I just finished a year-long study in the book of John and decided to move on to Acts. I have read John many times before and I was especially struck this time with a better understanding of the disciples' experience. Their world was turned upside-down and the whole time they were following Jesus, they really didn't have a clue of what was going on. Then He tells them He's going to die and go away. The next thing they know, He is brutally killed in front of them. Um... this man was supposed to become king and overthrow Rome and give them a place of importance. These uneducated fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots had left their commonplace lives and followed Him for three years and then it was over (in their minds). So they hid in fear. However, it truly was only the beginning. He appeared to them and proved that He had overcome death.
Then it all started coming back to them... all the things He had said. They slowly started seeing just how big was the picture Christ was painting. Then, in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes. It was the Helper that Christ had promised. Suddenly, they are bold and full of amazing words, even words in many different languages for all of the thousands of people in their audience. Peter gets up and speaks in a way I'm sure he never thought he'd be capable of. Wow, the Holy Spirit took men who just days before were hiding, scared, and doubting, and turned them into courageous men willing to risk everything to preach Christ resurected.
I am especially struck with a certain phrase I've found a few times in Acts. In chapter 9, verse 35, Phillip is led to witness to an Ethiopian eunich. He walks up to the Ethiopian and sees that he is reading from Isaiah, but doesn't understand what he's reading. So when the Ethiopian asks who the prophecy is speaking of, it says, "Then Phillip openedhismouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him."
Later, in chapter 10, Peter is brought to the house of Cornelius, a God-fearing centurion, and is asked to share what God has commanded Peter to speak. Then, in verse 34, it says, "Then Peter opened his mouth and said..." and he went on to share that the message of Christ was for all people, not just the Jews.
Earlier, at Pentacost, all Peter had to do was "raisehisvoice" (vs. 2:14) and about 3,000 people came to Christ. I just love the obvious power of the Holy Spirit. We, as believers, just need to open our mouths and the Holy Spirit does the rest.
Are you willing to open your mouth? Do you look for opportunities to share the Gospel? It doesn't take all the right words or a whole lot of knowledge, it just takes a willing spirit and faith in His Spirit.
I sincerely apologize if you've already heard my outrageously proud description of Avery's race this past weekend. I had to post these pics and brag at least once more! This past Saturday, Avery ran in the Awesome 3000 in Salem. It's sponsored by the Salem-Keizer Educational Foundation and any kid in the Salem district can participate. This was Avery's first year. She's been looking forward to it for a while and kept asking me over the past month or so if she could go running with me to train for her race. When I saw her out on the soccer field completely winded after a few plays, I figured I needed to help her get in shape a bit. Don't get me wrong, she's VERY active, but it's been raining and cold for the past 6 months and she just didn't have a lot of endurance. I was a bit worried, though, since it was a 1.5k, which ends up being just under a mile. And there was a HUGE crowd of people there! I really second-guessed myself just letting her go into a big crowd and do a race all by herself. It was very well-organized, though, and several measures were taken to make sure kids were kept safe.
This is Avery and her good buddy, Blake. Blake is in kindergarten, also, but they were split up by gender, so they didn't get to run together.
Avery is somewhere in that giant crowd of kindergarten girls with the volunteers all in blue. They were getting ready to start and I was nervous! Ok, so the pictures of the start of the race are just a mess of girls running. After about 8 1/2 minutes, a few girls come back into the field. That's right, they didn't just run on a track. The course took them through the park and ended up back in front of the crowd. I was SHOCKED when I saw Avery enter in the very front of the crowd! She's in the middle area of the picture with the volunteer pointing her toward the finish line. She's all alone! I found out later that a big reason she was alone was that the girls all got stopped right after she entered the track because the boys had started their race a bit late and needed to get through. That was really disappointing for them, I'm sure. I don't know if anyone would have passed Avery before she finished, but her time was accurate.
Here she comes rounding the corner to the finish line!! Needless to say, I was screaming and jumping wildly!!
And she finished! She was 8th place out of 163 kindergarten girls! I am still so amazed at her! She said she wanted to stop and was tired, but I don't think it even occurred to her to actually stop when she was so close to the finish. Her time was 9min, 18 sec.
Did I make my point that I'm SO PROUD of my girl???????????
I'm saved by grace, through faith in Christ. I've been married for 12 years and have two daughters. I am a stay-at-home mom and wouldn't have it any other way. The days are sometimes very hard and the work is absolutely exhausting, but the most rewarding thing I could think of to do. I truly feel that the investment of my most quality hours of the day put into my children will reap rewards for the rest their lives, and in turn, my own. I have so many other things I'm interested in and every once in a while I get to pursue them, but most of them are so trivial in comparison to loving the Lord and my family!