6: "So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘LORD, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’" - The disciples who had spent the last forty days with the Risen Lord were still worried and focused on earthly issues due to the pressures of living under Roman rule.
7-8: "He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’" - Christ's last words: "Do not worry or have fear, receive the power of God, and go forth into the world."
9: "When He had said this, as they were watching, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight." - Witnessing Christ's ascension, having it as their last image, would erase all doubt of His Godliness.
11: "They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.’" - A gentle assurance that Christ will return and in the mean time, there is work to be done. We do not have time to simply gaze into the heavens.
14: "All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers." - Prayerful meditation and preparation is an important step before embarking on any ministry.
Points to Contemplate:
Where is your focus?
Are you looking narrowly to the issues and concerns of the day? Have you forgotten the larger picture, the glorious context in which you have been born? Does your narrow focus create fear and worry? Is it time for you to look up and see that the kingdom of heaven is at hand? Or, perhaps, your gaze is into the heavens, thinking of the glory that lay in store? Have you elevated your self above your earthly tasks and placed your head in the clouds? Is it time for you to return to earth and involve yourself into the ministry of kingdom building? Is it possible for you to avoid either of these two extremes and, instead, keep your focus on Christ and on the task He has given you at the same time?
What is your job for Christ? Are you seeking His purpose and intent? Have you studied books, read the Bible, prayed incessantly, and still found yourself wondering what heavenly task is uniquely yours? Are you Spirit-led or Purpose Driven? Are you following the Spirit of Truth wherever He leads and discovering new opportunities to serve with every step of your life? Or are you being pushed into ministry out of a sense of duty or from a goal-oriented perspective?
Are you devoting your self to prayer? Are you deeply immersed, up to your eyeballs, in ministry? Have you committed your life to Christ? Are you willing to do anything and everything you can for the kingdom of heaven? How's your prayer life? Do you pray incessantly? Do you commune with God - daily? Hourly? Minute-by-minute? Do you stop in the midst of meetings, councils, and tasks and pray? As you begin each day, each new task, or each thing you say, do you pray for guidance and wisdom? When you complete an event, worship service, Sunday School class, bake sale, do you pray a prayer of thanksgiving? As you rise in the morning or doze off to sleep at night, are your thoughts focused towards God? Promises of the Gospel:
Jesus' last words reiterate to the disciples our marching orders - The Great Commission. This is our purpose - our sense of duty. However, if the work we do for the kingdom of heaven is to be Godly work, the Holy Spirit must be involved, leading, guiding, teaching, and comforting along the way. Our job is defined: 'Go forth and make disciples of all nations,' but we cannot… should not… must not step out into this ministry without the Spirit of Truth leading the way. Everything we do, from our rising in the morning until sleep descends at night and with every breath in between, should be embraced in prayer. Prayer is our connection to Christ and without it we stray from our Holy purpose and glorious destiny. "but those who wait (pray) for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Is. 40:31)
Amen! Reminds me of a song... Let the River flow. Let the River flow. Holy Spirit, come! Move in power! We MUST let Him lead. And we must be willing to follow that lead. Thank you, Brother, for such a power-packed and Biblically sound article.