ACTS of the Apostles

Wednesday, May 11

ACTS of the Apostles

Learning How to be Daring and Dynamic

Read Acts 8:1-8

Focus Verse: Acts 8:1

And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

A long time ago I was taught a handy biblical insight: Acts 8:1 is the fulfillment of Acts 1:8.

If you recall, at the beginning of the book of Acts, the apostles were commanded that once the Holy Spirit had come upon them, they were to be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). And now, in today's reading, due to the death of Stephen and Saul's intense persecution, many believers in Jerusalem were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1). The word "scattered" in this verse is likened to the throwing of seeds when planting. The gospel was spreading to other cities by means of these persecuted believers.

It's important for us to remember as Christians that God can use both the highs and lows of life to spread his good news. We have seen the apostles performing signs and wonders in Jesus' name (an absolute high), but in this passage, we witness a great persecution of the church under the command of Saul (a definite low). In both situations, the gospel was pushed forward.

Can you somehow relate, not only to the highs, but maybe even more so to the lows of these first Christians in Acts? Has God used a hard circumstance in your life to spread his hope and truth to others in a way that wouldn't have happened without it? Romans 8:28 is almost too familiar to us, so much so that it loses its impactful meaning, but it's just as true today as when it was penned long ago. Choose to believe: All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

In light of this truth, I want to share a short video of a friend that I went to high school in the early '80's. A few days ago, he entered his eternal home to be with Jesus. In his lifetime, Alan Swayze wanted to be a seed-scatterer for the glory of God, no matter the circumstance. I do believe God will honor his heart's desire as this video is spread far and wide through means of social media:

Dear Lord,

Thank you for both the highs and the lows that make up the fabric of our lives. We ask you to be glorified no matter what comes our way. In all circumstances, may we cling to you in hope and speak your name in confidence. Jesus, you are with us always; you never turn your back on us. Be strong in us and prevail through us. We ask this in your name. Amen.