“The high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy  they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.  But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.’ And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.

“Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, ‘We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside…’ And someone came and told them, ‘Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people…’ 

“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.’  But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.  God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.’” Acts 5:17-23,25,27-32

The apostles drew attention as the power of God’s indwelling Spirit transformed lives and healed and worked wonders through them. Although many were drawn, the religious leaders were jealous and wanted them stopped and silenced. But the word of God and the Spirit of God cannot be contained by man. (Acts 5:12-16)

In many places in the world today the Word of God is squelched. Regulations from government leaders to corporate decision-makers, and caustic criticism from professors to colleagues to neighbors to even family members attempt to stop and silence the movement of God’s Spirit. But He is more powerful than any force opposed to Him, and as the Author of life reigns sovereignly over the movement of His gospel. (Acts 3:15; 1 John 4:4)

What tamps down the work of the Spirit in our lives? Have we slid into sloth over time, no longer exposing ourselves to the probing of God’s word and the admonition and refining that regular fellowship brings? Do we shrink at the first remark of criticism or threat of cancellation? What if we embraced the power of God’s Word and daily sought the Spirit’s filling? What might change in relationships, work, outlook, and desires, if we were so bold as to obey God rather than man, fear, and feelings? What if we allowed the Spirit free rein and reign? (Proverbs 27:17; Ephesians 4:15; 5:18; Hebrews 4:12; 10:24-25)

Lord, so fill me with Your Word and Spirit that You spill over in irresistible ways, that many will be drawn to know, love, and honor You.

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