Peace, Strength, and Encouragement

The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. Acts 9:31 NLT’

Paul’s (Saul) life had just been threatened for preaching the gospel. The other believers in the church saved his life by sending him back to his home town in Tarsus. As strange as it seems the church found peace through this event, even becoming stronger and growing.

The church became stronger and experienced peace not because it wasn’t being persecuted, but because of Paul’s bravery and the encouragement of Holy Spirit. The courage of one Christian can ignite passion of the church. The more we stand up for what we believe the more others will do the same.

God, help each one of us stand up for You no matter what the cost. May our boldness encourage the rest of the church to stay strong and depend on the Holy Spirit’s power. Amen.

60 Day Challenge

I just started a 60 day challenge. I am going to release a video podcast every Tuesday to share my journey. My hope is that this inspires you to make some healthy changes in your life.

3 cups of colorful veggies
• They are useful in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease since they are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene
• 30 grams of protein in the morning
• Always a great way to start the day.
• Less than 25 Grams of sugar a day.
• Not easy!
• 80 oz. of water a day.

• Sleep at least 7 hours of sleep.
• Easier to burn fat when you get enough rest.
• Set a bedtime 9pm

• 10,000 steps
• Furthest parking
• Furthest grocery cart return
• Walk to your mailbox
• 4 to 5 workouts a week for effectiveness
• Take a group exercise class!

• Let’s start the week off with these two words in mind. Appreciate & Anticipate
• Learn to appreciate every moment.
In the gym, with family, or with your best friend. Be present and enjoy the time you have.
• Anticipate the progress that will be made. When you live in the moment the outcome will be fruitful. More results in the gym, a stronger family, and healthier relationships for your future.

Rise and Shine

But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. Acts 8:4 NLT

The church was just getting started and there was a wave of heavy persecution to stop the message being proclaimed about Jesus. This led believers to scatter to other cities. However, when they scatter they still preached the good news about Jesus, so the scattering served to multiple the church. “Persecution does to the church what wind does to seed: it scatters it and only produces a greater harvest.” Wiersbe

When God’s people face persecution, it is a historical fact that they always rose up and defended the truth even more. Anytime we face persecution or see the world falling apart, it’s a sure sign that believers everywhere should stand up for the message of Jesus.

God, help believers everywhere continue to rise for your name in the face of persecution. May we never be ashamed or hide from what is happening in our world, but instead amplify your message that much more. Amen.

The Victory Art

Steve Farland is the owner and visionary behind The Victory Art. Victory Art is made up of 18 to 26 foot tall sculptures that each tell a story of God’s hand in the world. In this interview Steve shares the story behind his vision. You can find Steve’s work here.  

Don’t lose your focus

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” Acts 7:55-56 NLT

The Jewish leaders were getting ready to stone Stephen. They were furious that he believed in Jesus and his accusation against them that they were disobedient and had misinterpreted the Holy Scriptures. Some of his last words before his death was his description of seeing God’s son in heaven at His right hand. What kept Stephen strong in that moment was the power of the Holy Spirit and his focus on Jesus.

We may or may not face life threatening situations in our lives, but we will face trials for our faith in God. Not everyone we meet will like the fact that we believe in God, but it’s in those moments that we fix our eyes on Jesus and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us bold and strong.

God, help every believer today remember that regardless of the trials they face to keep their eyes locked on You and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to empower them.

Time and Talents

So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too. Act 6:7 NLT

God’s will from the very beginning of the church was that the message of the gospel spread all over the world. The reason it continued to spread was the leader’s decisions to reorganization time and talents. They found it inefficient for them to be running the food program as oppose to teaching God’s word. They made the changes necessary assigning the right people to the job and as a result the believers greatly increased, unlikely people (Jewish priests) came to faith, and God’s Kingdom grew.

As believers we need to analyze how we use our time and talents. If God has gifted you in a certain area, that’s where you should focus your efforts. If you don’t, not only will you be wasting time, but you will underuse your talents, prevents someone else from using theirs and bring harm to the growth of God’s Kingdom.

God, help us use the gifts that you have given us for Your kingdom. May we use our time wisely while we are here on earth. My we be an asset to the kingdom and not a prevention of its growth.

nothing you can do

…but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it—and you better not be found fighting against God! Acts 5:39 The Message

The religious leaders of that day decided to kill Peter and the apostles with him for speaking about Jesus. It was Gamaliel (one of their own) who spoke up in their defense. He gave two examples of revolutionaries who tried and failed. He said to leave them be, if it wasn’t from God it would fail just as the others. However, he warned if it was from God there would be nothing they could do to stop it and their efforts would be the same as fighting against God himself.

As followers of Jesus we never have to worry about what we do for God failing. There is nothing that anyone could ever do or say to stop God’s kingdom and the move of His church here on earth. We can with confidence serve God in a bold way each day of our lives.

God, thank you for the opportunity you have granted us to serve you. Thank you for the reminder today that when people come against us they are really coming against You and they will not be able to stop it.