Archive for : July, 2019

07/17/19 – Romans 4:1-12; Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 19:15-16

Psalm 13: How longLord? Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?   How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Can’t you feel David’s despair as he pens this Psalm?  Indeed, we are sometimes in the same state when it appears that the Lord has left us and we are on our own.

But David also pens the reality that is available for all believers — JUST BELIEVE!

Psalm 13: But I trust in your unfailing love;  my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,  for he has been good to me.

 

 

07/16/19 – Romans 3:9-31; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 19:13-14

Romans 3: 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

In these verses Paul continues to very objectively explain a revolutionary religious tenant.  It is not the “Law” that justifies – it is faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ.  And this is all in fulfillment of the prophets who spoke to the Jews over hundreds of years.  In fact, Coffman estimates that there are roughly 333 prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament.

And how blessed we are to be included in this grace.

07/15/19 – Romans 2:25-3:8; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 19:10-12

Acts 2: 25  Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the[c] written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

As you read Romans 2 can you see the “groundbreaking” tenant that Paul is teaching?  It is not the outward symbolism (circumcision) that brings salvation it is obedience to God’s will.  And in our time nothing has changed – obedience is greater than any outward symbol we may present.

07/14/19: Romans 2:1-24; Psalm 10:16-18; Proverbs 19″8-9

Acts 2:  You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else,  for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

I can see no greater warning throughout scripture on the temptation for us to judge others.  While we may offer to help correct behaviors that are ungodly we are not to judge the person.

Our human frailties, weaknesses  and prejudices prevent us from seeing the real “truth” in a matter.  No – we are not to judge — the Lord will do so.

07/13/19 – Romans 1:18-32; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 19:6-7

Romans 1: 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

These verses speak to me of the “free will” that we all have and the tragedy that occurs when this will is exercised not for serving God but for not following and even opposing His teachings.

These verses also speak of how important it is for us when we have the opportunity to reach-out to these people & remind them of the truth and promises within God’s Word.

07/12/19 – Romans 1:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 19:4-5

Having recently read about the trial of Jesus and Stephen and sitting through Artie’s Thursday night series on the last week of Christ, today I was drawn to Proverbs 19:5.

Proverbs 19:5  A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free. 

As opposed to the tenants taught by God’s inspired word the leaders of the Jews used multiple false witnesses to “convict” Jesus and Stephan.   And we know that within God’s timeline they will be punished.

07/11/19 – Acts 28:1-31; Psalm 7:1-17; Proverbs 19:1-3

Proverbs 19:   A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
    yet their heart rages against the Lord.

I think today’s verses from Proverbs speak to a reality that many people just refuse to accept.  The way we live our lives has not only consequences for eternity but for each day that we live.

The Lord certainly blesses us and watches over us, but we are responsible  for the results of the daily actions we take — be they Godly or in opposition to God’s will.

We often have no one to “blame” but ourselves.

 

07/10/19 – Acts 27:21-44; Psalm 8:1-9; Proverbs 18:23-24

As I read the remainder of Acts 27, a word kept echoing in my mind — faith.  In this case it is the faith of the pagan sailors in the inspiration of Paul.  These sailors took steps that no sailor would have taken unless they had utmost faith in the speaker.

Acts 27:  30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.

Acts 27: 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.

Did you notice what the sailors did that was so unusual?  First, due to their faith in Paul they broke a primary tenant of seamanship.  They discarded their lifeboat – their only earthly mode of rescue.  Then, they threw away all of their food – essential for human nourishment.

And we did not hear Paul preach a single sermon to these men.  What we do see is his example of faith – he thanked God “in front of them all.”

The message is clear to me — it is never so much what we “say” as what we “do.”

07/09/19 – Acts 27:1-20; Psalm 7:1-17; Proverbs 18:22

As we read of Paul’s transport to Rome recognize that some refer to this as Paul’s “fourth missionary journey” for we never see Paul stop evangelizing.  I hope you will follow the trip on a map.  The following link will take you to a map if you do not have one.

To me today’s description by Luke is a bit like an adventure story and will continue tomorrow.  And as you read this harrowing adventure & the threat to all of the lives on board the vessel do not forget a passage  we read earlier in:

Acts 2311 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.

God’s “big story” will prevail!

 

https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/apostle-paul-fourth-missionary-journey-map.html

 

 

07/08/19 – Acts 26:1-32; Psalm 6:1-10; Proverbs 18:20-21

A singularity of purpose was my observation from today’s reading.

Acts 26: 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”  29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

While on trial for his life Paul did not consider his own situation,  Instead, he continued to evangelize – even to the highest level of government.

07/07/19 – Acts 25:1-27; Psalm 5:1-12; Proverbs 18:19

As I read the passage from Acts today I was, again, taken by how Paul was always able to use the decisions of men to further the word of God.

Acts 25:  10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

We realize that to appear before Caesar Paul had to travel to Rome.  And in Rome Paul penned at least 4 of his books – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.  And, just as importantly he continued to witness to those around him.

The warning to me is to always be aware:   “What excuses do I make?” to not use my earthly circumstances to bring the Good News to others.

 

07/06/19 – Acts 24:1-27; Psalm 4:1-8; Proverbs 18:16-18

I have a stress-filled job, and I also have periodic bouts of insomnia. Could there be a connection between the two?

In a word, yes. Not all insomnia is due to stress, but people who are under considerable stress can have insomnia. In the case of insomnia related to stress, alleviating the stress should alleviate the insomnia. Stress causes insomnia by making it difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep, and by affecting the quality of your sleep. Stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness.   (From the National Sleep Foundation.”)

David is begin pursued and battled by his own son, Absalom and yet in Psalm Chapters 3 and 4 we see David acknowledge that he will sleep:

Psalm 3:  I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.  I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

Psalm 4In peace I will lie down and sleep,  for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

And why does he sleep — it is his faith that no matter the circumstances the Lord will provide.  Lord willing, our faith will grow and mimic David’s.

 

 

 

 

07/05/19 – Acts 23:11-35; Psalm 3:1-8; Proverbs 18:14-15

Doesn’t the episode of the plot to kill Paul and his being escorted by Roman soldiers to Governor Feliz read like a Hollywood script?   What has always  impressed me was the strength of the force accompanying Paul — 200 soldiers; 70 horseman; and 200 spearmen.  I would think that 470 men could provide a suitable escort!

And another thought for today — just as we have seen throughout scripture the Lord’s plan includes using an enemy of the nation of Israel (Rome.)  As Artie has preached, the Lord’s “Big Story” will not be contained.

07/04/19 – Acts 22:17-23:10, Psalm 2:1-12; Proverbs 18:13

In today’s reading I see two parallel episodes.  First, in Acts we, again, see the Sanhedrin, the rulers of the Jewish bind together to oppose and persecute Paul.

Then I read Psalm 2 and how prophetic is the inspired Word to what Paul is incurring:

Psalm 2: 

Why do the nations conspire
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.” 

 

07/03/19 – Acts 21:37-22:16; Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 18:11-12

First, I am sure you see that the reading plan is taking us through another reading of the Book of Psalms.  It will be interesting to see what new perspectives we gain on this reading of the inspired Word.

Paul is certainly inspired by the Holy Spirit when he teaches and pens his letters.  But sometimes I think we may underplay what an earthly  “qualified” man he was.

First in verses 37-40 we see that he fluently speaks both Greek and Aramaic/Hebrew.  Then in v.3 we see that he was taught by one the renowned educators in the history of Judaism, Gamaliel.  And finally we see the dedication (although negative) that he demonstrated in persecuting the church.

But his true nature, his true calling did not begin until he encountered the Lord.  This causes me to reflect — how many terrifically skilled people are squandering their talents just because they do not have a mission?

When we are dedicated in allowing the Lord to use us (as did Paul) we will see our talents grow as our skills are used for the utmost purpose – spreading the Gospel of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

07/02/19 – Acts 21:18-36; Psalm 150:1-6; Proverbs 18:9-10

The book of Psalms ends with a verse of only 11 words (in the NIV.) Yet, these words speak volumes of the greatness of God. — He warrants praise from all of His creation.

Psalm 150:  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.

07/01/19 – Acts 21:1-17; Psalm 149:1-9; Proverbs 18:8

Acts 21:  After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.

Acts 21: We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day.

Acts 21Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven.

Did you note that as Paul and his companions complete the third missionary journey how the church was growing?  Paul found believers in Tyre (v. 4); Ptolemais (v. 7) and at Caesarea (v.8.)  All of these areas were formally “pagan” territories but we see that through the grace of God they have all received and believed the Good News that Paul has been teaching.

As we have said — our mission is to be like Paul in teaching the Good News.  It is the Lord who will add to His body.