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Summary: For the first Sunday after New Year's. What is our prayer to God for the new year? The early church prayed for boldness. What did they do to be so bold?

As we start the new year, what is our prayer to God for the new year? Do we prayer that God smite our enemies? Do we pray that God will convert the masses? Do we pray for our health and welfare? What should be our prayer be for the New Year? I picked out this one verse for today’s message several months ago. I forget what led me to it, but I’ve been meditating on for quite some time. This one verse I was lead to use is part of a larger story starting at Acts 3:1 and continuing through Acts 4:31.

The scripture passage (Acts 4:5–12) I had our deacon read this morning precedes this verse and the passage our deacon read last week (Acts 4:23-31) comes at the end of the story. I have been meditating on these later verses also (remember what I preach, I also preach to myself, and sometimes it takes a few days for it all to sink in). Let me review with you for a moment as to what was read last week.

Acts 4:29 (NKJV) Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word

Notice how they did not pray for the death of their enemies, or even for life to be easier. They prayed for boldness.

Acts 4:31 (NKJV) And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

The result is that they, not just the apostles, but all of them, spoke God’s word in all boldness. This morning I want to examine what they did to be so bold. And I want that to be our prayer for the new year. To be bold. Let’s look at today’s passage:

Acts 4:13 (NKJV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

I want to put in a shameless plug for my wife, Ellen’s writing. She writes blogs for the NW Florida Daily News on their online edition. She also writes for some online Christians magazines, as well she also has her own website where she post a weekly blog. I usually get to read most of them before she publishes them. Next week’s blog caught my eye as I was glancing at it. The blog is about not wasting anything. Let me quote from the first paragraph:

"It has occurred to me more than once as I’ve gotten older that I’ve become my mother. Not that it’s a bad thing—my mother was a remarkable woman. But she was also a product of the Great Depression, which meant that literally nothing was ever wasted in our house while I was growing up. A leftover teaspoon of vegetables at dinner got tossed into a large container in the freezer. When the container was full, she made vegetable soup. My sister-in-law once commented that my mother’s vegetable soup never tasted the same twice. Little did she know." [1]

She has become her mother. She make mention it’s a lot more than just vegetable soup. She always misplaces her glasses like her mother, Her mother’s words are often repeated.

You know what? At times, especially when I’m yelling at the kids, I hear my dad’s words coming out of my mouth: “Don’t you make me pull this car over” and “If you’re going to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about.”

My kids are just as I was with my dad, when I messed up; Sometimes I feared his preaching more than the spankings. Sometimes I wished he would just spank me and get it over with and not have to endure the preaching. So you can see, at least some of my preaching abilities, I come by honestly.

And do you know what else I discovered. The more time I spend in the Word, the more time I spend in prayer communicating with the Father, more I find the words of Jesus coming out of my mouth. The question today is “Have you been with Jesus?” Lately? and how much? Paul writes:

Philippians 2:5 (NKJV) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus

This is a one of the central teachings of the New Testament for those who are followers of Jesus. We are to be like Him.

Romans 8:29 (NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1 John 3:2 (NKJV) Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

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