The New Orleans Saints are a professional football franchise founded in 1967. They have a long history with the NFL. Unfortunately, that history was not a winning history. In their history, they had only had one winning season between 20 years. The Saints did not even win a playoff game until 2000. Their inability to win on a consistent basis won them the nickname, “The Aints.”
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Yea, O people in Zion who dwell at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you.” –Isaiah 30:18-19
The 1950’s is often considered a wonderful decade in the United States of America. It was a time of significant prosperity in our country. Across the country suburbs began to spring up as people built homes at an unprecedented rate. The television made its way into the living room of the suburban homes. Rock and Roll was broadcasted across the air. NASA launches the first satellite into orbit. It was an unprecedented decade for sure.
I must admit this has always been one of my favorite passages of scripture. In one brief story, Luke offers the church a beautiful visual of the love we are called to have for our neighbors. The story begins with Jesus teaching the experts and ends with everyone bewildered by what they have witnessed.
Did you know there are 650 prayers listed in the Bible, and approximately 450 recorded answers to prayer? The Bible records 25 times that Jesus prayed during his ministry here on earth. Have you ever wondered why Jesus prayed? After all, he was God’s Son! The answer lies in WHY Jesus was praying. He wasn’t praying to let God know His thoughts and feelings; God already knew them! Neither was He praying to gain something from God; even Jesus was denied the request to “let this cup pass from me” (Matt. 26:39). Jesus was praying because it drew Him near to His Father. It brought Him close to the One who created Him and loved Him more than anyone. Prayer can do the same thing for us, if we realize it’s not only for God-it’s for US!
“But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.” –Luke 6:27-31
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfil the scripture, “They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did this.
“Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.” – Titus 2:7-8
The disciples were faced with a difficult task when Jesus was crucified, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven. Jesus asked them to continue the work he begun and, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) The book of Acts is the story of how the disciples worked to fulfill this commission given to them.