Rise and Walk

Click here to read today’s scripture: Acts 3.

One of the best lessons I have heard from prayer reminds us to pay attention when we are praying, especially in public. So much of the time, we tend to want to be by ourselves. We’ll have our eyes closed. We’ll try to keep everything quiet. But then, what if the noise is too much to turn off? What if we keep getting interrupted while we’re praying?

There are times, I believe God allows interruptions in our prayer time with him because he is desiring us to connect with other person who is in need. If our prayers are communication with the Creator, should we be surprised when he is asking us to be an answer to another person’s prayers?

Peter and John, in today’s passage, are on their way to pray at the appointed time. They had a schedule. They had things to do. That’s when they got interrupted by someone asking for help.  Granted, this was someone who asks for help all the time by begging for money, for food, etc. We have seen this kind of situation in our day to day lives. The same person asking for assistance. Sometimes we give them the pocket change we have. Sometimes we’ll buy them food. But is this what they are really after?

In the short term, we are all looking for what we need in that moment. We all need food. We all need some sort of currency. But don’t we need relationships even more? Don’t we all have a need, deep down, to know we are valued?

As I am writing this, the day before it’s published, I am convicted. As a husband, as a father, as a father-to-be, as a pastor I am constantly around people who need something from me. Can I give them everything all the time? It is challenging and I would burn out and run out of care quickly. What I can give more generously than anything else is a relationship.

Now, this also means that I can point them to Jesus Christ as much as possible so they have an opportunity to experience grace, to experience his love, to experience being valued. It is through Jesus’ love and grace for me that I am able to go out and share his love with all those I come in contact with.

The apostles had three solid years with Jesus. They had a great relationship with him. It is because of that relationship they were able to go and share the good news of Life. When they came across this man who was begging for food and money, they did not really have any to spare. But they did have something very valuable. The gift of grace. The offered him Christ.

“Rise up and walk.” Go into the world knowing you are loved by the Creator. Get up and realize you have been given gifts and talents to be part of another person’s life. Rise, share God’s love through acts of mercy, yes; but also through compassionate words. Give what you can. Rise up in the strength of Jesus Christ. Go on your way. Since he changed your life, go with him to change the world.

Rise up and walk.

Released by Faith

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Galatians 3:19-24 19 So why was the Law given? It was added because of offenses, until the descendant would come to whom the promise had been made. It was put in place through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now the mediator does not take one side; but God is one. 21 So, is the Law against the promises of God? Absolutely not! If a Law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would in fact have come from the Law. 22 But scripture locked up all things under sin, so that the promise based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ might be given to those who have faith. 23 Before faith came, we were guarded under the Law, locked up until faith that was coming would be revealed, 24 so that the Law became our custodian until Christ so that we might be made righteous by faith. 

Without rules and law, would we know what is right or wrong? The book of Judges says over and over that everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Does having law keep us down and keep us from receiving God? No, in fact it point us to a life of faith and freedom.

Paul can be confusing in his writing. The Apostle Peter even says that Paul is hard to understand. But I think Paul is saying something awesome here. The Law was there to cover up (forgive) offenses against God and people. This meant a series of required sacrifices. I don’t know if we can fathom how many animals were killed and sacrificed as a way to receive forgiveness from God. Can you imagine if we had to still do that today?

So were the sacrifices enough to receive forgiveness of God? No. What was there, with the sacrifice offerings, was the faith of the people that God would forgive them. We can look at this as a precursor to Jesus Christ.

Today we do not need to offer any animal or grain sacrifices because Christ was the final sacrifice that we can look back upon in faith. So it is really by faith that we are free and it is by faith we can trust Jesus with our whole being. The Law was not meant to give live, but to show us we cannot live by our own righteousness, we need someone who can make us clean and holy. That person is Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law by removing our requirements to earn God’s forgiveness and favor and instead we receive it by faith.

The people in the book of Judges did what was right in their own eyes. We have the faith to be able to see life as God sees and gives us freedom to voluntarily (not out of obligation) to live as Jesus lived.

#LiveFreeInChrist