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Acts 2:46 - Every day they continued to meet together...

NIV Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
KJV And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

The identity of the early Church was found both in the temple (corporate worship) and in homes (small groups). This practice helped cultivate glad and sincere hearts. It nourished the praise of God and favor with people who were not praising God - yet.

In our current age of technological advances and streamlined lifestyles glad and sincere hearts seem to be idealistic. But the Scripture shows us that as good as technology and ease are, they can't produce the satisfaction that Spirit birthed community can. Both the corporate and intimate expressions of faith are needed to bring us to spiritual health.

Today's Commentary by:
David Whitehead, Pastor, Grace NYC

Acts 2:44 - All the believers were together and had everything in common

NIV All the believers were together and had everything in common.
KJV And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

In another part of Scripture Jesus was referenced as saying, "It is more blessed to give than to receive". This statement became alive in the early church. It implies that they were a community who knew each other enough to discern the true needs of people.

Charity was directly connected to community. It is easier to give to anonymous people than to take the time to get to know our neighbor. The act of giving in community requires discernment, humility, and trust in God and those involved. This is the heritage that God created for us to learn from and practice.

Today's Commentary by:
David Whitehead, Pastor, Grace NYC

Acts 2:43 - Everyone was filled with awe...

NIV Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
KJV And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

Do you feel awe in your faith? Are you confronted by wonders and miraculous signs that God is active in the world today? This was the earmark of the first Century church and it hasn't stopped since.

We were made for the awesomeness of God. English writers of the 19th Century talked often of the awful God - which back then meant "full of awe". It happens with every life that comes alive to God's word, every heart that is healed from pain, every life that is NOT healed and yet, miraculously, sees their suffering as a glory to God.

We live in an awe filled world. May God open our eyes to see it, and let it fill us!

Today's Commentary by:
David Whitehead, Pastor, Grace NYC

Acts 2:42 - They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching

NIV They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
KJV And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

When the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost one of the effects was that the early Christians devoted themselves to the teaching of the Scripture.

There is a difference between devotion and learning. The early believers laid their views on the altar of God's Word. They allowed it to shape them.

How do you view the Scripture? Are you willing to devote yourself to it? To simply learn is not enough.

Today's Commentary by:
David Whitehead, Pastor, Grace NYC

Acts 2:36-37 - God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ

NIV Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
KJV Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Peter's famous sermon at the Pentecost had the most unusual reaction.

Whereas these Jews from around the world could have easily said, "We're out of here!", instead they were "cut to the heart".

When one looks at the history of revivals, repentance has been the initial activity that started God's renewal of a community. How do you view repentance? As a wonder of God's grace or a necessary evil?

In order to experience revolution in our lives, we must see repentance as an ally, and not a foe. The grace filled life responds to the work of the Holy Spirit with the ancient question, "What shall I do?", then is passionate to change according to God's leading.

Acts 2:5-8 - How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?

NIV Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?.
KJV And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

Modern readers may not get the impact of this passage from the story of Pentecost. Galileans were known as an isolated, under educated border city with Samaria. The ancient world saw them as the backwoods (or redneck) part of their nation.

To hear Galileans speaking in other languages can be compared to seeing Susan Boyle at her initial audition of "Britain's Got Talent". It was a total shock! But God has always been in the business of using people that the world ignores to change the world.

The Pentecost was God's statement to all of us that our background is no hindrance to Him and, in many cases, is the very thing He uses to bring Him glory.

2 Peter 3:18 - Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

NIV But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
KJV But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Peter teaches that continued growth in grace and knowledge is a protection against false teachers.

Growth in grace is not increased head knowledge or endless activity, but becoming more like the Lord Jesus. Growth in knowledge means an increasing study of the Word, His works, and His ways.

To Him be the glory, both now and forever. Amen. This, ultimately, is the reason for our existence-to glorify Him.

Today, grow in the Lord's grace and knowledge, glorifying Him with your commitment to know Him.

Ephesians 2:10 - For we are God's workmanship...

NIV For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
KJV For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Tangle Video - "God's Chisel"

When God chisels the dead weight out of our lives it can be very painful. In one of their most requested skits, Tommy and Eddie give a very creative look at a typical believer having to go through the process of discipline.

"God's Chisel" by the Skit Guys:

Matthew 5:16 - In the same way, let your light shine before men

NIV In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
KJV Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

There are so many awesome ways to learn about God and make our light shine; through prayer, church, the Bible, friends, the Holy Spirit and the list goes on.

He did not intend that we store up the light of His teachings for ourselves, but that we share it with others! We should let our lights shine brightly, so that when people see our good works, they will glorify our Father in heaven.

Psalm 127:3 - Sons are a heritage from the LORD...

NIV Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
KJV Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Today is Father's Day! It's a wonderful time to celebrate our Fathers. The Hebrews held sacred that all children were a blessing from the Lord, bringing joy to their parents.

You are a gift from the Almighty to your earthly father. And your own children are special gifts from God, a blessing and a responsibility.

Think of the joy, laughter and smiles you get from your own children. Your Heavenly Father sees you in the same way; your very existence brings Him joy. You make Him smile and laugh.

Today, as you celebrate with your families, praise your heavenly Father. And to those with children, may God show you His love through your kids today, you deserve it.

Psalm 103:13 - As a father has compassion on his children...

NIV As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
KJV Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.

Proverbs 23:24 - The father of a righteous man has great joy...

NIV The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.
KJV The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

Joy comes to parents whose children do well in school, make wise choices, and have families of their own. However, the greatest joy to a parent who believes is when their child loves the Lord deeply.

Parents, whether your children are small, growing, or grown, your role as Mom and Dad always evolves. Yet your role of showing them Christ remains the same. Encourage your children and laugh with them! Embrace each day as an opportunity to share Christ with your children, sharing the hope that is within you.

Psalm 78:3-4 - What our fathers have told us...

NIV What we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
KJV Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

Let's kick off Father's Day weekend early by sharing the wonders of God with everyone around us!

No matter where you are in your life, share what God has done in you. No matter how wide, deep, or seemingly small, praise Him with all your heart! Don't allow the weight of daily life to strip you of telling others who God is to you.

Dads, share with your children the blessings God has given you. Pass on God's praiseworthy deeds to the hearts of your children, honoring the Almighty Father with your words of praise.

Proverbs 29:7 - The righteous care about justice for the poor

NIV The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.
KJV The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

A person's relationship with God is reflected in his or her attitude toward the needy.

People seeking to follow the Lord want to see justice rather than oppression extended to the helpless and poor.

What can you do for the poor and needy today?

Hebrews 12:1 - Let us run with perseverance...

NIV Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
KJV Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

The great cloud of witnesses is not referring to actual people who are watching us; but witnesses and examples of those who have testified to the truth of the faith.

The Book of Hebrews was an encouragement to the Hebrews, who had left Judaism to follow Christ. They were facing severe persecution. The writer wants to communicate that their suffering is not unique, but part of the great marathon.

The Christian life is a marathon full of hills, bad weather, green pastures, and sharp turns. In order to keep our endurance strong, we need to strip ourselves on anything that separates from God, especially sin. When we free ourselves of the baggage that entangles us, we can stop tripping over our sin and run freely toward the prize of Heaven.

Proverbs 23:12 - Apply your heart to instruction...

NIV Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.
KJV Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

The Hebrew word for instruction can be translated as "discipline." To be a person of wisdom, it takes dedicated instruction and discipline. Commit yourselves this week to disciplined instruction in the Word.

Psalm 9:2 - I will sing praise to your name, O Most High

NIV I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
KJV I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

David is praising God with all his heart for deliverance from his enemy, giving Him all the glory. In Psalm 9, David doesn't praise the armor, the weapons, or any other aid in the victory; He solely praises the Almighty God.

In our own lives, when we are blessed in little or big ways, do we praise God with every fiber of our being? David isn't halfhearted with his praise. He is full of gratitude so much that it overflows in this poem of praise.

Think this week how God has blessed or delivered you. Allow that to sink in and overflow with joy to the Lord. It's a wonderful day to reflect on the blessings from our Creator and honor Him with our praise.

Isaiah 26:3 - You will keep in perfect peace...

NIV You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
KJV Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

The mind is hard at work all day long, a powerful organ that keeps your body on the task at hand.

It's easy to allow our minds to focus on worldly activities, places, and people that don't honor God. When we focus on anything that separates us from God and don't trust Him, we can become restless.

Yet when our minds are focused on the Lord and trusting Him with our lives, He keeps us in His peace, His blessed peace.

Psalm 61:2 - Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I...

NIV From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
KJV From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

David needed a rock of protection, one that was higher than his troubles, a divine protection. He was physically and emotionally drained, so he cried out to the "rock that is higher than I", knowing this was a place of safety with God. David was not literally at the end of the earth, but he was in a place where safety and deliverance seemed obscure.

We've all walked, or will walk, through days of despair. During those days, weeks, or years, we must cling to God or sink further into desperation. Cling to the Rock through your days of trouble and He will grant you peace.

John 14:23-24 - If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching

NIV Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."
KJV Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

True love of God is exhibited in a life of obedience to His Word. James 1:22 says, "Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

Jesus never had His own agenda. From the amazing miracles He performed, to the words He spoke, He was about the Father in everything He did. Jesus is the ultimate example of love and obedience.

The all powerful God invites us to know Him intimately through our love and obedience to Him. He promises to dwell within us if we do so. Do we have our own agenda or His agenda today?

John 14:16-17 - And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor

NIV And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
KJV And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

It's easy to feel alone because we can't physically touch Jesus. When that temptation comes, it's important remember that our Savior made sure we would never alone. Not only do we have a Heavenly Father and Jesus, but also the Holy Spirit sent from the Father to guide us each day.

During times of your life, the Holy Spirit may be smothered or hindered due to poor choices. Yet for a believer, even during those darker times, the Holy Spirit never leaves you.

Take a moment to stop, pray, listen, and be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is always with you, waiting to point you to Truth.

Psalm 34:10 - Those who seek the LORD lack no good thing

NIV The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
KJV The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

Psalm 34 is all about praising the Almighty. Here, David praises God for his deliverance.

The lion, even young and strong lions, do not always catch their prey. Time after time, however, the believer is able to attest how God has met their needs.

How sweet that the Lord shows His goodness to us again and again. We grow weak more often than the mighty lion and are blessed far more. When you focus on the needs God has met in your life, you will find yourself praising Him like David.

Jeremiah 17:14 - Save me and I will be saved

NIV Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.
KJV Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

The Prophet Jeremiah had a difficult message of judgment to deliver to the people of Judah. Jeremiah loved Judah, but he loved God much more.

Although Jeremiah struggled with oppression and loneliness, he continually looked to the Lord, praising Him and asking Him for deliverance. Jeremiah's example to us is to look to God for healing even when it may be difficult to recognize God's will in our lives.

Proverbs 3:27-28 - Do not withhold good from those who deserve it

NIV Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.
Do not say to your neighbor,
"Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"-
when you now have it with you.
KJV Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.

We should always repay what we owe to others and be willing to help our neighbors. We are not to withhold good when it is in our power to do so.

Whoever is on your heart today, don't withhold the good you can do in God's honor. Don't put it off!

Proverbs 3:3 - Let love and faithfulness never leave you...

NIV Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
KJV Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

We are to pay special care to being merciful and truthful. These attributes "win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man" (Prov 3:4). We are to wear these attributes around our neck like a permanent necklace and write them on our hearts like a tablet.

Mercy and truth are at the core of who we need to be inwardly and how we act outwardly.