Jesus, The One and Only

Posts tagged ‘trust’

“Heads Up”

Shaved head

Image by mokolabs via Flickr

Read Acts 18:12-18

“So Paul, having stayed on for many days, said good-bye to the brothers and sailed away to Syria. Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He shaved his head at Cenchreae, because he had taken a vow.” (vs. 18 HCSB)

“Why in the world would we need to know Paul got a haircut?”(1)  I love Beth’s questions :)

1. Paul was a Jewish Christian and just because he was Christian it did not make him forget his heritage. “He understood that Christ did not save him to make him forget his heritage but to complete his heritage! (2)

2.  He was a Nazarite and according to Numbers 6:1-8 “If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the LORD as a Nazirite…” (vs. 2 NIV)

  • “if wants” – meaning voluntary
  • “special” – meaning it was offered to men and women alike
  • “separation” – consecrated/dedicate to the Lord
  • Also referring to giving up wine and other fermented drink during this time
  • They also were not allowed to cut their hair and allow it to grow long

Paul took it upon himself to make vow to the Lord and “felt the necessity to be extraordinarily consecrated to God – usually a time of extremely difficult circumstances or temptation.’  ‘They knew that in order to be victorious or obedient, they needed extra help and concentration on God.” (2)

Remember during these times people were worshiping pagan gods and participating in immoral practices.  So to keep himself separate and trust solely on the Lord, Paul practiced his vow before the Lord.  As Beth points out the haircut referenced in this scripture was not the beginning of the vow but the end of that vow.

“Paul’s actions teach us an important lesson.  We obviously need to avoid temptation, but when we can’t help but face it, we can prepare ourselves.” (3)

Are there some things you avoid or practice as a follower of Christ?  Some people will do a fast especially at the first of the year to focus on pray and seeking God’s direction.  Or they will do a fast when they want to press in and get clarity about a specific situation at any time of the year.  People will make a decision to abstain from any alcohol because they know that temptation lurks around the corner when they aren’t sober. 

There can be a variety of things people may choose give up for a specific time or as a life style as a sacrifice on their part to the Lord and trust Him with whatever their need is.  Not in any way as a boast to others but held by agreement between you and the Lord.

Vicky

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

“Healthy Distance”

Read Acts 15:22-35

“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.” (vs. 28 and 29 HCSB)

 “God can break any yoke, even those we don’t realize we’re wearing.  Thank goodness, the message of freedom prevailed at the Jerusalem Council.”(1)  Paul and Barnabas left with a letter to Gentile believers.  Were they free or not?  “Gentile believers didn’t have to be circumcised to be saved, but they were urged to abstain from several practices forbidden under Jewish law.  They were free from the Law of Moses but not free from the life-giving law of God.  The freedom God gives is to come out and be separate from the practices of the former worldly life and … the four areas of abstinence would help them to remain free.” (2)

Maybe the enemy has come back to tempt you.  Ask God again to deliver you from those things you know He wants you to walk away from.  I know I’ve probably done this a time or two myself.  Trust and dependency on God who is faithful will give us the strength no matter the need.

Is there an area(s) in your life that you need to come away from to be set free? 

Vicky

“Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.” (1 Peter 1:13-14 HCSB)

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

“Rocky Roads”

Read Acts 14:8-20

“When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the form of men! And they started to call Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the main speaker. (vs. 11 & 12 HCSB)

“Not exactly the result the pair desired.  The crowd brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates of Lystra to offer sacrifices to Barnabas and Paul as gods.  Because of an old ancient Greek myth, the people of Lystra were afraid not to honor Paul and Barnabas.”(1)

“We have already seen a vital fact about Paul and Barnabas; they were smart!  Now we witness a second description of both men at critical moments; they were sincere!  They rushed into the crowd, tearing their clothes declaring themselves mere men.”(2)

Another word I would use is humble!  Not only did they not want to be referred as “gods” or having anything to do with that mythology, they also didn’t want people to bow down to them!  “They did not capitalize on a moment’s glory! (3)  They exclaimed “Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. (vs. 15)

“Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead.” (vs. 19)

Never a dull moment in their lives… people were praising and worshiping them and a couple of verses later, some were stoning Paul and dragged him out of the city…left for dead!  “Paul and Barnabas had arrived in Iconium with joyful anticipation, only to have to depart quickly under the threat of stoning… having escaped one of the most painful forms of punishment ever devised.” (4)  Sometimes I read through scripture and wonder what this would have looked like today! 

2 Timothy 3:10-11 Paul reflects…”But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from them all.”

“God wasn’t only interested in drawing Paul out of difficulty or danger.  He wanted to draw Paul closer to Himself.  Every time God delivers us, the point is ultimately to draw us closer to Himself.  Whether we get to avoid pain and suffering or we must preserve in the midst of it, our deliverance comes when we’re dragged from the enemy of our souls to the heart of God.” (5)

Sometimes we have gone through the most difficult situation we think imaginable!  After some time, we look back and realize how the Lord rescued/delivered us through the storm.  Ultimately drawing us closer to Him!

“Draw Me Close to You” Michael W.  Smith

Vicky

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

“Using Your Influence”

Read Acts 13:42-52

“But the Jews incited the religious women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district.” (Vs. 50 HCSB)

Acts 13:43 shows that Paul and Barnabas first experience in Galatia was positive.’  ‘But although the initial reception was positive, can satan be far behind when God is at work?  The Jewish leaders “were filled with jealousy and began to oppose what Paul was saying by insulting him.” (vs. 45) (1)  But thank God for vs. 51, “But shaking the dust off their feet against them, they proceeded to Iconium.  And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”

“I want to ask the Holy Spirit to help us with a special assignment.  Meditate on your last seven days for several moments.  Picture yourself in your usual roles as well as specific encounters.  Think of ways you exerted the power of influence, whether rightly or wrongly.’  “Did you influence:

  • Your spouse in a decision at work
  • A friend who was upset
  • A class or group of people in a meeting
  • Your boss or employees
  • Your children
  • Lunch with friends
  • A friend who shared a problem
  • Giving your opinion

Consider every point of influence you can remember, and add to your list as the Holy Spirit reminds you of others.’  ‘You’re probably more influential than you thought.’  ‘Influence is a gift, a trust.  We must be careful how we use it.  Take heed.” 

Not only do we influence others, but who influences you?  Do you allow the Holy Spirit to influence you and guide you?

Vicky

“When the Spirit of TRUTH comes, He will guide you into all the truth.  For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-14)

Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B&H Publishing

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