Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spirit of change

St. Peter and St. John at the Beautiful Gate - Gustave Dore

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 3:1-21

TO CHEW ON: "Then Peter said, 'Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.' And he took him by the hand and lifted him up." Acts 3:6,7

When we read about Peter in the New Testament, it's almost as if we're reading about two different people.
The early Peter is:
  • Naturally impulsive - Matthew 14:28.
  • Slow to comprehend spiritual truth - Matthew 15:15,16.
  • Full of contradictions - Matthew 16:16-23.
  • Self-seeking - Matthew 19:27.
  • Cowardly - Matthew 26:69-72.

But what a change after Pentecost. Now he has
  • Wisdom to teach and preach - Acts 2:14; 3:12.
  • Boldness and courage - Acts 4:13,20.
  • Power and anointing for miracles - Acts 3:6,7… and tons of faith. Here he extends his hand to lift up that lame man before there's a whisper of evidence he'll be able to walk. We read in Acts 5:15 how his very presence has healing power. And when Tabitha dies, he raises her from the dead - Acts 9:40.
  • Insight to break down the spiritual barriers between Jews and Gentiles - Acts 10:44.

The change in Peter's life comes about when the Holy Spirit takes over.

A sobering question to ask ourselves is, which list of Peter's characteristics describes us?

The encouraging thing is that the Spirit who changed Peter is available to indwell, possess, and change us too. Another boldly Spirit-filled apostle—Paul—reminds the Christians in Thessalonica:
"For our gospel did not come to you in words only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit…" 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
He reassures Timothy:
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" - 2 Timothy 1:7.
He prays for the Ephesians—a prayer that we can pray over ourselves and others:
"…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man" - Ephesians 3:16.

As I am in prayer about this just now, I sense the Lord reminding me—and us— that the Spirit's empowering in our lives is not to accomplish what the apostles did, but for the work and assignments He gives us: to raise that family, make those boots, manage that strata, work in that bank, pastor that church, write that book…

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to yield myself to Your Spirit that changes, empowers, and makes me more like Jesus n my everyday 21st century life. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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