Today’s Bible Reading: Acts 1
I love the start of new things: new days, new months, new years. Sure, Feb. 1 doesn’t carry the same level of motivation as Jan. 1, but the start of any month feels so full of opportunity to me—to evaluate the past month, set goals for the next few weeks, and get excited for whatever God has planned next.
In today’s LivingItOut, we’re starting the month with our next book of the Bible: The Acts of the Apostles. Acts is the only book in the Bible that records the growth of the Christian church immediately after Jesus’ ascension. In Acts, we see a movement that didn’t have a lot going for it. One that probably should have quickly died off, but instead, as we got to read in Acts, it took off.
What do I mean by “not a lot going for it”? Well, Christianity was a relatively new, untested religion. Its leaders, the apostles, were not terribly experienced (and not exactly well-funded either). It carried a message of hope, but with that came harsh teachings that some people didn’t want to hear. And followers of Christianity faced serious persecution.
To this point, Christianity’s greatest strength had been Jesus. People were drawn to him: his love, wisdom, teachings, and miracles.
And in the first chapter of Acts, Jesus up and left.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.
If I’d been one of the apostles, my next statement would’ve been, “Now what?” Sure, Jesus had just done some amazing things, and the apostles had every reason to have faith in him, but like I said, the Christian church had a lot going against it. Personally, I would’ve been intimidated.
Maybe you’re at a place where you’re wondering, “Now what?” or “What’s next?”
It could be that you’re going through a rough patch. Or you received some bad news, and you’re not sure how to deal with it. It could be that things have been really great, but you don’t have a lot of clarity on where to go from here. Or maybe you’ve been stuck in the same place for a while, and there doesn’t seem to be any change in sight.
In these moments, we can learn a lot from the apostles. The apostles had a lot of things working against them, but they knew that Jesus was for them. Instead of panicking, worrying about what they were going to do next or how they were going to do it, or trying to accomplish the tasks before them on their own, they trusted that Jesus was in control. They stayed united, they waited as Jesus had told them to (Acts 1:4), and they prayed.
They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.
Whatever we’re facing, we can’t accomplish it on our own. Fortunately, we don’t have to. We have a community of believers in the local church to do life with, and with God, we can accomplish anything.
In what area of your life are you wondering either “Now what?” or “What’s next?”
When facing a “Now what?” moment, follow the example of the apostles.
Stay united with the people who are with you on your spiritual journey (your family, close friends, your Group). Let them know what you’re going through, whether it’s good or bad. Pray. Ask God for his guidance and wisdom.
If you’re not clear on what step to take or where God is leading you, wait! God is with us, but we must be with him and follow his will for our lives instead of hoping he’ll bless our will.
And once you have clarity on your next step, trust that God is in control, and act.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the miracle of your church. It flourished even with so much working against it, because it was from you. We place our trust in you, God. We know that as long as you are with us, nothing can stand against us. When we’re unsure where you are leading us next, teach us to turn our eyes to you. Give us your guidance and wisdom. Then, when it’s time to move, give us the faith and courage to act. May your will be done in us and through us. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently an intern at CedarCreek and works part-time at her local library. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.
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