July 21

Today's Bible Readings
     Judges 4
     Acts 8
     Jeremiah 18
     Mark 3
“Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. And there was great joy in the city.”
(Acts 8:4,8)
            Stephen was killed and a man named Saul consented to his death. Another deacon kept going and kept preaching. His name was Philip and God accompanied his ministry with exorcisms and healings. Wherever he went, great joy was brought because of the message of salvation and deliverance. The story of the early church and its growth is the story of the greatest revolution in the history of the planet. The Book of Acts could be called the ''Acts of the Holy Spirit'' for it is certainly the unfolding narrative of the work of the Holy Spirit through the lives of God's people and God's churches in the first century after Christ. It is the story of the upsetting of the world. (Acts 17:6) No movement has ever had so dramatic an impact on every level of society as has the propagation of the Christian Gospel. This is the story of how God took little groups of simple, poor, and mostly uneducated folks and shook their world for Christ, turning the Roman Empire upside down. It is the story of how they overcame great distances and inadequate transportation, language barriers, political alliances, and strong satanic opposition. Humanly speaking, you could write over their assignment, Mission Impossible, and yet the Holy Spirit accomplished through them what God had given them to do.
            The Spirit-filled men and women of the Book of Acts went out as heralds from the High Courts of Heaven, proclaiming the Good News of salvation. These witnesses were not sightseers, but soul-winners; not politicians, but preachers. They stirred the synagogues, penetrated the palaces, and mastered the markets. They riled the Romans, altered Asia, and captured their cities for Christ.
            Dr. Luke wrote Volume one about the life of Jesus, and Volume two on the life of the early church. Today, we are writing Volume three. God has given us, in the Book of Acts, a pattern from which the church of our day is to be built. Acts is never finished.  The book simply stops, but the Acts are to be continued until Jesus comes for His church.
            As Dr. Luke ends his Gospel with our Lord's ascension, he now begins from it, so the second account is a continuation of the first. The ascension of Jesus did not rob His followers of His presence. He was with them more after He had left them than He ever was before.  This book is the amazing epic of what the crucified, risen, ascended Jesus continued to do by His Spirit through His chosen witnesses. What an encouragement this book becomes to us.  We do not merely work for Jesus. It is He Himself, in us, working with us and through us. Remember…we are writing Volume three.
            Off the coast of Venezuelayou will find the islands of Trinidadand Tobago. These islands represent a population of
1.3 million with Christianity the leading religion. There is a strong segment of Hinduism and Muslim, however, on the islands. The Christian church is very fragmented on these islands. There is no cohesion to common spiritual goals. There is a lack of national vision and purpose, and many “Christian”families are dysfunctional. Pray for revival to enliven and empower the church.
“Men are not to be judged by what they do not know, but by what they know, and by the manner in which they know it.”