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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.
  • Pray in the Spirit

    Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

    Ephesians 6:18 NLT

    Key Thought

    "Pray in the Spirit...!" Paul is asking believers to pray consciously recognizing that the Spirit given them when they came to Christ (Ephesians 1:13) gives them direct access to God. That access allows them to pray what is on their hearts (Ephesians 2:18; cf. Romans 8:26-27) and to ask for knowledge, power, and boldness for others (Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 6:18-20). In other words, the Spirit lives inside us and empowers our prayers, interceding directly to the heart of God and enabling our prayers to have powerful results! Our prayers are so much more than the words we say. We pray, consciously, alertly, and persistently, speaking to the Creator of the universe, assured we are heard, knowing that God will respond with power and grace in the lives of those for whom we pray!

    Today's Prayer

    O Father, thank you for your incredible gift of the Holy Spirit who makes my prayers much more than my words. Thank you that I can pray in the Spirit, speaking to you spirit to Spirit, knowing that I am heard and understood and that the Spirit conforms my prayers to your will. Thank you that such intentional praying brings powerful blessings for those for whom I pray. In Jesus' name. 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.

  • Be Filled with the Spirit

    Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    Ephesians 5:18-21 NIV

    Key Thought

    When people are drunk, we say they are "under the influence." When a person is a follower of Jesus, he or she should be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Paul lists five ways that we fill ourselves with the Spirit. Four we would normally identify with community worship — speaking to one another in song, singing, making music in our hearts, and giving thanks to God. Paul adds a fifth way to turn the Spirit loose in our lives: submitting to one another as part of our worship of Jesus. I don't know about you, but there are times when I have not wanted to do each of these things. However, in doing them with a genuine desire to honor the Lord, I find myself blessed and empowered in ways I would never have expected. We shouldn't be surprised: The Bible tells us that when we do these things, God's Spirit fills us!

    Today's Prayer

    Loving Father, thank you for entering into me through the Holy Spirit. I am going to try to do all I can to worship you with my words and with my relationships, trusting that you will empower me with your Holy Spirit. Please help me see your presence and power in my life as I do these things in today's verses. 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.