Archive for : May, 2020

05.31.20

05.31.20

2 Chronicles 13
2 Chronicles 14
2 Chronicles 15
Acts 9

Acts 9:   As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.

A question – has Paul been persecuting Jesus?  The obvious answer is “no” because Jesus has already ascended.  However, do you see the importance of this statement?  Jesus is the church and persecution of the church is persecution of Jesus.  I am assured in knowing that as a Body we are His!

05.30.20

05.30.20

2 Chronicles 10
2 Chronicles 11
2 Chronicles 12
Acts 8

Acts 8: Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 

We cannot overlook the importance of where the Philip was evangelizing.  Did you note that it is in Samaria?  Coffman writes: The people of Samaria were regarded by the Jews with contempt, their mixed racial and religious characteristics being the cause of this. In fact, the Jew looked upon all Gentiles in the same way. Samaria was especially stressed by Luke, as he was a Gentile; and the Samaritans were particularly despised by the Jews. Therefore, by this, he would show how the gospel was intended for all peoples, even the Samaritans.

And with the beginning of the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles in Samaria we are blessed to have that invitation extend through history to another group of Gentiles — most of us!

05.29.20

05.29.20

2 Chronicles 7
2 Chronicles 8
2 Chronicles 9
Acts 7

I think to fully understand Stephen’s inspired address to the Jewish leaders we need to go back to Chapter 6 and the false charges against him.  Acts 6: 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.

In Stephen’s address we see him remind the leaders that rather than praise Moses it was their ancestors who often did not follow Moses and actually rejected him and the Lord’s teachings he proclaimed. 

Acts 7:  35 “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.

Acts 7:  39 But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and, in their hearts, turned back to Egypt.

And then we see Stephen make the analogy – just as their ancestors had rejected Moses they now have rejected the promised Messiah.

Acts 7: 51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

05.28.20

05.28.20

Take Time to Reflect on the Impact of the Scriptures You Have Read …

and why not add another prayer of thanksgiving for all of our essential workers who continue to help care for us in so many ways …

05.27.20

05.27.20

2 Chronicles 4
2 Chronicles 5
2 Chronicles 6
Acts 6

Acts 6:  So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

What a marvelous experience to see that even the priests recognized the Gospel and become “obedient to the faith.”  Coffman does highlight a point for future reference.  When the priests joined the Body we see in Paul’s writings that some may have brought with them their past teachings (e.g., circumcision, adherence to the “Law,” etc.) and tried to impose their traditions on the rest of the believers.  Much of Paul’s teachings are to address these misconceptions.

I think that, like the priests, we all may bring old “baggage” and beliefs with us.  This is another of the reasons that studying scripture and daily Bible reading is so important – we must weigh our traditions versus the inspired word of God.  And we must recognize that this does take time and dedication.  The title of the book Jim is using in our Sunday Bible class is very appropriate – sometimes it does take “Muscle and a Shovel.”

05.26.20

05.26.20

2 Chronicles 1
2 Chronicles 2
2 Chronicles 3
Acts 5

I found the words of Solomon in 2 Chronicles filled with the “wisdom” he had been blessed to possess:

2 Chronicles 2:   “The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods. But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?

05.25.20

05.25.20

1 Chronicles 28
1 Chronicles 29
Acts 4

Each first day of the week, following the example of the first century church, we set aside a contribution to be used to fulfill the Lord’s work. In today’s reading in 1 Chronicles  we see David reflect the attitude that we should always keep in mind as we give — we are but stewards of all that the Lord provides. 

1 Chronicles 29: 14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

05.24.20

05.24.20

1 Chronicles 25
1 Chronicles 26
1 Chronicles 27
Acts 3

Acts 3: Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.    

Acts 3: 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

Most of you are familiar with this healing episode in the temple and Peter tells us that the healing was done “by faith.”  However, I did not see where the crippled man expressed any faith.   But what about Peter and John?  It was their faith that lead to the healing. 

I reflect on the reality that while our faith may not lead to a miraculous healing through our faith we can certainly serve those around us.  Let’s be observant to needs and let’s act in faith …

05.23.20

05.23.20

1 Chronicles 22
1 Chronicles 23
1 Chronicles 24
Acts 2

1 Chronicles 22: But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. 10 He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’

When you read this passage it surely seems to refer only to Solomon — except for that last inspired verse.  Solomon’s rule ended but the rule of the true Son of David, the Messiah, endures forever!  And, interestingly our passage today in Acts also references this promise.

Acts 2: 29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne

05.22.20

1 Chronicles 19
1 Chronicles 20
1 Chronicles 21
Acts 1

Have you ever felt a little frustrated or depressed when you realize that a long-held believe or teaching that you have had turns out to just not be true?  But, then, you learn the real truth and your eyes are opened to a new and better reality?  Then you can probably understand the feeling of the apostles when they asked the following question:

Acts 1:  After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days,  you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?

Even after the resurrection and multiple teachings about the true nature of His Kingdom the apostles were still waiting for the earthly restoration of Israel.  But they were to receive something far greater:

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

05.21.20

05.21.20

Take Time to Reflect on the Impact of the Scriptures You Have Read …

and today be sure to offer a prayer of thanks and comfort for all of the workers who are supporting the nation during this time

05.20.20

05.20.20

1 Chronicles 16
1 Chronicles 17
1 Chronicles 18
John 21

As we went through the peak of the corona virus you may have heard the nation’s leaders call for a time of prayer.  I always find it interesting that so many people only call upon the Lord under stress and when there are no other options for finding help.  In today’s reading the psalm that David wrote on the installation of the ark reminded me that we are to always give praise for what the Lord has already done:

1 Chronicles 16:
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
10 Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

05.19.20

05.19.20

1 Chronicles 13
1 Chronicles 14
1 Chronicles 15
John 20

Have you ever read instructions that stated the purpose of the instructions at the beginning and then repeated them at the end?  The Holy Spirit did just that we He inspired John in the writing of his gospel.  For back in chapter two we John highlight that Jesus is the Son of God and that he provided proof of who He is.  And today we see John do the same.

John 19: 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Coffman writes:  This is the statement of the purpose of John, every line in the Gospel having been related to the purpose in view here. John never intended his Gospel as merely another biography of Christ. He consciously omitted much material found in the synoptics and introduced a wealth of material found nowhere else, intimate, personal things which only he could relate, and also material of another kind, such as that relating to the resurrection of Lazarus and the healing of the man born blind.

05.18.20

05.18.20

1 Chronicles 10
1 Chronicles 11
1 Chronicles 12
John 19

John 19: 38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

In today’s reading I see an example of faith that started with a question and then, slowly, grew. 

In John 3:1 we see Nicodemus approach Jesus at night for fear of his fellow Pharisees.   Then in John 7:50 we see that his faith has grown slightly as he questions the leaders on how they could condemn Jesus without at least hearing him?  And in today’s reading we see him boldly go into the public arena and help bury the body of Jesus. 

Have you ever felt that your faith was weak like Nicodemus approaching at night?  Remember that this momentary weakness did not stop Nicodemus.  He kept pursing the truth and as he did his actions of faith became bolder. 

05.17.20

05.17.20

1 Chronicles 7
1 Chronicles 8
1 Chronicles 9
John 18

A bit of explanation on the book of Chronicles (again.)  Chapter 8 concludes the genealogies of “all Israel” before the Babylonia captivity. 

In Chronicles 9 we see a shift in time as the author now “jumps” to describe the families of the people of Judah who returned to Jerusalem after the captivity. And, then we see a return to capturing the genealogy of King Saul and the events that lead to David taking the throne.  Remember Chuck Swindoll’s previous comment: When the book was written, David’s descendants no longer ruled as monarchs over Israel. But the chronicler desired the people to remember the royal Davidic lineage, for God had promised a future ruler would rise from that line.

05.16.20

05.16.20

1 Chronicles 4
1 Chronicles 5
1 Chronicles 6
John 17

During these COVID times as we were separated from gathering as a Body do you miss your Brothers and Sisters?  We care for one another and share time via social media, etc. but it is just not the same as “being there.” 

Well, if you feel that longing to be with one another; to be one on the Body – take heart … we are supposed to feel that way when we are apart!  Just listen to the words of the Lord:

John 17: 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

05.15.20

05.15.20

1 Chronicles 1
1 Chronicles 2
1 Chronicles 3
John 16

A little different thought today – not on any specific verse(s) but on the entire book.  When you look at roughly the first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles you may be tempted to just overlook them and think “most of these chapters are just a list of names and who cares?”   But when you realize the history of this book a whole new perspective emerges.  Jewish tradition attributes 1 and 2 Chronicles to Ezra and the time period to the return of the nation from Babylonian captivity. 

Chuck Swindoll writes: “When the book was written, David’s descendants no longer ruled as monarchs over Israel. But the chronicler desired the people to remember the royal Davidic lineage, for God had promised a future ruler would rise from that line. After the seventy-year exile in Babylon, Jewish political and social power resided more with the religious rather than political rulers. Telling Israel’s history through a priestly and kingly lens was intended to prepare the people for a future Messiah.”  

And we are blessed to live in the time of that Messiah …

05.14.20

05.14.20

Take Time to Reflect on the Impact of the Scriptures You Have Read …

And why not use this 10-15 minutes to call, write, or text a member of the Body?

05.13.20

05.13.20

2 Kings 24
2 Kings 25
John 15

John 15: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardenerHe cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

My margin notes on the passage are filled with one word – “Unity.”  Shoots and branches may grow from a vine but they remain part of the vine.  

05.12.20

 05.12.20

2 Kings 22
2 Kings 23
John 14

As we progressed through the impact and associated stress of the corona virus through faith, as Believers, we had many, many promises in scripture that reassured me.  Non greater than the one we read today in John:

John 14: 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

The Greek word used her is “eirene” and it does not mean “peace” as opposed to “war.”  Instead the peace we are promised is peace of mind, quietness, rest.  And this is followed by even more reassurance “… do not be afraid.”  AMEN …