Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ephesians 3-4~ Day 81~ Jesus himself teaches us!

“But that is not how you came to know Christ, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.”  (4:20-24)

That is the longest sentence ever!! But it’s a good one!  I particularly liked, “you heard about him and were taught by him..” Some translations say “taught in him” instead of “ taught by him”.  I liked the version “taught by him”.  What better teacher is there than Jesus himself? We are being taught by Jesus as we take off our old selves and put on the new!  We aren’t just taught to live right by our pastors, youth workers, or other wiser,older Christians. And we aren’t taught he angels.  We have the best teacher of all~Jesus!!
I think that’s pretty cool!!!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Ephesians 1-2~ Day 80~Christians are the holy dwelling of Jesus!

I love Paul's figurative language as he describes Christians growing "into a holy temple in the Lord." (2:21)
He describes this building (Christians) as being "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone." (2:20)

That language sounded so familiar to me! I remember reading something very similar in Revelation.  John, the author of that book saw "the bride, the wife of the Lamb" (Rev. 21:9), coming down from heaven like, "the holy city, Jerusalem" (vs 10).  The city had 12 gates that were named after the 12 tribes of Israel and the city wall had 12 foundations named after the 12 apostles (21:14).

The word pictures are extremely similar, don't you think?  To me, that is proof that Paul's writing and John's writings are inspired, holy writings!  God gave them the words to describe his bride!

The church, being all Christians, is now the Holy Temple, the bride, the New Jerusalem.  The building of this Holy Bride first began with Abraham's "faith".  That faith was passed on to some of his children, down to the one's who became prophets (who came from the 12 tribes of Israel).  In addition, faith in Jesus grew as a result of the 12 apostles doing as Jesus directed them, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the I have commanded you." (Matt. 28:19)

Paul was exactly right, we Christians can thank the people of faith who have gone before us, for the foundation they laid to our understanding of the gospel.  Because of the work they did in obedience to God's calling, we today, have the Bible at our finger tips to use in our understanding of God.

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." (Romans 10:17)

And a result of our faith, is that we make up the holy temple, the holy city, the bride, the wife of the Lamb!  Woo woo!🙌ðŸŧ  ðŸ™ŒðŸŧ ðŸ™ŒðŸŧ

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Galatians 5-6 ~ Day 79~ Only Jesus!

"But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (6:14)

This verse reminds me of a great Christian song that is popular right now, by Casting Crowns. Maybe the music group was inspired by this verse!

 If you have 4 minutes, here's the link if you want to hear it!  It's a great reminder of what's important in life!!

Also, they will be playing in concert September 21st in Irvine.  That sounds like a fun night out!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Galatians 3-4~ Day 78~ What work do we need to do?

"You know, then, that those who have faith, these are Abraham's sons." (3:7). There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise." (3:27-29)

This sounds very familiar, doesn't it?  I had to go back in our reading, but I found it!  Paul wrote about the very same idea to the Romans.  "The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction." (Rom 3:21).

There is no distinction in regards to who can have salvation through faith in Jesus.  It's faith that makes us believers, "Abraham's sons".
No wonder Paul had to repeat himself.  His letters were going out to all believers, in particular the Jewish believers who were very comfortable being part of the elite group known as the "Choosen Ones".  They were indeed chosen for one particular reason, to be the people group to usher into the world, the planned Messiah, who was coming for all people.  They were no longer to be a special race unto themselves.

Paul is very clear in this teaching, but the teaching didn't start with him.  Jesus began the clarification process back when he was on the earth.  Paul writings only piggy-back off of what Jesus started.  Remember what Jesus said in John 8:39, when he was speaking to the Jewish leaders?  The people said, "Abraham is our father', Jesus replied, "If you were children of Abraham, you would do the work of Abraham."

What is the "work" of Abraham, you may ask?  Jesus answered that question too!!  "Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?  Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:29)

So, Jesus himself, taught that the true seed of Abraham is the one who has faith in Him, not the one's who are merely physical dependents of Abraham.

All I ca say to that is, I am so thankful I have been added to the family!!  Thank you Jesus, for including me!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Galatians 1-2~ Day 77~Remember your freedom!

If you ever feel "enslaved to rules, regulations, people's opinions of you, or your own guilt- remember this verse!!

"This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us." (2:4)

We have freedom in Christ!!  Remember that when you feel others are putting undue pressure on you!!

I like this cartoon. It's deeper than first glance:

We are not meant to be trying to please others and what they think is right.  The things we do for Christ is out of our love & devotion to him and nothing else!

Remember yesterday's verse? "Examine yourself"  Use that verse as a reminder to examine why you do what you do.  What you do should not be for the accolades of others, but rather, to glorify Christ.  And if you are ever feeling guilty for not "doing" enough, remember, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ." (Romans 8:1)

Monday, July 15, 2019

2 Corinthians 12-13~ Day 76~ A changed life for sure!

A few days ago we read "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!" (5:17)

Today, Paul circles back the that idea when he says, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith.  Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?- unless you fail the test." (13:5) Paul knows his audience.  He is addressing both true believers and some who are frauds.

The bottom line is that a Christian will demonstrate "a new creation" character, a changed life, when Christ "moves in".  It's impossible for a believer to stay as they were before Christ.  I love how Paul says, "examine yourself".  Be honest with yourself.  Only you truly know what you were like before, and what you are like now.
I like the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.  "You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time."
to add to that, you will never fool God!  So, be honest with yourself!
A new believer won't be perfect, but there will definitely be a change!  Then, fortunately, Jesus keeps working on us so that we can become "fully mature" (13:9).  Yet, none of that can happen if one is not first honest with themselves as to being a "new creation".

Sunday, July 14, 2019

2 Corinthians 10-11~ Day 75~"Nothing improves your aim like having a target."

I have taught sex ed. to kids between 5th and 8th grade over the past 12 years.  In my quest for finding current data, I have come across a variety of curriculum both in the secular and Christian arena.
One common tread that is found in all secular teaching on the subject, is the belief that young people will have sex. Therefore, there is no way to expect abstinence, hence, teach "safe sex".  This counter way of teaching from a Biblical perspective goes so far as to demoralize the idea of abstinence until marriage.

All that being said, I get so inspired when I read Paul's words, "For although we live in the flesh we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ." (10:3-5)

Isn't that encouraging to read that is is possible to "take every thought captive to obey Christ?"   We are not at the mercy of doing whatever our flesh wants to do.  We can make a decision that will benefit in the long run!

I get sad for kids today who are not given a standard to reach for. They are told they have no more control over their desires than an animal, and they don't have a brain to weigh the consequences.  The bar is set so low for their moral standard, they reach it every time.

That secular teaching isn't just aimed at young people.  It's an attitude that is prevalent at every stage of life. So, like I said, this section of scripture is inspiring and raises the bar to where it should be, for all believers.  Fortunately, Paul also makes sure to explain how we are able to accomplish this goal when he writes to the Philippians, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (4:13)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

2 Corinthians 7-9~ Day 74~Tithe off of gross or net?

We are flying through this letter, reading three chapters a day!  Don't worry, though, the reading plan goes back to 2 chapters a day, very soon.

I think 9:6b is a good reminder for all, "The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously."

My husband's career involves managing money and investments. He gets excited when he talks about financial markets! If we are on a long drive and he is getting sleepy, all I have to do is ask him a question about loans and he will perk up and drive for hours!
Fortunately, for him, it's not all about gain, gain, gain, for he also has the gift of giving. He feels "it" is all God's anyway, and he is just the manager of it.  On numerous occations, young entrepreneurs have sought his council on how to get started in investments. In the course of conversation with these young people the question often comes up about tithing.  "Do I tithe off my gross or net?"

He heard a great response to that question when he was young, and adopted it as his own.  So, I have often heard his response, "Which do you want to be blessed off of, gross or net?"
That's a great comeback to ponder, don't you think!?

Friday, July 12, 2019

2 Corinthians 4-6~ Day 73~ The devil blinds people! ðŸ‘đðŸ˜ģ

Imagine the spiritual warfare going on around us all the time!
It is so weird for me to read, "But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Cor. 4:4)

The god of this age (Satan) has blinded people!! Wow!  That is radical!  It reminds me of the verse, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens."(Eph. 6:12)

Yet, God gave us Christians a role in this spiritual battle!  Like Paul, we have the calling, "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me (Jesus)." (Acts 26:18)

What an honor to be able to play a role in the spiritual battle going on in other peoples lives!  But, if it's a battle, I better equip myself with the armor listed in Eph. 6:14-17 and pray, pray, pray!!
"Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intersection for all the saints." (Eph. 6:18)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

2 Corinthians 1-3~ Day 72~ Trust in God, not in yourself.

Just yesterday, my daughter asked me, "The Bible says God won't give you a trial harder than you can handle, right?"  I answered, "Nope, it doesn't say that!  It says, "He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

She replied, "That's rough!"

I went on to explain, however, that when we come to the end of our rope, more than what we can handle, that's when we find ourselves giving our situation over to God, realizing that we can't do life on our own.  We need His help.

This conversation was fresh in my mind when I read Paul saying something very similar.  "We were completely overwhelmed  beyond our strength - so that we even despaired of life itself." (1:8)

See?!  There's the proof that God does give us more than we can bear.  It was the same for Paul and his companions then as it is for us today!  Paul went on to explain why God does this, "Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead." (1:9)

There you have it!  God wants us to trust in Him and not in ourselves.  He will put us in situations to remind us of this, since our human tendency is to turn to our own strength. The lesson for me is, just trust Jesus first!  Don't make it so God needs to remind me!!

I get it God!  I can do nothing with out you!  Don't let me forget it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

1 Corinthians 15-16~ What kind of body will you have?

The other day in a group Bible study that I am a part of, the topic of human souls in the after life  came up.  Someone said, “All humans have eternal souls. One will either be living in heaven for eternity or health for eternity.”
I agreed with that, but today’s reading got me pondering this subject further, “Like the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; like the man of heaven so are those who are of heaven.” (15:48) “Those of heaven” would be believers.  What does that mean for the nonbeliever?
I’m assuming the next verse would only apply to believers in Christ, “And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we (believers) will also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (15:49) Again, I can’t help wondering what type of image unbelievers would have if their soul lives on for eternity in hell? 😎
I remember Peter saying this about Paul, “He (Paul) speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some matters that are hard to understand.” (2 Peter 3:16). I think the topic of spiritual bodies, that Paul is talking about, is one of those matters that is hard to understand.

Some people (believers) choose to believe that unbelieving souls just cease to exist. These people are called annihilationists. Maybe they base their belief on this section of scripture. But, I always need to remind myself to use scripture to interpret scripture. You can’t ignore some scripture while sticking close to other scriptures. Therefore, an annihilationist would have to also take a look at these verses before they decided to hold to that position: Matt 3:12, 5:22, 5:29-30, 8:12, 23:33, Mark 9:48, Luke 16:19-28,  2 Thess. 1:8-9, and Rev 14:11, to name a few)

So, what type of body do you think one would have who is going to hell? I, personally, don’t have to worry about it because I know I’m going to get one of those incorrruptable bodies! But, I was just wondering....

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

1 Corinthians 13-14~ God’s inspired word doesn’t change.

Reading chapter 14 always causes me to think back to a time when I witnessed a pastor keep order in his church. In my early teens my older sister started taking me to a charismatic church that had an abundance of prophesying and speaking in tongues. 
You can imagine what this young girl’s face looked like when I first saw someone “slayed in the Spirit” or when I heard a song be sung loudly in a spiritual tongue, followed up by a person who interpreted the entire song. ðŸ˜ģ
To be honest, it was so different from the stoic, conservative denomination I came from, I wasn’t doing a lot of worshipping when I first started to attend. Rather, I would watch the show in utter amazement! 
I got to witness, first hand, the pastor keeping his congregation in order, as I imagine the Corinthians learned to do from Paul’s letter.  This pastor was adhering to, “ two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate. “ (14:24) 
I remember one service people were speaking out a prophetic words, popping up like popcorn across the room. It was encouraging to listen to, picturing God speaking the words straight to us. Then, someone spoke a very condemning word to the group. The pastor stopped that person stating he did not feel that was from the Lord since the previous words had been so encouraging. ðŸ˜ŪHe made the person sit down!ðŸ˜ģOn another occasion someone said a long statement in a heavenly tongue, the pastor stood up and stated we would wait until someone interpreted that statement. We waited....and then someone else across the room interpreted the entire, encouraging statement. ðŸ˜Œ
It was so good for me to see, first hand, this pastor, who knew God’s word intimately, put it to practice. Paul’s words to the Corinthians are timeless just as the rest of the Bible is timeless. The worship I witnessed was a testimony to that!

Monday, July 8, 2019

1 Corinthians 11-12~ Day 69~God’s design does not go out of vogue.

 I have read this section several times over the years, and each time I grapple wit it!  This time, I went back to see what I had posted before. It was as if God wanted to remind me of what he spoke to my heart  already. Since I needed the reminder, I thought I would post it again.

I bristle, as I’m sure other women do as well, when reading, “A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image of and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.”  (1 Cor. 11:7). And some may want to entirely toss out, “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man, neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels.” (vs.8)

So, here is a challenging thought. Am I being influenced by our secular society striving for equal rights? Remember I have said that Satan will hold tight and teach the exact opposite from what God teaches?  Some would say that chapter 11 is socially irrelevant now, but is it? We battle with the same issues they did! I think the ladies of Paul’s time we’re dealing with the original curse given to Eve, just as ladies today or doing! Eve’s curse had odd wording, “your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Gen 4:16b). One commentary explained that this curse meant women would now have an on going conflict with men. A “power struggle” would ensue.  The NLT translation says it like this, “ You will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

With that in mind, Paul’s words make a lot of sense!  They are not socially irrelevant! In fact, they are just as relevant today as ever! So whether head coverings go in or out of vogue, the line of authority does not change. These verses are filled with God’s design that does not change with what secular society brings into fashion. This is a good example of what Jesus meant when he prayed in John 17:14 for his disciples, “I have given them your word but the world has hated them, for they are not of the world anymore than I am of the world.” In other words we are physically present in the world but don’t hold to the values of the world.

Therefore, if I bristle at any teaching found in the Bible, I better check myself. Whose values am I holding to?

Sunday, July 7, 2019

1 Corinthians 9-10~ Day 68~ It’s easier to think positively!

“These things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” (10:11)
That’s us! We are in the ends of the ages, so this applies to us!

I am a rule follower by nature, so I read a statement like that and think, “OK, let me go back over what the Israelites did and then be sure to avoid those things...let’s see...they were idolaters (vs7), sexually immoral (vs.8), and they complained (vs. 10).” Those must be the big ones! I better not do those three things in particular!

However, I know human nature.  I’ve observed a lot of it, being a mother of five. I know that you can never set up enough rules to get the  right behavior. There will always be a loop hole or rationale to get around a rule. Also, one can get trapped thinking of all of the things to avoid they soon find themselves in the land of legalism. ðŸ˜Ģ
I love how Paul went on, giving a positive “doing” statement, “...whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”( 10:31). Whew! That is so much easier to apply don’t you think?
Instead of asking myself, “Is this on the list of wrongs?”, I just need to ask, “Will this bring glory to God?”  Those actions come from wanting to please verses wanting to avoid discipline. I can do that!  I want to please God! He’s given me so much.  It’s the least I can do!! 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

1 Corinthians 6-8~ Day 67~ Going to court over a puppy?

”As it is, to have legal disputes against one another is already defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?  (5:7)

In our extremely litigious culture, this is a hard one to live by, don’t you think? Now, Paul is talking about legal disputes between believers.  It’s a different story when a believer is dragged to court by a nonbeliever. At times there is nothing that can be done about that.  But, what about between two believers who both feel right?

I have an example in my own life how I could have handled a situation better if I went with Paul’s words, “Why not rather be cheated?”  Several years ago I decided to breed my dog.  The owner of the stud was extremely excited about getting an offspring of her beloved dog.  The problem occurred when her male, though desperately trying for a week, was unable to “do the deed”.  As a result, my female was coming to the end of her heat with no “consummation of the marriage” so to speak. The other owner suggested and it was decided that I, the owner of the female, would pay for artificial insemination before my dog’s heat completely ended. This was done and the resulting pregnancy produced a singleton.   That’s right, one puppy!! The owner of the male came to see the singleton and stated, “We get pick of the litter and that’s our pick!”  I replied, “We didn’t get a litter. So you don’t get this puppy.”  Their response was to threaten us with a law suit!! ðŸ˜Ŋ

We were both believers....what should we do????

If I had read this letter to the Corinthians while I was going through this puppy issue, I may have been inspired to relinquish the puppy and just let the incident pass without making a fuss, even though I felt like I was in the right. Why was I willing to put my Christian image on the line for a puppy?  My desire to keep the puppy, or my desire to be right, should never be greater than my desire to represent Jesus well.

I am so thankful, looking back, that this event did not lead to a lawsuit! It was decided between us to breed the dogs again and the owner would get 2 puppies from the next litter.  Thank goodness that there was wisdom displayed in what was a very emotional situation for both parties!

God, please help me to always have wisdom, but if I fail in that area, help me to be ok with being wronged or cheated.  Help me to see that things aren’t as big of a deal as they seem at the time. In the  big picture, being a good representative for you is far more important than me wanting to get my way!!  Help me remember that!! 

Friday, July 5, 2019

1 Corinthians 3-5~ Day 66~

“You are God’s field, God’s building.” (3:9b) That’s cool when you think about it!
Paul is a skilled master builder and others build on what he started (3:10)....So, what do the others build?... They build on the person who is a believer in Jesus Christ (3:11), who is growing in their faith.  It’s important to keep those thoughts in mind as we continue reading about building on that foundation.
“If anyone builds on a foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, each one’s work will become obvious.” (3:12-13)

Keep in mind, the work here is how one influences, teaches and nurtures another’s growth as a Christian. Paul isn’t talking about any other type of work. The type of work one pours into another’s life will be obvious (3:13) by how the student thinks.

This is so interesting to me!! God is the one who causes a person to grow (3:6), yet there is a responsibility on our part to plant and water.  The way we plant and water does have an impact on the outcome of others! (3:13b) Isn’t that mind blowing when, in context we know that God has control of everything?ðŸĪ” He gives us some of the credit for influence. This is one of those things that I find hard to wrap my brain around, but I accept it because it’s written in the inspired Word of, it is so!
My theory to why God gives us a role in the growth of a Christian is because he wants us to experience the reward of seeing the fruit of our labor (3:14),  to see that “student” in heaven along with all the others that student influenced.
I want lots of rewards like that when I get to heaven! I better do some planting or watering then! 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

1Corinthians 1-2~ Day 65- Happy Fourth!! 🇚ðŸ‡ļ

I hope you squeeze your reading in today amongst all th fun activities!!

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.” (1:18)
Isn’t that the truth?!
Nothing has changed for 2000 years! People back in the day of Paul thought Christ crucified was foolish, and people today think it’s foolish. But to us….those who are saved by this “foolish plan”...…we see the power of God through it!
In a way, this statement makes me feel bolder to proclaim my faith. I just need to remember, those who are being called will respond, those who find it foolish will reject it.… It’s not in the perfect words that I could/should use that convinces someone (as Paul pointed out in 2:4), but in the condition of the heart of the person hearing about Christ.
The condition of their heart is not my responsibility. It’s only my responsibility to share about Christ. (1:21-25)  Doesn’t that take a lot of pressure off? Still… I do feel a little pressure and work on just opening my mouth and saying something!
God help me to open my mouth! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Romans 15-16~ Day 64~Confirmed promises

This verse stood out to me today, “For I say that Christ became a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises to the fathers, and so that Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy.” (Rom. 15:8-9) 
That verse reminded made me think of the time Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  (Matt15: 24). There was a specific reason why Jesus said that, and we find the reason spelled out here in Romans, “to confirm the promises to the fathers.”
I read a great commentary on the Romans verse. I thought I would share it. It’s kind’a long, but worth the read. 

To explain this more fully, “Jesus Christ was born a Jew, and exercised his ministry among the Jews, in order that the truth of God’s promises to the fathers, concerning the blessing of the nations in Abraham’s seed, might be confirmed by the conversion of the Jews and Gentiles. For as the Jews were the only people on earth who worshipped the true God, and had his revelations in their hands, it was absolutely necessary that the gospel, in which all the former revelations terminated, should be first preached to them; that a sufficient number of them receiving it, might preach it to the Gentiles, as the fulfillment of the former revelations, of which their nation were the keepers.

It may be proper to observe further here, that “conversion to the true God being the mercy, or blessing, which God promised to bestow on the Gentiles, it is particularly mentioned here, not only to make the Gentiles sensible that they ought not to despise the Jews, through whom they had received so great a blessing, but also to persuade the Jews to acknowledge the Gentiles as the people of God, equally with themselves.” — Macknight

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Romans 12-14~ Day 63~A renewed mind!

Wow! Lot’s of practical exhortations are given in today’s reading!! Yet none of the things Paul lists can be done without one key ingredient, a “renewed mind” that comes from a life transformed by faith in Jesus.
I thought this verse was so good; it’s a good one to memorize!
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. “ (12:2)
Isn’t that a good one?!
Especially in our “diplomatically correct” culture today where Christians are being forced to accept, tolerate and “conform” to what our culture is saying is perfectly acceptable behavior.
I LOVE “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
We are not to think like the world does. How does the world think? Well, pretty much opposite to God in every way!
Here are a couple ways,
  • God says for us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread”.  The world says, store up for yourselves treasures. 
  • God says, “love me with all your heart & with all your mind.” The world says, “I need to find myself and put myself first.” 
I bet you can think of a 100 more examples!
One way you can tell that God is transforming your mind is that the world is not going to like how you think! People are going to get angry with your responses. But, hey! Who cares?! You will be able to discern the good, pleasing and perfect will of God!! How awesome is that?! I would rather be pleasing God than worrying about pleasing the world!

I hope you are enjoying the reading! I gotta go now and do some memorizing! 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Romans 9-11~ Day 62~ One big happy family!

“A partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved.” (11:25)

I love that verse! Especially in light of what Paul was saying in chapter four about Abraham’s righteousness that comes through faith, and how he is the father of all believers (4:11).  Now, I know some Bible readers don’t see it this way, but as I read, it seems to me Paul is using “All Israel” in 11:25 to refer to all believers- believing Jews and believing Gentiles-we will be saved!  That means me, being in believing Gentile, is part of Israel! I love that! I’m included in the family! I feel like a kid who is adopted into a family and received the family name! This was the mystery that Paul referred to in 11:25.
We are one big, happy family~ true Jews, the true Israel.
I praise the Lord that He grafted me into the family, or adopted me into the family and gave me the name he loves! How about you you? 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Romans 6-8~ Day 61~ Our lives can be a beautiful song!

I am glad we are reading chapters 6-8 in one sitting.  I find you gotta read all of it to get the flow and point of what Paul is saying.

If one were to read only a part of what Paul is saying, one could mistakenly quote Paul, thinking he is saying one thing when he is actually saying the exact opposite.  Here is what I mean, I have heard Christians quote, and apply to themselves, "For I do not do the good that I want to do but I practice the evil that I do not want to do." (7:19) "What a wretched man I am!" (17:24)
Have you ever heard someone say that?  Or how about this, "I'm just as sinful as them (referring to a nonbeliever)!

I have heard that be said, but I certainly hope it is not the case for that believer! I am guessing that this person has read this portion of scripture but not in it's context.  If they had, they would see that Paul is talking like one "under the law" (7:7-24). In context of the entire chapter, we Christians know, "But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law." (7:6)

I like the CSB translation for 7:15, "because I do not practice what I want to do."  Practice is the operative word here.  As Christians, we do practice what God wants us to do.  Like practicing a piano, we become beautiful music!  Our fingers might slip off the piano keys once in a while, but we get back to the melody immediately.  It is our practice to live right.  We aren't perfect, but we are practicing.  It would not be appropriate to still have the mentality that we are "just as bad" as the non Christian.  We were before Christ, but not after!
We have been set free from being "just as bad". (Rom 6:6-7 & 8:2).  "For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace." (6:14)

I also like how the CSB translation uses the term "mind-set".  "Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace." (8:6)  If the Spirit of God lives in you, have the mind-set that you are free from sin!  You are not a slave to it!  You can overcome it!  Keep practicing righteous living, you'll get better and better at it and it will be a beautiful song to the Lord! 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Romans 3-5~ Day 60~There is no distinction!

Today we are half way through the four month reading plan! This is going fast!  Notice there are 3 chapters today and its not "light" reading!  You gotta put your thinking cap on for this reading session. But, I liked it!

I have learned that there are at least two camps on just about every topic under the sun.  I kind'a thought that wouldn't be the case in the Christian world, but it's true there too.  I have just recently learned that there are two schools of thought related to the Jewish people when it comes to end times.  One camp thinks that God has a unique plan for Jews just before Jesus returns to gather his people.  The other school of thought does not believe that there are promises that need to be fulfilled to the Jewish people alone before that final day.

I couldn't help think about these two schools of thought as I did today's reading.  These verses stood out to me:
"So what advantage does the Jew have?...they were entrusted with the very words of God." (3:2)  That is special!  But, that doesn't indicate special treatment in the future.  They completed that task once the Word of God became flesh (John 1:14).

Then Paul asked. "What then? Are we better off? Not at all!" (3:9)

Paul goes to great lengths to explain that Jews and Gentiles are the same in God's eyes- no special treatment of one group over the other.  "The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction." (3:21)

I also like how Paul explains how Abraham is the father of all who have faith.  You have heard me say this yesterday- but I'm going to point it out again, I am a true Jew.  Believers, those of faith, are the true Jews that the promises of the Old Testament are given.
"This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants." (4:16)

All that being said,....I think I know what camp Paul was in as far as a unique plan for Jews at end times.  It seems to me that if there is a unique plan, it involves those of faith, not those who have been born to a certain race.  What do you think? 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Romans 1-2 ~ Day 59~ Fun reading!

We start a letter today that Paul wrote just before his journey to Rome that we've been reading the past couple of days.  I think it could have been the recipients of this letter that were the one's who took care of Paul's needs and visited him when he was under house arrest (Acts 28:30).  So, in essence, this letter we are about to read, is Paul's introduction of himself (and a statement of what he believes), to a group of people he didn't know yet, but would be getting to know personally in about three years.

It was fun for me to read how God answered Paul's prayer!  Paul prayed, wanting to see the Romans "to be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." (Rom 1:12).  We just got finished reading in Acts that Paul found the brothers and sisters from Rome.  They had "heard the news about us (Paul and his travel companions) and had come to meet us...when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage." (Acts 28:15). Paul had prayed for this encounter three years prior and we got to see how God answered that prayer!  That's fun!

I also liked how Paul established who are true Jews.  This letter is addressed to the church of Rome that is comprised of both believing Jews and Gentiles. And he says to the whole group, "For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh.  On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart- by the Spirit, not the letter." (Rom 2:28-29).

You know that that means? I am a Jew! 😀 That means all the promises made in the Old Testament to the Jewish people are intended for me!  How about you?  Are you a Jew?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Acts 27-28~ Day 58~ Everyone will have a story!

I've been a counselor at quite a few summer camps and have seen the same scene play out every time.  The first day of camp is always a little uneasy for campers. Some come to camp not knowing anyone else.  They are assigned to a cabin and meet the group with whom they will be spending the week. I've witnessed awkward introductions, nonexistent eye contact, and nonchalant attitudes as they move through the first day activities of swim tests, camp rules and established routine.  Yet, by the last day of camp, I see these same campers clinging to each other, crying their eyes out, as they say goodbye to their new best friends! In the short span of one week the program and adventurous activities draw them together into a tight friendship faster than an entire year of school could ever produce.

I was thinking about how adventure and near death experiences draw people together when I read about Julius and his time with Paul. Julius was the centurion who was in charge of the prisoners on the journey from Caesarea to Italy.  I liked Julius! He was a kind man (27:3), resourceful (27:6), respectful of authority (27:11), he learned to be open to what Paul had to say (27:31), and he was diligent to his task of getting Paul to Rome (27:43).  I bet Paul saw all those characteristics in Julius during their time together, which was much longer than a week!

They spent "many days" at sea before stopping at Fair Haven, then they were adrift at sea for two weeks before landing on Malta where they stayed three months! It took them over 7 days to get to Rome after they landed in Italy. So these guys were together for over four months!  I would imagine the action packed time together bonded the 273 men in a special way.   Yet, when they arrived in Italy, all the men dispersed.  Camp was over.  I wonder what the good-byes were like?

Julius completed his task of getting Paul to Rome.  How did they say good-bye to eachother?   Was the life of Julius changed for ever for having met Paul and getting the opportunity to hear the gospel? I wish Luke could have said a little bit more about that.  O-well,  I'll get the rest of the story at the reunion!

My thoughts always turn to heaven when I think about things like this. Heaven will be like a camp reunion! It's going to be so much fun!  We are going to get to see the people whose lives were changed by the gospel. It's going to take forever to hear everyone's personal story but we've got the time!  Imagine hearing an angel interject about his role in a person's testimony.  We are going to get the full story form all sorts of different view points.  What a glorious reunion that will be!! I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Acts 25-26~ Day 57~ It wasn't just Paul who was sent...

I love the words that Paul heard from Jesus and is now relaying to King Agrippa.  "I am sending you to them (Jews and Gentiles) to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me." (26:18)

There it is; the gospel in a nut shell!  Paul had a calling on his life to be "sent out" to Jews and Gentiles.  Yet, we have to remember, we have that same calling.  Jesus tells his disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations." (Matt. 28:19)  That doesn't just apply to the first 12.  How could it?  Jesus said all nations. Also, he says, "I am with you always, to the end of the age." (28:20) which goes a lot longer than just the lives of the first 12.

Some of you might be thinking at this point, "Wait a minute, evangelism is not my gift.  I'll let the Paul's of the world do that."  Well, hold on, let me give you a new thought.  Jesus says in Mat. 18:11, "For the Son of Man has come to save that which is lost." THAT was the point of his coming!!  Don't disciples emulate their teacher?  Of course they do! Therefore, one better emulate the main thing that Jesus came to do~ save others!

So, bottom line, the verse above that I said I love, applies to me and you as well! Jesus is sending us out to open eyes, "so that they may turn from darkness to light...receive forgiveness and a "share" of what we got!
Lord, help me proclaim you as boldly as Paul did!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Acts 23-24~ Day 56~ What did Drusilla do?

I'm going to share a little trivia with you, in case you wanted to know more about Drusilla! Yes, I am sure you were all wondering about Drusilla, like I was....Is this where Disney got the inspiration for the step sister of Cinderella?  Oh, wait, no, the Disney character was Drizella....never mind...

Anyway, Drusilla, the wife of Felix that we read about today in Acts 24 has been mentioned in other historical accounts beside the Bible.  You may have heard of Flavius Josephus.  He was a Jewish historian born 8 years after the resurrection of Jesus.  Born in Jerusalem, he writes a gory, first hand account of the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in 70 AD.  Yet, he also writes about a lot of other Jewish history. In fact, he wrote about Felix and his wife.  In his book, Antiquities, he writes that Drusilla was actually married before to another guy, at the young age of 15.  Yet, when Felix saw her, he was smitten by her beauty and sent a Jewish friend to her to convince her to leave her husband, the king of Emassa, which she did!  It is estimated that she was about 20 years old when she heard Paul give his defense.

I wonder what she thought about Paul and the gospel that he preached?  I would imagine that she was "afraid" like her husband was (24:25).  She was Jewish after all.  She knew that it was unlawful to just leave a husband; that would be adultery.  So, hearing the gospel would remind her that she was a sinner and needed a Savior.  That day could have been pivotal for her and her husband. We don't know if she ever gave her life to the Lord, but we do know how her life ended here on earth.  She had two children with Felix, a boy named Marcus and a girl named Antonia.  Felix got kicked out of his job around 60 AD,  so Drusilla made her way north to Italy.  Guess who mentions her again when he wrote of some notable people who died in Pompeii as a result of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD?  That's right, Josephus mentions Drusilla and her son, Marcus in the list of casualties! That means she died suddenly at around 41 years old!

I think that is amazing that we know so much about this woman!  Can we learn anything from her?  I think so! If you hear the gospel message, you better not take too long to decide to change your life because of it!  Your life can end suddenly and then...there is judgement!  Drusilla will have no excuse on judgment day.  She heard the gospel laid out plain and clear by Paul.  What did she do with that information? I am hoping fo the best.......😎

Monday, June 24, 2019

Acts 21-22~ Day 55~ The Lord's will be done!

Life would be a lot easier if I always lived by, "The Lord's will be done." (Acts 21:14b)  Wouldn't you agree?!
Seriously!  Aren't we all like the Christians who were pleading with Paul not to go to Jerusalem?  Speaking for myself, I will admit, I can become filled with fear anticipating bad things that could happen.  I plead and beg God to keep me from uncomfortable situations that are either real or imagined. It's easy to become stressed out or filled with anxiety.

It's at those points that I need people in my life, and the Holy Spirit to say to me, "What are you doing..?" (21:13) Often times it's the Holy Spirit that gives me the reminder, "Were is your faith?" God has a plan for me!  Fretting about the what ifs that could happen won't change his plans for me.

Paul knew God had a plan for him.  Paul is so impressive to me because God gave him insight to what the plan was and he moved forward anyway (Acts 20:22).  What an obedient disciple!
How inspiring to read,  "I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (21:13)

 I want to be like Paul when he said, "my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God's grace." (20:24)  That goes for me too! I want to finish my course and the ministry Jesus gave me!  I don't want to waste anytime fretting, stressing  or fearing.  After all, what is the point? The Lord's will be done!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Acts 19-20~ Day 54~ Prepared hearts

It’s always interesting to me to read about “some disciples” who didn’t know Jesus (19:1). How were they disciples then?
Perhaps Luke, as he was reflecting back, called them disciples because that is what they became. Or maybe he was thinking "disciples of John" but just wrote disciples.  I don't know but, regardless, Paul “found” these men by noticing something they were demonstrating.  These 12 men understood that they were sinners and needed forgiveness. They were repent-full enough to be baptized into “John’s baptism”.
This reminds me of the verse found in Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  If these men just stayed in their knowledge of needing to repent, but never knew who could restore them...that would be a sad state indeed! (Like Judas's sorrow in Matt. 27:3)
But God wasn’t finished with these men yet...He sent Paul to finish the story! I think that is so cool!

The purpose of John’s baptism was to prepare hearts to be open to hearing about the Messiah.
Like the saying goes, you can’t have a savior if you don’t need saving. These men, thanks to John's preaching knew they needed saving.  Boy, were these men prepared to hear about the Messiah! Upon hearing about Jesus, they immediately got baptized in his name!
I just love that story!
Lord, please prepare the hearts of some people I know, so that when they hear more details of Jesus, they are are ready to make Him their Savior!! 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Acts 17-18~ Day 53~ Women play a crucial role.

Vacations throw me off. Sorry for the late post. ðŸĪŠ

I think it’s interesting how Luke comments on the women who are hearing the gospel. We heard about Lydia in chapter 16, who sounds like a successful business woman since she had the means to host Paul’s group at her house. Then in today’s reading he writes that “in Thessalonica, some of them were persuaded enjoyed Paul and Silas, including a large number of God – fearing Greeks, as well as a number of leading women.” (17:4). Also, in Berea, “many of them believed, including a number of prominent Greek women as well as men.” (17:12)

Leading women/prominent women......I liken all of us in the US to women like that. Women in the United States have had all the advantages of the leading women of that time. On the most part, we are well educated, and we are financially secure in relation to the rest of the world.   We have the ability to gain a platform, to let our voice be heard, if that was our desire.  That makes us prominent women, wouldn’t you agree? We have influence in our culture, whether we use it for good or for bad.

In the same way, the women back in Paul’s time were able to use their influence to either forward Paul’s work or squelch it. Remember back in 13:50, “The Jews incited the prominent God – fearing women and the leading men of the city (Antioch). They started a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district.”

Luke doesn’t give details about these “prominent” women, but I would imagine the prominent women who believe in the good news, helped Paul financially in his ministry. I remember reading how women helped financially with the group that followed Jesus (Luke 8:1-3). Jesus didn’t magically make dinner appear every might for his disciples. He allowed others to support his work. Women in particular were mentioned for doing so!

I can definitely learn from the mention of these prominent women.
1) I can use my position, whether I am prominent or not, to influence others towards embracing the good news.
2) I can use my finances to support evangelical ministries.

The role of women in the body of Christ is crucial! I, for one, want to play my part!!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Acts 15-16~ Day 52~ Sex can be idol worship!!

When I read today, how the church in Jerusalem discussed the issue of circumcision, I was impressed with their conclusion!  They concluded, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that there are requirements for a believer to follow.  Each requirement had to do with pagan worship, and not being a part of it.  If you are apart of it, then you are engaging in pagan worship which, obviously would demonstrate that one is not worshipping Jesus alone.  You can not serve two masters! (Matt. 6:24)

These were the requirements that they set forward (notice, it reads, "requirements"- vs. 28):
  • Abstain from food offered to idols (but if you don't know it's that type of food, don't worry about it- you weren't engaged in idol worship- see 1 Cor. 8)
  • Abstain from blood and from anything that has been strangled.  (These too were acts of pagan worship.  Seems pretty straight-forward- don't practice idol worship!)
  • Abstain from sexual immorality. (This is a form of idol worship we still see today in our culture!) 
So, what is sexual immorality?   It's any sexual act outside the context of marriage, where two become one. (Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:5, Mark 10:8, Eph. 5:31).  How is that part of pagan worship?  An idol would be anything that is put in front of God's rightful place on the throne in one's life.  The idol most people worship today is "self".  Satan, being the crafty enemy that he is, knows that God made us sexual beings.  So he (Satan) works hard,  using that area in our life, to take our eyes off of God and put them on ourselves.  Sexual immorality, is an outward expression of what is in one's heart.  Worshipping one's self, not worshipping Christ.

I have seen first hand how this type of "worship" leads to a familiar practice pagans engaged in during Biblical times.  You may know that I work at a pregnancy resource center.  Most of our clients have engaged in "sexual immorality" (I say most, because a few are married). Even those who profess to being Christians, choose, as a result of their sexual immorality, to go down the same path of putting their children on alters, as the pagans did, to Molech. (Leviticus 18:21, 20:2-5, 2 Kings 23:10 and Jer. 32:35) in the movie Unplanned, There is a scene where Abby Johnson is apologizing  to her children she aborted. Her words were profound,  “I’m sorry I didn’t fight for you.  I’m sorry I sacrificed you on the alter of Convenience.”

It's hard to hear those words in today's culture, where sex outside of marriage is as common as drinking water, but, nothing has changed!  Sexual immorality was common back in the day of the early church. This is why the Holy Spirit gave these men these words. "You will do well if you keep yourselves from these things." (15:29)  Those in the early church were so wise!!  

The Holy Spirit was very clear (15:28)!  Idol worship will keep you from the number one commandment, "Love the Lord your God"  That is what being a Christian is, loving Jesus and turning to him for one's salvation.  If you do so, it will "go well", you will have eternal life.   

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Acts 13-14~ Day 51~ It's necessary to go through hardships?

"Some Jews came from Antioch and Iconic, and when they won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead." (14:19)

I've read this before, but it really hit hard this time!  Paul was stoned, nearly to death!!  When I was a  teenager, I saw a movie based in Biblical times.  I remember well, the scene of a lady getting stoned.  It made such an impression on me, I can picture the scene, vividly, of Paul being stoned!  Stone after stone, rapidly hitting their target, causing abrasions, blows that cause blunt trauma, blows that cause concussions, blows that cause loss of consciousness.  It's a scene that takes many men filled with a deadly goal.

Picture the anger in those men to do something like that!! They were filled with rage toward the words Paul spoke, "We are proclaiming good news to you, that you turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea and everything in them." (14:15)

This same message, "turn from worthless things to the living God", still gets people lividly angry!  Fortunately, we have laws to protect us from stoning, but this anger that people have is still real and present, displayed in angry faces at demonstrations and law suits meant to silence people with moral convictions.
What an example Paul is to us when we may experience that anger!! He did not "go underground", he did not go to another location, instead, to my surprise, "he got up and went into town" (vs. 20)  What?!?!  Then get this....He went back to the very towns the angry men came from-
Antioch and Iconium (vs. 21)  Unbelievable!!  Yes, Paul is very inspiring!

So, you agree with Paul when he says, "It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God." (vs. 22)?  Do you think that statement is just for the "radical" Christians, like Paul, or every Christian? 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Acts 11-12~ Day 50~ Set apart.

Reading how the Jews were so conditioned to be "set apart" from all those around them (11:2), I have often wondered how that applies to me today.  Have you ever thought about that?  Are we supposed to still be obviously set apart from everyone else in our culture?

I have often thought that God set an example for us (or a foreshadowing of what he expects from us), by showing us what he expected from the Israelites.
He set them apart by having them:
-Worship only one God
-Not eat certain food that was unclean (10:14)
-Not associate socially with others that weren't Jewish (10:28)
-And be circumcised

Don't you think that they were an example for us believers today?  We are to set ourselves apart from the rest of the world as well.
-We still worship one God
-We eat the Bread of Life (God's Word) rather than filling our mind with "unclean" stuff.
-We are not to be of the world (1 John 2:15-17)
-We have circumcised hearts (Rom 2:29)

Peter confirms this idea that believers are "set apart" when he writes, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)

So, here is something to ponder, if Jews, new believing Jews, held being "set apart" in such high we do that today?  How do we Christians, today, show that we are set apart from the rest of the world?  Are we supposed to take being "set apart" as seriously as they did?  If so, the question for me is, how do I show others I am part of a "holy priesthood"?

Humm.... interesting things to ponder....what are your thoughts?  What sets you apart?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Acts 9-10~ Day 49- Belief = Change

Piggybacking on yesterday's thought,  was thinking how different the people in Cornelius's house were in their conversion, verses Simon the Sorcerer's conversion.  These people heard the message and had a heart change immediately, whereas Simon's conversion took a bit longer.

One thing is clear in both stories, a change in direction needs to occur as far as the heart is concerned.  I commented on this idea on another read through and thought would post it again:

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 Mark 1:15, “Repent and believe…”
Peter says it in Acts 3:19, “Repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out”
Paul sums it un Acts 20:21, “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”

And, boy!  When the heart hears and responds with both a turning and belief- look how fast the Holy Spirit moves into His new home!  It is immediate when the TWO things occur!  “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message” (10:44).

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:

Thoughts on Moses:

Thoughts on Simon's situation:

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!
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?ðŸ˜ģ 
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 state, 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 concerning the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, 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)


"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!! ðŸ™ŒðŸŧ

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)
"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."

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.) ðŸ˜œ

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. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

John 13-14~ Day 14~The Holy Spirit= Peace

I take so much comfort in these words, "Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Don't let your heart be troubled or fearful." (14:27)
Ahhh, Jesus gives us his peace....😌....but do I honestly feel it....all the time?  How does Jesus give us that peace?  Well, he tells us how....
"I am going away and I am coming to you." (14:28)
I giggle when I read that sentence because it reminds me of my mother's famous words when she would come to babysit my kids, "Leave now, so that you can come back."

Jesus may have had his 2nd coming in mind when he said, "I am coming to you", but I think he was referring to the Holy Spirit aspect of our 3 in one God.  After all, he just got finished saying, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you." (vs. 26)

So, how do I have peace in this world (that can be so sad and stressful?). The Holy Spirit reminds me of everything I know of Jesus!  So, I have to know some critical things!  These are just a few:

  • My father loves me (14:21 &23).
  • God will not leave me (14:18).
  • God gives good gifts (Mt. 7:11).
  • God will give me words to speak (Luke 12:12).
  • God will give me strength and power in my weaknesses (Isaiah 40:29)

These are the words the Holy Spirit whispers in my ear when I am going through a hard time.  God never said I wouldn't go through hard times, but with the Holy Spirit reminding me of the truths listed above, I can have peace.  That's what Jesus leaves us with here on earth, his peace through the Holy Spirit!!


Sunday, June 9, 2019

John 11-12~ Day 40~ God is so poetic!

Chapter 12 starts off with, "Six days before the Passover.."  Thanks, John, for giving us a time frame!  That makes it one-week before Jesus is crucified.
So, I went off on a tangent from the reading....I don't know a lot about how Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are celebrated, so I took a little time to do some googling.

I found out that Passover is a 24 hour period and the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts for 7 days. During that Feast, two different readings are done each day, a Torah reading and a Haftarah reading.  The Haftarah reading is a prophetic reading. These readings can vary from synagogue to synagogue, country to country, family to family, however, I found that the last day of prophetic reading (The Haftarah),  ends with the hope and vision of the Messianic Era.  They usually read Isaiah 10:32-12:6.  Every year they remind themselves of this hope to come!

I think that is so cool! So, I had to read the passage myself, of course! Wow, does it point to Jesus! I saw a couple obvious verses; I bet you can find more.
"The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-" (Isaiah 11:2) (See Luke 3:22)
"His delight will be in the fear of the Lord.  He will not judge.." (11:3)  (See John 3:17 &12:47)
"You will joyfully draw water from the spring of salvation" (12:3) (See John 4:10)

Jesus's body was in the tomb during the days of Unleavened Bread...then he raises from the dead...can you imagine, as the Jewish followers of that time finish the week with that reading in Isaiah, knowing that Jesus had raised from the dead......their minds would have been blown away!! I guarantee the Jewish believers caught the symbolism!! They would have no need to continue celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  It was completed and done!  The Messiah had come, no need to keep looking forward to that!

It doesn't take being an English teacher to see the great foreshadowing, symbolism and awesome story telling God uses to reveal his plan for his people.  I love this book!!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

John 9-10~ Day 39~ The word "we" caught my eye.

So, how are you liking the reading of John?  I find it quite different from the other three gospels.  It's good...but to be honest, some of the wording confuses me!
Like, what does this mean?,
"We must do the works of him who sent me while it is still day.  The night is coming when no one can work." (9:4)
The context is that Jesus is about to heal the blind man.  Why does he say "we"? Why would darkness come if Jesus is with us and he is the light, therefor we are the light (Matt. 5:14)?  What does he mean?

Well, I had to do some digging...

I use some old commentaries and I found something interesting.  The verse can be read "I must do the works of him...", in several translations (King James, Darby, TYN, WEB & WBF).  Why would that be?  Why would translations vary like that?  After all, that one little word "we" changes the meaning significantly!
Well, it turns out that old translators felt that they needed to match the pronouns, so they altered "we" to "I" to make it agree with the "me".  Now most scholars are translating it to the original writing of "we" and are not worried about making the pronouns match. Therefore, you know what that means??   Jesus is including us in his comment of having to do the work of God.  We are supposed to do the work of God as well!

Ok, I get that, but what does he mean about the darkness?  I read one commentary that said, "night is coming" refers to the physical death each person will go through.  Jesus is referring to his own, as well as to ours by using the word "we".

So, as Meyer's stated in his commentary, the verse can be read like this, "It is we who are destined by God to work His works as long as we live, and until death puts an end to our activity."

I love how Jesus weaves instructions for believers right into a scene where he is proving that he is the Messiah!  In a way, he is multi-tasking!!  It's easy to miss those little nuggets if we are just looking at the big picture.  I'm glad that little "we" stood out to me today!

What stood out to you?

Friday, June 7, 2019

John 7-8~ Day 38~ Jesus makes it very clear and simple!

Whenever words are repeated, I perk up!  Boy, did Jesus repeat himself in today's reading!  He is making it quite clear that if one doesn't believe in die!....If you won't die.  It's very simple!

8:21-"I'm going away; you will look for me, and you will die in your sins."
8:24- "Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins.  For if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sin."
8:51- "Truly I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."

Works aren't involved and being a "good person" with good intensions has nothing to do with it.  Jesus is clear on that point and the writers of the letters that follow the gospel accounts make it clear as well.  (Acts 16:31, Rom. 10:9-17, 1 Thess 2:13, 1 Tim 4:10, Heb 10:9-17 and 1 Peter 1:9)  So if it's so clear, why do people still get confused?  Could it be the father of lies playing his(John 8:44) role?......Yup, I think so!

It's a belief in Jesus that is demonstrated by a changed life, a belief that, "keeps my (his) words" (vs. 51). this is the type of belief that results in eternal life.
Very simple, yet....belief is hard for those who are "slaves" to sin (8:34)......
All I can say is,
Thank you, Jesus, for my freedom from that slavery!!!! (8:36)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

John 5-6~ Day 37~ What would Jews say today?

The other day someone commented on the blog, wondering what Jews now a days would think of Old Testament scriptures that, to us Christians, clearly reference Jesus.  It's funny, but I think God answered that question, himself, in today's reading!

"You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me." (John 5:39)
and Jesus really nailed them when he said, "For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But if you don't believe what he wrote, how will you believe my words?" (John 5:46-47)

Jews back then and now fail to see how scripture in the Old Testament point to Jesus, even when it is clear!  Nothing has changed!  Jesus goes so far as to say that they don't really even believe the words of Moses!!ðŸ˜ą

I can't help but think of the following verse when I think how I have been grafted in as a true Jew who believes the words of Moses, the prophets and that Jesus is the Messiah:
"And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham." (Matt. 3:9)
"For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him." (Rom. 10:12)

Believers in Christ are the true Jews ( and we are richly blessed because of it)!