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S.O.A.P February 22, 2018

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February 22, 2018
Read Acts 8:1-25
To read this text click HERE.

Scripture- Acts 8:3-4- But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.

Observations- The murder of Stephen led to a dispersion of believers outward from Jerusalem, but rather than simply running away in fear for their lives they also proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ along the way. They went off in many different directions to family members and friends, and this began the fulfillment of the the command given to the disciples by the resurrected Lord in Acts 1:8: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere- in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Application- This reminds me of the conclusion of the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 50:20: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." The persecution of first century Christ followers set in motion the spread of the gospel. A primary instigator of the persecution, Saul, would become the person most used by the Holy Spirit to fulfill Acts 1:8. What ways can you see God being able to bring something good, holy, and beautiful from an experience someone else intended to bring you harm?

Prayer- Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear what You are doing in my life- if not before or in the middle of a difficult experience, then afterwards as I look back, but no matter what give me the faith I need to boldly share Your love along the way in this life. You are with me strengthening and encouraging for this journey. Use me today as You see fit for Your glory. Amen.

Paul: "But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life." (1 Timothy 1:16),

Pastor Jamie

To contact me:

To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

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S.O.A.P February 21, 2018

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February 21, 2018 

Read Acts 7:30-60

To read this text click HERE.

ScriptureActs 7:58b-60- His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

Observations- Stephen became the first Christian martyr in this scene. He go to have his hearing in front of the religious officials and his accusers, but they weren't interested in turning to the Good News of Jesus Christ. We do, however, see the foreshadowing of the way God will use even this horrible incident for his glory as Saul- later Paul- is introduced into the narrative. Stephen dies using similar words to those spoken by Jesus on the cross, which modeled discipleship...living and dying in the way of Jesus.

Application- Why does God allow this to happen to someone who loves Him so much and who serves Him so well? "Why?!" is the question that often arises for us in this life, but the fact remains that a theologically brilliant answer doesn't change our pain nor does it really answer our question. We choose to trust God, even when we don't understand why something is happening. We also believe that we are allowed to wonder and cry out to God with our "Why?!" questions. We have faith and we seek understanding. God can- and does- use awful circumstances for His glory: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28),

Prayer- Thank You, Lord, that even when we don't have any clue why something is happening we can still put our trust in You. Faith isn't the absence of all doubts; rather faith is trusting You through any doubts. We pray for You to bring healing in a violent world. We ask for Your guidance in being a part of the healing and a solution. Amen.

"Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace[a] with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us." (Romans 5:1),

Pastor Jamie

To contact me:   

To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

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