To The Known God

4th July

He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since He is the Lord of heaven and earth, He doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve His needs – for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need.”

Acts 17:24-26

As Paul was walking around Athens, he noticed many shrines, temples, idols and altars that deeply disturbed him. He even saw a sign to ‘the unknown god’! Yet he did not dismiss their ‘false worship’ but rather saw in their hearts a desire to worship or at least know the One True God!! Paul went on to share the Gospel with them; to show them that God is more than just an idol, but the creator of the world, who wants to make Himself known to all. ‘His purpose was for the nations to seek after (Him) …..though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and love and exist…’ (v27 – 28).

Friends, we too are faced with the same challenge. Rather than put our hope and trust in idols and false gods, let us lean on the God who created our very breath, who gives purpose to us and who leads us to Himself. He does not try to hide Himself from us, but He wants us to find Him and know Him. As Paul said, it is in Him we live and love and exist. He is not an ‘unknown’ god but the God we can know. He is Emmanuel – God with us.

Pray For The Persecuted

3rd July

But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.”

Acts 12:9

Persecution for your faith can come in many different forms and from many different places. We are blessed in the Western church to boldly share and practice our faith in most countries without fear of physical persecution. Yet sadly, across the world, there are many who do not share that privilege. The early church, in the book of Acts, also went through severe persecution, not just from the ‘Gentiles’, the ‘outsiders’, but from those they would call brothers, ‘fellow Jews’!

Peter, as one of the early church leaders, had to bear the brunt of a lot of persecution, as he was often the one boldly standing up for his faith, and preaching the message of Jesus Christ. Yet what is so clear throughout the book of Acts, is that the believers did not pray for Peter’s release, but rather for him.

Often we think that praying for freedom for persecution, or from hard situations is the answer, but when we read of the prayers of the believers, we are challenged to perhaps refocus our prayers. Perhaps we should pray instead, that God may give the persecuted strength to endure, because even in the midst of persecution, something beautiful can be birthed. Take for example, Paul and Silas’ imprisonment in Philippi, in Acts 16. Through their imprisonment and an earthquake, the prison guard and his whole family were saved, baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Today, if you are going through some hardships, persecution, or you know of someone who is, why not try and pray, that God would give them the strength to endure it and birth something beautiful from it. After all, ‘in all things, God works good for His glory’. We might not always see the fruit of our suffering, but we can rest in the knowledge and peace, that God will always get the glory. Don’t give up. Something great is about to be birthed.