Acts 13 today.
The first thing I noticed was that the chapter again starts with the church asking for revelation from Heavenly Father and receiving it via the Holy Spirit in specific, concrete ways.
This is a recurring moment in the first several chapters of Acts, what I love about it is the sense of expectation the saints have. These prayers are not wishy-washy hopes or idle wishes or even the obligatory request from jaded souls. These are moments of humility that are also full of promise, because they are sure that their God has something to say to them, and that He will say it if they listen -- and one step further, that they will do something about it once He does.
It made me wonder...what guidance would I receive if I wasn't so convinced that I would be ignored or criticized? What direction would I gain if I mustered the courage to hear and act on what was told to me?
The next thing I noticed was that later in the chapter, when he is teaching in the synagogue, Paul identifies a pattern in Heavenly Father's dealings with His children:
-Slaves in Egypt, delivered in a miraculous way
-Disobedient wandering in the wilderness, inherited the promised land
-Whining and clamoring about the government, God chooses David
Then Paul goes on to say, in essence, "Guys, you KNOW God. You know He fills His promises, you KNOW He forgives His people if they repent and humble themselves before Him. It really shouldn't surprise you when I say He's done it again." And then Paul testifies of Christ and His divine mission to bring mercy and incorruption and forgiveness to the world.
And it just struck me how loving Heavenly Father is. He knows exactly how screwy His children can be. No matter how much my perfectionist and outward-appearances tendencies say otherwise, there is no hiding our deeply flawed and tragically incomplete selves from Him. And yet...Heavenly Father, knowing that, provided a purifier and a completer, 'the author and finisher of our faith," Jesus Christ.
In short, Heavenly Father still gives gifts to our incredibly indebted selves.
That means we can rejoice, not because we are independent, but because we are dependent on something, Someone, that will never, NEVER fail us.