HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!
For this month’s blog our text will be focused on Acts 1:12-14, regarding the first church at Jerusalem.
Acts 1:14 says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
In the context of Scripture, Christ had just ascended to heaven and His disciples went back to upper room and prayed.
Prayer is the most important thing a Christian MUST do in the New Year! Personally, I live in the spirit of prayer, and I pray as I walk around, when I lie down at night and when I rise up in the morning. It is through prayer that God provides me with the answers to my needs continually. Thousands upon thousands of times my prayers have been answered. Once I am persuaded that a thing is right and for the glory of God, I go on praying for it until the answer comes, and I never give up! In Romans 15:30 Paul said, "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive (synagônizomai – We get our word "agonize" from this word) together with me in your prayers (Proyooskai – earnest prayers) to God for me.” I was visiting a particular church for a conference and a little boy being carried out of church for misbehaving cried out, "ya'll pray for me, ya hear?" He wanted "earnest prayer.
Never become complacent in prayer; praying the same prayer at meals, bedtime, over and over. Your prayer life should be ever developing in earnest heartfelt prayers out of a deepening relationship with God every day. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul said, "Pray without ceasing." This has to do with an attitude of prayer. This doesn't mean that you are to stay on your knees all the time. But it means to pray regularly and to be constantly in the attitude of prayer. Associated with it is this commandment, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Jesus told the church at Ephesus that "Thou hast left thy first love." How did this happen? It happened first and foremost by a lack of communing with God. Consider this, if husbands and wives try to maintain a good healthy relationship by not talking to one another and see how it works out, or if parents try and keep the respect of your children and not communicate with them and see what happens. Of course, it won’t work. The relationships will be damaged or even fail.
When we ignore our prayer time and take it for granted, and it becomes second, third or fourth place in our lives, it can do nothing but go downhill. And then we wonder, "Where is God when I need Him? Where has He gone?" Well, the answer is where were you when He beckoned you to come into His presence and you were too busy or would not? All too often people expect God to do for them what they weren't willing to be committed to do for Him. Remember that prayer is an essential and vitally necessary part of our lives in 2013.
Acts 1:21-26 says, “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, v.22, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. v.23, And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. v.24, And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, v.25, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. v.26, And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
The disciples knew that Jesus had told them that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them and they were waiting for that to happen. But in the meantime, they also knew that there was work to be done. They had to prepare themselves as best they could in order to carry out their assignment properly. The first thing they did after prayer was to prepare. First they had to get another disciple to replace Judas Iscariot. But notice; they prayed through their preparation. They never lost sight of the fact that in order to properly prepare, they had to pray about it. We MUST go through the preparation process and pray for God’s divine wisdom and counsel as we transition into a New Year.
You can't run a Youth Ministry, Sunday School class, preach a sermon, conduct a business meeting or anything else without proper preparation. Pastors certainly can't preach without preparation, and teachers can't teach without preparation. We have to prepare for success intentionally. And by the way, we also have to prepare to make adjustments! Not everything we do is going to be a success the first time that we try. Sometimes we are going to make mistakes. I truly believe that God allows us to do so, so that we can't get a "Big Head" and fall into pride! If everything went perfectly all the time, we, as human beings, would get a head that no hat would ever fit. Sometimes God has to take us down to build us up. One of the biggest keys to proper preparation is to make sure that what we are planning is according to God's sovereign will. We put the horse before the cart when we prepare or plan without making sure that what we are doing is okay with God. Once all the praying and preparation is done, then it is time to perform and execute.
III. Performance & Execution:
Acts 2:4 says, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Now look at verse 14, "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words..” Notice how that when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, they immediately started performing what God had commanded them to do. Not one time do you read in the Bible that any of the disciples said, "I’m afraid so I better wait to do anything for God." Not at all!!! Immediately they started serving God. The Holy Ghost comes upon the believer to empower them to do the work of them ministry, and to execute the purposes and will of God in their communities and in the world. Christians should use all of their resources – gifts, talents, skills, and expertise to further the witness of Jesus Christ everywhere. Everyone, men, women, boys and girls are called to perform once they get saved. There are too many rocking chair pew warming Christians and not enough Christians who are standing on the Rock executing God’s will in the earth. That leads me to say also that whatever God calls you to do, you should do it with all your heart, soul and mind. If you work for God, work with all your heart. Give it all you've got. Do whatever it takes to get it done.
And if you do all this, look in Acts 2:41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Three thousand souls added to the church in one day! Read on in verses 46-47, "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, v.47, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” When it’s done right, God's plan works!!!
In closing, Who is going to make 2013 the best year ever? The pastors can't do it alone, and the deacons can't do it. It takes all of us! God's church, His body united together for one cause (for once) to reach the lost for Jesus Christ. IT’S TIME to PRAY, PREPARE, PERFORM & EXECUTE in 2013!!! JOIN IN & BE A PART OF GOD'S SPECIAL FORCES OF PRAYER THAT ARE PREPARING, PERFORMING & EXECUTING HIS WILL IN THE EARTH TODAY. NOW IS THE TIME!!!
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