Signs and wonders

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After their release, Peter and John returned to the brothers and sisters and reported everything the chief priests and elders had said. They listened, then lifted their voices in unison to God, “Master, you are the one who created the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. You are the one who spoke by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:

Why did the Gentiles rage,

and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth took their stand

and the rulers gathered together as one

against the Lord and against his Christ.

Indeed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with Gentiles and Israelites, did gather in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and plan had already determined would happen. Now, Lord, take note of their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with complete confidence. Stretch out your hand to bring healing and enable signs and wonders to be performed through the name of Jesus, your holy servant.” After they prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking God’s word with confidence. ~ Acts 4:23-31 (CEB)

“Living in a multicultural world, the disciples easily could have remained silent about their dramatic encounter with God in Jesus Christ. In a world of many religions, they might understandably have been timid about even mentioning their faith in Jesus Christ. In a time when allegiance to the official religion often was demanded, they would have found it so much simpler to go along with the crowd.  In a time, when advocacy of any new religion was dangerous, they would have been so much safer to hide any evidence of faith in Jesus Christ.

However, these very risks and dangers that could have sent the disciples running in fact prompted them to pray for boldness to declare the gospel. They did not ask for security, relief from persecution, or the demise of opposition. They asked for boldness to declare the gospel. They were not longing for their own safety; they were longing for faithfulness. And as soon as their prayers subsided, the place where they were gathered was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31). Their prayers were instantly answered.

How often has the Christian community of which you are a member prayed for boldness to declare the gospel? Probably not very often since we don’t place a great value on boldness to declare the gospel. But what if we did? What difference would it make in our lives, our congregations, and the communities in which we live? The early disciples found that praying for boldness gave them the wisdom, the faith, and the power to live faithful and effective lives. What are we praying for today?” ~A Guide for All Who Seek God, Rueben p. Job

Almighty God, may the transforming power of your gospel be at work in my life today and always. Amen.

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