Monday, July 17, 2017

living in Acts 29 -- part 1 of 12

The Word for today:
Acts 22:17-29
Stand in the Rain, when it mentions "us" at all, does so only tangentially. We enter the picture only when we happen to cross the path of Jesus, who is scripture's Alpha, Omega, and the all in all in between.
But two books of the Bible are specifically devoted to us in relationship to Him. Those books are Psalms, in the Old Testament, and Acts in the New Testament.
Psalms is about the heart. It shows us in close proximity to God, learning to trust him more and more. The Psalms are like the three years the apostles were in Jesus' company, day in and day out. They listened to him, talked with him, walked with him, prayed with him; they were encouraged by him, and they felt the lash of his tongue in rebuke. They grew up, spiritually, by means of their sheer proximity to Him.
The Psalms show a relationship with God in all its various stages--immaturity, doubt, elation, growing trust, intermittent despair, reassurance, backsliding, recommitment…you name it. Think of Psalms as the journal of the heart as it undergoes renovation, as it is being conformed to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)
And then think of Acts as the body, in action, doing that which the heart was inspired and strengthened to do.
God's plan for us works from the inside out. He first changes the heart, then those changes work their way to head, tongue, arms, hands, and fingertips. What starts in the heart is translated into action. Acts shows the word, first sown in the heart, as it becomes flesh in the lives of believers.
Over the next dozen days, we're going to depart from the details of the book of Acts. We trust that you can read about all of Paul's various legal difficulties, which dominate Acts from chapter 22 through chapter 28.
We're going to fly right over those chapters in order to spend a dozen days in Acts 29. You won't find "Acts 29" printed in your Bible, but that's where we're going. So we hope you're here tomorrow, when we'll enter this implicit realm.

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