actions.
Within the Christian religion, there are many different denominations. All the denominations have different traditions and beliefs that aren't technically commanded in the bible. Some examples are repentance of our sins to another person (it does say repent to God), Lent (fasting is referred to as a great exercise but not the Lent season itself), holidays (Christmas/Easter - they signify events in the bible and bring honor to God but aren't commanded), and the list goes on. Then there are disputes between Old Testament and New Testament commands which is technically what this chapter is about. Most of the things listed above our awesome practices that were put in to place to strengthen our relationship with God, the problem is that this is miscommunicated to a lot of people and they tend to feel guilt when they don't do them "appropriately" or on a regular basis. We don't want anyone deterred from God because of a mortal tradition.
I'm a Southern Baptist, we don't really have any traditions, plenty of "rules" when it comes to leadership within the Church but no real traditions. We believe that what the bible says is what we do and there is nothing else. But some years I practice Lent to build and focus my relationship with God more. It helps a lot! Matt and I also celebrate Easter and Christmas and use it to promote Gods Grace to others and of course teach our children in a fun way! The point is that if we do these things to bring Glory and Honor to God they are awesome tools!
We just need to remember that we can't earn our place in Heaven no matter how hard we try. We are simply saved by Grace alone.
GMG Discussion Question:
What are your thoughts on today's chapter?
I hope everyone has a blessed day and an absolutely awesome weekend!!! Love you all and see you Monday!
Walk Gracefully with God,