God wants to use me—no matter my background, my education, my challenges or my failures—right where I am.
Thursday, August 5, 2021
By Brooke Allen, Journey Sunday Online Host
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus…Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’ After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.” — Acts 4:13, 19-21
There are three things that strike me in this passage. First, the author makes a point of saying that Peter and John were unschooled and ordinary. They were ordinary, working men who had only officially done the most basic of studies. So to these religious leaders, they shouldn’t know much – yet they were speaking with authority and changing people’s hearts. Second, Peter and John actually say out loud, “Which is right … to listen to you, or to Him?” The scripture presents this as a challenge to the religious leaders, but I’m sure it could also have been a private question in their minds as they pondered what to do in this potentially life- threatening situation with the authorities of the day. Finally, they decided that they could “not help speaking about what we have seen and heard” and because of that, all the people who were there were praising God for what had happened.
The most striking part of this scripture to me is that God took these unschooled, ordinary men and used them to change people’s hearts – not just then, but for generations to come as people read their story. God wants to use me – no matter my background, my education, my challenges or my failures – right where I am. I might think that I’m not capable of doing what he is leading me to do, but he always gives me what I need to make it happen when the time is right. There is someone who needs to hear how God was present in my situation. All He asks is that I consistently nurture a relationship with him and then just speak about what I have “seen and heard” – how I have seen his power, healing, love, and peace. I know that what speaks to me the most is when people speak from their hearts of how God has shown up mightily in their desperate situation. If I speak to what I have seen and personally experienced, people will listen. If I show God’s grace, love and gentleness, it will ring true. It may change hearts in front of my eyes. It may just plant a seed that will grow later. But, if I share how God showed up for me, others will “take note” that I have been with Jesus.
“Lord, Creator of the Universe, Healer, Protector, Father – I am so grateful for your forgiveness and grace and that you continue to love me even though I mess up and doubt. I am so thankful for your miraculous power and that you want to have a personal relationship with me. I ask you today to open my ears and heart to you. Help me to block out any voices that might lead me away from your path so that I can see where you want me to go and what you want me to do. I want people to “take note” that I have been with you – may they see your love, peace, gentleness and grace in me. Let my words and actions be filled with passion for you because I can’t help speaking about what you have done. In all this world has thrown at me, you have been my constant and my rock. I choose today to be open to where you are leading me. Amen.”
Now You Try
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. Take time to read and allow God to speak to you. Write down the one or two verses that stick out. Even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make a basic observation about the scripture you just read. What stood out? Was something repeated? What is the author trying to communicate? What does the Scripture passage teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity?
Ask, “What does this verse(s) mean for my life?” How might this verse affect your heart — how you feel? How does this verse challenge your thinking? How does it affect your will, asking, “What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?”
Write out a prayer to God. Scripture is God speaking to you, take this moment to speak back. Take a moment to say, “Thank you,” confess to Him what needs to change, or ask for something that is on your heart.