Tag Archives: Acts

finding real success

The day seemed busy. The companions were going through their ordinary agenda, but they did not realize God had placed an activity on their schedule that would take up most of the day. They were headed to the temple to pray when they noticed a group of folks bringing a man to the gate to beg. The man was lame, and he spent his days by the gate hoping to raise enough provisions to survive. He too did not realize God had placed an event on the calendar. It is now time for God’s change to the timeline to be revealed.

Peter and John looked at the man and the man looked back expecting money, but Peter said to him, “We don’t have any money. We will give you what we have. In the name of Jesus, get up and walk.” Peter then helped the man to his feet and took advantage of a natural opportunity to share the Good News. This concerned some of the religious leaders of the day, and they took Peter and John before their “Supreme Court.”

The next day as Peter and John stood before the religious leaders, they gave the credit to Jesus. “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John. For they could see they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus, but since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say,” records Acts 4:13-14.

Peter and John were fishermen; they were ordinary guys, so the council was perplexed about how they performed this miracle and could handle Scripture with such authority. The council could reach only one conclusion. The reason for Peter and John’s success was Jesus.

What is real success?

People search for success all over the place, but the key to real success is the Lord. Author Charles Stanley comments, “Real success is never about your own intelligence, education, beauty, or talent. Rather it is about the Lord Jesus Christ shining through you.” Peter and John were recognized as men who had been with Jesus.

Are you recognized as someone who has been with Jesus? The Lord uses our intelligence, education, and all the other attributes he graciously gives us in our lives. But ultimately, success or failure is up to him. The road to success is definitely bumpy, but one day it comes. The goal of real success is the desire of all Christians – spending eternity in Heaven. Real success comes in spending time with Jesus.

Challenge yourself to spend time with the Lord. Spend time reading the Bible and in prayer. JC Penny once commented his success was the result of adversity and Jesus.

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what would have happened if ananias stayed home?

The group was walking down the road. Their leader was confident he was doing the right thing. He was on a mission to cause much havoc and bring harsh persecution to a new group. Paperwork in hand, this man was well on his way to his next destination. Suddenly a bright light knocked the leader to his knees and a voice interrupted his thoughts. The once confident leader was now trembling before the Lord.

Acts 9 goes on to tell us Paul was then directed to go to Damascus. Blinded by the light, Paul had to be led by the hand to the city where he waited and prayed.

Meanwhile, “in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he answered. The Lord told him, ‘Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus, named Saul. For he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight” (Acts 9:10-12).

At this point, Ananias was probably thinking, “Hey, wait a minute. This man has caused a lot of hardships for Christians, and you want me to walk right up to him.” No one could blame Ananias for having these thoughts. Paul’s track record prior to this day is anything but pleasant. He’s oversaw a stoning, had believers thrown in prison, and caused great difficulty for followers of Christ. Yet, the Lord had a plan for Paul’s life that started with Ananias.

Acts 9:15 says, “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go, this man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

It is hard to argue with the Lord, so Ananias goes to the house. Ananias places his hands-on Paul, and Paul’s sight is restored. This begins Paul’s journey of following Christ. His zeal for persecuting Christians switches to exuberance for the Gospel message. Paul touched the world, but it was not before Ananias touched him.

What would have happened if Ananias refused to go?

You and I may have a “Paul” in our lives; individuals who we are influencing today to do something great tomorrow. Are we following Ananias’ example?

  • Befriending that coworker who is a little rough around the edges.
  • Trying to talk to that neighbor who seems a little standoffish.
  • Giving that applicant a shot even though we know she lives in the halfway house.
  • Allowing our faith to touch someone who may touch the world tomorrow.

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answered prayer is knocking

It is rare that I lose my keys, but it does happen. One morning I unlocked an office door and left my keys hanging in the knob as I turned to put several items down. I was going to grab my keys next, but the phone rang. One thing led to another, and my day had launched.

A few hours later I couldn’t find my keys. Searching, I mentioned to someone I lost them.

He said, “No, you didn’t. They are hanging in your door.” There the keys were in plain view.

Sometimes the answers to our prayers are in plain view, but we are astonished so we miss them. Just ask Rhoda, and the others, who were praying for Peter.

They forgot to open the door.

Acts 12 records Peter being put in prison to face persecution, and many of the believers gathered at Mary’s house to pray for him. They are praying, and simultaneously, an angel is freeing Peter from prison. No one expected a rapid answer to their prayers. This causes some confusion at Mary’s house.

Verses 13-16 say, “Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed, she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said it must be his angel. But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

Luke paints a humorous scene here. Christians have gathered late at night to pray, and suddenly there is a knock at the outer gate. Rhoda checks and discovers Peter, but forgets to open the door to the answered prayer. She is so shocked the prayer was answered quickly, or answered at all, she runs away from the answer. She runs away to tell others the answer was at the door. Disbelief, shock, and surprise keep the others away from the door. No one is opening the door for the answered prayer.

Meanwhile, Peter keeps knocking. They finally open the door, and there stands Peter. He is the answer to their prayer, and he is standing there in plain view.

Be ready to open the door.

While God always answers our prayers, the timeline is not always so sudden. The answer may come concurrently or it may take a minute. As we pray, are we ready to open the door when the answer knocks? Are we ready to receive the answer at any time? We just never know when the answer will knock on the door.

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