Good Morning Girls & Guys!
Wow! What an absolutely amazing chapter in the bible! We see the Holy Spirit ascend and the beginning of the Church. As Christians, we know how truly powerful both of those things are!
One of my favorite verses in the bible is in this chapter. "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting." (Acts 2:2) How amazing is that! I can imagine sitting on my couch in my living room with the windows open and wind just pouring in on me and my family. Feeling the power of God physically all around me. Maybe that is why I crave Fall so much, to feel just a glimpse of that in my home.
Some items that I took from this chapter are as followed:
(1) How cool it is that God broke the communication barrier.
(2) God wants us all to come to him and be saved. He doesn't care what gender you are, your race, your background, your language, the region you live in, or even who you are associated with. God loves us so much that he wants us to call upon the name of Jesus and be saved. How awesome is that!
(3) When we draw close and establish a relationship with God, he fills us with hope, happiness, strength, and life. You just need faith the size of a mustard seed :)
(4) All we have to do to be saved is to call on the name of Jesus. No strings attached!
What I get from all of these is that our God is truly amazing, all powerful, and we are so blessed that he loves us so much that we get to experience eternity with him!
Today's Application Question is: How can I live my life to show that I am filled with the Holy Spirit?
- Speak Softly to people, helping them when ever we can, not holding grudges but loving every one.
- Living authentic, by reading God's word every day and applying it to my life. Not just choosing pieces to follow but living in the whole truth. An example of this is of course is following God's principles of being nice and helping others in every day life when we can, going on mission trips and talking to people about God, but how about our habits as Americans? Where do you shop? Do you shop at big box chains just because it's cheap? How about if you knew how they treated their manufacturers, how they truly impact the community, or how they treat their employees? Do you want your children in those stores and around people who may not be the best example for them? Sometimes we selfishly make decisions based on our needs and wants and don't look at the impact on others when making them. I don't want to sway anyone because it truly needs to be your choice but a couple things that my Husband and I have changed are as followed.
(1) We haven't shopped at Walmart since 2011. Look in to the pressure on manufacturers and how they are hurting local economies (yes that's are friends and family). And that's just the start with them.
(2) We buy local as much as we can.
(3) We buy fair trade and organic when we can. Do you really know the practices of today's corporations? Well let me introduce you to the world of the immoral lol.
Remember, this world is built by the Devil, we as Christians are counter cultural to the beliefs of the majority. Have you looked at your convictions lately?
- Setting a good example for everyone including our spouse, children, parents, friends, and so on. Sometimes we often take advantage of our closest relationships and forget to intentionally love on those closest to us. We also "let loose" when we are comfortable around people which can bring out our true heart which isn't always righteous. Let's work on changing our hearts around those closest to us and everything else will fall in to place.
Ok! It's time for you guys to tell me your thoughts about the chapter! Please don't feel pressured by me or anything, I love you all and I definitely don't judge! Our family is convicted to just make small changes every day to make this world a better place for everyone!
Acts chapter 3 although a shorter chapter is super powerful! In this chapter, Peter performs his first miracle through healing the crippled beggar. This shows through pure faith and use of the Holy Spirit, nothing is too big for us as Christians to do. Could you imagine being able to heal the sick simply by speaking to them? Just holding out your hand and helping someone up and instantly they are better? That would be amazing!
While the people were in awe over the lame man's healing, Peter took that chance to direct the people's attention to God.
In what ways can we apply this to those we come in contact with?
In other words, how can we use our lives (our trials and circumstances) to bring Glory to God and to further God's kingdom?
Through true faith, you find worry disappears and peace comes, you are strengthened through God in every trial of life.
My Family has had a hard year this year, we've lived in four homes before finally going to settlement on our home we're in now, in the midst of that I had severe debilitating morning sickness for over three months straight to the point of depression, both of our beloved dogs passed away from separate ailments, and the worst was the day after our settlement on our new home, we awoke at my In-laws home to find that my Mother in law had passed away at only 46 years old. Oh and I was pregnant the entire time!
Even though so many things happened that could have drug our family down, we chose to live by faith, to fall in to the arms of Jesus to get us through. His peace and comfort were so overwhelming that I can't even explain how it felt. He used our pain and lack of control to strengthen us as disciples in his name. We became stronger through him being able to help others in pain throughout the way and growing us a lot in our walk with him. That's the reason I am leading this group today. I want to have fellowship with other people, to help, to comfort, and to be a witness to others that God is forever powerful and will get us through anything if you just hand over control.
I am so excited for this group! You guys are amazing for joining and going on this walk with us! I can't wait to see how God uses each of us and how he grows our group!
Our amazing Lord! I just want to come to you today and thank you for always being here for us, for showing your power every day and for unconditionally loving us all. Thank you for bringing so many amazing people to this group! Please use this group to bring glory to your name, to grow us as your body and for us to draw closer to you! We love you God! It is in Jesus's name that we pray, Amen!
Today, we are reading Acts 4. Peter & John are put in jail and questioned about their faith, teachings, and miracles. Even though they were being judged and under extreme pressure at the time, they both allowed themselves to be led and flooded with the Holy Spirit and were able to defend their faith. At the end of the chapter we also see that when the entire group of people Prayed and Praised God, their physical location shook! Wow! Could you imagine having faith so strong that you entire house shakes?!? And it also adds that they were able to speak boldly about their faith.
Some scripture that stood out to me was:
Acts 4:12 "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we may be saved."
Acts 4:19 "Judge for yourself whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
Acts 4:31 "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."
Peter & John remained firm in their faith, despite knowing what happened to Jesus when he spoke against the scribes.
Do you allow fear to consume your choices to speak out about God or do you allow faith to continue to show through?
This is a touchy subject for a lot of Christians because they don't want to offend or be judged by people. Unfortunately, just being a Christian brings judgement because we live differently than the majority of the world. We are counter cultural in every way and we will consistently be tempted and judged by others. Not just by non Christians but Christians in different walks in their faith. Everyone is at a different maturity level in their faith and it doesn't matter what their age is or how long they've been a Christian. This is when we have to cling to God's word, and his guidance and not allow others to sway our thinking and how we live.
This week, I've been a household filled with non-believers and cultural Christians. Matt and I have been the only ones who cracked open a bible. It's been difficult for myself to be around people led more by shopping than God. The topics of conversation are very hard for me to be apart of. It's a constant fight to stay righteous in Christ and not build up resentment towards the others. I have to ground myself, stick to my beliefs and Pray for guidance from God and to be a witness for him for the rest of the group.
Years ago, early in my faith, I would have just went with the flow and took a "break" from my faith while on vacation. But now my heart bleeds to be obedient to God and even though it is hard, I stick to God and not to this world. I'm definitely not perfect and am still weeding my old ways out, but each day I get a little better at it.
Thank you God for unconditionally loving us, for being our constant. Please guide us all and give us the strength to live for you and not for others, not for this world. Help us defend our faith in such a way that it brings others to you. Allow us to shake this Earth for you and Praise your name! We love you! Amen!
I know a lot of you are doing the SOAK method. It's many people's first time so I am going to share my SOAK on Acts 5 with you to give you kind of a basis to go off of. Please let me know if you have any questions and I would be glad to help!
S - The S stands for Scripture:
- Acts 5:21 "At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told to do (by the Angel of the Lord), and began to teach the people."
- Acts 5:29 "We must obey God rather than men."
- Acts 5:41 "The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name."
O - The O is for Observation:
- Even though just put in jail, the apostles didn't hesitate to listen to the Angel of the Lord and obey him.
- When being questioned, the apostles firmly replied that they were going to obey God, not men.
- Even after being flogged, the apostles rejoiced in God's name for that they felt honored that they were considered worthy enough by God to suffer disgrace in the name of Jesus.
A - The A is for Application:
- How can I live each day, each trial, each attack on my beliefs to bring honor and glory to God?
- By living a life completely guided and led by God's will.
- Not wavering from the truth because following men and the lures of this world is always going to be easier.
- Fighting every day for God through scripture, Prayer, and total surrender to God.
K - The K stands for Kneeling in Prayer:
- Thank you God for finding me worthy enough to grow. Thank you for using me for your will and your purposes, for breaking my heart and convicting me to bring glory to your kingdom. Thank you for the blanket of peace and joy that you cover me with even in the midst of the mundane and trials in my life. thank you for just being! I Love you Lord! I will continue to fight for you! Use me! Guide me! I surrender! Amen!
This is my personal SOAK above, my personal Prayer from my heart. I hope this helps you as we progress in this study! Please feel free to respond to any of these email with thoughts, Prayer requests, Praises, things that sparked your interest, or anything at all! I would love to hear everything each one of you has to share. Let us build this group as the Brothers and Sisters that we are in Christ and lift each other up!
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I love you all!!!
Walk Gracefully with God,