The Perfect Church Part 4: Real Hope

Jesus Christ brings to the world something it desperately needs: Hope. And by hope, I don’t just mean wishful thinking. I mean real hope. In Scripture when the Bible uses the word “hope,” it’s referring to something we can expect with confidence, a sure thing. (Read 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)

For the believer that hope includes a guaranteed home in heaven, and the sure return of the Lord Himself. That kind of hope should be overflowing our lives. It should be contagious. Continue reading

Acts on Prayer — Praying Through the Pain

Acts 20:36-38

(36)  And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
(37)  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,
(38)  Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

I like football. Anyone who knows me, knows I like football. (American football, that is.) It’s the only sport I watch with any kind of regularity. I enjoy the strategy, the athleticism, and the plain old excitement of the game. When you watch a game, it’s not uncommon to hear a commentator say that one or more of the players is playing with an injury. They call it “playing through the pain.” I admire that because I am not sure if I would have the same grit or determination. But you know something? As admirable as it is to play through a game when you’re hurt, life is tougher than football. Continue reading

Acts on Prayer – Super Powers

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power…over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Christians are powerless because they fail to claim what they already have in Christ. This is either through neglect, ignorance, or unbelief. Paul had no such hesitations because he was completely “sold” on God. The fact is, we have no excuse to be just like Paul. Continue reading

Acts on Prayer – The Macedonian Call

Acts 16:7-9

(7)  After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

(8)  And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

(9)  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

While this is commonly known as the Macedonian call, it didn’t happen without some Macedonians praying. It’s how missionaries get to the mission field:

Matthew 9:38 “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Continue reading

Acts on Prayer – And Fasting

I have to admit, praying I can do. Fasting is a difficulty for me. So this post was a difficult one to put up. But in Scripture fasting and prayer go hand in hand. Those who did it, did not always fast and pray. It was usually reserved for times when real guidance was needed. In the book of Acts there are at least three occasions when fasting and prayer are specifically mentioned: Continue reading

Acts on Prayer – Have a Crisis? If You Have God, Problem Solved!

Acts 12:1-3

(1)  Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

(2)  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

(3) And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

Peter was on death row for his faith. Because he was imprisoned during the Passover (the time of unleavened bread), his execution was not immediate, but as far as Herod (Agrippa) was concerned, it was certain. In response to the crisis, the church held an all-night vigil, burned candles, and alerted the media in order to raise awareness of Peter’s plight. Oh, and thankfully, they had their lawyers on speed dial. (They has Sprinticus.) No. That likely would have been our response today, but for Peter “…prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5). Continue reading

Acts on Prayer – Sometimes God Changes the Agenda.

When Cornelius prayed to God in Acts chapter 10, the Lord answered his prayers by telling him: “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” Then he told him to send men to Joppa and look for Simon Peter (Acts 10:1-5) who was lodging at the home of Simon the Tanner. God was preparing to change Cornelius’ perspective by revealing to him salvation through Jesus Christ.

The next day, God was also answering Peter’s prayers. Continue reading

Acts on Prayer – A Man Who Moves God

Isaiah 66:1-2

(1)  Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

(2)  For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Acts chapter 10 records for us the wonderful conversion of Cornelius. Scripture tells us that this man was a Roman centurion. It is possible he might have been the centurion Luke mentions in chapter 7 of his gospel (Luke 7:1-9). Whether he was or was not is not the point. What we need to learn from Cornelius is how this Roman centurion, clearly a Gentile, and most likely brought up in idolatry, got hold of the God of heaven? While that level of communion with God is rare, it is not mysterious. We can see it clearly played out in Cornelius’ life: Continue reading