Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Acts 18:2

There [Paul] met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla...

What I love about Priscilla is that she is always mentioned with her husband, and he with her.  Their names appear seven times in the Bible, always together.  Here's the little we know about them:

- they were forced out of Rome (Acts 18:3)
- they worked together as tentmakers (Acts 18:3)
- they allowed Paul to stay with them when he was in Corinth (Acts 18:3)
- they joined Paul in travelling to Syria, and stayed in Ephesus (Acts 18:18-19)
- they gently instructed Apollos (Acts 18:26)
- Paul called them his "fellow workers in Christ Jesus" (Romans 16:3)
- they had a church that met at their house (I Corinthians 16:19)
- Paul remembered them in his letter to Timothy (II Timothy 4:19)

How wonderful to work side by side with your husband, both in standard everyday life and in ministry.  Priscilla and Aquila were open to go wherever God lead them and to do whatever He asked of them.  It's a beautiful picture of a godly marriage.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Acts 16:15

When [Lydia] and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home.  "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house."  And she persuaded us.

Another example of a woman who opened her house for God's use. 

There are many ways our homes can be used by God.  Host a prayer group or Bible study.  Let the youth group use it as a hangout.  Invite new church attendees over for Sunday lunch.  Open your home and heart to foster children.  Or, like Lydia, provide a place for missionaries to stay.  The possibilities are endless.

Our homes are a gift from God.  Let's use them for His glory.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Acts 12:12

"...He went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying."

This is such an awesome story - one of my favorites.  But I've always focused on Peter, and the angel, and Rhoda.  This time I noticed Mary.  Mary opened her house.  Her home was available for the church to use, even in the middle of the night.

Do I make my home available?  Mary did, and God made it the setting for a miracle.  God can do awesome things with us when we give Him our lives and our resources.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Acts 9:39 p.s.

Last night my daughter told me an incredible story that tied in with the Dorcas post, so I decided to share it here.

When Emily was in Nicaragua this past summer, she was in an extremely poor part of Managua.  She and a few others, including a man from the Nicaraguan church, were going door to door, inviting children to VBS.  It had recently rained, so the ground was muddy.  Emily slipped in the mud, getting her feet and hands all dirty.  The man took Emily back to his simple home, and washed her hands and feet. 

It's amazing how one seemingly small act can be so big.  By our standards, this man had nothing.  And yet he gave so much. 

Don't ever think you have nothing to give.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Acts 9:39

...All the widows stood around [Peter], crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

God's Word commands us to care for widows and orphans.  It commands us to give to the poor. 

I often find myself dreaming of what I'd do if I won the lottery or came into a large inheritance.  "I'd be so good," I tell myself. "I'd give so much of that money away."  And then I think of all the charities I'd like to support, and how, most of all, I'd like to be a kind of benevolent Santa Claus, surprising people with anonymous help, like paying doctor bills or funding car repairs.

The fact is, I'm not rolling in dough.  We pretty much live paycheck to paycheck, the way I think most of us do.  But here's the thing - that doesn't exempt us from God's commands.  My family has enough.  Much more than enough, actually.  And so, while I may not be able to write a hefty check to my favorite charity each month, I can do something.  Maybe it's $50.  Maybe just $5.  But I can do something.  And while I may not be able to pay doctor bills for a church member who is hospitalized, I can bring meals to their family.  I can offer to watch their children while they sit in the waiting room.  I can provide rides to and from the doctor's office. 

Dorcas could make clothes for those in need.  And that's what she did.  She used her skills and resources to give to others.  She was a beautiful example of a godly woman.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Acts 5:8

Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?"  "Yes," she said, "that is the price."

The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not that they withheld some of the profits from their land sale.  The sin was that they lied and told Peter they had donated the entire amount from the sale.  Verse 1 says that Sapphira made the sale with her husband, and verse 2 says that Ananias' choice to hold back some of the money was made with Sapphira's "full knowledge".  After Ananias is caught in the lie and is punished with death, Peter gives Sapphira the chance to come clean.  However, Sapphira joins Ananias in his sin, and ends up suffering the same consequence.

While we are told in the Bible to submit to our husbands, that never means we should join them in sin.  If our husbands choose to disobey God, we may have to stand alone for what is right, perhaps even at the risk of our marriage.  But obedience to God always comes before allegiance to our husbands.

Monday, January 7, 2013

John 4:39

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony...

This is beautiful.  Where the woman once hid in shame because of her sin, she now rejoiced in the freedom found in Christ.  "He told me everything I ever did," she said.  Her past no longer mattered.  Nobody could hold it over her head, because she had come clean with her Savior.  And now she wanted others to experience that same freedom and joy.  Unable to hold it inside, she spread the news as quickly as she could.

We too can have that same freedom.  Once we have confessed our sins and accepted God's grace, we don't have to hide.  Satan can try - and oh, he sure does - to remind us of our pasts.  He flaunts our failures in our faces.  But we can say "Get thee behind me, Satan!"  Whatever we've done, it no longer matters.  People might still remember our former selves.  "Aren't you the one who...?"  But we can joyfully answer, "Yes, I was.  But let me tell you what Jesus did for me.  He knows all about that, but He still loves me and wants me!"

Don't hold it in.  You've been redeemed!  You are a child of grace!  You have been promised eternity with Jesus!  That is definitely something worth sharing!