Acts: Day 8

The Apostles Preach the Gospel

by

Today's Text: Acts 5:12-42, Isaiah 40:6-8, 1 John 2:15-17, John 6:66-69

Text: Acts 5:12-42, Isaiah 40:6-8, 1 John 2:15-17, John 6:66-69

I have always been enchanted by the glamour, music, and energy of the Roaring Twenties. Naturally, The Great Gatsby is a favorite book of mine. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, the plot centers on Jay Gatsby, a man with one goal: to win the heart of the charming Daisy Buchanan.

Mr. Gatsby doesn’t consult God about his grand plans to win over Daisy. Rather, he sets out to make himself a new man worthy of her pedigree—a man of fame and fortune. But despite Gatsby’s best efforts, (spoiler alert) he does not ultimately end up with his lady love. And while hundreds—maybe thousands—once attended his infamous parties, Gatsby’s funeral is a lonely affair, and he’s quickly forgotten by most.

How could someone who worked so hard with such a singular purpose, fail and be forgotten?

When we look at the book of Acts, we see the apostles giving everything they have to accomplish a goal. Unlike Gatsby, these men are driven by God’s purpose rather than their own desires. And the outcome couldn’t be more different.

Even with God leading them, the apostles’ journey wasn’t without difficulties. When the apostles started to gain a following for the Lord, the jealous Sadducees imprisoned them. But the plans God had set in motion could not be stopped, and the men were miraculously freed to continue preaching. When dragged before the Sanhedrin, they remained committed to the mission the Lord had called them to, bravely proclaiming:

“We must obey God rather than men.”
-Acts 5:29

Honest though the apostles’ explanation was, it didn’t sit well with the Sanhedrin, who’d become intent on killing them (Acts 5:33). But Gamaliel, a wise and respected Pharisee among the council, persuaded the others to leave the men alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39).

Jay Gatsby was a man with plans to make his own name great, but his plans failed and his legacy was forgotten. The apostles, on the other hand, were not working in their own power or crafting their own strategy for success—they were listening to the Lord and joining in His plans as “fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Even when the apostles faced imprisonment, beatings, and the threat of death, they were strengthened in the Spirit to endure such trials and to spread the gospel, a teaching with eternal value.

It’s tempting to follow our own desires apart from God, striving for recognition and trying to make a name for ourselves. We can easily become confused by our own motivations. Are we pursuing this job or relationship to bring glory to God, or to build our own kingdom? Are we walking in our own strength, or by the guidance of the Spirit?

Jesus promised that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Instead, we will struggle to build false kingdoms of our own that won’t last and will never fulfill. But thanks be to God, whose plans can never be thwarted! Like the apostles, may we seek to obey Him, rather than man. SRT-Acts-Instagram8s

Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. Jesus dramatically changed her life in high school, giving her a heart for those who don’t yet know the love of Christ. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

  • april Keeping

    I was complaining to my husband earlier tonight that I was unhappy about the cost of handing our lives to God and following His will. This smacked me right in the face. God told me do not love the world, love me. I so needed to hear that tonight and I needed the reminder that I need to hand over the joys of the life I expected to live and to dwell in the joys of the life He has called me to.

  • I love that, this assurance that what is of God will stand forever. There have been times when I have been ready to quit on an idea but God has opened a way so clearly that I dare not do anything else! I’m encouraged from these passages that the word of God spoken in those days will stand forever in the lives of the people who heard it.

  • tracey :)

    I was that girl. The girl who thought she was perusing something for the “glory of God.” Unfortunately, God was not involved in those plans. Needless to say, it didn’t work out and I was left wondering what went wrong. I mean, why didn’t this work? I was doing it for God. I was just doing it on my own and hoping God would bless it.
    Silly girl…..
    Lesson learned: if God is not involved, it is doomed from the start. It’s a waste of time and energy and only leads to heartbreak and repeating the test all over again.

  • The world will try to convince us that we don’t need God to give us what we want but doesn’t that make us appear mighty and great ourselves? Only God is mighty, great and all knowing to not our wants but our needs. Today, ask God to better your life, not the world.

  • The world will tell us we don’t need God after awhile once we surrender to bettering our lives. Ask God to make your life better, not the world.

  • The world will hate you because you’re Christian, be Christian anyway.

  • 41 “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
    This verse just blows me away and reminds me of how much more I should be rejoicing for God. The fact that the disciples can rejoice about the suffering is just incredible

    • Ashley

      I so agree Bethany! This phrase stood out so significantly to me. I sadly don’t think I view suffering for the sake of Christ with the same joy as the apostles did here. But I pray that I will know Christ, as Paul said, and the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his suffering and becoming like him in his death. It is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit, how I need him.
      http://www.spillinthebeans.ca

  • Reeve Currie

    It is such a telling question to ask yourself when you’re making a decision: is this ultimately for me or to glorify Jesus? That one question can quickly bring clarity (sometimes painful clarity!).
    http://www.thegirlontheverge.com

  • Stacy, you are in my prayers!

  • This really spoke to me today. My husband has filed for divorce and is living with another woman and I am on my knees tearfully praying for him daily. Is it for God that I won’t give up on my marriage or because I selfishly don’t want to give up on my own plans and expectations for my future (and our 2 year old’s future) … ?
    The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

    • Christy

      Stacy, just read your post. My sis in law is going through a divorce too with 4 young kids. Lifting you up in prayer sister!

      • Stacy

        Thank you Christy! I’m praying for your family and your sister in law too

      • Hope

        Stacy, I want to hug you and I am not a hugger. My heart is with you. I pray that you see and feel God moving in your situation. I also pray that during this trial–no matter what–you will find the eternal value in your moment of suffering. Sending my prayers, a virtual hug, and some love.

    • Kristin

      Stacy, my heart is breaking for you. I went through the same situation a year and a half ago. God sees the bigger plan and ultimately knows what is best for you and your child. Stay strong even on those extremely difficult days and trust in the Lord. It’s a long and difficult road, but I am praying for you!

    • Reeve Currie

      Oh how difficult! It can be so hard to wade through our own desires and acknowledge how our plans can be different from God’s. Praying for you as you experience such pain.

    • Nikravesous

      Praying for you, Stacy. I am so sorry you are going through this, I can’t imagine your pain. I have a good friend who I have known through a divorce and, more recently, a very messy break up. The only way he’s gotten through this is by trusting in God and, in fact, his faith has lead numerous friends to the Lord as they see that his strength comes from the Lord. God is with you in this and is using you through this. Love you, sister

    • Gail

      Stacy, my heart breaks for you. I, too, have been down that road. My ex-husband walked out on me after almost 10 years of marriage. We had two small little girls. I cried out to God, desperate because these were most definitely not my plans. God did not heal my marriage. My ex-husband went on to marry the woman he was having an affair with. But, God’s plans for me didn’t end when he walked out. He blessed me with a wonderful man and we have since had 2 more children. These were not the plans I had when I was a young bride of 22, but God turned ashes into beauty. I’m praying this for you, too, my friend. You are a child of the most high King. Hold your head high and tell yourself you are worth more. One day, one breath, at a time. Love in Christ!

  • Carrie Rogers

    Thank you for this truth. Lord, may all that I do be about glorifiying You!

  • Jenna Johnson

    Wow, I felt such peace reading these verses. Peace in knowing that as long as I have God on my side, I can do anything. Peace in knowing that building my own kingdom is futile, so why even bother? Peace in knowing that my Father in Heaven WANTS me to counsel with him about every decision in my life. He cares THAT much. I loved verse 41; after the apostles were beaten, they rejoiced that they were worthy enough to suffer shame for Jesus Christ. Would I feel the same way in the same situation? I know that loving the Gospel is a joy, not something to be embarrassed of. This verse has given me the motivation to be more BoLd in my sharing of the Gospel.

  • Rhonni_l

    I live in Sydney Australia & always am a day behind however it also gives me the opportunity to read over all the comments which i find opens much diverse understanding & truths from the daily devo. Love being a part of this special community

  • This is such a timely remind to continually tune back into God’s plan throughout my day. Today’s reading also made me remember that it’s not just the big picture, but the small stuff too – am I ‘struggling to build my own kingdom’ by holding so tightly to the way I think things should go, or am I giving Him full reign and trusting that His way is best, step by step? I hope the latter! I started this study late and am now just one day behind on the plan, but each time I go to ‘cram’ and catch up, I feel the nudge to pause & truly consider each reading for what it’s worth, and what God wants me to learn. Thanks SRT Team for your incredible ministry, it’s been a real blessing to me since I came across you a few months ago :-)

  • Anna Buchanan

    I am in the middle of a waiting phase with a guy I really like. We have just started dating and I’m waiting for him to initiate a more serious move. As I wait I find myself walking around with fists clenched trying to control it all. I want my glory. I desire my plans and goals to be fulfilled. The Psalmist says our Father’s “steadfast love is better than life” (63:3). So I pray that my heart my gaze on Jesus. May I long to be His coworker and do great and mighty things for His glorious Kingdom. May I run from the temptation to exalt myself and may my life bring honor to His name alone!

  • Lilia Quintero

    Let’s just leave God to continue showing us his purpose for us… that is give all the glory and praise to HIM

  • Jennifer

    I have been struggling with the fact that I am not in a career I want to be in, or a relationship that I would like to be in. It’s so great how God knows exactly what to put in devotions exactly when you need to hear them. I am praying and trying to be content because I know God’s plan is great and I know that even though I don’t see it God’s plans are so much more greater than my own. It’s hard, but worth it.

  • Bernadette

    It is amazing how devoted and dedicated the apostles were that they let nothing stop them from proclaiming Gods word. I look at my own life and see the distractions that I allow to detour me from reading my bible, worshiping God and mediating on his glory and also telling as many people that I can about how good our God is. I have read the book of Acts before, but now that I am reading it again, I see things different. The Holy Spirit is really speaking to my heart. Thank you all and God bless.

  • I need to fully surrender my way and ask God to show me His way. It is so easy to fall into the traps of this world and it’s ways. When only His plans matter.

  • Ellington

    Thank you for this reminder!

  • This verse touches me deeply today.! How much does the world around us impact is and impact our hearts.

    “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

  • Tamara B

    Today, what stuck me most was acts 5:38-39
    “For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.”

    The song of DC talks : ‘My will’ popped in my head and I had to look it up to remember the whole text. (https://youtu.be/qgrxz57XXfA ) it’s not only about us, telling the people about God, but also about what do. We have to do His will.. And if we do, than nothing can shake us!

    Because (isaiah 40:8) The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever!

  • My best friend since I was little had one of the strongest Christian hearts I had ever heard. He recently had decided to go down Gods path, instead of his own, and took this awesome position through the United Methodist church to help others. Unfortunately before he could start, God had bigger plans for him. He was in a small airplane crash and got to meet his creator. It has been hard to accept that this was Gods plans and not just some freak unfair accident. This study has helped put me back onto Gods track (this being the first devotional I have done since I was a very young girl). Prayers for an open heart and open mind are needed.

  • HeidiAnne

    This was such a good reminder for me – I always have felt like I was “meant for bigger things” but it always causes me to be unsettled and anxious. I have tried a million different things trying to find my “bigger thing”. Even recently, I have been thinking about starting a blog. Foster children and orphans are my passion – as a foster/adoptive mama, I suppose they ought to be. But I keep feeling this PULL to do more – but I don’t think it is from God. I think it is my own insecurity and desire to be known for something more. But the reality is, Gods plans will not be thwarted. He very clearly asked me to be a foster/adoptive mama. He literally threw my sons into my arms and said, “Here. I’m giving my kids to you. Take care of them. ” There was No doubting this was Gods plan. I need to rest in His plan and stop looking for ways to “do more/be more/be like so and so”. Just rest in His perfect plan that will not be thwarted.

    • Kristin

      I truely appreciate this post! Also i am a fellow foster mama!

    • Amy

      I recently began listening to a Podcast called Be Still Be Free. It’s whole goal is to walk along side women and help them to learn to Be like Mary rather than Do like Martha. I immediately thought of this when I read your post. If you’re into podcasts I encourage you to listen. It’s meeting me right where I’m currently struggling!!!

      • kmarie

        Amy, thanks so much for sharing this – the Mary/Martha thing has been forefront in my mind recently, and in light of these Acts readings I look forward to trying out the Be Still Be Free podcast to hear what they have to say! Thanks :-)

      • Amy

        No problem!! Glad to share something that has been beneficial to my walk. I hope you are encouraged and refreshed by it!

  • Katherine

    This couldn’t have come to me at a better time. Just the past weekend I made a choice to pursue my own plan rather than the one God has for me. I have been really struggling today to accept the choice I made, and this helped to put me back on track with God’s plan for me!

  • Stephanie

    Oh this is such a timely reading. So, so timely. Sisters, God’s purpose is why we are here. I want to cry with joy knowing I have the ability to live out the life God has given me, and when I sin He still loves me the way Jesus loved Judas despite what he knew.

    We are loved. We are more than our house or our cars or our clothes. We are Christ’s true loves.

    • Hope

      Hi,
      I love your opening line about being timely because I kept saying to myself: I am SO behind in Acts but I guess God knows my timing:). Today before my quiet time, I kept hearing God speak to my spirit to forget the world (especially this house I’m after) and to abide in him. You post gets everything–that I need to hear abide a zillion times today; that I’m on time when I’m with God; and that I am loved (even more than a cute house). I’ve been struggling with feeling loved. I’m just starting to get that God really loves me.

  • Sarabeth

    Thank you for the reminder that His plan and purpose are at work and will not fail. So many verses in the devotion and in the comment have given me encouragement towards this truth. God Bless.

  • I’ve been asking God to help me sense His love in my heart. I know His love is perfect and unconditional by mind, but I have missed it in heart. God revealed to me that I was loving the world and its desires than Him. Those verses of 1 John 2 said “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I am dismayed at how I’ve come to love the things of this world, separating me from sensing His great unconditional love. Thank you for this lesson today. I needed it.

  • I don’t normally post but I’m struggling today. Hard. With the news of the Orlando sadness and just how fragile life is my heart is broken. How do you guys continue on and reconcile God being in control and continue to have faith? Needing some encouragement.

    • Rach

      Sometimes, in these moments and periods, it’s hard to His hand at work. John 16:33 can be of comfort in these confusing times. This world is fallen and continues to fall further away, but we have Christ in whom we can find hope and peace. Praying for you.

      • M

        And thank you for reminding me of that verse. Will be meditating on it today.

    • Halee

      It always helps me to know that evil isn’t from God. What happened in Orlando isn’t from God. God never promised days without pain… What happened in Orlando is evil and caused pain. But, God did promise he’d never leave us, and he hasn’t.
      If anything good could possibly come out of this, any comfort and peace the families may feel, the new lives those people will lead in heaven, the miracles of healing for the injured, the awareness and precaution that will be taken from now on, the lives that were saved/spared- that is of God and from God.

    • Sara

      M….It is a popular cliche to say, “God is in control,” when in fact He gave that control to man in Genesis. He said, “Fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish and the birds and every living creature that moves on the earth..” God put the earth into our hands, and from Adam on down we all get to choose whether or not to follow in God’s ways. Bad things happen because bad people make bad choices. Bad things happen because good people made bad choices. Bad things happen because the earth is alive with natural forces that sometimes destroy the work of our hands. HOWEVER, God is never going to separate himself from us, and never stop loving us. He will take our brokenness and the brokenness of what has occurred in Orlando and bring healing through it….IF we ask, and IF we trust. No, God is sovereign, but he is not “in control.” We are. And that, my darling, is why things are so messed up sometimes. Don’t let the devil blame this Orlando thing on God. Don’t listen (take the thought into your reasoning) to the voices who would proclaim that the whole thing is because Christians stand up against actions God has said are not holy. Turn it around and let the love of God be more prevalent than ever…find ways to bless, to forgive, to love. Let the light of God’s word and His truth stand up inside you. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Pray for those who abuse and spitefully fill the air with hate and hurt.

      • Crystal

        Another thing to remember about ‘bad things happening’ is that this life is just a drop in the ocean. What happened in Orlando was awful and horrible and hard for us to imagine. But God saved those people, just maybe not in the way WE would have wanted. As a child I often heard the phrase ‘death has lost its sting’ and I didn’t really know what that meant. But now, I understand. We don’t have to fear death. If that’s the worst thing the enemy has…..to put us closer to God…we don’t have to be scared of that.

      • Heather (MNmomma)

        thank you for your powerful words….

      • M

        Thank you for sharing this Sara and Crystal. So much to ponder and so much truth.

  • Vanessa Tramm

    Such a good way to filter my thoughts, actions & motivations – Am I seeking my will and glory or God’s? Am I consulting the Word, which prevails, or the influence of the world. much love, ladies. I hope today’s study encouraged you!

  • I took time to reflect today on the many, many, many times I have tried to pursue my plans rather than the Lord’s. And, my plans never seemed to work out how I thought they should. Instead, when I follow Jesus and the many WONDERFUL plans he has for me, my life is truly abundant just like he promised.

  • Christina Gandy

    Wow! I love this! Last year at this time I made my plans to go to graduate school for a profession I don’t belong in. I did not ask God for permission and ended up spending $20,000.00 on something I do not intend to use. Fortunately, the $20,000.00 was worth every penny because one of my classmates led me back to church. I have not attended church since Junior High, and Christ is a part of everything I choose to do now. I realize I may get beat down, and I am not perfect, but at least I am grounded with Christ as my savior wherever I go, and whatever I choose to do, I ask and check my motivation before I act. Thank you, God!

  • May God’s priorities be our focus today. May we all reflect HIS love and reach out in HIS will. Amen.

  • I think of Proverbs 19:21 after reading today’s devotion ~”Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Oh, that we would remember to listen to His calling on our lives, and not just seek our own way. <3

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks for this reminder, Michele! Grateful for your encouragement!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Christa

      It’s amazing how these two places in the Bible are connected. Another verse, Exodus 14:14 , was a life changer for me. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Three years ago I got remarried, quit my job as an instructional technology specialist, and moved my daughter, my parents, and I to live with my new husband. I had recently finished my masters in Ed administration and had no plans to go back in the classroom. God had other plans, but I tightened my grip on my own plans. I had several interviews, but nothing came to fruition. All posted teaching positions were for high school, bilingual, or early childhood, of which none I was certified. I cried out to God, wondering if after 17 years of what I had always believed he had called me to do, that my career in education was over. I ended up taking a long term sub position teaching 1st grade just to have a job. Due to heavy enrollment they needed a pre k teacher and asked if I was interested. I always said I was not cut out for the little ones. Lol After praying and reading Exodus 14:14, I took the certification test that Saturday, got the test results back Tuesday, interviewed Wednesday, offered the job on Thursday, and started on Friday. When I chose his plan, it suddenly became easy. By the end of the school year I had become closer to that group of kids than any other in my career. It opened the door for me to teach kindergarten now which I absolutely love! When we get out of his way, be still, listen, it all becomes easy. I’m happier in my career now, going into my 21st year of teaching than I’ve ever been! I am so thankful that he put me back in the classroom where I can use his spirit in me to touch little lives. Thank you Michele for showing me another verse that reminds me to let go so that I can serve his purposes not my own.

    • Candy

      Yes that is the verse I need right now-thanks so much for sharing it!!

  • This may be a bit off topic, but what happened to Acts 5:12-16? Friday we left off at verse 11 and today we’re picking up at verse 17. Just thought I’d ask!

    I’ve been loving this Acts study. Proverbs 31’s First5 app just finished a study on Acts last month so I’ve been going through the archives to read through them. It’s so nice because First5 & SRT hone in on a different verse or topic from the same chapter, so I’m able to learn even more.

    I’m excited for Wednesday & Thursday’s readings. Acts 7 always makes me cry like a baby!

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Joyce,
      Today’s reading has been corrected to include Acts 5:12-16. Thanks for your grace! So glad you’re here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Caroline

    “Even with God leading them, the apostles’ journey wasn’t without difficulties.” <—– It's easy to think that the Christian life should be without difficulty and suffering, but Christ says we WILL suffer. I am thankful that despite all the pain and heartache, God is still faithful and with us through it all.

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

    • Lesley

      What’s more is, after being flogged, “…they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that were counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the Name.” It’s one thing to know you will suffer difficulties for Christ. It’s another to rejoice in the midst of it. Powerful.

  • This post truly spoke to me. This is encourages me to continue on, for God’s name and not my own. I recently took the plunge to begin selling my Christ centered illustration and I’ve been met with many telling me it would not succeed. But its success isn’t what it is important- it is sharing God’s love through the passion of painting he set within my heart. Thank you for reminding me it isn’t about the numbers- its about proclaiming God’s name.

    • Aimee

      That is so true! You just have to obey and trust! Do you have a website? I would love to see your art.

  • Keri Underwood

    How quick we are to promote our own needs and wants and claim them or confuse them with God’s will. I think we have to be so careful with this. We have to really focus on Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. It can be so hard sometimes, especially with big life decisions. Lord, allow us to be wise and sensitive to Your gentle nudging!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Today’s study was exactly what I need in my life at the moment. I was recently putting in a lot of effort into a potential relationship– I thought it was going well, but it ended abruptly. This passage in Acts allowed me to see that, even though I am trying, I am not doing it for the right reasons. I need to step back and reevaluate where God wants me to go. When I do something, pursue something, speak something, I desire to do so through God’s will and not my own.

    • She Reads Truth

      Chloe, so glad to hear God is using these passages to encourage you. Praying for you today, friend!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Since it’s the same Holy Spirit that lives in me who lived in Peter & the Apostles – shouldn’t I be just as bold and fearless to speak the Name of Jesus and to tell others about Him and what He’s done? I should be but I often fail to do so. Lord, help me be as bold and as fearless as Your Word says to be.

    • Keri Underwood

      Wow, I love this! We should absolutely be more bold in our faith. I struggle with this. Not that I’m shy about it but I just don’t get out of my comfort zone like I should. Thank you for this call to action, Lorna!

      http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Sisters I ask you to please pray for me. Tomorrow I will be meeting the woman my husband has been having an affair with for over a year. She is moving here and moving in with him before our divorce is finalized. God has called me to treat her with love and forgiveness, just as he loves and forgives her. Please pray the holy spirit dwells in me in a mighty way and I can be a beacon of light to her brokenness. Pray that I can put my kids first in this situation and make them the priority, not my own feelings and thoughts. Thank you ladies!

    • churchmouse

      Yes, praying that your generous spirit would be accepted for what it is, a gift from God. Surely, God will bless you and your children for your obedience to do this hard thing. A warm hug to you, Briony.

    • Raechel

      Praying, Briony.

    • Carolyn

      Praying, Briony!

    • Keri Underwood

      You are a much better woman than me Briony! So strong in such a delicate situation. Praying that the Lord uses you for His will and that you continue to exude His love!!

      http://www.littlelightonahill.com

    • Laura

      Praying for you, Briony, through this difficult time. That the God who made the world and everything in it, will comfort You and lead you through this storm. That He will give you peace and strength. He is Lord of heaven and earth. And He loves you!

    • Rhonda

      Will pray, Briony.

    • Cherri

      You have my prayers, Briony. I watched my son go through something heartbreakingly similar. I remember saying to my pastor’s wife that it I did not see the Lord anywhere in the circumstances my son and granddaughters were facing. That dear friend looked at me and said, “I do!! I see Him in the way your son is handling all of this. I see Him in each reaction Peter has to all that has come his way. NO ONE responds to this kind of devastation in the grace filled, kind, sacrificial way Peter has UNLESS the Holy Spirit is actively alive within them.” I see that same Holy Spirit alive within you, Briony!! There is a future and a hope ahead for you!! May the Lord give you courage and peace and fill you even more with His great wisdom!

      • Hope

        Thank you Cherri and Briony for sharing. I know you’ve already had the meeting but I am praying for grace as all the transitions occur. May the God of all comforts, envelop you during this time.

    • Brandy

      Praying for you, Briony!

    • Cecelia

      God, I thank you for your spirit in Briony. I thank you that in you, she CAN do this excruciatingly hard thing and I thank you for her soft heart to humble herself, to turn the other cheek, to love instead of hate. God I ask that you would empower her and give her your words to speak. And I pray for your blessing to rest on her. You are glorified when we allow your plans to move forward instead of what our own flesh might want. God bless you!

    • Christa

      Praying for you and your kiddos.

    • Krystle

      Briony, I’m praying for strength & the peace that passes all understanding for you in this rough time. <3

    • Candy

      Yes that is the verse I need right now-thanks so much for sharing it!!

    • Candy

      May the Holy Spirit continue to shine thru you as you walk this difficult path right now ! Much prayers!

    • Jamie

      Briony, I am sorry this is happening to you. I am praying that God will give you strength and peace. Big hug. I will be praying for you and your kids. Be strong, you are not alone.

  • 1 John 2:17 stuck out to me…there is nothing greater or more fulfilling in this world than the love of Christ! As we’ve been reading–the gospel changes people. We are transformed. Our hearts desires then should be to do the will of God if we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do so…not our own strength. Praise the Lord! He provides us exactly with what we need to do His will.

  • churchmouse

    Ah, Gamaliel! He knew the Law and he knew that false prophets came and went long before these Jesus followers showed up on the scene. He also recognized the power of God : “For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown ; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God.” Gamaliel, in the midst of the rabid Sanhedrin, spoke truth. He diminished the emotion of the moment by referencing the sovereignty of God. We live in rabid days and how grateful I am for those who stand unwavering for the truth. I pray that I would be counted as one, that I would obey God rather than men and that I would ever stand on the sovereignty and power of God. Amen!

    • Brandi

      Yes ma’am. Praying in agreement!

    • Christa

      “He diminished the emotion of the moment by referencing the sovereignty of God.” I love how you applied this. I am a teacher and work with a wonderful bunch of ladies. As ladies often do, we get stirred up into a bees nest about changes, or this or that. It important to step aside from our emotions and acknowledge that God has it handled, and if we just settle down and get out of his way, all will come out for the good.

  • This is really encouraging for me because I just got out of a 2 year relationship in which I had put a whole lot of effort to make work but didn’t. Looking back, it may not have been God’s plan for me, now I know that when you are in The Will of God, things go smoothly and even if/when they don’t, there’s a peace of mind that you’ll experience and you’d know for sure that everything would be fine eventually.

    • She Reads Truth

      Dee, thank you so much for sharing this with us! Grateful for this reminder of His redeeming hand! So glad you’re here, friend.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Brittany

    Just last night I came to the realization that as much as I would love to be in a relationship with an amazing man that have been getting to know, that loves God with all his heart, I can’t force it to be God’s will that we be together. Last night I came to a point of release and I know that if it is God’s will that we be together, then He will make it clear to both of us. It hurts but I know it is the right thing to do.

    I love how God ministers to us in His Word and how this particular Bible study was exactly what I needed yo read this morning. God is so good. He is comforting my heart even now.

  • Kristine L

    Verse 42 stood out to me, how the disciples preached and taught “from house to house”. These men didn’t only speak in the synagogue or on the holy day of the week. They were spreading the Word daily, intimately, with the people they were doing life alongside. And we’ve already read in Acts how they were walking out this faith with their neighbors as well, sharing resources, breaking bread, building community. I hope to be the kind of person who can spread the Light “from house to house” in my community.

  • Acts 5:41 takes my breath away. I want this to be my attitude should I suffer for His name. Jesus suffered the greatest shame for me. May I be willing and joyful to do the same for Him.

    • Michelle

      That’s what stood out to me more than anything, Anna! That they were rejoicing! Right after being FLOGGED. They were so on fire for Jesus–no wonder the Sanhedrin was nervous! These are not normal human reactions to their situation! But Jesus is so much better than “normal.” I’m praying that I would keep my eyes focused on Him so intently that I can also rejoice in any suffering that comes my way.

  • Make sure you back up and also read first Acts 5:12-16 because it shows you how God strengthened the apostles through works that He called them to do., which was the reason they caught the attention of the high priests, etcc in verse 17-42. My favorite verse today was “For if this plan or this work is of men,, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.” Acts 5:38. Sometimes as a wife/mom/grandma I can think I know what’s best for those I love so I will go about thinking I need to do this or that or encourage this or that and then stress about things if they don’t look like they are going the way I think they should. This morning the Lord has gently reminded me that if it’s His will in their lives it will not be tossed to the side it will prosper. I cannot build my own family, He is the builder and He knows their deepest needs. My job is too pray for His best in their lives and leave the rest to Him. My best will never be as good as what He can give them. He has the words of eternal life that I have come to believe and know ((John 6:68). Rest in Him!

    • Mary Trenda

      As an expecting mom, I love what you said about not being able to build my family. Jesus is the builder and I must trust in Him to know their deepest needs. Thanks for this encouragement today!

    • Laura

      That line encouraged me too, Gina. “You cannot build your own family. My job is to pray…” I am at that stage as well and often stress when I don’t think my family is going in the right direction. I needed this reminder to let God be the builder and I need to trust Hum with my precious family. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kim

      That’s exactly how I feel about my family…my husband, my kids, and now my grandkids, thinking that I know what’s best for them! This verse, Acts 5:38, and your words have opened my eyes and convicted me! My nudging and suggesting, and then the stressing, is such a waste of my time! Instead, I need to remember that the Lord knows their needs and sees the bigger picture in their lives. I need to focus on using my time to pray for His will in their lives and also in my life…because there are more worthy things for me to be doing! Thank you God for opening my eyes and revealing that you know what’s best.

      • Christa

        Convicted as well! Thank you for applying those words in this way.

    • Rhonda

      Thank you, Gina…your words spoke to me this morning. A blessed day to you!

  • This leaves me with questions… What do I do with the Gospel? How do I proclaim the Gospel? I’m not like these men at all. Why? Am I even supposed to be like them? What should I be doing to spread the Gospel? Am I doing enough? Great opportunity for real soul searching to see where my heart is. If I’m in His will, I can’t be overthrown. Even when I don’t “see” how it fits.

  • Me too Rosebergamot! The controller in me wants to put all the pieces together knowing where each little piece will fit. I plan and I plan to reach where I think I Should go but if the Lord is not in it everything just falls apart. I recently lost my job and within two weeks had the job I wanted all picked out, the interviews went great and I was sure I was in. But no call back came. Then the people from a business I was not sure I wanted at all called with an offer-day shift, no nights, no weekends and no on call which as a nurse is unheard of! The place is ten minutes from home and I have already come to love the people. My plans truly do usually come to nothing but when He is in control things that seem so far-fetched happen as if it was easy all along. I pray that I will take me off the throne of my heart and truly give Jesus control-amazing things will happen!

    • Sheona

      I love how you talked about nursing in surrendering your job. I am a nursing student and God has been continually telling me to give it to him. I can’t plan the next 6 years of my life as I want to work and then go back and get my doctorate. God told me to give it to him and focus on today. Going along with the study, I realized that even though I might be on staff at a church and working in other ministry positions, that doesn’t make me a better Christian. I have learned to surrender all of it because if I go into it with a heart not of God then it will fail. This study really helped me to surrender my gains for God’s gains.

      • Paige Garrison

        this is so encouraging!!! Surrender all for the glory of God!! Thank you ladies!!

    • Suz

      I love how our Father works things out for our good! ❤️

  • Rosebergamot

    How often I lose sight of what’s Gods plan and try to find my own ways. This is a great reminder to take his path and it will be successful. No matter how hard I work for something if it’s not his will for my life it won’t happen. As a control freak it’s tough to hand the reins to God and trust him but that’s what I must do if I want to have a fruitful life. I can’t forget him and get lost in this world (so easy to do with the constant distractions of a busy world).

    • Christa

      “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14. As a fellow control freak I have found surrender in this verse. In truth, it changed my life, set me on His path and not my own.

  • This is such an encouraging reminder that ultimately God’s purpose will prevail, regardless of the opposition that may come against it. It also presents a challenge to live for what is lasting- not to get caught up in earthly things that don’t really matter but to focus on what is eternal. I think if I did that I would be much more bold, like the apostles, in telling people about Jesus, rather than worrying about how they would react.

    • Rosebergamot

      I agree. I want to be more bold. I think focusing on the eternal would be key to working on being bold for Jesus.

  • I loved todays study and think seeing God at work even through the Jewish leaders who didn’t belive in Jesus is incredibly inspiring.

    The message really reminded me of something I was reading last night in a book called Sticky Faith for Families. It is about how we can ensure God is at the heart of our families and enable children to come to know him too (They do a non families focused one too!) At the end of the book the question that challenged me most was

    What are you already doing that is helping you model faith in front of your kids?

    Ensuring that the way we live our lives speaks of our faith to those in our family and those we encounter at work is so important. The disciples knew it and were willing and pleased to suffer for it. God is at work through us we need to give him the glory and allow him to use us

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