The saints who came before

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 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. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. ~Acts 4:32-37 (CEB)

“The way early disciples lived mystified people around them because the disciples seemed to live in another world, the principles that guided them clearly differed from those that guided others. They practiced a way of life both beautiful and mysterious. Their lives made sense only if one knew that they were living by the power and guidance of God. Their lives were governed by the reign of God and not by the press of politics of the call of culture. They were different because they chose to live their lives in obedience to and in the presence of God. Their radical love for God and neighbor resulted in dramatic actions that perplexed all who observed them.

When we move securely into the reign and presence of God, our lives also take on a beautiful and mysterious quality because God’s presence and principles are being expressed in all that we are and in all that we do. Our actions prompt sometimes gratitude and sometimes perplexity in others. They prompt sometimes joy and gratitude within our lives and sometimes weariness when our radical actions are misunderstood.

But we are not alone. The first-generation Christians lived this radical faith every day. Their actions caught the world’s attention both positively and negatively, but their actions- like ours- were not calculated to bring a response; rather, their actions and ours are a response. A response to God’s amazing grace that accepts us, assures us, sustains us, and always holds us close in the embrace of divine love. Such radical grace prompts a radical response.” From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

O God, prepare me, through the active presence of Your Spirit, to come before You worthily and to ask of You rightly; enlighten my understanding; purify my every desire; quicken my will to instant obedience to Your Word; strengthen every right purpose; direct me in Your way; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. ~adapted from The Book of Worship

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