But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God:“O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying,‘Why were the nations so angry?Why did they waste their time with futile plans?The kings of the earth prepared for battle;the rulers gathered togetheragainst the lord
and against his Messiah.’
“In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.~Acts 4:19-31 (NLT)
While reading chapters 3 and 4 of the Book of Acts, I paused to question what God must sometimes think of my prayers. When I am frightened, I pray for His protection. When I am anxious, I pray for His peace. But what would happen if I prayed for boldness?
When threatened, boldness is exactly what these early believers prayed for God to provide. These are the same disciples who hid, afraid in their homes, after Jesus’ crucifixion. But once they realized Jesus was alive, they responded to the truth of His resurrection in a very powerful way. No longer afraid, they stopped hiding and bravely left their homes and began teaching in the synagogues and wherever people would listen. When threatened, they prayed that God would give them boldness to preach the Good News. And God answered, giving them a boldness that could only come from the Holy Spirit. And through that power, they became beautiful messengers of God’s Word.
These early disciples faced the threat of imprisonment and even death, yet their greatest desire was to speak God’s truth boldly. Instead of praying for God to change their circumstances, they prayed for God to give them boldness to do His will within their circumstances.
Few of us reading this face the fear of imprisonment or death for sharing the Good News. Yet, we are often paralyzed by other fears. The fear of failure. The fear of other people. The fear of not being good enough, of lacking knowledge~so many fears. We pray for God to change our circumstances so we can serve Him better. Maybe we think we need a new job first. Maybe we think we need to get out of debt or break an addiction before we can tell anyone else about Jesus. Somehow we think our lives must be perfect or at least better before God can use us. Yet, we forget the beautiful gift we received when we chose to follow Jesus~the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers us with everything we need to live our lives according to God’s purpose for us. And he will use us within whatever circumstances we may find ourselves and in whatever imperfect state we may be.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can be brave:
So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper,
so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?”
~Hebrews 13:6 (NLT)
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.
~Acts 4:13 (NLT)
And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
~Romans 10:15 (NLT)
Breathe in His love…exhale all your struggles…
What do you think would happen if we prayed for this kind of boldness to speak God’s Good News to those we meet? We have the same power as the early believers, the power of the Holy Spirit, living in us. Through that power we can be brave, we can be bold, we can be beautiful! Hallelujah!
Jesus~Only You could provide victory over death and freedom from our sin! We praise You for Your sacrifice. Like the disciples, we want to respond with great boldness! We want to boldly proclaim your love to everyone we meet, letting them know that God is Crazy About Them! Give us the power of Your Holy Spirit to be brave, be bold and be beautiful for Your glory!
Today’s post was written by Michele Barnes.
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet new grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, working with numbers, writing, or working with women. In the evenings, she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, and pottery. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But her most recent passion is snuggling with her sweet, new grandson and gazing at his precious face and bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.