Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, Day 152 - Acts 27

Click here to go to Acts 27

This is such a great narrative, of their journey to Italy.  And I love Paul, "If you would have listened to me..."  How often do I fail to listen to God's voice speaking to me through others or His Word and end up in a nasty storm that could have been avoided.

As much as I enjoy Acts I'm looking forward to starting Romans on Monday and moving through Paul's letters.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30, Day 151 - Acts 26

Click here to go to Acts 26

God gives us opportunities in the most unlikely circumstances. What are the chances Paul would have had the opportunity to preach the truth of Jesus to King Agrippa, Fetus and these other leaders had he not been arrested.

At least in this chapter Agrippa admits that they could set him free had he not appealed to Caesar.  Yet, Paul did and before it's over he will influence many more people. (In fact, he's still influencing people!)

Sharon, glad to hear your Susie is showing improvements. God is faithful.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29, Day 150 - Acts 25

Click here to go to Acts 25

More of Paul in prison and the Roman officials trying to decide what to do with him. Fetus saw no reason to keep Paul but he had no choice when Paul asked to go before to Caesar.

I'm enjoying reading the history of Paul, just don't have any thoughts that really jump out at me.


Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, Day 149 - Acts 24

Click here to go to Acts 24

Paul begins his imprisonment spending over 2 years in the custody of Felix, who was hoping for a bribe. Paul never wavers in his testimony and it was evident that Felix trusted Paul's integrity. Even though he kept him in custody he gave him freedom and allowed his friends to attend to his needs.

I did find it interesting that Felix was married to a Jewish woman and when Paul spoke of righteousness and self control Felix became frightened.  Not sure why that was...

Sharon, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. I pray that the Lord will give you and her family peace in this situation.  I can't imagine your pain. I am grateful that the Lord was able to speak to you through yesterday's Psalm.  He is so good.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27, Day 148 - Psalm 61

Click here to go to Psalm 61

.... I cry to you for help
    when my heart is overwhelmed. (verse 2)

I think we are all overwhelmed at one time or another...  we have a hope... 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26, Day 147 - Psalm 57

Click here to go to Psalm 57

I truly feel like the book of Psalms is my favorite.  There is so much encouragement in the words.  It is believed this Psalm refers to the perilous times when David fled from Saul and hid in caves (1 Samuel 22:24) David found real security not in the hidden recesses of the caves but in the shadow of God's wings (Introduction to Psalm 57, The Voice Bible, page 666)

I've never had someone try to kill me, but there have been times when I've felt like everything was against me.  Someday I hope to have the same confidence David did when he wrote:

My heart is ready, O God;
my heart is ready.
And I will sing!
Yes, I will sing praise!
Wake up, my glory!
Wake up, harp and lyre;
I will stir the sleepy dawn with praise.
I will offer You my thanks, O Lord, before the nations of the world;
I will sing of Your greatness no matter where I am.
For Your amazing mercy ascends far into the heavens;
Your truth rises above the clouds,
O God, be lifted up above the heavens;
may Your glory cover the earth!
(verse 7 - 11 The Voice)

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, Day 146 - Acts 23

Click here to go to Acts 23

Again, Paul shows tremendous wisdom.  First he declares that he has lived his life with a clear conscience, which earns him a slap in the face.  But he then divides the council and in essence creates a civil war. 

And once again, God shows himself faithful to Paul but sending him encouragement and protection.  I am sure, God does the same for us. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, Day 145 - Acts 22

Click here to access Acts 22

I guess I can't understand such intense discrimination. I mean, I guess that is why the Jews responded the way they did when Paul made the statement in verse 21 - “But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’

But I guess we can look at our world and see such intense hatred for other people because of the color of their skin.  Having grown up in the part of the country I did, there was a lot of racism, but thankfully my parents didn't instill that is us.  


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, Day 144 - Acts 21

Click here to go to Acts 21

Paul's final travels as a free man, yet I guess that's not exactly true. Even in chains, Paul had a freedom in Christ that gave him strength.  Even in this chapter he's prepared to die for his Lord, his words, "The Lord's will be done."

I realize that originally this was one long letter and the chapter and verses were added later, but I don't understand why they broke the chapter where they did in verse 40.
The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic.

I guess tomorrow we'll find out what he said. 
Blessings all!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, Day 143 - Acts 20

Click here to go to Acts 20

It's hard for pastors when people fall asleep during their sermon, but how many have pastors have had people fall three stories to their death.  Yet this happened to Paul and how does he respond?  He goes out and raises him from the dead.  I wonder if the guy ever fell asleep in church again.

There's some really good stuff in this chapter.  What jumps out to you?

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, Day 142 - Acts 19

Click here to go to Acts 19

I love reading about Paul's adventures. But the story I enjoy the most in this story of the seven sons of Sceva.  (verses 13-16).  The evil spirit's response "I know Jesus, I know Paul, but who are you!?!" It's a great reminder that we are the ones that have the relationship with God and we can't live through the faith of another.

14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.

I also found it interesting that people years after his death, knew of John's baptism.  We've seen that at least twice.  As far as I know John didn't travel even as much as Jesus did and Ephesus would have been way out of the way.  

Blessings all!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20, Day 141 - Psalm 54

Click here to read Psalm 54

Several years ago I was going through a difficult time with people attacking me, verbally not physically.  This is one of the many Psalms that got me through that hard time. It took almost a year before it ended. 

I particularly enjoyed verse 7:
For you have rescued me from my troubles
    and helped me to triumph over my enemies.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19, Day 140 - Proverbs 12

Click here to read Proverbs 12

This is another chapter that compares the consequences of evil versus the life of the good.

I think the verse that jumps out at me the most is verse 16:
A fool is quick-tempered,
    but a wise person stays calm when insulted.

I tend to be a little too quick tempered for my own good.  

The last verse is also really good:
The way of the godly leads to life;
    that path does not lead to death. 

That's the path I want to be on! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18, Day 139 - Acts 18

Click here to go to Acts 18

More of Paul's journey and the struggles he faced. We are introduced to Priscilla and Aquila.  Jewish tradition dictated that the man's name was listed first which in the beginning of the chapter Luke did list Aquila first, but later and in other of Paul's writing, Priscilla's name was listed first. Signaling that she was the dominant teacher.  So contrary to what some will say, Paul didn't hate women or prevent them from teaching.  But more about that when we get to Corinthians.

Blessings on your Friday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17, Day 138 - Acts 17

Click here to go to Acts 17

I like how Paul looked at the current culture in that the people of Athens were very religious, but they had all kinds of shrines and religious ideas (Sound familiar?) 

Yet he points out that there is even an idol to the Unknown God. He begins to teach them that this Unknown God and that he is the true God. While some laughed others believed or at least wanted to know more.  It makes wonder how we can do the same thing today. How can we address our society today and point them to Christ?  I have no answers.  But reading about Paul addressing the society of his day that were very religious and intellectual, they weren't all that different than people we see day.  A challenge, one that will take God's wisdom to tackle. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, Day 137 - Acts 16

Click here to access Acts 16

One of my favorite stories about the power of praise is found in this chapter.  Things can't get much worse than to be beaten with rods, thrown in jail with your hands and feet in stocks. I can't imagine how uncomfortable Paul and Silas had to have been. Yet, they could praise the Lord. Singing hymns at midnight.
Praising the Lord in the tough times, it's really hard, but I've never been beaten, jailed and bound in stocks so the garbage of my days really aren't that big a deal...

Below is one of my favorite Petra songs to remind me to praise the Lord.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, Day 136 - Acts 15

Click here to go to Acts 15

The issue of circumcision comes to a head in this chapter with the "old guard" Jews demanding the fulfillment of the Law for the Gentiles. Chances are these people were not trying to be difficult or legalistic.  When you've been taught something for your entire life it's hard to break free of it. Paul, Barnabas, and the apostles and elders meet together for council of Jerusalem. This sets the example for all churches that follow. 

The hard part of this chapter is Paul and Barnabas disagreement over John Mark.  The passage states their disagreement was so sharp that they went their separate ways. It is believed that they did reconcile and the Mark that Paul references in 2 Timothy 4:11 is this same person.

What else jumped out for you?

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, Day 135 - Acts 14

Click here to go to Acts 14

As I read about the Jews that seemed to follow Paul and Barnabas stirring up trouble, I think about the fact that even today we have people in the church that seem to stir up trouble when God is working. But thankfully this didn't stop Paul and Barnabas, they continued on faithfully pointing people to Jesus Christ and His gift of salvation. 

I forgot to mention in yesterday's post, I pray that all our Mothers had a special day.  I had a wonderful day if you want to see some of my pictures from my second annual Mother's Day hike you can visit

Blessings dear ones!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13, Day 134 - Psalm 53

Click here to go to Psalm 53

This is a strong Psalm that speaks to the evil of mankind and how God looks for the truly wise, but doesn't find any.

Yet it ends with a victorious statement: When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice. (verse 6)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12, Day 133 - Proverbs 11

Click here to go to Proverbs 11

Much like a gold ring in the snout of a pig, so is a beautiful woman who lacks good judgement. (v22 The Voice)

WOW! That really drives home what the write of Proverbs said about a woman who lacks good judgement.

The chapter has so many jewels (pun intended) in it. I love verse 25: A giving person will receive much in return, and someone who gives water will also receive the water he needs. (The Voice -italicized represents words added by the translators not part of the original text)  I have a friend, Brian, who exemplifies this passage. He is a very giving person including his time. And looking at him and his family they don't have needs.  He has a good job but unlike the person in verse 26 he doesn't hoard what he has.

I also like verse 17: Kindness is its own reward, but cruelty is a self-inflicted wound.
This is so true! When I've been cruel to someone it ends up eating at me.

What other things jump out at you? So many good things!

Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11, Day 132 - Acts 13

Click here to go to Acts 13

What a great chapter (yes I know I say that a lot! but it is true!!)
Several things jumped out at me, the encounter with Bar-Jesus.  I knew there was the encounter but I didn't remember God made him blind and the governor came to Christ because of it.
But the part that I like the most about this passage is the last section. Where Paul states that since the Jews didn't want to hear the message of Jesus they would go to the Gentiles.

I think I've mentioned I work at Azusa Pacific University. We have a wonderful music program and one of my favorite groups is the Male Chorale aka Man Choir.  For many years it was the choir for freshmen men that they had to be in before they could try out for University Choir and Orchestra. The current director, however, has made it one of the premiere groups to be in and in 9 years has taken it from a choir of 22 guys to 101 this year.  I believe the main reason for the growth is Harold Clousing, the director, teaches them how to be godly men and demonstrates Christ love toward them. This year they were invited to sing at the Medal of Honor recipients banquet and then they were able to go to Washington DC and sing for the National Day of Prayer.  During their time in DC they were taken on a tour of the Capitol building.  They were allowed to sing there. They chose one of my favorite songs to hear them sing is Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty.  The video is a little bumpy, but just amazing to listen to.  I hope you are as blessed by these young men as I am.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10, Day 131 - Acts 12

Click here to go to Acts 12

The first of Jesus' disciples in martyred and Peter is imprisoned.  I love how Peter thought it was a vision and then Rhoda leaves him at the door to tell the others who don't believe him.  Can you imagine the scene? In some ways it had to be funny and in so many ways it had to energize the faith of the believers.

Herod's end is another great reminder of the dangers of pride. We might not be eaten by worms in the way he was, but we are definitely "damaged" in other ways when we let pride rule in our lives.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9, Day 130 - Acts 11

Click here to read Acts 11

Peter returns to Jerusalem to criticism for spending time with Gentiles. But as Peter explained the events that happened the Jerusalem Christian recognized God's hand in these events.  Unlike the Pharisees the Jewish Christians recognized they were wrong and admitted it.

A lot of interesting stuff in this chapter....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8, Day 129 - Acts 10

Click here to go to Acts 10

This is a great chapter because God starts breaking Peter out of his Jewish mold. From the time he was a child Peter was taught all the things he wasn't suppose to eat because they were "unclean." He also was member of God's chosen people, the Jews. And in one afternoon he is told that he shouldn't call something unclean that God has made clean and he's invited into the home of a Roman.

This transition wasn't an easy one for the early church, and there will be more about that in later chapters and Paul will have to address some of the issues. Thankfully, the apostles and those that followed were faithful so we can discuss and encourage one another.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, Day 128 Acts 9

Click here to go to Acts 9

People usually focus on Saul's conversion in this passage, but I realized tonight that Peter raises someone from the dead in this chapter!?!?!  Who knew?

I'm not sure I realized that.

What are your thoughts on this chapter? (Sorry ladies, I'm incredibly tired tonight)

Blessings all

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6, Day 127 - Psalm 51

Click here to go to Psalm 51

David confronted with his sin, calls out to God for mercy. He knew what he had done was wrong, he had committed adultery and in essence murder. Yet he understood his God and prayed:

People tend to focus on verses 10-12, yet each verse shows David's understanding of not only his sin, but of his God. In verses 1 and 2 he prays that God will:
  • have mercy
  • blot out his sins
  • Wash him
  • Purify him
Then in verses 3 - 6 he confesses that he is a sinner from his birth.

Verses 7 - 11 he acknowledges he needs God alone to cleanse him and purify him. And ask to have his relationship with God restored.

Verses 12 - 15 seem to be David's commitment to God. He is acknowledging his part in this relationship.

In the final section 16 - 19 David acknowledges what God really desires from all of us, which is a broken heart that truly loves our God, not a bunch of meaningless sacrifices. 

Here is a road map for each of us when we have sinned.  And the sin doesn't have to be as drastic as adultery or murder, let's face it Jesus taught to lust after another is the same as adultery and to hate someone is equal to murder. (OUCH)

When we're confronted with our sins we need to go to God and ask for His mercy and to be cleansed. 1John 1:9 reminds us that He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness all we need to do is confess.

The reality is so true we need God to cleanse us and even though He never leaves us when we've sinned it feels like it so that restoration of our relationship is important. As I read David's words in verses 16-19 I realize that it's okay to tell God this is what I'm going to do.  And it's not the "God if you get me out of this jam, I'll be a missionary in Africa" type prayer, but a sincere commitment to worship Him and serve Him.

For me the last section is so important, having been in a holiness tradition all my Christian life, it is very easy to fall into a "works makes me good enough" mentality. Just like the Pharisee's of Jesus' day who did lots of good things but their hearts were far from God.  God wants my heart, the 'works' are a natural result of a heart that loves God and wants to serve Him.

Sorry this one got so long. This passage really jumped out at me tonight.
I hope you have a very blessed Sunday.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5, Day 126 - Psalm 46

Click here to go to Psalm 46

This is such a great Psalm of hope and encouragement.

I think the thing that speaks to me the most right now is:
Be still, and know that I am God!
    I will be honored by every nation.
    I will be honored throughout the world.

I've been working hard at trying to "be still" and getting to know God and trusting Him on a higher level.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4, Day 125 - Acts 8

Click here to go to Acts 8

Jesus told them they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world, but little did the followers of Christ realize that it would be persecution that would force them out of Jerusalem.

It's interesting to think of how Saul went from watching Stephen being stoned to dragging men and women out of their homes and throwing them into prison. Yet, we know the end of his story and what a glorious story it is!

I love the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.  How God used him and took care of him.

The story of the early church is so encouraging to me.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3, Day 123 - Acts 7

Click here to go to Acts 7

Stephen is the one before the counsel of religious leaders being falsely accused. He proceeds to give them a history lesson.  I love reading through this history pointing out how God called certain people and how the Jewish people turned their back on God over and over, including killing many of the prophets.

The truth didn't set the leaders free, it pushed them to stone Stephen and it is here we are introduced to Saul. And the persecution of the church begins.  2000 years later there are still persecution happening to Christians through much of the world.  If you've not heard of an organization called The Voice of the Martyrs you can check them out.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2, Day 123 - Acts 6

Click here to go to Acts 6

First sorry that yesterday's post got posted late.  I generally to the post in the evenings and schedule it to post at 12:30AM the morning of, last night I did all the steps EXCEPT actually hitting Publish. Thankfully I realized it this morning when I got to the office.  Especially good since most of my day I was out of the office.

Today's reading is Acts 6 where we see a little bit of conflict between the Greek Christians and the Hebrew Christians concerning the care of the widows.  The apostles quickly decide this is not their job and that faithful men need to be selected for this job.  I love what they do in verse 6, after they were selected they were prayed for!  WOW! We pray for missionaries and other ministers of the gospel but how often do we pray for those who are serving meals to the less fortunate!?!  It is great reminder that all the jobs within the church are important not just the upfront ones.

Stephen's story is an amazing one.  Since we probably know what is coming in tomorrow's chapter, I still won't spoil it! 

Thank you ladies for sticking with this adventure.  I pray that this time is a blessing to you, I know I'm blessed by your comments even though I've not been commenting on them, I do read them.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1, Day 122 - Acts 5

Click here to go to Acts 5

Such a powerful chapter, at the beginning of the chapter we read of Ananias and Sapphira, who decided to deceive the apostles. No one made them sell their land and give all the money to the church, some did do that but it wasn't a requirement.  So why did they lie? We can only guess at their motives, but it should be a reminder that God does see our motives and we will be judged. We may not be drop dead on the spot as they did, but we know without a doubt it will happen. Such a powerful reminder.

There also some exciting stories in this chapter.  I love the story of Peter passing by and when his shadow will fall on someone they would be healed. The excitement that must have created in the Jerusalem.  Of course, the religious leaders were angry and the apostles were arrested again. But once again, they stood firm with the conviction that it's better to obey God rather than men. 

So very good!