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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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”