And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
In the classic movie, Coming to America, though prince Hakeem pursued his beloved, Lisa, to the subway and into the train, she still would not accept him. She returned his ring to him and stormed out of the train, leaving the young prince sad.
An old lady quickly saw the opportunity and decided to cash in 😃. “If you are indeed a prince, then I’ll marry you,” she said with much delight. The prince gave her the ring/jewel and got off the train. That must have been her lucky day, she got something another refused.
Paul and Barnabas got off to a good start in Antioch but at a point, the Jews couldn’t tolerate them nor their new faith any longer. So the focus shifted unto the Gentiles, and that’s where the rest of the Bible began.
Never feel too bad when people don’t accept you, when delivering something you know and have experienced. Especially when your motives are right, just move on to the next available person and give it another shot, you never know what those Gentiles could make of your gospel.
And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
One of the things I do on the side is network marketing. I’ve had some of the people I reach out to, tell me that it is only a scam and actually yields nothing. They try to argue that the system is not rewarding and also unsustainable. Someone actually asked me if I had ever received a single dollar from them. 😃
Usually when I hear these comments I only smile and move on. I don’t engage for too long. Not out of disrespect, but simply because it gets hard to explain what you are personally enjoying to someone with a closed mind. “I receive a dollar rated pay-cheque weekly, yet you don’t believe it. I don’t know how else to explain that.”
For those who do not believe in the supernatural and angels, Peter’s encounter may have sounded foolish or looked like a scam to lure them into his new found love of a religion. Yet the man was truly living under the power of the Holy Ghost and experienced what happened for real. No amount of convincing could talk a man like that out of his faith.
The truth is usually one. The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open. The things of the faith are real, be open-minded to them and enjoy the experience.
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
In these times of COVID-19, I’ve heard a number of people argue that the church’s mission is to evangelise and preach Christ to the nations, and not to distribute food.
In fact, I’ve had to avoid such debates with fellow believers, once or twice, by simply walking away. Of course, to a certain end they have a point, no one must lose focus of their primary objectives or purpose in life.
But I wish to state that provision of relief dates back to the Christians in Antioch, when famine broke out during the rule of Caludius Caesar. They did their bit to provide for those who couldn’t. These were days when they were so full of the power of the Holy Ghost.
Believers must do their bit to continue the legacy of Christ by being compassionate to the needy, especially in these times. The church is you and I, as were the believer at Antioch. Do your best, I’ll do mine, let’s bring relief to those who need!
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Have you ever wondered why God chooses some people to work with, especially when you know how “bad” they are, because probably you grew up in the same neighbourhood? For a start it is even difficult to believe it, right? You always have that gut feeling that the dude has some new trick up his sleeve.
I want to believe this was exactly how Ananias felt when the LORD asked him to go see Saul (soon to be Paul). He reminded the LORD of the man’s track record, just in case He’d forgotten. But the LORD’s response is what we see in the quote above (v15).
A chosen vessel is NOT one that is without blemish!! I know a lady who isn’t morally upright, she’d confess that herself, yet the kind of visions she gets could scare you to the bone… so spot on, you see them when they happen in real life.
We CANNOT figure out the LORD completely, else He ceases to be God. His choices are unfathomable and so desires that you refrain from condemning others. For this same reason He chose someone like YOU!!!
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
The first time I learnt about the different temperaments I began to now see why certain people did what they did. That didn’t happen in a lecture hall/classroom but at a week’s retreat I had attended in an isolated location, many years ago.
It made so much sense to me and I began to appreciate my own self even better. But at a point something didn’t add up. I came to realise that a few people I knew, who fitted one or two temperament groups, were beginning to behave entirely differently from the norm. And this had happened only after a while. They were now so bold one would have ascribed them to a totally different temperament group if one never knew them from birth.
The Apostles Peter and co were perfect examples of such a situation. The same folks who cowered at the least threat could now boldly proclaim an “unwanted” man and furthermore speak same right in front of those who “eliminated” their master.
This is the boldness the Holy Spirit brings into our lives when we receive Him. Irrespective of our temperament we receive THE BOLDNESS to preach Christ crucified unapologetically to whichever group we find ourselves in. Receive that boldness now in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
One of the things about School I sorely miss is what we use to simply call, Love Feast. Our small Fellowship would have this activity, at least once every academic year, stressing on the need to break bread together.
The setting is different for that day. Instead of the usual worship, prayer and bible study or exhortation, the format is more relaxed this time round. Members would rather be treated to a variety of fun activities, in an atmosphere of free food, drinks and music. It was one major activity on the programme of the semester that people looked forward to.
The apostles, in their time, were not given to just prayers and fastings. They found time to fellowship together in other ways; in the breaking of bread too. This is a culture that must not cease, especially in times like these.
Get in touch with some of your friends and family and break bread together, albeit keeping a social distance. Many have restored sanity in others by such fellowships and we can do same too in these times.
For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
I did some cross-referencing this morning just to exactly see where the verse above comes from and the context in which it was originally used. Two verses came up: Ps 69:25 and Ps 109:8; and Peter explained that this prophesy though made by King David, was made under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
The 12 apostles had lost one of their own and had to decide whether to carry on as it were or find a replacement. They subjected the situation to scripture and the result was to go with the latter. For most of us, this wouldn’t have been something we would bother God about.
Even for me, there’ve been times I lost a staff and never really bothered to consult the Lord on what the next actions should be: to hire a replacement or just carry on without them. I only use logical reasoning and I’m done. I don’t “bother God” with issues like this. This probably is the thinking of many other Christians.
We can’t pick and choose which area of our lives need God’s attention. A God-minded person surrenders all: his financial, professional, emotional or social life is all in His hands. 🎵 He’s got the whole world in His hand 🎼