I read Acts 28, our NT reading for today, some days back, and since then the Republic of Malta has been on my mind and in my prayers. I wonder if we have any work going on in that country? It’s a fascinating place, from some of the reading I’ve done. (Isn’t every place?) Does anyone know if any of our people are there?
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Paul’s inspired directions for living are simple and direct.
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying,” (Romans 12:12 NLT). The entire 12th chapter of Romans is filled with this kind of simple truth from beginning to end. But, let’s magnify this one pair of sentences for the beauty they impart.
“Rejoice in our confident hope.” Does it occur to you there is little of this? We must do more! Christians have much to be happy about, but our confident hope of heaven should be right at the top of the list, shouldn’t it?
“Be patient in trouble,” Paul says. Whenever trouble happens, bear up underneath it. Don’t let the troubles of the world crush you. Push up against it.
“Keep on praying.” Nothing in this world can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:37-39). If we keep on praying, we keep our spiritual balance.
Such a simple triad of principles, yet they’re so rich in truth, aren’t they?
Since Prince William and Miss Kate’s wedding is the talk of the day, here’s a connection in this chapter between Paul and the British royal family: The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh lived on Malta 1949-51. The Duchess is now Queen Elizabeth II.
Leave your notes in study Bible format in the comments section.
We now conclude the reading of Acts. We’ll give a while for anyone to make further comments to the chapters here on TFR, and then close it out with a final PDF document.
John’s disciples came to Jesus with a troubling question from their master.
“Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3 NET). The answer Jesus gave them was an almost verbatim quote of Isaiah 35:5-6. The interesting thing about the answer is that it had a spiritual and a physical meaning.
Certainly Jesus healed the blind, the lame, the deaf, and raised the dead. But, he did more than that. He healed people spiritually. He gave the spiritually blind true sight. He gave the spiritually lame support on truly strong legs. He gave hearing to those who had been lost in sin. And he raised the spiritually dead to life in him.
Could anything be more indicative of the prophesied Savior?
This chapter pertains to the willful heart contribution of each Israelite toward the fabrication of all things associated with the tabernacle and those working in relation to it. It is often said that following the Old Testament is a matter of legalism, but those who assert that failed to note that the Lord never said as much, and neither did those who had a willing heart feel that way. In fact, those who served the Lord did so with a “generous heart” (35:5, ESV). Legalism is a matter of the heart and its relation to the deed.
Perhaps you will find this link interesting. Some of them I knew, and new to be inaccurate, but not all.
The clock of life is wound but once, And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop At late or early hour.
To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed, To lose one’s health is more.
To lose one’s soul is such a loss That no man can restore.
(Thirty people died while you read this short verse.)
Every hour 5,417 go to meet their Maker.
You could have been among them.
Would you have been ready?
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn Hitchcock0.000000 0.000000
Roy Davison sends this:
The following articles have been added recently:
‘Do your have problems with that sinner in your life?’
‘After death, what then?’
‘Owe no one anything except to love one another’
‘Wees niemand iets schuldig dan elkaar lief te hebben’
May the Lord bless you.
In Cookeville, Tenn., May 2: The Upper Cumberland Ministers’ Workshop is planned to be a time to exchange ideas, to have encouraging fellowship, and to promote unity among God’s people in the Upper Cumberland. Everyone who wants to participate in a meeting like this is invited: preachers, youth ministers, elders, deacons, and all concerned Christians.
God’s moral teachings apply to those who follow His ways whether or not they are “in church,” that is, in a worship assembly. We act “in church” the way we practice the rest of the time. Attending any church does not “fulfill God’s requirement,” but rather, in attending an assembly of a church of Christ, one should consistently follow God’s commands:
“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:1-13 NKJV).
Neither the clothes on the back nor the color of the skin should determine a Christian’s attitude toward others, either in worship or elsewhere! Politicians who show up at some worship are simply making public what they believe all the rest of the time.
CBS News reported on April 24, 2011: “President Barack Obama and his family attended Easter service Sunday at a Washington church founded in 1863 by freed slaves… Located about two miles north of the White House, Shiloh Baptist is one of the oldest African-American congregations in the city… Last Easter, the Obamas worshipped at a historically black Methodist church in a different part of the city.” © 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Choosing a church because of skin color shows prejudice that violates God’s Royal Law, and it illustrates how worship reflects one’s personal convictions the rest of the time! To violate God’s Law “in church” is the same as violating God’s Law the rest of the time! Aren’t Mr. Obama’s church choices therefore consistent with the prejudice he follows during the rest of his days?
Donald Trump, now with political ambitions, made his attitude toward church known when he said: ”Well, I go as much as I can. Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion. And during the Sundays. I’m a Sunday church person. I’ll go when I can.” –Monday, April 11, 2011, Lawrence D. Jones, Christian Post Reporter (www.christianpost.com) using quotes taken from a Christian Broadcast Network interview for “The 700 Club” aired on April 12, 2011. Mr. Trump shows his attitude toward God during “major occasion[s]” of worship by definitely observing Catholic “Christmas” and “Easter,” but as “a Sunday church person,” like so many others, he saves up his religious conviction for his choice of times to worship God. According to the Royal Law, he may not feel obligated to observe God’s principles, except for his own chosen times of worship. “The first day of the week” was when disciples of Jesus Christ “came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7), for “as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Mr. Trump may not wish to proclaim the Lord’s death every week with the Lord’s Supper, because he may not be converted by the Lord’s death every day of the week, either!
The saints, “especially those of Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22), must make themselves known today. Whatever influence we have, whatever teaching we can impart, politicians must be found who truly represent the “Royal Law.”
—–John T. Polk II
“For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve came to me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar, and God has graciously granted you the safety of all who are sailing with you,’” (Acts 27:23, 24 NET).
The centurion leading this journey trusted the advice of seafaring men, rather than the inspired apostle. The Bible also said, “the majority advised to set sail from there also,” (Acts 27:12). There is a “double whammy.” The centurion allowed himself to be convinced by those “wise” sailors and the majority.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to become convinced the same way. We must not! We must trust in the living God who knows more than mere men!
The passage also teaches that, for those who believe in God, every journey (even though tempest-tossed) will have a good ending. “Do not be afraid, Paul,” the angel said. We must never be afraid nor should we worry what might happen.
The apostles in a boat on the stormy sea of Galilee were afraid and worried. What did Jesus tell them? “But he said to them, ‘Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was dead calm,” (Matthew 8:26 NET).
We must learn to trust that God knows all things and has everything well in hand. We must not fear. Remember, “So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:13).
The evangelicals will have their Internet Evangelism Day May 15. Before that, I’d like to highlight some brotherhood ministries on BrotherhoodNews.com. I come to you with hat in hand for your suggestions on brothers we can contact, who meet the following requirements:
- An effort by our people reflecting faithful teachings;
- An effort whose main focus is the Internet and not merely an option being offered;
- An effort that shows knowledge of the technology and creative adaptation to its audience.
Here’s a member of the Lord’s church running for U.S. Senate from Texas:
I don’t know him, personally, but it is refreshing to see a Christian so open and unashamed of his convictions on his website. I would like to see him given an opportunity to put those biblical values on display and into action in Washington.
Acts 27 records a storm at sea and a shipwreck, with all 276 lives saved aboard thanks to the presence of one righteous man.
Previous chapters have brought the apostle Paul thus far.
Please add your notes in study Bible format in the comments area below.
- Moses, who was not on the mountain as God spoke, was told by the Lord to cut out two tablets of stone (the first two being broken by Moses, 32:19). Having cut them out, he arose and went up on the mountain to meet God. On this occasion, with the commandments at hand, the Lord reveals “His thirteen attributes of mercy” (Chumash, p. 508), though I only counted nine (seven were positive and two negative). In any case, the glory and qualities of the Lord are proclaimed, and Moses reverently bows before Him (34:8-9).
- As Moses is on the mountain, the Lord reminds him of his and the nation of Israel’s obligations in keeping this covenant before God, giving them warning once again about and against idolatry (34:10-17). Moreover, there is a reminder of the sacredness of the festival mentioned, and a charge from the Lord (34:18-28). When Moses descends from the mountain, unbeknownst to him, his face is rather brilliant; so bright was it that he had to have a veil over his face when amongst the Israelites. However, when he spoke with the Lord and when he spoke with the Israelites (when he spoke the Lord’s will and judgments), he was unveiled (34:32-33). What is the meaning of this radiance of Moses? Jews interpret it as Moses’ closeness to the Lord could have been theirs, but for their departure from the Lord in the golden-calf incident (Chumash, p. 515).
- Application: I think an application should come from 34:20, and that each male, on the day of the feast of unleavened bread, should not come before the Lord empty. When we present ourselves to the Lord today, are we empty? If we are empty, why it that? Is it the fault of someone else, or our own? To ask is to answer. When we come before the Lord let us come with a heart full of praise, giving Him all our attention. Worship, in such a state of mind, can never be empty and we will never be able to say, “I did not get much out of it today.”
One of the greatest things about Twitter is how you can follow an event happening hundreds or thousands of miles away, as if you were there. I am from the Shoals area of North Alabama. They have tornadoes swarming through the entire area. I have a Twitter list of news organizations and people in the Shoals and I am reading constant updates from the ground there.
ThreeFour people have already died and there are more storms popping up all over. Please pray for them in that area. There are thousands of members of the Lord’s church in North Alabama, as well as much of my family. May God be with them.
Just to let you know that my wife, Nancy, has been diagnosed with vascular dementia. This kind of dementia has no known cure and will get progressively worse. My son and I are presently taking care of her.
We solicit your prayers on her behalf.
Here is an alternate chapter-by-chapter rundown of Ephesians (not original with me, though I don’t know where I got it). This one focuses on the overall theme of the book, the church of Jesus Christ. Someone once wrote that Colossians could be summed up with “The Christ of the Church” as its theme, & Ephesians could be summed up with “The Church of the Christ” as its theme.
Ch. 1—The church: Christ’s body
Ch. 2—The church: The house/temple of God
Ch. 3—The church: Declaring the wisdom of God
Ch. 4—The church: Perfection & unification of the church
Ch. 5—The church: The spotless bride of Christ
Ch. 6—The church: The army of God
Join in the reading and the commenting on our text for today.
- Acts 26 in the NET Bible version, text only;
- Previous chapter posts here on TFR and the original project proposal;
- Include your notes in study Bible style to this chapter in the comments section below;
- Below is the chapter in “An Understandable Version,” for your appreciation and consideration. At the version’s website you can download a PDF copy of the NT text.
1) Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So, Paul motioned [to the assembly] with his hand [for attention] and began speaking in his defense: 2) “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate that I am able to defend myself before you concerning all the charges being brought against me by the Jews, 3) especially since you are an expert on all the customs and issues discussed among the Jews. So, for this reason I request that you hear [my response to them] patiently. 4) All the Jews know how I lived during my youth and my early days among [the people of] my nation, and [especially here] in Jerusalem. 5) They know of my early background; if they were willing to, they could testify that I lived as a [faithful] Pharisee, [which is] the strictest sect of our religion. 6) And now I am standing [here], being judged because [I believe that] God will fulfill the hope He promised to our forefathers. 7) This is the promise our twelve tribes [i.e., family groups], who earnestly serve God night and day, hope to see fulfilled. It is because [I advocate] this hope, O King, that I am being charged [with wrongdoing] by the Jews. 8) So, why should you [Jews] consider it incredible for God to raise the dead? 9) I truly thought within myself [that it was right] to do many things which were opposed to the name of Jesus from Nazareth. 10) So, I was doing this in Jerusalem, having received [my] authority from the leading priests. I both imprisoned many of the saints [i.e., God's holy people] and [even] voiced my approval when they were put to death [See 8:1]. 11) I often persecuted them in the synagogues, [even] trying to get them to blaspheme [i.e., speak against God]. I had extreme anger toward them and [even] traveled to foreign cities [in my effort] to persecute them.
12) “While on a journey to Damascus for this purpose, I was acting under the authority and directive of the leading priests. 13) [Then] along the road, about noon, O King, I saw a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me. 14) When we all fell to the ground I heard a voice speaking in the Hebrew [i.e., Aramaic] language. [It said], ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are only hurting yourself by kicking against the spurs [i.e., opposing the work of God].’ 15) I answered, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting. 16) But, get up onto your feet, for the reason I have appeared to you is to appoint you a minister and witness of both the things you have [already] seen of me and the things I will [reveal when] appearing to you. 17) I will rescue you from the [Jewish] people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them, 18) to open their eyes [to the truth] so they will turn from darkness to light and from the power [i.e., the influence] of Satan to God. [Then] they can receive the forgiveness of sins and the inheritance [of never ending life], along with [all] those who are set apart [for God] by trusting in Me.’
19) “As a result of this, O King, I did not disobey [the mandate of] this vision from heaven 20) but, [instead] declared to the people of Damascus first, [then] to the people of Jerusalem, and [finally to those] throughout all of the district of Judea, as well as to the Gentiles [everywhere] that they should repent [i.e., change their hearts and lives] and turn to God, doing deeds which demonstrate their repentance. 21) For this reason the Jews grabbed me in the Temple and attempted to kill me. 22) But I obtained help from God and so [I am able to] stand here to this day, testifying to both the common people and to those in prominence. [I am] saying only what the prophets and Moses said would happen, 23) namely, that the Christ must suffer and be the first to rise from the dead [i.e., never to die again] and then proclaim the light [of the Gospel] to the [Jewish] people and to the Gentiles.”
24) As Paul made his defense in this way, Festus said to him loudly, “Paul, you are crazy. All your education is driving you insane.” 25) But Paul replied, “I am not crazy, Your Excellency Festus; I am [just] speaking a message of truth and sound reason. 26) I can speak boldly of these things because the King knows [they are true]. And I am convinced that none of these things are hidden from you, for none of them have been done in a corner [i.e., secretly]. 27) King Agrippa, do you believe [the message of] the prophets? [Yes] I know you do.”
28) Agrippa said to Paul, “You expect to persuade me to be a Christian with such little effort [or, in such a short time]?” 29) Paul replied, “I wish to God that, whether it would take a little or a lot, not only you, but all those who hear me today, might become [Christians] like me, except [not] with these chains.”
30) Then King Agrippa, [his wife] Bernice, Governor [Festus] and [the commanders and leading men of the city, 25:23] all rose up, 31) and when they left [the room] they conferred with one another, saying, “This man is not doing anything deserving of the death penalty or [even] imprisonment.” 32) Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed [his case] to Caesar.”
Don Blackwell shared this photo on Facebook. It is indicative of the mindset of the religious world in our age. Satan has taken division and dressed it up in a disguise so that it appears to the uninitiated as unity. To those who accept this lie, they appear comfy and warm in their delusion. So much so, that when those who see through the ruse, warn them of the dangers, they are called haters, mockers and dividers.
The division monster dressed as unity is therefore more popular than the true unity described in Scripture and the Lord weeps at our ignorance. Meanwhile, Satan foments the lie and more sheep are led to their slaughter.
Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Ephesians 4:4, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling.”
When will we learn?
I Corinthians 14:26
“Let all things be done unto edifying”
An E-Letter from Ted and Barbara Knight to EDIFY our Brothers and Sisters in Romania
April 27, 2011
Dear Brothers, Sisters, & Friends,
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE? We have asked ourselves that question or someone else has asked it probably several times in life. We may give it some thought lightly and then go on to something else or perhaps we have been caused to give it very serious consideration. I am asking you to give it your most serious thought while reading this and after finishing it, I urge you to take just a few minutes, turn away from your computer, close your mind to everything else and focus on that question” “WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE?”
On April 25, 2011 some very dangerous storms came through our area. Several people were killed and Millions of dollars in material things were destroyed. Many people either lost their houses completely or they were badly damaged. Among those whose home was damaged was our Son Marty, whom most of you know. While Marty, Lisa, Kyndall, and Erin stood together in a small room of the house, the storm descended upon it and damaged it a great deal but they were not harmed. PRAISE GOD
Do you know what was going through Barbara’s and my mind? WE WANTED OUR FAMILY TO BE SAFE! We can replace houses, cars, and other material things but we wanted our family to be safe. But, even more important, WE THANKED GOD THAT THEY WERE CHRISTIANS and we knew that if their lives should be taken, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD WAS THAT THEY WERE CHRISTIANS AND FAITHFULLY SERVING THE LORD.
In MATT. 16:21-28 Jesus taught us about the danger of having EARTHLY TREASURES and not possessing HEAVENLY TREASURES. I urge you to study that section of scripture seriously and consider your priorities. The most important thing in this life is for YOU TO BE A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN and serve the Lord with your entire life. May God help us to do that and if we are not doing it, LET US BEGIN TO DO SO RIGHT NOW!
May God bless and keep you this week is our prayer. We love you very much.
With Much Love,
Ted & Barbara
- While the Lord heard Moses’ prayer and relented from the harm He was going to do at that time, He still rendered His judgment against them (33:1-6). As they prepared to leave, the Lord told them that He would no longer go with them (an anthropomorphic term that accommodates the Lord’s activities alongside man’s), rather the Lord would send His angel. Exactly who is this angel is unstated.
- Did Moses actually use his own tent as the Tabernacle (33:7-11)? The NKJV would suggest as much, whereas the NET, ESV, and the Chumash (English translation of the Hebrew text by Orthodox Judaism) reads that Moses took the tent, not at all suggesting it belonged to him. However, the Chumash does give a subtitle to this section as “Moses’ Tent.” In any case, the tent that was used as a “tent of meeting” was set up outside the camp
- Moses’ prayer (33:12-23). There are two points within this prayer that stand out to me 1) show me your way and, 2) show me your glory. I find these interesting because, no matter what else is said, it is Moses’ appeal to the Lord for guidance. Earlier, the Lord said He would not go up (33:3), but that He would send His angel before Moses and the Israelites (33:2). However, we might ask if v. 14 (my presence) and v. 2 (my angel) are to be understood as the same. Some expositors make a distinction between the two. Because Moses was as fortunate to know the Lord the way he did, he appeals to the Lord for Him to show him (Moses) His glory. The Lord grants this, but with limitations.
- Application: “Show me your way, Lord.” A remark that is made by an untold number of people. The most appropriate answer is found in John 14:6; one can’t improve upon this answer, either. But, when it comes to the affairs of life, how do we know whether “this” activity or “that” activity is the Lord’s will? We appeal to the Lord with the same words, but are these words out of place? I am not so quick to say that they are, but if we have a proper understanding of the way of righteousness (John 14:6), we can readily understand and appreciate that in the affairs of life (moving, occupation, spouse, children, etc.) there is some appropriateness to this expression to our Lord in prayer.
Ch. 1 – All spiritual blessings in Christ / Predetermination of salvation in Christ / Christ is head of the church, His body
Ch. 2 – Resurrected from spiritual death / Christ made peace: in the household of God, the church
Ch. 3 – Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles / The church in the eternal purpose of God / God glorified in the church
Ch. 4 – Keep the unity of the Spirit / 7 ones: body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God / Put off the old man, put on the new
Ch. 5 – Putting away sinful living, walk as children of light / Husbands & wives, Christ & the church
Ch. 6 – Instructions to parents & children, servants & masters / Put on the whole armor of God & stand!
Paul passes from the hands of Felix to Festus, but his situation doesn’t improve. This in Acts 25, our reading for today, and base text for your notes to share in the comments section below. Previous reading are listed under the tag, “Study Bible notes.” This chapter contains:
- Jews ask Festus to judge Paul soon after his taking office (1-5)
- On Festus’ desire to placate Jews, Paul appeals to Caesar (6-12)
- Festus asks Agrippa’s opinion (13-22)
- Paul called before King Agrippa (23-27)
Tomorrow, of course, we’ll read Paul’s discourse before Agrippa, but today’s reading sets the scene for his appearance before the king. The movements in this chapter are restricted from Caesarea to Jerusalem and back.
“Just try it, it’s not bad! Go on, try it, you’ll like it!” I remember those words. There were things I just couldn’t stomach: green peas, asparagus, liver and onions! And those things made me gun-shy on others. I hated when I had to eat something new! But there were no options. It was mom and dad’s way or the no-supper-go-to-bed-hungry highway! We might not have to clean our plates but we had to try everything. But it was even worse when I stayed over at Dick Kost’s house. He was my best friend for awhile. I remember one breakfast, they had brains and eggs! I was a Post Toasties kid; a “snap, crackle and pop” boy. Brains and eggs was no breakfast of champions! I remember Mrs. Cost saying, “Just try it, you’ll like it!’ and Mr. Cost frowning at me when I balked. He pitched in, “Try it, it tastes just like chicken!” If that is what chicken tastes like, then no more chicken for me!
In Psalm 34:8 David wrote, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” According to the notation at the beginning of this psalm, David wrote this after being hounded out of Israel by King Saul, who was trying to terminate him, and after being discovered and recognized in Gath by the enemy Philistines. He escaped by feigning madness! Yet what did David say? The psalm is one filled with trust in God and encouraging others to do the same. Moreover, David says, “Try it, you’ll like it.” “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”
The above is not a statement by an atheist or an agnostic or even an irreligious person. It was made by a man who is quite religious, a long-time preacher formerly with the churches of Christ, but in more recent years with the very liberal Disciples of Christ.
His precise statement was: “The Bible is wrong about many things that science has proven about both nature and human nature.” Under consideration was the subject of homosexuality and the Bible’s very clear condemnation in both the Old and New Testaments of that practice.
This person’s view of the Scriptures is not anything new. It has been around for a very long time. But in out postmodern world where subjective feelings take precedence over objective truth, the pulpit in some churches is becoming increasingly brazen in its denial of the divine inspiration and absolute authority of the Bible, and the person in the pew is left floundering in a morass of moral confusion and uncertainty. To view the Bible as an unchanging pattern for what God wants mankind to believe and practice in the realm of religion is now considered passé. (More …)
- The golden calf (32:1-10). It seems apparent to me that Aaron was not a particularly spiritually strong man, at least not at this point. Moses had been on the mountain for a long time, and the people became restless. This restlessness encouraged sinful thoughts and sinful actions. The production of the golden calf was merely the by-product of a heart not loyal to the Lord. There is a word associated with such confusion of heart: syncretism. Syncretism is a melding of various ideologies into one (note Aaron’s response in v. 5).
- Moses’ prayer (32:11-14). The Lord declares to Moses what was happening, and He prepares Moses for what He will do. However, in boldness Moses appeals to the Lord to not do what He had planned – and the Lord listened to his prayer. The prayer of a righteous man avails much.
- Moses, Joshua, and Aaron (32:15-24). Moses descends, meets Joshua, and the two of them come to Aaron. Moses’ anger was intense, but this controlled anger was merciful compared to what the Lord was prepared to do; the fabricated idol was pounded into powder and Moses made the whole nation (children of Israel) to drink it. Moses’ inquired of his older brother why and how this happened. Aaron’s reply has been “fodder” for many sermons.
- The Lord’s side (32:25-35). Because Aaron had allowed (encouraged) such sinful behavior, Moses called upon the people to make a decision. Of the many that came forth it was the Levites that distinguished themselves on that day by doing the Lord’s work. It is hard to think as much, but the Lord’s work could have (should have) been done in a different area, but some of the people would not allow it, and demanded of the Lord a response. He gave it.
- Application: Who is on the Lord’s side? The great song that we sing (generally at the time of the invitation), “Who will follow Jesus?” is the same kind of question. If we have chosen to follow the Lord, will we stand for the right, will we hold up His banner in the thickest fight? It is easy to sing, it is another thing to live.
My FMag editorial today is entitled, “Your Comfort Zone.” I saw a secular article with specific suggestions on how to step outside the comfort zone. Would be great to make a list for Christians. I thought of these:
- Learn a foreign language.
- Take a short-term mission trip overseas.
- Teach English as a second language to foreigners in your area.
- Serve a day in a food kitchen for the poor.
- Visit the nursing home with your congregation’s group.
- Make brownies for a new family in your neighborhood and deliver them in person.
- Visit the prison with your local prison ministry.
- Take on one World Bible School student.
- Donate time at the local library, hospital, or school.
- Hand out 10 gospel tracts to non-Christians in the next week.
I’ve preferred the face-to-face suggestions over things like sending a link by email. What other things can you name that would make a good list?
A young woman, who was a great lover of flowers, had set out a rare vine at the base of a stone wall. It grew vigorously, but it did not bloom. Day after day she cultivated it and watered it and tried in every way to coax it into bloom. One morning, as she stood disappointedly before it, her invalid neighbor, whose back lot adjoined her own, called over and said: "You can’t imagine how much I have been enjoying the blooms of that vine you planted." The owner looked, and on the other side of the wall was a mass of blooms. The vine had crept through the crevices and flowered luxuriantly on the other side.
There is lesson for every Christian here. So often we think our efforts are thrown away because we do not see their fruits. We need to learn that in God’s service our prayers, our toil; our crosses are never in vain. Somewhere they bear fruit and some hearts will receive their blessing and joy.
When we have done what we can, God will do what we can’t!
"Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day" by Glenn Hitchcock
Life is not fair! Or so it seems. Paul gets stuck two years in prison, against Roman law, for nothing. But God has his plans.
This chapter would make a good study on corruption in government and God’s purposes, would it not? Not to mention applying to those people who say they’ll get around to the gospel when they have more time. You’ve probably heard a few of those.
Straight from the online skeptic’s network: “How do people who believe reconcile the OT God with the NT version? They don’t try. They cherry pick. They tell the Noah story by focusing on God’s “saving” of Noah’s family, rather than firmly acknowledging God’s decision to commit cold senseless genocide regarding everyone else.” This is one of the favorite criticisms of cynics: to claim that the God of the OT is a God of wrath, capricious and vengeful; but the God of the NT is love and therefore merciful. How do they go about this? They cherry pick! If the truth be told, there are numerous examples of God’s wrath and love in both the Old and New Testaments. If it appears that God today winks at rebellion and ignores willful sin, remember there is still a Judgment Day to come. This is Just-a-minute with Ed Boggess
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Have you read what the Lord said about a person’s retirement plan? I haven’t either. However, it might be a good idea to read Luke 12:13-21. This may not properly apply to you, but perhaps it does so more than you realize. way too many people put a greater emphasis on this world’s retirement and fail to consider greater things. Finding a balance is not always easy, but it is important that we do so. Thus, when you have found that balance, be sure the scale dips clearly on the side of the Lord. RT
- Two men were commissioned by the Lord (through Moses) to take the lead in the fabrication of the Tabernacle and all things associated with it (31:1-11).
- The Sabbath. There is some controversy surround this particular (seventh) day of the week. It is clear that to the Israelites only did the Lord gives these words (31:12-17). Before C-16, there is no command by God to man recorded about observing the seventh day as a day of rest. To the Israelites its importance is obvious, but it had become a burden to them as a result of their approach to it. In the context of building the Tabernacle Jewish expositors say, “This emphatically contradicts those who claim that the laws of the Sabbath must be pliable enough to be relaxed for ‘valid spiritual considerations’” (Chumash, p. 491). In other words, the Sabbath holds sway, and no other command of God can be obeyed on that day. Compare this with John 7:22-23.
- Application: Commands can become burdens when the heart is pressed by another human being to obey. If one obeys simply because a neighbor said it is to be done, to whom has obedience been rendered? Obedience of the heart is what the Lord desires before there is any obedience of the form (Romans 2:28-29; 6:17).
It has been interesting, and in a very sad way, to watch people gathering in buildings this Sunday at sunrise to honor a God they don’t believe.
Of course, that sounds like a brash statement, but it is much like one Jesus made when he said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” (Matthew 15:8, 9).
They want to show their love for Christ, but they miss the mark because they won’t do what he said. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” (John 14:15 NASU). Instead, many of them are in headlong pursuit of how many commandments they can break.
They want to express their deep respect for scripture, but they will have nothing to do with the Bible as the authority for everything in faith and practice (Colossians 3:16, 17). Their leaders condone and sanction things contrary to God’s word, accepting doctrines and practices contrary to scripture. They’ll listen to the reading of the Bible, but pay no heed.
To those who fit this description, there is true religion according to the Bible, and not according to conventions, vestries, synods, boards or other man-made things. Churches of Christ are autonomous and are governed by the Bible way.
Where have your leaders taken you? Look how far away from the example of the church of the New Testament you are! Isn’t it time you decided to live for Jesus and obey him?
I was awakened early this morning by somebody’s sunrise Easter service. It must have started around 4 or 4:30 a.m. It was a long way away, but loudspeakers were blaring and distorting the sound. Maybe they thought that since the resurrection of Christ was a disturbing event, they’d disturb others as well.
The day holds great promise, not because it’s Easter on somebody’s calender, but because it is the Lord’s day.
I whispered this prayer this morning already. It was early, and I misspelled Sunday in the link. But the Lord heard it anyway. Pray it with me.
I celebrated a small goal this morning, as I sent out the 21st Portuguese devotional for the month, that I’d prepared last night. I’m not clockwork like Don R. That guy just doesn’t miss a lick.
Why do normal people wish a merry Christmas, but a happy Easter? One of those inexplicable language mysteries, I guess. I say normal to exclude politically correct people who are abnormal.
We had a good day yesterday on TFR in number of hits, if not number of posts. The Fellows abandoned me for dyed eggs, I guess.
Here, we do better than hard-boiled, colored chicken eggs. It’s eggs made of chocolate. Eat you heart out, John.
The sunrise service has faded, the sun has risen, though hidden behind clouds. The forecast calls for rain most of the week. Time for a bath and meeting with the saints, before long.
Make your day for the Lord.
Later, Peter gets restless and goes fishing, back to his old job, John 21:3. But now, between the crucifixion and resurrection, they rest, Luke 23.56. Their bodies, at least, if not their minds. That Sabbath must have been the saddest of all, between death and life. They must still be stunned, wondering how it ever happened. Just a week ago the country was at fever pitch as the Lord entered Jerusalem, swept in by the people’s fervor at seeing their Messiah approach the holy city. Events were finally moving toward their proper goal. Then this. Surely it was a dream — the betrayal, the judgment, the torture, the shame of the Skull. The shame of running, hiding, abandoning the Master. Where did things derail, how did it all go so wrong? Oh, the short-sightedness of human eyes!
We don’t celebrate Good Friday or Easter, but the prevailing religious climate here has me thinking about our Lord’s death. Anytime is a good time for that, is it not?
I don’t usually mention such things here on TFR, but considering she’s a Prime Mover in all things Forthright/GoSpeak, it’s appropriate to note that Barbara Ann is celebrating a birthday today, as she treks about Costa Rica. Send her your greetings.
Three Christian ladies passed away this week: Richard H.’s mom, George Bailey’s wife, Ancil Jenkins wife. Sister Elaine Jenkin’s obituary is on BNc, thanks to Dale Jenkins, the others noted on BNc’s Twitter for now. I didn’t know any of them, unfortunately, but I know family members. And knowing those they touched, what wonderful servants of God they must have been.
On Resurrection morning, it is the women who are up and doing. To them our Lord first appears. They are the first bringers of the News.
The pigeons are cooing, the sun rising, a few people stirring already. Most will miss the quiet, more pensive hours of the morning. They’ll slide out of bed after the day is already hot and moving. It’s a holiday weekend, after all.
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Richard shared on Facebook that his mother passed away last night. She had not been well for some time. We send our sympathies to the family and commend them to the comfort of her faith and ours.
Ch. 1 – Paul’s imprisonment has actually served to the furtherance of the gospel / To live is Christ, & to die is gain
Ch. 2 – Mind of Christ: humility & service / Exaltation of Christ / Paul’s plan to send Timothy / Epaphroditus’ service, sickness
Ch. 3 – Paul’s Jewish heritage, gladly forfeited for Christ / Pressing toward the mark / Our citizenship is in heaven
Ch. 4 – Rejoice in the Lord always / Think on good things / I can do all things through Christ / God shall supply all needs