Showing posts from August, 2018

Romans 6-8 ~Death reigns except for the grace of God ~ Day 61

You gotta pay attention to the reading plan.  It sneaks in three chapters in one day every once in awhile.  Today is one of those days. Paul spends quite a bit of time explaining the function of the Law, doesn’t he?!   “Is the law sin?  Certainly not!  Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” (7:7) I have had lots of questions in the past when reading this section.  “What about the Indian in the jungle who never heard about the Law or about Jesus.  What happens to them?” Well, in our reading yesterday, Paul talks about how “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- for before the law was given, sin was in the world.” (5:12) Then, along comes “the Law” given to a “chosen people” through the mediator Moses.  Why?  Today we read why…the Law shows us clearly what sin is.  I really like what one commentary says about this.  “With out the law reproving us, we are in a

Romans 3-5 ~ "Fully Persuaded" ~ Day 60

It’s 3 chapters today! I like Paul’s description of Abrahams belief that was credited to him as “righteous”.   “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (4:20-21) What a great litmus test to check one’s faith in Jesus! Are you fully persuaded? Do you believe that after you made your commitment to Christ, he made you a new creation? (2 Cor. 5:17)  Are you fully persuaded?  Or, do you think, “I will never change.  I am who I am.” Do you believe that you can conquer any temptation Satan throws at you? (Phil. 4:13) Are you fully persuaded?  Or, do you think, “I will never be able to over come this __ (fill in the blank- addiction, anger, etc)__. Fully persuaded followers of Christ are the ones who are credited as being righteous.  Being fully persuaded is having “belief” &/or “faith”. Abraham is the pe

Romans 1-2 ~ God's kindness~ Day 59

“God’s kindness leads you toward repentance” (2:4).  That sentence stood out to me today.   It reminded me of what Paul said in Acts 14:17, “Yet he has not left himself without testimony:  He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their season, he provides you with plenty of food and fills your heart with joy.” Jesus says something similar in Matthew  5:45, “He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” I love that!  Everything we have from nature is a demonstration of the kindness of God.😌   I love how Paul says He “fills your heart with joy”.,,,,,So everything that gives you joy is a kindness given to you by God!   When your babies and they made you laugh with joy when they did something funny, that was God’s kindness to you. ("Children are a gift from God". Psalm 127:3) If you love walking your dog as you watch the clouds roll by, thinking “What a beautiful day!”, that i

Acts 27-28~ A picture of loyalty ~Day 58

I noticed another incredible Christian in our reading today…. Aristarchus!  He sure was a faithful friend to Paul!  Originally he came from Thessalonica, in the province of Macedonia (20:4).  He was one of those guys I mentioned on Day 54, who helped deliver the money to Jerusalem. We also know that the poor guy was “seized” by the people who were rioting in Ephesus (19:29).  What a scary scene that was!  Fortunately, the city clerk was able to quite the crowd after the 2 hour frenzy, so I don’t think Aristarchus and his friend Gaius were beaten.  But still… what a scary 2 hours that must have been! Now, if you recall, Paul has been in jail in Caesarea for 2 years! (24:27)- no thanks to Felix!  Aristarchus may have been one of those faithful friends who provided for Paul’s needs while in jail. I don’t know if he ever returned home to Thessalonica to give a report on the offering to the poor, but we know he was in Jerusalem two years later, getting ready to head to Rome with P

Acts 25-26~ Herod's family tree ~ Day 57

In past readings I took some time to figure out who King Agrippa was, since his name sounded so familiar.  He was one of the “Herod’s” and boy, can you write a soap opera from their family line!!! I went through all this research to follow the line and write it out and then….I discover an outline of the family in my study Bible. 🙄 Apparently other people wanted clarification as well. O-well, I learned more by doing one myself. So, I thought I would share my outline with you in case you don’t have a study Bible.  My little side notes should jog your memory of who the people are from your past reading.  Herod the Great - Governor of Galilee (Not Jewish) Tried to kill baby Jesus (Matt. 2:16) ⬇︎ Herod Antipas (One of Herod’s son, Tetrarch of Galilee) Beheaded John the Baptist (Matt. 14:9) and tried Jesus (Luke 23:8) ⬇︎ King Herod Agrippa I   (Grandson of Herod the Great, nephew of Antipas) Killed James,one of the disciples (Acts 12:2) and imprisoned Peter (A

Acts 23-24 ~ Paul's defense~ Day 56

Paul’s defense stood out to me today.  I liked what he said and it got me to ponder.  “I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect.” (24:14) That was interesting to me because it sounds like Paul doesn’t feel like he is in a sect, it’s just what “they” call a sect.  Rather, to him, Jesus is the fulfillment of the faith he already had in God; a faith he shared with his fellow Jewish brothers. When Paul spoke the next sentence, I can imagine him wanting to follow it up with quoting Jesus! Paul said, “I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.”  (24:15) Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not

Acts 22-22~ How to share the gospel~ Day 55

Well, I have to say, I am a little jealous of Paul being multi-lingual.  He spoke to the commander in Greek (21:37), the crowd in Aramaic (21:38) and he also knew Hebrew!  What a great gift to have when sharing the gospel!   But, if one doesn’t have the gift of “tongues”, does that get you off the hook to witness?….No, rather, for me, it means I better speak up, fearlessly, to those who speak my language. Again, I am amazed at Paul’s fortitude and resolve to share the gospel!  He was just beaten by the crowd, for heaven’s sake!!  I would be cowering in the corner!  I would be hiding behind the commander!  Instead, Paul looks for the opportunity to share his story!! Did you notice that?  All he wanted to do was to share his own story how he came to know Christ. 1.) What he was like before. 2.) How he met Christ. 3.) How his life has changed since Christ. Sharing the gospel doesn’t have to be scary!  It’s just a matter of sharing your story!  God does the rest.

Acts 19-20~ The delivery of the offering ~Day 54

Paul is making his way back to Jerusalem at this point in our reading.  One of his main reasons for going back is to deliver the offerings all the churches made, to be given to the poor Christians in “Judea” (Jerusalem and it’s surrounding areas). Remember a couple of chapters ago Agabus predicted a severe famine that would spread “over the entire Roman world”. “The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea.  This they did by sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.” (11:29) So, Paul goes out and continues this collection.  We read about his reference to it in his letter to the Galatians. “All they asked (the apostles in Jerusalem) was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Gal 2:10) He also tells the Corinthians how to do “the collection for God’s people.” (1 Cor. 16:1-4) I’m thinking about all this because I thought it was interesting to read today of all

Acts 17-18-The hugeness of God, yet so intimate! Day 53

I love these two sentences, “…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27) What an involved God!! He did not make Adam and Eve and then say, “Let’s see how this goes..”…..“Oops, they blew it.  Now I need to think of a plan to save them.” Nope, that’s not how it went! Paul reminds us of this again in Ephesians.  “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (1:4) I love being reminded of the ‘hugeness’ of God; his intimate involvement in everything !  Then, I can take those huge ideas and thoughts and bring them all the way down to my life….my little life here in Southern California in 2018.  He knew from the beginning of time I would be here, now.  He made me, he loves me.   When I think those thoughts then I can relate with the writer o

Acts 15-16 ~Silas~ Day 52

The other day I was commenting on how cool Barnabas was.  Today we read about Silas, who was a pretty cool guy himself!  Silas was a leader among his brothers in Jerusalem (15:22) and he was a prophet (15:32).  No wonder Paul chose him to continue on in his missionary work (15:40).   Therefore, Silas was with Paul when they got to know the Galatians, Philippians, Thessalonians and Corinthians!  Even though Paul was the letter writer and maybe the main speaker, Silas was right by his side doing the same work.  As a result, he too was severely beaten and imprisoned with Paul (16:23). Again, I’m amazed at their joy during their hardest times. “About midnight Paul and Silas we're praying and singing hymns to God, and the the other prisoners were listening to them.’ (16:25).  To be able to sing after a severe beating is remarkable; a true sign of inner peace and joy that one has when the Spirit lives in one’s heart. (Gal. 5:22) Lord, may I be able to demonstrate that same pe

Acts 13-14 ~All Joy~ Day 51

Imagine yourself becoming a missionary.  With your church’s support, you pack up some things, say good-bye to your family and head out.  You are that convinced that the Good News you have needs to be shared with others! You are about 300 miles from home now.  You settle into a town that is showing some interest in what you are saying.  You make some friends, figure out housing and establish a routine of where to buy your groceries, send mail, etc.  In short order, your ministry is experiencing success and “crowds” of people are coming to hear what you have to say. And then….some people start to speak bad about you….You start to lose that crowd that had just started to come.  Interest is fading and false accusations starting.  Only a couple people show up for your Bible studies now.   In fact, your landlord and people at the market are asking you to leave. Personally, I would feel discouraged!!  If I had to pack up and leave, I would be feeling like a complete failure!  I wo

Acts 11-12 ~Who's Barnabas?~ Day 50

Don’t you think Barnabas was a cool guy?!   I grew up going to Sunday school, learning all the classic Bible stories, but they never mentioned Barnabas.  I didn’t hear about him until college when I went on a mission trip that required tent camping.  For the leaders of the trip, which I was one, a motorhome was provided as a place to seek some refreshment and escape from the kids when needed.  They called the motorhome the “Barna-bus” after the early church leader who was known to be encouraging.  The bus was meant to encourage leaders during the week of ‘roughing it’. So who was Barny?  We first learned of him in chapter 4 where it says his name was actually Joseph, but the apostles liked calling him “Son of Encouragement”.  Well, his dad may have been encouraging, but today we read that he was as well!  Today we read that he was sent to Antioch.  There he encouraged the new believers to “remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” (11:23) It would be cool to have th

Acts 9-10 ~Immediate results!~ Day 49

If someone in Cornelius’s house got up to go to the bathroom just after Peter started talking, they may have heard, “God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (10:35) As he is walking to the outhouse, he may think, “Sweet!  God accepts me because I do what is right!” But that guy better hurry up and get back to the house so he can hear, “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him (Jesus) receives forgiveness of sins through the name.” (10:43) There is no “doing” in that sentence. So if someone came in late to the talk and only heard that…they would have missed the “doing” part and think that just belief is all that is needed.   It seems to me, a lot of people “go to the bathroom” or come late to the talk and catch only one part of the gospel message. The gospel message has always been two parts: 1.   Repent (turning from your former ways is a ‘doing’) 2.   Believe Jesus says it in

Acts 7-8 ~Moses~ Day 48

Are you familiar wit the story of Moses from the book of Exodus?  Stephen did a good job of summing it up here in Acts, but I recommend you reading the whole book some time.  There is a lot more detail when you ready it first hand. I noticed a detail between the two stories that I thought was interesting, but it is totally off topic from the point of Stephen’s speech so I’ll mention it in the comment section later if you are interested. In regards to Stephen’s speech, he is defending himself against the accusation that he was “speaking words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.” (6:11)  Moses was highly regarded by the Jewish people, so they may have been hypersensitive to anything negative said about Moses.  Yet, Stephen wasn’t speaking blasphemous words against Moses, he was reminding his accusers of information they already knew…Moses with all his short comings was the first to admit  he wasn’t the redeemer but, “God will send you a prophet like me from your own pe

Acts 5-6 ~What happened?~ Day 47

Ananias and Sapphire always get me to ponder.  They responded to the teaching of Peter and the other disciples.  They were so moved by the good news, they sold property to use the money to share with other believers……so, what happened? Were they never true believers?  Were they like the seed that falls onto rocky soil? They “receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.  They believe for a while, but in time of testing they fall away.” (Luke 8:13) Or Were they Christ followers, like Judas who, “the devil prompted…to betray Jesus.” (John 13:2) Peter was witness to both these situations; “believers” who stopped following Christ.  It’s not surprising to me that Peter would later write, “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.” (1 Pete

Acts 3-4~The Holy Spirit~ Day 46

It stood out to me yesterday that “for all whom the Lord our God will call”, we will receive the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit (2:38).  These first few chapters of Acts get me to wonder exactly how the Holy Spirit lives and works in my life.   Our daily experience with the Holy Spirit is felt when he is our counselor or comforter. for example, Jesus said, “But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. “ (John 14:26)  Different translations use the words “advocate”, “comforter”, or “helper” in place of counselor.  He is our constant companion.  But that constant companion will also “come in power” when needed. When Peter was being questioned by the rulers (4:8), he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” ready to give an answer. Also, when the Christians came together to pray, they had the Holy Spirit individually, yet, “the place where they were meeting was shake

Acts 1-2 ~Gifts~ Day 45

Have you ever heard an evangelist say that God has extended a free gift to everyone, if they would just accept it? Well, in today’s reading I realized it’s two gifts!!  Did you catch that as well? I was getting caught up in reading how the disciples chose someone to take the place of Judas.  I find it real interesting to read how the church got going after Jesus left.  But, I got real excited when one of those verses was directed to me personally (and you as well)!! If anyone can name the two gifts and the verse that was meant for you and me, I will give you a star in the comment section!!!   😃

John 19-21 ~Prophesy fulfilled~ Day 44

3 chapters today! I’m glad the reading wasn’t just ch. 19.  That chapter is so difficult to read! I needed the happy ending of the last two chapters! In 19. I felt like yelling, “Come on, Pilate!  Get a back bone!! If you think Jesus is innocent, do something about it!”  Ugg!!  It’s remarkable to me how many prophecies, John pointed out, were fulfilled in these last moments….even down to the dividing the garments! Many of those prophesies are found in Psalms. David is thought to be the author of Psalm 22.  If you have the time today, take a moment to read the whole Psalm that was written 1000 years before Jesus was on the cross.  Remarkable!!!

John 17-18 ~Finding truth~ Day 43

I have a friend who is not a Christian.  When confronted with the sin in her life she responded, “Well, yea, I know I need to go on a spiritual journey to figure all that out.”  When I heard that, my eyes rolled to the back of my head!  Like the girl who wrote “Eat, Pray, Love”, one can travel the globe on their ‘spiritual journey’ and never once touch on truth.   When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, he meant it! (John 14:6) If one truly wants to find truth, they must start with the one who claims to be the truth. Pilate asked, “What is truth? (18:38).   He just got finished hearing Jesus say, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (18:37)  Yet, sadly, it’s as if he responded like my friend, “Yea, I need to go on a spiritual journey to find out what that means, but I’m just not ready to do that yet.”  If people would start with Jesus when searching for truth, they could avoid a lot of dead ends!  Jesus promises, when one wants to know truth, the

John 15-16 ~ How to void guilt and bullying ~ Day 42

I have two “hobbies” that occupy my time when I am not busy with being a housewife and mom.  Both involve teaching.  One deals with the abortion industry and the other deals with sex-ed for young people.  Obviously in both areas I teach from a conservative, Christian point of view. While educating myself in these areas I have learned how the “other side” thinks and what they teach.  I can actually see and understand their altruistic concern for others.  For example, if abortion can be legal, promoted as a perfectly acceptable form of family planning, educating people that it is not a moral issue, then, women should have no guilt.  Wouldn’t that be nice to live in a world where there was no guilt for that particular action?  If no guilt, than the depression rates, suicide rates, divorce rates would drop, right?  That sounds nice….in theory.   In the same way, those who want to eliminate “bullying” against all forms of alternative expressions of sexuality feel that if children are

John 13-14 ~I can't wait!~ Day 41

I‘m amazed at how music can stay deep in the recess of your mind and then pop out years later to your mouth, when something is read, heard or smelled! It happened to me today when I read, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (14:3) I thought, “I can’t wait to get to heaven”  and then I broke out in song!!   Here it is if you want to hear it!   😃 (Skip the ad)  

John 11-12 ~The prince driven out.~ Day 40

“Now is the time for judgement on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.  But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (12:31-32) I am intrigued by the words, “now the prince of this world will be driven out.”  To me, that sounds like Satan had been driven out at the time of Jesus’ victory with the cross 2000+ years ago.  So…why is Satan alive and well today? Well..maybe the answer rests in the words. “now” and “will be”.  One commentary says, “It does not mean that his (Satan’s) reign over all men would entirely cease then, but that then would be the crisis, the grand conflict in which he would be vanquished, and from that time his kingdom would begin to decline, until it would finally cease, and then be free altogether from his domain. (Barnes) Another commentary says, “The whole future is present to the mind of Christ, and in the confidence of victory He uses the emphatic “now” of both the judgement of the world and the