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Day 67~ Col 1-4

We just read in Acts that Paul arrived in Rome and was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him. (Acts 28:16)  It seems he did a lot of writing during his house arrest.  He wrote yesterdays's letter to Philemon, as well as to the Colossians and Ephesians.  So, that is why we are here in Colossians for our chronological reading. This verse stood out to me today: “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” ( Col. 1:6) I mentioned before that I have two versions of the NIV (one published in 1984, the other in 2014).  I’m reading the 2014 version this time through and surprisingly I notice small differences.  The verse above had one of those small difference.   1984 version= “..since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all it’s truth.” 2014 version= “..since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” The differe

Day 66~ Acts 27-28; Philemon 1~ Spare yourself

This section in Acts, when Paul warns Julius not to start the trip to Rome has always intrigued me!  Paul gave God-given advice not to start the voyage because it was “going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo” (27:10).  But Julius decided the contrary and “followed the advise of the pilot and the owner of the ship” (vs.11). After the damage occurred, Paul says, “Men, you should have taken my advise not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.” (27:21) This intrigues me because it leaves the realization that there are many different ways our life can go.  It’s our choice.  God will still accomplish his purposes (like getting Paul to Rome), but it can go better.  What that means is that we can’t say, “Well, God wanted this to happen.”  No,….not necessarily,..he may not have wanted you to choose the way you did.  But, since you did choose the way you did, “…God works for the good of those who love him, who have been call

Day 65~ Acts 24-26

Recently, before leaving on a “mission trip”, the leader of our group spent a bit of time teaching us how to share our testimony.  It was very simple.  He wanted us to share: What was your life before Christ? How did you meet Christ? How was your life changed after accepting Christ as your Savior? With this method of sharing Christ, the missionary we visited had planted 7,000 churches!!! In today’s reading I see where our leader got these three points.  It was the method Paul used!  As he began his defense to King Agrippa, he started with describing his life before Christ; a zealous Pharisee (26:4-12).  Then he explained how he met Christ (26:12-16).  Verse 26:16 sums up how his life changed after receiving Christ. “I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.” That templet takes the stress out of sharing Jesus with others.  You don’t need a graduate degree in theology before you can speak.  All you need

Day 64~Phil 3-4

Don't you find that the more you watch the news, the easier it is easy to get anxious about the future?  I find it creates a breeding ground of negative thoughts.  “Life was better when we were younger.” “The U.S. is going to hell in a hand basket!” “This new generation doesn’t have a chance!”  It’s easy to look at the world as a “glass half empty”.  Life these days ca be so negative that we just want to throw up our hands in defeat and say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” However, I love what Paul says in 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”  We are called on by Paul to be a “glass half full” type people!  How can we not look at life that way?  “We are more than conquerors through him who loves us.” (Rom. 3:37) It’s hard to keep that in mind when the never ending negative news comes pouring into t

Day63~ Phil 1-2

There is debate among Biblical scholars as to when Paul could have written to the Philippians.   We just read yesterday in Acts that Paul was in jail for at least 2 years in Caesarea (24:27).  It’s possible he was sitting in jail thinking , “I have some thank you letters to write.”   He thanks the Philippians for their gifts to him (4:14-18) and also uses the letter, especially chapter 2, to encourage them in their faith. There's that reason,...but also, Paul refers to "Caesar's household"(4:22) and "palace guard" (1:13), indicating Roman imprisonment that could have been in a provincial city, like  Caesarea.  It's for these reasons Philippians was placed here in our chronological reading.   It was a short reading today!  Did anything stick out to you?

Day 62~ Acts 20:4-24; Acts 21-23

“..my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24) Wouldn’t that be great if we looked at our life like that!  Our only aim being the duel purpose of finishing this life with faith and share that faith with others.  I think many struggle with the first part of that- finishing the race.  We get so distracted with life that we forget our faith.  Imagine a marathon runner who has trained all year.  The big day arrives, the gun goes off and he starts to run.  He is about 5 miles into the race when something catches his eye.  A beautiful flower!  He stops to smell it.  Other runners are yelling. “What the heck are you doing?”  Keep running!”  Yet, he decides to pick it.  Now he decides he needs to find a vase for the flower.  He gets so side tracked looking for a store that sells vases, he forgets the race entirely. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “That would never happen! 

Day 61~ Romans 13-16

Don't you wonder what our world would be like if everyone practiced what Paul was preaching in Romans 13?  “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, than respect; if honor then honor.” (13:7) It seems that in the U.S. we have lost the idea of what submitting to authority entails.  I’m not just talking about those you see on the news running when the police tell them to stop. My daughter and I were at Target, nearing the end of the day on Black Friday.  The isle that displayed bean bags chairs was filled with about 10 teenagers who had pulled all the chairs off the shelves, into the the isle and sat in them. On one hand, projecting my exhaustion onto them, I thought it looked pretty comfortable.  One the other hand, they took up every square inch of the entire row; there would be no shopping down there.  My daughter and I were in the opposite isle observing this when an employee popped onto the head of their isle.