Thursday, September 30, 2010

Make Your Bed

Acts 9
And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; arise, and
make your bed."   Acts 9:34


When I arise in the morning, I make up my side of the bed. Later, after he is
up, I make my husband's side of the bed. He thinks it is useless to make a bed,
since we get back into it that night. However, I repeat the chore daily.
(Sometimes  he does help me out.) I say that it keeps the sheets cleaner and
the room looks nicer whenever the bed is made. Did you know a man in the
Bible was told to make his bed? Now there's my basis for doing this: the
Bible tells us to make our bed. (smile)

In verses 33-34, Peter sees a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed for
eight years. Peter must have had compassion on the man and wanted to help
him. Peter doesn't pretend to heal the man by his own power, but  it is by the
power of Jesus Christ.

The King James Bible says, "And Peter said unto him Aeneas, Jesus Christ
maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately."
(verse 34)

Only Christ alone can make a person whole, spiritually and physically. The
man must have had faith and known who Jesus was because he arose
immediately. Do I look to Christ for my healing, or do I look for it somewhere


What do we know about Paul before his conversion?
  • Saul was his name, but Paul was his Roman name, which means little.
  • He was short, probably 4 1/2 feet tall.
  • He was from Tarsus, of well-to-do Jewish parents.
  • He had a classical Greek education and studied the Jews' Scriptures.
  • He approved of Stephen's stoning.
  • He was traveling to Damascus with letters of authority to bring back
          disciples and early Christian followers of  "The Way."
  • Saul is converted to "The Way" when Jesus blinds him.
          (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Handbook)

In John 14:6, Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no
man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Jerry Falwell, in Liberty Bible Commentary, says:
         So awesome was the light that Saul fell to the ground recognizing his
     inferiority to the One generating the light. It is the Lord who speaks to him.
     All sin, regardless of its character, affects others, but in its terminal point,
     every sin affects God. Saul thought he was persecuting meaningless
     Christians, instead he was persecuting the Lord God of heaven.

Saul's fellow travelers heard a voice, but saw no man. Saul both saw and
heard Jesus, for He was directing His communication to Saul.

"What a difference three days can make in a man's life. Seventy-two hours
earlier the chances of a Jewish believer addressing the threatening Saul as
"brother" would have been nil. Luke records here that finally after three days
of temporary blindness, Saul has now regained his sight." (by Jerry Falwell)

Saul stayed in Damascus a number of days. In the synagogue Saul preached
Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This is the only mention, in the book of Acts,
of Jesus being the Son of God. Saul recognized Jesus' messiahship and deity.
What a change of heart! What a testimony Paul had!
Did you know that because of all of this, the Jews sought to kill Paul, the one
who wrote many books of the New Testament? (verse 24) Chapter 9 tells us
of the beginning of Paul's ministry. Do I have a testimony to share and he did!


Look to Jesus for any healings that I need.

Recognize that Jesus is "The Way" for me to live and follow Him.

Share my testimony with others about when I met Jesus.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Can't Buy It

Acts 8
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou
hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
Acts 8:20


An angel of the Lord led deacon Philip away from Samaria to the place where
a eunuch, an officer of the Ethiopian queen's court, was reading Isaiah 53.
Philip asked the man if he understood what he read. The uenuch answered,
"How can I, except some man guide me?" Philip preached unto him Jesus.
The man believed and was baptized along the roadside.

Perhaps the Lord will change my agenda, leading me elsewhere than I have
planned. If I am obedient, I, too, can lead others to salvation in Jesus. I need
to look for others seeking the Lord Jesus.


There are some things money can't buy-loyalty, integrity, wisdom, honesty,
God's love, salvation, the Holy Spirit. The list can on, I'm sure.
At the beginning of chapter 8, Saul (later Paul) approved of Stephen's death.
Saul entered every house and took the people that were Christians to prison.
(verse 3) In the next chapter we see Saul changed.

Verse 4 says,"Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where
preaching the word."
Deacon Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ. The people
responded, unclean spirits were cast out, and the crippled were healed.
Before this, a sorcerer named Simon had influenced the people of this area.
Some said his power was from God, but not so. When these people came
to know the Lord and were baptized, Simon wanted to join in with them.

In Liberty Bible Commentary, Jerry Falwell says:
"There seems to be some little doubt about the legitimacy of Simon's
conversion. There is no sign of repentance. There is no confession of sin. But
there is the statement that he continued with Philip and wondered, beholding
the miracles and signs which were done. Apparantly Simon wanted the secret
of Philip's power. His only concern was not for his own soul but for the ability
to get close to Philip and learn the secret of his ability to heal the sick and
perform miracles."

Verse 18-19  tells us, "And when Simon saw that through laying on of the
apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money. Saying,
Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the
Holy Ghost."

As I said before, there are some things that money can't buy, and and the
Holy Spirit is one of them. By this time, Peter and John had joined Philip.
Peter replied to Simon,"May your money be destroyed with you for thinking
God's gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not
right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he
will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy
and are held captive by sin." (verses 20-23 NLT)

Simon asked Peter to pray for him, but scripture does not say what happened
after that.


Trust the Lord's leading as He changes my agenda. Look for those seeking

Submit to the Holy Spirit's wisdom in all situations.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Standing Up

Acts 7
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man 
standing on the right hand of God.  Acts 7:56


I have been to several concerts where the audiences gave the performers a
standing ovation. This meant that they approved of the performance and
liked it very much. The above scripture is the only one that I found where
Jesus is standing on the right hand of God. To me it means that Jesus
approved of what Stephen was saying and his witness in death.

Stephen preached quite a sermon. He told about the Old Testament history of
the Jews resisting the Lord and how it applied to the present Jews.

How did people respond? (verse 57) They yelled loudly and stopped their
ears, took Stephen out of the city and stoned him to death. Stephen was the
first martyr of the Christian faith. How did he react during this? Verse 60 says
Stephen asked the Lord to not lay this sin to their charge.

Is that love or what? Stephen loved his enemies, as Jesus told us to do. He
prayed for them, too.
Matthew 5:44 tells us,"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully
use you, and persecute you."

I noticed that Jesus didn't say we could pick and choose to whom and when
we did this, did He? Oh, my, what a hard command. But, I are like Jesus
when I love, bless, do good to, and pray for these people-my enemy, those
that hate me, those that despitefully use me, and those that persecute me.
I certainly needed a refresher course on this lesson today.


Matthew Henry says:
         stiffnecked means stubborn. They would not submit their necks to the
         sweet and easy yoke of God's government; they would not bow their
         heads, no, not to God Himself; would not humble themselves before
         Him. The stiff neck is the same with the hard heart. They stopped their
         ears to the voice of God and hardened their hearts.


Be encouraged that Jesus is watching us, interceeding for us to God.

Love, bless, forgive, pray for those who hurt me. (with Jesus' help)

Bow to King Jesus without having a stiff neck and stubborn heart, doing
His will, His way.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Glowing for Jesus

Acts 6
And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face
as it had been the face of an angel.   Acts 6:15

Disputes: Acts 6:1-7 Another serious internal problem develops when some
Greek-speaking Jewish Christians complain that their widows are not given a
fair share in the daily food distribution. The apostles ask the whole community
to choose seven "known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom" to oversee this
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Handbook)


One morning when I was in the waiting room of my doctor's office, I heard the
receptionist tell a lady's husband that his wife had "the face of an angel." I
wondered what was meant by the statement. Perhaps the lady's smiling face
was shining in the midst of gloomy faces in the office. Maybe her face was
aglow because her happy heart had been with Jesus earlier. Who knows?

Liberty Bible Commentary, with Jerry Falwell as Executive Editor, says:
    This is not to intimate that he (Stephen) had the gentle, effeminate face
often portrayed in medieval paintings of angels. Rather his face was aglow
with the love of the Lord Jesus for these his persecutors.

Does my face glow with the love of Jesus? I  had not considered it an
important issue, my countenance, which is the expression of my face.

Angels appeared to a lot of people in the Bible-Hagar, Elijah, Gideon,
Samson's parents, Zacharias, Mary, and Joseph, to name a few. Almost
every chapter in Revelation speaks about angels performing tasks and
representing churches. They ministered to Jesus here on earth and were at
His command.


The beginning of chapter 6 has the Greeks upset at the Hebrews, accusing
them of neglecting their widows. In order to solve this problem, the twelve
disciples called a meeting of the church so they could chose seven deacons
to serve tables. That freed the disciples to spend time in prayer and ministering
the Word.

According to Matthew Henry, these men had to possess these qualities listed
          in verse 3:
      1. Of honest report:  free from scandal; neighbors looked upon them as
                                      men of integrity, faithful, trusted; not under a blemish
                                      for any vice, but well spoken of for every thing that is
                                      virtuous and praiseworthy; blameless, of admirable
       2. Full of the Holy Ghost: must be filled with those gifts and graces of the
                                              Holy Ghost which were necessary to the right
                                              management of this trust; men of ability and
                                              courage; fearing God, men of truth, hating
       3. Full of wisdom: they must be discreet, judicious men, that could not be
                                   imposed upon, and would order things for the best

"And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among
the people." (verse 8)
"And they (Sanhedrin) were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by
which he spake."  (verse 10)

The council stirred up the people and false witnesses against Stephen, saying
he spoke with blasphemous words against the temple and the law of Moses.
Why? Because he preached Jesus crucified and risen from the dead; and he
was full of faith, Holy spirit, and did miracles. What a testimony of Stephen's
What does my life say about me? Is there enough evidence to convict me
of being a Christian?


Allow my face to glow with the love of Jesus.

Make sure my character shows honesty, the Holy Spirit, and wisdom.


Friday, September 24, 2010


Acts 5
"And so in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men
and let them alone, for if this plan or action should be of men, it will be
overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them;
or else you may even be found fighting against God."  
Acts 5:38-39 (NAS)

Early Church Problems:
1. Hyprocrisy: One couple sells land and agree together to lie about the
    amount when they present part to the apostles for the church. This
    hypocrisy and dishonesty is a serious threat to the unity of prayer and love
    that exists. God acts and judges Ananias and Sapphira immediately.
2. Apostles persectuted: The crowds continue to gather to hear the apostles
    and be healed. This rouses the jealousy of the high priest and his associates.
   The apostles are arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin. Gamaliel
    persuades the Sanhedrin not to press for execution.
   (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Handbook)


Verses 19-20 say,"But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors,
and brought them forth, and said, 'Go, stand and speak in the temple to the
people all the words of this life.' "

Here we see the power of Jesus to open prison doors and set the captives
(apostles) free without the guards being aware of this happening.

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-3: The Spirit of the Lord is upon
me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath
sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and
recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to
preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Is there anything that is holding us captive resulting in repeated sins or habits?
Jesus can set us free from them, changing our heart and attitude.

I was held captive by a soft drink. I would drink it 3 or 4 times a day. I made
excuses, pretending it was my "comfort food" when stressed. In reality, it was
an enemy to my body. Since I have Crohn's disease, soft drinks is my
"forbidden fruit."  Let me tell you, it has been quiet a struggle to not drink it.
However, I am determined to not drink a glass for a year; four more months
to go. Jesus helps me resist the temptation.
Do you have any struggles?


The apostles had been commanded to not teach in Jesus' name, again.
 (Acts 4:18; 5:40) Did they obey? Of couse not.

In verse 29, Peter and the other apostles answered and said,"We ought to
obey God rather than men."
Gamaliel, a Pharisee and doctor of the law, told the captors, "if it be of God,
ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

So if we are doing God's will, then no one can stop us. God will take care of
them, one way or another. Our opposers are actually fighting against God.
No one wins in that situation, but God Almighty. So be encouraged, dear one.


Let Jesus set me free  from my captors.

Let God do the fighting, not me, as I do His will.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Acts 4
for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.
Acts 4:20  (NAS)

Before the Sanhedrin: The Sanhedrin is the governing body of Judea, with
limited civil as well as religious powers. This group of leaders was responsible
for forcing the crucifixion of Jesus. Understandably, they are "greatly
disturbed" at the miriacles and the announcement of Jesus' resurrection. There
are now some 5,000 believers and the leaders are determined to stop the
movement from spreading beyond Jerusalem.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Handbook)


Enduring persecution is not easy nor fun. Having people spread lies about you
isn't either, I know first hand. Rejoice and be exceeding glad of it happening?
Now that's a tall glass of tea! Jesus knows the truth and it is Him that we
serve, not ourselves. I keep reminding myself of this. Well, I'm not the only
one this happens to. Let's see how Peter handled it.

Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men. Their bold preaching
caused people to marvel at them and realize they had been with Jesus.
(verse 13)
How wonderful it is for others to recognize that "we have been with Jesus."
Do they think that about me?

After the lame man was healed and Peter preached about Jesus, in chapter
3, there were about 5,000 men saved. This is in addition to the 3,000 which
were saved on the Day of Pentecost. Were there women and children, also?
What a beginning for the First Church of Jerusalem.

After Peter's strong preaching, the apostles were held overnight for the
Sanhedrin to judge them. Why did this happen? Were they afraid of the
spreading of the gospel and people would quit following them, turning to
Jesus? Maybe it job security they were holding onto.

Anyway, the group  was threatened and let go free. (verse 21) Was all this a
surprise? No, Jesus warned the disciples in His Sermon on the Mount, found
in Matthew 5:10-12:
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and
persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven: for so
persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

According to Webster's Dictionary, persecute means make suffer for
divergent principles; harass persistently. Revile means abusive speech or

Can we, like the apostles, continue speaking about our Lord Jesus and His
teachings, inspite of the persecutions we encounter? Can I rejoice and be
glad because of it? I admit that I have not gotten there yet. Lord, give me
strength to do so.


The story continues with Peter and John reporting the threats to the believers
and they had a prayer meeting, with Peter leading it. (verses 23-31)
This resulted in Jesus' love spreading to others, sharing and caring. This group
had one heart and one soul, with all things common. The apostles had great
power to witness about Jesus' resurrection and all had great grace upon them.
(verses 32-33)

Not one of the believers in the group lacked. Jesus' love motivated the people
to sell lands and houses, bringing the money to the apostles for meeting needs
of other believers. Barnabas was mentioned in verses 36-37. He must have
brought a lot of money to the apostles after he sold his land. Can you feel the
love? Can our churches get back to the basics, spreading the love of Jesus,
meeting the needs of less fortunate believers?


Expect persecution when I stand up for Jesus and His teachings.

Rejoice and be exceeding glad when it happens, I will work on with Jesus'

Spread the love of Jesus by meeting needs of others.
Open my eyes, Lord so I see their needs. I trust Your provision.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Times of Refreshing

Acts 3
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the
Lord.     Acts 3:19


The first summer after we got married, my husband and I picked tomatoes for
a job. After being in the hot sun, it was a relief to take the bucket of tomatoes
to the shed for emptying. The cool shade was a refreshing time which enabled
us to return to the task at hand.

Christians can have peace and refreshing times with the Lord while going
through trials here on earth, but it will soon be forever as we spend eternity
with our Lord Jesus. I find strength and encouragement from His Word and
Holy Spirit during times of prayer.

At the beginning of verse 19, Peter tells the people to repent and be
converted so their sins may be blotted out. That is the only way I can have
refreshment for my soul, getting forgiveness for my sins.


"And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has
strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes
through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all,"
says Acts 3:16. (NAS)

Peter and John were about to go into the temple when Peter saw a crippled
man, from birth, at the gate.
"Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee:
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk," in verse 6.

What happened? Immediately the man's feet and ankle bones received
strength, then he leaping up, stood, walked, entered the temple with them,
walking, and leaping, and praising God. What a joyous time for this man who
had never been able to walk before this.
Did Peter take credit for this miracle? No, he told them, " the God of our
fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus." (verse 13)

Notice the names Peter gave Jesus-the Holy One, the Just, the Prince of life.
Not only is He holy, just, and life, but He is the All-Powerful God, which can
raise us up above our problems and cause us to leap for joy and praise Him.
Glory to Your Name, Lord Jesus.


Seek a time of refreshment with the Lord, not only during trying times, but at
all times.

Go to God for encouragment and praise Him no matter what is going on in
my life.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sharing and Caring

Acts 2
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship,
and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.   Acts 2:42

Day of Pentecost-This is the OT harvest festival known as the "feast of
weeks." (Exodus 34:22-23) It is one of the three religious festivals all Jews are
to attend in Jerusalem, during which an offering is to be returned to God,
according to his blessing of his people.
In the first century some 150 Jewish colonies were established in major
population centers throughout the Roman Empire. Many Jews came from
them to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, popular because the date was
well into the Mediterranean sailing season.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Handbook)


What a sermon Peter preached about the the Messiah, Jesus. As a result,
about 3,000 believed him, repented, and were saved, then baptized. It was
a remarkable beginning of the church. The people were all with one accord.
(verse 1)

In Experiencing God Day-By-Day, the Blackabys say:
"The disciples obeyed Jesus' command, waiting for God's next directive.
As they prayed, God adjusted their lives to what He intended to do next.
They were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already
planned. The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your
circumstances but to prepare you to be involved in God's activity.
If God has not responded to what you are praying, you may need to adjust
your praying to align with God's agenda."

The promised coming of the Holy Spirit happened in the form of a roaring
sound, visible tongues of fire resting on each of the 120 praying, and they
all spoke in foreign languages. It was for the purpose of the crowd of
visitors to hear about Jesus in their native language.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Handbook)

Now this was definitely as "God thing." Only He could cause enough people
to speak in enough languages so enough people heard the gospel in their own
language. Do I hear an amen?

Am I available for the Holy Spirit to speak to me while I listen? Am
I prepared to be involved in God's activity? Do I need to align my praying with
God's agenda and not my own? Yes, indeed. I thought that I was praying for
God's will, but that's not it at all. I have been on the wrong track. Lord,
prepare me to be involved in Your activity.


What were these new believers doing? Verses 42-47 tell us that they:
  • continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine
  • fellowshiped
  • broke bread
  • prayed together
  • saw apostles do wonders and signs
  • sold possessions and goods, then shared with believers in need
  • worshiped in the Temple daily
  • met in houses for the Lord's Supper
  • shared meals with great joy and generosity
  • praised God
What a church! When hearts are right with God, sharing and caring take
place. God's love overflowed.
What does this say to me? My attitude should be "very cheerful, generous,
sympathetic, concerned, with an open-heart and an open-hand," according
to Matthew Henry.


Align my prayers with God's agenda.

See where God is working, and join Him.

Listen to the Holy Spirit lead me daily.

Be prepared to change my attitudes and actions to please Him.

Do more sharing and caring with believers and non-believers, praying as I go.

Keep on keepin' on being faithful and obedient.

(These are things I am going to work on, and have not yet achieved.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

On a Mission

Acts 1
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all
Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:8

Luke writes this letter to Theophilus, a high government official, or maybe
the one who writes and copies for Luke. This book  is called "The Acts of the
I. The Jerusalem Church in Acts 1:6-6:7, is the early Christian church.
    At first the church contained only Jewish believers who worshiped at the
    Jerusalem temple and lived according to the OT law. They were distinct
    because they worshiped Jesus as God and recognized Him as the Messiah.
    They were unique because of their love for one another and sharing of their
    lives. This supportive community, with evangelistic preaching and
    miraculous healings performed by the disciples, stimulated a great turning
    to Jesus there.
(Information from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Handbook.)


"And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was
surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord,
which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast
chosen."   Acts 1:23-24

The 11 disciples were in the process of choosing a man to take Judas
Iscariot's place as a disciple. They prayed, seeking the Lord's direction as
they cast lots to determine which man would be the right one.

What caught my attention was "Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all
men." This is a truth about the Lord. He does know and see everyone's heart.
There are two other scriptures referring to this ability of God:

I Samuel 16:7 says, "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his
countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him:
for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward
appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

The priest Samuel went to the house of Jesse to pick a new king for Israel as
the Lord directed him. God told Samuel to not look at the outward
appearance, because God looked at the man's heart. David was chosen by
God because he was a man after His own heart.

I Kings 8:39 says, "Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive,
and  do and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou
knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of

Solomon was praying the above during the new temple dedication.

What should my heart be like since God knows it?
  • praising (Ps.70:8)
  • pure (Matt.5:8)
  • forgiving (Matt.18:35)
  • trusting (Prov.3:5)
  • faith (Eph.3:17)
  • singing with grace (Col.3:16)
  • fearful  (Col. 3:22)
  • standing steadfast (2Cor.7:37)
  • clean (Ps.51:10)
  • upright (Ps. 64:10) 
  • serving (Josh.22:5)

Wow! That's a long list. I'm sure there must be more adjectives which could
be added. Change my heart, O God.


I have been on two foreign mission trips. Our purpose was to share the
gospel, teach the gospel, and love through the gospel. Inspite of obstacles,
people came to know Jesus as their Savior. Our group was on a mission. So
were the apostles.

Jesus spoke to and appeared to many people during the 40 days following
His resurrection. Back in Matthew 28, it is recorded what He said to His
eleven disciples, in verses 18-20, which is called "The Great Commission."
It is repeated in Acts 1:8 in different words. Jesus was sending His disciples
on a mission. Disciple means learner and apostle means one sent on a

How was this to happen, witnessing in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the
uttermost part of the earth? The Holy Spirit would empower the apostles,
which is seen in chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost.

Do I allow the Holy Spirit to live through me? Would I see a difference
around me because of it? Am I a witness in my town, state, nation, and


Since You know my heart, Lord, make it like You want it to be, which is
more like You.

I want to be the Lord's witness whereever I am and wherever He sends me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Introduction to Acts

Introduction to Acts

Before beginning chapter 1 of the book of Acts, I thought it would be good to
have some background to help us better understand what the first century
church went through.
The following information is from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Handbook, by
Lawrence O. Richards:

The author is Luke, the physician and historian who wrote the third gospel.

During this time, the common and national language spoken was Greek.

For most of the three decades covered by Acts, Christianity was viewed as
a sect of Judaism, an officially recognized religion.

Several different emperors ruled during these years between A.D.33 and
A.D. 68: Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. Of course, the King is

Tiberius ruled from A.D. 14-A.D.37. His main contribution to the gospel story
is seen in the impact of the fall of anti-Jewish Sejanus, the guard commander
who plotted against him, in A.D. 31. That fall and relationship of Pontius Pilate,
Roman governor of Judea, to Sejanus is important to help us understand the
motivation of the man who ordered Jesus' execution.

Caligula followed Tiberius briefly, from A.D.37-41. While his mad and violent
 rule terrorized the Roman nobility, it had little impact on the story told in Acts.

Claudius ruled Rome from A.D. 41-54. He was hostile to all foreign cults and
attempted to reestablish the old Roman religion. He expelled the Jewish
population from Rome when riots broke out. This included Aquila and Priscilla.

Nero ruled wisely for the first five of his fourteen years, A.D. 54-68.
However, he caused the great fire which destroyed Rome and the Christian
community was accused. Tradition says Peter and Paul were executed during
this first official reign of terror.

Luke develops two themes, the forming of the church, and the work of the
Holy Spirit.

Luke is not teaching doctrine, as the Epistles do, instead, he is telling a story.

Acts is the story of the early church told through the ministry of two men:
Peter and Paul.

First, Peter dominates chapters 1-11, then Paul is the dominant figure in
chapters 12-28.

An outline of Acts and the chapters is as follows:
       I. The Jerusalem Church, Acts 1:6-6:7
      II. Expansion in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, Acts 6:8-9:31
     III. Inclusion of First Gentiles, Acts 9:32-12:24
     IV. Period of Gentile Evangelism, Acts12:25-16:5
      V. Establishment of the Gentile Church, Acts 16:6-19:20
     VI. Paul's Imprisonment, Acts 19:21-28:31

I will be using this same book as a reference and resource throughout the
study of the book of Acts, so you may want to keep a copy of this close.

Please continue to join me as we study these wonderful early Christians
and their strong faith, for which several died. They are an inspiration to us.
Jesus even pops in a few times, especially when Saul, later called Paul, is
converted from killing Christians to becoming one himself.
See you in chapter 1 on our next Country Road Faith walk.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Camp Fire

John 21
As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there,
and fish laid thereon, and bread.
Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
John 21:9-10


How relaxing and enjoyable it is to sit with family around the campfire on a
quiet, summer's evening, recalling the good ol' days and recent happenings of
the past year. My family charishes these times spent together at our annual
family reunion.

In this last chapter of the book of John, we have a similar setting. Peter and
six other disciples went "afishing." They caught nothing all night. Sound
familiar? Check out Luke 5. Then Jesus told the guys to put their nets out
on in the water on the right side of the ship, and they will find fish. (verse 6)

This time, the guys caught 153 fish exactly. Hmm, is there a significance?
Later, the disciples became "fishers of men" and catching souls for Jesus.

When they realize it was Jesus, here goes Peter again, jumping into the water,
but this time swimming to Jesus at the shore, not walking on the water toward
Jesus. When Peter arrived, Jesus had breakfast of  fish cooked on a fire of
coals and bread for His disciples. Jesus always took care of His friends. They
were wet, cold, weary, and hungry and got another good meal provided. Jesus
invited them to eat. Are they enjoying dinner with Jesus right now in heaven?
When Jesus invites me to come dine spiritually with Him, do I immediately drop
everything and go?

As they ate and Peter looked into the fire of coals, did he remember another
fire of coals, the one where he stood warming himself, but where he denied
being one of Jesus' disciples?
(John 18:17)

I wonder what is the significance of this story that it is recorded in the Bible?
Maybe it was a relaxing meal with the Master. Verse 25 tells us there were
many other things that Jesus did, which are not written down. Maybe it
shows that Jesus gives us another chance to serve Him after we fail Him, as
when Peter denied Jesus three times and preached mightily at Pentecost.
Peter denied knowing Jesus three times and Jesus asked three times if he loved


The story continues with Peter and Jesus taking a walk along the shore, waves
splashing against their sandles. Maybe not. It sounded good to say it.
Jesus had a good talk with Peter at any rate. He asked Peter if he loved
(agape) Him, twice.

Charles Swindoll, in his book, The Greatest Life of All, Jesus :
"Agape loves God first, loves neighbor as self, and loves enemies and friends
alike. It forgives faults and finds its highest expression when it is least deserved.
Far from impetuous, agape is a love that grows out of commitment."
(Peter answered Jesus that he phileo Him.)
"Phileo is a warm, heartfelt affection someone has for family and close friends."
The first time Jesus answered Peter,"Feed My lambs," and the second and third
time Jesus said,"Feed my sheep."

In verse 17, Peter told Jesus,"Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I
love thee."  Did Peter hold his broken life out to Jesus to take and use, since it
was all he had to offer the Savior? That was all Jesus wanted, broken pieces of
his life to  put back together and used for Him.

How much do I love Jesus? Do I offer the broken pieces of my life to Him to be
put back together and used by Him?


Be ready to obey when Jesus bids me come to Him.

Offer my heart and life that have broken pieces to Him for His use and glory.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Seeing is Believing, Or is It?

John 20
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast
believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 
John 20:29


There are things that I have not seen with my eyes, but I believe they exist
or did exist-gravity, wisdom, love, peace, George Washington, etc. Even
though they aren't visible, it doesn't mean they don't exist. Can I believe
without seeing?

Poor ole Doubting Thomas, he wasn't with the 10 disciples when Jesus
appeared to them in verse 19. All he had was the second hand accounts of
witnesses seeing and talking to Jesus after His death on the cross. He wasn't
going to believe it unless he experienced it first hand. And that he did. Jesus
made sure of it. In fact, Jesus quoted Thomas in verse 27.

It is doubtful that Thomas actually touched Jesus as he said his faith required.
He was overwhelmed, don't you think? Thomas could only say,"My Lord and
my God" in his hour of belief.

Matthew Henry says,"My Lord refers to Adonai-my foundation and stay and
My God refers to Elohim-my prince and judge."

Charles Swindoll says in his book, The Greatest Life of All, Jesus :
"This time Jesus came to see one person in particular. Not to scold or to
chastise or to shame... but to heal.
Thomas didn't move. He didn't even lift a finger. He didn't argue or resist. He
had been given everything he needed and therefore responded as only a
genuine follower of Jesus can respond."

We must believe in Jesus' deity, His resurrection, and make our open
profession of faith to those who witnessed our unbelief, as Thomas did.

Can others believe in God when they can't see Him? Does gravity, love,
wisdom, peace, and George Washington exist? Yes, indeed.

Without faith, it is impossible to please (God) him: for he that cometh to God
must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek
him. (Hebrews 11:6)

The just live by faith. (Hebrews 10:38a)

For we walk by faith, not by sight. ( 2 Corinthians 5:7)

The question is, do we believe without seeing Jesus?

         The late chaplain of the United States Senate Peter Marshall
         wrote in his book, The First Easter:
        "Thank God, we have an empty tomb.
         The glorious fact that the empty tomb proclaims to us is that life for us
         does not stop when death comes. Death is not a wall, but a door."


In verse 21b, Jesus told His disciples,"As My Father hath sent Me, even so
send I you."

Christ was sending His disciples to continue His work on earth, which was
spreading the gospel. Also, He sends His followers, believers, us into the
world to spread the gospel.

Am I?


Do I believe in Jesus without seeing Him? Yes, I do.

Lord, help me share You with others.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Who has the Power?

John 19
"Why don't you talk to me?" Pilate demanded. "Don't you realize that
 I have the power to release you or crucify you?"
Then said Jesus,"You would have no power over me at all unless it
were given to you from above."    John 19:10-11a  (NLT)


At our house, sometimes the remote control to the tv gets misplaced. We
ask each other who has the power. Sometimes we ask where it is. Whoever
finds it says,"I have the power."

Pilate said that he had the power to kill or release Jesus, but the truth is, He
only thought he did. Ultimately, God has the power over everything. He
allows people to have power and He takes it away, also. We see that
in the Old Testament with kings rising to power and then falling, being

I find comfort in this. Those in charge are not really in charge. Do I
acknowledge God is in charge of everything? Do I surrender to His power
and not keep trying to be in charge? Am I willing to give Him the remote
control to my life? Oooh, questions for me to ponder. How about you?


During the last few hours on the cross, while in the form of a man, Jesus said
some significant things:
  • Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
  • Today you will be in paradise. Luke 23:43
  • Woman, behold your son(John); Behold thy mother(Mary)verses26-27
  • My God, my God, why hast Thous forsaken Me? Mark 15:34
  • I thirst.  John 19:28
  • It is finished.  John 19:30
  • Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit.  Luke 23:46
Jesus asked the Father to forgive His executioners. Was that Love with a
capital L?
He told the thief hanging on the cross where his eternal life was.
How thoughtful Jesus was in taking care of his mother after His death. He
entrusted her care to his best friend, John.
Jesus was alone on the cross because He was baring the sins of the world.
God cannot look upon sin, so Jesus was  forsaken by Him.
He was thirsty as a man, but fulfilled Psalm 69:21.
Jesus' Spirit went to be with God after His physical death. So did His body
because it was not in the tomb, but resurrected on the third day.

Do I watch what I say? Do I carefully choose my words? Will people
remember what I say as good or bad? I definitely need some help here;
perhaps some self-contol.


Lord, I want my words to please You and encourage others.

I surrender the controls over to You. Pinch me as a reminder when I take
it back.

Help me work on exercising self-control.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Whom Do You Seek?

John 18
Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went
forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?      John 18:4


Whenever we go to the hospital to visit someone and don't know their room
number, we ask the receptionist. Often they will ask us the person's name,
who it is, and we tell them.
Jesus knew it was He that the group of men were seeking, but He asked them
anyway. Twice Jesus asked,"Whom seek ye?"

The Hebrew word darash, in English is the word seek, which means inquire,
Whom do I seek? Is it the Creator of the universe, the all-powerful
God, the ever-present One and Only God? Do I only seek God in time of
trouble? Or do I worship Him daily as Savior and Lord?

Isaiah 55:6 says,"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him
while He is near."

While Jesus, Peter, James, and John were still in the Garden of Gethsemane,
a band of 1,200 men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, along
with Judas Iscariot, came to arrest Jesus with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

Twice Jesus asked for whom they were looking, and twice the group
answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." Then Jesus told them, "I am he." He identified
Himself as  the "I AM."

In Exodus 3:14, God identified Himself to the Hebrews as the one who sent
Moses being  "I AM THAT I AM."

"Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible" says, "It is a name indicating
 rather the unsearchableness of God than His mere existence, as commonly

Whom do I seek? He is the Great I AM, Jehovah, my Creator, Sustainer of
life, the Most High God and Judge. He is the only One who loves me so much
that He died on the cross,  took my place so I don't have to  pay for my sins.
Do you know Him?  He is whatever we need Him to be. How wonderful is


Once I served on a jury, not a murder trial, but the accused broke several laws.
We had to determine if he was guilty, and then what sentence he had to serve.
Of course, it was a trial according to the laws here in America. Jesus' trial was

In The MacArthur Bible Handbook the Jewish phase of Jesus' trial occured
when He appeared before:
1. Annas (verses 13-24)
2. Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (Matthew 27:57-68)
3. The Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council (Matthew 27:1)

In "The Greatest Life of All, Jesus" by Charles Swindoll, he says they
ignored 18 specific Jewish laws governing cases like Jesus:
no trials at night, on the eve of a Sabbath, nor a secret trial; must be before
23 judges; 2 or 3 witnesses to speak for the accused; high priest couldn't
question the accused; prosecution's witness is examined; sentencing done
the next day. (These were a few broken.)

Wasn't it such a mockery of a trial? These Jews wanted to put Jesus
to death, and the Roman goverment ruled over them, they took Jesus to
the guys in charge so they could get it done.

In The MacArthur Bible Handbook the Roman phase of Jesus' trial
occured as He appeared before:
1. Pilate, who found no fault in Him (verse 38
2. Herod Antipas, his jurisdiction (Luke 23:6-12)
3. Pilate again, who offered Barabbas  to be killed instead of Jesus (Matt.27)

Sometimes the accused is guilty and sometimes they are not. In this case,
Jesus Christ was innocent of any crimes. It was true that He was the Son
of God, and He didn't blaspheme as they accused Him of wrong.
Oops, next chapter, so visit me tomorrow as this continues.

Do I hastily judge people? Do I unfairly question the actions or words of


Seek God through Jesus, and Him only to worship.

Trust Jesus as the Great "I AM" which I need. He is whatever I need.

Allow God to be the Judge of others.

Friday, September 10, 2010

One of a Kind

John 17
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  John 17:3


Knowing God through experience is different from having a head knowledge
about Him.

In Blackabys' book,"Experiencing God Day By Day":
Jesus' prayer was that you would come to know God and His presence in
your life and experience. Don't settle for a head knowledge of God's love.
Jesus prayed that you would experience the depth and width and height of
His love and that you would enjoy God's full and unending love in the 
day-to-day experiences of your life.

How wonderful it is to know someone is praying for me, especially when you
I am having a specific problem or issue that is very challenging. It adds to my
confidence that Jesus is talking to the Father about it and for me.

This chapter is Jesus' prayer to the Father before His crucifixion and leaving
His disciples. Let's see what He specifically prayed for.

First, Jesus prayed for His disciples and future ones. (verse 20)
He knew the world would hate His followers because we are not
of the world, and it hated Him, too. (verse 14)

Next, Jesus prayed that God would keep His disciples and us from evil and
that He would sanctify us through God's truth, the Word. (verses 15,17)
"Jesus is continually interceding with the Father on your behalf for strong
protection from evil," says Henry Blackaby. (from the same book as above)

Also, Jesus prayed for Himself to glorify God. (verse 1) This was part of His

Last, Jesus prayed that God's love may be in us and He prayed for our unity.
(verse 25-26)
"As the Father expressed His love for a broken and sinful world, this passion
was manifested through the life of His Son. Jesus recognized that no ordinary
love could motivate Him to go to the cross. Only His Father's love was
powerful enough to compel Him to commit His life to the saving purpose of
His Father. You cannot forgive others or go the extra mile with others or
sacrifice for others unless you have first been filled with the boundless love of
God," says Blackaby. (from the same book as above)

Jesus was one of a kind. No one ever was like Him and no one will ever be
like Him. So if I want to be like Jesus, I need to pray for others, pray that my
life glorifies the Father, allow God's love to overflow in me, and be in unity
with others.


Jesus prayed that we will know and believe that God sent Him and know that
he loves us. (verses 20-23)

Also, Jesus prayed that God would sanctify them  through His truth, which is
the Word. (verse 17)
The word sanctify means set apart. Jesus wants us to be different from the
world, a peculiar people, according to 1 Peter 2:9. He wants us to be
recognizable as His followers. The problem with lots of people is that they
want to be like everyone else and not stand out in the crowd.


Jesus, give me strength to be unique and peculiar for You.

Help me to keep praying for my brothers and sisters in the faith.

I want to glorify the Father, love others, and be in unity with them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


John 16
"Your joy no man taketh from you," spoke Jesus.  John 16:22b


I remember the joy I felt when I was carrying our first child. Another time was
when I found out we were going to be grandparents. It is an emotion hard to
describe. Do you have joyful memories?

Joy is a sudden pleasure, a keen delight, according to Webster's Dictionary.
The world will try to take away our joy. No one can take it away from the
Jesus wants us to have peace and good cheer. (verse 33) However, in this world,
we can expect tribulation. Does that mean trials and hard times will come?
Yes, so let's be ready.

Don't let them people or circumstances rob you of your joy. Continue to have
faith in Christ. He conquered the enemy and the world, so can we.
1 John 4:4 says,"Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
Don't we all need to hear this often? I sure do.


Verse 8 tells us,"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin,
and of righteousness, and of judgment."

What will the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit do?
1. He will convict the world of its sins, bringing people to repentance.
2. He will convince the world that Jesus is the Christ and that He was
    righteous, that is, right before God.
3. He will bring judgement to the  enemies of Christ.
4. He will guide us into all truth.
5. He will speak what He hears from the Father.

That is quite a job, but then, the Holy Spirit is God, a part of the Trinity, so
nothing is too difficult for Him.


Stay right with God by confessing my sins.

Be ready to meet my God at any time.

Share with others what is to come.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Luscious Grapes

John 15
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  
John 15:5


Lucious, huge clusters of grapes grew on the fence of our backyard years ago.
They were so tastey and sweet to eat. I pruned back some young branches,
which produced no grapes.This was done in order to have an even better crop
the next year.

Jesus used the illustration of Him being the grapevine (vine), God being the
garderner, and we being the brances. If He is in us and we are in Him, Jesus
will produce the fruit of the spirit in us, since He is our source of life. Howerver,
if we do not produce fruit, God will prune us, we will wither, and be cast away.

"Jesus said it is not our activity that produces fruit, it is our relationship with
Him," teaches Henry Blackaby.

The fruit of the Spirit is found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace,
longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness (humility), and
temperance (self-control).

Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing. So it is Him that produces
this fruit in us, not us. It is not what we do that produces spiritual fruit, but
us abiding in Him.

Am I abiding in Jesus and Jesus in me so that He produces in me love, joy,
peace, patience, gentleness, humility, and self-control ? Without Him, I can
do nothing. (Are these characteristics making me sweet like lucious grapes?)


Jesus said in verses 13-14,"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay
down his life for his friends.Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command
Who in the Bible was known as a "friend of God?"  Abraham (Is.41:8),
Moses (Ex.33:11), and David (1Kings 11:4) were each known as the friend
of God. They all sought after God with all their heart. Jesus is our true friend
because He laid down His life for us.

Am I a friend of God, which dies to self for others and obeys Jesus? Later in
the garden, Jesus will pray "Not My will but God's will be done."
That should be my attitude, too.
Did you notice that Jesus said several times to love one another? If I am a
friend to God and to others, I will love them.


Abide in Jesus and He in me so I show the fruit of the Spirit.
Be a friend of God and a friend to others.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


John 14
Jesus said to him (Thomas), "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No
one comes to the Father except through Me."   John 14:6


We have taken a three-day drive to Rhode Island to visit our daughter's family.
There is no way we could accomplish this without following a road map.
There are big cities, such as Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Louisville, and
the Big Apple, New York City to bypass, go around, or simply avoid. Even
using a map to guide us on our way, we got lost a few times, thanks to my

The Blackabys said in "Experiencing God Day-By-Day Devotional":
          If you are walking daily with the Lord, you will not have to find God's
          will-you will already be in it. The Holy Spirit's role is to guide you step
          by step, to do God's will. Walking closely with God each day
          guarantees that you will be exactly where He wants you to be. You
          would have to reject all of the Holy Splirit's activity in your life in order
          to get out of the will of God.
          The disciples never had to ask Jesus where they should go next. They
          simply looked to see where Jesus was going and stayed close to Him!
          Jesus was their "way." They didn't need a map as long as they had
          Jesus. Too often, we would prefer a road map of our future rather than
          a relationship with the Way. It often seem easier to follow a plan that to
          cultivate a relationship. We can become more concerned with our
          future than we are with walking intimately with God today.
          Jeus will never give you a substitute for Himself. He is the only way to
          the Father.

It is Jesus who shows us the way to live our Christian life. We find out how
He lived in the Bible.  How often do I read this map? Do I follow it so I can
stay on the narrow path? Each day He gives me something to work on in my


Often, I am  like Martha, "troubled about many things," as Jesus put it.
I get concerned (sounds better than saying worried or troubled) about a lot of
things-family, finances, economy, job, aging,etc. What are  you worried about,
I mean what are you concerned about?

The word trouble means disturbed in the mind; agitated, worried, distressed,
inconvenienced. Sounds strong doesn't it?
In this chapter, Jesus tells us twice, "Let not your heart be troubled," in
verses 1 and 27b. Believe me, I know it's easier said than done.
Why did Jesus tell us to not be troubled? He followed the statements with,
"ye believe in God, believe also in me" and "neither let it be afraid."

I counted 5 times that the form of the word believe is used by Jesus in this
chapter. Webster's Dictionary says believe means to accept as true. So
what is Jesus telling me? Simply, don't be troubled; don't be worried.
Believe in Him; He is the Way; He is the Truth; He is the Life. It will all be
taken care of, just trust Him and let Him do it. Okay, I admit that I have some
homework to do on this one. Anyone going to join me? (Guess I'm not the
only one who needed to hear this because Jesus kept telling His disciples to
believe in Him.)

Wait, we aren't through yet. In verse 27, He leaves us with peace. The word
peace means tranquility, quietness, in Webster's Dictionary. I can handle some
of that.
Another thing He mentioned is that we have the Holy Ghost, which is called the
Comforter and He teaches all things and brings all things to remembrance.

So we can have peace and comfort when we believe in Jesus. Sounds good
to me. How about you?


Walk daily with Jesus, reading His Word and following His directions.

Stop being troubled, worried, and believe Jesus can and will take care
of the problem.

Ask Him for peace and comfort.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Assume The Position

John 13
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought
to wash one another's feet.  John 13:14


In our church many years ago, there was a sweet older lady who had colon
cancer. During the last six months of her life, she wore a colostomy. Because
of her frailty, she was unable to daily care for it, so I would stop by her house
on my way to teaching school and meet  her need. It was a very humiliating
situation for her, though I didn't mind since I had changed many diapers of my
two children. It was  an expression  of Christ's  love through me.

Matthew Henry's Commentary says:
   There are four reasons why Christ washed His disciples' feet:
  1. That He might testify His love to His disciples (verses 1-2)
    2.   That He might give an instance of His own voluntary humility and
           condescension. (verse 3)
    3.  That He might signify to them spiritual washing (verses 6-11)

    4.  That He might set them an example. (verses 12-17)   

With His love and humility, Jesus washed the disciples' feet, showing them an
example to do to each other. What position did He assume?  He  "assumed a
servant's position."
(I think He was talking about spiritually having their sinful heart  washed in His
blood shed on the cross, which was coming.)

In verse 14, Jesus tells His disciples to wash one another's feet. In this manner,
they would show love and humility as they bowed before each other, doing
a servant's act. There was no servant in the upper room that day to greet the
disciples and Jesus at the door, washing their dirty feet.
Bowing down to wash another's feet  shows the importance of the other
person. It doesn't have to be feet washing, but it can be serving in another

Am I serving others in Jesus' name with love and humility? The attitude is just
as important as the task.


In verses 34-35, Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye
love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to

Although He was speaking to His disciples, wasn't Jesus also speaking to us?
People will know that we love Jesus when we love other believers.
He is commanding us to love our brethren, but does it stop there? He told us
to love our enemy and pray for those who despitefully use us. I think that
covers everyone. Sounds like I have some practice work to do this week.


Be a servant with a attitude of love and humiliation.

Show an act of kindness to someone each day.



Friday, September 3, 2010

Lifted Up

John 12
And I, if  I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
John 12:32


The same(Greeks) came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of
Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 
John 12:21

Philip, a disciple of Jesus', was apparently from the same area of these Greeks.
Perhaps they thought knowing someone on the "inside" would get them a
front seat to hear Jesus. Why did they want to see Jesus? Was it so they
could return home and brag about it? Did they want to have a conversation
with Jesus? Did they want to be taught by Him? Scripture doesn't tell us.

It wasn't enough to see Jesus, but they (Greeks) must serve Him. (verse 26)
Do I desire to see, be with, Jesus? Do I communicate with Him? Jesus tells
us to die to self and the world, then follow and serve Him, in verses 25-26.

We hear Jesus communing with God His Father in verse 28, so it shows us
that talking with God is important. How often do I?


Verse 32 says,"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto

Jesus desired to draw both Jews and Gentiles to Him. He was lifted up, up on
a cross as The Savior. He doesn't force us to come, but wants us  willingly to
come to Him.
Do I lift up Christ, glorifying Him in all I say and do? After all, He died in my place.
Do I make Him first in my life? These are things I need to work on, for sure.


Lift up Christ with honor and praise.

Serve Him and give Him first place in my heart.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Come Forth

John 11
And when he (Jesus) thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice,
"Lazarus, come forth."  John 11:43


I tell people that I am living my extended life and daily thank my Heavenly
Father for it.
It happened in December of 2002. I was settled into my hospital room after
surgery and given a pump for pain medication. However, the medication pump
was not regulated correctly and I received too much at once.
My husband decided to pop in to see me before he, our son, and his wife
went out to eat. When he entered my hospital room, my husband knew
something was wrong. He saw my lips turning blue and I had stopped
breathing. Immediately, he yelled for help in the hallway. Soon my room was
filled with nurses and doctors. (My family doctor, which was an internal
medicine specialist, happened to be in the hospital at the time.) Obviously, they
brought me back to life.

This chapter in John begins with Lazarus being sick and his sisters, Mary and
Martha, sending word to Jesus. They needed and wanted His help, but Jesus
didn't come for two days.
Jesus said,"This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God,
that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." (verse 4)
Remember, He loved this family and often visited them.

By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead in the grave four days.
Both sisters told Him,"Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died."

Jesus said unto her,"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever
liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"

The three went to the grave of Lazarus.
He told them again,"Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou
shouldest see the glory of God?" And they did.
In verse 43, Jesus spoke with a loud voice,"Lazarus, come forth."
And he did.

As a result of all this happening, the sorrow of the sisters and pain that Lazarus
suffered, many Jews believed on Jesus. (verse 45)

I consider this an illustration of what Jesus did later-His resurrection from the
dead. He calls us to Himself for salvation and to believe. When we do, our old
person is buried and a new person is made alive in Jesus. All we do is ask
Jesus to forgive us of our sins and come into our heart. Baptism illustrates this,
though it is not a part of salvation.


In verses 49-52, Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest, prophesied that " it is
expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole
nation perish not. And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather
together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad."
He was speaking of Jesus dying for the Jews and the Gentiles.
After that, the chief priests and Pharisees gave a command that if any man
knew where Jesus was, they must report it immediately.
Then the Jewish leaders began plotting Jesus' death.


Go when Jesus calls me to Him.
Believe in Jesus, that He is the resurrection and the life.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sheep and Shepherds

John 10
My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  John 10:27-28


As a child, in the hot summer evenings, I would hear my grandfather "calling
the cows home". Soon there would be mooing heard. His cows knew this
farmer's voice. They knew he was taking good care of them, so it was for their
benefit to go to him.  (Although, animals don't have reasoning like that, they
still came to him.)  Grandpa lived just down the hill from us and his voice
echoed. I understand it is the same way with sheep, they know their
shepherd's voice.

At the beginning of this chapter, Jesus tells us about the sheep, shepherd, and
thief. He says that the good shepherd knows his own sheep, calls them by
name, leads them out to pasture, and lays down his own life for his sheep. The
sheep know their shepherd's voice and  follow him. The thief comes to steal,
kill, and destroy the sheep. He doesn't enter the fold (pen for sheep) by the
door, but sneaks in, calls the sheep, but they flee from him. The shepherd
stays and even sleeps at the doorway to the fold so nothing can enter and
take or kill his sheep.

This is a good illustration which Jesus used.
In verse 9, Jesus says,"I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be
saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

We are saved by believing in only Jesus. As Christians, we are the sheep and
Jesus is our Good Shepherd. In verse 27, we know His voice, He knows us,
and we follow Jesus. He gives us peace when we do.

Henry and Richard Blackaby say in "Experiencing God Day By Day":
If Christ is the door in your life, He will guide you into every experience
          of Him that He wants, and there will be nothing that people can do to

          stop Him.

          If we believed Jesus is the door for our lives, we would be assured

          that through Christ we have access to everything He wants to do in and

          through us.
          Jesus warns us to be on guard for thieves who will try to rob us of what

         God has for us. Jesus wants us to enjoy aboundant life.(verse 10)

Are we allowing Him to be our Door and Good Shepherd?


"I am the Son of God," Jesus says in verse 36. We must believe this in order
to be saved. Jesus proved Himself many times in the scriptures.
Also, in verse 28, Jesus says that as His sheep (children), we will not perish
but have eternal life. Then He goes on to say that no man can pluck us out of
His hand. That's my security.


Listen to the voice of Jesus and find fulfillment.

Trust and obey Him.

Allow Jesus to be my Door and Good Shepherd.