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Taking Root Week 6: “Ancient Community”

Day 1: Monday, May 7, 2012—A Divine Appointment
Have you ever stood in awe of how the Lord orchestrates events in your life? Have you noticed that sometimes deep pain paves the road for God’s miracles of grace? In the early church, Stephen’s martyrdom was the beginning of a great wave of persecution against believers; all except the apostles scattered from Jerusalem, taking the Gospel with them as they fled. Read about Stephen and Philip in Acts 6:1-9a, 12-15; and 7:54-8:6. Now observe how the Lord continues to use Philip as you read Acts 8:26-40. What does this tell you about God’s limitless love for each individual? Pray you will hear God’s call on your heart and life; pray you will respond, “Yes, Lord!”

Day 2: Tuesday, May 8, 2012—The Urgency of the Gospel
Philip is ministering in Samaria, but the Lord has an appointment for him on the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza (consider checking a map). Notice Philip’s obedient and immediate response to the Lord’s call (Acts 8:26-27a); he doesn’t linger or ask questions; he just obeys. And God’s timing is perfect. Read Acts 8:26-40. The Ethiopian official, a God-fearer, probably had traveled to Jerusalem for a Jewish festival. It’s evident that his heart yearns to know the Lord, but he has no one to instruct him. The Lord sends Philip (Acts 10 recounts another story of God’s provision). Read 2 Peter 3:9. Do you know any who hunger to know Jesus? Pray! Share your faith.

Day 3: Wednesday, May 9, 2012—Searching the Scriptures
The Ethiopian eunuch traveled to Jerusalem to worship; now on the road home, he is reading the Scriptures. His spiritual hunger is evident (perhaps his cry echoes the Psalmists’: Psalm 42:1-2; 63:1). Jesus says the Scriptures (referring to the Hebrew Scriptures) testify about him (John 5:39), and the Isaiah passage the Ethiopian is reading clearly points to Jesus. But the man needs help understanding the Scripture passage. Read Isaiah 53, noting the passage the Ethiopian is reading (Acts 8:32-33). How would you have explained this to the Ethiopian? Now read Acts 17:11; do you search the Scriptures to seek the Lord and to discern what is true? Thank God for the Bible.

Day 4: Thursday, May 10, 2012—Anchored in the Word: Jesus Died!
Philip used the Isaiah 53 passage the Ethiopian was reading to begin teaching him about Jesus. Notice Acts 8:35; Philip did not share doctrine or a list of things to do; Philip, first and foremost, shared Jesus! Philip must have used the Isaiah passage to first tell about Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. Compare Isaiah 53:4-12 with some insights and fulfillments of the prophecies as you read John 1:29; 10:11,17-18;
11:49-53; Matthew 27:37-51a; John 19:34-42; and Romans 5:8. What do we learn about Scripture and prophecy as we ponder the realization that Isaiah wrote centuries before Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection? Read 1 Peter 1:18-21 and 2 Peter 1:19-21, and pray.

Day 5: Friday, May 11, 2012—Anchored in the Word: Jesus Rose!
What does Paul say is of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)? Do you think it mere coincidence that the Ethiopian was reading prophetic words from Isaiah 53 that pointed to Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 8:32-35)? Yesterday we looked at prophecies pointing to Jesus’ atoning death. Notice now how Isaiah 53:10b-11 points to Jesus’ resurrection. And ponder that Jesus not only sees the ‘light of life,’ (Isaiah 53:11), he is the Light and the Life (John 1:1-4, 9; 8:12; 11:25-26). Read John 10:17 and 2 Timothy 1:9-10. Stand in awe and praise the Lord.

Day 6: Saturday, May 12, 2012—Anchored in the Word: Jesus Ascended
Job looked ahead with eyes of faith and hope and proclaimed a triumphant, living Savior (Job 19:25-27). Jesus told his followers that he would return to the Father (John 14:1-3; 17:13; 20:17), and he did; read the ascension account in Acts 1:1-14. The Isaiah text through which Philip instructs the Ethiopian holds yet another precious picture which looks ahead to the cross and to Jesus’ place at the Father’s right hand (Romans 8:34). Read Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34; and Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:24-26. Jesus intercedes for us! And he will return (Revelation 22:20)! Pray!

Day 7: Sunday, May 13, 2012—On Our Way Rejoicing
The Ethiopian believed the good news about Jesus. And just as Philip had responded without hesitation (Acts 8:26-27), now the Ethiopian responds without delay. Read Acts 8:36-40. With the Ethiopian eunuch, rejoice in what the Lord has done for you! Read Philippians 4:4 and allow the lyrics of “Mighty to Save,” by Fielding and Morgan, to guide your praise: “…Author of Salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave…Shine your light and let the whole world see: we’re singing for the glory of the risen King…Jesus” (2006, Hillsong Pub)

See the full “Taking Root” schedule of devotions here.

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