After Christ’s ascension He was seated at the right hand of God. This is not to say that literally He was at God’s right side but more of a reference to His Divinity. It is this divinity that is evident at the ascension. The powers of the Holy Spirit (omnipresence, omnipotence, dominion, etc.) are bestowed upon the human nature of Jesus.
Following Christ’s death on the cross we no longer have a visible human walking with us showing the way as the disciples did. What God has given us is the power of His Holy Spirit. After Christ’s ascension the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon us. It is by the Spirit and the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit that we are called on to be examples of Jesus’ followers today.
Let us begin this study by exhibiting the Fruits of the Holy Spirit:
Prayer Focus: As we pray today ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit and allow us to use these gifts to show His love to the world around us.
Following Christ’s ascension, and with Judas no longer one of His disciples, the remaining eleven apostles met to select a new witness. Peter, the one who had stepped in to a leadership role among them, called such a meeting of the followers. At this time Peter stood among the men explaining that the Scripture must be fulfilled. He then called them to order asking for those present to choose from among the believers one who has been living with them during the life Jesus, from the time of John the Baptist up until the time when Jesus ascended.
The nominations from within the group were Barsabbas and Matthias. The men then prayed asking the Lord to make His will known to them since He knows their hearts. Following this lots were cast in order reveal the will of God and thus Matthias was selected as the 12th apostle.
Challenge: Are your ears attuned to the Spirit and your eyes open to the signs of God’s leading?
Prayer Focus: As we close this devotion, end with prayer asking God to teach us to listen with ears attuned to the Spirit and eyes open to the signs of God’s leading.
What a scene! Christ’s followers had been told to wait and expect something from God, but this was completely beyond their widest dreams. In John 3:8 Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit blowing like wind, but this wind and fire demonstrated just how important and powerful it is to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon us. So this band of followers, moved by the Spirit, began speaking. They, by the power of God, were speaking in languages that the many foreign travelers understood. The peoples represented by these languages cover across the geographic spectrum of the Roman empire and beyond and it announced from day one that the Good News about Jesus is a global message of hope and salvation!
Challenge: While we shouldn’t expect our own prayer meetings at Ashland to result in this same dynamic event, we can take it to show us that even today, the Gospel message is for all peoples all over the globe and that we, being filled with God’s Holy Spirit, are His chosen messengers of His grace, forgiveness and love found in Jesus!
Prayer Focus: Take a minute and pray for the global churches, that they will be faithful to the message of Jesus and that God will work in their lives and community as He is working in ours. If you know any, pray specifically for specific missionaries. Also, pray for Ashland’s ministries and people as we too are God’s appointed spokes people for Him where we are today.
This passage continues the exciting transitional time of the new church, the world stopped for a moment here. Whenever scripture from the Old Testament is quoted in the New, the prophecy and the mystery of the Old Testament is being revealed and made even more real to us. We also, as modern believers, have a chance to participate, not only by reading this passage, but through our salvation and the continued work of the Holy Spirit in and through us – even today!
This is one of my favorite passages for 2 reasons, 1. Prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes and 2. for the first time we see that all people can freely participate in the power and ministry as described by the prophet Joel. Think about it: Men and woman, sons and daughters, people from all over the world can participate in the ministry of the Holy Spirit,
“These men are not drunk as you suppose” v. 15. This is typical and even understandable – the world misunderstanding what God was doing then and even now. Let us not miss the valuable point that Peter made that by knowing and quoting scripture, he was able to explain to this great crowd what God had deliberately planned.
Take time now to think and write about how this passage can change your thinking about your ministry at Ashland….
1. How might I participate in the life of the church knowing that God has given me His Spirit and not just to the “leaders” of the church?
2. Is my devotional life such that I am reading God’s word so that I too can help others with God’s plan in the gospel and the church?
3. Would I ever be accused of being “drunk” because of my passion and enthusiasm for the Gospel?
Prayer Focus: Ask God to convict you with challenge questions. Ask him to reveal what changes you can make to make these a reality in your life.
This passage follows yesterday’s devotional with more quotations from the Old Testament. We are blessed with the clear truth of fulfilled prophecy. Once again we are shown how critical it is to read and know the Old and New Testaments if we are going to properly know God, know His plan and share the Gospel message,
Let us at look at two of the many lessons we could draw from this amazing passage. On one side we see that this passage is a model for presenting the gospel, but just as important we are shown the power of scripture to penetrate our hearts. “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” verse 37, the truth from God’s word has tremendous power. Hebrews 4:12 draws from this same truth, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” NIV
Peter’s simple answer to the peoples request was for them to repent and ask for the forgiveness that only God can give. He then continued to plead with them to be rescued from “this corrupt generation”. Have the times really changed that much?
Challenge: Let us once again take some time to first ask ourselves if we are being sensitive to the Holy Spirits work in our own lives; First, what do I need to repent of and ask forgiveness from, Let us heed the warnings and pleadings of scripture first in our own live so that we can be effective in the lives of those around us. Write down some specific areas that you need to either find release from or need to engage in.
Prayer Focus: Lord, reveal the thing in my life that I need to repent of, turning from them and towards you. Help me to daily be in your word so that I can be convicted when needed and that I may know how to live a life that honors you.
I like this part of scripture because it reminds me of when I became a Christian. I was so excited about being a Christian. I was so excited about being a Christian. I couldn’t wait to read my Bible, or pray or even go to church. There was definitely a sense of awe that came over me just like the people in this part of Scripture.
But at some point, the excitement wore off, and soon after, the Bible reading and the prayer. The only thing I did was go to church. I was just and empty vessel. What I realized through this passage is that, just like these Christians, we must devote ourselves to these Spiritual disciplines. The awe that we get from time to time will come and go, but our reading, praying, breaking of bread and church-going must stay. When was the last time you spent an hour praying? Reading you Bible? Do we always take advantage of Bible studies? Do we focus on communion with all of our hearts and minds?
Challenge: We should all pray and re-devote ourselves to these things. How can you begin to do so today?
Prayer Focus: Lord, help me to devote myself to you through reading your word, praying, taking communion, participating in the fellowship of church and by loving others.
We see here in this text, Peter and John healing a crippled beggar. The man was probably poor and homeless. The man asked for money, but Peter responded, “silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.” Then Peter healed the beggar in the name of Jesus, amazing those who saw it.
In our world, money is a large concern. This shows that Lord brings joy without money. There is no amount of money that could have healed him but the Lord did.
John (8th grade) and Matt Ford
Do I value money over God?
Do I think money does what God cannot?
Do I look to money before God
Prayer Focus: Lord, let me seek you over money or anything else. Let my life show your healing and dependence on you over the things of the world.
The passage you have just read depicts Peter’s speech in Solomon’s Portico. This speech was delivered for it had come to the attention of the public that Peter, a simple man, had healed a lame man. Peter discusses with those nearby of the prophecies written in the Old Testament describing the coming of our Savior and the events to take place.
However, the Jewish people had acted upon ignorance and crucified their savior. They didn’t expect the savior of the world to be a humble carpenter’s son. Their vision of the Messiah was to be a man of great worldly power who could save them from their oppressors. Jesus came for an entirely different purpose. He was the significant factor in God’s plan, the one to act as a propitiation for our sins.
Be that as it may, many people today are in a position similar to that. They are following a Jesus very different from the real man to put it in simple terms, they are worshipping a man who isn’t Jesus.
Liam (grade 6)
Challenge: This brings up an important question: Are we worshipping the right Jesus, or are we praising our own made-up Messiah?
Prayer Focus: Lord, please open my eyes to the real person you are, and lead me in the direction you want me to.
In this scripture Peter and John were thrown in jail for spreading their beliefs. Now, we aren’t necessarily thrown in jail for believing the word of God, but we are thought differently and made fun of for it. Some people see us standing up for what we believe in and begin to think about joining the church, just like the men who saw Peter and John preaching God’s name. Even though we do bring people to God, we still have to remember that it’s in the name of the Lord, just Peter and John did.
Brittany (grade 7) and Alison (grade 9)
How do you think God feels when you don’t stand up for him?
How can you ask God to apply this to your life?
Prayer Focus: Dear Lord, please help me to express my beliefs for you and help me remember that it’s your will instead of mine.
This passage of the scripture describes the way in which the apostles Peter and John escaped punishment after preaching of Jesus and challenging the Jewish rulers and elders. This took place after the healing of a lame man at the temple gates. Peter and John were then to speak before the Sanhedrin of their “crimes.” When the leaders took into account the courage of Peter and John, they realized that these ordinary men were unschooled. They also took note that these men had been with Jesus, by their attitude displayed.
Take a moment to think about how you can display your relationship with Jesus. In what ways can you be like Peter and John? Pray for yourself to try your best to show what you believe. Pray for others so they will hear what you have to say. It might just open someone’s heart.
Emma (grade 6) and Liam (grade 6)
Challenge: Does your life display your relationship with Jesus?
Prayer Focus: Lord, help me to show others what I believe, open their hearts that they might hear and accept your grace.