Beyond the Gospels: Acts

Today’s Scripture: Acts 1 The Message
[The scripture links for the devotionals in the reading through of Acts can be found in The Message. The Message is more of a paraphrase but God has often used it to show me something new in a text I have read many times. Feel free to use any version that works for you.]

Even after the disciples witnessed Jesus alive after crucifixion, they didn’t get it. They were still holding on to their former teachings. Still wondering about Jesus restoring an earthly kingdom. The disciples couldn’t quite put it all together. And then Jesus goes on and makes a promise…

 “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

It struck me anew as I studied these words not too long ago. The disciples didn’t get it because they didn’t have it yet. All of what happens after the gospels is only made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Look at Jesus’ final words to them…. when the Holy Spirit comes, you will be able. The reality is they weren’t “able” yet. A piece of the puzzle was still missing and until it comes, the disciples had no ability to do what God had called them to do. I smile when I read where it left them.

“As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky?”

I smile because I can see myself doing the same thing… looking up at an empty sky. It is hard for us to understand the disciples’ predicament. We are blessed to live on this side of the promise. We can’t comprehend life apart from Holy Spirit… not totally.

This Holy Spirit stuff is such a mystery. Those of us who want everything to be logical, explainable, find it hard to wrap our minds around it. It just seems so supernatural… at times a little too magical. There is no science or formula to make this more real. And it is true, even possible, to live an entire life without acknowledging the work of the Spirit. It is possible to slide this Trinity thing to the back burner of our faith and ignore it. It is possible to only grow in areas we completely understand. It is possible…

But that possibility leaves us unable just like the disciples before the promise. That possibility leaves us powerless. That possibility leaves us standing here, or there, looking at an empty sky.

This mysterious gift of the Holy Spirit is how God living in us happens. This gift brings about all the power and the strength and the wisdom to be able to do all God has called us to do.

Is there an area in your life you find yourself staring at an empty sky? Take time to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s wisdom in this area… to give you the ability to follow His leading.

Father God, lead me into the mystery of the Holy Spirit.
Teach me to live in Your realm, the realm of the Supernatural.

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