Sunday, June 18, 2017

Times of Refreshing

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

Are you stuck?

Are your days too predictably monotonous?

Do you feel that nothing is ever going to change?

I want you to look especially at the words highlighted in bold in the verses below. I want you to realize that when I ascended back to the Father, I didn’t abandon My disciples. I continued to be present in their lives. I worked in them through the Holy Spirit when they called on My name to help them.

Notice the following four different sets of words that tell the story of a paralyzed man trapped by his circumstances and of My grace that brings “times of refreshing.” Please realize that these “times of refreshing” are not just for the paralyzed man who was healed, but also for all who turn to Me!

Predictable Unwanted Daily Sameness:

The words “customary time” and “every day” help us enter the world of the lame man. His discouraging situation is also the world for every man and woman stuck in a rut that he or she wants to escape. The man whom Peter and John met had been “paralyzed since birth.” His routine was set by his physical limitations, his limited opportunities in society, and the limited number of people who chose to help him in their limited ways and with their limited expectations of what his life could ever be.

Power of My Name:

While the man who was born lame faced severe limits, these limits were removed by My gracious power. My power was released through Peter and John as they proclaimed the power behind the man’s healing: “faith in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” Even though I had ascended back to the Father, Peter and John knew that I wasn’t gone. They knew My power and My grace were still available through the Holy Spirit to those who called on My name. They didn’t have money, but they did have faith. So they called on the power of My “name” and brought My presence and power near to address this paralyzed man’s needs.

A New Day Dawning:

The formerly paralyzed man’s life was changed forever! After he had been healed, praise was not something he watched from afar. He could stand, walk, leap, and dance in joyous praise. He was no longer dependent upon his friends to get him to the place where he could beg from other people for a few meager coins to sustain him. And if you listen to what Peter said to the crowd, you realize that the people in the crowd were paralyzed as well. They were stuck in their ways with low spiritual expectations. However, even for them, “a new day can dawn.” They, too, could experience “days of refreshing times flowing from the Lord.” Just as miraculous as a paralyzed man given the power to walk, these religious people could be delivered from their paralyzed religious forms into a life filled with My power and presence.

Life’s Ultimate Turning Point:

The folks stuck in their religious rut needed to “rethink everything and turn to God.” They could call upon the Father believing in My name. Believing in Me is something that you may have decided in the past. However, I hope that you will do it afresh each day, beginning today. Rethink everything! Call on My name! Believe in Me. Trust in My power and My presence! I do long to be present and powerful in your life and bring you “days of refreshing”!

Verses to Live

My apostle Paul said it well:

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone — and see — a new life has begun.

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Step away from the boring sameness of a predictable life. Leave behind dry religion if you find yourself caught in low expectations of what I can do. Turn your heart to the Father. Call upon My name. Trust that I will be present with you and powerful for you through the Holy Spirit. Even if you feel satisfied with your life, you can experience so much more through My power and grace that bring you “days of refreshing.”

One day at three o’clock in the afternoon, a customary time for daily prayer, Peter and John walked to the temple. Some people were carrying in a man who had been paralyzed since birth. Every day they brought him to a place near the beautiful gate (one of the temple entrances) so he could beg for money from people entering to worship. He saw Peter and John coming and asked them for a contribution. Peter gazed intensely at him — so did John.

Peter:

Look at us.

The man looked up at them, assuming they were about to give him some money.

Peter:

I want to give you something, but I don’t have any silver or gold. Here’s what I can offer you: stand up and walk in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Anointed One.

Then Peter took the man’s right hand and lifted him to his feet. Instantly the man’s feet and ankles grew strong. He jumped and walked, accompanying Peter and John into the temple where he walked, jumped for joy, and shouted praises to God. A crowd ran to the commotion, and they gathered around this man in an open area called Solomon’s Porch. There he was, standing on his own two feet, holding on to Peter and John. They knew exactly who he was — the beggar they passed at the beautiful gate every day. Everyone was absolutely amazed at this wonderful miracle; they were speechless, stunned.

Peter (to the crowd):

Why are you so amazed, my fellow Israelites? Why are you staring at my friend and me as though we did this miracle through our own power or made this fellow walk by our own holiness? We didn’t do this — God did! The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob — the God of our ancestors has glorified Jesus, God’s servant — the same Jesus Whom you betrayed and rejected in front of Pilate, even though Pilate was going to release Him. He is the Holy and Righteous One, but you rejected Him and asked for a murderer to be released to you instead. You not only rejected Him, but you killed Him — the very Author of life! But God raised Jesus from the dead, Whom my friend John and I have seen with our own eyes. So that’s how this miracle happened: we have faith in the name of Jesus, and He is the power that made this man strong — this man who is known to all of you. It is faith in Jesus that has given this man his complete health here today, in front of all of you.

Listen, friends, I know you didn’t fully realize what you were doing when you rejected and betrayed Jesus. I know that you, and your rulers as well, were acting in ignorance. God was at work in all this, fulfilling what He had predicted through all the prophets — that the Anointed One would suffer. So now you need to rethink everything and turn to God so your sins will be forgiven and a new day can dawn, days of refreshing times flowing from the Lord.

(Acts 3:1-19)

Response in Prayer

O Father, I call on the mighty name of Jesus. I pray to You by the power and presence of Jesus’ name. Give me eyes to see and a heart to believe, O Father. I know that You long to bring times of refreshing to me and to bring Your refreshing grace to others through me. So I offer You my heart. I seek Your Holy Spirit to help me rethink everything and see my world, my circumstances, and my influence through Your eyes of grace and possibility. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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