Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK TWO
ORBIT – DAY EIGHT
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the daily devotional from St Mary’s Reigate. Each weekday we look together at a little bit of the Bible, and ask how we might be able to apply it to today. At the moment we’re looking at the story of Paul – a man who knew what it was to follow Jesus and tell others about him in tough and uncertain times.
BIBLE READING: Acts 14 – 8-15
In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.”
It’s important to know where your power comes from. I always love that bit in Toy Story where Buzz Lightyear believes he really is a space ranger fighting the evil emperor Zurg, and that he really can zoom through the air on his jet pack. Through a series of very lucky falls, jumps and bounces, Buzz completes a miraculous flight across Andy’s bedroom – and he continues to believe that he’s a real space ranger as a result. Buzz does not realise that his power comes from luck, not his own abilities.
In this passage, the people who see Paul using miraculous power, jump to a quick conclusion: he must be a god! Who else could wield the power to heal a man who had been unable to walk from birth? In fact, they get so excited that they think Barnabas is Zeus, and Paul is Hermes. Within moments, they’re bringing garlands of flowers and animal sacrifices to them. Can you imagine this incredible scene?
But while Paul is accessing the power of God, he’s not God. And crucially – he knows it. He understands that the power flowing within his veins is the Holy Spirit. So instead of embracing the life of celebrity and riches that he could have had as a result of this moment, Paul tears his clothes as a sign that he is no god, and quickly explains the truth to the crowd. They are only human, and they’re here to share the good news about the one from whom the power really comes.
Perhaps the best-kept secret about God is just how powerful he is. He formed the entire universe, remember – and his power remains today. Through his Holy Spirit he can choose to heal sickness, communicate with us, give us supernatural gifts and much, much more. I think we probably massively underestimate what he can do if he wants to. The New Testament is full of examples of God’s followers accessing this miraculous power, and we can do it too.
But when we do, we should never make the mistake of forgetting where the power comes from. If we see someone healed, or speak some amazing truth into a friend’s life, or even – preachers, if you’re listening – preach an incredible, life-changing sermon, then like Paul we must be quick to remember why. God does amazing things through us his followers – but we must always give him the credit he deserves.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord, I pray that you would fill me with your Holy Spirit today, and use me in powerful ways that I can’t expect or imagine. I ask that you would give me opportunities to see your power at work in my world, and the humility to always remember where that power comes from.
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
After today’s Orbit is finished, spend a few moments in quiet, asking God to fill you with his Spirit. Then, repeating that prayer that we prayed a few moments ago, ask him for an opportunity to see his power in action. Keep your eyes open today for a chance to pray for someone who needs help or healing, or listen out for an encouragement that God might want you to share with someone else. God’s Spirit is real and at work all around us – tune in to him today!
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!