August 8, 2017
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 8 August 2017
In 2004, I was working as a principal at a school in St. Petersburg, Florida. The campus is set among tall oak trees, and 2004 was the year of several major hurricanes to make landfall in Florida. One in particular (Frances) brought minor damage to the school. One of the historic oak trees collapsed and the root system at the base of tree was literally ripped from the ground. The root system was shallow and unable to sustain the tree when the storm arrived.
The deepening of the root system is what prevents a tree from collapse, even in immense storms. Obviously, there is a significant illustration here. We can be like trees; we can grow tall and we can look terrifically good . . . until the strong winds arrive. If the root system (spiritually speaking) is not deep in the “soil,” then chances are there will be catastrophe, and we will be shaken, if not actually crumbling. The same can be true of churches and governments. They can look good in terms of buildings, programs, or the attractiveness of leadership. However, if the root system is not deep, there will come a point where an institution will become withered and ultimately vanquished. Individuals, churches, and governments must spend time knowing what the root system is.
The book of Acts gives instruction for what it means to deepen a root system; we as individuals and leaders within formal institutions can understand that external challenges can help us become more resolute through every trial. The context in Acts 1 is the returning of the disciples to Jerusalem, having been with Jesus on the mountain from where He was lifted into heaven. Verses 12-14 begin with an interesting roster of men; these guys formed the core of the Christian ensemble of people. A close study of these men reveals the disparity among them. There was a tax collector, a zealot (which today we would call a terrorist), and more . . . and God brought them together to build his church. Imagine that reality!
In verse 14, we learn how they continually devoted themselves to prayer, and (in the verses following) how the Bible guided their actions. Prayer and thoughtful consideration of the Bible was the overall activity, ambiance, atmosphere, and spirit of the place where the earliest of Christians gathered: the Upper Room (a place where they discussed what was going to occur next). I imagine that at this time, this place was filled with anxiety. These people did not have all the answers, which is why prayer and the Bible was so important.
The early disciples discussed the future, reminisced concerning the teachings of Jesus (the things the Lord had said and done), and how their own lives changed as Jesus entered them. I think they probably sang, someone felt compelled to pray, and they prayed as groups in specific ways. I think this was a very sacred period of time, where people were not only in the presence of each other, but also in the presence of the Lord. The most intimate experience of Christians gathering together is with thought of God’s Word, the Holy Bible, and time devoted to prayer.
Indeed, the first major decision – identifying a replacement for Judas Iscariot, who had apostatized – was resolved both through prayer and consideration of an Old Testament precedent (Prov 16:33) in order to determine God’s will. Hearing and heeding God’s Word, in addition to humble prayer, is always how we deepen our root system. If either is removed from our lives, our churches, our even government institutions, the result will be disintegration and collapse.
God’s Word – the Holy Bible – is always the believer’s lamp and light. The guidance of Scripture (Acts 1:15-23) is what provides the answers for life that we need (when, of course, we are willing to heed it). Acting upon our merits rather than upon God’s provisions – the Bible and prayer – will always result in grave errors.
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.