Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day 23: Acts 8:4-8 & Prov. 10:24-32 - Do You Go About Preaching the Word?

Today's Reading: Acts 8:4-8 & Prov. 10:24-32

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. - Acts 8:4, ESV

Do You Go About Preaching the Word?

Stephen had been brutally stoned to death. The church was scattered, violently chased from Jerusalem. Saul was being sent out by the Sanhedrin with orders to arrest and imprison the scattering flock. The apostles, who led and taught the church since Pentecost, stayed behind in Jerusalem. What would this fleeing flock do now?

It would be so easy for these persecuted disciples to quit. They had every reason to go into hiding and stay quiet. Instead, "those who were scattered went about preaching the word." They took seriously Jesus' commission, "As you go, make disciples of all nations . . . " (Matt. 28:18) 

This is a challenge to all of us. As we go about our day, living our lives, are we looking for opportunities to preach the Gospel. to proclaim the word? Now, I'm not saying we need to go into work every day and set up a pulpit in the hallways so we can literally preach at people. I'm not sure how welcomed or effective that would be. Instead, we can find ways to creatively share the Gospel and to proclaim the word lovingly in our conversation and our conduct.

One man who was used by God powerfully after he death of Stephen was another of the original seven deacons, Philip. Philip was empowered by God to speak the truth boldly and to demonstrate the power of Christ's kingdom in signs and wonders. Originally, Philip was called to oversee food distribution so that the apostles could focus on the ministry of the word and prayer. He could have said, "Preaching isn't in my job description. Sorry." After all, where were the apostles? But Philip was not a man looking to make excuses; he was looking to make a difference and to make Jesus known to a watching world.

Are we looking for Gospel opportunities or are we looking for excuses? Are we looking to serve or looking for reasons why we're not qualified or properly called to some specific area of service?

Heavenly Father, You have given Your Son who made no excuses but went all the way to the cross for us. You have given us a powerful Gospel, the good news of Your Son and His saving work. Give us Your Spirit to fill and empower us to proclaim Your Gospel to all who will hear, that many may believe and that You may be glorified! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Prayer Based on Proverbs 10:24-34:

Heavenly Father,
You tell us that what the wicked dreads will come upon him,
    but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
Grant that we may be found righteous in Christ,
    that our desire to be with You forever may be realized.

You say that when the tempest passes, the wicked is no more,
    but the righteous is established forever.
May we be established by Your grace in Your Son forever!

O Lord, keep us from being irritating and useless sluggards,
    and may the fear of You prolong our days and fill us with joy!
The hope of the righteous brings joy,
    and You, O Lord, are our hope.
By Your favor, we will never perish.

Your way, O Lord, is a stronghold to the blameless,
    but destruction to evildoers.
May we be righteous in Christ and never be removed,
    but dwell in Your blessed land forever.
May our mouths bring forth wisdom,
    and may our lips know what is acceptable,

Sanctify us by Your grace, through Jesus Christ, Amen.

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