Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Studying the book of Acts.

Acts 1:1-14

1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

- God chose His successors...they werent pretty or well polished. They were qualified, bc of their availability. Bc of their obedience to give up everything and do what Jesus was asking. this is important...obeying the Father. 1 Sam. 15:22 / John 4:1-35 This is important, why?
B/c I think this is where we are at…we've come to the well – some of us deep in our sin, not feeling worthy to even look or speak to Jesus; some of us deep in doubt & fear, not sure what is real or not, questioning everything; some of us deep in religion, thinking we have heard all of the sermons…(the reality is that you have) seen all of the church, but spiritually blind; some of us tired and wanting more of God but not really sure how to access the kingdom…The answer is in verses 28… IT's not until you partake…you must, not kind'a sorta, you must, we must leave our water jar behind – why? Because we have tasted and seen that He is good (satisfying, ultimately pleasurable). Obedience.

3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

- He could of spoke about anything...right? But instead He spoke about the kingdom. What is the kingdom and how does that correlate with the Holy Spirit? I am assuming that He spoke about it every day...He was so excited for His disciples to begin stepping into their destiny and His fullness!

4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

- What do other translations say? Fire? What does that mean?

6So when they met together, (unity / community) they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;

- is it on you or in you? there is a difference between the Holy Spirit dwelling in you and coming upon you. One connects us to the Father and the other empowers us for His glorification.

and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

- great verse. Can we be His witnesses before the Holy Spirit comes upon us? Our mission field is everywhere.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Then they (unity / community) returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. 13When they (unity / community) arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14They all joined together (unity / community) constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

- Prayer & Fasting is how God governs His Kingdom. I know it doesn't say fasting but it was practiced. it was their custom to do so. Why God do you want me to sit here and do nothing except tell you something you already know? What's the point of this and what is the wisdom of this? I thought I could be doing something for your kingdom other than wasting my time over prayer and fasting.

- What God wanted me to understand that this truly was the way of wisdom, the way that His power would most effectively be released in my heart and ministry, the way into my most vulnerable places being an open book for Him to read, and a clearer way to understanding the heart of God.
What I am learning is that God has setup His kingdom in such a way that some things that seem the weakest to people are actually the most powerful before God. You see His kingdom is governed by prayer. When we give ourselves to voluntary weakness and prayer, it affects every realm.

- God governs the universe, the world in intimate partnership with His people through intercession. He has chosen to give His people a dynamic role in His kingdom, based on our response to the grace of God, specifically in prayer, fasting, obedience and meekness. God opens doors of blessing and closes doors of oppression in response to prayer. There are blessings that He has chosen to give, but only if His people rise up in the partnership of prayer to ask for them. It says in James 4 we do not have because we do not ask and when you do ask you ask with wrong motives.

more to come...

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