1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered round him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:1-8)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
The first Christians didn’t understand Jesus when he tried to teach them about the Holy Spirit. They were so caught up in the great news stories of their day that they missed the significance of what he was saying. When Jesus told them that he was about to ascend to heaven and pour out his Holy Spirit on them, they didn’t grasp that he was unveiling his great plan to carry on his earthly ministry through them. Instead, they started asking in Acts 1:6 if he was about to raise an army to expel the Roman army from the Promised Land. Jesus responds patiently that such matters belong to the Father – in the meantime, the big news story is the coming of the Holy Spirit!

For the past twelve months, it has been difficult for all of us not to get caught up in the media frenzy. Our lives have moved online and our view of the world has been shaped more than ever by the TV in the corner of our living rooms or by the newsfeed on our phones. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves caught up in the way that nonbelievers view the world, revolving our lives around the priorities of a human news team, instead of revolving our lives around what God says is happening in the world. Now is not the moment for us to lose our handle on the plotline of the Bible. The big news story of our day is not the coronavirus or the after-shock of Brexit or the ups-and-downs of the economy. It is the news that Jesus has poured out the Holy Spirit on all of his followers so that he can continue his ministry through them.

Let’s listen, therefore, to the Apostle Paul’s encouragement in Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Let’s allow the Lord to renew our thinking, so that our priorities become transformed. God wants us to surrender our bodies daily to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, so that his Son Jesus can carry on his earthly ministry through everyday people such as you and me!
  1. Which do you devote more attention to on an average day – your newsfeed or your Bible?
  2. Can you think of any news stories over the past year which have made you think in ungodly ways? Take a moment to reflect hard on this. If you can’t think of any example, then it may be that you are unaware of it.
  3. How much would you say your daily thinking is caught up in God’s great purpose for the world – that he wants to empower you and your Christian brothers and sisters to by his Holy Spirit to carry on the mission of Jesus?
Lord Jesus, I thank you for all that you began to do and teach in your three years of public ministry. The gospel of Luke is exciting and it makes me wish that I had been there! Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you invite me to allow you to carry on your ministry through me today. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and please open my eyes to the really big news story that is happening all around me in the world today. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were brought to you by Phil Moore, who leads our team of whole-church elders.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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