August 21st

Scripture - Acts 16

Observation - When the jailer realized that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and got ready to impale himself. He knew that the penalty for allowing a prisoner to escape was death. But then he heard the voice of Paul cry out to him. He is shaken by not only the earthquake, but his own near-death experience. He cried out and asked what is necessary for him to have the faith that has allowed the persecuted band of missionaries to sing and extend grace to those that hold them captive. They simply invited him to believe in the Lord Jesus.

Application - It really is simple to live a life full of love and joy. You don’t have to follow a list of do’s and don’ts. You don’t have to memorize the whole Bible. There is no probationary period to prove yourself. It is simply allowing your heart to cry out the name of Jesus Christ. It is not a religion, but true relationship with our Savior.

Prayer - Jesus, I pray that you take over and consume my life. I surrender all I am to you. I seek your face Savior. Help me to walk out this life journey with you. Give me what I need to face problems head on. Thank-you for the works you have already done in my life. In your name I pray, amen.

August 20th

Scripture - Acts 15

Observation: The believers were inviting people from all sorts of backgrounds to follow Jesus, not just the Jewish people. They had to come together and decide what it would look like to be obedient to God with their actions and life. Together they decided that it was best to invite people to follow God as believers, not just as rule followers. There are certainly guidelines and the Christian way of life, but that flows out of First loving and following God.

Application: What might it look like for you to let your love and relationship with a God direct the way you live today?

Prayer: God, may my life be lived in obedience to you, not to just a set of rules, but may I live changed because of our relationship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

August 19th

Scripture - Acts 14

Observation: The news about God was spreading. God was using His people to bring the Plan of Salvation to all sorts of people. At one point people tried to worship Paul and Barnabas, thinking that they were actually Gods themselves. Paul and Barnabas knew that they were simply serving the living God. While they could have taken fame for themselves, they instead longed to point people towards God himself.

Application: God used his followers then to share the Plan of Salvation and he invited you to share it too. Is our focus on sharing God’s Plan, Hope, and Future, or is it too focused on our own goals?

Prayer: God, may my life and focus be on you completely. May I trust you enough to LIVE to make Your Name Famous instead of my own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

August 18th

Scripture - Acts 13

Observation - The apostle Paul is in Pisidian 
Antioch and is preaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He gives the Jews gathered there a review of Biblical history. From Egypt to the desert to the promised Land, Paul reminds them that God has been faithful. Paul walks them quickly through the time of the judges and then kings, then moves all the way up to the life of Jesus. Finally, Paul recites all that happened and the glorious joy of Easter morning. To wrap it all up, Paul declares that this is the Good News! This is what God promised centuries before!

 

Application - The Good News is the greatest news is all of history! Jesus Christ is risen! This is still the message today. It is the Good News that Christians carry in their hearts and on their lips. Write down what good things God has done in your life.

 

Prayer - Jesus, thank you for coming and giving your life on the cross. Thank you for redeeming me of my sins and taking my shame and failures and turning them around to praise. Because of you, I can live a life full of freedom. Chains are broken in my life! I am not a slave to death and the grave! Thank you, Lord! In your name I pray, amen.

August 17th

Scripture - Acts 12

Observation - Herod’s sudden death raises questions: Why? and How? Luke helps us to understand the why part. He lets us know that this is a divine judgment by the hand of God through an angel. Luke is even specific about the way God’s righteous judgment falls on Herod, stating that he dies form an infestation of some sort of worm. 

 

Application - Have you ever thought, “How is that person not being punished?” Or, maybe there was something done to you and you feel like justice was not served. Many people do not understand it. What we can know is that God always reigns judgment down on wickedness. We may not see it happen, but when judgment day comes, God will serve out his divine judgment. 

 

Prayer - Father, I need healing in my heart right now. I’m going to cast all my cares on You. I am not choosing to be anxious, but instead, in everything - with prayer and supplication, I choose to make theses requests known to You. Let Your peace settle over me like a blanket, and I pray that the Holy Spirit would comfort me. In your name I pray, amen.

August 16th

Scripture - Acts 11

Observation - For an entire year, Barnabas and Paul gather with the believers in the city of Antioch and instruct the people there about the truth of God’s word. It is not surprising that Antioch is the city where the disciples of Jesus are first called Christians. As Barnabas and Paul teach the Word faithfully, the disciples’’ devotion to Christ grows deeper and deeper. Everyone can see that these people belong to Jesus Christ.

 

Application - What do people see when they meet you? Do they see someone frustrated with life or do they see someone who knows peace and joy because you follow Christ? It is easy to let the world and all its problems swallow us up whole. But we can have ever-lasting joy and peace that the Word speaks about when we decide to give up everything we are and surrender it to our loving Father.

 

Prayer - God, help me to seek you throughout my day-to-day living. I’m tired of feeling frustrated and lost. I want every promise you have spoken. I want to live a life that shows you live in me. Help me to clear my mind and heart and fill it with your words. In your name I pray, amen.

August 15th

Scripture - Acts 10

Observation - When Jesus was on earth, we saw all kinds of miracles performed. Even after his death, we still see the same power flowing through the first-century Christians and the apostles. We can see miracles performed and recorded here in the books of Acts. The same Jesus who had performed miracles continues to work through the leaders of the early church. It is still Jesus at work, but now it is through the lives of his people.

Application - God loves to do work through his people. Even today we think that miracles were only performed by Jesus or the apostles but that’s not true at all. God still performs through his people today. Are you waiting on a miracle? Keep pressing into God and standing on His word.

Prayer - Father God, thank you for the blessings you have poured out on my life. Keep helping me press into you and speak your words over my life. Keep growing my faith and helping me to trust you. In your name I pray, Amen.

August 14th

Scripture - Acts 9

Observation: Saul had plans to persecute the believers in Damascus, but God had plans to invite Saul to follow him instead. On the road to Damascus, God met him in a powerful way. Saul surrendered his life to God and God used his passion to reach others with the Gospel.

Later in the chapter, we read about Peter, who God used to bring a woman back to life and how he ministered in Joppa.

Application: Thankfully God meets us and invites us to follow him. Are there areas of your life that God is ready to meet you in today, areas that you have an opportunity to surrender to him?

Prayer: God thank you for meeting me in the middle of my plans and inviting me to follow your plans instead. May my life be lived, surrendered to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

August 11th

Scripture - Acts 6

Observation - Stephen is a leader among the first-century Christians. He is full of faith, the Holy Spirit, and wisdom. He is filled with God’s grace and power, and he does amazing signs and wonders. He calls the lack of Jesus in the people that have gathered around him. The people lashed out in anger and began to stone him. He even asked for God to forgive those who persecuted him. Until the end, Stephen loved people.

Application - Does character really matter in the life of a leader? God seems to think so. We can look in the Old and New Testament and see those before us who led a life full of integrity and wisdom to follow God. The most important thing God asks of you is to love His people as He does.

Prayer - God, help me to be someone who rises above what others do that displeases you. Help me to make wise decisions as I follow your path. I know not every day is easy, but with you at the head, I know that I can make each day count. Keep me strong in my faith. In your name I pray, amen.

August 10th

Scripture - Acts 5

Observation - A lot takes place in this chapter, from a startling story of a couple that made false claims about their giving, to the apostles continuing to teach the gospel despite opposition.

Near the end of the chapter, a man named Gamaliel suggested to the religious leaders that if these men were simply false teachers, their sect would eventually dwindle. If they were truly from God, it would continue. Because of this the religious leaders didn’t send them back to jail, but instead had the apostles flogged and set them free, telling them not to teach again. Yet the apostles did!

They didn’t give up at the sign of persecution either. “The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.”

Application - It is so easy to give up at any sign of persecution or opposition, what opposition to the gospel are you experiencing? What could it look like for you to rejoice because you are worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus?

Prayer - Thank you God that you give me the strength I need to live for you. May I never back down in the face of opposition, but instead count it an honor to live and even suffer for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

August 9th

Scripture - Acts 4

Observation - With razor sharp conviction Peter informs the Sanhedrin that the One they have rejected and nailed to a cross is their only hope for salvation. He lets them know that the stoned they tossed out in the rubbish heap is actually the capstone that will hold their whole religious structure together. Without him, they have no chance of finding salvation or wholeness. He is telling them that there is only one way to heaven and one name in all of heaven and earth that has the power to save. That is Jesus.

Application - Have you ever had some speak to you and you instantly felt like fighting them back? When things get pointed out to us that are not of God, our natural, human nature is to get anger and fight against truth. We should always check our hearts and God’s work to make sure our mind, body, and spirit line up with His truth.

Prayer - Father, growing is never easy to do. Fighting against the flesh gets hard some days and makes me feel weary. I pray on those days that you would give me strength to fight temptation. I pray that this season be full of growth and more passion for you. In your name I pray, amen.

August 7th

Scripture - Acts 2

Observation - The community of the first-century Christian could be described as dependent, connected, and relational. The first-century Christians voluntarily shared their resources willingly and invested their hard-earned money in the lives of others. They met in the temple regularly to feed on the Word of God. Their lives were intertwined and interconnected. They were in awe of the Spirit of God and they craved more of it as they traveled with the apostles.

Application - Today, we can share the same level of intimacy with other believers. As we connect to God and church, we begin to intertwine with those around us. We can draw upon each other to share our joys and sorrows. It’s what makes us a part of the family of God.

Prayer - Jesus, I pray that as I grow with you I begin to build relationships with other like-minded believers. I want to experience true joy in family that can only be found through you. Help my relationships that need to grow, grow and those that need to fall away, fall away. In your name I pray, amen.

August 6th

Scripture - Acts 1

Observation - After Jesus rose from the grave, he appeared to his disciples, proving to them that He had risen from the dead. When he ascended into heaven, two white robed men suddenly stood among them and asked why they were still standing there. Jesus had ascended and will return one day the same way that he had left.

Application - Sometimes we stay in the places where God did something, but he is calling us to keep living out our faith in him, to keep moving forward. Is there a space in your life that you need to hear the question why are you still standing here? God invites us to worship and thank him for the amazing things that he has done, and he invites us to keep moving forward.

Prayer - Thank you God for all that you’ve done already. Help me to keep moving forward in obedience to you, discovering the work that you continue to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

August 3rd

Scripture - John 19

 Observation - Jesus is hanging on the cross. A moment we’ve come to imprint on our hearts as Christians. As he’s hanging on the cross, he looks down, and soaks in a tender moment. The women who have followed him around on his ministry are now at his feet weeping. The woman he loves the most, his mom, is there also. Before his final breath, he looks to John and asks him to care for her.

 Application - Take a moment to thank God for making you who you are today. Tell him that you, too, want to be near him, and ask how you might serve him today.

Prayer - Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins and conquering death and the grave. Thank you for breaking the chains of bondage and setting me free. Help me take a place in my church and use my gifts to further your kingdom. In your name I pray, amen.