Jesus, The One and Only

Posts tagged ‘believe’

God IS Faithful!

Believe

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“There they found believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days.  And so we came to Rome” (Acts 28:14 HCSB) “God fulfilled His promise to Paul.” (1)

WOW!  What Paul had to go through to see and experience what God had whispered to him awhile back!  Not only did God bring about where Paul was going to go but he found believers there and was invited to stay with them.  There’s a bond that forms between fellow believers in our journey of life.

“In reference to fellow believers in Christ, the term “came to designate a fellowship of love equivalent to or bringing with it a community of life.”  As Paul approached Rome, God knew he needed “a fellowship of love” or “a community of life.”’ ‘God recognizes our need for community and desires to meet the need through His church – the body of believers God organized to offer a community of life.” (2)

There’s something else that stirs within in my heart after reading this. Paul walked right into the promise that the Lord had fulfilled from Acts 23:11.  The Lord was faithful to what he told Paul earlier and He was faithful to deliver them all out of the horrific storm they went through. They made it to Rome unharmed and alive!

Have you had the privilege to experience something God placed in your heart and you saw it come to pass?  That you knew “only God” could have orchestrated events in such a way that no man could ever take credit?  Can you imagine Paul showing up at that moment and what he may have felt in his heart?  How would you have acted?

I have had some unique privileges to walk as Paul did into those moments when it’s like time stands still for just a moment and you’re thinking God is going to show up at any minute because it all originated with Him.  There is something so powerful and faith building during those times that it’s in those opportunities that we just want to thank Him and look forward to what He will orchestrate next.  Just to be in awe of such a magnificent God!

I call these moments God’s kisses because there’s such a sweet sense of peace and rest that envelopes me and I know everything is going to be alright!!  Usually we have had to overcome some kind of battle/challenge/obstacle and have had to trust Him through the journey no matter if it was an hour or days/months/years!!!  I believe our job is to look for those moments in time and to seek Him as He unfolds the mystery before our eyes.  What may look like a storm today carries the promise of a future and hope for tomorrow for those who believe! FAITH!!

Are you looking for Him in the moments of your day to see what He would orchestrate next for you to walk into?

Vicky

(1-2) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing

“By THE Book”

Reference – Acts 17:10-14

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (vs. 11 NIV)

Paul’s next stop was Berea.  The Bereans “were more noble” because they were different from those mentioned in Thessalonica earlier … “they rounded up some bad characters” (vs. 5).  According to scripture reference above, the Berean Jews possessed the following characteristics that many Christians possess today:

  1. They were willing to receive – The Greek word for “receive” means to “accept an offer deliberately and readily”.  Many times we don’t lack opportunities, we lack willingness.   The Bereans accepted the offer to hear Paul teach and preach, and the fruit was bountiful. (1)
  2. They were ready to receive - Not only did they accept the offer but they were eager to receive what he had.  Our experience in Bible study, worship services, and other discipleship opportunities are greatly enhanced when we approach each one with a predisposition for learning.  We need to prepare ourselves with everything we can to have a receptive disposition before we arrive. (2)
  3. They cross-examined the message with the Scriptures. They didn’t just take Paul’s word for it.  They were intelligent people who wanted the truth and they checked out what he was saying against what was written!  “The original word for examined in vs. 11 is anakrino, which means “to ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search” (Strong’s). (3) 

If we don’t move any further than this, I’m good with this!  Your faith is built on what The Word is revealing to you.  You can hear from others, you can learn from others, BUT when God brings revelation to you and you experience it in your own life… you can no longer remain the same!  There will be an eagerness that dwells up in you if it hasn’t already.  You will have a greater desire to be willing, ready and test it out for yourself whether it is true! Scripture needs to be compared with Scripture and read as a whole and in context so that no one may be misled.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV)

“We can likewise grow so accustomed to being spoon-fed the Word of God that we forget how to examine the Scriptures for ourselves.  We can cease checking the nutritional value of what we’re being taught” (4)

“But soon the Jews in Thessalonica found out Paul was preaching in Berea and were vindictive enough to travel 50 miles to agitate and stir up the people!’  ‘The enemy of our souls will use every means and every human agent he can to topple us.  And if all we have going for us are the opinions of men through sermons or lessons, little will be left when life shakes us up.  But when we’ve learned to examine the Scriptures for ourselves, we have a few things nailed down when life starts to rock.” (5)

 The Word!  The Book!  God’s Promises are what change the heart!  Do you simply regurgitate what you’ve heard or have you come to a place that allows you to speak with the authority of the Holy Spirit that has been birthed in you from the Word of God?  

Noble Character = Willing to receive – Ready to receive with eagerness – Exam the scriptures every day to see if what you heard is true!

Vicky

(1-5) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B & H Publishing

“Change of Plans”

Dove of the Holy Spirit

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Read acts 16:4-8

“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.” (vs. 6-8 NIV) 

God has given us the Holy Spirit but sometimes we don’t recognize who He is or His voice speaking to us.  How do you recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit?  Beth shares six key points:

  1. “Study God’s Word” – God will never contradict His Word and remember to keep it all in context.
  2. “Yield to the Holy Spirit’s control” – be open to changes when they happen.
  3. “Pray for clear leadership” – asking for discernment and where His leading is taking you.  (Ps. 97:11) “Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path.”
  4. “Pray for wisdom and discernment to recognize specific directions” – (Eph. 1:17) “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”
  5. “Make plans, but hold on to them loosely” – We all make plans and if we hold onto them too tightly we might jeopardize the Holy Spirit sharing with us a better way.  Or sometime He may tell us to go another way or pass on by just as Paul did in the scripture references above. Not just one time but twice!
  6. “Learn to recognize peace as one of God’s prompters - When you have been dependant on the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit you will have a peace that surpasses all understanding according to Philippians 4:7.  If you don’t feel that peace, then pause, wait and pray for direction or clarification.  “Christ is the Prince of Peace.  His peace will accompany His authority.”(1)

“Paul was used of God to teach about the activity of the Holy Spirit.  But Paul could not teach what he had never learned.  He learned to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit one day at a time, one city at a time.  Let’s learn from his example and be willing to change our course when we sense God has different plans.” (2)

If you have turmoil in your life today, if you don’t have the peace that Christ brings, then take some time today and pray.  Find a quiet place where you can shut off the “noise” around you and in your head, bring a pen and paper, and begin to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to direct you at that very moment.  When he speaks, write it down so you will remember and then do as He has asked.  It is in the still small voice that we can hear more clearly.  In this you shall find peace.

“Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Sam. 3:10 NIV)

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”    (Phil. 4:6-8 NLT)

“The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 3:14 NIV)

Aren’t you glad we have a God who listens to our hearts as well as directing every step of the way? Aren’t you glad that He has sometimes changed our plans along the way? Where or where would we be without Him!  Give Him honor today and thank Him for all that He is … for all your yesterdays and all the days to come :)

Vicky

(1-2) Paul, 90 Day’s in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B & H Publishing

“Noticeable Differences”

Read Acts 9:10-25

“All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” (vs. 21 NIV)

“Many years ago when a grown man was born again on the dusty road to Damascus, a light came on that no one was able to turn off.  We will soon discover many who tried.  The Lord told Ananias to look for Saul praying at a certain house. (1)

“Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized…” (vs. 17-18)

Saul mentions in Gal. 1:14-16 “I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.”

Why do you think Saul mentions that his immediate response was not to consult any human being?  I believe a true conversion took place in Saul.  I believe he was very zealous from the traditions taught by “human beings” but because of the experience something completely transformed him and he wanted to know, search out what was happening – asking great questions like — Why was this so different? “He first came to Damascus to profane the name of Christ.  Now he returned to preach the name of Christ.” (2)

Acts 9:22 states “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.”

  • Saul grew more and more powerful – “when the Spirit of God fell on him, he became the spiritual heavy-weight champion of the world.” (3)
  • Proving that Jesus is the Messiah – “proved or proving – translated means ‘to cause to come together, to bring together…’ ‘Saul [knit together to] the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.  What did he knit together?  The old with the new! He knit the teachings of the Old Testament Law and Prophets with their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.” (4)

“The proof was there!  All they needed to do was believe! Unlike the Gentiles, the Jews knew Scripture.  They just hadn’t recognized the One about whom the Scriptures were written.’  ‘The chief priests expected him to return with prisoners.  Instead, only one prisoner returned; a prisoner of Jesus Christ!” (5)

How about you?  How’s your belief system working for you?  Maybe you’ve heard of the Jesus everyone talks about at church/Christmas/Easter or other times…but have you taken that step of faith to believe “He is the Christ … the Messiah”?

Vicky

“Therefore if any person is [engrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP)

(1-5) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B & H Publishing

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