Divine Appointments; August 26, 2020

Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

I am reminded of the story, perhaps apocryphal, of two priests who were walking in the Vatican, seeing all the beautiful, ornate decorations. One of them said to the other, “We can’t exactly say, ‘Silver and gold have I none,’ can we?” The other replied, “No, and we can’t say, ‘Get up and walk,’ either.” Peter, regarded by many as the first Pope, was placing all the focus on Jesus, and that was why he could have Jesus’ power flow through him. It is worth noting here that Peter specified “of Nazareth,” because Jesus was hardly an unusual name, any more so than Joshua would be today (or even Jesus, in Spanish speaking countries). Even more important is the fact that he explicitly called Jesus the Christ, the promised Messiah of God. We so associate Jesus with that title that some people literally think that “Christ” was Jesus’ last name, but it was and is an essential part of confessing faith for salvation, particularly for any Jew, who would know what it meant. We don’t know how long this man had been using this particular location for begging, so we don’t know if he had actually seen Jesus, but it’s a safe bet that he had heard about him at any rate. That prepared him to respond in faith to Peter’s bold statement and action. And we do need to remember that Peter didn’t just say nice words, he actually reached out and did something that would have made him look stupid if God hadn’t acted. He was obviously acting in obedient response to the Holy Spirit, and that is something we all can do. Divine appointments might seem mystical to some, but they are actually just flowing with the Holy Spirit, listening obediently to what He says. When we do that, He is free to operate through us, and God is glorified.

I’ve had plenty of divine appointments, but none so dramatic as this. Often enough, I don’t realize it was a divine appointment until after the fact, when I recognize that God had me where He wanted me, doing what He wanted me to do. I have to say it feels wonderful to come to that realization! I don’t always respond perfectly, or even well. I have had many times of realizing I’ve just missed a divine appointment, and that doesn’t feel good at all. The important thing is committing to obedience before I know what the task is. Hesitating often lets the opportunity escape. That’s why daily devotions are so important: they help keep me focused on listening obediently. I rarely have advance notice of God’s appointments for me, though sometimes I do. I need to be available on God’s schedule, and not worry about my own.

Father, thank You for all You have done in the past 24 hours. Thank You that my surgery started early and went smoothly, and that I’ve only had to take two pain pills so far. Thank you that those pills were available! Thank You for all You are doing with others in the church right now. I pray that each one would open up to what You are doing in and through them so that they would be willing participants, and not resisting You. May indeed Your name be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, right here, as perfectly as it is in heaven, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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