In March 2021 we had a season of 12 Days of Gospel Stories. Weu2019re now reproducing these stories here for all to see and be inspired by!

How I would love to share a story that sounds like something from Acts: a miraculous healing or a story of complete transformation as happened to Saul, but my stories are a lot tamer. There were the refugees who received firewood, and then despite their own religion, came along to our Christmas Eve service. There were people from the community who received Christmas hampers and were amazed that a church would do that for them. There were the Christian books we took to the local Lilliputt Libraries and the truckloads of rain-marked fruit we gave away to anyone passing by but nothing like in Acts. As I reflected on this, I thought of Zechariah 4:10: Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin. But God, I want to be like Peter and do the things he did!

Suddenly I thought of Peter in the gospels: the one who said the wrong thing (Mk 9), who started off well but didnu2019t last (Mt 14), who slept instead of praying (Mk 14), who denied the Lord he loved (Lk 22). Despite his many weaknesses, Jesus kept loving, encouraging and forgiving him until he became the leader he was created to be. Maybe the biggest renewal Iu2019ve seen lately is that which has started in my own heart: I have a choice to despair over what I havenu2019t achieved, what I havenu2019t seen come to pass or I can depend on God to transform and empower me to make a positive difference as he did Peter. Maybe I should focus more on the earlier verse in Zechariah, Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord.

Father God, thank you that you can use the foolish and weak to bring about your purposes. May we focus and depend on your Spirit rather than on our own strength as we seek to impact those around us with your good news.

Contributor: Sandra Gordon, Caversham Baptist

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