Summary: Why do so many people end up focusing more on their problems than the opportunities created by their circumstances? Perhaps, it has to do with the fact that our human nature tends to have a morbid sense of interest in tragedies. Even though the apostles c
1. Why do so many people end up focusing more on their problems than the opportunities created by their circumstances? Perhaps, it has to do with the fact that our human nature tends to have a morbid sense of interest in tragedies.
Even though the apostles could have become discouraged by their circumstances they chose to see greater possibilities in the way God might work His will. When Peter and John were threatened and released from imprisonment they could have decided to retreat in to their shells.
Yet, "When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard this they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, ÎO Lord, take note of their threats and grant that your bond-servants may speak your word with all confidence.
Application: While You extend your hand to heal and signs and wonders take place through the name of your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:23,29,30) Ask the Lord to help you see opportunities in every problem.
2. Peter and John used their freedom as an opportunity for service instead of growing bitter. Many people when they are falsely criticized, oppressed or abused become angry at their abusers. The apostles went to their fellow Jewish Christians and praised God together for the way He had delivered them.
Application: The entire body of believers took this crisis as a chance to learn more about the way God works through adversity for individuals as well as for His church. Ask the Lord to help you use your freedom to serve one another instead of using it as opportunity for fleshly impulses.
3. Peter and John could have easily become revengeful and used their arrest as an opportunity to wage war on the Roman oppressors. The apostles chose to leave room for God to deal with their opposition. Paul wrote, "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place for Godâs wrath, vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord." (Rom. 12:19)
There are many ways that people try to take vengeance through sulking, shouting, trickery, slander, malice, clamor or outward hostility. All of these attempts to return evil for evil are bound to hurt everyone involved. Healing comes through loving forgiveness.
Application: Trust the Lord to help you overcome evil with good.
4. Peter and John found a greater opportunity to praise God for His deliverance and greatness in their trials. Many people only turn to God when they are in trouble. The apostles chose to praise and thank God in a way that gave a visible witness of their confidence that God could turn all things together for good.
Application: Trust the Lord to use your adversity to be a greater witness of the Spiritâs power to help you see possibilities when others only see problems.
5. Peter and John used the arrest to help them experience Godâs mighty presence, blessings and graceful sufficiency. Never before had the apostles gone through this valley of the shadow of death. Now they were able to know first hand how the Spirit empowered them to rise to any challenge or threat. Trust the Lord to help you to grow in your appreciation of Godâs great attributes.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to believe that He will provide you with all the blessings, sufficient grace and strength to withstand any trials.
6. Peter and John gave everyone proof that the Holy Spirit worked in them a higher level of confidence, joy and spiritual maturity. The apostles gave every believer an example of the way to greater Christ like emotions, perceptions and faith. Peter and John exhibited the kind of response that only the Spirit of God could produce in men who were unjustly treated for the sake of their Savior and Lord.
Application: Trust God to let you use every hurtful circumstance to increase your confidence, joy and spiritual maturity.
7. Peter and John experienced greater successes as a result of having come through their trials victoriously. The Lord gives greater favor to those who are faithful in little things so that they can produce greater fruit for His kingdom and righteousness.
application: Ask the Lord to help you build upon your spiritual successes instead of resting on them.