Monday, June 17, 2019

Acts 7-8~ It's a heart issue.

I always enjoy reading these chapters!  Steven's review of Jewish history, Philip's boldness in sharing Christ even though he and others had to flee Jerusalem to escape persecution, and Simon the Sorcerer's conversion, are all inspiring stories!

I have had different thoughts on these chapters that I went back and read thinking,...."Huh! Those are still interesting thoughts!"  If you feel like reading one of them, I thought I would include the link.

Thoughts about Steven's situation: https://www.walkingwiththeway.com/2019/02/acts-7-8-day-48-2-wrongs-dont-make-right.html

Thoughts on Moses:https://www.walkingwiththeway.com/2018/08/acts-7-8-moses-day-48.html

Thoughts on Simon's situation:https://www.walkingwiththeway.com/2018/03/day-88-acts-7-8.html

Yet, this time, I once again pondered what I had wondered in the past.  These were thoughts I had, but no one commented.  So I thought I would pose the question again. I would sure love to hear other's thoughts!
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Previous post:

Ahh, the church has barely begun and we are presented with a scenario that still happens in the church today! 
Simon (the sorcerer) hears Philip as he “preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ…” (8:12).  Luke says that Simon himself believed and was baptized. 
Yet, when Peter came to town, he confronted Simon saying, “May your money perish with you…you have no part in this ministry…repent of this wickedness…For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

What a scene!  Can you imagine a pastor calling out a parishioner like that today?  So when I say this scenario still happens today, I mean the part of Simon.  There are a lot of Simons today; not so many of those playing the role of Peter.

Can someone believe, be baptized and still not have genuine faith?😳 
What are your thoughts on that?  

I am thinking that a person can believe like the demons do, (James 2:19), get baptized for the "ceremony" of it, and still not have a true heart change.  The Hnly Spirit does not come in until there is a heart change..not a heart perfection....but a heart that has changed directions. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Acts 5-6~ Day 47~ Great examples to emulate!

Well I got inspired by the disciples today!!
First they get beaten by the religious leaders yet leave "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name.", then they "continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah." (5:41-42)  Then to top it off, they "devoted (themselves) to prayer and to the ministry of the word." (6:4)

It's inspiring to read, but I have to ask myself....where am I on that inspiring scale?   These were fully devoted followers of Christ!  Am I like that?  Would I endure a beating and rejoice after it?  Would I continue to proclaim the good news if I had been beaten or would I slink away?  Do I devote myself to teaching or proclaiming the good news?

These are great questions to ask myelf to, check where my heart stands in my devotion to Christ.  I like these guys!  I may not be at their level of devotion, but they sure set good examples to emulate!  Lord help me to be like Peter, John and the other disciples.  Help me to be bold in speaking about you and not to fear any repercussions!

What did you get out of the reading today?


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Acts 3-4~ Day 46~ The gathering of the elect is all planned out!

"Heaven must receive him until the time of the restoration all things, which God spoke about through his holy prophets from the beginning." (Acts 3:21)

I found this verse to be confusing and needed some clarification.  I think the words "restoration of all things" is what is confusing. To me, that makes it sound like Jesus isn't coming back until everything is perfect. Other verses speak against that!  In fact they speak to the fact that it's going to get worse before he comes back.  So...what does this mean?

I found that some translators find the words "restoration of all things" can also mean "until the filling or fulfilling of the times of all things". In reading different commentaries, Gill's Exposition helped clarify the verse for me. I thought I would include his words in case you may want further clarification as well! 'Whom heaven must receive,....Hold and retain in his human nature, and which does not at all hinder or confront his mission, and coming to his people, in the mean while , in a spiritual way and manner, to their joy and comfort, "who must receive heaven", the kingdom, and glory, and reign there:
until the times of the restitution of all things: not of all created beings to their original estate, which there is no reason to believe ever will be; or the churches of Christ to purity of doctrine, discipline, and conversation, which is to be hoped for, and will be in the spiritual reign of Christ; but of the accomplishment of all promises and prophesies concerbubg the bringing in the fulness of the Gebtules, and the conversion of the Jews, and so the gathering in all the elect of God: and concerning all the glorious things spoken of the church of Christ in the latter day; which sense is confirmed by what follows: which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began."

I don't know if that helped you, but it helped me!  That also reminds me of these verses,

"The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance." (2Peter 3:9)

AND 

"A partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in" (Romans 11:25)

OK, I'm getting some clarity, now I can read that verse as, Jesus will reign in heaven and then come back when the full number of believers, is achieved, according to what had been prophesied.  Boom! Done!.....And then we know what will happen!!
"At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with power and great glory."  (Mark 13:26)

Woo woo!! 🙌🏻


Friday, June 14, 2019

Acts 1-2~ Day 45~ Thanks Luke!!

I am very thankful for the work Luke put into his two "narratives" (1:1).  In fact, it was his life's work!  Because he wrote about his travels with Paul, we know that this book covers a span of 30 years!  With the very precision of records, i.e. names and travel itineraries, Luke obviously took meticulous notes during the years before he put it together as the narrative for his friend (and possibly sponsor), the honorable Theophilus (Luke 1:3 & Acts 1:1).

I never thought this thought before, but I wonder how Luke felt as he was interviewing all the people that had first hand experiences with Jesus?  Was he thinking, "Shoot, I missed God incarnate by just a couple years!" or, "Maaann, they were  so luuucky to have been with Jesus!!"  (At least, those would be my thoughts!)  I can imagine Luke hanging on every word, scrambling to take notes, as he listened to Mary share her experiences with Jesus as a baby and then a boy.  (Luke must have been a fast writer since there were no keyboards back then!)

So, I bet Luke took a lot of comfort, as do I,  in the words Jesus said to Thomas, "Jesus said, 'Because you have been with me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.' " (John 20:29)
We are blessed because we believe, even though we never got to have that personal experience here on earth with Jesus.  Also, we have something else, we have the Holy Spirit!!  Luke could attest to that personally.  He didn't need to interview others about that!  He had the power of the Holy Sprit himself and he got to see first hand how the Holy Spirit worked in his own life.  I know this to be true because of what Peter says, "Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of you sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (2:38)
That included Luke, and that includes us!!
So, thanks to Luke, who was filled with the Holy Sprite, we get this divine word form God. Luke was   obedient to his life long calling and took the time to write down all he heard and learned.  Good job Luke and thanks!
Acts is going to be a fun read!!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

John 19-21~ Day 44~ Three profound words, "It is Finished".

With three chapters today, we conclude the reading of the four gospels.  Wow, that went fast!

I am reflecting back on the things Jesus said while he was here.  "Jesus said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." (Luke 24:44)
and,
"But do not think I will accuse you before the Father....If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me." (John 5:45-46)

Peter even refers to how Jesus finished what was foretold about him.
"But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that Messiah would suffer." (Acts 3:18)  "Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days." (vs.24)

I have been studying one of the Old Testament prophets, Daniel, (that Jesus and Peter referred to) and I'm reading the words that predict Jesus! So, this sentence in our reading today stood out to me, "It is finished." (19:20)  There is so much to those three little words!!  In fact there is 4000 years of "previews" from the Old Testament included in those 3 little words!  Jesus fulfilled them all!

One pastor worded it well when he was talking about Old Testament Prophesy.  He explained the words of Jesus in Luke 24:44 like this,
"Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, that is to say the Old Testament at that time.  The Scriptures only make sense in light of Jesus Christ, because they testify to him.  Trying to understand the Bible without recognizing that it is pointing to Jesus is like trying to read a map without grid lines or without a North marker.  Jesus is the marker; he’s what the Scriptures are oriented around, all roads lead to him." 
http://aaronsimms.com/everything-written-law-moses-prophets-psalms-must-fulfilled/

Reminding myself of this fact, Daniel has been so much easier for me to read this time! And those three little words of Jesus were profound!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

John 17-18~ Day 43~ He's excited to show off to each one of us!

Yesterday, we read Jesus saying, "I have conquered the world." (16:33b)

Today we read, "Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed." (17:5)

From our reading of the other gospels, we already know that Jesus does take that position of glory after he raises from the dead.   "When the Lord Jesus and spoken to them. He was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. " (Mark 16:19)  Other New Testament authors also speak to the position Jesus takes ~Rom. 8:34, Eph. 1:20-21, Heb. 1:3, 8:1, 12:2 and Pet 3:22, to name a few.

This verse in particular stood out to me today, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world's foundation." (17:24)
I just think that is the cutest thing ever!!  He wants us to see his glory.  I picture him being eager! "Ooh, just wait, just wait, just wait!  It's going to be awesome!!" We didn't get to see it on his first visit to earth, since he came in such a humble way, but we will see his glory and live with it for eternity on his second visit.

I think that Jesus is so eager to show his "true self", so to speak, that he gave glimpses of what that scene looked like when he left this earth and returned to his rightful position.  He gave the glimpse to two men, Daniel and John, whom he knew would do a good job writing it down for all faithful ones to read and get excited for the day.

First, I think he gave a glimpse to Daniel, who was privileged to see the glorious scene in a vision.
Daniel just got finished watching a vision that describes turbulent times leading up to Christ's first advent. Then the Messiah comes, and as we know, is killed, raises from the grave and goes back to his Father.  This is how Daniel describes that glorious scene:
"..and suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven.  He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him.  He was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed." (Dan 7:13-14)

How glorious that scene must have been!  Coming back to his Father on clouds!

Then, the other lucky guy who got to see the same scene wrote it like this:
"After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people,and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb....And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Rev. 7:9)

Another description of that glorious scene with Christ getting the worship he deserves!

So, yeah, God gives a glimpse of Jesus in his rightful position to these two men (Daniel and John), but Jesus wants all of us to see it first hand as well! That's what I think is so cute about that verse (17:24) that tells of the conversation Jesus has with his Father.  It's like he is saying,  "Yeah, Father, they have an idea of who I am because of what others have written,....and that should get them excited,.....but I'm looking forward to the day when they will be seeing my glory first hand!!"

What a personal Savior we have!! So cool!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

John 15-16~ Day 42~ Check to see if you are a poser vine...


This is the view from my back yard.

You are not looking at a vibrant, live tree here.  It's actually a dead redwood tree that has been overgrown with an ivy vine.  The tree it's self is dead, but the owner down the hill can't see that the tree is dead because it looks so green to her.  She's been fooled.

I have looked at that vine growing up the tree for a couple of years now, and have thought,....there's an analogy in that "fake" tree.  Today's reading made me think it was a good time to use the analogy! I know, Jesus uses a lot of analogies to drive his points home, I don't really need to add another one! However, the tree in my backyard is such a good visual!

"Remain in me, and I in you." (15:4)  Jesus is a living tree where the roots provide nutrients for the whole tree. (So, let's make the dead tree in my backyard an alive tree for the sake of my analogy.) 😜

Even though many people come into my back yard and think the tree is fine, at second take they see the reality. The vine is not part of the tree.  It has not been grafted in, sharing the same source for it's food.  It is just a vine hanging on the tree.  It's not part of the tree and never can be.   In the same way, some people can "look" like Christians, but in reality they are just hanging on the tree, posing like they are part of God's family, fooling some of those around them.  They may even be fooling themselves because of their ability to fool others.  Yet, the fact is, they don't get the "nutrients" they need from God.  Paul uses a similar analogy with the tree and the branches in Romans 11.  He clearly states, "You do not support the root, but the root supports you." (11:18)

Jesus's point in our reading today is, we need to get our nutrients and support from the root (Jesus), because without being an indwelling part of the tree, we "can do nothing without him" (15:5).  My analogy points out that some may think they are doing just that, but in reality they are acting like the vine in my backyard.  They are posing, looking pretty good to themselves and others......but.......God knows those who are really a part of the tree.

He wants to be "glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my (His) disciples." (15:8)  You can't just hang on the tree,  you gotta be part of the tree in order to glorify God.