Daily Devotionals 2021 - The Book of Acts

We hope you join us in this daily devotional for 2021.

June 19

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.   Matthew 4:1-2


Last week, my daughter Sherry and I were able to enjoy some family time with siblings and cousins in Palm Desert, CA.    It was a wonderful time of being together as a family.   A desert, especially in summer time is a very hot and dry place.   In the Bible, the desert is also depicted as an unfriendly and lonely place.   Matthew 4 tells us that Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the desert to be tempted by the Devil for forty days.   Also because of the disobedience of the children of Israel, they wandered in the desert for forty years.  


There are times in our spiritual life that we too may wander is the desert.   When Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the desert and the children of Israel wandered in the desert, God’s intention was to speak to them.   When we go through our personal desert experiences God’s intent is the same.   To speak tenderly to us.  When you are in the lonely and dry times of your spiritual life, remember the things that came from desert experiences in the Word of God.   Moses met God in the burning bush in the desert (Exodus 3).   Elijah received direction for his next step of ministry after he ran and hid in the wilderness (I Kings 19:15-18). Jesus came out of the of the desert after his temptation by Satan “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14).   


Thought For Today:  The desert experience can be a dry and barren place, but when God leads you into such a season, he has a purpose and will speak to you if you are willing to listen. Thank God for the desert experiences you go through.   Take time to listen to God as he tenderly speaks to you.   


Today’s Prayer Focus:   Ask God to speak to you and give you ears to hear what He is saying to you.    Deo Volente.   

--Pastor Ted Esaki


June 17 - Acts Chapter 13

There is a lot going on in this chapter and the Holt Spirit is very real and present, but I ask you to read through and then notice the very last verse. Think about what it means for you today, in your life. I hope it inspires something in your heart to seek God for.


The church at Antioch included prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (nicknamed Niger), Lucius from Cyrene, Manaen (a childhood friend of Herod the ruler), and Saul. As they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul to the work I have called them to undertake.” After they fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on these two and sent them off.

After the Holy Spirit sent them on their way, they went down to Seleucia. From there they sailed to Cyprus. In Salamis they proclaimed God’s word in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their assistant. They traveled throughout the island until they arrived at Paphos. There they found a certain man named Bar-Jesus, a Jew who was a false prophet and practiced sorcery. He kept company with the governor of that province, an intelligent man named Sergius Paulus. The governor sent for Barnabas and Saul since he wanted to hear God’s word. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that’s what people understood his name meant) opposed them, trying to steer the governor away from the faith. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Saul, also known as Paul, glared at Bar-Jesus and said, “You are a deceiver and trickster! You devil! You attack anything that is right! Will you never stop twisting the straight ways of the Lord into crooked paths? Listen! The Lord’s power is set against you. You will be blind for a while, unable even to see the daylight.” At once, Bar-Jesus’ eyes were darkened, and he began to grope about for someone to lead him around by the hand.When the governor saw what had taken place, he came to believe, for he was astonished by the teaching about the Lord.

Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia. John deserted them there and returned to Jerusalem.They went on from Perga and arrived at Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath, they entered and found seats in the synagogue there. After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue leaders invited them, “Brothers, if one of you has a sermon for the people, please speak.”

Standing up, Paul gestured with his hand and said, “Fellow Israelites and Gentile God-worshippers, please listen to me. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors. God made them a great people while they lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. With his great power, he led them out of that country.For about forty years, God put up with them in the wilderness. God conquered seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave the Israelites their land as an inheritance.This happened over a period of about four hundred fifty years.

“After this, he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. The Israelites requested a king, so God gave them Saul, Kish’s son, from the tribe of Benjamin, and he served as their king for forty years. After God removed him, he raised up David to be their king. God testified concerning him, ‘I have found David, Jesse’s son, a man who shares my desires.Whatever my will is, he will do.’ From this man’s descendants, God brought to Israel a savior, Jesus, just as he promised. Before Jesus’ appearance, John proclaimed to all the Israelites a baptism to show they were changing their hearts and lives. As John was completing his mission, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I’m not the one you think I am, but he is coming after me. I’m not worthy to loosen his sandals.’

“Brothers, children of Abraham’s family, and you Gentile God-worshippers, the message about this salvation has been sent to us. The people in Jerusalem and their leaders didn’t recognize Jesus. By condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Even though they didn’t find a single legal basis for the death penalty, they asked Pilate to have him executed.When they finished doing everything that had been written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead! He appeared over many days to those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people.

“We proclaim to you the good news. What God promised to our ancestors, he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it was written in the second psalm, You are my son; today I have become your father.

“God raised Jesus from the dead, never again to be subjected to death’s decay. Therefore, God said, I will give to you the holy and firm promises I made to David. In another place it is said, You will not let your holy one experience death’s decay. David served God’s purpose in his own generation, then he died and was buried with his ancestors. He experienced death’s decay, but the one whom God has raised up didn’t experience death’s decay.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, know this: Through Jesus we proclaim forgiveness of sins to you. From all those sins from which you couldn’t be put in right relationship with God through Moses’ Law,through Jesus everyone who believes is put in right relationship with God. Take care that the prophets’ words don’t apply to you:


Look, you scoffers,

    marvel and die.

I’m going to do work in your day —

    a work you won’t believe

    even if someone told you.”

As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people urged them to speak about these things again on the next Sabbath.When the people in the synagogue were dismissed, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism accompanied Paul and Barnabas, who urged them to remain faithful to the message of God’s grace.

On the next Sabbath, almost everyone in the city gathered to hear the Lord’s word. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were overcome with jealousy. They argued against what Paul was saying by slandering him.Speaking courageously, Paul and Barnabas said, “We had to speak God’s word to you first. Since you reject it and show that you are unworthy to receive eternal life, we will turn to the Gentiles.This is what the Lord commanded us:

I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

so that you could bring salvation to the end of the earth.”

When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and honored the Lord’s word. Everyone who was appointed for eternal life believed, and the Lord’s word was broadcast throughout the entire region. However, the Jews provoked the prominent women among the Gentile God-worshippers, as well as the city’s leaders. They instigated others to harass Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their district.Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from their feet and went to Iconium.Because of the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the disciples were overflowing with happiness.


June 16 - Acts Chapter 12

This chapter describes another supernatural incident in the early church. Sometimes we read this today as fairy tales. But today I’m asking you to red it as if it’s the newspaper or the online news. This actually happened and it happens today as well. Be expectant that God can and will speak to you and revise supernatural help to you when you need it.

As always, use these questions as a guide:

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are currently dealing with?


About that time King Herod began to harass some who belonged to the church. He had James, John’s brother, killed with a sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter as well. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. He put Peter in prison, handing him over to four squads of soldiers, sixteen in all, who guarded him. He planned to charge him publicly after the Passover. While Peter was held in prison, the church offered earnest prayer to God for him.

The night before Herod was going to bring Peter’s case forward, Peter was asleep between two soldiers and bound with two chains, with soldiers guarding the prison entrance.Suddenly an angel from the Lord appeared and a light shone in the prison cell. After nudging Peter on his side to awaken him, the angel raised him up and said, “Quick! Get up!” The chains fell from his wrists. The angel continued, “Get dressed. Put on your sandals.” Peter did as he was told. The angel said, “Put on your coat and follow me.”Following the angel, Peter left the prison. However, he didn’t realize the angel had actually done all this. He thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself. After leaving the prison, they proceeded the length of one street, when abruptly the angel was gone.

At that, Peter came to his senses and remarked, “Now I’m certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod and from everything the Jewish people expected.”Realizing this, he made his way to Mary’s house. (Mary was John’s mother; he was also known as Mark.) Many believers had gathered there and were praying. When Peter knocked at the outer gate, a female servant named Rhoda went to answer. She was so overcome with joy when she recognized Peter’s voice that she didn’t open the gate. Instead, she ran back in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate.

“You’ve lost your mind!” they responded. She stuck by her story with such determination that they began to say, “It must be his guardian angel.” Meanwhile, Peter remained outside, knocking at the gate. They finally opened the gate and saw him there, and they were astounded.

He gestured with his hand to quiet them down, then recounted how the Lord led him out of prison. He said, “Tell this to James and the brothers and sisters.” Then he left for another place.

The next morning the soldiers were flustered about what had happened to Peter. Herod called for a thorough search. When Peter didn’t turn up, Herod interrogated the guards and had them executed. Afterward, Herod left Judea in order to spend some time in Caesarea.

Herod had been furious with the people of Tyre and Sidon for some time. They made a pact to approach him together, since their region depended on the king’s realm for its food supply. They persuaded Blastus, the king’s personal attendant, to join their cause, then appealed for an end to hostilities. On the scheduled day Herod dressed himself in royal attire, seated himself on the throne, and gave a speech to the people.Those assembled kept shouting, over and over, “This is a god’s voice, not the voice of a mere human!” Immediately an angel from the Lord struck Herod down, because he didn’t give the honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died.

God’s word continued to grow and increase.Barnabas and Saul returned to Antioch from Jerusalem after completing their mission, bringing with them John, who was also known as Mark.


June 15 - Acts Chapter 11

What I find interesting in today’s chapter is how quickly the church - Jewish believers at the time - changed their mind about a revolutionary change in their faith - to accept believers from the Gentiles. At first they were firmly opposed, just like Peter wasn’t willing to eat anything unclean. Yet once Peter, inspired by the Spirit, spoke and told how it happened, they all believed him. When we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He is able to change our minds and renew them to new realities of God we do not expect or understand. Being led by the Spirit is the most important thing a Christian believer today can do.

As always, use these questions as a guide:

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are currently dealing with?

The apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God’s word. When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him. They accused him, “You went into the home of the uncircumcised and ate with them!”

Step-by-step, Peter explained what had happened. “I was in the city of Joppa praying when I had a visionary experience. In my vision, I saw something like a large linen sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners. It came all the way down to me.As I stared at it, wondering what it was, I saw four-legged animals—including wild beasts—as well as reptiles and wild birds. I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!’ I responded, ‘Absolutely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ The voice from heaven spoke a second time, ‘Never consider unclean what God has made pure.’ This happened three times, then everything was pulled back into heaven.At that moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying.The Spirit told me to go with them even though they were Gentiles. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered that man’s house. He reported to us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is known as Peter. He will tell you how you and your entire household can be saved.’ When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as the Spirit fell on us in the beginning. I remembered the Lord’s words: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then who am I? Could I stand in God’s way?”

Once the apostles and other believers heard this, they calmed down. They praised God and concluded, “So then God has enabled Gentiles to change their hearts and lives so that they might have new life.”

Now those who were scattered as a result of the trouble that occurred because of Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. They proclaimed the word only to Jews.Among them were some people from Cyprus and Cyrene. They entered Antioch and began to proclaim the good news about the Lord Jesus also to Gentiles. The Lord’s power was with them, and a large number came to believe and turned to the Lord.

When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw evidence of God’s grace, he was overjoyed and encouraged everyone to remain fully committed to the Lord. Barnabas responded in this way because he was a good man, whom the Holy Spirit had endowed with exceptional faith. A considerable number of people were added to the Lord. Barnabas went to Tarsus in search of Saul.When he found him, he brought him to Antioch. They were there for a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching large numbers of people. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first labeled “Christians.”

About that time, some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, Agabus, stood up and, inspired by the Spirit, predicted that a severe famine would overtake the entire Roman world. (This occurred during Claudius’ rule.) The disciples decided they would send support to the brothers and sisters in Judea, with everyone contributing to this ministry according to each person’s abundance. They sent Barnabas and Saul to take this gift to the elders.


June 14 - Acts Chapter 10

Hi church, apologies for the lagging devotionals, I've been very busy lately. Next chapter in Acts is famous for getting all of us, who are not Jewish, into the Kingdom of God. In it we have a vision of an angel speaking to a person, we have Peter seeing a vision from God and hearing a voice, and lastly we have the Holy Spirit coming on the gentiles with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. All these are true Godly experiences and they do happen today as well. They are not common, and for many people they will happen once in a lifetime, but they are nonetheless real encounters with God. Let us be open to hear from the Lord in all the various ways He speaks, and not be scared of the visions, angels and different manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

As always, use these questions as a guide:

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Company. He and his whole household were pious, Gentile God-worshippers. He gave generously to those in need among the Jewish people and prayed to God constantly. One day at nearly three o’clock in the afternoon, he clearly saw an angel from God in a vision. The angel came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Startled, he stared at the angel and replied, “What is it, Lord?”

The angel said, “Your prayers and your compassionate acts are like a memorial offering to God. Send messengers to Joppa at once and summon a certain Simon, the one known as Peter. He is a guest of Simon the tanner, whose house is near the seacoast.” When the angel who was speaking to him had gone, Cornelius summoned two of his household servants along with a pious soldier from his personal staff.He explained everything to them, then sent them to Joppa.

At noon on the following day, as their journey brought them close to the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted to eat. While others were preparing the meal, he had a visionary experience. He saw heaven opened up and something like a large linen sheet being lowered to the earth by its four corners. Inside the sheet were all kinds of four-legged animals, reptiles, and wild birds. A voice told him, “Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!”

Peter exclaimed, “Absolutely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

The voice spoke a second time, “Never consider unclean what God has made pure.” This happened three times, then the object was suddenly pulled back into heaven.

Peter was bewildered about the meaning of the vision. Just then, the messengers sent by Cornelius discovered the whereabouts of Simon’s house and arrived at the gate.Calling out, they inquired whether the Simon known as Peter was a guest there.

While Peter was brooding over the vision, the Spirit interrupted him, “Look! Three people are looking for you. Go downstairs. Don’t ask questions; just go with them because I have sent them.”

So Peter went downstairs and told them, “I’m the one you are looking for. Why have you come?”

They replied, “We’ve come on behalf of Cornelius, a centurion and righteous man, a God-worshipper who is well-respected by all Jewish people. A holy angel directed him to summon you to his house and to hear what you have to say.”Peter invited them into the house as his guests.

The next day he got up and went with them, together with some of the believers from Joppa. They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Anticipating their arrival, Cornelius had gathered his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in order to honor him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Get up! Like you, I’m just a human.” As they continued to talk, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them, “You all realize that it is forbidden for a Jew to associate or visit with outsiders. However, God has shown me that I should never call a person impure or unclean. For this reason, when you sent for me, I came without objection. I want to know, then, why you sent for me.”

Cornelius answered, “Four days ago at this same time, three o’clock in the afternoon, I was praying at home. Suddenly a man in radiant clothing stood before me. He said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayers, and your compassionate acts are like a memorial offering to him. Therefore, send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is known as Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, located near the seacoast.’ I sent for you right away, and you were kind enough to come. Now, here we are, gathered in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has directed you to say.”

Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him. This is the message of peace he sent to the Israelites by proclaiming the good news through Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all! You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism John preached.You know about Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and endowed with power. Jesus traveled around doing good and healing everyone oppressed by the devil because God was with him. We are witnesses of everything he did, both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him up on the third day and allowed him to be seen, not by everyone but by us. We are witnesses whom God chose beforehand, who ate and drank with him after God raised him from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on everyone who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. They heard them speaking in other languages and praising God. Peter asked, “These people have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. Surely no one can stop them from being baptized with water, can they?” He directed that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited Peter to stay for several days.


June 8 - Acts Chapter 9

Being filled with the Spirit is a real experience. It happened to Paul, who threatened the church and later became a Christian after seeing Jesus, because a disciple laid hands on him. Today this phrase is used by different denominations differently and sometimes it has left unpleasant experiences in people. But being filled with the Spirit is something that Bible specifically talks about. Today I ask you to have an open mind to God and the Spirit, and decide to seek the Spirit to know and understand that true experience for you personally. Be bold in seeking the Spirit, He is here to help us and be our strengthener.

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


Meanwhile, Saul was still spewing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest,seeking letters to the synagogues in Damascus. If he found persons who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, these letters would authorize him to take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. During the journey, as he approached Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven encircled him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice asking him, “Saul, Saul, why are you harassing me?”

Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?”

“I am Jesus, whom you are harassing,” came the reply. “Now get up and enter the city. You will be told what you must do.”

Those traveling with him stood there speechless; they heard the voice but saw no one. After they picked Saul up from the ground, he opened his eyes but he couldn’t see. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind and neither ate nor drank anything.

In Damascus there was a certain disciple named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

He answered, “Yes, Lord.”

The Lord instructed him, “Go to Judas’ house on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias enter and put his hands on him to restore his sight.”

Ananias countered, “Lord, I have heard many reports about this man. People say he has done horrible things to your holy people in Jerusalem. He’s here with authority from the chief priests to arrest everyone who calls on your name.”

The Lord replied, “Go! This man is the agent I have chosen to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

Ananias went to the house. He placed his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord sent me—Jesus, who appeared to you on the way as you were coming here. He sent me so that you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”Instantly, flakes fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. He got up and was baptized. After eating, he regained his strength.

He stayed with the disciples in Damascus for several days.Right away, he began to preach about Jesus in the synagogues. “He is God’s Son,” he declared.

Everyone who heard him was baffled. They questioned each other, “Isn’t he the one who was wreaking havoc among those in Jerusalem who called on this name? Hadn’t he come here to take those same people as prisoners to the chief priests?”

But Saul grew stronger and stronger. He confused the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

After this had gone on for some time, the Jews hatched a plot to kill Saul. However, he found out about their scheme. They were keeping watch at the city gates around the clock so they could assassinate him. But his disciples took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the city wall.

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him. They didn’t believe he was really a disciple. Then Barnabas brought Saul to the apostles and told them the story about how Saul saw the Lord on the way and that the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them about the confidence with which Saul had preached in the name of Jesus in Damascus. After this, Saul moved freely among the disciples in Jerusalem and was speaking with confidence in the name of the Lord. He got into debates with the Greek-speaking Jews as well, but they tried to kill him.When the family of believers learned about this, they escorted him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. God strengthened the church, and its life was marked by reverence for the Lord. Encouraged by the Holy Spirit, the church continued to grow in numbers.

As Peter toured the whole region, he went to visit God’s holy people in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas who was paralyzed and had been confined to his bed for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and make your bed.” At once he got up. Everyone who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas). Her life overflowed with good works and compassionate acts on behalf of those in need. About that time, though, she became so ill that she died. After they washed her body, they laid her in an upstairs room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two people to Peter. They urged, “Please come right away!” Peter went with them. Upon his arrival, he was taken to the upstairs room. All the widows stood beside him, crying as they showed the tunics and other clothing Dorcas made when she was alive.

Peter sent everyone out of the room, then knelt and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. He gave her his hand and raised her up. Then he called God’s holy people, including the widows, and presented her alive to them. The news spread throughout Joppa, and many put their faith in the Lord. Peter stayed for some time in Joppa with a certain tanner named Simon.

June 7 - Acts Chapter 8

We are learning about the Holy Spirit and how to hear from the Holy Spirit. This chapter has one of the best examples of the Spirit speaking to a believer, not a vision, not an angel in the flesh, but the Spirit inside speaking to a person. Ask the Lord to open your eyes and heart to our reality that we can hear daily from the Holy Spirit.

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


Saul was in full agreement with Stephen’s murder.

At that time, the church in Jerusalem began to be subjected to vicious harassment. Everyone except the apostles was scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.Some pious men buried Stephen and deeply grieved over him. Saul began to wreak havoc against the church. Entering one house after another, he would drag off both men and women and throw them into prison.

Those who had been scattered moved on, preaching the good news along the way. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and began to preach Christ to them. The crowds were united by what they heard Philip say and the signs they saw him perform, and they gave him their undivided attention. With loud shrieks, unclean spirits came out of many people, and many who were paralyzed or crippled were healed. There was great rejoicing in that city.

Before Philip’s arrival, a certain man named Simon had practiced sorcery in that city and baffled the people of Samaria. He claimed to be a great person. Everyone, from the least to the greatest, gave him their undivided attention and referred to him as “the power of God called Great.” He had their attention because he had baffled them with sorcery for a long time. After they came to believe Philip, who preached the good news about God’s kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Even Simon himself came to believe and was baptized. Afterward, he became one of Philip’s supporters. As he saw firsthand the signs and great miracles that were happening, he was astonished.

When word reached the apostles in Jerusalem that Samaria had accepted God’s word, they commissioned Peter and John to go to Samaria. Peter and John went down to Samaria where they prayed that the new believers would receive the Holy Spirit. (This was because the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) So Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

When Simon perceived that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money. He said, “Give me this authority too so that anyone on whom I lay my hands will receive the Holy Spirit.”

Peter responded, “May your money be condemned to hell along with you because you believed you could buy God’s gift with money! You can have no part or share in God’s word because your heart isn’t right with God. Therefore, change your heart and life! Turn from your wickedness! Plead with the Lord in the hope that your wicked intent can be forgiven,for I see that your bitterness has poisoned you and evil has you in chains.”

Simon replied, “All of you, please, plead to the Lord for me so that nothing of what you have said will happen to me!” After the apostles had testified and proclaimed the Lord’s word, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the good news to many Samaritan villages along the way.

An angel from the Lord spoke to Philip, “At noon, take the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) So he did. Meanwhile, an Ethiopian man was on his way home from Jerusalem, where he had come to worship. He was a eunuch and an official responsible for the entire treasury of Candace. (Candace is the title given to the Ethiopian queen.) He was reading the prophet Isaiah while sitting in his carriage. The Spirit told Philip, “Approach this carriage and stay with it.”

Running up to the carriage, Philip heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?”

The man replied, “Without someone to guide me, how could I?” Then he invited Philip to climb up and sit with him. This was the passage of scripture he was reading:


Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter

    and like a lamb before its shearer is silent

    so he didn’t open his mouth.

In his humiliation justice was taken away from him.

    Who can tell the story of his descendants

        because his life was taken from the earth?

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? Is he talking about himself or someone else?” Starting with that passage, Philip proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. As they went down the road, they came to some water.

The eunuch said, “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” He ordered that the carriage halt. Both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, where Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Lord’s Spirit suddenly took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found himself in Azotus. He traveled through that area, preaching the good news in all the cities until he reached Caesarea.


June 5 - Acts Chapter 7

Stephen is the first person recorded to die for his faith in Jesus. I've read and seen movies of martyr stories many times, but I can't say I can imagine what that's like. But in this account Stephen doesn't seem to struggle or have any fear of the consequences - which is the true and most significant part of our salvation - death has no power over us. Notice the role of the Holy Spirit at the end - and the words used to describe how He helped Stephen.

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


The high priest asked, “Are these accusations true?”

Stephen responded, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran. God told him, ‘Leave your homeland and kin, and go to the land that I will show you.’ So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After Abraham’s father died, God had him resettle in this land where you now live. God didn’t give him an inheritance here, not even a square foot of land. However, God did promise to give the land as his possession to him and to his descendants, even though Abraham had no child. God put it this way: His descendants will be strangers in a land that belongs to others, who will enslave them and abuse them for four hundred years. And I will condemn the nation they serve as slaves, God said, and afterward they will leave that land and serve me in this place. God gave him the covenant confirmed through circumcision. Accordingly, eight days after Isaac’s birth, Abraham circumcised him. Isaac did the same with Jacob, and Jacob with the twelve patriarchs.

“Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him into slavery in Egypt. God was with him, however, and rescued him from all his troubles. The grace and wisdom he gave Joseph were recognized by Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over his whole palace. A famine came upon all Egypt and Canaan, and great hardship came with it. Our ancestors had nothing to eat.When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there for the first time. During their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. Joseph sent for his father Jacob and all his relatives—seventy-five in all—and invited them to live with him. So Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had purchased for a certain sum of money from Hamor’s children, who lived in Shechem.

“When it was time for God to keep the promise he made to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly expanded. But then another king rose to power over Egypt who didn’t know anything about Joseph. He exploited our people and abused our ancestors. He even forced them to abandon their newly born babies so they would die. That’s when Moses was born. He was highly favored by God, and for three months his parents cared for him in their home.After he was abandoned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted and cared for him as though he were her own son. Moses learned everything Egyptian wisdom had to offer, and he was a man of powerful words and deeds.

“When Moses was 40 years old, he decided to visit his family, the Israelites. He saw one of them being wronged so he came to his rescue and evened the score by killing the Egyptian. He expected his own kin to understand that God was using him to rescue them, but they didn’t. The next day he came upon some Israelites who were caught up in an argument. He tried to make peace between them by saying, ‘You are brothers! Why are you harming each other?’ The one who started the fight against his neighbor pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who appointed you as our leader and judge?Are you planning to kill me like you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’ When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he lived as an immigrant and had two sons.

“Forty years later, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush in the wilderness near Mount Sinai.Enthralled by the sight, Moses approached to get a closer look and he heard the Lord’s voice: ‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Trembling with fear, Moses didn’t dare to investigate any further. The Lord continued, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have clearly seen the oppression my people have experienced in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning. I have come down to rescue them. Come! I am sending you to Egypt.’

“This is the same Moses whom they rejected when they asked, ‘Who appointed you as our leader and judge?’ This is the Moses whom God sent as leader and deliverer. God did this with the help of the angel who appeared before him in the bush. This man led them out after he performed wonders and signs in Egypt at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness. This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’This is the one who was in the assembly in the wilderness with our ancestors and with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai. He is the one who received life-giving words to give to us. He’s also the one whom our ancestors refused to obey. Instead, they pushed him aside and, in their thoughts and desires, returned to Egypt. They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods that will lead us. As for this Moses who led us out of Egypt, we don’t know what’s happened to him!’ That’s when they made an idol in the shape of a calf, offered a sacrifice to it, and began to celebrate what they had made with their own hands. So God turned away from them and handed them over to worship the stars in the sky, just as it is written in the scroll of the Prophets:


Did you bring sacrifices and offerings to me

    for forty years in the wilderness, house of Israel?

No! Instead, you took the tent of Moloch with you,

    and the star of your god Rephan,

    the images that you made in order to worship them.

        Therefore, I will send you far away, farther than Babylon.

“The tent of testimony was with our ancestors in the wilderness. Moses built it just as he had been instructed by the one who spoke to him and according to the pattern he had seen. In time, when they had received the tent, our ancestors carried it with them when, under Joshua’s leadership, they took possession of the land from the nations whom God expelled. This tent remained in the land until the time of David. God approved of David, who asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who actually built a house for God. However, the Most High doesn’t live in houses built by human hands. As the prophet says,


Heaven is my throne,

    and the earth is my footstool.

‘What kind of house will you build for me,’ says the Lord,

    ‘or where is my resting place?

Didn’t I make all these things with my own hand?’

“You stubborn people! In your thoughts and hearing, you are like those who have had no part in God’s covenant! You continuously set yourself against the Holy Spirit, just like your ancestors did. Was there a single prophet your ancestors didn’t harass? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the righteous one, and you’ve betrayed and murdered him! You received the Law given by angels, but you haven’t kept it.”

Once the council members heard these words, they were enraged and began to grind their teeth at Stephen. But Stephen, enabled by the Holy Spirit, stared into heaven and saw God’s majesty and Jesus standing at God’s right side.He exclaimed, “Look! I can see heaven on display and the Human One standing at God’s right side!” At this, they shrieked and covered their ears. Together, they charged at him, threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses placed their coats in the care of a young man named Saul. As they battered him with stones, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, accept my life!” Falling to his knees, he shouted, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them!” Then he died.


June 4- Acts Chapter 6

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”


This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.


So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.


Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.


Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”


So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”


All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


June 2- Acts Chapter 5

The beginning story is strange in this chapter, but also very direct. You cannot lie to the Spirit and get away with it. You need to be real with yourself and God and lying to the Spirit could be an invitation for the enemy into your heart.

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.


Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”


When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.


About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”


“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”


Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”


At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.


The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.


Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”


At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.


When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to.


Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.


The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”


Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”


When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”


His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.


The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.


June 1- Acts Chapter 4

The preaching of the Gospel continues from Peter in this chapter. Read the words preached and then see the results at the end of the chapter. At the end of the chapter, you will see what a true community looks like in the power of the Lord. It is a group of people who give up everything for one another and performs signs and wonders. This is the goal of all churches and I ask you to think about how we can create this same community at Union. Again, as always, think about these questions as well.

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.


The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”


Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is


“‘the stone you builders rejected,

  which has become the cornerstone.’


Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”


When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”


Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”


After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.


On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:


“‘Why do the nations rage

  and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth rise up

  and the rulers band together

against the Lord

  and against his anointed one.’


Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”


After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.


All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.


Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.


May 30

Seek the LORD, and His strength: seek His face evermore. Remember His marvelous works that He hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of His mouth . . . He hath remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.” Psalms 105:4, 5, 8


In Yesterday’s devotion I mentioned that Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who have fallen in our nation’s wars. Sadly, the day and this weekend will pass and most of us will be so caught up in picnics, family gatherings, or outdoor projects that we won’t even give much thought to the real meaning of the day.  


But by remembering the meaning of Memorial Day, it brings us back to the reality of what actually happened. It also encourages us to see the dedication of those who fought and died. Remembering stirs within us a sense of gratitude and appreciation, and it strengthens our resolve to do our part in serving God, country and others.


Throughout the Bible, God’s people are instructed to stop and recall what He did for them. Psalm 105 is a song of remembrance of God’s goodness to His beloved ones. It traces His direction, provision and protection through their history and the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. As believers in the 21st century, we can look back over a much longer history and see how God’s plan has and is unfolding, and observe His incredible goodness to us. 


Thought For Today: What do you recall as gracious works of God in your life?  In what ways can you remember God’s goodness to you, your loved ones and our church  To whom can you tell about God’s goodness?


Today’s Prayer Focus: Take time today to thank God for His goodness and graciousness in your life.  Pray that God will give you opportunity to tell others of His goodness.  



May 29


Daily Devotion For May 29, 2021


The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 


This is Memorial Day Weekend. For many people it represents the “official” start of summer.  Memorial Day, however is a day of remembrance. A day to remember the more than 1.3 million American Military women and men who over the last 245 years paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that we so often take for granted and enjoy each and every day.  


Since September 11, 2001, nearly 7000 American troops have lost their lives.  Each one of those fallen soldiers has left behind loved ones who continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones. For some people, Memorial Day represents gathering with family and friends and barbequing hot dogs and hamburgers.  For others, it will be a day of placing flowers on the grave of a loved one.


Thought For Today: As we celebrate the start of summer, let’s pause to remember those who died in the service of our country, thank God for their sacrifice, pray for their families, and, most of all, pray for peace.  


Today’s Prayer Focus:  Thank God for those who went before us, making our freedom possible and those who continue to battle for our country’s safety and survival. Just as we must remember that our salvation was because of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, let us never forget that the freedom we enjoy as a nation came at a great sacrifice, as well. Continue to pray this week’s prayer fuel. Deo Volente



May 28- Acts Chapter 3

In this chapter, Peter and John heal a lame person. It was the custom that people with disabilities could not enter the temple area nor would people look them in the eyes. They were seen as unclean and contagious in a sense. Here Peter and John look him in the eyes, performed a miracle, and then brought the man in. They broke the rules to prove a point and send a message that there is a new convenient and new ways things will be done. God has come for all people and not just the Jews. All will have access to the Holy Temple. Peter then proceeds to preach the Gospel to the people in the temple at the period where the most amount of the people were in attendance. Think about the statement and the miracle Peter performs and as always answer these questions.

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.


Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.


While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.


“Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’


“Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”


May 27 - Acts Chapter 2

This chapter describes the disciples who received the Holy Spirit being as if drunk with wine! I've experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in some ways, but not quite like that. I do hope to experience it one day. I think knowing the Lord well is a much more powerful experience than we understand. Again, we you read this chapter, expect some new and fresh understanding from the Holy Spirit.

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting.They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”

Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:


In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

    Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

    Your young will see visions.

    Your elders will dream dreams.

    Even upon my servants, men and women,

        I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

        and they will prophesy.

I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above

    and signs on the earth below,

        blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.

The sun will be changed into darkness,

    and the moon will be changed into blood,

        before the great and spectacular day of the Lord comes.

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

“Fellow Israelites, listen to these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a man whose credentials God proved to you through miracles, wonders, and signs, which God performed through him among you. You yourselves know this. In accordance with God’s established plan and foreknowledge, he was betrayed. You, with the help of wicked men, had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. God raised him up! God freed him from death’s dreadful grip, since it was impossible for death to hang on to him. David says about him,


I foresaw that the Lord was always with me;

    because he is at my right hand I won’t be shaken.

Therefore, my heart was glad

    and my tongue rejoiced.

Moreover, my body will live in hope,

        because you won’t abandon me to the grave,

    nor permit your holy one to experience decay.

You have shown me the paths of life;

    your presence will fill me with happiness.

“Brothers and sisters, I can speak confidently about the patriarch David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this very day. Because he was a prophet, he knew that God promised him with a solemn pledge to seat one of his descendants on his throne. Having seen this beforehand, David spoke about the resurrection of Christ, that he wasn’t abandoned to the grave, nor did his body experience decay.This Jesus God raised up. We are all witnesses to that fact.He was exalted to God’s right side and received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit. He poured out this Spirit, and you are seeing and hearing the results of his having done so. David didn’t ascend into heaven. Yet he says,


The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right side,

    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’

“Therefore, let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites.”With many other words he testified to them and encouraged them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized. God brought about three thousand people into the community on that day.

The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers.A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. All the believers were united and shared everything. They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.


May 26 - Acts Chapter 1

The book of Acts was written by Luke, who also wrote the Gospel of Luke in about AD 62. Originally the gospel of Luke and what we know today as the book of Acts were one corpus, but they were later separated to create continuity in the gospels. The more interesting fact for me is that originally, in the early church history, the Acts of the Apostles wasn't called that at all, it was called the Acts of the Holy Spirit! I remember a pastor saying "As you read Acts, notice how often you see 'the Spirit said this', or 'by the Spirit' this and that." As we learn more about the Holy Spirit, please look for how He guided and influenced people in this book. Here are our guiding questions again.

  1. Is there anything that stands out to you in this passage?
  2. Did you notice anything that you hadn’t noticed before?
  3. Does any text bring thoughts that relate to something you are dealing with currently?


Theophilus, the first scroll I wrote concerned everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning, right up to the day when he was taken up into heaven. Before he was taken up, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed them that he was alive with many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, speaking to them about God’s kingdom. While they were eating together, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. He said, “This is what you heard from me:John baptized with water, but in only a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?”

Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven.”

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a sabbath day’s journey away.When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter, John, James, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James, Alphaeus’ son; Simon the zealot; and Judas, James’ son— all were united in their devotion to prayer, along with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

During this time, the family of believers was a company of about one hundred twenty persons. Peter stood among them and said, “Brothers and sisters, the scripture that the Holy Spirit announced beforehand through David had to be fulfilled. This was the scripture concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus. This happened even though he was one of us and received a share of this ministry.” (In fact, he bought a field with the payment he received for his injustice. Falling headfirst, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines spilled out.This became known to everyone living in Jerusalem, so they called that field in their own language Hakeldama, or “Field of Blood.”) “It is written in the Psalms scroll,


Let his home become deserted and let there be no one living in it;

and


Give his position of leadership to another.

“Therefore, we must select one of those who have accompanied us during the whole time the Lord Jesus lived among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when Jesus was taken from us. This person must become along with us a witness to his resurrection.” So they nominated two: Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.

They prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s deepest thoughts and desires. Show us clearly which one you have chosen from among these two to take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” When they cast lots, the lot fell on Matthias. He was added to the eleven apostles.

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