November 28, 2008
Acts 19:13-15 GW
(13) Some Jews used to travel from place to place and force evil spirits out of people. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force evil spirits out of those who were possessed. These Jews would say, "I order you to come out in the name of Jesus, whom Paul talks about."
(14) Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
(15) But the evil spirit answered them, "I know Jesus, and I'm acquainted with Paul, but who are you?"
When you have faith for things to happen it can not be the faith of other people. If you try to work off of the faith of others you will have a problem. Our story today shows that when you call upon the faith of others you run into problems.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
November 28, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
November 27, 2008
Too often we want to harness the belief of a new Christian to get out and go win souls, especially if that new Christian is someone well known. This is not always a good thing. Paul in dealing with the Thessalonians spoke about his care for them after they fist came to Christ:
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 ESV
(7) But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
(8) So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
No mother would birth a child and then just throw it out to the world to defend itself. Likewise, when new converts come to Christ, we as Christians need to make sure that do not throw new converts out to the wolves in the world to be devoured.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
November 26, 2008
Acts 17:10-12 MKJV
(10) And the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. They, when they arrived, went into the synagogue of the Jews.
(11) And these were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so.
(12) Therefore many of them believed, and quite a few of honorable Greek women and men.
One should never take some thing that they read in the Bible and make a whole new religion out of it. But one should also decide to never take what some preacher says and believe it on its own either.
The people of Berea were wise. They did not just take Paul's word for things. They searched out what the Word said about Jesus and then they believed.
When someone tries to teach you something and you are not sure it is true, then take the time to see how it lines up with the Word of God. If it does, even if it goes against what you believe, then you can be sure it is true.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
November 25, 2008
Galatians 6:1 BBE
1 Brothers, if a man is taken in any wrongdoing, you who are of the Spirit will put such a one right in a spirit of love; keeping watch on yourself, for fear that you yourself may be tested.
It was once said that the Christian Army is the only one that buries it wounded. It really is true in a way. You see a brother or sister in the Lord and they may not be doing something that the way you think it should be done. You immediately think that they are sinning. Then you decide that to tell others in the sake of praying for that brother or sister.
Paul says that is wrong. Go to that brother or sister and talk to them about what they have done wrong. Work with them to correct that problem. And take care about yourself. You are just as capable of sin as they are. Do not say that you are so much better. If nothing else that is the sin of pride.
Monday, November 24, 2008
November 24, 2008
Galatians 2:16 (Common)
16 yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and
not by works of the law, because by works of the law will no flesh be justified.
There is not one work that we can do to earn our salvation. If a work could have been done, then why would Christ have had to die in the first place. No, works cannot save you. We should not throw them out however. My Church every year at Christmas time does a outreach to the poor people in our city. It is good and right to do those things, but in and of themselves, all they do is give you a good feeling. Jesus does command us to do these works. But there is not salvation in them.
As we approach the holidays, remember to do the good works that we are to do. Remember though, they are not the way to heaven.
November 23, 2008
Acts 15:36-40 (WEB)
36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return now and visit our brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.”
37 Barnabas planned to take John, who was called Mark, with them also.
38 But Paul didn’t think that it was a good idea to take with them someone who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and didn’t go with them to do the work.
39 Then the contention grew so sharp that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away to Cyprus,
40 but Paul chose Silas, and went out, being commended by the brothers to the grace of God.
41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the assemblies.
Many people think that having a difference of opinion is not a good thing. I think it is. If we were all the same there would be no difference in the world. If we were all in 100% agreement, sometimes the Lord's work would not get done as efficiently. Take Paul and Barnabas for example. Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them as they went out and spread the word. Paul thought better of it and did not want him to go, after all he had turned tail and ran away once before. So they separated and went their own ways. And do you know what happened. Each did more that if they had worked together. While Barnabas did his work, Paul did his, no overlap and twice as much got done.
Sometimes disagreement is God given.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
November 22, 2008
James 1:13-14 Twenty
13 Let no one say, when he is tempted, "It is God who is tempting me!" For God, who cannot be tempted to do wrong, does not himself tempt any one.
14 A man is in every case tempted by his own passions--allured and enticed by them.
In our lives it is so easy to say that God puts temptations in front of us. I mean, doesn't God want us to learn lessons to increase our faith. The problem is that God does not do that. Can you ever imagine a good father (or even a bad one) trying to tempt his child. No, temptations do not come from God. For the most part, our body will want what it wants and we give in to it.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
November 21, 2008
Acts 13:42-45 Twenty
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the Synagogue, the people begged for a repetition of this teaching on the next Sabbath.
43 After the congregation had dispersed, many of the Jews, and of the converts who joined in their worship, followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue to rely upon the loving- kindness of God.
44 On the following Sabbath, almost all the city gathered to hear God's Message.
45 But the sight of the crowds of people filled the minds of the Jews with jealousy, and they kept contradicting Paul's statements in violent language.
Here we find that when you tell others about Jesus you will get one of two reactions. People will either love you or hate you. There does not seem to be any middle ground. Paul told the people and some wanted him to come back and others tried to shut him up.
There is not much you can do in a situation like this but just do what you can. If you know that God is with you like Paul did, they you will find that all will work out in the end. If not, it will not make a difference.
When faced with people against you, check to make sure you have God's will. If so, go forward, if not, back off.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
November 20, 2008
Acts 12:11-16 WEB
11 When Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I truly know that the Lord has sent out his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from everything the Jewish people were expecting.”
12 Thinking about that, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
13 When Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer.
14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she didn’t open the gate for joy, but ran in, and reported that Peter was standing in front of the gate.
15 They said to her, “You are crazy!” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel.”
16 But Peter continued knocking. When they had opened, they saw him, and were amazed.
It is amazing how many people who pray for something and never believe it will ever happen. I mean, Peter has just been set free, he goes to the prayer meeting where he is the subject and they think he is dead. Why do I say they think he was dead? How else do you explain they told the servant girl that it was an angel (some translations say his spirit, his angel, his messenger and one even says a ghost).
But are we much diffident in today's world. Imagine if I was praying to God that I needed $400 more a month to be able have my budget for my family to not be in the red. I am on my knees earnestly praying that this be provided to me. I go out and check the mail and in it is an ad for a store needing stockers to work 10 flexible hours a week for $10 an hour. I go back in and start to pray for the money agiain thinking that God does not hear me.
Am I much different than the people who say Peter was dead. Here is a job that will fit my needs and because it does fit what I expect God's answer to be I ignore it and go on. Now I am not saying that things could happen different, that my boss would think I was so great that I would get a raise that way, or that the money could come from a number of places, what I am saying is that we have to recognize the blessing when it is there and not say it never came.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
November 19, 2008
20 Immediately in the synagogues he proclaimed the Christ, that he is the Son of God.
21 All who heard him were amazed, and said, “Isn’t this he who in Jerusalem made havoc of those who called on this name? And he had come here intending to bring them bound before the chief priests!”
You kind of have to feel bad for Paul at this point. He has just received his conversion and he cannot seem to please anyone. The Jews want to kill him because he has gone over to 'the way,' and the Jesus followers do not want to have anything to do with him cause he killed a lot of them.
It reminds me of years ago when I worked at a local Christian Radio station on the weekends. Bob Dylan, the protest singer of the 60's had converted from his native Jewish faith to Christianity. He had put out a couple of Christian albums but had trouble finding an audience. I tried to play his music on the station but got complaints. The Christians were waiting for the betrayal because they knew that no one could be that radical and change. The non-Christians felt he had sold them all out.
In the end he went back to his folk music, and we lost a possibly great music artist in the Christian music world. Part of it was he was rushed into the business to quick I am sure. After this story, Paul gets taken to Tarsus and we do not hear from him for a while. He spent time in study.
Do not try to rush into the big things. Be sure that you are where God wants you to be.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
November 18, 2008
Acts 8:1 WEB
1 Saul was consenting to his death. A great persecution arose against the assembly which was in Jerusalem in that day. They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles.
I wondered for a long time, if the people were doing God's will, why was there such a persecution against them. This was in the days when I thought Christians did not get persecuted (boy was I messed up). But the thought still bothered me. These people were doing good and there was persecution.
One thing that I did not notice was several chapters before. As Jesus leaves what does he tell the disciples to do? Can't remember? How about:
Acts 1:8 WEB
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.”"
When they did not go out into the uttermost parts of the earth, they were compelled to go.
Has God told you to do something?
Posted by Bob MORTON at 7:36 PM
Monday, November 17, 2008
November 17, 2008
I have heard people say, and in fact have said so myself, that they could not do the works of God because they were not 'called' into the ministry. As someone who had that belief I say to get rid of some stinking thinking...
Acts 6:8 GodsWord
8 Stephen was a man filled with God's favor and power. He did amazing things and performed miracles.
You know what Stephen was, he was a waiter of tables that served the widows. He had a job to do in the church. He was just an average person. He did not get the glory that the big guys did, he just did the job that was there and God anointed him to do great things.
Changing diapers in nursery or sweeping a floor may not be a glorious thing to do, it will not get you attention, unless you do it wrong that is. But if your pastor has to take the time to do these things, then he cannot do what he needs to do to get the church where it needs to be.
When asked to help in your church, remember Stephen.
Posted by Bob MORTON at 8:25 PM
November 16, 2008
Acts 1:21-26 ESV
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias.
24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen
25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”
26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Thi9s must have been a disappointment to Barsabbas. I mean, he had been following Jesus for years but not one of the chosen ones. Now he has his big chance and it come down to him and Matthias. Ans what do the do, they draw lots. Drawing lots is like throwing dice for the chance. Except did you know that the dice are loaded.
My pastor, Bob Yandian, preached a service once on 'Loaded Dice'. Do you realize that nothing catches God off guard. His plan B is really plan A from another direction. God was putting Barsabbas in a role for something else. He would later change his name to Barnabus and travel with Paul and lead many people to Christ. What if he had gotten the postion of Apostle and had to hang around and do things.
There are people who should go and those who should stay. God knows which are which and sets things up for us. Next time it looks like you are in a postion of ministry that seems to be going nowhere, know that God has you where He needs you.
Posted by Bob MORTON at 1:38 PM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
November 15, 2008
As we come to the end of the Gospels in our year long journey of the Bible in historical order, John makes an important statement about why the Gospels were written. We so often want to think of the Gospel stories as just that. A collection of stories are all that they are. By teaching them as isolated items in sermons and Sunday School classes we analyze and overlook the important point of why:
John 20:30-31 Montgomery
30 There were then many other signs which Jesus performed in the presence of his disciples, which have not been written in this book;
31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Simple put, believe that the man who these stories are about is the Christ, the anointed on who came for us, then you will have salvation. But there is no other way.
November 14, 2008
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of sitting under what I believed was a man of God. If I mentioned his name, many of you might recognize him. I gained much from his ministry as I was going through a rough time after my divorce and had a lot of hate and anger in me. He helped one Sunday with his teaching on forgiveness. Each Sunday I know he used to give an alter call for those who wanted to be saved. though I had gained much in my short time there, I did not feel God was calling me to that church so I moved on. I kept track of him from time to time.
A few years ago, I was surprised to hear that this man was preaching a 'new' Gospel. In place of saying Jesus was the only way to heaven, he had started teaching that there were many ways to get to heaven and all one had to do was know that there was a god and seek him. So in essence, he had started to teach what was contrary to the Bible. He said he had scriptures to back him up and I am sure he did, but no matter what scripture he could pull out, the Bible has one scripture that will trump it:
Mark 16:15-16 BWE
15 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Go into every part of the world. Tell the good news to everyone.
16 The one who believes the good news and is baptised will be saved. But he who does not believe will be judged and punished.
There is no other way of salvation. Turn to Jesus and ask Him to forgive your sins if you have not now.
Posted by Bob MORTON at 1:59 AM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
November 13, 2008
John 18:5-6 Common
5 They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." And Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When he said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
What power came from the words that Jesus speaks. Thin of those words, I am. When Moses wanted needed an answer to the question 'who sent me?', God told him "I AM". Now here is Jesus, facing the soldiers. He asks them whom they seek and they reply, Jesus of Nazareth. When he replies "I AM" they fall under the power. Was it the power of God? I think it was. Just the simple act of speaking those words showed who He was.
Jesus still has the power today. Turn to Him in your life and plug into the power.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
November 12, 2008
Matthew 27:35 KJV
35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
Crucifixion was a brutal process. They put a nail through the feet, both at the same time. Then the took and put nails through the palms of the hands. Because of the positioning of the body, one could not breathe unless they pushed themselves up with the feet causing immense pain. They would stay up as long as they could stand it so that they could breathe. Then they would let themselves fall down until they had to breathe again. This process would go on for hours, a long drawn out pain that would stand to stop any that would defy Rome.
I want to take a second to look at the hands that had been pierced.
Were these the hands that in the beginning of time, formed the world and all the people in it?
Were these the hands that molded Adam and Eve and started the human race?
Were these the hands that had written the 10 commandments into stone for Moses to give to the people?
Were these the hands that Daniel interpreted the writing on the wall?
Were these the hands that a mother watched at play, not knowing what her son would grow up to be?
Were these the hands that fed a multitude of people fish and bread when the people had nothing to eat?
Were these the hands that welcomed children to come to him as he explained child like faith to the people?
Were these the hands that scratched out something in the sand, something that made a bunch of people walk away when they wanted to stone a woman?
Were these the hands that gave his followers bread and wine to eat, and that we are to do in remembrance of Him?
Were these the hands in prayer, asking that God's will, not His be done?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
November 11, 2008
John 17:20-21 BBE
20 My prayer is not for them only, but for all who will have faith in me through their word;
21 May they all be one! Even as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, so let them be in us, so that all men may come to have faith that you sent me.
The prayer of Jesus is so rich in these chapters. One thing jumps out at me. In a time where we here in the USA have come through a very bitter election, there is much separation between the people of this country. In the midst of it all, this week, the incoming president and the outgoing one met in Washington, D.C and had a discussion on the things that he will need to know when he takes over ruling the country. They put differences aside, and many harsh words were said, for the benefit of the country. They got down to doing what was best for the people of the USA.
Our Churches could take a lesson. Jesus says we are to be one, not just the disciples that lived in that day, but for all who came to believe in Jesus after they spread the Word. I attend a luncheon at the school where I work every Wednesday. It is put on by Baptist Campus Ministries. I felt sensitive going because my beliefs are slightly different but when I talked to the leaders about it one asked if I believed in Jesus as my savior. When I answered yes, he said that we could fellowship around that. Where minor things could separate us, they were living epistles to me about what Jesus had said about being one.
Do you have a problem with people whose faith is a little different than yours? If so, think about the words Jesus said.
Monday, November 10, 2008
November 10, 2008
John 13:34 Twenty
34 I give you a new commandment--Love one another; love one another as I have loved you.
Was what Jesus gave them truly a new commandment? It had ben found in the books of the Law, the ones Moses had written. I the book of Leviticus it is one of the commandments that God gave through Moses for the people to do. What would make this a new command.
What makes it new is not the command to love, but the way we are to love. The verse tells us that we are to love others as Christ loves you. That is not always the easiest thing to do, especially when those close to you hurt you. But God does not give us an option. I know of a married man who had trouble with his wife. When he wanted to just quit, he read this verse and made a decision to love his wife no matter what. He will tell you that the marriage still has problems if you ask him, but that is not what he focuses on. Love is the command, and when his wife is unlovable, it is his decision to love her. There are many other marriages like that on both sides I am sure. And many situations with children like that as well.
It is easy to love the multitude, they have done nothing to hurt you. It is much harder to love those who hurt you. Do you have a choice?
Sunday, November 9, 2008
November 9, 2008
Mark 14:44 Weymouth
44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them. "The one I kiss," he said, "is the man: lay hold of him, and take him safely away."
Jesus is now betrayed by Judas. It is interesting the word kiss. According to Strong, the word has this meaning:
to to be a friend to (fond of (an individual or an object)), i.e. have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling;
I can give you a kiss and it mean nothing, that is what you give to an aunt or an uncle when you are a child and told to kiss them. No, that is not what is meant here. This was the kiss of someone who had affection for Jesus. It was not a romantic or erotic kiss, but it was not a quick bus on the cheek either. It was a sign that these two were friends.
While many tend to say Judas was just playing along with Jesus and wanted to get him killed so he could be rich, I am not sure that was his full motivation. I think he may have thought that he was doing the right thing. But think of the sign of betrayal used. Why a kiss? A kiss could only come from a friend, and only a friend could betray a friend. A stranger could not betray you, there is no level of trust there. Jesus had to be betrayed, had to have that chance to lash out at the person who betrayed Him and then not do it.
Jesus was betrayed, and it could only come from someone who loved Him enough to kiss Him. What does that say about us today as we kiss our loved ones goodbye and head out the door to work. It is time to work hard not to betray that trust they give you.