There is a big difference between power tools and hand tools. With a powered drill, you can get the job done in a fraction of time and often cleaner than you can with a manual drill. The same can be said for your Spiritual life. There is a big difference between life under the power of the Holy Spirit and one that operates under its own power.
Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
A New Work
God started working in others areas of the region besides Jerusalem. Samaria and Antioch were such places. Phillip went to Samaria, and many of them received Jesus. The church in Jerusalem heard about this and sent Peter and John to minister to them. When they got there, they found that the people had received salvation but not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They prayed for them, and the Spirit fell on them.
Peter and John knew the importance of walking in the power of the Spirit. Salvation will remove your sin and get you into heaven, but every believer needs the power of the Holy Spirit to live for Jesus every day. We are filled with the Spirit at salvation which then pours the love of Christ into our hearts (Rom 5:5), but there needs to be that time where the Spirit comes upon us in power.
The Power of the Holy Spirit
This power isn’t a weapon or magic wand but is a presence that guides you in your daily walk. The Spirit manifests the gifts through you and makes you aware of what is on God’s heart. Peter and John saw that the Samaritans were missing this. Are you missing the power of the Spirit in your life?
Have you ever sensed God wanting to use you? Maybe it was in your church or to witness to a loved one. Whatever it may be, there is a certain level of fear that comes with stepping out in faith to be used. Amos was a simple man who was busy in his job when God called him to be His voice to Israel. He was following the flock when the call came.
But the LORD took me from following the flock and the LORD said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’
Smelling of Sheep
Amos was working as a shepherd on the family’s ranch when God called him to be a prophet. He wasn’t from a priestly family or raised in Jerusalem; he tended sheep. Every person can relate to Amos. He was an average person that’s God plucked out of his normal activities. He smelled of sheep, but God wasn’t concerned with his outer appearances, He looked at Amos’ heart. When God calls you, it will serve you well to have to the Amos’ attitude.
Too many people miss God using them because they think they need the proper education or be in the perfect situation for it all to work out. Amos wasn’t looking for the Lord to use him. He was doing the work that God had given him. You can learn a lesson from that. Do what you are doing right now to the best of your ability and when God is ready to use you, He will call. If you want to get out of what you are doing now, it is unlikely God will use you because there isn’t a trust that you will stay focused on what He needs you to do.
Following the Flock
Being called by God to do a work, whether full-time or temporary, is an honor and a privilege. You need to take it seriously and not worry about what others might think or if you are qualified. God calling us is qualification enough. When you step out in faith, do it in the confidence that God is the one who is going to do the work. It will be exhilarating to see Him work in your weaknesses.
It can be pretty discouraging to turn on the TV or browse the internet. All you see are evil acts done by wicked people, and many of them are not getting the punishment they deserve while innocent people are wronged. It was the same during David’s time. King Saul was crazed and had it out for anyone associated with the anointed king. There were moments David questioned what was happening, but he gives hope for the humble.
“O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear.”
Where has God Gone?
David writes Psalm 10, wondering where God has gone. He has prayed for deliverance from the oppression and hasn’t heard anything. The wicked seem to be prospering, but God seems so far away from him. This is one of the common prayers of David in the Psalms. How does it seem like the wicked can get away with anything they want while the righteous struggle? Where is the loving God who takes care of His children? David is asking questions that many of us have asked. At the end of the chapter, David gives hope for the humble.
You live in a world that steps on the weak and humble. People live with a “me first” mentality and think that if they don’t promote themselves, no one will. The Bible contrasts that by charging the followers of Jesus to live in humility. You are to think of others first and not draw attention to yourself. Unfortunately, that opens the door for selfish people to take advantage, and it leaves you feeling defeated. In this Psalm, you can take hope in two areas. First, you are not alone. Every believer who chooses this path will go through it. Second, God sees what is going on and will deal with it.
Hope for the Humble
God truly sees your heart and knows your struggle. He will be your strength, and He hears your prayers. Don’t lose hope because of your present circumstances. Persevere and keep going forward. You will find the trial to be temporary and God’s presence to be all you need. He knows your heart.
Everybody loves a good underdog story. They like when the little guy stands up to the giant and prevails. That was the story of the early church. They were a small group of committed Christians who tirelessly preached the Gospel and stood fearless in the face of opposition. Because of that, they added to their numbers every day.
“The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”
A Committed Group
When the Gospel is preached and the power of the Holy Spirit is moving, the church grows exponentially. In a city where the newly found church was vehemently opposed by the Chief Priest and the religious leaders, it defied the odds and kept growing. Even those who were priests and Pharisees were giving their life to Jesus and joining the church. All it took were a committed group of people who were fearless in the face of opposition.
How do you react in the face of opposition? Do you stand firm in your faith or wither not wanting to cause a stir. Jesus told His disciples that the world would hate them and they would suffer for following Him. If your goal is to get to heaven and avoid any conflict, you are trying to walk two contradictory paths. Jesus is looking for people who will proclaim the Gospel with boldness and trust their lives to His care.
Fearless in the Face of Opposition
Maybe you are sitting at your computer reading this and wavering. You don’t like conflict, but you love Jesus. Understand that He knows that and won’t purposely put you in harm’s way, but He wants to know that you won’t run when He needs you. The fields are white for harvest, and workers are needed to bring it in. Will you spread the Word of God and preach the Gospel?
Several years ago, we sold our home and moved to another city close to the school our children would be attending. We moved into a smaller home while waiting to purchase a bigger home and a more desired neighborhood. The housing market exploded, prices went up, and we are still in that small house. It hasn’t been bad, but it is not our final destination. As Christians living in this world, we need to remember this is not our home.
“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.”
The End is In Sight
As you get closer to the end of the book of Revelation, you can see the finish line. The judgments are coming to an end, the time of tribulation is ending, and the Son of God is becoming more evident. The time for Jesus to take His throne in Jerusalem for the millennial reign is getting close. Satan, his demons, and all of mankind that rejected God will soon be judged, and the church will come and rule and reign with Christ. It will be a glorious day when Jesus comes on His white horse and defeats the armies of the world.
Don’t let yourself get turned off by end times prophecy. You can fall so in love with the world that you forget it is temporary. Eternity is on the horizon, and you should never lose your focus. This world will only get worse before Jesus returns. I believe we are in the phase called the birth pangs. It is only a matter of time before the second coming of Christ.
This is Not Our Home
Are you ready for Christ’s return? Are you looking to the clouds? As Christians, we need to be about the work God has given us, but at the same time, we need to be yearning for His return. Our hearts should be homesick for eternity in heaven. Our prayer should be, “Lord, come quickly.” This earth is our temporary home, and we should be longing for our permanent one.
One thing COVID has done is increase the gap between the wealthy and poor. Most of the jobs that were lost were the low-paying ones that the poor often hold. With most of these businesses closed, workers were furloughed, or worse, the business closed, and the job was lost forever. The Bible is clear that the church is to seek the good and take care of the poor.
“Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the LORD God of hosts be with you, Just as you have said!”
A Sad State of Affairs
The poor were being oppressed in Israel. They were forcing them to pay taxes while the rich had houses made of stone in which they didn’t even live. The poor were being denied justice, and the prudent were remaining quiet through it all. Israel was in a sad state and far from what God commanded them to be when He brought them into the promised land. Amos, the prophet who God had to bring out of the pasture from shepherding, warned them to get back to doing the right thing.
There is a reason Jesus said that it was harder for a rich man to get into heaven than a camel going through the eye of a needle. Rich people will often abuse the helpless to keep their place. The lack of regard for those who are struggling can be mind-boggling. God sees through this and demands that those who have been given much to take care of those struggling.
Seek the Good
The actual warning in this passage is to stop doing evil and do some good so that they may live. God looks out for the poor, and he deals with those who ignore them. If you are poor, be comforted that God sees your plight. If you have been blessed with wealth, God expects you to advocate for those who are struggling.