Monday, April 30, 2018

Day 118~ Romans 15-16- Gotta read the OT!

Have you ever heard a Christian say that the Old Testament (OT) doesn’t apply now?  I can see how one would say that when we read, we are free to eat pork (Acts 10:15) and we don’t need to circumcise our baby boys anymore (Gal 5:2).

However, Paul said something very interesting in today’s reading. “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (15:4)
What was written in the “former days” includes the whole OT……Isn’t that interesting?  Paul isn’t discounting the OT as not being relevant anymore.  In fact, to me, it sounds like he is saying, keep reading it!! By reading the OT we receive endurance, encouragement and hope!
I love that!  And, I have found that to be true!

I have read about Joseph being in jail for at least 2 years (and he was innocent of the charge) before he got a chance to interpret the king’s dream and get out (Gen. 41).  Well, that teaches me to have endurance when I am going through something that I think is unfair! 
I read about David praying for his baby boy not to die. The baby died anyway, yet he gets up and worships God (2 Sam. 2:16).  That is encouraging to me to see David’s response and remember it, even when things don’t end the way I want.  
And I am filled with hope when I read Job 19:25-26 when he says, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”

So, yeah, I agree with Paul, I will keep reading both the Old and New Testament and know that God will give me endurance, encouragement and hope because of it.  

Doesn’t everybody want that?!?!  Well,….you know what you need to do to get it!!



Sunday, April 29, 2018

Day 117~ Rom. 13-14~ No provision

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify it’s desites.” (13:14)
The ESV made this verse stand out to me today!   “Make no provision”.....

I’m used to reading, “Rather, cloth yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”  (NIV)

“Make no provisions” sounds stronger than “do not think about”.  That may just be how it hit me, though.

My foot note says the metaphor of putting on clothing implies not just imitating Christ’s character but also living in close personal fellowship with him. So, when I read, ‘make no provisions’......I think, don’t do anything that keeps you from being in close proximity to Jesus.

What does that mean practically for me? .....I need to practice what I preach to my kids!
“If Jesus was sitting right next to you, would you be comfortable with him watching you? Would you be comfortable with him reading over your shoulder? Would you be comfortable with him sitting next to you on the couch as you watch the show you are watching?”
Man! Even though those things gratify my flesh they keep me from being in close proximity to Jesus because I literally want to say to him, “Why don’t you go into he other room for I bit. I will meet you there later.”

Paul uses a good analogy when he says you “put on” Jesus. Like clothes, you gotta keep them on or else you will be naked, cold or get sun burned!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Day 116~ Romans 11-12


Chapter 11 is really quite remarkable in how it explains what is meant in 8:29 that God “foreknew” his plan for salvation for all races, from the beginning!  
He started with the chosen people (Jews), God used their hardened hearts to open salvation to the Gentiles, AKA, all other races (11:11) and then out of jealousy for God’s mercy (vs 32), some Jews will come back to be “grafted” into the family again. (11:24).  All the while, this foreknown and predestined plan was for those who stand fast through faith (11:20). Salvation is for them (Romans 4:12). 🙌🏻 woo, woo!🙌🏻

On a different note, the ESV version of 12:10-13 is worded a little different than the NIV version I have as the theme verse of this blog.
I have been dealing with a lot of fate lately, so reading, “do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in Spirit, serve the Lord.” (12:11) almost made me laugh out loud because I have been feeling like one!


“do not be slothful…” OK, Lord, help me with that!!!




Friday, April 27, 2018

Day 115~ Romans 9-10 ~ God's sovereignty/man's responsibility

From now to the end of our reading in June, we will be going back to reading two chapters a day.  That’s good for getting better context of the authors thoughts!
I am super glad we started the two chapters/day, today!!  It would be really hard to understand ch. 9 if we didn’t keep reading through ch.10! 

Chapter 9 is such a good chapter to remind  ALL people that God doesn’t owe anyone salvation.  Remember in 3: 23, Paul wrote, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  Yet, by his grace (a gift, 3:24) salvation is given to those who have faith in Jesus (3:26).  It is to those people (the ones with faith) he choses to have mercy (9:15-16).  He hardens those who have turned away from him (Rom. 1:24).


These chapters, read together, show that God’s sovereignty (ch 9) and human responsibility (ch 10) are not mutually exclusive.  I like how my commentary put it, they are “compatable”.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Day 114~ Romans 8~ you are saved, provided that...

Reading the ESV version made this verse stand out like it never has before!  “The spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (8:16-17)

“…provided we suffer with him….”  😳  The NIV says, “if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  They both say the same thing, but the NIV sounds a little softer…..the ESV sounds like a condition of our salvation, doesn’t it?…..

But when I think about it….other verses have a very similar sentiment.
John 12:24-26, Matt. 16:24-25, 2 Tim. 2:12, all speak of radical commitment; dying to yourself to live with Him.
  
I think I have always read 8:16-17 more as a “heads up” rather than a condition.  Like 2 Timothy that gives a heads up, “All those who seek to live a righteous life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  I guess it is both a heads up and a description of a true believer.  If you are not willing to suffer….than maybe you aren’t truly following the Lord.  

The cool thing that Paul does after giving the ‘heads up’ or ‘a description of a true believer’, he also gives a ton of encouragement.  We don’t suffer alone, nor could we endure it alone.  We have a divine helper!!!  “The Spirit helps is in our weakness” (vs. 26) and “the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (vs 27).
“And we know that for those who love God all things (even the suffering we endure for the Lord) work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (vs. 28)

And lastly, we need to remember, “..we are more than conquerors!” (vs 37)


Yea!!  So when we read, “provided we suffer with him..”, we don’t need to stress out about that!  We got this! 


Black out at my home!

So, they are doing major rewirering in our neighborhood causing us to be without electricity for over 9 hours! My thoughts on today’s readings are on my inaccessible computer. I just thought I would let you know. Enjoy your reading today! Let me know your thoughts! I will be posting again later today but you won’t be getting an email stating f I did so. ........but I’m SURE you will want to check back and see what I said! 😉
Have a great day! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Day 113~ Romans 7~ two ways to view "I"

Chapter 7 is just as heavy as chapter 6!  Paul is going deep here, you gotta pay attention!  
Where to begin….well, I’m just going to go for the heavy verses 7-25!  I find I hold a different opinion than many others when it comes to these verses.  This time through, I found a great commentary that explains the difference between the two main interpretations of this section of Paul’s letter.
It turns out, the reason there are two ways to look at this portion of scripture is because there are two different ways to interpret the word, “I”.
1.) “I” is the unregenerate person who is trying to keep the law.
2.)  “I” is a believer who, despite being regenerated, find themselves still beset by sinful desires.

#2 is the widely held popular view.  (Leave it to me to go with the less popular held view. Hahaha)
Having read these verses in context of chapters 5-8, it seems very clear to me that Paul is using the “I” as an unregenerate person.

First, in verse 1, Paul clarifies who his intended audience is that he is addressing,“-for I am speaking to those who know the law-“ (7:1) Remember this letter is addressed to both Jews and Gentile converts in Rome.  Picture a Jewish hearer of this letter who is trying to figure out what role Jesus plays in his long held belief that the law is everything. 
I remember reading Paul’s description of himself prior to his conversion, “a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.” (Phil 3:6)  I bet he could relate to David who wrote in Psalm 119:97, “Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long.”


So, when Paul writes “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war…” (Romans 7:22), he is laying out how the unregenerate man, who may love the law, is incapable of keeping it ~ that makes him a wretched man! (vs. 24)  However, a regenerated man has the Holy Spirit (he talks more of that in the next chapter).  With the help of the Holy Spirit, man can have a new life, even in the “mortal body” (8:11).  This chapter is filled with descriptions of a person held captive in their sin (unregenerated).  Reading in context is key!!! Chapter 8 will be talking of the freedom the regenerated man receives.  Yea!! Can’t wait to read that!!!!  I love a happy ending!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Day 112~ Romans 6~ Litmus test

This chapter is very matter-of-fact!  I think it can stumble some ‘Christians’ who say, “I still sin.  I’m not perfect.  The only difference between me and a non Christian is that I’m forgiven.”
😳
Paul would look at that person and say, “What are you talking about?! “  “Were you baptized into Christ’s death and raised into new life?  How can you die to sin and still live in it?” (vs 2-3)


This chapter is a good litmus test to check the sincerity of your faith, don’t you think?  A good question to ask yourself is, “To whom am I obedient?”  (vs.16)🤔

Monday, April 23, 2018

Day 111~ Romans 5~ the free gift

Again, reading one chapter a day can make it hard to remember things Paul wrote earlier in the letter.  For example, today we read, “- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.” (verse13)

That can be confusing to read!  But, remember, Paul is not saying that people weren’t guilty of sin before the law.  Three days ago we read, “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law… For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves…they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts….” (vs.13-15)

Nobody is spared judgement.  Jews with the law, Gentiles without the law…all will be judged.

Paul lays out the need that every single person has, then he presents the “free gift” we have in Jesus. (5:15-16)
I like how Paul shows how thankful he is for what Christ has done.  He knows how awful that judgement day will be for one who doesn’t have Christ.  
His thankfulness teaches me as well.  
“..we rejoice in God through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (5:11)  We rejoice because we have been spared that judgement!  Yea!!!!😃
Now,

“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (5:1)  Ahhhh…..😌🙌🙌🙌🏻

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Day 110 ~ Romans 4~ Got faith?

I love how Paul used the story of Abraham to illustrate what having faith is all about.  I particularly liked verse 21. “No unbelief made him (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised.” 

Did you notice it said, he grew strong, as he gave glory to God?  It doesn’t say he gave glory to God because he was so strong in his faith.  It is quite opposite, in fact!  His faith grew as he gave glory!


So, applying deductive reasoning….do you want more faith?  Start by giving glory to God, the one who “gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” (4:17)…..your faith will grow as you give him glory…

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Day 109~ Romans ~ antinomianism...what?...

Paul must have heard every argument under the sun from Jewish Christians or Pharisees seeking to understand this new teaching, as he went from synagogue to synagogue preaching the Good News.  So, in chapter 3 we get to see how he presents a way of thinking and debunks it, probably because he has heard this way of thinking before.
Jews had been raised knowing that God’s law is Holy.  Paul, teaching a new way of thinking is saying, nothing you do can make you holy- only faith in Jesus can do that (3:22).  So, it is understandable that the Jews, trying to process this, would deduce…then we don’t need to do anything the law tell us!

I learned a new word today.  The above way of thinking is called antinomianism.🤓  It means, one who rejects a socially established morality.  For Christians, it is one who holds the view that the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation. (That sounds familiar, I’ve actually heard Christians use this way of thinking.) 
Paul, however, absolutely debunks this notion right away!!!!  He knows his fellow Jews would “go there” in their thinking, so before they can even have a second thought on the matter he says, oh no, my friends, “we uphold the law”. (vs 31).  
Since we read only one chapter a day, we don’t get Paul’s full explanation, so I’ll give you a little preview…later in chapter 6 he expands on the idea by explaining that obedience to the law comes from the heart since, as Christians, we are now “slaves to righteousness.” (16:17-18)


This is good stuff!!  I can’t wait to keep reading this letter!!!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Day 108~ Ramans 2~ gotta read in context!

Reading one chapter a day has been nice, but it sure can break up a thought an author is trying to convey.  That is definitely the case with today’s reading!  You can’t read chapter 2 alone and get the gist of what Paul is trying to communicate about the law, Jews, gentiles and righteous judgement.

Personally, I feel this letter needs to be read in one sitting in order to get the full scope of the theology Paul is laying out. 
Case in point, when you read 2:6, “He will render to each one according to his works…”, it sounds like you can get rewarded for good works, right?….
ah,ah,ah,….you gotta keep reading….In the next chapter Paul will talk about the righteousness we get through faith in Jesus Christ (3:22).
Then…”what becomes of our boasting?” (It certainly isn’t in anything good we have done) “It is excluded.” (3:27)


So, I just thought I would warn you to be careful when reading one chapter at a time….sometimes you just gotta keep reading! 🤓

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Day 107~ Romans 1~ obedience of faith~

We just read in the last chapter of Acts, that when Paul arrived in Rome, “the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.” (28:15)
I can just imagine that meeting!  “Hey Paul!!  It’s so great to finally meet you in person!!  We got the letter you sent.  It helped us so much!”

Well, we are now starting the letter that these believers probably received through Phoebe (Rom. 16:1) on her return trip from Corinth (where it is thought Paul wrote the letter and gave to her to deliver). 

Look how God answered Paul’s prayer!!  Today we read Paul expressing his longing to see the Romans, “that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Rom. 1:12)…..When we read Acts, we got to see how that turned out!  He did get to see them and he was encouraged! (Acts 28:15)  That’s pretty cool!

So, now to look to see what those Romans (Gentile and Jewish Christians) got to read….

Paul does quite the lengthy intro!!  And leave it to me, I get stalled on one of the first things he says.  He is introducing himself and also describing believers as a whole….“Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,” (1: 5-6)

“Obedience of Faith”…….what does that mean?…🤔

I like what my foot note said, “Obedience is required, but it is an obedience that flows from saving faith and is always connected to ongoing faith.”
Yet, that gets me to ponder….because I always tend to apply deductive reasoning to statements….would that mean, if you don’t have an obedience that flows from faith,……..do you have a saving faith?  Hmmmmmm……



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Day 106~ Acts 28~ all expense paid trip

At first, I thought it was kind’a odd that Luke focused so much on the itinerary of the trip.  For example, he briefly mentions the healings that took place on Malta (28:9) and that they stayed there 3 months, but then quickly goes back to describe the rest of the journey that took Paul to Rome.
I would have wanted more details of the 3 months…Wouldn’t it be great to hear how Paul converted them to Christianity?  How did he share the gospel?  How did they respond? Were they excited to hear about Jesus?  Were they sad to see Paul go?….Luke!!  Why didn’t you give us some details filled with emotion?

One thing we do know…the people of Malta liked Paul and his companions so much, they provided for all their needs for the rest of their journey (v.10).  Isn’t that just like God?!  He provides for our needs in perfect ways!  How else would Paul and his friends have been able to eat?  They say that travelers on ancient ships had to provide their own meals.  Well, Luke tells how God orchestrated that!

Luke’s purpose in writing this part of Acts is not so much to share what happened in the life of other people.  Luke is showing how the journey for Paul to Rome had been divinely orchestrated down to the tiniest details.  God wanted Paul in Rome for a reason!  God was in charge and his will prevailed!
I love how the book ends with Paul, “..proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hinderance.” (v 31) 
That is so cool!! 

God was so cleaver on how he got Paul to Rome on an “all expense paid trip” to accomplish his purpose!  This is a great example to remind me how God operates.  When I am in a storm, I gotta remember that he is using that storm to get me from point A to point B in my life.  I gotta remember to look for the silver lining…the all expense paid trip! 😉

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Day 105~ Acts 27

Luke gets super detailed describing their journey to Rome!  He uses names of islands, directions they use to pass those islands, and how the winds blew. He describes with precision what days they tossed gear overboard and how conversations went.  

I’ve been on a fair amount of trips and I know a little about journaling those trips.  Speaking from experience, it’s hard to remember details after a trip, even if you try to write just days after arriving home.  For that reason, I believe Luke was taking notes everyday of the journey.  His use of detail helps solidify, for me, the fact that the book of Acts is filled with accounts of real events happening to real people.  In the case of this chapter, 276 men were experiencing this real event!

Can you imagine the opportunity Paul, Luke and Aristarchus (vs 2) had to share the gospel with these frightened men?  For 14 days the group hadn’t eaten and were stressed out!  I’m sure Paul wouldn’t have passes up an opportunity to talk about Jesus!  I love how Paul’s calmness in thanking God and eating, encouraged the others to do the same.  

I pray that if I am ever in a situation where everyone around me is stressed, I can have, and show, the peace that comes from knowing I am in God’s hands.  After all, it would look a little strange if one who is supposed to trust in God, looked as stressed as the others, right?….wait a minute…shouldn’t I be like that everyday…on every issue….not just those times of severe storms?…….hummmm, something to think about…..

Monday, April 16, 2018

Day 104~ Acts 26

Here is something that stuck out to me today, but could easily be over looked if just focusing on Paul’s conversion story as a whole.  I paused in my reading to think about those early believers Paul mentioned when he was sharing his testimony.

Did it make you sad, as it did me, when you read what Paul did to those early believers?  “I not only locked up the saints in prison…but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them.  And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme…” (26:9-11) 😔
Remember reading back in Acts ch. 2, “and they were added that day 3000 souls….and all who believed were together….and day after day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.”  🤗
Those glory days only lasted a year or two!!😳
These are estimate dates, but it is believed that Jesus died around 33 AD, Stephan was martyred for his faith around 34 AD and Pauls’ conversion happened around 34-36 AD.  
So the new Christians were happy for about a year….and then needed to flee for their lives!  That is crazy commitment!…An attribute that is kind’a lost on us these days. 

Would Christians today in the US stick to their beliefs if persecution picked up after a short period of time in their “glory days” of new belief?  

Following Jesus requires crazy commitment……these early believers were great examples for us ~ crazy commitment is required almost immediately!!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Day 103~ Acts 25

Well, there isn’t a whole lot to comment about in this chapter, except I’m glad Paul appealed to Caesar!

Jesus told his followers to “settle matters between themselves before getting to the judge” (Matt. 5:25).  1 Peter 2:13, Hebrews 13:17 and Titus all talk about submitting to every human institution.  Our goal would be respecting authority and praying for those leaders “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all goodness and dignity.” (1 Tim 2:1-3).

However, Paul’s example shows us, we don’t have to “roll over” and just go along with what the authority suggests.  We can “appeal”!!

I work in a Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC).  All PRC’s in California were targeted by an unjust law.  A law firm representing all PRC’s “appealed to Caesar”, so to speak.  This law is now at the United States Supreme Court level waiting for it’s final decision. (We should hear the judges answers sometime in June.)


I am so thankful for Paul’s courage and example that we can still respect authority yet appeal when we feel we are not being treated with the same respect.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Day 102~ Acts 24


"He reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgement.” (24:25)

Paul narrowed down the gospel to three easy points for Felix.  We get to hear about these points more in depth later in letters written to believers, but here are some of those highlights that can be used here to expand Paul’s thoughts on these points. 

1. Righteousness- “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God himself.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

2. Self-control - “But the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7) 
Also, Romans chs.5-8-ooh baby, that’s a good read on how a person that is a slave to righteousness is no longer a slave to their old self!   Don’t think for a minute Paul is saying “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (7:18) as if he is talking of his present state (slave to righteousness), he is talking of himself as if he was still a slave to the law.

3. Coming Judgement- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Cor. 5:10-21)

So, bottom line for Felix and talking points for us if we are to share the gospel:
Jesus makes you righteous, the Holy Spirit gives you self-control and you escape judgement because of God’s plan in using those two other aspects of himself.

Well, that's pretty simple! I should learn from the pro and use his outline!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Day 101~ Acts 23

40 men took an oath to not eat or drink until they killed Paul (vs 14)!!  (Did they die of starvation or break their oath?  Haha~ I highly doubt they starved to death!!) 
The tribune ordered 200 soldiers, with 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen.  That’s 470 people to protect Paul from 40?!  So, we are talking, more than 500 people were involved in Paul’s situation!!!
That’s almost comical if you think about it!  I am sure each soldier asked the other, “So, what are we doing tonight?,  Who is this Paul guy and why does he deserve such protection?”…..“He is a guy who says that he has hope in the resurrection of a guy named Jesus.”……“Oh, I’ve heard that name before!”


So, 500 people in one evening learn about Jesus.  Today’s event coordinators wouldn’t be able to pull off a revival meeting as easy, that’s for sure!  God is so cleaver!! (And down right funny!)  I bet he had a smile on his face, anticipating what he had planned when he said to Paul, “Take courage for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (23:11)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Day 💯 ~ Acts 22

You know....it just doesn’t matter how “right” you live. People who don’t have Jesus in their hearts will condemn you no matter what! 
Yesterday, it was pointed out that Paul was still living as a devout man according to the law. He was paying for his and his friends vows in the temple (vs 24) and he purified himself (vs 26). Yet, He was victim to people’s assumptions that he was not living according to the law.
Poor guy.... I bet he was experiencing a gamete of emotions! 
But, at least His experience and how he dealt with it, helps us! 

In today’s culture we may be accused of untruths as well. It’s great that we have Paul’s example. He just stuck with his testimony of how he met Jesus and how that changed his life. That’s all he needed to say and that’s all we need to say as well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Day 99- Acts 21


I think what Paul did here in chapter 21 is super interesting! 

Remember back in chapter 15, he and Barnabas were part of the discussion with the elders in Jerusalem, not to have Gentiles go through circumcision? Yet, in in the very next chapter (16), he circumcised Timothy “because of the Jews“. Now in this chapter (21) he purifies himself along with the four others who had taken a vow, so that “you (Paul) yourself also live in observance of the law.“ (vs. 24) 
(Remember 18:18, when he too cut his hair for a vow?) 
Isn’t that interesting? 

I like what one commentary said, “Paul showed that he did not object to Jewish converts following Old Testtament customs voluntarily, so long as these same customs were not required of Gentile believers.” 
It also pointed out that Paul was demonstrating what he said in 1 Cor. 9:22, he was willing to become “all things to all people” for the sake of furthering the kingdom.”



Do you find this as interesting as I do? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Day 98~ Acts 20

“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (20:26)
That’s a radical statement if I look at it as if it applies to me!

Paul felt very responsible to declare God’s truth!  Remember he said something similar in chapter 18, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent,” (vs 6)  
My footnote says, “No part of these Jew’s failure to believe could be attributed to his failure to tell them about Christ.”

Does Paul mean that if he didn’t proclaim God’s word he would be guilty?  Where did Paul get this idea? …Well, considering Paul was well trained as a Pharisee, he would be well acquainted with Ezekiel 33:1-7.  I took a moment to read that.  It makes sense now why he felt so responsible.  God put the responsibility on the “watchman” to sound the alarm if an invasion was coming.  If the watchman failed to alert the people, he would be guilty of their death.  If the people heard the warning but failed to respond, they would be guilty.  Paul applied this to himself.  He was the watchman sounding the alarm of future judgement; he did his duty.  If his listeners failed to heed his warning, the guilt rests on them.

So, how does this apply to me?  Am I now a watchman?   Am I charged with the duty of warning people of the coming judgement?   Are all Christians in the roll of being a watchman?  If so, am I, like Paul, able to declare, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (vs. 27)?

🤔Good questions to ponder…..don’t ya think? 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Day 97~ Acts 19

For over 2 years, Paul taught in Ephesus.  God did lots of miracles through him, many believers got rid of their expensive scrolls that taught sorcery, and the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail. (vs. 20)  I am sure Paul was feeling pretty good about how things were going.  In fact, he felt like his work was done there in Ephesus and planned to move on to other towns.

So, just when things seem like they are going really well,….bam…Paul goes through a major trail!  The violent opposition he experienced would leave even the strongest Christian shaken!! Paul was no exception.  Although Luke doesn’t touch on the emotions of Paul, Paul spoke about them in his letter to the Corinthians.  He was afraid for his life!! 

I love what I can learn from Paul, and apply, when I feel attacked. 2 things:

1.) In his successful ministry, he could have been feeling pretty confident…maybe even invincible!  God allowed Paul to experience this fearful time to remind him of something crucial in the life of a Christian…..“But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead…On him we have set our hope.” (2 Cor. 1:9-10).  Even Paul needed a reminder that his strength comes from the Lord.  There are no invincible, Christian superheroes.  Christ is THE superhero and him alone!


2.) Paul was confident in his plan.  Even though it seems like he is leaving Ephesus on a bad note, he felt directed to continue on in what he felt the Lord would have him do.  “Paul resolved in his Spirit” (vs 21) is also translated, “purposed in the Spirit”.  This translation implies that Paul made plans with the influence of the Holy Spirit.  So, trusting that the Holy Spirit is moving him forward, he was not resting on his own understanding.  He didn’t fall victim to feeling that the spiritual health of the entire city of Ephesus rested on him, therefore he should stay and keep working there.  Instead, the Holy Spirit’s work would continue there in Ephesus and Paul was to obey the Holy Spirit and move on.  What a great thing to realize that converting people to Christ is not man’s job, but the Holy Spirits job! So, no matter what is happening around me, I can feel peace knowing the Holy Spirit will do his work, I just need to be obedient to the role he would have me play.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Day 96~ Acts 18

I love how Luke slid in the story of Apollos. I think I can get caught thinking that Paul is a  superhuman, gifted by God to do powerful things and there has been no one like him since! But, Luke shows us – no… God can use anyone! He will use people in mighty ways even if they didn’t have a “Damascus experience“ (ch. 9). That is why I think the story of the Apollos is cool.  His testimony?…”He had been instructed in the way of the Lord.” (Vs. 25)
That’s my testimony- no Damascus, just have been instructed and believed! 
So, I can be like Apollos!!
“And being fervent in spirit he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus…(vs. 25)
I love how he was open to being taught by “older Christians“ and then after he headed out, over to Achaea (modern day Greece) to “help those who through grace had believed.” (18:37)


Boy!..All this talk of Paul, Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos moving around, encouraging believers… It makes me want to go on a mission trip! 😄

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Day 95~ Acts 17

Did you catch the point Paul made in his speech, as to why people must repent? “Because he (God) has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed…“ (vs. 31). It was for this reason  that Paul was provoked in his spirit to reason with people everyday. (vs. 17)

I see a city everyday filled with idols.  Does it provoke me in my spirit to “preach Jesus and the resurrection, like it did Paul? (Vs. 18)....... ummm,....I think I have gotten desensitized.... my spirit isn’t provoked. 😬

🙏🏻 God please move your spirit in me so that I can see the need and respond to it to save people from the judgement that awaits them! Help me open my mouth and reason with them! 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Day 94~ Acts 16

Wouldn’t you love to be known as a “Servant of the Most High God.” (16:17), by everyone- including demons? I would love that label!!
Did you notice how, even though Paul and Silas were Christians, a demon still bothered them? (vs 18)  Being a Christian doesn’t except you from demonic activity.  They are still around, bothering.
Learn from Paul on how to get rid of one bothering you!  “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ ….” (vs 18)___________, (fill in the blank) i.e. “to get away from me!.”

We have the same authority over demons as Paul had, because we too are servants of the Most High God. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Day 93~ Acts 15

Well, one thing can be said after today’s reading…conflict in the church is nothing new!
It takes prayer and the Holy Spirit to work it out to the glory of God! 

I was intrigued at how the first conflict (about how some were teaching circumcision) was discussed, considered and resolved. I can totally see why the circumcision issue was a big deal! That was THE sign that set God’s people apart from other cultures (that, along with the law).  Christians are still set apart from others…..
Now, these Jewish Christians needed to hear from God on how to work that out. I like how the apostles and elders were quoted by Luke saying, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:….” (15:28).
They reached this conclusion by,
1 By bringing the apostles and elders together (v.6)
2 They listened to testimony (v.12)
3 They looked at scripture (v. 18)
What a great model for us to use when making big decisions in our churches!

The second conflict may not have been resolved using the same method, but God was glorified non-the-less. Both Paul and Barney’s ultimate objective was the same, both wanted to proclaim God’s word.
Maybe God wanted to separate these two strong leaders in order to train their respective apprentice in ways that suited their personalities.
Whatever the reason, God used this disagreement to get a “doubling of their labor”, as my footnote put it. Both teams went out and proclaimed the good news!

So…in a way…after looking at these two examples……conflict can be good…..as long as one looks to see how God is involved in it and what he wants to do with it. Conflict can bring about positive change.  
What do you think?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Day 92~ Acts 14

 Antioch, Lystra and Derbe  Antioch, Lystra and Derbe were all in Galatia (modern day, southern Turkey). Barney and Paul hit each of these towns and then doubled back a second time to each town.
They shook the dust off their feet when they left Antioch the first time, they escaped stoning by fleeing from Iconic, Paul did get stoned in Lystra, yet they made a lot of disciples in Derbe.....Whew!...
At this point, I would be asking if it was worth my effort! Apparently, Barney and Paul felt it was absolutely worth it! I love how Luke adds (at a point I would be feeling frustration), “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (13:52)
These two didn’t care if they were building “mega churches”. They were only concerned with doing what God called them to do, proclaim the Word of God (13:2-5). And the Holy Spirit was giving them the strength to carry on. I love how they went back to the towns where they had been rejected (by some but not others), “straightening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (14:22)
This was the trip that Paul first got to know everybody he directed his Galatian letter. I have to admit, I had to jump ahead to that letter to refresh my memory as to what Paul wrote to them about. Ugg! Not only did they have to deal with tribulations, such as being persecuted for their faith, they also had to watch out for false teachers! It sounds a lot like what we have to deal with today!! Things just don’t seem to change do they? May the Holy Spirit strengthen us to carry on and encourage others to do the same!



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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Day 91~ Acts 13~ Don't forget to get a new reading schedule!

Here’s a little bit more about my buddy Barny (Barnabas, AKA Joseph).  Do you remember he was a Levite from Cyprus? (4:36)
Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea.  I calculated how big it is…it’s a little smaller than the big island of Hawaii.  It’s a dry island with mild winter temperatures and warm to hot summer temperatures.

We read today that the leaders of the church of Antioch sent Barney and Paul to be missionaries……and where did they go first?….Back to Barney’s native country!   Maybe he wanted to head there first to get some supplies from his family for their trip, who knows?  I just thought that was interesting.  Especially since their trip was a lot longer than I first imagined.

I lose perspective when I read about the trips that these guys did.  I have a travel mentality that I can get anywhere in a day or two with the use of a car or plane, but these guys walked!!  To walk the width of the island of Crete would be like walking from San Clemente to down town San Diego! That’s a long walk!!!  
When Luke (the writer of Acts) writes, “Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia.” (13:13)  He doesn’t mention that Perga is 8 miles inland, so they had about a 2 hour walk from the shore to town.


The trip that these two missionaries embarked on has been speculated to have lasted 1 & 1/2 years!  No wonder!  It took awhile to get to each place!  I just don’t think about that when I read about their whole trip in just 2 chapters (13-14).  The next thing I know they are home again reporting back to the church that sent them out. (14:27)

Monday, April 2, 2018

Day 90~ Acts 11 & 12 ~Print out new schedule for tomorrow!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter with your family, celebrating that Christ rose again!! I can’t wait for his second coming!!

I have made some changes to the reading schedule, so please print out a new copy under the Spiritual Fervor Tab.  We are half way through the 6 month reading plan!!! Woo Woo!!

Barnabas stood out to me today in the reading.  I loved reading “…he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.” (11:23) 
Christians way back then needed to be exhorted to remain faithful.  I believe Christians today need the same thing!  
The pastor at our church nailed it yesterday!  He was like Barnabas; encouraging those with a faith and challenging others to get their lives right with God.  

The name Barnabas means to encourage and to comfort.  What a great name!  I want to be a Barnabas!! I Googled him, to learn more about him.  Legend has it that he too, like the apostles, was martyred for his faith.  Isn’t that strange?  One who was known to be encouraging and a comfort for those in the faith, was killed for that faith.  That’s radical~

Yup, I want to be like him…..