Category Archives: Acts

Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

Have you ever noticed any throw away phrases or verses in the Bible? Now I know nothing is really throw away when it comes to the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture, but at times it seems that way.

In Revelation when the Apostle John describes the New Jerusalem and that there are gates to it and God appoints angels watch over the comings and goings. That’s all it says… where are people going? Where are they coming from?

Another time in the Gospels it reads that Jesus walked along the beach and told the disciples many more stories. What stories? Will we ever hear those stories? Why weren’t they included in the Gospels?

Well in my opinion we come across one of those throw away phrases in today’s reading. In Acts 18:9 we read, “And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent.'” That sort of seems like a throw away verse, but hey wait a minute. The Apostle Paul was afraid? He must have been if God was telling him not to be afraid any longer. I can safely say that each one of us reading this blog post has been afraid at one time of their lives or another. And for many of us there is a real fear in sharing how much our salvation means to us. We are afraid of rejection, ridicule or isolation. And yet we have great company. Paul was afraid too. Perhaps afraid of much more. He had been beaten and flogged. That hasn’t happened to any of us for the sake of the gospel. If so let me know. I hold you in the highest regard.

But fear is fear. And to know that the Apostle Paul was afraid brings some measure of hope and calm to my spirit. The person we all look up to as spreading the gospel throughout the then known world was afraid. What a blessing — in sort of an odd way — that we are all in this together and fear is just part of the process. I have this feeling that God is telling us today not to fear, not to duck and run, but to share our faith with others in a winsome manner that draws people to Jesus.

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Judges12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

I read a story that is still active and alive today. A story of a word – Shibboleth.

In order to keep the Ephraimites from escaping, the Gileadites captured the places where the Jordan could be crossed. When any Ephraimite who was trying to escape would ask permission to cross, the men of Gilead would ask, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” they would tell him to say “Shibboleth.” But he would say “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they would grab him and kill him there at one of the Jordan River crossings. At that time forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites were killed. – Judges 12:5-6 GNT

My mom would tell me stories during the war of how they could find out if an American spy, posing as a German, could be tested in order to find them out. I think, we in the church do the same thing in determining whether one is really a follower of God. It is by prayer that I believe I refrain from lapsing into the Pharisee’s censoriousness.

Why cannot I be free to move as the Holy Spirit moves me just as Paul and Silas were?

They traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit did not let them preach the message in the province of Asia. When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go into the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. – Acts 16:6-7 GNT

It is difficult to understand why I have to do something differently but there is a moment of faith where I can almost see God’s hand trying to show the 30,000 foot view of where the Holy Spirit is moving.

The same is so when it comes to my sin. I pray that I never take it lightly.

The Lord, the God of Israel, said to me, “Here is a wine cup filled with my anger. Take it to all the nations to whom I send you, and make them drink from it. – Jeremiah 25:15 GNT

I am so thankful that I can pray and ask for help in overcoming the temptations of judgement on others and in ignoring the move of the Holy Spirit. I pray for faith to believe and the power to forgive.

Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for. And when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done. – Mark 11:22, 24-25 GNT

Father, may my walk with You be based on faith and not of judgment, on believing in You and not in myself, and on forgiving so that I may find myself being forgiven. Amen

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Jeremiah, Judges, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Judges 11:12-40; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

“Go sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them.  But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded.  “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.  “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But not with God.  Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10:21-27 NLT

Mark 10:27 is such a familiar verse to me.  God has used it in my life to speak hope to my soul.  But, I don’t remember if I have read the entire passage before. It puts it in a whole new light.  It makes me question what I am treasuring.  What am I holding onto that won’t fulfill me?What is hindering me from fully following Him?

“God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us.  He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.  Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through  them among the Gentiles.” Acts 15:8-12 NLT

What is my faith in?

“Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him.  A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.  When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.  But only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”  So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said.  “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.  “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.  “My Rabbi, “the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.” Mark 10:46-52 NLT

The blind man continued to follow Jesus after he could see.  I can picture him walking the rest of his days with Jesus. Because he knew that He is the only place where true healing could be found.  I don’t think he was thinking about what he was giving up, but what he gained.  Not only his eyesight, but Jesus.

Dear Father, please forgive me when my heart is far from you. I am reminded of a song that says, “There is nothing better than You.”  I want to sing that and believe it, but sometimes I have to tell it to my heart. You are worthy. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Joshua 20,21; Acts 1; Jeremiah 10; Matthew 24

“The Lord said to Joshua, “Now tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed Moses.  Anyone who kills another person accidentally and unintentionally can run to one of these cities; they will be places of refuge from relatives seeking revenge for the person who was killed. These cities were set apart for all the Israelites as well as the foreigners among them.”  Joshua 20:1-9 NLT

Where do I find my refuge?

“Not a single one of all the good promises of the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.” Joshua 21:44-45 NLT 

When I get impatient and start to feel weary, this verse gives me renewed hope.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.  And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NLT

I can get complacent and forget that he calls me to be a testimony for him.  At times I just want to go about my day and get my tasks done.  But, this is most often when God will put someone in my path who needs to hear about him.

 “Lord, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full power.  Who would fear you, O King of the nations? The title belongs to you alone! Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like you.”  Jeremiah 10:6&7 NLT

I am thankful that God knows the future and I don’t have to.  I can get so caught up in thinking too far ahead that it causes me to be anxious and fearful. He is sovereign.

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.  Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into.  You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Matthew 24:42-44 NLT

My daughter and I went out to lunch after church this past Sunday.  And my car was broken into. Thankfully we were fine and nothing valuable was stolen. It was more that we were taken off guard.  What a picture it was for me, that I want to live my life in a way that I am not surprised by the Lord’s return.  I want to be ready.

“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.  We are not able to plan our own course.  So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.  Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.” Jeremiah 10:23&24 NLT

Dear Father, I surrender my life to you again.  Thank you for your love, mercy and patience with me.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit.  I want to be set apart to do your work.  I put my trust in you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Genesis 29; Matthew 28; Esther 5; Acts 28

“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.  His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.  The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.  Then the angel spoke to the women.  “Don’t be afraid!” he said.  “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.  Come, see where his body was lying.  And now, go quickly and tell the disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see him there.  Remember what I have told you.”  The women ran quickly from the tomb.  They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message.  And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them.  And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.  Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him-but some of them doubted!  Matthew 28 1-10, 16 NLT

My word for the year is Presence…intentionally seeking God’s presence, so that it overflows into the rest of my life.  The presence of the Angel at the tomb was enough for the women to believe. But, some of the disciples doubted, even after seeing Jesus.  I’m reading a book with my bible study called  Twelve Ordinary Men, by John McArthur.  He writes about how human the disciples were.  He says, “That’s because they were perfectly ordinary men in every way.  Not one of them was renowned for scholarship or great erudtion.  They had no track record of as orators or theologians.  In fact, they were outsiders as far as the religious establishment of Jesus’ day was concerned.  They were not outstanding because of any natural talents or intellectual abilities.  On the contrary, they were all prone to mistakes, misstatements, wrong attitudes, lapses of faith, and bitter failure.” They were just like me.  How often have I worshipped and had God reveal something to me and than doubt enters my mind?

“They left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaish the prophet, ‘Go and say to this people: When you hear what I say, you will not understand.  When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.  For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannoth hear, and their hearts cannoth understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.” Acts 28:25-27 NLT

Am I listening to the Holy Spirit?  Or is my heart hardened?

Dear Father, I want to be like both Marys and run to you, lay at your feet, and worship you.  Forgive me when I run to lesser things.  I want to be filled with renewed joy of your resurrection power.  Thank you that you are always with me.  Amen.

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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