Daily D – Acts 3:12
Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness?” ACTS 3:12 (NLT)
A friend started graduate school a year ahead of me. Her program required fewer hours than the one in which I enrolled. When she graduated, she was offered a nice job at a prominent employer. When I saw her, instead of congratulating her, I remarked playfully, “You got a job?” She replied, “Yeah, that’s why I went to school!”
If you knew my friend, you would not be surprised that she got that job or her next as editor of a magazine. How many times, however, are we surprised when good things happen? Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a well-known book entitled When Bad Things Happen to Good People. It feels like from time to time we are more comfortable with a Bad Things Happen mindset than a Good Things Happen mindset. In the words of The Dread Pirate Roberts (Wesley) from The Princess Bride, some people live by the motto, Get Used to Disappointment.
Good things happen. Good things happen to us. We live so deeply in fear of loss that we often miss all the good things in our lives. Several articles last year convinced me to keep a gratitude journal this year. I have a dedicated code&quill journal I write in each evening before bedtime. There I record the good things that happened during that particular day. This has been a year full of challenges, hasn’t it? What better time to begin writing down the gains in this season of setbacks?
Today’s text is such a delight. Peter saw an opportunity to talk about something good God had done which everyone recognized as a bona fide good thing. He did not miss the opportunity to declare God’s goodness and the immediate, specific benefit to a man who was lame who was now practicing to become a high jumper.
The goodness of God was not limited to this one man who went from grieving his immobility and absolute, daily dependence upon the kindness of strangers to someone who could take care of himself and others. God’s goodness was on display to every person in the area. Peter seized the opportunity to let everyone know that just as God had been good to this man, he wanted to be good to them as well. There was even a better gift than physical mobility on offer to each one of them. There was a deep and abiding relationship with the Author of Life (v. 15).
This week began with four major prayer concerns. We are two down with two to go. The evidence points to the other two resolving in the right direction within hours. Once again, our Father in heaven has proven himself faithful. If you had access to my Gratitude Journal, you could read all about it.
What is going right in your life?
How is God blessing you?
Are you writing down his answers to your prayers?
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 13:5, love “keeps no record of being wronged.” That’s a different mindset, isn’t it? What if we deliberately kept no record of all the offenses others did to us and we kept instead a record of all the good things? The truth is, we tend to see what we are looking for. We can look for all that is wrong, or we can look for all that is right. Peter and Paul agree: Look for the good. Celebrate it when you find it. Tell others about it. Record it to remember it.
I will become a living gratitude journal.
Our Father, when I begin counting my blessings, I grow delightfully fatigued in the recounting effort. You have been so, so good to me! Empower me to value the gains of life more than I dread the losses and setbacks. Thank you that even in this season of pandemic and protests that there are so many good things happening all around us. Fill our world with your beauty, wonder, and love. Do not allow us to miss it, to celebrate it, and to declare it. Amen.
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Jeremiah 35:12-14 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Jeremiah 23:20-22 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.