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November 24, 2017

Awe

by Mark Fulmer

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=fd7fc4bf41&e=82a9a8f891)

Darkness had finally fallen. There were no street lamps, or billboards, or headlights. The blackness was thick. But in the distance, where we had hiked an hour before, we could see an unearthly orange glow. Smoke swirled upward as if from a cauldron. The scene was eerie. "What is that?" I asked. "It's creepy!"

"That's the volcano," came the answer, "the one we were looking down on just a bit ago. You just couldn't see the glow in the daylight." I was breathless, overcome with the awe of what I was seeing. That glow, and warmth, and steam was coming from the furnace that is the center of the earth. And in the amalgam that is awe, I felt amazement, and wonder, and a dollop of fear. Light and mist and heat from inside the earth. Awesome!

Think of how many times in Scripture the same thing happens. The unexpected overwhelms the ordinary, as God's power and mercy and love all burst unavoidably into the here and now. Remember those half a million people trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea? And then the leader cried out, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today" (Exodus 14:13). And they crossed the sea floor on dry ground. It wasn't too long before the descendants of those same folks would capture a heavily fortified city with trumpet blasts and shouts. Then years later there would be a crowd of mourners who shared probably the longest pregnant pause in history. The stone had been rolled back, the weeping rabbi friend had shouted the dead man's name, and then, he came out — alive. The onlookers must have been awestruck. "The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them,
'Unbind him, and let him go'" (John 11:44).

The church began that way and still grows that way. When God's people "see the salvation of the Lord," they recognize themselves as part of the eternal history of God's power and mercy and love. And awe comes upon them. Once stony hearts are filled with gladness. These Christ's Ones grow more and more in awe of the goodness God has done in Christ. And Christians want to share. Can you imagine having crossed the Red Sea or marched around Jericho or unwrapped Lazarus' torso and not told anyone about it?

So this week especially, as we give thanks, may God renew our awe, that we may receive our meals with "glad and generous hearts." And may the light and warmth and love of Christ be seen afresh in us.

About the Author

Mark Fulmer
Elder
Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Mark Fulmer is an elder at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, and along with Steve Vanderhill, teaches the New Creations Sunday School class.

 

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God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Moment of Glory

    The moment [Jesus] came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him.

    Mark 1:10 MESSAGE

    Key Thought

    Winning the Super Bowl, winning the World Cup, winning Wimbledon, winning the British Open, winning the Daytona 500, and winning the World Series are considered lifetime achievements for those involved in the respective sports. Yet none of these victories even approaches the significance of the moment in today's verse. Jesus, with droplets of water from the Jordan River running down his face, is honored in a powerful way by God. More than just the words of affirmation that Jesus receives (Mark 1:11), heaven is torn open — surely a sign of a world-changing event. The Holy Spirit of God comes in a visible form to show heaven's approval. Jesus is recognized as awesome: not awesome in the sense of some great athletic achievement, but as one who is worthy of awe and reverence. God the Father and God the Spirit show the majesty of God the Son. The new age of God's grace is signaled by the heavens opening, and the power and peace of this grace are seen in the coming of the Spirit.

    Today's Prayer

    O God, revealing yourself as Father and Son and Spirit, thank you for your majesty — your glory, holiness, and might. Thank you as well for your proximity — your willingness to be incarnated in Jesus and being present again through your Holy Spirit in us. Forgive us — please forgive me — for not reverencing you as you deserve. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Jesus Will Baptize with the Holy Spirit

    [John the Baptizer:] "I baptize you with water, but [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

    Mark 1:8 NIV

    Key Thought

    Jesus was and is directly involved in sending the Holy Spirit to his followers. He did it when initiating the dawn of the church with the coming of the Spirit that first Pentecost (Acts 2:33-39). Jesus also poured out the Spirit into the hearts of everyone who came to him in faith and baptism (Titus 3:4-7). Paul taught that the gift of the Spirit is the seal of our belonging to God and of our salvation (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14) and the proof that we are God's children (Romans 8:16). The presence of the Spirit is crucial, as evidenced by the fact that Paul re-baptized people who had not received the Spirit when they were baptized (Acts 19:1-7). The Spirit is the promised blessing of belonging to Christ (Acts 2:33; Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 1:13-14). The blessing comes from Jesus' own promise that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to those who asked for the Spirit to be given to them (Luke 11:13). The Spirit's presence is our source of "living water" flowing from within us (John 7:37-39). We live as followers of Jesus because the Lord has given us this great gift of grace!

    Today's Prayer

    Dear God, thank you for Jesus and all that he did to give us life and bring us to you as your holy children. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit, your holy presence within us. We praise you and thank you for your abiding grace in us and for us, and we pray that we can share this grace with others who need to know your love. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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