"Acts of Boldness"
Today's Reading Acts 9:29-31 (NIV): 29He (Saul) talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit; it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
When our youngest son Matt was in his early teens we use to tell him that when he started driving his own car we were going to get personalized license plates that read “I R GUE” – because he was so good at debating both of us. My husband has a bold personality, a large presence and very loud and distinguishable voice. He has a powerful whistle that can be heard down the street. He spoke and whistled boldly on the soccer field in a lot of different ways. Matt is very much like him, bold and loud and I love them both for who they are! (Don’t be made guys)
It takes a personality like that, which Saul also had, to debate the Greek speaking Jewish people in Jerusalem. It wasn’t one on one debating either, it was one on hundreds probably, which helped the Jews to believe they had the right to try to kill him. You and I know differently, they were not taking on just one Saul; they were debating the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. They stood no chance.
However, the band of brothers didn’t want to risk it, so they took Saul away. The rest and peace was needed among the believers to prepare them to be used by God to spread the gospel message. God knew they needed this time to grow in numbers, become stronger in their faith, learn how to help one another and work together because it wouldn’t be long before Saul would return and his ministry would begin.
The church (believers in Christ) was filled with the Holy Spirit and when that happens to a group of people (our congregations) blessings are abundant and ministry happens. A congregation that depends on God as their foundation of strength will overcome any thing that could harm them. Believers that are bold speak of the miracles God provides and their faith is real and seen by others around them. They speak of the power of God working in their congregations and they pray in thanksgiving.
Matt continued to grow in stature and age and determination and is a fine young man, a believer that doesn’t argue his faith. He challenges people by the way he expresses himself and Saul did also. Over the years I have learned from my husband and my son that being bold and expressive is an attribute that is needed in important situations. Growing the body of Christ over the next several decades was going to need boldness from everyone.
The work of this first congregation is so exciting to read and study; let’s continue our spiritual journey with these early missionaries of deep abiding faith. Jesus commissioned His disciples with the Holy Spirit to take the message of salvation to all and He is calling you and me today. Glorify Jesus in all that you do and His eternal peace will be with you always.
Dorothy Drago Brucks