Happy Mother's Day! Hannah was a godly woman dealing with some pretty adverse cultural circumstances. Add to that a drastic broken relationship. How Hannah responded to adversity is a key to the character traits of a godly woman. Her example is one of humility, honesty & faith.
No matter where you are on the spectrum of your spiritual journey, I think it is safe to say that everyone wants to be better at praying. Whether it's consistency or depth or vigilance, we long to strive for more. Praying is hard work. It is a discipline too. In our series, Stuff Christians Believe, we see the importance of a lifestyle of prayer. Take up the challenge and pray for the 500 with us!
Graham Buxton's definition of "ministry" is incredibly accurate. "Participating in what God is doing to reconcile the world to himself--through Christ in the Spirit." We see that actualized in the transitional verses in Acts 9:32-43. We see Peter live out a "ministry" definition as he meets the needs of those around him. It seems like it would be a simple message to grasp, but ministering to others has its costs & its purposeful focus.
We come to the first "blemish" on the early church. So many good things happening and then Satan diverts his focus from persecuting the church (for the time-being) to attempting to destroy it from the inside. The Good? The church is growing & thriving. The Bad? Ananias & Sapphira pay a price for sin. The Fallout? Fear covers the church and everyone who has heard of the deaths of the two who sinned against God.
What happens when the church prays? It is so fascinating watching God work through believers. Peter & John went back to their friends after experiencing a very exasperating couple of days in front of the Sanhedrin. Upon their return, a prayer meeting broke out. The church didn't pray for protection. The church didn't pray for their circumstances to change. The church didn't pray against their enemies or against the Evil One. The church prayed for boldness to speak the truth...even in the midst of persecution. God listened. God answered. God moved.