Acts 1:1-11 (ESV)
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying[a] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
God opens and closes doors. I think sometimes we see a need and automatically think I must be the answer to this problem. The problem is burdensome and I see there is a problem. I see how I can fix that problem. So, instead of checking in with God in prayer and trying to get good counsel, I make a quick decision between two options and go for it. Sometimes we think if we work tirelessly or say the right words we will get people converted to Jesus or help them at whatever stage they are at on the journey. We have the answers to the sins of others, over our own.
I have been in chaplain conversations where I felt led to mention a certain story, or a specific idea. I don’t know why. I didn’t know this scripture verse or this story would relate to a person in a special way because of what they are going through. I have also been in situations where I don’t mention something because I felt strongly for some reason not to. Now, does it mean that God is doing that every time you have thoughts like that, no. That is not what it means.
That is exactly what makes it so hard to preach and minister to others. The Bible gives us absolute principles. Jesus says, “He is the only way to salvation.” “Do not murder.” “Do not lie.” But the rules of a relationship also apply when you are in tune with God Almighty. Your kids know if today is a good day to ask you a question or not. My daughter walks into the room and says, “Dad.” I might say, “What’s up?” I might also say, “What now?” God isn’t moody but as He is helping us to become who we are meant to be. He gives us the reaction we need for the moment. He might help us by not answering right away. He might say no, but He might also tell us to wait. Relationships are not always driven by absolute reactions.
Many of us have experienced this. We are praying and striving towards something for years. We are trusting God, and someone else just starts right out there on that same path and God blesses their efforts right away. Now you have a choice. Do I trust Jesus? Can I be happy for them? God didn’t appear to answer my prayer or honor my efforts in this moment. But that is the test of character. Sometimes passing the character test is the most convincing witness we have. Someone who has heard your words is watching your actions. They are checking to see if you are consistent when it appears that God isn’t there anymore! We know He is there and have come to understand the answer was to wait.
Thanks for Reading.
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