Thursday, February 19, 2015

Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1)

"Winter Window 2015"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

It is so cold and snowy out still... I hope we get some sunshine soon. -2  degrees tonight.  I found this cute slideshow of animals playing in the snow:

When I think about some of the other countries and even states like Alaska, I really am acting a bit wimpy...  We usually don't have snow after the beginning of March.  I am finally figuring out my Nikon camera.  Decided I should just be brave and dive into the manuals.  I love to do art not so much read about it... 

Chapter 1
It's believed that this book was written by Luke, the doctor.  If you read the Gospel of Luke you'll notice he has a lot more compassion than Matthew who was a tax collector.  This book was written to give the Roman, "Theophilus" the truth about Christianity.  After reading about the disciples before they received the Holy Spirit you can really see how God changes lives.

1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

After Jesus was resurrected and rose from the dead, He showed up in the Upper Room where the disciples had gathered and breathed the Holy Spirit into them.  I believe the Holy Spirit is God's breathe, His whisper.  This changed everything for the disciples.  They had courage now and words to say.  I always ask the Holy Spirit for words to say especially on this blog.

4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “ which,” He said, “ you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “ It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
There are a few ideas today on how to receive the Holy Spirit.  Some believe in the laying on of hands, others by simply accepting Jesus as Savior.  That's how I received the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is alive and comes to us of His own will (God the Father, Son and Spirit are the trinity).  So as humans we can't really explain this mystery.  I can only sense and know in my heart that God is with me.  And sometimes I'm grumpy and I think God leaves me alone for a bit : )  I don't feel real spiritual all the time.

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
In a sense I'm glad I didn't walk with the disciples during this time period.  It would be so heartbreaking to see Him leave.  He must be so wonderful to be around.  But we won't be disappointed.  He's coming back yay!  And we will join Him one day forever.

The disciples received the Holy Spirit so they would be able to sense His presence.  It might have been a gloomy walk to Jerusalem.
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying:  Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
It would've been different now.  This unexplainable joy would bubble up and remind them of Jesus.  Words He said would come to mind like Bible verses we memorize today.    Maybe they would stop and have a good laugh at the day Peter's boat capsized after Jesus got all the fish inside or the look in Mary's eyes when she saw Jesus wasn't dead He is alive.  

If you remember Jesus said that Peter would be the rock He would build His Church on.  When you don't know the whole story, like I didn't, I rolled my eyes the first time I read it.  He kept messing up- fell in the water, denied Christ, probably more than we can imagine.  The Holy Spirit gave Peter grace both physically and mentally to follow what Jesus asked him to do.  He asked to be hung upside down on a cross because he felt he wasn't worthy to be martyred like Jesus.
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”
18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. 19 And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)
This is what happened to Judas Iscariot.  He misunderstood Jesus.  It wasn't about the money at all.  Jesus came for our salvation.  When he finally realized he couldn't handle his guilt. 

20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
“Let his dwelling place be desolate,
And let no one live in it’; and,
‘Let another take his office. ’
21 Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” 26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
(Acts 1:1-26 NKJV)

In this time period they cast lots, or drew sticks of different sizes to figure out what to do.  Then let God figure out the rest.

This is a great song from the Newsboys.  Such a crazy time in history.  
Newsboys,  We Believe (link)

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