One of the things I’ve wanted to do is, after I go through a book, to turn the study of that book into a devotional. Like one of those 30-day thingys. I started on one after I went through Acts and, like the Captain ADD that I am, I got side tracked. So perhaps I need a little inspiration. Here is the first one that I got through. I thought I’d post it as a demo and get some feed back.
Day 1 Acts 1:11
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Have you ever felt alone or abandoned? Have you ever expected one thing to happen only to have the exact opposite, the worst imaginable thing, occur? Welcome to the world of the disciples in Acts 1. They didn’t expect their Messiah to be executed, yet He was. They didn’t expect Him to rise from the dead, yet He did. They didn’t expect Him to float up into the sky after dying and coming back to life, yet there He went. The reality was, and is, that all of those events were foretold in the scriptures. The reason the disciples felt alone, abandoned and confused was because they had faulty expectations about the Messiah. More specifically, they expected the “conquering hero” Messiah, the Son of David, who would come and kick Rome out of their land, not the “suffering servant” Messiah, the son of Joseph (from Genesis), who would die for their sins. Tradition got in the way of their understanding of God’s word. However, not only did God tell His people about these events hundreds of years before they happened, Jesus told His disciples in person that these things were going to happen. And they still failed to get it.
Faulty expectations have a way of setting us up for failure. When we have wrong expectations of what it means to follow Jesus we can find ourselves feeling alone, abandoned, and confused. “Where is God?” “Why did this have to happen?” “I thought my life was supposed to be better with Jesus and it feels a whole lot worse.” Have you ever asked questions like these? I have. The disciples did. In fact, most of the people written about in God’s word, our “Bible heroes”, did too.
When we find ourselves at this point the most important thing we can do is set aside our own expectations and cling to God’s promises. Jesus promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus promised to send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be with us just like Jesus was with His disciples (John 14:16-17). Jesus promised that if we abide in Him we will bear much fruit (John 15:1-8). Are you standing around looking up and asking God, “What is going on?” Take heart. Get into His word. Exchange your expectations for God’s promises. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 NKJV)