And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; my miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus. After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:29-31 (NLT)
I’ve recently signed up to volunteer with (this is the second time) the Elevation Church Online Welcome Team. I wrote a little bit about my experience (the first time) in my post, “Good News.” I’m moved to write about it again because I have a heavy day of phone calls to make to people that have become new believers within the last month or to people that have recommitted their life to Christ. As part of the Online Welcome Team, I get to call them and see how they are doing since their life-changing decision.
I woke this morning feeling nervous and somewhat vulnerable but as my eyes cleared from a wonderful night of deep sleep, I moved to put my glasses on, as I do, every single morning, I dropped them behind my nightstand. This is a first! I could not see where they landed so I sat on the side of the bed and instead of dropping to the floor to find them, I remained in my upright position. My usual routine is to lie in bed and pray a short prayer of thankfulness and guidance but this morning, I was moved in a different direction in regards to my first morning conversation with God.
I felt incredibly thankful for this day of God’s work. The opportunity to stay home and connect with new believers was exciting. I prayed for the people on the Welcome Team and all our connections. I prayed for Focus on the Family and the people in this ministry. I asked for blessings for the members on the forums that I respond to that are in crisis. I prayed for friends and family. I asked for guidance from the Holy Spirit–for my mind, my words, my actions today. That I be a good helper. That I reflect Jesus well. I prayed for an effective blog post.
I did all of this before my feet even hit the ground. How awesome to be guided even before I even asked for it. It wasn’t a coincidence that my glasses fell to the floor. It was a moment that the Lord used for me. He took the time to look my way and guide me in this day before it even started. Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus is one step ahead of us.
My feet hit the floor in great faith!
I made my list of goals for the day. Number one, is time with Jesus. This is most important because without Him, I go nowhere. He is what keeps me moving!
I brought my Bible and my many devotions to my desk with no clue on what the Lord would bring to me this glorious morning. I always start with a prayer asking for the Lord to join me. No fun having a quiet time if the Lord isn’t sitting here right next to me. I need to feel His presence and direction. Actually I know He’s always here but I like to ask because I feel it is appropriate. I don’t want to take advantage! It keeps me humble and submissive towards Him.
My prayer pose is usually with my hands in my lap and head bowed but the past week or so, I’ve started with my elbows on my desk and my palms against my cheeks and my fingers covering my eyes and extending up into my forehead. There is a safety and a comfort there. I feel close.
I remember as a child when things occurred that caused me great stress and sadness, I would sit on my floor with extremely loud music playing. It isn’t the sort of music I listen to today. I enjoy Christian music for the most part. There is much hope in the lyrics! As a teenager, my choice was usually Metallica. In that day, it was calming, beautiful and a way to escape. The heavy, crushing sound of the guitars and the angry voice of James Hetfield was numbing. I would put my hands to my face in the same sort of fashion and slowly rock back and forth until I felt the calm come. I distinctly remember a time that I was in this position while listening to Master of Puppets. I opened my eyes and started crying for help. Mentally, I was gone from my room. All that was before me was my metal, lavender closet door. There, appeared the face of Jesus! My anguish settled, I gazed at His brilliance and knew that I wasn’t alone.
I guess my hands to my face in prayer represent a time when Jesus first announced Himself to me. I felt safe then as I feel safe now!
I’m sitting at my desk this morning, hands on my face in prayer, asking for Jesus to sit with me and it feels good. I am in this position for quite some time. Peaceful, comforted and loved. I grabbed “Everyday in His Presence,” by Charles Stanley and open to January tenth. The opening scripture overtakes me immediately! It is one that I hold on to and I have for years. It holds a secret promise to me. I will share it with you when it comes to pass! It will be this year!!
It comes from Luke 4:18
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives.
As I read this, I turned to the promise that God made to me so long ago and the word “anointed” jumped at me. I believe this word to mean only people of God are anointed like Jesus, pastors, nuns anyone of the clergy–people high up in the “godly food chain.”
Upon further research from the English Standard Version (ESV) I found this from 2 Corinthians 1:21,22:
To be anointed is to be set apart and gifted by God for his calling, symbolized in the Old Testament by the pouring of olive oil as a sign of God’s rich provision. It is also a play on the word “Christ,” which means “anointed one”; Christ’s messengers (us) are also anointed.
1 John 2:20 (ESV):
But you have been anointed by the Holy One and you all have knowledge.
I’m stuck on the word “anointed.” If I consider myself “anointed” then I’m prideful or boasting. I’m putting myself up there with Jesus. I don’t like this feeling so I’m moving to the rest of the devotion but I find that the Lord is gently bringing me back.
We are all anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He comes to live within us and He “anoints” us to do great things for Him. We are gifted, we are blessed and we are reflections of Him. To be anointed doesn’t mean that I’m trying to be Jesus or that I’m putting myself in His Holy category. What it means is that I have the power through the Holy Spirit to do the things that Jesus has put in me to do for Him. He is there to help as I share His good news and pray for others, alone and out loud.
Here is His promise from John 14:26 (ESV):
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
In my time with the Online Welcome Team connections, I don’t have to be nervous, scared and afraid.
Not only does the Lord show and promise me that He is with me (as my Helper) as I share and pray with others He even goes a step further and reminds me how to pray when I’m weak and feeling ineffective. Look at Acts 4:20 (NLT):
We may sometimes be afraid to share our faith in Christ because people may feel uncomfortable or reject us–if your courage to witness for God has weakened, pray that your boldness may increase. Remember Jesus’ promise, Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in Heaven (Matthew 10:32)
He goes on to show me how to be bold in Acts 4:29-31 (NLT)
Boldness is not reckless impulsiveness. Boldness requires courage to press on through our fears and do what we know is right. How can we be more bold? Like disciples, we need to pray with others. To gain boldness, you can (1) pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to give you courage, (2) look for opportunities in your family and neighborhood to talk about Christ (3) realize that rejection, social discomfort, and embarrassment are not necessarily persecution, and (4) start where you are by being bolder in small ways.
Look and see how faithful and loving our God is. Absolutely mind-blowing!!! Next, He gives a step by step in prayer. It come from Acts 4:24-30 (NLT):
Notice how the believers prayed. First, they praised God; then they told God their specific problems and asked for His help. They did not ask God to remove the problem but to help them deal with it. We can follow this model when we pray. We may ask God to remove our problems, and He may choose to do so. But we must recognize that often He will leave a problem but give us the strength and courage to deal with it.
I am anointed by the Holy Spirit. I can be bold in my words for Christ because I have a Helper. I know how to pray for others. He has equipped me this morning. I can do this and all Glory goes to Him!!
This doesn’t just go for me. This goes for you too! We are all (those who believe) living by the power of the Holy Spirit! We can all be bold in whatever it is that Jesus has called us to do.
So be bold! We are anointed! And we have work to do. And we shall carry on until our time on this earth is finished. We are never finished growing, sharing, loving. Our relationship with Christ doesn’t ever stop. We will continue to grow deeper and bigger in Him. We have so much to look forward to.
Praise God!! I am feeling bold and anointed. Time for my first Welcome Team connection.
But wait–the Lord is not finished with me yet. I sent this message to my brothers and sisters serving alongside me on the Welcome Team:
No coincidence here….I’m sitting at my desk with my phone call connections before me and I’m feeling a little less than confident. I’ve been in prayer all morning about these phone calls because conversation and prayer are not my strongest points! The Lord led me to boldness and courage in my time with Him which I’m incredibly thankful for. He is so faithful. With my Courage and Boldness up front and ready to go, I turn my phone on and what do I see…Pastor Steven’s, “I Will Be Confident,” which has been delivered from the Elevation App. The Lord’s timing is always perfect! God Bless this Team and all Connections!!
I dialed my connection and it was amazing! The conversation was spirit-filled. Honesty and vulnerabilities were shared. We praised God and then it was time for prayer.
How can I pray for you today?
She told me her requests and in a shaky voice I started out. The words I spoke did not come from me. I was slow in speech (which is a good thing–I usually buzz right through in the hopes of a quick finish) concise, heartfelt, and wise. It was halfway through that I felt choked. I had to stop for a minute to gather myself. I felt my heart gripped by the strength of Holy Spirit. I was allowing Him to come forth with His words and this is victory! I cried and she cried and it was good! We both felt His love. It was much needed!! We ended with a promise to keep in touch and a thankfulness that we had found one another!
Friends, (Charles Stanley says this quite a bit and I like it) there is nothing in this world that feels as good as what the Lord has for us. I am truly in love with Jesus!!