Take courage – Daily Bread #20

Read Acts 4

Questions To Answer:

Name someone you would describe as being bold? 

In what ways do they personify “boldness?”

Sometimes being bold can be mistaken for being rude or overbearing.  How do you strike a balance between being honest and being king?

What’s something you would like to do if you had more courage?

What would you say is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Why did the religious official seize Peter and John? What did they accuse them of doing?

How do Peter and John respond?

How you often respond to being criticized? 

How would you respond to being wrongly accused of a crime?

How do the believers respond to Peter and John’s predicament?

What do you read in Peter’s response that would lead you to believe it was empowered by the Holy Spirit?

What is the most difficult situation you’ve faced because of your faith in Christ? 

What do the believers pray for?

A Thought To Ponder:

Not long after Mother Theresa passed away, a collection of her journals and letters was published. Those writings revealed a surprise to the world. When Mother Theresa began her work with the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, it was with a profound sense of God’s call. At the age of 36, she heard God’s call and experienced what she described as a profound sense of God’s presence. 

But, throughout most of her work there in India, Mother Theresa experienced a deep loneliness and longing, and an overwhelming sense of the absence of God. In 1979, when she received the Nobel Peace prize, she told those who gathered to honor her, that “the radiating joy is real,” and “Christ is everywhere- Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile we receive.” But just a few weeks earlier, she had written to her spiritual director, “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.” 

One theologian called these writings of Mother Theresa “a ministry to people who have experienced some doubt, some absence of god in their lives. And you know who that is?” he asks. “Everybody. Atheists, doubters, seekers, believers, everyone.” 

It’s a good reminder that seasons of drought and doubt come to everyone. There is an ebb and flow to all of life. The wonderful thing about seasons is that they change. Whatever season you find yourself in today, remember that this is only a season.  The cold frost of winter is replaced with the warm sun of spring.  The harsh heat of a Texas summer is replaced by crisp fall afternoons.  When you find yourself in a prolonged period of fear, anxiety, or doubt, hold on to the promise that God makes all things beautiful in His time.

Scriptures To Read:

2 Timothy 1:6-9

6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.

Deuteronomy 31:6-8

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Isaiah 41:10-13

 
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 “All who rage against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
    will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.

Prayer For Change:

Our text this week offers the perfect prayer guideline. Use these beautiful words of scripture to form your own petition to God.

“Sovereign Lord,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.”

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

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