The world teaches that love is a soft thing – warm, cuddly, tender, weak. Perhaps those who bask in the labor of someone else’s love experiences warmth and softness, but those who labor to love… well we weather tempestuous storms, debilitating uncertainty and endure heart-breaking on-the-job training. We don’t immediately see the benefits of the humiliation, shame, loneliness, sadness, abuse or temptations that hammer at us throughout the workday. But when we get to a certain point on our walk, we are able to look back and see where one humiliation prepared us for the next until humiliation was no longer a concern. We see how shame shrouded us in darkness until we decided to cast off the weight of shame and expose ourselves to more light. We can look back and see how loneliness felt excruciating for a time, but it was only in our aloneness that we were able to draw closer to God.
He and the people wanted to offer a sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard about it, they tore their clothes. They ran in among the people, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing these things? We are only human beings like you. We are bringing you the Good News and are telling you to turn away from these worthless things and turn to the living God. He is the One who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. In the past, God let all the nations do what they wanted. Yet he proved he is real by showing kindness, by giving you rain from heaven and crops at the right times, by giving you food and filling your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they were barely able to keep the crowd from offering sacrifices to them.
Then I remembered the words of the Lord. He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Since God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, how could I stop the work of God?”
When the believers heard this, they stopped arguing. They praised God and said, “So God is allowing even other nations to turn to him and live.”
About noon the next day as they came near Joppa, Peter was going up to the roof[a] to pray. He was hungry and wanted to eat, but while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a big sheet being lowered to earth by its four corners. In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to Peter, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.”
But Peter said, “No, Lord! I have never eaten food that is unholy or unclean.”
But the voice said to him again, “God has made these things clean, so don’t call them ‘unholy’!” This happened three times, and at once the sheet was taken back to heaven.
In Jerusalem Saul was still threatening the followers of the Lord by saying he would kill them. So he went to the high priest and asked him to write letters to the synagogues in the city of Damascus. Then if Saul found any followers of Christ’s Way, men or women, he would arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem.
So Saul headed toward Damascus. As he came near the city, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
Saul said, “Who are you, Lord?”
The voice answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Get up now and go into the city. Someone there will tell you what you must do.”
Stephen continued speaking: “You stubborn people! You have not given your hearts to God, nor will you listen to him! You are always against what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you, just as your ancestors were. Your ancestors tried to hurt every prophet who ever lived. Those prophets said long ago that the One who is good would come, but your ancestors killed them. And now you have turned against and killed the One who is good. You received the law of Moses, which God gave you through his angels, but you haven’t obeyed it.”
Seven Leaders Are Chosen The number of followers was growing. But during this same time, the Greek-speaking followers had an argument with the other followers. The Greek-speaking widows were not getting their […]
They made Peter and John stand before them and then asked them, “By what power or authority did you do this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and you elders, are you questioning us about a good thing that was done to a crippled man? Are you asking us who made him well? We want all of you and all the people to know that this man was made well by the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You crucified him, but God raised him from the dead. This man was crippled, but he is now well and able to stand here before you because of the power of Jesus.
ACAD – Helper: Acts 2
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a noise like a strong, blowing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something like flames of fire that were separated and stood over each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak different languages by the power the Holy Spirit was giving them. Click to read chapter.
The first book I wrote was about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up into heaven. Before this, with the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told the apostles he had chosen what they should do. After his death, he showed himself to them and proved in many ways that he was alive. The apostles saw Jesus during the forty days after he was raised from the dead, and he spoke to them about the kingdom of God. Once when he was eating with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem. He said, “Wait here to receive the promise from the Father which I told you about. John baptized people with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”