May 8 – (Acts 5:17-32) Here is another miracle that is seldom talked about considering “breaking out of jail” (vv. 17-25). Does this remind you of Resurrection morning in any way? Does it remind you of when the leaders tried to lay hands on Jesus but He just “passed” through the crowd? Is this part of “greater works will you do…”?
May 9 – (Acts 5:33-42) I couldn’t quite follow what Gamaliel was suggesting at first (vv. 33-39). Was he saying they should kill the apostles and then all the followers would disperse? I realized then that he was saying (but not admitting) that they had killed the leader already, so all they had to do was now wait and see if the “followers” would disperse. His foundation was true… if it is man’s doing, it will eventually fail but if it is God’s doing, God’s purpose will be done! Do you ever feel this way about situations around you? It is so important to listen to the Holy Spirit guiding you. I was reminded of Gamaliel's response again this week. If it is of God…. Selah
May 10 – (Acts 6:1-7) As the number of disciples were multiplying, a complaint arose against the Hebrews by Greek-speaking Jews (Hellenists) because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. The Hellenists were those Christians born and raised in provinces away from Palestine so they had not learned Hebrew but spoke Greek so the church was divided by a language barrier. Do you see how the enemy can divide us today? We also see the Hellenists murmuring. Did they go right to the leadership with their valid concern? I don’t know for sure. What I do know is the Israelites murmured in the wilderness and God judged them for that. Selah
Daily provisions were daily given out. The elders (leaders or pastors) were doing all of the administration as well as seeking God and delivering the message to the people. What was the solution to their dilemma? Did you notice that Stephen was the first named “deacon”? Name the others. Do we follow that pattern today?
May 11 – (Acts 6:8-15) Earlier in this chapter, Stephen is the first mentioned that was chosen to help with daily distribution. He was one of these Hellenists or Greek-speaking Jews. He also gave his testimony with signs and wonders in several synagogues. Freedmen (Jews who had been slaves in the Roman Empire and had later been set free) belonged to one of the synagogues. Another of the synagogues consisted of Jews from Cilicia and Asia. It’s interesting to note that the capital of Cilicia was Tarsus. Paul was from Tarsus, so it is very likely he was part of this group. Does this give you a different picture of these events?
May 12 – (Acts 7:1-22) Stephen answers their accusations by giving a history of how God guided the Israelites from the beginning….and how they disobeyed God’s leading and kept getting off track. Sometimes when we get off track, we need to look back at the journey to see if we are on the correct track. Unfortunately, those accusing Stephen did not want to see the error of their ways….yet again.
May 13 – (Acts 7:23-43) The rejection of Moses’ attempt to reconcile two quarreling Israelites (ex. 2:11-15) illustrates Israel’s constant rejection of its God-sent leaders (Acts 7:35). Here’s a question: Do you think the two quarreling Israelites were part of the Exodus forty years later? If so, how do you think they reacted during that journey? Have you ever been in something similar in relation to your spiritual journey? Hmm…I’m pondering this.
May 14 – (Acts 7:44-60) The “Stephen” the disciples chose as one of their first deacons, becomes an orator for Christ and one of the first martyrs. I wonder how long he was a deacon before his Home-going. We also see Saul being instrumental in the beginning of this persecution of Christians. This persecution causes them to scatter to other parts of the world…. which carries the gospel there as well. When we lose our job, is Jesus moving us to another “mission field”? Selah