The Quest – Day 5

This is the devotional for Saturday, September 30, 2006 which is the 5th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 5 of Frank Moore’s awesome book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s Kickoff service for the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Day 5 – The Rest of the Story

The answer to our question is found in the Spirit of Christ.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5 NIV)

Yesterday you got a glimpse into the way Jesus’ disciples felt as they tried to come to terms with the sharp disconnect between their promise and resolve to follow Jesus in Mark 14:31 and their actions later in that same chapter. Mark 14:50 says, “Then everyone deserted him and fled.” Sounds like all-out, full-blown desertion to me. How on earth could the pendulum of the disciples’ lives swing so quickly from total commitment to total desertion?

Did the disciples’ failure surprise Jesus? No, He predicted it right down to the smallest detail (vv. 27-30). Jesus talked to His disciples about the need for something more in their spiritual walks long before they even knew they needed it. Jesus answered a question the disciples hadn’t yet asked. It’s the same question we’re seeking to answer in this Quest: How can I live the life I’ve longed for?

In Acts 1, Luke tells us the rest of the story. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (v. 8 ). Again, He answered a question they had not yet asked, “How do I live the Christian life after Jesus returns to His Father?”

Thankfully they obeyed Jesus. They gathered back in the Upper Room where they had shared the Last Supper with Jesus 40 days earlier. They joined together in prayer. It was a unifying experience. They prayed through each day and into the evening for more than a week.

And something dramatic happened. On the 10th day of their prayer meeting, the heavens broke open and the promised Spirit filled them (Acts 2:1-4). The sights and sounds of Pentecost signaled the presence and power of God. A sound like a great wind was heard, symbolizing power. Flames of fire descended upon each participant, symbolizing purity of heart. They all began proclaiming the gospel message in languages they had never learned. They hit the streets and told thousands of Jerusalem visitors about Jesus Christ. This symbolized the need to take the new gospel message to the ends of the earth, to every language group.

Everything Jesus told us during His ministry about the Spirit and everything we see happening in the Early Church following Acts 2 shows us the secret of spiritual growth, how to overcome spiritual hindrances, and how to live a victorious Christian life. You will learn more about this exciting message as you continue your quest through these days of discovery.

Our memory verse for the week reminds us that every discovery we make on this quest comes by way of God’s grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

40 Days of Purpose – Day 35

This is the devotional for Saturday, June 3, 2006 which is the 35th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 35 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

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Day 35 – God’s Power in Your Weakness

God loves to use weak people!

“I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a (LB)

A weakness is any limitation that you inherited or have no power to change. Everyone has weaknesses. In fact, you have a bundle of flaws and imperfections: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Usually we deny our weaknesses, defend them, excuse them, hide them, and resent them. This prevents God from using them the way he desires.

When you think of the limitation in your life, you may be tempted to conclude, “God could never use me.” But God is never limited by our limitations. Sometimes, however, God turns strength into a weakness in order to use us even more.

Jacob was a manipulator who spent his life scheming and then running from the consequences. One night he wrestled with God and said, “I’m not letting go until you bless me.” God said, “All right,” but then he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and dislocated his hip.

What is the significance of that? God touched Jacob’s strength and turned it into a weakness. From that day forward, Jacob walked with a limp so he could never run away again. It forced him to lean on God whether he liked it or not.

If you want God to bless you and use you greatly, you must be willing to walk with a limp the rest of your life, because God uses weak people.

The memory verse for this week is 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”

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Build your faith today by giving your weaknesses to God!