Saturday, April 7, 2018

Day 95~ Acts 17

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

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

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

Friday, April 6, 2018

Day 94~ Acts 16

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

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

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Day 93~ Acts 15

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Day 92~ Acts 14

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


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 2, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Yup, I want to be like him…..

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Day 89~ Acts 9 & 10~ Happy Easter!

What a great spot to be in the Bible as we celebrate Easter; reading how Christ's moved after the resurrectuion!! 

Today we read how Jesus chose Paul. Paul was a great leader of the early church.  Thanks to his diligent service to the Lord, the Lord used him to spread the word to the Gentiles, which I benefited from! Yea!!  What I need to remember, however, is that he was an ordinary human, just like me.  And when he first started his ministry, he wasn’t the master at it like he came to be.
His response to Jesus is so incredibly inspiring to me!  I want to have that type of response!!!
“For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus .  And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues saying, “He is the Son of God.” (9:20) 

He had his conversion, he learned from fellow Christians and then immediately, he proclaimed what he knew to be true!
Paul’s example is inspiring, yet at the same time I’m humiliated comparing my feeble attempts to share the gospel.
I had my conversion, I have learned from fellow Christians, but have I immediately gone out and proclaimed Christ?…….No,…not like Paul did!   Why not?  

I am reflecting back to how I have been educated in my faith by other Christians.  I think one doctrine that I have rested way too heavily on is, (I’m sure you have heard of this) “Life Style Evangelism.”  I have fallen in the trap that if I just live a good life, people will see the difference in me and want what I have.  Then they will come to me and ask out right, “What do you have that I don’t.”  Well,…….I’ve been  a Christian for 40 something years and no one has ever said that to me…..(well, maybe one girl in high school said that to me in a letter after she moved away.  But I never got to use words with her to tell her more about Jesus.)  The only time I have been able to actually share Jesus,  is when I spoke of him first before they asked. And to be honest, I haven’t done that a lot.  

 Another trap that I think I have fallen into is saying, “Well, that’s not my gift” (1 Cor. 12:7) “Paul was gifted”……..That’s a cop out and I know it.  
In reality, if my life has been transformed and I have received all the blessings that come with that….wouldn’t I want to share that with others, regardless if I am gifted or not?

I was so inspired today reading that Paul, “increased in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” (vs 22)

Did you catch that?  He immediately went out to share Jesus and then he increased in strength.  Doesn’t that sound like, the more you do it the better you get?  I just need to start sharing more (with words) regardless if I am good at it or not.  Then hopefully, like Paul, I will increase in strength and get better at it.  Help me with that, Jesus!