June 3

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“In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1 NLT).

From: June 3, 2018

LUKE’S SECOND BOOK
The book of Acts, or as some call it, the Acts of the Apostles, picks up where Luke’s gospel left off. Luke was a physician and a traveling companion of the apostle Paul. He wrote an “orderly account” (Luke 1:3) of what Jesus “began to do and teach” in his first book. In his second book, he wrote about the acts and words of the apostles after the ascension of Christ. His primary focus was on two of the apostles, namely, Simon Peter and Paul. Luke addressed both of his books to a man named, Theophilus, whose Greek name means “loved by God” or “friend of God.” Some have suggested that Theophilus was the benefactor for Luke’s two volumes, paying for their publication and distribution. Others take note that since Luke referred to him with the honorific, “most excellent Theophilus,” in his gospel, that he must have been a Roman official or leader.
 
The truth is no one knows the identity of Theophilus because nothing further is written about him in the Scriptures. But we can know this: The two books written by Luke were written to all those who are “loved by God.”

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14 NKJV).

From: June 3, 2017

Just before His ascension, Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit, so that they would receive power to be His witnesses. They obeyed. The remaining eleven disciples gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem “with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
 
Those scattered in fear by Christ’s crucifixion were now gathered in faith by Christ’s resurrection and ascension. Even the brothers of Jesus were in “one accord” with the disciples now, having come to faith after His resurrection.
 
This little band of believers “continued” in united prayer over the next ten days while the rest of Jerusalem lay unaware of the spiritual earthquake that was about to turn the world upside down for Christ.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2 ESV)

From: June 3, 2016

Why did the psalmist look to the “hills” for help? No doubt he referred to the hills of Mount Zion upon which stood the Temple in Jerusalem. Psalm 121 is the second of fifteen “Psalms of Ascent” (Psalms 120-134). These psalms became known as such because of their use by Hebrew pilgrims making the three annual treks to Jerusalem for the required festivals. The pilgrims would sing these songs as they ascended to the temple mount in preparation for worship. During Jesus’ time there were fifteen steps to the Herodian Temple that approached the Double Gate. These psalms were sung on these steps before entering the gates to the temple. Today, the gates are sealed, but the steps remain. It’s good to start worshiping before one enters God’s house. And it’s good to remember, as the psalmist did, that our help doesn’t actually come from the “hills” where the church building stands. Rather, our help “comes from the Lord,” who made not only the “hills,” but also everything else in “heaven and earth.”

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NKJV)

From: June 3, 2015

If Matthew 28:18-20 is Christ’s Great Commission for His followers, then Acts 1:8 is His Great Strategy. In the former, Christ gave His disciples an overarching mission: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” In the latter, He gave them the strategic process: 1) First, be empowered by the Spirit, 2) then be witnesses of Christ everywhere you go, 3) starting at home (“Jerusalem”), 4) move out to the surrounding areas (“Judea”), 5) making sure you include those who are social outcasts and hated by others (“Samaria”), 6) and finally, not giving up until the whole world knows that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who will soon return just as He said.

“The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade” (Psalm 121:5 NLT)

From: June 3, 2014

Psalm 121 is the second of 15 “Psalms of Ascent” (Psalms 120-134). These psalms became known as such because of their use by Hebrew pilgrims making the three annual treks to Jerusalem for the required festivals. The pilgrims would sing these songs as they ascended to the temple mount in preparation for worship. During Jesus’ time there were 15 steps to the Herodian Temple that approached the Double Gate. These psalms were sung on these steps before entering the gates to the temple. Today, the gates are sealed, but the steps remain. It’s good to get your praise on before coming to worship. And this reminder from Psalm 121 that it is the “Lord himself” that is with you, watching over you to protect you is especially encouraging.