The Movement Spreads

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Acts 11

“When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” Acts 11:23

In chapter 8, Stephen was stoned and the Christians were persecuted and dispersed all over the land. In chapter 10, Peter preached and through his message broke down the walls between the Jews and Gentiles. Chapter 11 gives us the next story in this Christian movement.

As we talked about earlier, after the Christians had been scattered, they never stop talking about their God and the good news. Some of the Greek-speaking believers travel to Antioch to tell them about Jesus. It says the “Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”

News of this great movement spread and they decide to send Barnabas to Antioch to check it out. When he gets there he “saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them to all remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts 11:23).

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all say this? If we could all see the grace of God and be glad? That would be incredible, so how did it happen for them in Antioch? Well, I think it was their persecution turned into praise. Turmoil turned into transformation. Sorrow turned into salvation.

Even with God’s grace, people still suffer, but that doesn’t mean that God is pushing you away, it could just mean he’s trying to get you to a place to serve Him better. 

-Grace Rodgers

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Free the Captives

Isaiah 61-63

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Friday, February 24

Again there’s kind of lots that goes on in these three chapters, so I am going to talk about them separately.

Isaiah 61 is talking about God’s grace. Not only does it talk about God’s grace, but it talks about our part in sharing that grace. The author talks about it being his job, or his duty to bind up the broken hearted, and to free the captives, to proclaim of Yahweh’s great grace. Even though this is Isaiah’s call, I feel like that is our job too, as Christians and followers of Christ. We should be binding up the broken hearted, and freeing the captives, we should share all about God’s great love and his grace. This is something God has given to us too!

Isaiah 62 is all about Jerusalem, and its righteousness. Isaiah 62 says that Jerusalem will shine bright, and be a light that shines, and this light is because of its salvation. Jerusalem will no longer be called forsaken, because Yahweh delights in them. My favorite verse in this chapter is verse 12: “They shall call them the holy people. The redeemed of Yahweh: and you shall be called Sought-out, a city not forsaken.” This chapter and especially this verse are applicable to not only Jerusalem, but each of us as well. As far as I know, we are not all perfect, none of us are. I know for sure, that I am absolutely not perfect, yet God seeks us out, we are not forsaken. Just like Jerusalem, we have been given salvation, and that is a light inside of each of us that shines, and we need to share it. We need to be a lamp for others, and show others how God has redeemed us, because he surely has.

Isaiah 63 First this chapter talks about one who walks in with dyed garment and delighting in their own strength. This shows vanity in the one from Edom who relied on their own strength their own wrath and their own vanity to move forward. This is a perfect example of exactly what we should not be. Relying on our own strength will get us nowhere, if we are not following in God’s plan for us. We need to listen and follow God. The latter part of chapter 63 is much more hopeful in my opinion. This part, verses 7 and on, again talk about Yahweh’s great mercy and love for us. In verse 8 it says, “For He said, surely they are My people, the children who will not deal falsely: so He was their saviour.” We are his people, and his children, and this is why he loves us, does not forsake us and has mercy on us.

-Jana Swanson

Some songs for today:

Dwelling in Beulah Land: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AxoCssVyHo

This Little Light of Mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKkbIZtqhyQ

Strong God by: Meredith Andrews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAXgKPtAiMA

 

(Photo credit: http://www.alittleperspective.com/isaiah-61-and-62/)