Monday, April 01, 2013

Acts in April- Spring Time Renewal

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptizedwith the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Luke is writing his second volume to the Gospel of Luke. He is writing both accounts to Theophilus "Friend of God"- what a great title! It is interesting to me that Luke says 'all Jesus began to DO and teach'- we often reverse those. Jesus did both- but his acts gave weight to His words. We frequently lift up teachers and rarely notice those who speak less but do more.

There was a 40 day period after the resurrection where Jesus did essential work before His ascension. Some of it was presenting 'many proofs' presenting Himself alive. Human belief is difficult and clouded with doubt and presuppositions- it takes time to build the foundation of understanding.

I love that He COMMANDED them to wait- I'm sure they were ready to head out in the flesh- especially after the pep talk to take the good news to the world! But as good as the gospel message is- we need the Spirit to deliver it in power and effectiveness.

The disciples were yearning for the restoration of the Kingdom... they had seen how unjust man's world was- it had just killed the Prince of Glory.

Even though Jesus says over and over- it is not for us to know when- we still struggle over that 'need to know', reading tea leaves and charts.

All we really know is that the angel said, He will come back in the same way He went up.

I get caught gazing a lot- when there is important work to do.

Lord, I commit this month of April to you. A time of renewal. Who do I need to share with? Pray for? Serve?  

I wait this morning for Your Holy Spirit.

"You know, I have this sense of motivation, and I picked it up from the Apostle Paul and from my understanding of Acts 1:1...that I must finish the work that Christ has given me. Now I don't know how much time I have, but I know I have a limited amount of time." You know, we can finish the work that Jesus gives us to finish of His unfinished work...we can. We have everything...all the things we need...the right message, the right manifestation...the living Christ, the right power...the Holy Spirit, the right mystery...we don't know when He's coming, so we work all the time occupying until He gets here...the right mission, we're witnesses, and the right motive. He is coming to reward us who are faithful.
"What makes you think you're going to finish your work?" Well, I just have this tremendous inspiration that comes to my heart from my friend, the Apostle Paul, and I want you to hear what he said. 2 Timothy 4:6..."For I am now ready to be offered. Lord, I can die now. I'm ready to go. Please take me home. The time of my departure is at hand. It hasn't been easy. I have fought a good fight. I have" what? "Finished the course. I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." Paul says, "Lord, I can die now; I'm done." Boy, wouldn't that be fantastic?
Listen, I can believe that a Christian can finish the work that Christ gives him to do. I don't think the Lord wants to frustrate us. But in order to do it, you've got to take advantage of all of the ingredients that are given to you, see, and maximize your ministry. 

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