When I read Acts 12:24 in my Bible reading last week, it stood out to me as an incredible encouragement. I’ve been meditating on it ever since. It’s a beautiful reminder that in the midst of all the chaos, division, pain, and struggle around us . . . God is still (and always will be) at work.
Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers.Acts 12:24
Acts is an exciting book of the Bible, and it’s full of the wonderful testimonies of what God did to build His church and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world. He called ordinary people to help tell people about Jesus.
The lesson for us today: God did incredible things during a time of chaos.
When the early church was scattered during the persecution in Acts, many of the new believers ran from Jerusalem to take refuge in other cities and towns around the region and beyond. Those believers all started to share their faith with their neighbors. People came to faith in Christ. Churches sprang up. And the Gospel continued to spread!
What the Early Church Didn’t Do
The members of the early church didn’t stop telling people about Jesus because someone told them to stop. (In fact, it was quite the opposite.) They didn’t stop telling people about Jesus because they were afraid. They didn’t hide out or run away from hard things. (UGH!) They also didn’t let their lack of education or special knowledge keep them from telling people about how Jesus had changed their lives.
What the Early Church Did Do
The early followers of Christ told everyone about Jesus. They found ways to spread the Good News daily and in creative ways. They prayed and prayed more than they talked and talked. (OUCH!) They believed more than they worried. They trusted themselves to the care and keeping of the Lord.
A Grape Cluster and a Hatchet
Three weeks ago, I was praying and the Lord showed me a picture of a beautiful grape cluster on the vine. It was juicy, huge, and glistening with dew. It was ripening on the vine. I saw that the grapes represented the fruit that’s been growing during this time of COVID-19 as more people have tuned into church services than would EVER walk into a church building!
But next I saw something else: I saw a hatchet come in and chop down the fruit. The hatchet represented the weapon of division coming in to steal and destroy the fruit. I immediately realized that we must PROTECT the fruit that’s on the vine through prayer and petition. We must not allow division or anything else to come in and mess with the fruit.
Let’s join together and join with God to nurture the fruit that’s growing in our own hearts and in the hearts of those around us. Let us be about the business of helping spread the word of God. Let us pray for a harvest of new believers.
It is my prayer that we will all look back on this trying time as a time when God did wonderful things in the hearts and lives of men, women, and children all around the world — despite everything else.
The word I’ll leave you with today is MEANWHILE. No matter what you’re going through today, God is at work in your life. If things look really messy, take heart. God is doing a good work in the midst of it all.
Grace and peace,