Archive for : June, 2020

06.30.20

06.30.20

Job 16
Job 17
Job 18
Romans 7

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a sinful thought that you just cannot get out of your mind & you feel so guilty that you are depressed?  In today’s reading we see the apostle Paul, a chosen instrument of God, a worker of miracles, and a leader in the church experience that same guilt.

Romans 718 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Then the apostle Paul pronounces the solution.  There is only one way to overcome and, even though the victory has been given us, we must daily focus on “Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 7:  24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

06.29.20

06.29.20

Job 13
Job 14
Job 15
Romans 6

Often when I read the inspired word of God there is nothing that I can add to the reality of the promises that are stated.  Todays reading is one on which all I can do is reflect, be thankful and praise God! 

Romans 6:  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.

06.28.20

06.28.20

Job 10
Job 11
Job 12
Romans 5

In my blog on Acts 28 I mentioned that the Gospel spread so quickly through the area due to the Roman Empire’s network of roads and the peace they enforced.  We have also discussed how God’s time-line is often quite different from what we expect.   Today’s reading from Romans provides us even greater insight in to God’s plans:

Romans 5:  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 

In the history of mankind and in our day-to-day lives the Lord always knows when is “just the right time.”

06.27.20

06.27.20

Job 7
Job 8
Job 9
Romans 4

Job 9:   “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a mortal be righteous before God?

This is a very, very preceptive question from Job. And we see it repeated throughout the book of Job. 

And we are blessed by God’s plan of redemption and to even read of the answer today in Romans – it is faith!    

Romans 4: 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him [Abraham] alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

06.26.20

06.26.20

Job 4
Job 5
Job 6
Romans 3

When I began reading the words of Eliphaz, the Temanite, I was not expecting to be struck by words of praise.  Yet they are there and have been there thousands of years – inspired by the Holy Spirit.   

Job 5:  
“But if I were you, I would appeal to God;
    I would lay my cause before him.
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
    miracles that cannot be counted.
10 He provides rain for the earth;
    he sends water on the countryside.
11 The lowly he sets on high,
    and those who mourn are lifted to safety.

06.25.20

06.25.20

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

06.24.20

06.24.20

Job 1
Job 2
Job 3
Romans 2

As we head into the reading of Job I had a couple of Bible “margin notes” that may help us put the reality of Job’s situation into perspective.  First, many think that Job was recorded either before or right after Genesis – making it one of the two oldest books in the Bible.  And while we will look at many details in the book, the overriding theme is a truth that always has and will continue to permeate mankind:

“When you have nothing left except God than for the first time you realize that God is enough!”

06.23.20

06.23.20

Esther 9
Esther 10
Romans 1

As you read the passage from Romans today did one verse in particular “grab you” based on what we have just experienced as a Body …

Romans 1:  11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith

I think we are all blessed that we were at east able to fellowship “digitally” but, as Paul, states there is nothing like “being there.”

06.22.20

06.22.20

Esther 7
Esther 8
Acts 28

Acts 28 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged

It is approximately 1,500 miles from Jerusalem to Rome.  In less than 30 years we have seen the church literally explode throughout that entire area of that world.  Most scholars partially credit the earthly reasons for the spread to, as strange as it may seem, the Romans who had enslaved the area.  Without their system of roads and relatively peace travelers would not have been safe.   

Reflect a bit of the power of God’s will – we have seen him use multiple pagan and conquering nations like Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and now Rome to ensure that His Story is complete. 

06.21.20

06.21.20

Esther 4
Esther 5
Esther 6
Acts 27

Doesn’t Luke provide a detailed “adventure story”-type description of the beginning of Paul’s trip to Rome?   I could almost feel the “gentle south wind” and, then, the howling of the gale and crashing waves of the “Northeaster.”  Throughout it all we see the leadership of the prisoner, Paul.   And the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to record how Paul withstood the terror that seized the hardened sailor.

Acts 27: 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 

In time of trial never forget “whose you are and who you serve.”

06.20.20

06.20.20

Esther 1
Esther 2
Esther 3
Acts 26

I think one of the issues many of us struggle with is patience.  I know that at many times I want it now!  And I found an example of how the Holy Spirit can work in our lives when I saw Paul’s response to King Agrippa:

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.”

Did you note – that “time” had no impact on Paul’s desire – he was dedicated to his mission, regardless of the time it took.

06.19.20

06.19.20

Nehemiah 12
Nehemiah 13
Acts 25

There are times in our lives when God’s will has been fulfilled but we do not recognize His “thread” running through our lives until later. And sometimes His will is fulfilled in ways we had never imagined.  I thought of that today when I read Festus’s declaration to Paul:

Acts 25:  12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”      [and Caesar is located in Rome.]

The Lord has used a Roman governor to fulfill the prophecy spoken to Paul 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.

06.18.20

06.18.20

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

And why not thank someone for a service they are performing for the Lord?

06.17.20

06.17.20

Nehemiah 10
Nehemiah 11
Acts 24

Acts 2425 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

Today I read in the words of Marcus Antonius Felix, the Roman Governor of Judea, a response we also sometimes hear when we witness for the Lord.  People may feel convicted by the Gospel message but for them the “time is just not right.” 

 

06.16.20

06.16.20

Nehemiah 7
Nehemiah 8
Nehemiah 9
Acts 23

Nehemiah 8:  They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.

Scholars have two opinions on this verse.  Remember, the people hearing these words grew-up in Babylon and their common language would have spoken Aramaic. So, perhaps the scripture, written in Hebrew was translated into Aramaic.  The other theory is that the people, just like us, benefitted from someone with greater knowledge (the Levites) explaining the background of the readings.    Regardless, I think the response of the people emphasizes the importance of Bible study for us today. 

Nehemiah 8: 12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.

06.15.20

06.15.20

Nehemiah 4
Nehemiah 5
Nehemiah 6
Acts 22

Did you see all that Nehemiah had to overcome to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall and re-set the gates? His tasks included efficiently organizing the work, addressing enemies and critics, correcting the charging of usury from among the Jews and avoiding political deceit.  He let nothing stop him and the Lord’s work.  I find one of the shortest prayers in scripture reassuring & worthy of repeating when we feel challenged:

Nehemiah 6:  They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

06.14.20

06.14.20

Nehemiah 1
Nehemiah 2
Nehemiah 3
Acts 21

Acts 21: After we had torn ourselves away from them, [at Ephesus] we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 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. When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home. We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day. Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 

Ephesus, Tyre, Ptolemais, Caesarea. 

Did you note that there were believers in each of these major cities where Paul and his companions started and stopped on their way to Jerusalem?  Keeping in mind that this voyage occurred only roughly 20-25 years following Christ ascension I find the speed of the spread of the Gospel incredible – no printing press, no radio, no television and no Internet.  To me this is yet another example of the power of the Holy Spirit’s work through the apostles. 

06.13.20

06.13.20

Ezra 9
Ezra 10
Acts 20

When I read Paul’s inspired declaration to the elders in Ephesus I was humbled and reflective:

Acts 20:  24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

I think we all feel called to reach out to at least one person in our lives and out of love discuss the gospel message.  My reflection – have I been faithful in doing so?

06.12.20

06.12.20

Ezra 7
Ezra 8
Acts 19

I think one of the most difficult realities and decisions we have to face is that thee are times when we may need to stop actively evangelizing someone and “move on” in our mission.  This does not mean we cannot pray for them and for a door to open, but we may need to stop face-to-face evangelism with them and dedicate that time to others. It is not an easy decision but we have an example of Paul doing just that in today’s reading.

Acts 19:   Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So, Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

06.11.20

06.11.20

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

And why not take time to say a prayer for all of our essential and health care workers …