Good Morning Mummy Meditators! This season we have found ourselves in has brought with it lots of news things. Grappling with new things often brings conflicts to the forefront, much as the first Christians found out. And that is the theme of this week’s verse: …
Hi Everyone! Welcome to another Mummy Meditations Contributor post, and I am so happy to be able to champion and encourage mums from our community to step up and share what God is placing on their hearts. This week we were looking at the verse below, read on to see what three mums have to share on it:
“They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand” Acts 4:3-4
Peter and John have an overnight stay in the local prison.
At a time when people are still fighting for a safe and equal standard of living as a minority group ( B.L.M Movement, modern slavery, genocide – Rohingya / Darfur / Kurdish to name only a few) this highlights that the persecution of minority groups is nothing new. While Peter and John may only have been held overnight, it doesn’t change the fact that they were imprisoned by a group of people from their own community who, in reality, were responsible for their well-being and safety. The Sanhedrin are in fact similar to the politicians we see today who seem caught between doing what is morally right, what is right by man made rules and regulations and what is right by God’s Word. Man-kinds failure to accept God’s word through Jesus has in the past and will continue to lead to the persecution of those whose only failings are to believe in a God of love and forgiveness.
Persecution can however become a driving force for change and as the bible shows us in this verse, the commitment of Peter and John’s faith leads to a massive growth in the number of members of God’s Kingdom.
This must stand as an encouragement to us all today – that to be truly alive and flourishing in our faith in Jesus we need to be prepared to deal with our own persecution: to be ridiculed, questioned and misunderstood by those around us, those closest to us. We need to be ready to speak and show God’s love and explain the actions of Jesus to these people, to be heard by the many so that others may come to know Jesus too.
Peter and John were taken and put in jail because they were preaching the gospel. The priests, captain of the temple guard and Sadducees who put them there didn’t like that so many people were hearing and believing the gospel. They must have thought that this would put an end to it. I love the but in these verses! Despite their attempts to stop the spread of the gospel many people who had heard the gospel believed and the church kept growing!
The discussions we had this week on persecution really got me thinking about why the religious leaders were so opposed to the message of the gospel. Peter and John were bold and open about their faith and it made people stop and listen to what they said. The gospel was changing people’s lives, they were leaving their old lives/religious practices and following Jesus – the religious leaders didn’t like that.
We don’t face the same persecution as the disciples did but the power of the gospel is still the same. The take home for me this week was how bold and open am I about my faith in Jesus – it’s the message that changes lives and people need to hear it as much today as they did in the disciples times.
I’m just reflecting on how we perceive events both from our own small perspective and before we know the end of the story.
While in prison, the men probably had no idea what was happening on the outside.
But, as usual, God was at work both through the good things they’d done and the bad things which had happened to them.
In the long term, this was a small event but a significant step in the growth of the church, of which we are part 2 millennia later!
Our troubles are but temporary and they are being used by God to bring Him glory. We might not be able to see what He is doing or what He will do, but we know He is good and faithful and will do what He has promised.
We continue looking at the lives of the disciples and how the early church operated by meditating on this verse:
“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the LORD Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” Acts 4:33-35
Watch the Facebook group for announcements about the Facebook Live discussion as it may be moved to Tuesday night again this week.
Whoever you are, wherever you come from, however you are finding being a mum, you are so welcome here at Mummy Meditations! And welcome to the first summary post from our new series – FAITH ON FIRE – an inspiring journey through the book of Acts.
The past couple of months whilst in lockdown for COVID-19, we have been sharing daily encouragements over on our Facebook group, but now we are back into our normal format. This means we will study just one verse a week from the bible and really dig in to it. Why just one verse? Because it is manageable and means that we can stay connected to God and learning from His word without feeling guilty that as mums we can’t do more. Check out the video on our home page to find out more.
THIS WEEKS VERSE
We kicked off the series with this verse from the start of the book of Acts:
“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3
The first detail of this verse that jumped out at me was the phrase “convincing proofs”. I mean, these 11 guys had spent the last three years travelling around with Jesus, hearing him teach, watching him perform miracle after miracle, seeing him come back from the dead, and YET STILL THEY NEEDED MORE PROOF!! I find this oddly comforting. It reminds me of the verse where it says blessed are those who believe but haven’t seen. We are those people who believe and yet haven’t seen with our own eyes. We have faith in something that we’ve read about and see that there is convincing proof for, but if these guys had doubts after all that then its OK if we have doubts sometimes! If we forget what the convincing proof was that brought us to faith all those years ago. It is human to doubt and to forget and to need help remembering.
I loved what one mum shared as a comment this week. “I was wondering about what convincing proofs the disciples had from Jesus. It says that Jesus ate with them and taught them but I also wondered whether they talked about things they had done together during the last 3 years and shared some in-jokes? I think for me one of the convincing proofs is that God knows me and he’s a personal God which he shows by Bible verses that he brings to mind at the perfect moment, or little signs of his love and provision on a daily basis (especially when I take time to chat to him and give him time to chat back).”. Yes perhaps they needed proof that this wasn’t an imposter, a convincing fake or Jesus’ twin! They needed to know it was the same guy they had spent all that time with, that he really KNEW them.
I guess the takeaway from this part of the verse is that don’t beat yourself up when you have doubts or a crisis of faith, but instead press in and get personal with God. Remember that relationship you had with him and still have with him and remind yourself of the time when he was a personal God. Find the convincing proofs that you need to restore your faith, just like the disciples did.
Forty days is a long time and yet its also not!! I guess from lockdown we can feel that even more. The days are long and it seems like we’ll be in this situation for ever, but when I think back to March before this all happened it seems like a blink of the eye ago. Have you noticed that 40 is often used in the bible? It is used to represent a “significant period of time”. So perhaps we can read not so literally into this part of the verse. Jesus was there for a significant period of time, the amount of time needed to convince the disciples about himself and remind them of the real mission. He then ascends into heaven and leaves them for another unknown period of time before the Holy Spirit joins them.
Another mum in our Facebook Group put it like this “What we can imagine behind the words is the questions, deep emotions and uncertainty of the disciples. I am sure that every one of those 40 days was needed for Jesus to reassure and explain things to them.”.
Did they know if was going to be 40 days? We can sense the unknown in these verse, the waiting and watching and seeing what is going to happen next. It had been a whirlwind of a few months for the disciples (I guess as the last few months have been for us too), and they are exhausted but also ready for more storms ahead. Lots of us mused on the word “uncertainty” as a good way to describe how they would be feeling. Their routines and lives had changed over night since Jesus’ arrest, and they would have been confused and unsure as to what their future held.
Let us take hope from this that Jesus is with us in our uncertainty, as we look to the future with no idea what it will be like. Let us enjoy the extra time we get to spend with God during lockdown (if we are!), and strengthen ourselves for whatever comes next.
KINGDOM OF GOD
The final detail that kept spinning round in my head this week was the topic of what Jesus told them about, his number 1 priority to get right with them before he left. It says he spoke about the Kingdom of God. Why? Why this topic and nothing else? Why not “how to survive crucifixion” or “how to perform miracles”??! I guess he might have talked about those too, but maybe, just maybe, he knew that if their eyes were fixed on the incredible goal of the Kingdom of God, then everything else would come naturally or wouldn’t be such a big barrier.
One mum put it like this “I think he talked about the Kingdom of God because they were so focused on the Kingdom of Israel (v6) and if he left them without them fully understanding that his kingdom was different to the one that the Jews thought he came to restore then they might question whether he really was the prophesied messiah. They needed to be able to teach and breakdown misunderstandings about the kind of Kingdom he came to restore.” How true is this!
If we understand what God has in store for us, then we can survive anything. The disciples will definitely show us that over the next few weeks! So lets fix our eyes on what Jesus was fighting to achieve for us, and remember that even in lockdown with uncertainty in our minds, we have a hope in heaven.
Well I hope you’ve all enjoyed the first week of our new series! I already feel inspired and more on fire than before we started. Our verse to meditate on next week will be:
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:2-4
Our amazing Mummy Meditations Champion, Sarah, will be writing up the summary post next Sunday so make sure you watch out for that. I will be back LIVE over in the Facebook Group on Monday night at 8pm to catch up with you all and start off the discussion. See you then!
We are no doubt in uncertain times and uncharted territory for us as a generation. And whilst the church and other organisations are forced into learning how to be community online, we here at Mummy Meditations are already pros at it!! To reflect the changing …
Welcome! It’s the penultimate summary post for this series on Ruth, and you can tell from this week’s verse that we are nearing the end of this story.
“So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.” Ruth 4:13
I kind of want to finish the series here – this makes a great happy ending doesn’t it! Well, lets take a look at what this happy ending really means.
For both Ruth and Boaz, this verse is a joyful one. There really is that element of a happy ending, where things come out alright for the hero and heroine of the story. Boaz, perhaps ostracised because of his mother ends up with a wife, and Ruth, the outsider widow who has stuck by her mother-in-law, gets a husband to protect and love her. Not only that but they are blessed with a son! I don’t think I could write a better ending. When I read this verse in this version and its says that Boaz made love to Ruth, it really does make me think of a relationship that is built on more than just ticking boxes and convenience. The language echoes of love. Other versions use the phrasing “and he went in to her”, which just doesn’t have as much niceness to it!!! We must remember that this story if likely being told from a male perspective, so the description of this act is probably more about what happened than why!
Despite wanting this to be a happy ending, we really don’t know what these two people are really feeling. I tried to step into Ruth’s shoes this week, and I think the only thing I could imagine her feeling was relief and secure. Relief things were finally going her way ,and secure in her future and her life. Isn’t that what most of us crave? A husband we can trust and rely on to be secure, a place to live that is secure and the knowledge that we have children who will look after us when we can’t look after ourselves? Security is a vital human need. So even if this isn’t a love story, but just one of two people meeting each others need for security, then that is a happy ending in my book.
The big thing that God has kept reminding me of this week is that happiness now does not wipe out the past. We can’t under-estimate how much the past has shaped us and impacted us. Ruth has a dead husband and I am sure that she probably grieved not only for him but for the children they would never have together. Although giving birth to a son with Boaz is cause for celebration, maybe it was also a reminder of the children she wasn’t able to have with her first husband. Maybe she cried in the night as she fed him, shedding a tear for what could have been. Even if we know its God’s plan and we are moving forward, leaving the past behind can be hard.
In our final week of the series, we are meditation on this verse:
“Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Ruth 4:16-17
Join us over in the Facebook Community for the last Facebook Live Discussion of the series on Monday at 8pm.
Hello Mummy Meditators! Welcome to Week 6 of our series focusing on the story of Ruth. This week we studied the following verse: “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run …