Please find a quiet place to focus on these scriptures for a few minutes, asking His Spirit to speak to your heart, and in Jesus’ name, ridding your heart and mind of distractions, burdens, guilt, worry, etc.
Today’s scripture is Acts 1:3-9
New Internation Version (NIV)
3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Easter has always been a special time for me and my family. We celebrate together in worship on Easter Sunday, and gather together to re-affirm the Good News “He is Risen, He is Risen indeed” to each other. It occurred to me today while reading these verses that we don’t celebrate the “next step”, the sharing of this good news.
Interesting… Like the disciples, who were undoubtedly excited to see Jesus again during those forty days and thought he was back to free Israel from Rome, we seem to focus on the present circumstances and traditions of our lives (celebrating Easter with family, eating together, visiting with each other, affirming our love for Jesus with each other) and not much celebration for the other HUGE gift from God, the Holy Spirit. This scripture says that we will “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on (us)”. We need to call on the part of the Triune God that is always with us. Only with the Holy Spirit can we have the power and authority to fully reveal to seekers the Good News.
The real conundrum for me is that sentence that says “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority”. It is a reminder to me that He is God, and I am not, and that He controls time and results. I can’t by my own effort or strength do anything, and running ahead of the Holy Spirit will do no good. When situations arise that give me a chance to share God’s love, I need to remember to ask for the power from the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised. In the same verse describing the power that we receive from the Holy Spirit, Jesus commanded the disciples to share the Good News in ever widening circles “to the ends of the earth”. I have to remember to begin each day or each conversation requesting the presence of our loving God, so that the Holy Spirit can use me to reveal Jesus. Wow, the Holy Spirit really IS a gift, because when I try to share my faith without Him, I don’t make much sense.
Sharing God’s love with people is scary, and sometimes makes me cry. When I was praying with the Kenyan people in Kitengela, I usually ended up crying as I prayed with them – so embarrassing and frustrating! It happens to me at work, too, when people share their heartaches, health issues, and challenges. If I ask if I can pray with them, I invariably begin firmly, but the honor of bringing them to the feet of Jesus usually brings me to tears. Of course, they don’t seem to mind, and most have asked for more prayers. Today’s scriptures reminded me that the Holy Spirit is always there with us when we share our faith in Jesus, and praying with His help will make any of our feeble efforts right. That’s a lot to celebrate! Why don’t we?!
Heavenly Father, I know that I cannot by my own strength share Your Good News. Send your Holy Spirit to convict me to begin each day and each conversation of faith with You. Amen.