A very good morning to you. I greet you in Jesus' precious name! It is Tuesday morning, the 27th of September 2022, and this is your friend, Angus Buchan, with a thought for today.“So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.” Exodus 3:2That was Moses when he was called by God to go to Pharaoh to tell him to let the children of Israel go. He spoke to him through a burning bush.“Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.'Acts 22:6That was the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to Paul the Apostle, probably the greatest of all the Apostles in the Bible. The power of personal testimony is huge. With a testimony, you can either believe it or reject it, but you can't argue with it because you weren't there. People always ask the question, especially unbelievers, “How did you meet Jesus?” What a wonderful opportunity for you and me. What an opening to be able to share the good news with the lost.Two giants of the Bible, Moses in the Old Testament and Paul in the New Testament, had massive testimonies. Pharaoh heard Moses' testimony, the Pharisees heard Paul's testimony and what they did with their accounts was entirely up to them. We have an obligation and that is to tell people what Jesus Christ has done for us. We can't force people to become Christians. We can only share our testimony and allow the Holy Spirit to move in their lives.Demos Shakarian was a dairy farmer in America, he started the Full Gospel Businessman's Fellowship. He would hire a very nice restaurant or a hotel and then invite famous people, astronauts, bull-riders, sportsmen, and scientists and all they would do is tell the story of how Jesus Christ impacted their lives. That movement went right around the world and many, many people came to Christ through those testimonies.Go out today and tell people about how Jesus has impacted your life and you will be surprised how many will listen to you.Jesus bless you and have a wonderful day.Goodbye.
Acts 9:10 -19 ESV 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. A CHOSEN INSTRUMENT Definitely, God has humbled Saul. God had cause him to fall from the horse and became blind. Helpless, he needed to reach out to God. Thus, God saw him, “Behold he is praying.” Is there any better response apart from pleading God's mercy as Jacob did when his pelvic bone was broken? God can help him directly by Himself but God does use a man, Ananias. He tasked him by saying, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” [v.11,12] Ananias has had reservations if he got it right. Thus, he spoke his mind, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” We should be thinking like him if we were in his place, should we not? Saul is the last person everyone thought to be saved. But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” These words might be hard to understand. Nevertheless, Ananias obeyed. God's ways are higher than ours. And His words are perfect. Ananias ministered to Saul as the Lord said. He even called Saul his brother now. He said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened. Let's not write off people today because of their attitudes towards us believers. Most of them like Paul are zealous and sincere in their religion until God opens their eyes. If a persecutor like Saul was saved, no sinner should be at the threshold of impossible. The gospel is still powerful unto salvation to those who believed. -------------------- Visit and FOLLOW Gospel Light Filipino on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram
A Growing ChurchThe church grows through the missional work of faithful followers of Jesus Christ. --- God can do amazing things through ordinary people who are empowered by the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit was given to all believers and the church was born. The church is God's chosen instrument in the world for sharing the good news about Jesus Christ. The book of Acts is all about the unhindered movement of God throughout the world as the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed through the church. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the early church was an unstoppable movement that proclaimed the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life. Today, the church empowered by the Holy Spirit is called to continue God's redeeming work in the world by fulfilling God's mission of making Jesus known to the ends of the earth. Acts of the Apostles 11:19-26 NLTMeanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen's death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God's blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) 1. The church grows larger when we share the Good News of Jesus with all people. (v. 19-21) 2. The church grows stronger when we encourage one another in the faith. (v. 22-24) 3. The church grows deeper through the teaching of God's Word. (v. 25-26) • • •Challenge: A growing church is one that is committed to going further on mission by sharing Jesus with all people, and going deeper in Christ together by encouraging one another, spending time in God's Word together, and by serving those in need. God, help us to be committed followers of Jesus who will stand firm in our faith as we grow stronger and deeper in Christ – who are willing to make Jesus known around the world – who desire through the Holy Spirit's presence and power at work in us, to shine the light of the gospel upon a dark world, winning others to you! Amen.
Morning Prayer for Monday, September 19, 2022 (Proper 20; Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690). Psalm and Scripture readings (2-year lectionary; 60-day Psalter): Psalm 50 Haggai 1 Matthew 14 Click here to access the text for Morning Prayer at DailyOffice2019.com. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/dailyofficepodcast/support
Today on the Almanac, we remember Theodore of Tarsus and the creation of the English Church. #1517 #christianhistory @DiscipulusU #Canterbury #MedievalTwitter — SHOW NOTES are available: https://www.1517.org/podcasts/the-christian-history-almanac GIVE BACK: Support the work of 1517 today CONTACT: CHA@1517.org SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts Spotify Stitcher Overcast Google Play FOLLOW US: Facebook Twitter Audio production by Christopher Gillespie (gillespie.media).
Yes, Saul of Tarsus was the enemy of Jesus Christ, a persecutor of the Lord's Body, and yet amazingly, God deemed it meet to appear to him on the road to Damascus to convert and recruit Saul into the Lord's service. Have you ever asked yourself, as I have many times, was there not a better candidate for the job than this man who was throwing men and women in jail for the ‘crime' of witnessing the Lord Jesus? There short answer is, no, there was not a better candidate, and your King James Bible tells you why. Saul was many things, a lot of them bad, but much of them quite good, and believe it or not, his motive has right. He was set within himself to defend the Law of Moses from all enemies foreign or domestic, and he would do that even at the cost of his own life. Saul viewed Jesus and His followers as a threat to the Temple system, and acted according to Old Testament law. But when the risen Lord Jesus appeared to Saul on the Damascus road, Saul knew right away that while his motive may have been right, his method needed to immediately change. To his credit, when faced with the Truth, he instantly saw the error of his way, and asked the Lord what He would have him to do. Today I would like to bring you a message on how we are to follow in Paul's steps, and press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Saul of Tarsus, better known as the Apostle Paul, is an amazingly complex figure who features prominently in the very early church's history. We'll explore his childhood in the city of Tarsus, his education in Jerusalem, and his abrupt encounter with Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road. We'll also examine the Roman world in which he grew up and see why he could move so effortlessly between the world of Greek philosophers and the world of conservative Judaism.
In this episode, we look at the mixed Roman and Jewish milieu in which Saul of Tarsus was raised. Saul's legal status as a Roman and his education as a merchant and a Pharisee made him exceptionally qualified for his later life mission. Unfortunately, for many years he was doing the opposite of what his life mission would be. He was a fervent supporter of the Hellenized Sadducees and led efforts in persecuting and executing Christians in farcical trials. This culminated in the martyrdom of Stephen and Saul's famous journey on The Road to Damascus. On that path, Saul was visited by an unexpected visitor who turned his life around. Saul ended up becoming one of the most devout Christian disciples and one of the greatest defenders of Christians and their faith. He had a special gift for teaching Gentiles, and he became one of their most ardent supporters, standing up for them in Christian counsels in Jerusalem. One letter of his name also changed. This episode is the first of a three-part series on Saul/Paul. Episode 1 covers his early life, the first mission, and the interim before his second mission comprising Acts 6-15. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
Featuring the music of Felix Mendelssohn's 3rd symphony, the organ and the choir of the St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, and readings from Yeshua and the former Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, Bob shares about legacy. What will be yours? What will be his?Russell Torrance of ABC Classic FM here in Australia shared some thoughts last week which find their way onto the podcast again in light of Jewish influence on classical music and an episode from Budapest and Hitler. Where is your hope? What is your legacy? Worth the 18 minutes to ponder. Support the show
After recording the conversion of Saul of Tarsus at Damascus, Luke shifts his focus to the ministry of Peter. In particular, Luke hones in on two mighty miracles performed near the coast of Judea before Peter is called to a Gentile's home. The healing of a paralytic causes an entire town to believe! And the raising of a dead widow also causes many to believe! The same Risen Lord that was with Peter is with us today! He is the Lord of restoration! He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)! Join us as we worship!
Kencan Dengan Tuhan - Sabtu, 10 September 2022 "Sebab rancangan-Ku bukanlah rancanganmu, dan jalanmu bukanlah jalan-Ku, demikianlah firman TUHAN." (Yesaya 55:8) Renungan: Pernahkah kita membayangkan jika ilmuwan sekelas Albert Einstein berdebat dengan seorang anak SMP tentang teori relativitas? Tentu tidak akan pernah ada titik temu. Akan menjadi sia-sia jika kita berpikir mempertemukan keduanya untuk berdiskusi. Mengapa?Karena yang satunya adalah pakar terbaik di bidangnya sedangkan lawannya masih belum banyak tahu tentang topik yang dibahas itu. Bukankah hal tersebut sama seperti situasi kita. Allah berhadapan dengan orang-orang yang memperdebatkan rancangannya bagi manusia. Ini sungguh perdebatan yang tidak seimbang. Tetapi sekalipun kita tahu bahwa hal ini tidak seimbang, bukankah kita sering mencoba melakukannya? Dalam hal apa? Dalam hal keputusan-keputusan yang hendak kita jalani dalam hidup. Jika kita jujur, bukankah kita selalu menganggap bahwa jalan kita lebih baik dari jalan Tuhan? Kita mencoba memperdebatkan keputusan-keputusan kita dengan Allah dan menganggapnya lebih benar. Sikap seperti inilah yang akhirnya membentuk pribadi kita untuk lebih percaya dan mengandalkan manusia daripada mengikuti kehendak Allah. Kita tentu tahu dengan pengalaman hidup Yunus. Allah menunjukkan jalan kepadanya agar pergi ke Niniwe untuk menyampaikan pesan Allah, tetapi Yunus menantang dan memilih jalannya sendiri dengan pergi ke Tarsus. Akibatnya ia pun harus berhadapan dengan begitu banyak masalah bahkan mengancam nyawanya. Beruntung Yunus sadar dan mau mengubah langkahnya untuk mengikuti rencana Allah. Bagaimana dengan hidup kita? Apakah hari ini kita sedang berada dalam sebuah situasi yang mendorong kita untuk segera membuat keputusan penting dalam hidup kita? Tidak ada gunanya memperdebatkan keputusan kita dengan keputusan Allah. Allah adalah pribadi yang paling tahu jalan hidup kita dan Dia tidak akan pernah merencanakan hal yang jahat. Ikuti saja jalan dan kehendak Allah, sebab itu yang terbaik bagi hidup kita. Tuhan Yesus memberkati. Doa: Tuhan Yesus, kini aku tahu bahwa rencana-Mu adalah rencana yang terbaik bagi hidupku. Amin. (Dod).
On this episode of the podcast, Brad joins us as we wrap up our review series by revisiting the rule change that delayed reserve access until after the first round of the game. We also talk about some unofficial tournaments that are happening and exciting updates to the tournament application including a new fall seasonal promo, Saul of Tarsus.
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
09/04/2022 Paul Bang Acts 21:27-22:8 English Standard Version Paul Arrested in the Temple 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!” Paul Speaks to the People 37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language,[a] saying: 22 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” 2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language,[b] they became even more quiet. And he said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel[c] according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.' 17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.' 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.' 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'” Paul and the Roman Tribune 22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.”
Thursday, 1 September 2022 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. Acts 10:5 In the previous verse, Cornelius was told that his prayers and alms had come up for a memorial before God. Because of this, he is told, “Now send men to Joppa.” The encounter and the directions are not unlike that which were given in Chapter 9 – “Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, ‘Ananias.' And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.' 11 So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.'” Acts 9:10-12 This time, however, instead of a believing Jew receiving instructions to go to an unbelieving Jew to have his eyes opened, it is a Gentile being told to send men to a believing Jew so that the sender may have his heart rightly turned to God. It is obvious, even before the next clause, that it is Peter who is to be summoned. The account of him in Joppa was just referred to in the last verse of Chapter 9. That thought is confirmed with the words, “and send for Simon.” Here, his original Jewish name is given. It is what he was known as until Jesus designated him Peter as is recorded in the gospels (see Matthew 16:17-19, Mark 3:16, and Luke 6:14). After that, Luke records, “whose surname is Peter.” Whatever “surname” meant in the past, it now means a hereditary name common to all members of a family. In this case, his surname would be his father's name, Bar-Jonah, or “son of Jonah,” seen in Matthew 16. Hence, this more rightly reads, “who is named Peter,” or “who is called Peter.” Cornelius has been directed to specifically call for Simon who is called Peter. This is to avoid any confusion between him and the man he is staying with, Simon the tanner. Rather than this messenger telling Cornelius the message of Jesus, the responsibility is given to an apostle of Jesus. But more, it is given to Simon Peter. There is a reason for this that will be explained later in the passage. Life application: A responsibility was laid upon the apostles. That expanded to the disciples as the apostolic age continued and eventually ended. The message of Jesus Christ is a message that has been given to us to share. Angels do not convey it to men, and it would be contradictory for us to think that such would be the case. Paul says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). It is true that someone may pick up a Bible or a tract with the gospel and read it and then come to faith. But someone had to translate the Bible, it had to be published, it had to be purchased, it had to be given, and so on. The responsibility for people to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ rests upon us. Just before Paul's words of Romans 10:17, he said – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:14, 15 People need to hear the word. The word will not get out unless people get involved in the process. Yes, it is good to support preachers, but it is equally as good for any and all saved believers to also join in the process. As the psalm says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psalm 107:2). Open your mouth and speak. Carry a Bible and pass it on. Have tracts available to share. Be a participant in the great thing God has done and continues to do, even to this day. If not you, then who? Lord God, how marvelous it was on the day we heard the good news about what Christ had done for us. Someone took the time to share that news, and we were blessed to be included in Him because of it. Help us to carry that thought with us always. Help us to be responsible with our time and abilities by now being included in those who share this wonderful message of hope and truth. Amen.
Proper 17 First Psalm: Psalm 25 Psalm 25 (Listen) Teach Me Your Paths 1 Of David. 25 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.2 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. 4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. 6 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! 8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. 11 For your name's sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.12 Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.13 His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.14 The friendship2 of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.18 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. 19 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. Footnotes  25:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet  25:14 Or The secret counsel (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalm 9; Psalm 15 Psalm 9 (Listen) I Will Recount Your Wonderful Deeds 1 To the choirmaster: according to Muth-labben.2 A Psalm of David. 9 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.2 I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. 3 When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before3 your presence.4 For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. 5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished. 7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,8 and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. 9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. 11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. 13 Be gracious to me, O LORD! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death,14 that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation. 15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.16 The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion.4 Selah 17 The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. 18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. 19 Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you!20 Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah Footnotes  9:1 Psalms 9 and 10 together follow an acrostic pattern, each stanza beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In the Septuagint they form one psalm  9:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  9:3 Or because of  9:16 Probably a musical or liturgical term (ESV) Psalm 15 (Listen) Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill? A Psalm of David. 15 O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. (ESV) Old Testament: Job 12:1–6; Job 12:13–25 Job 12:1–6 (Listen) Job Replies: The Lord Has Done This 12 Then Job answered and said: 2 “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these?4 I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called to God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.5 In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune; it is ready for those whose feet slip.6 The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hand.1 Footnotes  12:6 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain (ESV) Job 12:13–25 (Listen) 13 “With God1 are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.14 If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open.15 If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.16 With him are strength and sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his.17 He leads counselors away stripped, and judges he makes fools.18 He looses the bonds of kings and binds a waistcloth on their hips.19 He leads priests away stripped and overthrows the mighty.20 He deprives of speech those who are trusted and takes away the discernment of the elders.21 He pours contempt on princes and loosens the belt of the strong.22 He uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light.23 He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.24 He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a trackless waste.25 They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man. Footnotes  12:13 Hebrew him (ESV) New Testament: Acts 11:19–30 Acts 11:19–30 (Listen) The Church in Antioch 19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists1 also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. 27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers2 living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. Footnotes  11:20 Or Greeks (that is, Greek-speaking non-Jews)  11:29 Or brothers and sisters (ESV) Gospel: John 8:21–32 John 8:21–32 (Listen) 21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come'?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. The Truth Will Set You Free 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (ESV)
Did you know that one of the greatest heroes of Scripture is also one of its greatest villains? Before he was the great Apostle Paul he was the terrorist known as Saul of Tarsus. He oversaw the first assassination of a church leader, Stephen. He was an operative charged with assaulting, murdering, and imprisoning the faithful. "As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison," Acts 8:3But even in this, God was in charge. This persecution led to the spread of the gospel and the great persecutor would become the great preacher. Join in as Gary and Rick look at this pivotal moment in church history.
Continuing in our deliverance series, this week we will begin our work around DELIVERED TO. In Acts 8 we meet Ananias (a devout Christian) and Saul of Tarsus persecutor of early Christians following Jesus' crucifixion (who would later become known as the Apostle Paul). Acts 8 reveals to us that sometimes God uses other people to jumpstart the beginning of our pre-ordained destiny, delivering us to the ONE (God) who knows and holds our Identity & Calling.
Proper 16 First Psalm: Psalms 1–3 Psalms 1–3 (Listen) Book One The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked 1 Blessed is the man1 who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;2 but his delight is in the law2 of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. The Reign of the Lord's Anointed 2 Why do the nations rage3 and the peoples plot in vain?2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.9 You shall break4 them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Save Me, O My God A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. 3 O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;2 many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah5 3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.4 I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah 5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah Footnotes  1:1 The singular Hebrew word for man (ish) is used here to portray a representative example of a godly person; see Preface  1:2 Or instruction  2:1 Or nations noisily assemble  2:9 Revocalization yields (compare Septuagint) You shall rule  3:2 The meaning of the Hebrew word Selah, used frequently in the Psalms, is uncertain. It may be a musical or liturgical direction (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalm 4; Psalm 7 Psalm 4 (Listen) Answer Me When I Call To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David. 4 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! 2 O men,1 how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah3 But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. 4 Be angry,2 and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. 6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Footnotes  4:2 Or O men of rank  4:4 Or Be agitated (ESV) Psalm 7 (Listen) In You Do I Take Refuge A Shiggaion1 of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjaminite. 7 O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver. 3 O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands,4 if I have repaid my friend2 with evil or plundered my enemy without cause,5 let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust. Selah 6 Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. 8 The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts,3 O righteous God!10 My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. 12 If a man4 does not repent, God5 will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow;13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.15 He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. 17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. Footnotes  7:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  7:4 Hebrew the one at peace with me  7:9 Hebrew the hearts and kidneys  7:12 Hebrew he  7:12 Hebrew he (ESV) Old Testament: Job 4:1; Job 5:1–11; Job 5:17–21; Job 5:26–27 Job 4:1 (Listen) Eliphaz Speaks: The Innocent Prosper 4 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: (ESV) Job 5:1–11 (Listen) 5 “Call now; is there anyone who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?2 Surely vexation kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple.3 I have seen the fool taking root, but suddenly I cursed his dwelling.4 His children are far from safety; they are crushed in the gate, and there is no one to deliver them.5 The hungry eat his harvest, and he takes it even out of thorns,1 and the thirsty pant2 after his3 wealth.6 For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground,7 but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. 8 “As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause,9 who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:10 he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields;11 he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. Footnotes  5:5 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain  5:5 Aquila, Symmachus, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew could be read as and the snare pants  5:5 Hebrew their (ESV) Job 5:17–21 (Listen) 17 “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.18 For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.19 He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil1 shall touch you.20 In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword.21 You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes. Footnotes  5:19 Or disaster (ESV) Job 5:26–27 (Listen) 26 You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, like a sheaf gathered up in its season.27 Behold, this we have searched out; it is true. Hear, and know it for your good.”1 Footnotes  5:27 Hebrew for yourself (ESV) New Testament: Acts 9:19–31 Acts 9:19–31 (Listen) 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. Saul Escapes from Damascus 23 When many days had passed, the Jews1 plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall,2 lowering him in a basket. Saul in Jerusalem 26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists.3 But they were seeking to kill him. 30 And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. Footnotes  9:23 The Greek word Ioudaioi refers specifically here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, who opposed the Christian faith in that time  9:25 Greek through the wall  9:29 That is, Greek-speaking Jews (ESV) Gospel: John 6:52–59 John 6:52–59 (Listen) 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread1 the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus2 said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
Preparing for MinistryPastor Trinity Opp All Christians go through three stages, “This is easy!” – “This is difficult!” – “This is impossible!”, on their way to becoming a spiritually mature follower of Jesus.---God can do amazing things through ordinary people who are empowered by the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit was given to all believers and the church was born. The church is God's chosen instrument in the world for sharing the good news about Jesus Christ. The book of Acts is all about the unhindered movement of God throughout the world as the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed through the church. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the early church was an unstoppable movement that proclaimed the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life. Today, the church empowered by the Holy Spirit is called to continue God's redeeming work in the world by fulfilling God's mission of making Jesus known to the ends of the earth. Acts of the Apostles 9:19-31 NLTAfterward he ate some food and regained his strength.Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. “Isn't this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus' followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn't he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” Saul's preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn't refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall. When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown. The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. 1. Preparing for ministry by spending time alone with God. (9:19-22) 2. Preparing for ministry through real life experiences. (9:23-25) 3. Preparing for ministry through the care and support of other believers. (9:26-31) • • • Challenge: Preparation for ministry does not happen overnight. God is not in a hurry. He will take the time He needs to break us of our will and self-reliance, so that He can build us up to be dependent on Him and live aligned to His will. Our preparation can be lonely and painful, but is intended for greater ministry effectiveness. Effective ministry requires that we surrender our will to God's plan for our life and that we realize that we can do nothing without Him.
The book of Acts contains the amazing story of how the good news about Jesus started with a small band of people in Jerusalem, and in a few short years, ended up with followers of Jesus and churches in every key city in the Roman Empire. A key aspect of the story involves the missionary efforts of Saul of Tarsus, A.K.A., the Apostle Paul. Today’s passage gives us a quick glimpse into the missionary ministry of Paul. He goes on three great journeys traveling from town to town to preach Jesus and plant churches. This sermon will be a little different from our normal sermons as we will share a biography of this amazing servant of Jesus, and we will look at Paul’s missionary efforts around the world.
Proper 15 First Psalm: Psalm 137; Psalm 144 Psalm 137 (Listen) How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song? 137 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.2 On the willows1 there we hung up our lyres.3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! 7 Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us!9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock! Footnotes  137:2 Or poplars (ESV) Psalm 144 (Listen) My Rock and My Fortress Of David. 144 Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;2 he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples1 under me. 3 O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. 5 Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke!6 Flash forth the lightning and scatter them; send out your arrows and rout them!7 Stretch out your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me from the many waters, from the hand of foreigners,8 whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 9 I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,10 who gives victory to kings, who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 12 May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace;13 may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;14 may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;2 may there be no cry of distress in our streets!15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD! Footnotes  144:2 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Dead Sea Scroll, Jerome, Syriac, Aquila; most Hebrew manuscripts subdues my people  144:14 Hebrew with no breaking in or going out (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalm 104 Psalm 104 (Listen) O Lord My God, You Are Very Great 104 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty,2 covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.3 He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind;4 he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. 5 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.7 At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.9 You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. 10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills;11 they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. 14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart. 16 The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees.18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers. 19 He made the moon to mark the seasons;1 the sun knows its time for setting.20 You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about.21 The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.22 When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens.23 Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. 24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.25 Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.26 There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.2 27 These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.30 When you send forth your Spirit,3 they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. 31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,32 who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD! Footnotes  104:19 Or the appointed times (compare Genesis 1:14)  104:26 Or you formed to play with  104:30 Or breath (ESV) Old Testament: Job 3 Job 3 (Listen) Job Laments His Birth 3 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 And Job said: 3 “Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.'4 Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it.5 Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.6 That night—let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months.7 Behold, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry enter it.8 Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.9 Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none, nor see the eyelids of the morning,10 because it did not shut the doors of my mother's womb, nor hide trouble from my eyes. 11 “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire?12 Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?13 For then I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,14 with kings and counselors of the earth who rebuilt ruins for themselves,15 or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver.16 Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light?17 There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest.18 There the prisoners are at ease together; they hear not the voice of the taskmaster.19 The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master. 20 “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul,21 who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,22 who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave?23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?24 For my sighing comes instead of1 my bread, and my groanings are poured out like water.25 For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.” Footnotes  3:24 Or like; Hebrew before (ESV) New Testament: Acts 9:10–19 Acts 9:10–19 (Listen) 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. (ESV) Gospel: John 6:41–51 John 6:41–51 (Listen) 41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven'?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (ESV)
In Acts Chapter 11 we have one of the most shocking admissions in Jewish history, that Gentiles can now enter the eternal kingdom quote (verse 18): "We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life." Simon Peter relates the story of Cornelius and their respective visions, and Barnabas goes to Tarsus to find Saul (Paul) (who had been disinherited by his family for believing in Christ). Excellent Episode!
"He was an officer, a tribune, in the Roman army in the time of the Emperor Maximian. A Syrian by birth, he served in his native land. When the Persians attacked the imperial Roman army, this Andrew was entrusted with the command in the battle against the enemy — whence his title: commander, strateletes. A secret Christian, although as yet unbaptised, Andrew commended himself to the living God, and, taking only the cream of the army, went to war. Before the battle, he told his soldiers that, if they all called upon the aid of the one, true God, Christ the Lord, their enemies would become as dust scattered before them. All the soldiers, fired with enthusiasm by Andrew and his faith, invoked Christ's aid and attacked. The Persian army was utterly routed. When the victorious Andrew returned to Antioch, some jealous men denounced him as a Christian and the imperial governor summoned him for trial. Andrew openly proclaimed his steadfast faith in Christ. After harsh torture, the governor threw Andrew into prison and wrote to the Emperor in Rome. Knowing Andrew's popularity among the people and in the army, the Emperor ordered the governor to set Andrew free, but to seek another occasion and another excuse (not his faith) to kill him. By God's revelation, Andrew came to know of this imperial command, and, taking his faithful soldiers (2,593 in all) with him, went off to Tarsus in Cilicia, where they were all baptised by the bishop, Peter. Persecuted here also by imperial might, Andrew and his companions withdrew deep into the Armenian mountain of Tavros. There in a ravine, while they were at prayer, the Roman army came upon them and beheaded them all. Not one of them would recant, all being determined on death by martyrdom for Christ. On the spot where a stream of the martyrs' blood flowed down, a spring of healing water sprang forth, healing from every disease. The bishop, Peter, came secretly with his people and buried the martyrs' bodies in that same place. They all suffered with honour at the end of the third century and were crowned with wreaths of eternal glory, entering into the Kingdom of Christ our God." (Prologue)
Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:6-13Daily Lectionary: 2 Samuel 7:18-20; 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:16 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The apostle Paul was a super-religious guy in his previous life. We also know him as Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee of Pharisees. He had his religious life all neatly packaged up, ready to give to God with the expectation that God would reward him for his good efforts and works. Paul would learn, in baptismal wonder, that such ideas were foolish (Acts 9). Salvation does not rest in any human. It is a gift granted for the sake of the death and life of Jesus alone. It seems like Paul is quoting a proverb he surely had memorized in his Pharisee days: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Some in the church at Corinth prided themselves on their own super religiosity and spiritual strength. They should be careful, Paul warns, not to fall from grace. That is a good warning for us as well. It keeps us from centering our life of faith on us instead of the One who really makes it all possible. It works repentance in us and moves us back to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Along with Paul's warning, he adds a beautiful word of promise: We will not be tested beyond our God-given capacity. When faced with trials, we can count on God's faithfulness. "God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).God remains faithful to the promise He made to you in Baptism. He will be with you always (Matthew 28:20). He has joined you to Jesus, the One who overcame every temptation and trial by His perfect obedience and death. The resurrected Jesus is there with forgiveness and mercy when you do fall. With every trial He will give you strength to endure, and will, in His own time, create the "way out"! In Christ, there is no need to stand on anything but His promise! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why should cross and trial grieve me? Christ is near with His cheer; never will He leave me. Who can rob me of this heaven that God's Son for me won when His life was given? ("Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me" LSB 756, st.1)-Rev. David Magruder is pastor of Peace With Christ Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschStudy Christ's words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.
Who is farthest from the Kingdom: A Samaritan? A foreigner? Or a religionist? Of course, the correct answer is "c," Saul of Tarsus, Hebrew-of-Hebrews, protégé of Gamaliel... enemy of God and man. The outsiders in Acts 8 were brought to Christ in the usual way, through human testimony. Saul would require a more direct approach. When we began listening to this message on Friday we talked about the life-changing confrontation of Saul. Today Jim will show us "what's next." Listen to Right Start Radio every Monday through Friday on WCVX 1160AM (Cincinnati, OH) at 9:30am, WHKC 91.5FM (Columbus, OH) at 5:00pm, WRFD 880AM (Columbus, OH) at 9:00am. Right Start can also be heard on One Christian Radio 107.7FM & 87.6FM in New Plymouth, New Zealand. You can purchase a copy of this message, unsegmented for broadcasting and in its entirety, for $7 on a single CD by calling +1 (800) 984-2313, and of course you can always listen online or download the message for free. RS08152022_0.mp3Scripture References: Acts 9
Monday, 15 August 2022 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. Acts 9:31 In the last verse, Saul (Paul) was sent out from Caesarea to Tarsus. With him now sent off, the narrative continues with the focus on the immediate area, beginning with, “Then the churches.” Some manuscripts here identify it as one church – “And the church.” Either way, the individual churches form one church as long as they are under Christ, the Head. But the distinction between individual churches is not inappropriate and is seen throughout the rest of the Bible, even into Revelation where Jesus addresses the seven churches. For now, these churches (forming one church) are found “throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria...” The land of Canaan, the original area of Israel's land grant, is the main area of focus at this time. The words “had peace and were edified” should read “had peace, being edified.” The first verb is imperfect and the second is a present participle. These things were happening, and the time of edification was a part of what resulted in the peace they experienced. Of this word, edified, Charles Ellicott says – “The passage is noticeable for the appearance of the word ‘edified,' or ‘built up,' in the sense in which St. Paul had used it (1Corinthians 8:1; 1Corinthians 14:4), as describing orderly and continuous growth, the superstructure raised wisely upon the right foundation.” Along with that, it says, “And walking in the fear of the Lord.” Rather than being a new sentence, these words are a continued part of what brought the state of peace. Along with being edified, the churches were walking in the fear of the Lord. This speaks of a sense of reverent fear of the Lord, not a sense of terror or trembling fear. Just as a child is admonished by his father and he has a sense of respect for him, so the church is built up in the knowledge of the Lord, growing in a sense of respect and humility before Him. With that understood, it next says, “and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” The word translated as “comfort” signifies “close beside.” Helps Word Studies says it “is used of the Lord directly motivating and inspiring believers to carry out His plan, delivering His particular message to someone else.” The context will decide what is being conveyed, whether it is a warning, an exhortation, an encouragement, etc. In this case, and because it is tied in with edification and fear of the Lord leading to peace, it is probably a mixture of exhortation – meaning the words of the apostles building them up into a fuller knowledge of Christ, and encouragement – meaning a state of feeling secure, confident, and hopeful in the faith that was espoused to all of the believers. In this state, it concludes with, “they were multiplied.” These words certainly mean the number of believers, but it may go beyond that to the state in which the believers existed. A small church that doesn't have great growth can still be multiplied in knowledge and in their state of blessing. A large church with new members coming in all the time may have a love for the Lord, but may not have the same sense of importance concerning doctrine. In other words, one may be multiplied in doctrine and instruction while the other is multiplied in people filling the seats. The words now do not limit the meaning and it is probable that they were being multiplied in both ways. Life application: If one goes back to the previous verses, it almost seems as if the statements made in this verse came about because Paul was no longer among them. When he was there several years earlier, they were not in a state of peace. When Paul returned, they – at least at first – were wary of him. His zeal for the Lord also brought about difficulties with the Hellenists who then tried to kill him. But their animosity toward Paul would naturally lead to that same feeling toward others who Paul identified with. As such, the Lord had Paul removed from the area in order for them to grow without him. This would give Israel a chance to accept this message or reject it apart from him. At the same time, he would be out among the Gentiles evangelizing them. Eventually, it would be seen that Israel would not accept Jesus in the time allotted by God (see Luke 11:29-32). This was a period of forty years (a day for a year based on Jonah's proclamation to Nineveh). By the time this period was over, the Gentiles would be ready to take the helm of carrying the gospel forward. Everything finds its proper place, and God continues to work out His plans according to His infinite wisdom. We do not need to fret or fear that things are not working out as they should. They are. We just need to continue to trust that God is in control. He is doing things that we may not even realize. In the end, we will see the wisdom of it all. Lord God, how precious it is to know that You are leading things. If it were up to us, it all would have fallen apart eons ago. But things are getting done because You are directing things to a good end. Help us to trust this when things don't appear that way from our perspective. We have a sure place of trust in Your guiding hand. Thank You for that. Amen.
Sunday, 14 August 2022 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. Acts 9:30 The last verse revealed that the Hellenists had determined to kill Saul (Paul). With that, Luke now records, “When the brethren found out.” These words show that either Saul had already heard the threats and ignored them or that someone simply heard, and it became more widely known among the brethren. The first option is not unlikely. Saul had a defiant streak in him that will be seen again and again in Acts. A good example of this is found in Acts 21 – “And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, “So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”' 12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, ‘What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.' 14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, ‘The will of the Lord be done.'” Acts 21:10-14 However, the second option is also something that occurs elsewhere in Acts – “And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. 14 They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, ‘We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near.' 16 So when Paul's sister's son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, ‘Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.' 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, ‘Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.'” Acts 23:12-18 One way or another, the word concerning a threat to his life would get around and either Saul would ignore the danger, or he would have someone work on his behalf to get him out of it. In this case, it next says, “they brought him down to Caesarea.” Instead of staying in order to continue to challenge these belligerent and threatening Hellenists, Saul leaves Jerusalem and travels to Caesarea. A trip from Jerusalem to anywhere else is always considered traveling “down.” As for the location, this is Caesarea Maritima which is a port by the sea. It was built by Herod the Great around 22-9BC. Its ruins are still there today including the great aqueduct and the amphitheater along with many other areas of note. A short video on the location that is well worth watching can be seen at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ71dph8qE8 Another point about these words, “and they brought him down,” is that Saul is almost always seen being conducted by others. This could be chalked up to simply protecting his life from the Hellenists. However, due to the frequency of such comments, it appears that Saul was not suited to traveling alone. Instead, when Acts is taken as a whole, it seems to appear that he required assistance getting from one place to another. Regardless of this, though, it was certainly a testament that they had accepted Saul and it validated that they believed he had truly become one of them. With that, it next says they “sent him out to Tarsus.” This is where Saul was from, and it had now been an extended period since he had been there. A period of at least four years, and maybe more, had gone by since his being in Tarsus. The narrative will return to Jerusalem after this verse, but Saul's time away is referred to by him in Galatians 1 – “Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, ‘He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.' 24 And they glorified God in me.” Galatians 1:21-24 While in Tarsus, he certainly would have evangelized others, and he went into these other regions as well. During this time, he probably took up his old source of employment which was making tents. It is something he could do anywhere, and it would pay for his travels as he went. During his time in Syria and Cilicia, he obviously had made converts. This can be deduced from Acts 15:41. There, it records details of the second missionary journey and refers to churches not mentioned on the first missionary journey – “And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” Acts 14:39-41 It is probable that these churches were established by Saul before he is reconnected with the details provided by Luke in Acts. Life application: Even when out of the main picture of Acts, it is seen through a careful study that Paul was always staying active in his evangelism. It is not uncommon to hear someone say today, “I just need to get away from it all for a while.” This is even seen among Pastors who take a “sabbatical” in order to unwind. Such a notion was unheard of to Paul. There was no unwinding but rather a constant focus on his life's mission. Paul evangelized while in prison. He evangelized while traveling. He evangelized at the synagogues on the Sabbath and to both Jews and Gentiles throughout the week. It didn't matter where he was or what secondary thing he was engaged in, he was telling people about Jesus. With prosperity, we have forgotten what it means to be focused. When enough time for a vacation is earned, we drop every remembrance of what we have been focused on and redirect to time away. How blessed we are that we can do this, but how unfortunate if we don't carry the message of Jesus along with us. Regardless of where we are going and what other things we are doing, let us not forget to continue to let people know our allegiance to Jesus and then share why we hold to it. As we travel, we may be the only ones the people we encounter will ever talk to about Jesus. If not we, then who? Lord God, how faithful You have been to us. We called on You when we heard the gospel, and You saved us. Now, it is our turn to tell others about this same wonderful message of hope. May we get about it and tell! People need to hear this good and precious news. So be with us and prompt us to do so. To Your glory! Amen.
A very good morning to you. I greet you in Jesus' precious name! It is Saturday morning, the 13th of August 2022, and this is your friend, Angus Buchan, with a thought for today.“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17What a beautiful, beautiful Scripture - we are fresh and new, an entirely new creation! Without a doubt, the greatest of all miracles is new life! You know, I've seen many miracles in my life: I've seen God open blind eyes;I have seen deaf ears unstopped;I have seen lame people walk; I have seen addictions to drugs and alcohol broken in an instant;I have even seen weather patterns change through prayers of faith; I've seen barren wombs conceive and beautiful babies born, but without a doubt, the greatest miracle and the one that still brings me to tears of joy is when one sinner is born again. (John 3:3)Supernaturally, an evil man, like Saul of Tarsus, in an instant becomes a saint. Paul the apostle, when he meets the Son of God, face to face, on the road to Damascus, surely the greatest miracle of all - you can read that in Acts 9. I can hear a mother, a wife crying out, “But my loved one is not interested.” Please continue to pray for that loved one. When a man or woman is born again, they have a fresh start. They are a new creation. I have evidence of this. The old life is gone. You know what brings me more joy than anything else is to receive a letter from a little girl with big handwriting, thanking Jesus for giving her a brand new daddy, when I get a letter from a wife saying,”He's bringing home a paycheck at the end of the month now, and we have food to eat.” Job said in Job 19:25:“For I know that my Redeemer lives.”When I see a turnaround like that, there is no doubt in my mind that we serve a mighty miracle-working God. Continue to pray for your loved one, and Jesus will turn him around. Have a wonderful day.God bless you and goodbye.
Thursday, 11 August 2022 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. Acts 9:27 The previous verse noted Saul's coming to Jerusalem and trying to join the disciples, but they were all wary of him because of his past. With that, Luke continues, saying, “But Barnabas.” It is unknown how there came to be a connection between the two that allowed Barnabas to accept him while no others did. One speculation is that they previously knew one another. As Barnabas was originally from Cyprus (Acts 4:36) and Saul is from Tarsus, it is possible they received schooling together. It also could be that Barnabas had actually been to Damascus and had met Saul (Paul) during his time there. Or Barnabas may have been informed of this by someone else who was fully aware of the situation. Regardless of what brought the two together, Barnabas sided with Saul and “took him and brought him to the apostles.” Here is where Paul's words of Galatians 1:18, 19 fill in the missing information – “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother.” Paul told those in Galatia that he only encountered Peter and James. It could be that the other apostles had gone out to see how things were going elsewhere. This has already occurred in Acts 8 where Peter and John went to Samaria after the Samaritans had believed. For this or whatever other reason, these are the only two that Saul encountered at the time. After being brought to the apostles it says, “And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road.” The “he” here appears to be Barnabas. It is he who gave the overall narrative which would have been explained in detail by Saul. As for having seen the Lord on the road, it is an obvious place to start. In Acts 9:2, Saul was going to Damascus to arrest any who were of the Way (Greek: hodos). Now it says in this verse that while he was on the road (Greek: hodos), he encountered the Lord. The similarity between Saul's encounter and that of Balaam recorded in Numbers 22 may have come to the apostles' minds while hearing his words. The Lord was standing in the way (Hebrew: derek) of Balaam and his donkey. Eventually, the Lord appeared to him and said, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way [Hebrew: derek] is perverse before Me” (Numbers 22:32). Peter will later refer to the account of Balaam (2 Peter 2:15), showing that he was fully aware of the story. As such, the apostles have past precedent from Scripture to demonstrate that the Lord does directly intervene in such a manner in order to bring about a desired change in an outcome. With this in mind, Luke continues with the explanation of Saul's conversion, saying, “and that He had spoken to him.” A calling was made, and a conversation continued during that calling. Barnabas relayed this to the apostles and Saul probably gave a full and exacting account of what was said to him in order to convince them that what occurred was true and reliable. With that, the words of the verse finish with, “and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.” In order for Barnabas to relay this to Peter and James, he had to have been aware of it from someone other than Paul. Throughout Acts, Saul is almost always noted as being accompanied by others. It appears that he was unable to venture out alone, maybe because of a physical affliction such as bad eyesight. Because of this, it is unlikely that Saul traveled from Damascus to Jerusalem alone. As such, it leads credence to the thought (above) that Barnabas had either personally met with Saul in Damascus or that he had personally talked with someone who had accompanied him back from Damascus. No matter what, Barnabas was fully qualified to testify to the truth of the matter and that Paul had been a bold witness for the name of Jesus in Damascus. As for the words “preached boldly,” they come from a new word in Scripture, parrésiazomai. It will be seen seven times in Acts and then again in Ephesians 6:20 and 1 Thessalonians 2:2. It is derived from the word parrésia, meaning freedom, openness, etc. Hence, this word means “to be frank in utterance, or confident in spirit and demeanor” (Strong's). Paul's words were not just a show, but they were words of confidence that what he proclaimed was absolutely true and verifiable. Having been a Pharisee, he had the knowledge necessary to make the connections from Scripture that fully supported the notion that Jesus is Lord and that He is the fulfillment of all that the Hebrew Scriptures proclaimed. Life application: You, or someone you know, may feel unacceptable to speak out concerning Jesus because of what occurred in the past. You may have belittled Christians or harmed them in some way. Because of this, you may feel unworthy of doing anything within the church except sit in the pew and listen. But this is exactly the opposite of what the Bible reveals. The change that occurs in a person is intended to be a complete change. Where you were belittled, you can now build up. Where you were harmed, you can now provide healing. The past is gone. As Paul says – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 God has saved you through the giving of His Son. The internal change that has taken place can, and should, be used to help others in the same way. Be willing to open up about your past, tell others who you were and who you are now, and give them confidence that they too are acceptable to God because of what Jesus has done. Lord God, even the very best of us were totally corrupt before You. We had no chance of ever standing in Your presence. But then came Jesus. Our lives are changed, and we have put on garments of righteousness – His righteousness – in order to be acceptable to You. May we never hold back from telling others about this glorious transformation. Thank You for the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Her hafta birbirinden farklı hikayelerle izleyicilerini kıssadan hisse almaya davet eden Serdar Tuncer, bu hafta Biri Bir Gün'de 309 Yıl Uyutulan Ashab-ı Kehf kıssasını anlatıyor... Serdar Tuncer bu bölümde başlıca şunları anlattı: Selamın aleyküm erenler ve dahi erenlere gönül verenler hatta ve hatta erenlere gönül verenleri sevenler ve dahi 'basü badel mevt' hakikatine yakinen iman edenler... Ne demek basü badel mevt? Öldükten sonra dirilmek... Cenab-ı Hakk biz dünyadan göçtükten sonra, kıyametten sonra günü geldiğinde bütün insanları diriltecek. İşte buna müslümanlar iman eder zaten iman etmeden müslüman olunmaz ama bi de buna yakin kesbetmek var... Mesela İbrahim (a.s) Allah-u Teala'ya diyor ki; Ya Rabbi, öldükten sonra sen nasıl dirilteceksin? İnanmıyor musun ya İbrahim? Haşa Ya Rabbi, yakinim artsın istiyorum diyor... Basü badel mevt yani öldükten sonra dirilmek deyince bizim kültürümüzde, bizim anlayışımızda, bizim idrakimizde ilk canlanan Ashab-ı Kehf'dir. Ashab-ı Kehf'in ibretlik hadisesi böyle bildiğimiz ama bilmediğimiz de nüanslarıyla beraber onun en büyük nişanelerinden birisidir ayrıca içinden farklı farklı bir takım hikmetlerde çıkartılabilir. Ne kadar? Tefekkür ufkumuzca... Bir eve penceresi kadar düşer ayın ışığı... Hace Ubeydullah Ahrar (k.s) böyle buyurmuş. Ashab-ı Kehf; Kral Dakyanus devrinde bir rivayete göre Tarsus'ta yaşamış 7 genç... Devamı videoda... Gelin, Beraber Yürüyelim...
A debouched man who's love for his lusts drove him to utter despair and ultimately to his Savior. John Gifford trail blazed the road for John Bunyan to step in and fill his shoes. Enjoy his testimony and his Saul of Tarsus similarities. Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-lives-of-the-puritans/donations
With family: Judges 18; Acts 22 Judges 18 (Listen) Danites Take the Levite and the Idol 18 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. 2 So the people of Dan sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, “Go and explore the land.” And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. And they turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?” 4 And he said to them, “This is how Micah dealt with me: he has hired me, and I have become his priest.” 5 And they said to him, “Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed.” 6 And the priest said to them, “Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the LORD.” 7 Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking1 nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. 8 And when they came to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you report?” 9 They said, “Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go, to enter in and possess the land. 10 As soon as you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people. The land is spacious, for God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is in the earth.” 11 So 600 men of the tribe of Dan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, 12 and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called Mahaneh-dan2 to this day; behold, it is west of Kiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed on from there to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah. 14 Then the five men who had gone to scout out the country of Laish said to their brothers, “Do you know that in these houses there are an ephod, household gods, a carved image, and a metal image? Now therefore consider what you will do.” 15 And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and asked him about his welfare. 16 Now the 600 men of the Danites, armed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And the five men who had gone to scout out the land went up and entered and took the carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah's house and took the carved image, the ephod, the household gods, and the metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 And they said to him, “Keep quiet; put your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?” 20 And the priest's heart was glad. He took the ephod and the household gods and the carved image and went along with the people. 21 So they turned and departed, putting the little ones and the livestock and the goods in front of them. 22 When they had gone a distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house were called out, and they overtook the people of Dan. 23 And they shouted to the people of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you come with such a company?” 24 And he said, “You take my gods that I made and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, ‘What is the matter with you?'” 25 And the people of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household.” 26 Then the people of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home. 27 But the people of Dan took what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, and they came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, and struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 And they named the city Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the people of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, son of Moses,3 and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up Micah's carved image that he made, as long as the house of God was at Shiloh. Footnotes  18:7 Compare 18:10; the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain  18:12 Mahaneh-dan means camp of Dan  18:30 Or Manasseh (ESV) Acts 22 (Listen) 22 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” 2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language,1 they became even more quiet. And he said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel2 according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.' 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand3 the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.' 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. 12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.' 17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.' 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.' 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'” Paul and the Roman Tribune 22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips,4 Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him. Paul Before the Council 30 But on the next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them. Footnotes  22:2 Or the Hebrew dialect (probably Aramaic)  22:3 Or city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated  22:9 Or hear with understanding  22:25 Or when they had tied him up with leather strips (ESV) In private: Psalms 1–2; Jeremiah 32 Psalms 1–2 (Listen) Book One The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked 1 Blessed is the man1 who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;2 but his delight is in the law2 of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. The Reign of the Lord's Anointed 2 Why do the nations rage3 and the peoples plot in vain?2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.9 You shall break4 them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Footnotes  1:1 The singular Hebrew word for man (ish) is used here to portray a representative example of a godly person; see Preface  1:2 Or instruction  2:1 Or nations noisily assemble  2:9 Revocalization yields (compare Septuagint) You shall rule (ESV) Jeremiah 32 (Listen) Jeremiah Buys a Field During the Siege 32 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah. 3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, “Why do you prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it; 4 Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye. 5 And he shall take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall remain until I visit him, declares the LORD. Though you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed'?” 6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the LORD came to me: 7 Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.' 8 Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the LORD, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.' Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD. 9 “And I bought the field at Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. 11 Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions and the open copy. 12 And I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my cousin, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 I charged Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. 15 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.' Jeremiah Prays for Understanding 16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD, saying: 17 ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts, 19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. 20 You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day. 21 You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror. 22 And you gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 And they entered and took possession of it. But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. They did nothing of all you commanded them to do. Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them. 24 Behold, the siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and because of sword and famine and pestilence the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it. 25 Yet you, O Lord GOD, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses”—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.'” 26 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore, thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city shall come and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the LORD. 31 This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. 34 They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. They Shall Be My People; I Will Be Their God 36 “Now therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence': 37 Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. 42 “For thus says the LORD: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 43 Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.' 44 Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, declares the LORD.” (ESV)
With family: Judges 17; Acts 21 Judges 17 (Listen) Micah and the Levite 17 There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2 And he said to his mother, “The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son by the LORD.” 3 And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, “I dedicate the silver to the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.” 4 So when he restored the money to his mother, his mother took 200 pieces of silver and gave it to the silversmith, who made it into a carved image and a metal image. And it was in the house of Micah. 5 And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household gods, and ordained1 one of his sons, who became his priest. 6 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. 7 Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8 And the man departed from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. 9 And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place.” 10 And Micah said to him, “Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living.” And the Levite went in. 11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12 And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest.” Footnotes  17:5 Hebrew filled the hand of; also verse 12 (ESV) Acts 21 (Listen) Paul Goes to Jerusalem 21 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.1 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home. 7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers2 and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews3 at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” 15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge. Paul Visits James 17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled,4 and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them. Paul Arrested in the Temple 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!” Paul Speaks to the People 37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language,5 saying: Footnotes  21:1 Some manuscripts add and Myra  21:7 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 17  21:11 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time  21:25 Some manuscripts omit and from what has been strangled  21:40 Or the Hebrew dialect (probably Aramaic) (ESV) In private: Jeremiah 30–31; Mark 16 Jeremiah 30–31 (Listen) Restoration for Israel and Judah 30 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.” 4 These are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah: 5 “Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace.6 Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale?7 Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it. 8 “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.1 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. 10 “Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.11 For I am with you to save you, declares the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished. 12 “For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous.13 There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you.14 All your lovers have forgotten you; they care nothing for you; for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy, the punishment of a merciless foe, because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant.15 Why do you cry out over your hurt? Your pain is incurable. Because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant, I have done these things to you.16 Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured, and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall be plundered, and all who prey on you I will make a prey.17 For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the LORD, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!' 18 “Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be.19 Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.20 Their children shall be as they were of old, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all who oppress them.21 Their prince shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the LORD.22 And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” 23 Behold the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked.24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind. In the latter days you will understand this. The Lord Will Turn Mourning to Joy 31 “At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.” 2 Thus says the LORD: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest,3 the LORD appeared to him2 from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.5 Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit.6 For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.'” 7 For thus says the LORD: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.'8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here.9 With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. 10 “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.'11 For the LORD has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more.13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.14 I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the LORD.” 15 Thus says the LORD: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” 16 Thus says the LORD: “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.17 There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.18 I have heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the LORD my God.19 For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'20 Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart3 yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD. 21 “Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.22 How long will you waver, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encircles a man.” 23 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes: “‘The LORD bless you, O habitation of righteousness, O holy hill!' 24 And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and the farmers and those who wander with their flocks. 25 For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” 26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. 27 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and
Monday, 1 August 2022 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:17 After accepting the Lord's words concerning Saul (Paul), Ananias complies with the directive to meet with him. That now is seen with the words, “And Ananias went his way.” Ananias was initially reluctant to comply with the Lord's words, but after realizing that the Lord actually had a plan that was already figured out and that he was to be an active participant in it, he yielded to the Lord's will and departed to Straight Street “and entered the house.” This is exactly what he was initially instructed to do. In verse 9:11, it said, “So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus.'” Therefore, this is now that house belonging to Judas. Having entered it, Luke next records, “and laying his hands on him.” The verb is an aorist participle. It should read, “and having laid his hands on him.” Luke is methodically detailing each step as it occurs in the order of events. As for this one, this is exactly what he was told would be the case in his vision in verse 9:12 – “And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” This would be the confirmation to Saul (Paul), as well as to Ananias, that everything that has occurred has been carefully orchestrated by the Lord. Each man would be able to bear witness that the outcome was shown to them in advance and that it occurred just as it was revealed to them. With that understood, and with Ananias having laid his hand on him, “he said, Brother Saul.” It is obvious that this goes beyond the fellowship of being Jews. It is an indication that because the Lord has accepted Saul, he is to be considered a believing brother in the Lord. As such, he welcomes him with words regarding this fellowship, by first proclaiming the One who made it possible, saying, “the Lord Jesus.” The very One that Saul had implicitly persecuted through the active persecution of His people was now being proclaimed over him as the One who had granted him mercy and taken him to be an apostle. Ananias notes that it is this Lord Jesus “who appeared to you on the road as you came.” This now forms a link to verse 9:5 – “And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?' Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'” Any possibility that Saul was simply confused or maybe driven mad by his own guilt, thus fabricating the entire vision (as some have claimed), is now erased. The Lord who appeared on the road is the One who is now being presented by Ananias once again to bring about Saul's deliverance from the darkness that overshadowed him. This is seen in Ananias' words that Jesus “has sent me that you may receive your sight.” This should actually say, “that you may regain your sight.” Saul had a vision of the Lord on the road. He was unable to see after that occurred. He was then given another vision where a man named Ananias would come and put his hands on him so that he might regain his sight. And now, a man named Ananias has come and put his hands on him, claiming authority as the Lord's emissary to do exactly that. No part of the equation is missing, and so there can be no question left in the mind of either man about the surety of the Source of the events now taking place. And more, new information is given for us to consider. Saul is not only to receive his sight, but Ananias adds, “and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” This is a unique occurrence so far in Acts where the Holy Spirit is given apart from the presence of any apostle. It is also given without any noted sequence of events in relation to Paul's baptism. Nothing is said if the Holy Spirit is received at this time, during the baptism, or after it. Ananias simply ties the event in with the laying on of his hands, and so only an inference can be made that Saul is immediately filled with the Spirit at this moment. As such, it is completely out of the sequence of events given in Acts 2 which was the command given to those of Israel who had listened to Peter at Pentecost – “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” Saul did not need to repent (change his mind) because he had just spent the last three days doing exactly that. Therefore, he was already aware of who Jesus was and had accepted that He is the same One who had been crucified and resurrected. Because Saul received the Spirit apart from the presence of the apostles, it confirms that his commission is to be considered one directly from the Lord as an apostle, and one bearing a unique charge. The record of Acts, and the later writings of Peter, will confirm this special commission, as do Paul's own epistles. Life application: The church did not begin at this time. The church has already been in place for an extended period, having begun in Acts 2 with the coming of the Holy Spirit. The significance of the event now occurring in Acts 9 is that the nation of Israel will become less and less of a focus in redemptive history for an unknown, but extended period of time – exactly as the curses of Deuteronomy 28 proclaim. During this time, any individual – Jew or Gentile – may partake of the benefit of inclusion in the church. This will become perfectly evident as the focus on Paul becomes preeminent. But it will begin to be seen not with Paul, but with Peter. That is coming in Acts 10. Acts is giving an orderly and methodical account of why Israel as a nation was to be set aside during a time of national punishment. When that time is over, the time of the Gentiles will also come to a close. The church is not “spiritual Israel,” nor does it replace national Israel, and the church does not receive the Old Testament promises that were made to Israel. The church is a body that grows out of the completed work of Jesus Christ. National Israel is a body from which Christ came, and to which promises that are yet to be fulfilled will be realized. Keep your theological boxes straight, and you will avoid great error in your theology and doctrine. Lord God, how faithful You are to Israel. They rejected You when they rejected the coming of Christ Jesus. And yet, You have kept them just as You promised You would, and You have brought them back to the land in order to fulfill the promises You made to them in Your word. How sure we can be that we will receive the same careful attention! We need not worry if we fail You. You will never fail us. Great are You, O God! Amen.
Wednesday, 27 July 2022 “And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Acts 9:12 Ananias was told by the Lord to go to Straight Street, inquiring at the house of Judas for a Saul of Tarsus, noting that he would be praying. The Lord continues with His words now, saying, “And in a vision.” The word translated as “vision” is the same word just used in verse 9:10 to describe the vision that Ananias is currently having. It is an interesting thought then that Ananias is having a vision explaining to him that another person has had a vision. If Ananias trusts his own senses, then he must trust what is conveyed in his vision, and therefore he must trust that the vision seen by Saul (Paul) was real as well. But Ananias has not yet laid his hands on him, despite the fact that Jesus says, “he has seen.” It is an aorist verb. As such, it is an event that has occurred at a particular moment without regard to time, but Jesus is speaking of it as if it has occurred in a vision, meaning before the event actually takes place. The vision which Saul had is now complete in Saul's mind as stated by Jesus, and yet it has not yet actually occurred in the stream of time. That is evident from the continued words of the verse. It shows that Christ is transcendent over time, and He has the ability to call it back from the past or to project it from the future. As this is the case now, it really doesn't matter if the time is short, such as in a few hours, or if it spans millennia. It demonstrates that Christ is “above” time and thus can operate “outside of” time. As such, His appearance in Genesis 18 or Judges 13 is just as possible as it is within a short time between His appearance to Saul and then Ananias. And more, His knowledge of the future events referred to in Revelation are equally possible. Understanding this, His words continue, saying, “a man named Ananias.” Jesus tells Ananias that Saul's vision includes him and that by the time he arrives at Saul's location, it will have been a past event. In this vision, it will be of Ananias “coming in and putting his hand on him.” The verbs are aorist participles. It rightly says, “having come and having put his hand on him.” It is not known when Saul received the vision. For all we know, it could have happened at the same moment that Ananias had his. Or it could have been before it or as Ananias is on the way to the house. But by the time he arrives, Saul will have seen the event occur. Because of this, it would then allow him to know with absolute certainty that what transpired was of the Lord and not of human effort. The Lord will be the Source and Power behind what happens, whereas Ananias will simply be the means by which it is carried out. The laying on of his hands will be the mode by which it occurs. Ananias is to do this to Paul “so that he might receive his sight.” The translation is correct. The verb is subjunctive. It is a hypothetical event. The laying on of the hands is what will bring about the reality of what is, at this time, merely a possibility. Ananias is being informed that he is the one to carry out what is needed for Saul to have his vision restored. One can assume that if Ananias didn't do this, the vision Saul had would be proven false. In other words, if someone named Harry showed up and laid his hands on him and his sight was restored, it would not be a miracle of the Lord, but a healing by Harry because the Lord's vision for Saul was that Ananias would do it. Everything about the miraculous would suddenly be called into question. If Harry knew Saul's medical condition, he could come in and show himself to be a great healer and that a naturalistic explanation is sufficient. Or he could claim to be a man of God by healing Saul and profit off of the situation personally. Everything must occur as is seen in the vision. As it will, then it demonstrates the Lord's absolute knowledge of the matter and His sovereignty over time and the events that take place. Life application: In Amos 9, it says when speaking of the people of Israel – “'I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. 15 I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,' Says the Lord your God.” Amos 9:14,15 Either this is true, or it is not. As this has never taken place, because Israel has been uprooted in the past and is only now back in the land of Israel, then either it must continue to take place into the future, or the Bible is not the word of God. Prophecy is a part of Scripture that either proves or disproves its veracity. If the prophecies of the Bible are not true, then the Bible is conveying a false message. As this is so, then we can look to the prophecies of the Bible that have been fulfilled, and we can then be confident that what is promised into the future will also be fulfilled. Essentially, God has placed His integrity on the line for us to check and see if what He says is true. He has done this so that we can know. He has done this so that we should know. He has done this so that we are without excuse for not knowing. Let us be confident in the word as it continues to unfold as prophesied within the stream of time. It has validated itself and it continues to do so to this day. Lord God, thank You for the surety we possess because of the reliability of Your word. It proclaims the future, and then the events come to pass as You have spoken. As this is so, we can confidently continue to hold fast to the promises that lie yet ahead, knowing that they will occur. And those promises, because of Jesus our Lord, are great indeed! Hallelujah and Amen!