Thursday, September 24, 2009
PRAY FOR BOLDNESS!
Acts 4:13-31 (NRSV)
The believers pray for boldness
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another. They said, "What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name." So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in God's sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard." After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.
After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:
'Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
and the rulers have gathered together
against the Lord and against his Messiah.'
For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus." When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
Today’s scripture reading fills me to the brim with excitement. It is thrilling to read about the early Christians and their desire to experience the “Holy Ghost Boldness” necessary to declare the good news about Jesus, no matter what the cost.
See, Christians were being persecuted by religious and civil authorities. In the case of Peter and John they were prosecuted for preaching and healing in the Name of Jesus!
Whilst most of us do not live in countries where we are forbidden to believe in Jesus, I am sure that we have all had experiences of timidity when faced with the opportunity to declare that God loves the world so much that God gave Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sin and gift us with eternal life.
It seems that the good news message does not easily roll off of our tongues in places where we fear judgment, condemnation or ridicule.
Whilst the Holy Spirit may be prompting us to share good news with the man on the bus, or the woman in our workplace, or our grandchildren who have gone astray, we find it difficult to muster up the courage necessary to say, “Jesus loves you this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”
Perhaps we fear that we will be intruding in people’s lives or that we will be “forcing” our opinions on others.
This is not so my friends! As we joyfully and humbly share our faith with others, we are doing nothing more than sharing the heart of God with a person in need.
It does not take a rocket scientist to notice that “what the world needs now is Love.” Too many of our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and enemies suffer from the mistaken notion that nobody loves them and that this world is all that exists for them.
Look around you my friends! We are surrounded by hurting, lonely, depressed, anxious, worried, concerned, angry, frustrated people who need a relationship with JESUS!
No matter what the personal cost, we must find the Holy Ghost Boldness to speak words of life to our spiritually dead and dying friends!
So, let us be like the early church. Let us gather together and pray that God will give us courage to speak The Word with boldness and to preach, teach, and heal in Jesus’ Name!
I believe—by faith—that everyone who prays a prayer like this will be anointed with the Holy Spirit and emboldened to share the good news that God loves, gave, and saves!
To GOD be the glory, great things GOD has done!
Won’t you pray with me?:
Holy God, please forgive me of my sin and fill me with the Holy Spirit. Please make me bold in my declaration of the good news! Please use me to preach, teach, counsel, heal, and pray in Jesus’ Name! Where I am weak and afraid, please make me strong and courageous! I know so many people who need a relationship with you! I also pray for my Christian brothers and sisters in nations where it is still forbidden to speak the Name of Jesus. Make them bold and courageous in their declaration of the good news and please inspire me to pray for them daily. Lord, please use me as an instrument of your peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, "Come to Jesus."