Daniel Ingram is the featured writer this week at d365.org. This week’s theme is Fear Less and scripture texts include the Pentecost story from Acts. Each devotional has five steps: pause, listen, think, pray, and go. d365 is produced by River Road Church’s ministry partner, Passport, whose summer camp theme for youth and kids this year is also Fear Less.
The devotional below was published Tuesday, June 4. Other devotions posted this week can be found here: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday’s, Saturday’s, and Sunday’s devotions will be published at d365.org on those days.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.
1 John 4:18a
There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”
Yesterday’s scripture left off with some disciples at home being “filled with the Holy Spirit.” There was wind and fire, and the disciples spoke all different languages. Today’s text shows that this created quite a spectacle. A crowd of neighbors were drawn to the house. This diverse group grew up with different languages, but they each heard the disciples in their own native language! “Surprised and bewildered” feels like an understatement. Indeed, we’d probably also wonder, “What does this mean?” And others just mocked them, saying they must be drunk.
These are two very different responses. Some are genuinely inquisitive. Behind their wonder is a faithful spark of hope that God is doing a new thing right in front of them. Prophecies are being fulfilled in their midst, and God has invited them to the party! But others are dismissive. What do you think keeps them from believing?
Believing that God’s spirit may do something new can be unsettling. It means embracing uncertainty, and uncertainty comes with risk. But if we dismiss the unpredictable wind of the Holy Spirit, we might miss out on a great new thing.
Mysterious God, help me to see the signs of your Spirit among us. Forgive me when it is hard to believe, and encourage me to see your good work in this world. Grant that I may encourage others in the same way. Amen.
Spread the news of Christ into your corners of the world.
Don’t worry about whether you have what it takes.
You are God’s beloved child, and you have been gifted with all you need to follow Jesus faithfully.
Fear less and love more.