Antioch Devotionals- June 22-26

MONDAY, JUNE 22ND Acts 3:6
By Cindy Beckman
But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!- Acts 3:6

A crippled man was being carried each day to sit by the gate of the temple so he could ask for alms of those entering the temple.  Religious people were passing him daily, responding to his requests for a coin or two until the day Peter and John came by.  Instead of giving him what he thought he needed—a coin or two—they gave him what he really needed—healing that could only come in the name of Jesus Christ.  
We as a society frequently look for treatments and vaccines as well as government and laws to cure what ails us.  We think and say, “If only there was a vaccine for COVID-19.  If only the government could make people behave themselves and treat others the way they should be treated.  If only people had enough so that they would never be hungry.”  We want someone to fix problems and lives so that they are better.
But all these fixes are temporary, not eternal.  They may treat the symptom but not the root problem—and government or doctors can’t fix that.  The root problem can only be fixed through Jesus Christ—who not only gave His life for our sins but also changes hearts, replacing hate with love and forgiveness, replacing selfishness with selflessness, generosity and kindness.
Maybe as a society, it’s time to change our focus.  We need to look to the One who has the power to fix what is broken.  We need to look to the One who can change hearts.  And we as Christians need to do as Peter and John did that day for the crippled man.  Share with those around us what is needed rather than just what is wanted—Jesus.
Prayer:  We pray the prayer of Peter in Acts 4:29-30:  “Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  

Final thought:  See the following verse-Acts 4:31-After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

TUESDAY, JUNE 23RD Acts 2:22, 2:36
Focus on Jesus by Paulette Herring
After the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost entered the house where the people were sitting, Peter got up to address the crowd. "Fellow Israelites, listen to this:  Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through Him as you yourselves know."- Acts 2:22 NIV.
You took this man and with the help of wicked men put Him to death by nailing Him to a cross.  But God raised Him from the dead. "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this:  God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah."  Acts 2:36 NIV.

When the people heard this, they became very upset and asked Peter what to do?  "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, ask forgiveness of your sins and receive the Holy Spirit."
 About 3000 accepted this message and were baptized and became members of the very first church that day.
What is your focus today?  Is your focus on Jesus or is it on other things?  
Commit to Jesus today just as these people did in the very first church on the day of Pentecost.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24TH Ephesians 4:20-24 (NIV)
Like Father Like Son by Chris Blacksmith

“That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”- Ephesians 4:20-24

What exactly does the phrase “like father like son” mean?  It often expresses the likeness between parents and children.  I’m sure we all possess some form of thought, behavior, or quality that our parents displayed while we were in our youth.  In essence we render the likeness of our parents.  According to Ephesians 4:24 the same is to be said regarding our relationship with the Lord.  We are in fact commanded to abstain from living like those who are without Christ.  Why is that? It doesn’t take long to look around our world and see what lawlessness does to an individual, a community, a country, a world.  The world has “lost all sensitivity” the world has indulged, “in every kind of impurity” and the world is, “full of greed”.  The problems of society aren’t going away because so many people are without Christ, and so many who are with Christ aren’t sharing His love to those who need it most.  Let’s resolve to be a generation who strives to be less like the world and more like the father so it may be said of us that we're like father like son.  
THURSDAY, JUNE 27TH John 10:27-28 (NIV)
Marks of True Friendship
By Chris Blacksmith
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”- John 10:27-28

I can’t help but recognize the deep seated contempt that the Jewish people displayed toward God over and over again.  The preceding verses in this chapter are evidence of that.  I find it hard to believe that they had the living God living among them; he performed unexplainable miracles yet they still didn’t believe.  All I can say is WOW!  But wait, how are we any different?  God has moved in my life in ways I can’t begin to express yet I still show contempt. It makes me wonder:  What kind of a friend am I to the Lord?  That’s easy- a horrible one. Yep I said it I’m a horrible friend. How do I know that? I have taken time to compare myself to verse 27 and have found that I miss the mark.  Here are the marks of true friendship with regards to Christ.   1.) True friendship is evidenced by how well we listen to Him.  2.) True friendship is evidenced by how well we are known by Him.  3.) True friendship is evidenced by how well we follow Him.    One of the greatest examples of a person who portrayed these marks is Jeremiah.  He faithfully warned the people of Judah for 40 years, and for 40 years his words fell on deaf ears.  They ended up in exile for 70 years.  Later God told Jeremiah to buy a piece of land which was a sign of His pending forgiveness.  Once again Jeremiah was obedient. Could you imagine what our world would be like if our relationship with Jesus possessed the marks of a true friend?  Make it your goal to regularly hear from the Lord, be known better by Him, and obediently follow Him.

FRIDAY, JUNE 26TH Acts 4:20
By  Jeff Rice
“As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”- Acts 4:20

This verse is so convicting to me.  Peter and John were being told to be silent and stop teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus Christ.  Here is theit response, “...we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  Not witnessing about Jesus Christ was not an option for them.  They were compelled to speak about what they had experienced with Jesus Christ.  If you read a few verses earlier the Pharisee’s noted that they were courageous even though they were unschooled, ordinary men.  But it was obvious that they had been with Jesus.
The reason this is so convicting is I fall so short of this in my own life.  I can find so many other things to talk about with other people, but so often when the opportunity arises I lack the courage to testify about what I have experienced in Christ.  Lots of time I use the excuse of I just want be able to intellectually answer all their questions and doubts.  But, Peter and John did not let that deter them.  They were ordinary men filled with the Holy Spirit and filled with the courage that the Holy Spirit provides to speak about what they had seen and heard.  The true need for all people is their need for a savior.  Romans 10 says how can the lost call on the one they have not believed, how can they believe if they have not heard, and how can they hear without someone telling them?  God give me the Spirit’s courage so that I can say with Peter and John, I cannot help but speak about what I have experienced with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.