Jesus, The One and Only

Posts tagged ‘devotional’

“Speaking of Grace”

Grace-for-all

Image via Wikipedia

Read Acts 13:13-41

“Let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, and everyone who believes in Him is justified.” (vs. 38-39 HCSB)

Barnabas and Paul have traveled to Pisidian Antioch and on the Sabbath were asked to preach in the synagogue.  “As Paul stood in the synagogue, he addressed Jews and those who believed in the God of Israel.  He presented the gospel by rehearsing for them their history.’  ‘Beth states “I am convinced that Paul had a very specific purpose as he introduced Christ to the Jews through their own history.”(1)

Remember on the road to Damascus and the encounter Paul had with the Lord.  He spent some time by himself to reflect and then returned to the Jews who were “baffled… proving that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 9:22)  “In Arabia, Paul had been knitting together the old and the new and found the two strands of yarn to be a perfect match.  Paul’s intention was to give the Jews in Pisidian Antioch a knitting lesson!  He urged them to see how perfectly Christ knit the past with the present.  They did not have to forsake their history.  They just needed to accept the rest of the story!”(2)

“But Paul was such a prodigy of grace!’ ‘He charged the Jews with having executed their own Messiah with “no grounds” for what they did (vs. 28) yet he extended the invitation to any “brothers” (vs. 38) – fellow Jews – to receive forgiveness through Christ.”(3) He let them know that no matter what they could be forgiven.  It is through Christ that they could find their forgiveness.

What about you!  What about your history?  Can you relate to a definite time in your life where God breathed “His-story” in you?

Vicky

If you don’t believe in your future, look at your past… not to determine your future, but to know God who has brought you through the wilderness!

(1-3)Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B&H Publishing

“Exposing the Enemy”

Read Acts 12:4-12  “They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus.” (Vs. 6 NIV)

Verse 5 tells us that John has joined them as their helper.  Now there is three of them traveling together.  As servants of Christ their travels will take them many places and to some difficult situations and/or experiences that involve opposition.  “Being a sold-out servant of Jesus Christ requires courage, but-praise His name-He who requires it also supplies it.’  ‘His key to victory was knowing the One in charge far more intimately.”(1)  

I love the way Beth states this…”the key to victory is knowing the One in Charge far more intimately”.  That speaks volumes to me and I hope it does to you too!  It is by knowing God, walking in intimacy with Him that is the key to our victory, key to our difficult situations, key to break through and overcoming whatever is in front of us.  Also, we need to know this… get it in our knower… let it become not only a part of our mind but also become a part of your heart.  When our mind and heart align, and we believe with everything in us, then it becomes known.

“The proconsul… summoned Barnabas and Saul and desired to hear God’s message” (vs. 7) but Bar-Jesus (the sorcerer and false prophet) did everything he could to oppose them and keep the proconsul from believing.  The apostle rebuked the sorcerer, and God struck him blind.” (2)

At this time Saul is now referred to as Paul.  “His Hebrew name was Saul but we are most familiar with his Roman name, Paul.  The Scriptures call him Paul from this point on, and so will we.”(3)  Yeah!  Now we’re referring to him as we know him best! :)

Paul calls Bar-Jesus a “son of the devil”. (vs. 10)  He was:

  •  Full of deceit – bait, fraud, guile – who studied astrology and enchantment.
  • Full of trickery – theft, wicked schemes and plots.
  • Perverted the right ways of the Lord – to turn or twist throughout; to distort, pervert, seduce, mislead, to turn away (3)

“Verse 11 records the first miracle we see God perform through the apostle Paul.  He struck Bar-Jesus blind!  Satan is powerful but he is no match for the Son of God.  The proconsul “believed and was astonished at the teaching about the Lord”. (4)

Beth states that in Greek astonished means “amazed” only in the sense of knocking one out of his senses.”  God wants to amaze us with the wisdom of His Word.  He wants to blow our minds and widen our vision!  He wants to show us how relevant He is. And in the case of Sergius Paulus, the proconsul, he was ready to receive, and God honored the desire of his heart.”(5)  Don’t you love that …“he was ready to receive and God honored the desire of his heart”!!!!!!

“Let’s learn to pray like the psalmist who said,

” Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle wonders!”  (Ps. 119:18 Message)

He may just blow our minds.”(6)

“Your Love is a Song” by Switchfoot

 Vicky

(1-6) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B&H Publishing

“One in a Long Line”

Gen. 17:1-11 “…This is my covenant which you are to keep between Me and you and your offspring after you: Everyone of your males must be circumcised” (vs. 10 – HCSB)

Welcome everyone to the beginning of Paul’s life!  So glad you decided to join us.  What a way to start a study :)  But as you continue to read along with us I believe it will make more sense than you think! 

The tradition of circumcision was something Saul’s father would make sure his son would be doing as a devout follower.  (As a side note, Paul’s name was originally Saul and wasn’t changed until later in his life).   Beth states “In a society where a child could be discarded as rubbish, nothing was more important to the Jew than offspring.  ‘His name is Saul!’ A perfectly noble name for a Hebrew boy from the tribe of Benjamin, named for the first king of the chosen nation of Israel.  A fine choice met with great approval.”(1)  A feast was prepared for just an occasion and the celebration ensued.  But what were they celebrating?  Yikes!  Really!

We all celebrate with traditions around special occasions.  There are many who continue the tradition of circumcision today.  But is it possible that this tradition may have more significance especially from a biblical perspective?  In all honesty I never stopped to think too much about it and personally don’t know too many people who celebrate with a feast afterwards.  So there’s got to be more and especially with “covenant” attached to it.   Circumcision includes different meanings according to dictionary.com:

  1. surgical removal of the foreskin of males for sanitary purposes
  2. spiritual purification
  3. RC Church  - the festival celebrated on Jan 1 in commemoration of the circumcision of Jesus

Different meanings for one word!   In reading scripture when “covenant” is mentioned it causes me to pause and take notice even though it was written 100′s of years ago.   What’s the  relevance today and does it matter the community who continue this tradition that seems to have been established so many years ago? 

Beth asks us “What role does ceremony and tradition play in your and your family’s life, especially your life of faith?”(2)  Thanksgiving, Chanukah (Hanukkah), Christmas, New Year’s are all right around the corner.  Are there traditions that you follow?  And why do you celebrate?

Vicky

1 & 2 – “Paul, 90 Days on His Journey of Faith”/Beth Moore/BHPublishing Group

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.