Day 151: May 31, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Acts 1:4-9
4 While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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The Holy Spirit Empowers Us to be Witnesses
by Michele Dyer, PLACE Ministry Coordinator, Brentwood Baptist Church

Imagine what the apostles must have felt after the awe and wonder of Jesus’ ascension into heaven began to fade. I’m sure many of them were disheartened about the difficult road that lay ahead, and facing it without Jesus beside them.

Though the disciples might not have understood the full implication of what Jesus had promised them, He definitely had not left them to fend for themselves.

In this passage, Jesus shares a meal with the apostles before He is “taken up” to heaven.  As He dines with His followers, He assures them that His earlier command to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28: 16-20) did not rest solely on their shoulders—they were not alone in this commission.

Yes, the apostles would carry Jesus’ message to the ends of the earth, but He reminded them that God would send the Holy Spirit to provide guidance and the power to do so.

This week we’ve examined a few of the many ways the Holy Spirit interacts with us to provide guidance, direction and empowerment in our lives. I love this passage because it assures us as believers that we are not left to our own devices to carry out Jesus’ command to take the gospel message to the world.

When we receive the Holy Spirit at the time we trust Jesus to be our savior, we are granted His power. The Spirit not only orchestrates opportunities for us to be a witnesses about what Jesus has done in our own lives, but He also provides the empowerment and the words for us to speak up!

Jesus knew the disciples would have a firsthand encounter with this type of provision when He promised that the Spirit of God would speak through them as they were arrested and called upon to testify before Jewish rulers and officials (Luke 12:11-12).

If we can trust the Spirit to provide the right words for us in tumultuous situations like those, surely we can we also rely on Him to give us the words when we are sharing our faith with an unbelieving friend or colleague.

Recently, my friend Jeanine was describing an encounter she had with a young woman while they waited in the checkout line. As they struck up a conversation, Jeanine felt compelled to share her faith, but had no idea how to relate, since she’d only just met her.

In that moment, Jeanine prayed silently and asked the Spirit to give her courage to share, and to help her relate in a meaningful way. Before the end of that conversation, she shared her faith and was able to pray with her new friend.

The young woman expressed to Jeanine that she was so touched—somehow Jeanine had said just what she needed to hear that day. God’s Spirit had provided just what Jesus promised it would: the perfect words.

Praxis

  1. Do you recognize when the Spirit is speaking to you or leading you? Ask God to help you recognize His presence in your day, and to hear His voice.
  2. Jesus told His disciples that they would be His witnesses (vs. 8) throughout the earth. Are you sensitive to His leading when He asks you to witness about what He’s done in your own life?  Pray that you will be willing to be obedient to these promptings.
  3. Create a life “timeline” today that outlines the experiences in your past when you observed God’s movement in your life. Ask Him to help you recall these experiences when you are sharing your faith with others.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.