Engaging The World
Through Acts

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Philippians 4: 6

Daily Devotional Through the Book of Acts

Day 1 | We start with the end...
We start with the end…

 

Read: Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Reflect: Jesus Went. This is the theme for our Lenten sermon series this year. Jesus went to a lot of places, and Christ calls us to do the same. Acts 1:8 says, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Throughout Lent, we will walk through the book of Acts, looking at the early church’s different acts and discovering where we are to go. Our first devotional thought comes to us from Acts chapter 1 verse 8. We start with the end. Jesus is about to make his ascension into heaven. Before He does, He makes a point to tell His disciples to be witnesses to the end of the earth. This holds for us today. We are called to be Christ’s witnesses to the end of the earth. For some of us, this may mean going to another country, but for others being Christ’s witness may look like sharing the Gospel in your backyard. No matter where you are to go, you are being sent. And just as Jesus went, so must you.

Where are you being Sent?

Pray: God, thank you for sending your Son into this world to be sent to the many places He went. Be with me as I am sent into the world. Lord, help me determine the places or people you want me sent to. Amen.

Additional reading: Acts 1:1-11

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Day 2 | What First?
What first?

 

Read: Acts 1:8 “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

Reflect: Okay, you are called to be sent. By now, I am sure you have heard that said once or twice before. Now we will spend 40 plus days in the book of Acts trying to figure out this idea of sentness; that’s great. But what do you do first? How do you take knowing you are sent to actually going? Simple, pray. One of the first things the disciples do is gather together in the community and pray. Jesus has just left them. I imagine the disciples had the thought of “now what” running through their heads. But they don’t waste any time; they go right to God in prayer. That’s what we are supposed to do as well. We are called to pray. If you don’t know where you are being sent, pray. If there is someone you know who doesn’t know where they are being sent, pray with them. Pray and don’t be afraid to ask God, “God, where are you sending me?”

What is your prayer life like? Are there steps you can take this Lenten season to strengthen your prayer life?

Pray: God, today my prayer is simple, send me, Lord. I don’t always know where to go or to whom I am called, so God, I ask for wisdom and a clear vision. God, I am ready to be sent. Where are you sending me? Amen.

Additional reading: Acts 1:12-26

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Day 3 | Gift of the Spirit

Gift of the Spirit

Read: Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Reflect: At times, it seems like the Holy Spirit is an overlooked part of the Trinity, but it should not be. Through the waters of Holy Baptism, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit and what a gift it is. You are not sent out into this world alone. You are sent with the Spirit. When times seem challenging, when you have no idea what you should be asking God for, the Spirit, as Paul tells us in Romans, intercedes for us. Always remember you are not sent out alone. You are sent with the gift of the Spirit.

Talk with someone about the Holy Spirit. What does it mean that we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit?

Pray: Heaven Father, thank you for the gift of the Spirit. Thank you for sending us into the world with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Day 4 | Your Actions
Your Actions
 
Read: Acts 3:9 “And all the people saw him walking and praising God.”
 
Reflect: Have you ever had a conversation with someone and said, “hold on let me look that up.” You pull up Google and get two letters in and the first suggestion that Google has is the thing you were talking about. It’s true, we are being watched. No matter how hard we try, someone is always watching. Knowing this fact, how are you being as an example? Knowing that there are eyes on you, how are you being as an example for Christ in your day to day life? It’s not always easy, there will be bad moments or bad days but we should always strive to be examples for Christ in our day to day lives. Walking around praising God as you are sent into the places that God has called you.
 
Think back to your last interaction with someone who is far from God. How did it go? How can you be a better example for God to the world?
 
Pray: Lord, help me be a better example for You. Lord help me to walk around praising You everywhere I go. Amen.
 
Additional Readings: Acts 3:1-10
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Day 5 | Who Sends You?

Who Sends you?

Read: Acts 3:13 “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus.”

Reflect: If you have ever been searching for a doctor, I am sure it led you down a path of a lot of questions. You got recommendations from friends. You looked up the doctor’s credentials online. You wanted to find out as much as you could about the doctor to make sure you were making the right choice, that you were going to the right person. Who sends you? God does. The God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob. The God who created the heavens and the earth. The God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The God who sent His Son into the world for you. If you are looking for credentials, you do not have to look very hard in the Bible to know God has got this. He has the authority to send you to places you may not feel like going. Trust Him. He knows what he is doing.

Is there a description for God that you find comforting? 

Pray God, my prayer is simple. Help me trust you more. Help me question you less and follow you more. Amen

Additional Reading: Acts 3:11-26

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Day 6 | Sunday School Answer

Sunday School Answer

Read: Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Reflect: So, when you go out into the world, what do you say? When someone asks you a question, what is the answer? Maybe you think I am not ready to be sent out because I don’t know enough. The answer is always Jesus. What a true statement that is. It’s the Sunday School answer, but it is still right. Who saves us? Jesus. Who rescued us from sin, death, and the devil? Jesus. Who is our reason for the new life that God has given us? Jesus. Jesus, the only source of salvation, rescues us from the devil. The answer is always Jesus. If you are worried, you don’t have the right words to share with people, never fear because you have Jesus.

 People believe there are other ways to be saved; what are some? Knowing these, how can you respond to them knowing that Jesus is the only source of our salvation?

Pray: Jesus, thank you for your amazing work on the cross. Please help me to share the message of your saving work with others around me. Amen

Additional Reading: Acts 4:1-22

 

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Day 7 | Respond in Boldness

 Respond in boldness.

Read: Acts 4:29 “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.”

Reflect: How do you respond when someone pushes back against you? How do you respond when someone disagrees with you? How do you respond when someone is mean to you? We can play all these scenarios out in our heads, but when we are put in these situations, we may not respond in the way we practiced in our minds or the way we should. It’s interesting what the disciples are doing here, and it is an example to us. They just faced the council. They were put in front of men who wanted them thrown in prison for healing a man. You could understand why they would be frustrated, but they were not. They go to God and pray for……..boldness. They ask God to give them boldness in proclaiming the message of Jesus. They ask what we should be asking for; the ability to carry on even in the face of adversity. No matter what opposition gets placed in our path, we, too should pray for the boldness to carry on. 

Have you ever experienced opposition to the message of the Gospel? If so, how did you respond?

Pray: God, just as you gave boldness to the believers in the early church, I too pray for boldness in my life. Boldness to share the message of your son no matter what response I get. Amen

Additional Reading: Acts 4:23-31

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Day 8 | Give Everything to One Another

Give Everything to One Another.

Read: Acts 4:34-35 “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”

Reflect: I love this picture of the early church. An accurate picture of Christian unity. What happened? Over the many years, it seems the church has gotten away from this. We have how many Christian denotations? A lot. Even within churches, there are divisions. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to the way things used to be? Wouldn’t it be great if no one in our church ever needed anything because the church (meaning the people that make up the church) were filling all the needs? It could happen, and it does happen. The church is intended to be a collection of people worshiping God, giving testimony to the Lord Jesus’s resurrection, and sharing the gifts that God has given to us with each other. God gives us property and resources for our neighbor’s benefit. Who can you share with today?

 How can you fill the need of someone close to you? If you need something, be sure to reach out to someone, people may not know how to help you if they don’t know there’s a problem. 

Pray: Lord Jesus, help me live a life of Christian Unity. Help me to share the many blessings that you give to me with others. Amen. 

Additional Reading: Acts 4:32-5:16

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Day 9 | Boldness Acted Out

 Boldness Acted out.

Read: Acts 5:19-21, “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.”

Reflect Follow the flow of actions in these several past verses. The apostles are arrested for preaching God’s word, they are released from prison by an angel, and then they go right back to doing the same thing they were arrested for in the first place. Wow. Earlier in Acts, the apostles prayed for boldness, and I don’t know about you, but their actions seem bold. Boldness is not the only thing they show here. Trust in God is another. They were given a mission (the same mission we are given today) to share the Gospel message with the world. There was nothing that was going to get in their way. We, too, should trust in God no matter what it’s placed in our way. Just as God cared for the apostles, He cares for us also. 

 If you got in trouble telling someone about Jesus would you keep doing it after you served your punishment?  

Pray: Lord, we pray for boldness yet again. Please help us push through the roadblocks in our lives and continue sharing the Gospel message with the world.

Additional Reading: Acts 5:17-42

 

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Day 10 | Who is neglected in your group?

 Who is neglected in your group?

Read: Acts 6:1 “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.”

Reflect : Who among you is neglected? There are a lot of people in this world. I know understatement of the year. With so many people in this world, with so many people in your church, community, or even social circles, some are overlooked, those who are neglected. This is not an excuse, though. We should be actively seeking out those in our communities who are being ignored. We need to step in and be the church. Serve those who are unable to serve themselves.  

Who is someone neglected in your life?

Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, help me see the people in my life that I can help. Lord, give me the wisdom to see those who need help and help them in the ways that best serve them. 

Additional Reading: Acts 6

 

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Day 11 | “Saying what we need to say”

Saying what we need to say

Read: Acts 7:51-53 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

Reflect: So often, we do not say what we truly feel or even what we are meant to say. Say you have to have a difficult conversation with someone, and you practice everything you will say to that person in the mirror. It is conversation time, and it seems like everything you wanted to say leaves your head, and you say next to nothing. Stephen does not hold back here. Stephen knows what is at stake here. He knows that he could get in big trouble for saying what needs to be said. Stephen is not worried about himself; he is concerned about the people he is speaking. Stephen says what the Lord would have him say. 

How can you overcome the fear of saying what needs to be said. 

Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, help me to say the things that need to be said. Lord, give me the courage to speak your truth even if it may hurt my reputation. Amen 

Additional Reading: Acts 7:1-53

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Day 12 | God Can Use Anyone

God can use anyone.

Read: Acts 8:1 “And Saul approved of his execution.”

Reflect: Here we meet Paul…..I mean Saul. Saul approves of the Stoning of Stephen, which is a look into Saul’s future, one that would be filled with the persecution of the Christian church. Until, of course, that day when Jesus steps in and says enough. (But we will get to that later). Why this verse, though? Easy, God can use anyone he wants to advance his kingdom, no matter the past. God can and does use you. Don’t ever think you are not good enough or that there is too much bad stuff or baggage in your past for you to consider being a disciple. You are good enough because you are a child of God, you are his creation, and he desires to use you to spread the Gospel message.

Is it not the testament to the power of God for Saul to go from Saul to Paul?

Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, use me to advance the Gospel message. Help me to show others that they are good enough and you can use them too, no matter their past. Amen

Additional Reading: Acts 7:54-8:3

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Day 13 |  What’s behind your actions?

 What’s behind your actions?

Read: Acts 8:20, “But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!”

Reflect: We are introduced to a man named Simon. Simon was a former magician (no, not the Vegas kind). Simon heard the word of the Lord preached, believed, and was baptized! Great news, right? What a story to the power of the Holy Spirit. Well…….the story continues. Simon thinks that he can gain the power the apostles have. He is baptized, he believes, but his heart is not in the right place. Worse than that, he wants the power so he can continue to influence the people. Your actions matter but so does the reasoning behind your actions. People see the external, but God sees your heart. It is essential that you are doing so with the right mindset when you are serving God and being sent. Set your heart on the things of God.

Have you ever done something right but for the wrong reasons?

Pray: Lord Jesus, help me have the right mindset when I serve you. Lord, there may be times where I do the right thing but for the wrong reasons. Help me to have a heart for you in all that I do. Amen

Additional Reading: Acts 8:4-25

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Day 14 | On his way

On his way

Read: Acts 8:27, “So Philip started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians.  

Reflect: How do you start your day?  Do you have a calendar to keep track of people to meet and places you plan to go?  How often do they get changed? That morning, when Philip started his day, what do you think he had planned? Was he surprised when an angel of the Lord spoke to him? (or the Spirit of the Lord, v. 29?) What plans did he change in order to obey the directions he received?  He probably had not planned to meet this person from a different culture, country, social setting! Philip was prepared to meet this man because he knew God’s Word and could share Jesus with the Ethiopian.  The Holy Spirit works through us, His people, to bring the good news of Jesus.  

Who will you meet as you are “on your way” today?  Please share Jesus with them!

Pray:  What a privilege you give me, Lord, in unexpected meetings of people in my life. Give me the willingness to “go alongside them”, listen to how I can help them to know Jesus, the way, the truth and the life.  Thank You for someone telling me about Jesus, so I can share Him with others.  Amen.

Additional Reading:  Acts 8:26-40

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Day 15 | Was blind but now I see!

Was blind but now I see!

Read:  Acts 9:17-18 “Ananias, placing his hands on Saul said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.”

Reflect: We all have “blind spots”.  Have you ever quickly changed lanes and heard the loud blast of a horn, suddenly realizing there WAS a car you couldn’t see? (or a motorcycle, pedestrian, animal?)  Have you been so firmly convinced that you were right and your spouse (boss) was wrong, that when the truth came out – you realized you had a “blind spot”?  Not very comfortable, was it?  Saul was a man of very strong convictions – but he had a “blind spot”. He thought he was obeying God by trying to stop those who followed Jesus; until Saul was shown “the Light” – Jesus appeared to him!  What an “eye opening” experience – both literal and spiritual!  Saul was physically blind for 3 days having been spiritually blind for many years and when Ananias came and told him about Jesus, “scales fell from his eyes” and Saul could see clearly!  He spent the rest of his life trying to help others who were blind to be able to “see” the truth of Jesus!

What “blind spots” does God want to heal in your life?  Who will or does God place in your life to help to “you’re your eyes” to the truth of Jesus?

Pray:  Open my eyes, Lord, to the blind spots in my life, especially in my attitude, words and actions toward others.  Continue to help me to see others as You see them, Your dear children who are harassed and helpless in this world without faith and trust in you. Thank You for the Ananias’s in my life that You use to help me see my blind spots and who speak Your Word to me, encouraging me to live my life for You. Amen.

 

Additional reading:  Acts 9:1-31

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