Acts: Day 4

No Other Name

by

Today's Text: Acts 4:1-22, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18, 1 John 5:12

Text: Acts 4:1-22, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18, 1 John 5:12

Annas and Caiaphas were trying to do damage controland fast.

They’d conspired to kill Jesus, and as far as they could tell, the plot had been successful. Of course, a rabble of people claimed Jesus had risen from the dead, but that was preposterous—wasn’t it? All they needed was to imprison a few more people, defame a few more miracles, and then this whole charade would be over for good. Things could get back to normal.

Normal. That sounds familiar.

“I just can’t wait for things to get back to normal.”

I’m looking forward to getting back into our regular routine.”

“Once _______ (fill in the blank) happens, things will settle down again.”

I’ve said these words before. They give me a false sense of control, a sense of hope that soon all the chaos will be behind me and the storm will pass.

I’ll go to great lengths, trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. I’m desperate for it. So desperate that, the more God tries to change my circumstances, the more I gripe and moan and disobey because it hurts to lose what I’ve worked so hard to construct as mine.

Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas (John 18:13). As high priests, their “normal” meant power, prestige, and position. The two worked side by side to make atonement for the people of Israel (Leviticus 16:32-34). Minor celebrities in their culture, they spent their days clothed in beautiful linen garments and purifying the holiest of places within the temple. Without their atoning work of sacrifice, all of Israel would fall away from the Lord into sin and destruction.

That is, until Jesus.

If what Peter and John preached was true, then Annas and Caiaphas’ work no longer held any meaning. If Jesus had really risen from the dead, then He was the real High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16), and life as Annas and Caiaphas knew it was over. It meant they were unemployed, power-hungry murderers, with no role to play in society. And rather than accept the fact that they were just as sinful as the people they’d been trying to atone for, they tightened their fists around their own power.

But Peter and John stood before the Lord’s murderers unfazed. Filled with boldness, eloquence, and joy, they proclaimed the Truth: there is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12).

How’s this for a paraphrase: Hey, Annas, Caiaphas. You think you’re making a legacy for yourselves, but this is all going to come to an end. Your efforts to circumvent God are not going to work. And you are just as sinful as you’re afraid to admit.

I imagine Solomon nodding his head: in Ecclesiastes, he reminds us that everything we pursue is absolute futility (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11). And in Corinthians, we’re told that even feeding the poor, having faith, and donating all our money mean nothing unless we have Love Himself (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

There is salvation in no one else. Not outside of your marriage. Not inside a better routine. Not with that pair of shoes. Not once you lose fifteen pounds. The storm of change has come into your life, and His name is Jesus. His rival is your sense of control over what’s “normal.

Peter and John knew that the storm was only just beginning. They could be bold and fearless because they knew, without question, that they were anchored in the only Truth that can sustain the volatile winds and waves of that storm.

Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.

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  • Patricia correa

    Thanks for sharing. Mighty.

  • Patricia correa

    And in Corinthians, we’re told that even feeding the poor, having faith, and donating all our money mean nothing unless we have Love Himself (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

  • Patricia correa

    “Rulers of the people and elders: 9If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man — by what means he was healed — 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene — whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead — by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone.  12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”

  • Nichole

    Basking in what God is giving me in this season of life. The hectic, busy, and quite possibly the storm! God is so good and I’m feeling so refreshed this week after digging into God’s word and working towards what He is calling me to do. I have be so guilty in saying not now God after I get threw all of this I will have more time for what you want of me. There is no better time than this to obey what God has called of you because He has given it to you in this season for a reason!

  • For it breaks my heart the trials and tribulations Jesus and the saints went through over heresies and secularism. Christians ensure their own trials but not near as in comparison or what Jesus went through. To follow Jesus is to turn away from the world and take up our cross.

  • It is my understanding that the position of high priest at this time was a Roman appointment and had little to do with blood lineage. John the Baptist was the last Aaronic descendant meant to hold the position of high priest and therefore it is all the more telling that Jesus was baptized by John. What Annas and Caiaphas were facing was their own lack in having any right at all to the position of high priest and Jesus was a right judge of that! No wonder they wanted him silenced.

  • Shannon Seale

    This just brought so much peace to my heart. The weight of wanting to control everything has always been on my shoulders and I cannot seem to allow God to take control. After this week of reading and diving into God’s heart for me, however, I’m going to start to be at peace because I trust in the one you controls the uncontrollable in my life, which is everything!

  • These words spoke right to my heart. I am very guilty for waiting for things to change, my circumstances to change, more money to come in and then everything will be better. “The storm of change has come into your life, his name is Jesus!” WOW! I need to stop looking for “things to get better” and be happy and content with what I have. Jesus is all we need and all I need. I will trust him and be happy in him.

  • Nikravesous

    I have never read this with Annas and Caiaphas in mind before–this interpretation makes so much sense! To think that they heard the same Spirit filled sermon as everyone else, all these men and women who turned and followed Jesus after Peter’s words, and yet were completely unmoved. But of course, they had so much to lose, from an earthly perspective. Lord, let that warning sink in for us, that we would never place our position and comfort above the truth of your Gospel and what you call us to do. Everything we have, everything that blesses us and makes us feel stable, is from you and is yours to take away as you please.

  • “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 2:17. How true of a statement. However, I am not perfect, and I doubt that any of you are. How often do we turn away from the freedom in the Spirit and turn to enslavement? It can even be a thing we see as good or Godly, such as being involved at Church, or trying to me the best mom or wife possible. As of lately, I have been feeling depressed and unsatisfied with life. I remember the stabilisation that came with becoming one of God’s children. Life goes on I ruins occurs, and you feel stuck. I feel that the situations that I am trying to control, that I am just stuck. What is funny is that I know that there is freedom in handing off the control to Jesus. Time and time again, I forget; it makes me so upset. Why do I forget? I come to God asking Him for help, but my fist is tight. I am allowing the burden to engulf me in it’s chains.
    What do you think of when yo contemplate real freedom in Christ? I image the line, “I will Climb this Mountain with my Hand Wide Open,” from the song Nothing I Hold On To by William Matthew.

    • Kirsten

      I mean Will Regan. I was listening to the William Matthew’s version.

      • Candi Trusler

        I love that song. Thank you for the encouraging reminder of the lyrics. That’s my prayer today … “I give it all to You, God. Trusting that You’ll make something beautiful out of me” … even me. :) *hugs*

  • “His rival is ur sense of control of what’s normal”- so good and so true.

  • Jenna Johnson

    In 2 Corinthians 12-16, when we are being taught that the law of Moses was fulfilled through Christ…. I felt like the lord is also telling us to not harden our hearts, or veil our hearts, when we read something in the Bible that doesn’t make sense or that scares us. I feel he is telling us in Verse 16 to turn to Him with our questions or fears, to let faith overcome doubt ALWAYS. What a comfort to know our Lord knows us so well, and loves us so much.

    • Samantha Hawthorne

      This is so true I struggle understanding some this that I read in the bible however I know God will reveal that to me in his time when he thinks I’m ready to know. There has been things I prayed for wisdom of and it wasn’t until later I truly felt and understood the meaning of the scripture. That’s amazing God is awesome!

  • Pamala Smith

    I’m healing from surgery and have a longer recovery than expected. The Lord has blessed me with joy in my stillness. Thank you SRT for bringing me deeper into His word and in a fellowship of women who run to our Lord.

    Normal as Patsy Clairmont says, is only a setting on the dryer.

  • I’m constantly trying to control everything and get things back to “normal”. This was a great way to open my eyes to the possibility that by letting go of my “normal” I am allowing God to change me and make my life more incredible than what I have planned

  • 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, , this is very important to me!

  • We are currently trying to create a new normal after a rough season, of loss and health problems. I was stuck in wanting the old normal back. No more! I want God’s plans and passions for our lives.

  • I have been looking for a community of women for the past year. I tried to put a small group together, but everyone is so busy that our monthly date gets shifted or skipped. I am feeling frustrated by the lack of commitment but also continue to yearn for a group of women who can pray for each other and be real with each other. I have been reading SRT for about 3 months and just started to read the comments. I decided to jump in and join the party. I didn’t think a group of strangers, linked by the internet, could be my community, but maybe it can be.
    The reading today resonated with me because my normal is being shaken to the core. Interestingly, I am in a different situation than most of you. My old normal was fast-paced, scheduled, crazy, can’t catch your breath, always have something to do. My new normal is slow, lots of time, how do I find purpose for my life? I am a teacher and love the busyness of my teaching life. I am also a mother of 3 and love the busyness of being a mom. I am also the wife of a man who travels extensively for work. I love the busyness of holding things together while he is away. Now I am off for the summer and have 2 adult kids who have moved out and are starting their adult independent lives – don’t need mom. I have a surly, attitude-prone teenager who doesn’t want mom interfering, and I have a husband who has a packed travel schedule for most of the summer. Other than a few short trips with my husband, I have lots of time on my hands. I have trouble relaxing and feeling okay with it. I want to be useful and purposeful. I miss packed days, which is crazy, because in the midst of them, I couldn’t wait for things to slow down. Asking God to lead me and to keep me open to whatever He has for me. Thank you, ladies, for this community.

    • Kristin Erickson

      I can totally relate to this. You’re not alone. That extra time is great to spend with God and see where he guides you, such a gift! I’ll pray for you and a smooth transition into a slow pace :)

    • Candy

      I hear you Laura- I recently lost my job and my husband told me to take my time and decide what I want to do. I feel that this was God kicking me to get my attention and I keep praying that I will hear Him tell me what my next path will be. But in the mean time I have the time to weed thru storage and drawers and give away lots of the stuff we have accumulated over the years but yet I feel guilty for not being more productive instead of praising Him for this wonderful gift of time!

      • Candi Trusler

        Your comment reminded me of the Psalm 23 where it says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures … He restores my soul.” Sometimes it seems like He makes us lie down because we won’t on our own. And in that resting place, He restores our soul.

    • Sara

      Laura, I too am looking for a community of women with which I can share my feelings, share my story, all the while growing in the knowledge of the gospel. I hope I can be faithful to SRT and not let the demands of life pull me aside, as so often happens. I am hopeful that I can gain some friendships, grow as a woman and as God’s ambassador. So often our lives change and the seasons of them stretch our capacity to understand and accept things over which we cannot control. Grown up children often become deepest friends and teenagers require us to pray more, trust God more and stay true to our core values while they test our patience and challenge our good intentions. I pray you gain peace and obtain new wisdom as you transition through this new stage of your life. Shalom.

    • Tammy

      Laura, I hope that you can find peace and be able to relax in a time of unbusyness. During this time of relaxation, have you thought about volunteering in your community? Maybe you could entice your teenager to join you especially if it’s something he/she is interested in like an animal shelter or a summer reading program for kids. Maybe you are already involved and just need time to breathe. Enjoy your summer!

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      I can 100% relate! I have been in my “slow down season” as well……it was initially a shock, but my goodness, God has blessed me and my family thru it! Prayers for you as you journey along this path!

    • Stephanie Gemmen

      Laura,

      I am a new teacher and just got off for the summer yesterday. I am feeling the same way–I couldn’t wait for summer to just get here and now I feel bad if I’m not doing something. Really hoping that in the quiet moments I can connect more with God and actually listen to him instead of rushing through prayer and devotions.

    • Katie

      Aloha Laura… I would love to be a part of your community! Us women go through so much and hate doing it alone. We can learn from each other and hold each other accountable. I have a suggestion…. Pricilla shirer has a great bible study called Breathe. I suggest getting some friends together or doing it on your own… But it’s about letting the busyness go. I have a very difficult time doing it since I grew up on a farm and haven’t stopped working since I started walking. So I’m still working on the down time with God and the book/videos are helping!

  • Thank you for this! I have left “normal” behind, and like Annas and Caiaphas, I am still trying to achieve it without success. Normal was living in a house, being able to rely on a schedule, the usual daily activities, etc. My husband has retired, our home has been sold, we are sorting and packing everything for either storage or transfer into a 30′ trailer for touring the US over the next few years. No ‘roots’ and no normalcy has me clutching and grasping for a semblance of a routine that does not exist. I will need to work harder at letting go, and just being held by the Lord. Thanks again!

  • So this is SUPER crazy… Acts 4:12 kept pulling me back today. I couldn’t get over it and I found my mind engrossed by the truth that there IS “NO OTHER NAME”…

    So I headed over to FB to post my thoughts on Acts 4:12, and when I got on… up came the thing that FB does… a memory from what I posted 4 years ago. This is what I posted on this day 4 years ago… a pict with Acts 4:12 on it! Crazy… God is good!

  • Huge sigh. I love normal and really struggle with trusting God in what feels like chaos. I’m stuck on 1 Cor 3:12, “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are VERY BOLD.” (emphasis mine, NIV) This morning this scripture and the story of Peter and John’s boldness in the name of Jesus have renewed in me a desire to live fearless of chaos, a lack of control (or the feeling of lack of control) and to move boldly in the name of Jesus and to believe, to hold on to the promise that I am being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory!

  • Tamara B

    Friends of mine are going to a rough period, so lots of the comments spoke to me today.
    I hope I can encourage them to strive for God instead of ‘normal’! I also liked the comment about pressure needed to make oil from olives. Also works for diamonds :) lot’s of pressure needed to make a diamond from coals.

    Anyway, what spoke to me when I read the scripture was Acts 4:19. I read in dutch and it spoke more to me in that translation. It said: “can we explain/justify to God that we listen to you instead of Him?” So I figured.. When not speaking to someone about the truth we know, we also listen more to someone else. Not because they tell us not to speak, but because we are silent because of what they might ‘think’ ! But.. Should we not be more aware of what God thinks if we dont speak up? The people around us are here only for a lifetime, or sometimes we only live in their presence a few years, months, Weeks… But we are to spent eternity with God.. What schould influence us more…? Ps: prayers for wisdom to what to say/not to say to our friends are welcome!

    • Candy

      Wow love the Dutch translation! It makes it so much more clear! Thank you for sharing!

  • Chelsea Pirtle

    What an interesting perspective. Trying to maintain normalcy. Yes! For the past two years I have longed for routine. One thing after another shakes that up. Teaching a 5:45 am class… Having a baby…. Semesters starting and ending… Holidays…. Jesus has changed normal, and each day has been made new. That means, for me, letting go of routine.

  • I have such bad anxiety about traveling that I haven’t been out of my home town in over 4 years for the only reason of fear. I pray to be as bold and courageous as Peter & John were in their faith in Christ in front of the Jewish leaders.

    • Chelsea Pirtle

      Yes!!! May the Spirit of the LORD give you His freedom.

    • gena

      Jesus please touch this lady with your PEACE. Let her feel your loving and around her. Remind her. ..YOU are everywhere she goes ! Amen.

    • Kelsey

      I’m right there with you, I know the feeling! The first step is the hardest. But once you’re actually out and traveling, it’s liberating! Prayers for your anxiety and for boldness in your life. I know what it’s like living with anxiety, I deal with it too on a daily basis.

  • Samantha

    Such a good word ! I find myself saying this as well , have to revamp my thinking and pray I walk in his will

  • I have been praying for things to go back to “normal” with me and my boyfriend for months now. We have been going through a lot lately and everyday I think that once we get passed this one hurdle things will go back, but then five more happen! I pray that we can find the reason for all this change and grow through it, not push each other away. Such a great message to read today.

  • I have been fighting for a “normal” routine for awhile and after reading this I realize that I have to open my heart and life to change so God can use me to complete his work.

  • Y’all. I need prayer. I just started a new job (that I desperately needed) at the same office as my sister, and the problem is she treats me like her little sister. She conveniently forgets that I also hold a degree and know a few things. I’m just feeling really discouraged. I was so excited bc I thought this job was God helping me get things back to normal. I thought it was an answered prayer. But now I’m just filled with worry and doubt and I’m struggling. I thought I’d been doing well about trying to depend more on Him and less on me. It’s just amazing how one bad day can seemingly erase the work of 5 good days. I don’t mean to distract you from your individual studies with my moaning, but if you think of it, please pray for me. For a sense of direction and guidance. That I would trust God. That I won’t worry about what’s already happened. I need all the spiritual help I can get.

    • Shelbs

      Praying for ya!! That’s definitely hard to remember that the Lord created you to be capable of many things. It’s amazing you are seeking our prayer in this situation, that speaks volumes!

    • Cali

      Praying for you. I too work with an older sibling and can understand the frustrations that come along with it.

    • Cali

      Praying for you Bethany!

    • Lisa Dawn

      I can’t speak to your individual situation exactly but I do know what it’s like to feel like you have to prove yourself as capable and competent. It’s exhausting! I would really encourage you to ask the Lord to reveal to you those areas where you sense a defensiveness rising up. In those moments, ask Him to affirm in you the gifts He has given you, not so you can please others but so you can please Him, working for Him and not for “man” (Gal. 1:10). I also pray for you that you would learn to rest in the fact that everything you need to be worthy or accepted or approved of is already found in Him, not in anyone or anything else. This is tough but God is so good, so gracious and so kind. His grace will be sufficient for you.

      • ~Vivian

        … loved your reply Lisa! It’s tough asking God to reveal the grunge in my life. I know it’s where I grow in Him and begin to rest more in His grace… but there are times I don’t want to deal with all that. I just want to sit in my corner and pout. You’re right… It’s exhausting! I’ve never thought to ask in return for Him to affirm those gifts that He has given to me for His glory. I forget that He has given me gifts and that I can find everything I need in Him. This message is such a crucial message for all of us. I was going to say that it’s crucial for all of the young girls these days… But I needed it and I’m not so young! Ha! God bless you today Lisa!
        ….. His grace is sufficient.

    • ~Vivian

      Praying here too.

  • So so good!!! Thank you SRT. Father forgive me for wanting normal. Help me to flourish and trust more in the storm of changes- or things breaking-or sickness- or others disappointing me…. Help me to remember there is Salvation in No One and Nothing else!!! And Salvation isn’t just Eternal but every. Single. Day!!! Amen

  • Keri Underwood

    “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” – I just love this so much!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

    YES! Let be said about us. We don’t need to have gone to seminary to tell other about Jesus. The Holy Spirit will give us the words and recall to memory the scriptures. :)

    The Holy Spirit spoke through Peter but his words were nothing new. Peter was uneducated – meaning he didn’t have training in the scripture like the religious leaders did.
    However, Peter had heard the scriptures taught by Jesus himself!

    In Mark 12:10-11 Jesus teaches the disciples on the exact verse Peter quotes (psalm 118:22 about the cornerstone).

    The Holy Spirit will use your diligence, preparation and planning as you study the scriptures!

    • She Reads Truth

      Love this, Steph! Thanks for joining us today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Maryann

      Thank you for this! It just pushes against those feelings of not being enough.

    • Mel

      Loved the way you put this. I find myself quoting scripture when I speak to friends, family, individuals on social media. Its like the Holy Spirit is guiding me every step of the way when it comes to speaking out about Jesus. I am so in Love with his word and am thankful for hearing about #shereadstruth from my pastor at Newbreak church in Tierrasanta, CA.

  • BriannaLee

    I loved this devotional by Claire. She got right to the agonizing point that we have to let it go! And let God have His way – and that His way is far more beautiful than our lack of trust and understanding is allowing it to be. I wonder if Annas and Caiaphas’ roles might have been advanced if they saw their position change for what it really was and they embraced it. “Well done, thy good and faithful servant” they might have heard. Maybe we face our own difficult circumstances that make us incensed and unable to see clearly our coming advancement. God give us your understanding, your eyes, your heart… That we would go from glory to glory.

    • SusieT

      I’d never thought of that, BriannaLee — what an interesting point to consider!! How often do we perhaps likewise miss a blessing by being defensive and refusing to go with God’s new [to us] plan?!

  • Oh how I’ve been using that phrase “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal” over the past few days.

    My husband and I moved cross country 5 weeks ago far away from our friends and family at the prompting of the Holy Spirit to “go”. In the process of re-establishing ourselves in a new community and searching for a new church home I hear these words whispering ‘you made a mistake’ ‘look at what you’re missing back home’ ‘see how You could have been used in the flourishing and exciting time happening at your church home?’ But I know those words are from the enemy trying to confuse me and making me wish for “normal”

    Normal… Routine…familiar… I wish for familiar because I know how to handle that!

    Lord Jesus, transform my thinking to see each day as an exciting new adventure, to value change and to be dependent on the Holy Spirit.

    • Katy Wright

      I understand where you’re at! We just moved two hours to be closer to family and while we’ve been in our new home for 10 days, I catch myself looking forward to the “new normal.” Today’s study made me realize what I’m not looking for in all the shake up that our move brought: more dependence on Jesus and the chance to clean out all the corners of our home (and hearts) as we get settled. May we both desire more Jesus and more truth as we get settled!

  • Faith Ingram

    This piece of acts is a good example of how wanting to be in control hurts those around us. We think we’re doing the right thing by trying to make things go our way, we maybe even throw fits when they don’t go the way we pictured. We think that we’re being responsible by being uptight and in control of situations. It is a selfish motive that hurts the ones we love and all it does is create a false sense of security. We have to learn to be secure in Christ and in who he made us when the storm is raging around us. That’s when we will be conquerors.

  • What a great reminder that there is no “normal” when we follow Jesus. He is the storm of change. Today I pray that I can remember that when longing for different circumstances or for things to calm down in my life.

  • This is so powerful. My husband left me a month ago- leaving me shattered in every aspect of my life. But God is speaking that it is for a purpose and whispering messages of grace & restoration. Please pray for my husband and I.

    • She Reads Truth

      Friend, please know that I’m praying for you now, asking God for His presence and peace to be made especially visible to you today. Thank you for giving us the privilege to weep and hope with you.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Keri Underwood

      Praying for you and your family Bethany!

    • Missy

      Praying right now for you Bethany…. In the powerful and wonderful name of Jesus may your marriage be restored in His love and His strength alone!

    • Cherri

      Praying for you, Bethany, that Lord would comfort and guide, give wisdom and peace. I have watched Him create beauty out of ashes just like yours. He is a Redeemer of ALL things and ALL circumstances. You are being held in prayer, sweet sister.

    • Cali

      Praying for you Bethany!

    • drasch

      Bethany, you are in my prayers and in my heart.

    • Eva

      Praying for you Bethany

  • Change. It’s a word we tend to have an immediate reaction to. But I believe that it’s Gods will for us, no matter our default stance on change, to learn to embrace change. In the past year I really have made some major gains in this area. Some things I’ve learned are that change is inevitable – so dreading it or worrying about is a fruitless thing that will steal your joy and even your faith. I’ve also come to learn that my ability to accept and embrace change is very much tied to my faith. If Annas and Caiaphas had, had an intimate relationship with God where they trusted Him no matter how the tides turned, I wonder how their response might have been different. But it’s so easy to lean on the “comfort” and “stability” of what we know. But is that truth? Or is that just a facade we create to give ourselves the illusion of control? There is but one name that saves us – we all agree on that…but maybe God is calling us up to a place where we also understands that it is only the same name gives us stability and comfort – not the crutches we lean on in our life, whatever they may be. When I find myself beginning to get anxious about change – thinking about my kids growing up, etc…I now recognize that for what it is. It’s a thief that has come to steal my present from me. If I’m so twisted and wrought in anguish over the fact that it appears my cousin is going to die, then I miss the season where she is right at that moment, which means I miss the gift of embracing the right now of her. Unfortunately that was a lesson I learned the hard way. But Jane’s death will never be in vain if for no other reason then she has inspired me to celebrate life. Embrace change and all life TODAY has to offer and trust my creator more then my circumstances. Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. But we don’t live under the SUN, we live under the SON. And life with God is full of ups and downs, but like Peter and John – we can be bold and fearless when we know, without question, that we are anchored in the Truth.

    • Crystal

      Thank you for sharing your journey! It was very encouraging and challenging to me. In the past few years I’ve started to struggle more and more with anxiety at work and purpose of my life and that really hit home that that anxiety is stealing my joy and peace in the present and is limiting me from being open to being used by God. I am challenged to hold my life, schedules and ambitions with an open hand knowing that God is in control and that He is the only one that my salvation relies on.

    • Candy

      Your thoughts are very eye opening. I recently lost my job and feel that in it God is trying to steer me on other paths but without the security of pay. I’m excited to learn what He has planned for me but the anxiety of having to use savings to pay the bills has caused me to not “be in this moment” as I should be. I have always been ” in charge- making lists and plans”. I keep praying that I can hear God’s voice over mine to do His will.

  • Sarabeth

    Thank you ladies for your prayers. They were felt. The surgery went well. Now time to heal. Thank you so much! May God bless you guys.

  • This was exactly what I needed this morning. My mother passed away two months ago. She was a Godly woman and is in heaven, but I miss her so much. I cried out to God just this morning that I am in a dark pit and can not seem to find my new normal! Dawn, I love you post as it summed it up and gave me encouragement. Today’s lesson and posts were a gift from God.

    • Rhonda

      Praying for you, Deborah…that wonderful memories come from your grief and that comfort and peace comes from Above.

      • Christina Gandy

        I am grateful my mother put Christ in my name. It is a constant reminder that he is always with me, but at the same time, I struggle with wanting to get back to “normal”. There is no such thing as “normal”. I am praying for the next right actions in finding a full-time job and sometimes revert to I will not be happy until I get that job. In every job there are struggles. There is no perfect job. I pray to stay “anchored in the truth to sustain the volatile winds and waves of this storm” and try to hold on to the thought that happiness is everywhere, anytime, and it is up to me to reach within and pull it out. I’m grateful God has given me the wisdom to practice this. Practice makes better.

    • She Reads Truth

      Deborah, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your heart. Praying for you in your sorrow, asking God to be your strength and refuge as you grieve. Weeping and hoping with you, friend.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Sara

      Deborah, I understand your anguish. My mom moved to heaven 7 years ago this July, and because she lived with me it was so very difficult to move between the days. Her things were everywhere, and the reminders of her being gone were always there, from her unused coffee cup in the cupboard to her favorite towel hanging in the bathroom. I struggled and cried and grieved, but God, oh what love, was my strength and constant comfort, and He helped me change. I knew she was in heaven with my Dad, but still, I wanted to go back…to stay in that happy time. And yet, today I know that she passed her mantle of “Gramma” to me, for I now have 7 grandchildren to love and spoil, the way she did for my kids and the rest of her grand children. God helps us in our grief, in our transitions and in our longings for change to “change back.” Just remember how the Israelites longed to go back to their slavery before they understood the blessings of being their own nation and their own land. I pray the the peace of God, the sweet tenderness of God’s presence and the pure warmth of His love hold you closer than you’ve ever known before. Shalom.

  • Cherri Thompson

    Oh, my gosh! I LOVE this passage and this post! I was thinking as I read these words in Acts, “How can these men be SO blind???” For cryin’ out loud! The crippled man they had seen EVERYDAY was standing before them with joy most likely without an ache in his newly healed body!! But then I realized these leaders had so much to lose…the “rational” and aristocratic Sadducees, who denied the resurrection of the dead, were faced with the reality of Jesus. Their loss…credibility in a BIG way. The the pious and influential priests who were faced with the reality that Jesus truly is THE Messiah, sacrificed for the sins of the world…their loss…power and their influence as the leaders of a system now reduced to rubble by their own hands!!! Of course they closed their eyes and frantically tried to grasp for control! Years ago I found myself in a heap on my bed, paralyzed with anxiety. The plates I had kept spinning as a wife, a mom, a friend, a “leader in the church,” a teacher, a doer of all things began to wobble and one by one, they all came crashing down. The world I had controlled was in shards about my feet; I hadn’t a clue what to do with the mess I had become. My identity as the confident, strong, “can do,” “handle it all” woman was gone. I didn’t even recognize me. I look back and THANK GOD He would not allow me to stay in that place of control and self focus…the breaking of me…was the saving of me. I can see by this teaching today that the fight for control in my own life is as futile as the fight for control in the priests and the Sadducees, and I was every bit as blind to that futility as they were. Thank you for such a wonderful study! I am completely enjoying my first SRT online study and eagerly look forward to each morning with you all!!!

  • We cling to the past because it is familiar and we worry about the future because it is unknown, but God asks us to live in the present because that is where He is found. I always remind myself that today is the new normal and that longing and worrying stop me from receiving all the gifts God has in store for me today. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Lyndsey Anne

    Speaking straight to me today! I was just complaining to my husband last night how overwhelmed I feel and how crazy things are in our life right now. And then this morning, BOOM. God’s like, “Wake up Lynds, I’m right here and I’ve got you. Stop resisting. Quit trying to steer your own ship. You can make it through this, we can make it through this. Together.”

  • Erin Cox

    I’m going to read this a dozen times today… I so desperately cling to normal. I’ve never thought about the depth of my need for that or how it rivals what God may be trying to do in my life. Excellent job!

  • This came at the perfect time. My husband is having a crisis of faith, and it’s turned my world upside down. I wanted a “normal” Christ centered marriage, instead I was handed this. I have to remind myself daily to hand it to the Lord, and accept that for better or worse things are changing and I need to trust that He will see us through this time no matter how uncomfortable or how unnormal things may get. We make our own plans I imagine God chuckling with a slight head shake saying “dear child why don’t you trust me, I’m just going to uproot your plans. Learn to trust me.”

  • Jesus is the storm of change. Isn’t that the truth. I need to push away my ideas of getting back to “normal” and embrace the storm that Jesus has put me in. Trials are just as important as normal life. They make you stronger in Jesus. It’s no wonder God uses hard circumstances to increase our faith. He make us fall to our knees to rely on the only One who is always faithful. Help me boldy approach your throne Lord. Help me always rely on You no matter what is happening in my life.

  • Caroline

    Amen! It’s so easy to put things off for the perfect timing but NOW is the time to declare that there is no other name but HIM!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • I loved today’s devotional! I’ve been guilty many times of getting mired in mourning my lost “normal”, longing for a (“false”) sense of control instead of trusting God’s plans and ability.

    Another favorite thing I’ve read on this topic was something Margaret Feinberg wrote in “Fight Back With Joy” about finding joy by sharing joy during hard times of major change.

    She referenced Luke 6:38, when Jesus says “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.”

    Margaret wrote, “I always thought of the container Jesus mentions as external, something we hold as we watch it being filled, pressed down, shaken, and filled up some more. I never considered that we are the containers. God fills us.

    Sometimes the effects of being pressed down and shaken around are necessary in order to receive more of the abundance God is giving.

    The blessedness Jesus describes overflows through, in, and all over us. One of the best ways to receive joy is to give joy.”

    I pray that I will keep growing and get better at trusting God instead of longing for a false sense of control through my “normal”!

    • Leonetta

      Thanks, Carolyn! The same comments about the nature of control and the ‘threat’ that we sometimes feel to loosen our grip on it really resonated with me as I have struggled with that as well. I love your comment and never thought of that passage that way either. Thanks for sharing.

  • Christine

    I loved that the 2 Corinthians verses were included with these passages. We go from glory to glory by the power of His name! There is no other name! And am UNABLE to stop speaking about what I have seen and heard. Lord Jesus, I will testify BOLDLY in your name!

  • Diane Huntsman

    Peter and John knew that the storm was only just beginning. They could be bold and fearless because they knew, without question, that they were anchored in the only Truth that can sustain the volatile winds and waves of that storm. YES!!!

  • Heather Dehaan

    Encouraged today to be bold and to show love, even if its outside of my comfort zone!

  • Does anyone know the time lapse between Jesus’s crucifixion and the council meeting in today’s reading?

    • Kelly

      Well, Pentecost is 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection. As this story happens shortly after that, maybe 2 months after the crucifixion.

      • Leslie

        Thank you Kelly. Timelines help me grasp more understanding. I am glad for your help.

  • Caroline

    I find that I’m always waiting to get through one crazy event in my life so I can slow down and turn more focus to His calling for me, but now I’m seeing that no matter where I am, He is there. Despite how crazy or confusing my life seems, or when I’m not really sure what He is telling me to do, He is there, anchoring me down. If we just live in the present and fix our eyes on Him, we will find Him there, no matter where we are. He is there.

  • Amber Marshall

    Thankful that in all things Jesus is greater.

  • churchmouse

    The power of WORDS. That is what impresses me from these Scriptures this morning. Peter and John, uneducated men, are TEACHING. Peter SPEAKS, filled with Holy Spirit SPEECH . The religious rulers have NOTHING TO SAY in response. They have NO WORDS . The elders then TALK among themselves and THREATEN that Peter and John are NOT TO SPEAK in Jesus ‘ name again. They order them NOT TO PREACH OR TEACH . They order SILENCE . Peter and John are undeterred. “We are UNABLE TO STOP SPEAKING…” Dear sisters, each one of us has our story of our life in Christ. We may feel uneducated when it comes to evangelism and apologetics but we all have our story we can TELL . Like Peter and John we can SPEAK SIMPLY of what we have seen and heard Him do in our lives. Our story cannot be refuted because it is our story and we know it, we live it. And so we TELL it. We trust the Holy Spirit will give us the WORDS at the very moment we are willing to SPEAK our story out loud. They who hear will “recognize that we have been with Jesus.” Their response is their choice . We can only speak THE WORD. I’m praying we/I would do so with boldness and conviction by the name of Jesus Christ. We each can be a Peter and John. Amen? Amen!

    • Sarah_Joy

      Good thoughts to ponder for someone who thinks her testimony wouldn’t draw anyone to Jesus. Regardless of how boring my story seems Jesus still has changed me and saved me and makes me who I am. That is my story. God grant me the boldness to share it.

      • Stacey Cochran

        I thought the same thing, and I pray the same thing–that God will grant me the boldness to share it. After all if they could under their circumstances, so can I.

    • Sue

      Thank you & Amen. SPEAK SIMPLY OUT LOUD!!!

    • Leonetta

      Awesome reminder. Thank you, churchmouse!

    • Rhonda

      Thank you for your WORDS and encouraging me that my story does matter and that I, too, have words to share! A blessed day to you!

    • Kendra

      Amen!

    • Cali

      I love this! I tend to be shy about my new found relationship with Christ because I’m not well versed on the bible, etc… This is so true. Peter and John were uneducated and brought in new believers by the thousands.

  • Wow, this was such a good one for me this morning! My husband and I have huge, uncomfortable changes coming up and I am positive it’s something Christ is leading us to. Even so, it’s nerve-wracking to follow! But this reminder of how Jesus shakes things up is just what I needed to hear!

  • I have been married over 30 years and raised and homeschooled seven children while moving every 2 to 3 years living the Coast Guard life until my husband retired and went into full time ministry. Normal routine was always at the front of my radar as I strived to get control of anything in my life. We spend a lot of extra energy striving for normal and trying to control situations that are out of our hands completely. How much easier it would be to just look up and away from our constant moving and changing lives. The older I get the more I realize that I have control over nothing except choosing to look up. The verse that stuck out to me today, “There is no salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it” Acts 4:12. Peter could say that with confidence not because he was strong but because he believed and was filled with His Spirit. Peter had looked up (Acts1:9-12). Everything was about to change for the disciples. They knew change was coming but because they saw Jesus and believed, they could face it with confidence knowing their control in their own lives was out of their hands because their lives belonged to Him. There is no other name, no other place to find salvation but in Him. Look up. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
    ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    • churchmouse

      Yes, Gina! Blessed by your words this morning. Truth!

    • Rhonda

      I love this: “I have control over nothing except to choose to Look UP!” Thank you for your words.

  • Beautifully written and a great conviction that I have needed this morning. Thank you.

  • Yep. I’m that guy. The one who hates change, has great difficulty in relinquishing control (isn’t this what I posted about just yesterday?), and struggles with my position being threatened. Despite seeing a “notable sign” that “could not be denied,” Annas and Caiaphas desired to shut the apostles down rather than face up to the truth. Because the truth was oh so much more painful, and required oh so much more soul-searching and was life-changing. Man, have I been there.

    SO grateful for this study.

  • These words … “The storm of change has come into your life, and His name is Jesus.”

    May was a hard month for our family. Mays typically are. So much gets jammed pack into the last official month on the school calendar and everything else gets slighted, but this May was a storm that I hadn’t seen the likes of in a long time. It even included warfare for our six-year-old son. For ten long days he had gone from our happy, easy going little guy to a boy riddled by fears, anxieties, anger and crudeness. I can’t even put words to it. The things coming out of his mouth were not of him and I was shocked. At the same time he would say horrible things, he’d back them up with tears dripping down his face, crying, “I know I’m not supposed to feel this, I don’t know what is happening” and this would happen ALL day, anywhere, and even through the middle of the night … as a Momma, it was so hard to watch and I just wanted it to be over, I couldn’t wait for our “normal” and I hoped this wouldn’t become it. I conferred with spirit based friends and we went into battle for my little guy and each time he would struggle, to my knees I would go (metaphorically and physically) … with each cutting word about God, I would throw back truth. Tears flowed and it was hard and when I began to see relief for my son, it was as if demons to pigs, I became overwhelmed with all he had experienced and as a battle raged in my own head, I let truth wrestle. In the end, my son is well. Bearing that storm, pointing to our lighthouse that IS Jesus was the only thing I, we could do for Him and since, he is a whole new kid. The relief in him is on a deep level and the thanks he speaks to God is profound. I can hear the relief in his little spirit. Just yesterday he sat on the floor playing legos, one of our dogs beside him and while petting and admiring how soft and sweet our pup is, I hear him say to the dog, “You’re so soft and cute, Zeke. I do love you but (leaning into his ear) I love God more.” Every time he tells someone, anyone, he loves them, he backs it right up with … “but I love God more”. And just the other day, a friend of mine, who is not a christian, told me that while Shep was playing with her daughter he explained to her that saying “OMG” in it’s entirety is disrespectful and that anything in her that tells her it is ok isn’t truth, that we should speak God’s name in a good way because He loves us and saves us (his words). She has now taken to correcting others.

    Short of this is, in the face of anything, Jesus is our only relief, our grace, reprieve, salvation, rock … He IS our change, our strength. When we are facing, at any age and in any situation, anguish we can not take our eyes off of Him. He is our beacon in a stormy sea and if we do not, for a moment, look in any other direction, if we are willing to take our hands off our own ship’s wheel, He will guide us home, He will surely provide respite.

    • Jen

      Wow, incredible story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jackie

      So beautiful. Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing.

    • candacejo

      Bless his sweet heart! So thankful that you knew to pray and fight in the Spirit for those battles are truly real. Even more thankful that God heard your prayer and restored your sweet little one. He won’t soon forget it and it is awesome how he is giving God the glory. ♥

    • Jami

      Blessed by your story, B – thanks for taking the time to share it! I will not soon forget it, as my son is battling unbelief after a lifetime of being steeped in truth, though he is 24 and able to make forever life-altering mistakes. And he is. I am on my knees for him daily, fighting the desire to look back, longing for our “normal” days- instead keeping my eyes on Jesus and leaning into this new story so our family. Your words remind me that the story is not over and Jesus will provide respite in some way.

  • Joy Baba

    Being a pastors wife in Nigeria and a stay at home mother makes me feel left out on social life and ministry . Am also trying to meet up with my responsibilities in training our kids and church women leadership. It’s been depressing, for I look forward to have time to develop myself through reading and active involvement in life and ministry. But am realizing from today’s studies that I don’t define normal but God who ordained my times and seasons. Am blessed. The Lord bless you Claire Gibson

  • So good, Claire!

  • This is a word I need in the latest storm of my life. I’ve said to myself many times over the last few months that when I pass the next hurdle, my life will calm down — only to face the next unexpected craziness that demands my attention. This statement really hit me: “The storm of change has come into your life, and His name is Jesus. His rival is your sense of control over what’s “normal.” I know that God is putting things in place and demanding much of me as He shaped me for His assignments. The storm of change happens when we say, Here am I, send me (Isaiah 6:8). I realize reading this message that the storm of change IS my normal. My job is to embrace it with joy, abundant joy, overflowing all sides — rather than feeling cranky, pressed on all sides. The press is required to make oil from the olives, or wine from grapes. My spirit feels renewed and hopeful for what God has planned through the storm. Thanks for such a good word!!

  • Emily P.

    This is exactly what I needed to hear this morning, as the school year ends and my annual anxiety about what I’ll be teaching in the fall rises. “I’ll go to great lengths, trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. I’m desperate for it. So desperate that, the more God tries to change my circumstances, the more I gripe and moan and disobey because it hurts to lose what I’ve worked so hard to construct as mine.” I must keep this in mind.

    • Christa

      Emily, as a teacher I experience the same annual anxiety. We have new leadership in our district that is making a lot of changes, of which we are not privy to at the moment. Budget crisis and a hiring freeze have put everyone on edge. So much uncertainty. My first instinct is to wrap my fist around my perceived control. I’m not one to sit back and just let it happen, but I’ve been given no choice. Today’s discussion made it clear that this storm of change is controlled by Jesus. I’m finding comfort in knowing that God has a plan, he’s got it handled. This truth is allowing me to let go and not fuss, but enjoy my summer, knowing that whatever changes occur will turn out for the good.

  • This is so helpful today! I’ve never thought before about how threatening Jesus must have been to Annas and Caiaphas- that they had been the ones to make the sacrifices of atonement for people and Jesus changed all of that.
    Also, as I’m facing some change at work that is difficult at the moment, it makes me question: am I open to accept it or do I “tighten my fists around my own power” and cling to my own way of doing things? It is encouraging to be reminded that we can weather the storms of change as long as we are anchored in the truth.

  • How many times have I heard or even myself used those words…’when we are back to normal’ ‘when things settle down…’ .aagh!!!

    MY heart, this morning is singing a new song ….These words just seem to have had an impact this morning..The storm of change has come into your life, and His name is Jesus. His rival is your sense of control over what’s “normal.” They hit me like a beautiful slap across the face…and my favourite part of that sentence is… The storm of change has come into your life, and His name is Jesus.!!! Oh how I needed to hear/read that reminder….Jesus. Jesus. Jesus…
    No other name….No other fill-ins or in- fills come close or near, He and only He…
    Praying that I can be bold and fearless because i know, without question, that I am anchored in the only Truth that can sustain the volatile winds and waves of the storms that I face….

    Jesus. Jesus. Jesus…
    The storm of change has come into your life, and His name is Jesus….Amen..
    Big love and hugs from across the pond, dear Sisters…xxxx

    • Pat

      Tina, Thank you for sharing your heart

    • candacejo

      Love! ♥

    • Maggie

      thank you, Tina, I needed to hear your words this morning!

    • Tricia

      Thank you Tina. God bless you. Xoxo

    • Sue

      “There’s no normal life, it’s just life, get on with it. “. I love this quote although it’s not from scripture but resonates to my heart. Thank you Tina for your reminder this morning. ❤️

  • Elisabeth

    I love my routines because I find security in them – and sometimes, that makes me quite inflexible and it’s difficult to be open to God’s will and hear His voice. I pray that He will be my one security and that I will be open to changing myself and the world around me.

  • Great study- I so often focus on what is ‘normal’ or ‘routine’ especially since having a small child yet today I have been challenged to put this in perspective. All that really matters is that I am anchored in Christ. That he is in control and I am willing to give over all of me for him. Love where it talks of how previously we were veiled from God, now we encounter and experience him without any barriers. So grateful for the cross x

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