I am starting my second week of following along with my church's journey through the New Testament using the Community Bible Experience. This is the sixth day of reading, which brings us through the beginning of the book of Acts (or pages 55 - 64 in the Books of the Bible New Testament). I want to apologize for posting so little last week; two of my kiddos were in the school musical which had three performances last week. That caused some major adjustments in our schedule, so I had difficulty making the time to post my thoughts. The good news is that they both did a great job and now we are back to our normal schedule.
Looking at that last sentence makes me chuckle because I refer to a "normal schedule," when the beginning of Acts is far from normal. The pages I read this morning were interesting because it takes us from the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven to the first days of the early church. Before Jesus left, He promised them that they would receive the Holy Spirit, who would empower them to say and do what they needed at the time they needed it. He promised them that they were not left on this earth alone. If you have been following along with reading through the Books of the Bible, you may have noticed the theme of the Holy Spirit in this bigger picture look at the New Testament.
The theme started with our first day's reading and has continued throughout our reading. I made note of the fact that there were a few people that Luke pointed out that were filled with the Holy Spirit prior to Jesus' arrival and then we read that Jesus was also filled with the Holy Spirit. Incredible things were happening after having 400 years of not hearing God. Suddenly the Holy Spirit was filling people and empowering them to prophecy and have the boldness they needed. So we go from seeing the work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus to the promise of the Holy Spirit being fulfilled for Jesus' followers in the book of Acts. Before Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, we saw how he denied that he knew Christ. With the Holy Spirit, we see that he was given a boldness to speak truth to those who were threatening him.
Reading the beginning of the early church is inspiring. The Holy Spirit is still working among us, but do we open our hearts to His direction? How often do we start our day asking God to lead us through the Holy Spirit in what He would have us do? Do we often rely on our own work, or are we relying on the work of the Holy Spirit? Challenging questions....
This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty.