Daily Nuggets

Jun. 30, 2020

Acts 20 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia. When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece. And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. But these had gone on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas. We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days.

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together. And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, “Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.” 11 When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. 12 They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted.

13 But we, going ahead to the ship, set sail for Assos, intending from there to take Paul on board; for so he had arranged it, intending himself to go [i]by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. 15 Sailing from there, we arrived the following day opposite Chios; and the next day we crossed over to Samos; and the day following we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them,

“You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. 26 Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.

 

In today’s text it says: On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.  There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together.  And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead.  But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, “Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.”  When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted.  In 1 Corinthians 1:23 Paul said:  We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness. In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 he said:  When I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.  Paul’s message was simple, Christ crucified. Yet he spoke for hours. Do we sometimes miss the demonstration of the Spirit and of power because we don’t allow for enough time to hear the message of Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins? Long after most people today would have left to go home, the power of God; the power of the resurrection was demonstrated in Paul’s ministry, giving life in place of death. In the church today, often pastors are hired based on their superiority of speech, rather than on the power of the Spirit. Still, the congregation becomes restless after twenty-five or thirty minutes of superior speech. People today don’t want to hear about the crucifixion. They don’t want to be reminded of the cruelty of the cross or of their need for repentance. People today want to be encouraged and motivated, not necessarily to be better, but rather to do better; to be successful by the world’s standard.

Near the end of Paul’s ministry, he encouraged Timothy, his protégé, saying:  Realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of  depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all… I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.  (2 Timothy 3:1-9; 4:1-4) Tolerance is a buzz word in our culture and society today and the idea that we should be tolerant has made its way into much of the church. Those who speak of tolerance though, will not tolerate or endure sound doctrine. They will not tolerate the simple message of Christ, crucified for our sins. They will not tolerate rebuke or reproval. Again, the only exhortation they want is how to do better, not how to be better.

If we would see the power of God demonstrated in our meetings today, we need to be a people who tolerate the simple message of Christ and the cross. From sunrise to sunset, that should be our focus. In Mark 16:15-20 it says:  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.

In the text Paul says:  Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;  and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.  Amen.

 

 

Jun. 29, 2020

Acts 19:13-41 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

 

But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. 18 Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. 19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.

21 Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

23 About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; 25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. 26 You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. 27 Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.”

28 When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. 30 And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him. 31 Also some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater. 32 So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander, since the Jews had put him forward; and having motioned with his hand, Alexander was intending to make a defense to the assembly. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 35 After quieting the crowd, the town clerk said, “Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image which fell down from heaven? 36 So, since these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against any man, the courts are in session and proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly. 40 For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today’s events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable to account for this disorderly gathering.” 41 After saying this he dismissed the assembly.

 

In John 14:13-14 Jesus says:  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.  Why does it seem that often we ask in Jesus name and we even ask believing as He told us in Mark 11:24, yet what we ask remains undone? In today’s text it says:   Some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Is that sometimes how we are left feeling in our battles?  Ephesians 6:12 says:  Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.   When we are struggling against spiritual forces and use the name of Jesus, we should be certain that it is the Spirit of Jesus that the spirits will see. After Jesus said in John 14:13-14 that He would do what we ask in His name, in verses 15-17;23 Jesus says:   “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;  that is the Spirit of truth… “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”   If we want to declare the name of Jesus in the situations we face, we should be certain that we have loved Him, keeping His commandments. Then it will be the abiding presence of God, the Father, Jesus Himself and the Holy Spirt that the spiritual forces we struggle against will see. Otherwise, if we have not loved the Lord, keeping His commandments, they may say:   “I recognize Jesus, but who are you?”  It is vital that we not only know Jesus intimately, but that we are also known by Him.  In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says:  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

The text says:  This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.   When the true power of God and Christ is revealed, people will turn from what is false and the word of the Lord will grow mightily. If they do not see truth in the lives of those who name the name of Jesus though, they will not be convinced.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, may Your word grow mightily today. May the power of the name of Jesus be revealed through the love and obedience of those who call on Your name. When I struggle against spiritual forces, may it be Your abiding presence that they see. In the name of Jesus, the name above all names, I pray.  Amen.

 

 

Jun. 28, 2020

Psalm 146 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

The Lord an Abundant Helper.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord while I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth;
In that very day his thoughts perish.
How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!

 

In Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus says:  “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment.   Our obedience to the rest of God’s commandments; God’s instructions about what we should and should not do, is based in our love for God. In John 14:15 Jesus says:  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”    The psalmist says:  Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.  Acts 17:27-28 says: He is not far from each one of us;for in Him we live and move and exist.   If we love God, we will also praise Him, not only for what He does for us, but simply because through Him we live and have our being.  Each day is a gift from Him, so each day should be lived as an expression of praise to the God who gives us life.

The psalmist says:  Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.  Many people today are trusting in human ideologies, fostered and imagined by mortal people. It would have been better if these failed and flawed thoughts would have perished with those who imagined them. No human ideology or institution is trust worthy because:  as it is written,“There is none righteous, not even one;There is none who understands,There is none who seeks for God;All have turned aside, together they have become useless;There is none who does good,There is not even one.” Their throat is an open grave,With their tongues they keep deceiving,The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;Their feet are swift to shed blood,Destruction and misery are in their paths,And the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)  The failed and flawed human ideologies, that so many are trusting in today, are filled with deceit, bitterness and destruction. Their end is misery to those who follow their path. The psalmist says:  How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.  Many people today cry out for justice and equality. No human institution or ideology can create true equality, because the truth is, we are not all equal. It is evident that we are different in many ways. Closing our eyes and our minds to the truth that each person is uniquely created does not create equality or justice. The idea that what is exceptional should be diminished for the sake of what is average is an injustice to us all. If we no longer celebrate what is exceptional, where will our future scientists, doctors and engineers come from? Where will the craftsmen, the tradesmen and the teachers come from? If all are ordinary, where will the artists, the musicians and writers come from? Who will be the athletes that inspire the dreams of children?  God sets us free from the prison of the limitations of human equality, because He created us in His image and likeness. Each person is both themselves a gift from God and uniquely gifted by God. We are free and we are equal when we acknowledge that: He is not far from each one of us;for in Him we live and move and exist.

The psalmist says:  The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises up those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous; The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!   Rather than bowing down to the whims or the will of human ideology, if we will bow down to God, He will lift us up. His true justice and true equality is based in that He reigns forever. This life, with its goodness and its difficulties is not all that there is. Regardless of any situation or circumstance, regardless of our gender, race, ethnicity or national heritage, regardless of our financial or social standing; regardless of any and every possible way that people can be compared and divided, we are all given the same opportunity to have eternal life with God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. The Lord will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!   Amen.
 

       

 

  
 

 

Jun. 27, 2020

Psalm 145 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

The Lord Extolled for His Goodness. A Psalm of Praise, of David.

I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The Lord is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
12 To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

14 The Lord sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.
18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.
20 The Lord keeps all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

 

The psalmist says:  I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.  There is a song and it is frequently said, God bless America. But, should we not bless God? If we, like the psalmist, would bless the Lord every day, we should know how it is that we bless Him. God is not like a man, to whom we say may the Lord bless you. If God is the one who blesses, then we cannot bless Him merely with our words. God is blessed by our praise and worship, but He is also blessed by our obedience. So, if we would bless God, we must be obedient to Him. In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”   I john 4:19 says: We love because He first loved us.  If we want the blessings of God, we should bless Him also, through our love and obedience.

The psalmist says:  Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And I will tell of Your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.   Perhaps the reason that there are less today who declare God’s mighty acts; who meditate on His splendor, His majesty and His wonderful works, perhaps the reason that so few speak of the power of His awesome acts and tell of His greatness; perhaps the reason that so few eagerly utter the memory of His abundant goodness and shout joyfully of His righteousness, is that from generation to generation, we have increasingly failed to praise His works to one another. Today, when Bibles are readily available, printed in many languages; available in recorded and digital forms, less people are intimately familiar with God’s word and His works than they were hundreds of years ago. Many Christians have never actually read God’s word and many neither meditate on it or Him. There was a time not too long ago, that God’s goodness was acknowledged and spoken of in nearly every aspect of our society. God was honored through music and art; in entertainment; in our schools and at our public gatherings. Now there are generations who have never heard of the goodness of God and His righteousness is disdained rather than honored. This generation believes more in karma than in the blessings of God, and so a society and culture that kills unborn babies and embraces immorality over righteousness; lawlessness over obedience; a society that does nor bless God, should not expect to be blessed by Him.

The psalmist says:  The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, And Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power; To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.  That our society does not honor, bless or even acknowledge God does not change the fact that His dominion endures and that His kingdom is everlasting. 2 Peter 3:9 says:  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  Jesus could return at any time, but the desire of God is not that people would be judged for their sin, but that all would repent and not perish. John 3:16 says:  God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  Romans 5:8 says:  God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Even in this sinful and unrighteous society that has failed to honor, acknowledge and bless God, His love, His mercy and grace is still available, it is demonstrated in the cross, to all who will bless Him.  

The psalmist says:  The Lord sustains all who fall And raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them The Lord keeps all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.   Philippians 2:10-11 says:  At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.   If we will fall and bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father, He will raise us up and sustain us. God will satisfy our needs and desires. He is righteous and kind. Though we as a nation, a society and a culture have strayed far from God, He is near if we will call upon Him in truth. The psalmist says: Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. (Psalm 37:3-6)  God will give us our every desire if we will delight in Him; if we will bless Him.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.    Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, may I walk in Your abundant blessings, but even more may I be a blessing to You.  Amen.  

 

     

 

 

Jun. 26, 2020

Acts 17 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

 

Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.

10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. 17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. 18 And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” 33 So Paul went out of their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

If we look at today’s text, I believe we can see parallels to the cities that Paul ministered in and our own society today. The text says:  Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.   We see today that often it is a small group of people, who for jealousy or fear, manipulate the masses. They stir up the crowds, and so they do the very thing they accuse others of doing by upsetting the world. They attack those who disagree with them and bring charges against them to the authorities. Like the mob in the text, these today will not relent until those they attack and even those in authority pledge their support.

The text says:  The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.  Those today, who like the Bereans, will be noble-minded and examine the scripture to determine if they are so, will find truth. Unfortunately though, truth is not the goal of those who want to stir and agitate the crowds. They rely on louder voices. They repeat their own opinions, believing that through their repetition, a lie will become the truth. They say truth is not based in fact, but rather that each person determines their own truth based on their feelings. Many today want to erase history so that they can twist and rewrite a new historical truth. Those who are noble will instead research history so that they can know truth. In 1 Kings 19:11-13 it says:  He (God) said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” The voice of truth does not speak through violence, shaking by destructive fires or being loud and forceful. The voice of truth is soft and gentle. It is heard by those who will draw near and listen.  

The text says:  While Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.  So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.  And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.  And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?  For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.”  (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)  So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;  nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;  and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,  that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;  for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.   Many people today, like the Greeks, consider themselves enlightened. They entertain and embrace religions, philosophies and ideologies that they neither know or understand.  Many who shout the loudest, in the stirred up mobs, worship and serve unknown gods. They have little or no knowledge of the causes they support. In many cases the very things people claim to be against, are the things that the causes they represent, protest and riot for are seeking to bring about. Those who cry out for tolerance are often the least tolerant of any who disagree or oppose them. Those who seek freedom from oppression fight for the ideology that seeks to oppress them.

Today there is a choice we all can make. We can choose not to be manipulated by the loud voices of the media and others who would divide us. We can choose to truly seek truth, nobly searching both scripture and the record of history. Rather than, in ignorance, worshipping and supporting causes and ideologies that we do not know, we can seek and support truth based in fact rather than opinion. Having knowledge does not make a person wise or intelligent, if that knowledge is based in lies.   Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.  

Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Truth is revealed in Your Word and in Your life. In the midst of the loud and violent voices speaking in the world, may I always hear and heed Your still small, gentle voice, the voice of truth. Amen.