Tag Archives: Kingdom of God

1 Samuel 9&10; Acts 8

What amazing passages we are reading this morning! Lots to discuss, but for the sake of brevity my thoughts center on the last part of Acts 8. Keeping in mind the “little” things that make HUGE advances in God’s Kingdom.

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. (Acts 8:26-40 [ESV’)

Philip is given an assignment. He starts out not knowing what the Holy Spirit has in store for him, but he “happens” across an Ethiopian Eunuch. This man was the treasurer of Queen Candace’s treasury. A very influential person in Ethiopia. A “chance” encounter that Philip has with this person. Sort of like Ruth’s encounter with Boaz. A chance encounter that will change the course of human history… You see the modern day church in Ethiopia can be traced back to this singular event. The Coptic’s in Ethiopia look at this as the beginning of their church.

As we start out this day, let’s not overlook the smallest task God has for us, or to look at anything as mere happenstance. That very tiny act may be what changes the course of human history. That’s the way God’s Kingdom works.

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Old Testament, Uncategorized

I Chronicles 26, 27, 2 Peter 1, Micah 4, Luke 13

Do you sometimes look for the exceptions in Scripture? That is, does a phrase or description cause you to pause and wonder? I’m studying the Word for the nth time and still surprised by what I missed all those other times. I don’t always approach Scripture with an agenda. I’m not always looking for an answer to prayer or searching for my life’s purpose. When reading the Bible, my curiosity catches a word or phrase and I am bound to circle context and content until I find relevance. For relevance are what all Scripture offers.

Take the many lists of fathers and sons in Chronicles. What pops out to me is the phrase after introducing the eight sons of Obed-Edom – “…for God blessed him,” (I Chron. 26:4-5) What to make of that; are we not blessed who have few or no sons? Or is it that Obed-Edom was blessed because his sons would be tasked with heavy responsibility in the kingdom of God?

“Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons: Shri the first (for though he was not the firstborn, his father made him the first,” (I Chron. 26:10). This is yet another example in Scripture where a firstborn lost his heritage to a younger son. Depending on where you stand politically, you might herald this as a great triumph for the last being first. Another might decry, “Unfair!” as Lucy says on A Charlie Brown Christmas, “All I want is what I have coming to me; all I want is my fair share!”

“To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came out…watchman opposite watchman,” (I Chron. 26:16). Ominous, isn’t it? There is this perpetual need for watchmen; the eyes facing out, backs forming a barrier between the unknown dangers without and the trusting protected ones within. Who are our wathcmen?

“Also Jehonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor, a wise man, a scribe…” (I Chron. 27: 32). Keeping family who know you best in your inner circle can mean accountability and practicality; uncomfortable at times but grounding when needed.

And this much debated truth – God chose holy men to be His spokesmen. “…knowing this first that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,” (II Peter 1:20). Thus, the source of all Scripture is God Himself. How reassuring! When I veer off, Scripture draws me back to God’s truth.

“Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…He shall teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’” (Micah 4:2)

Talk about getting grounded! I am reminded not to be fooled or led astray by the automatic negative thoughts that lead to disturbed emotions and unthinkable behaviors toward others.

Jesus debunked false ideas: “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

(Luke 13:4-5)

Lord Jesus, I do not mean to end my wonderings on a seemingly negative note. In fact, I am encouraged by picking out these exceptional verses of Scripture. They remind me of the intense focus you place on speaking to your children from creation to eternity. No matter that I am limited in understanding by my finite, mortal brain. Your Spirit calls to my spirit and I relish in listening, asking for clarification, responding to Your intimate knowing, and surprised repeatedly by Your mysteries. Love You, Lord! Looking forward to the next immersion in Your Word!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Peter, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Micah, Micah, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

1 Chronicles 22; 1 Peter 3; Micah 1; Luke 10

I am a 56 year old middle child and I still have an annoying tendency to whine that I don’t get enough attention. And my older sister continues to carry a mantel of authority as she was responsible for looking out for my younger sister and I while our parents were at work. Adult as we are, we still find ourselves slipping into certain roles unwittingly and then laugh about it, if not roll our eyes at one another.

Here’s the thing, God could have easily switched up the birth order, yet I know for a fact that God has used this to develop certain skills and traits. If this small scale pecking order is something that He has used, how does He use the authority structure of governments, marriages, employers, and the like to shape me for his purposes? The very structures put in place that I chafe against end up being tools in the redemptive hands of God.

Peter instructs, “For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution…” 1 Peter 2:13 and then fleshes out what this means in 1 Peter 3.  And yet these imperfect human institutions that may cause us suffering. Peter says that when we submit, we are actually submitting to Jesus (1 Peter 3:22) who is “at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.”  These are difficult words, yet the one who holds all things together is ultimately in control. Do I really believe this? And under what circumstances should I refuse to submit?

Jesus has given believers a different kind of authority that extends beyond human institutions to usher in the kingdom of God. Jesus declared, “I watched Satan fall from heaven, like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless less, do not rejoice at this that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:18

And Peter encourages me to keep my eyes on the one who has everything under him, “Do not fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you and accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” 1Peter 3:13-15.

Do I live as one who believes these passages? Sometimes yes and sometimes, no, but I want to. It’s easy to get hung up on what I what is immediately before me and not see the big picture of God’s truth, but I know that this is where true freedom lies. Like the father of the epileptic, I pray, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief,” Mark 9:24 and then trust God to use the imperfect to mold and make me in his image.

Kathy

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Genesis 20; Matthew 19; Nehemiah 9; Acts 19

Abraham and Sarah devise a plan. They’ll call each other sibling instead of spouse. This led them to the unanticipated; the plan worked–sort of–until “sister Sarah” caught the eye of Abimelech.

Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace. Genesis 20:2, NLT

God intervened.

But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!” Genesis 20:3, NLT

***

The disciples sit with Jesus and want to know the “what-ifs” of a situation. Because, what if there’s a sin committed, then what?

The rich man says he’s kept the laws, and whether this is a humble admission or a boast, he wants to know what else he can do to obtain eternal life.

21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—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!” Matthew 19:21-24, NLT

***

In Nehemiah, the people remember all the things that God has done. His patience. His provision. His deliverance. His mercy. His love. His grace. He is great. He is mighty. He is a truth speaker, promise maker and covenant keeper.

And the people remember their sins. Their pride. Their disobedience. Their idols. Their praises of God are sung alongside their wails of repentance. Oh, they want to make a promise they can keep too.

38 The people responded, “In view of all this, we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing. On this sealed document are the names of our leaders and Levites and priests.” Nehemiah 9:38, NLT

Planning man who has it all figured out. Rich man holding onto his possessions and dreams. Slave man who returns to habits and history that kept him bound after he was set free. In these scriptures, God is right there with man, but man still wants to do things his way.

Oh, God, how we need you.

25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:25-26, NLT

Father God, help me to be mindful, always: I need you. Always.

Courtney (66books365)

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