Politics as Usual

22 Jun

ScriptureActs 6

God’s Advice to Me:  (Please note from this time forward—I have changed my method of writing as though God were speaking, to one where I am interpreting His advice to me.)politics-as-usual-samuel-nygard

THERE WILL ALWAYS be those who cry “discrimination.”  The motive often is one “party” wanting a bigger chunk of the booty.  And common sense tells us that things aren’t always “fair.”  But what one considers “fair” the other considers “unfair.”  In this passage the cry “discrimination” was fairly dealt with.  They called for a meeting, agreed on a solution, and set it in place. Everyone was happy. 

SOLVING ISSUES CALMLY has benefits beyond our imagination. Here we find the solution freed up the Apostles for more intense teaching by appointing others to care for the physical needs of the people.  The Word of God prospered, the number of disciples of Jesus increased dramatically, and even many priests submitted themselves to Jesus.  When resentment is left to “fester” it grows into huge proportions.  Ignoring problems magnifies them.  Solving problems, with wisdom, has far-reaching positive effects.

JEALOUSY NEVER GOES away because Satan specialized in keeping things stirred up.  He is most active in the gathering of the church where He can do the most damage.  He longs to give a black eye to the people of God.  Stephen, one of those chosen to deal with the physical needs of the people was doing a wonderful work.  Some because jealous that he was drawing so much attention by his teaching and actions.  They set out to “take him down.”  Since they had no good reason they made up lies, and bribed witnesses to give false testimony. This sounds like the current state of politics in our country?  I must seek to build up, not to tear down. 

  • Adoration: Your wisdom is freely available if we just ask.
  • Confession: I way too often act instead of seeking your wisdom.
  • Thanksgiving: I am thankful for Your Word that helps us live successful.
  • Supplication: Help me to be a blessing to others, not a thorn in the flesh.

God’s Question for me: Will you pray for those in leadership, both the church and the country instead of complaining or listening to complaints?

God’s Promise to me: If you will seek My wisdom instead of your own “glory” I will bless your life and the happenings that surround you. 

 

 

Advertisements

No Boundaries

21 Jun

ScriptureActs 5:22-42

God’s Message to Us: (What God is saying to us through these verses) limits

ANGELS HAVE NO boundaries!  In this passage Peter and John had been put in jail for teaching about Jesus, but during the night I sent an angel to open the jailhouse door and let them out.  I told them to go to the Temple and tell people everything there is to say about this life.  In the morning, though the jail was locked up tight, Peter and John were not there.  They were right where I told them to go.  If there were more people today willing to obey Me I would release them from their bondage.  Many are in bondage to their own pleasures—ignoring My call on their life.  Who can I count on?  Who will deliver My message today?

TURN CHALLENGES INTO opportunities to witness about Jesus.  Peter and John did this.  When brought back before the High Council and scolded for teaching about Jesus Peter bravely responded, “It’s necessary to obey God than men.”  Then he taught them about who Jesus really was.  Furious, they wanted to kill them on the spot.  A wise man spoke up and said that others had caused a ruckus in the city before, but they later died, and the story died down.  He said to let these men go because if this teaching is merely human it will fall apart.  But if it is from God there is nothing anyone can do about it. 

PETER AND JOHN were released, after a whipping, and warned again not to teach in Jesus name. They went out overjoyed because they had been given the honor of being dishonored because of teaching Jesus.  They ignored the boundaries and went right back to teaching about Jesus wherever they went.  I give you this account to remind you what took place so that you might live in freedom in Christ today.  Freedom isn’t free.  Jesus paid the price with His life.   He died so you could be forgiven and live eternally. Ignore the boundaries—pass it on!

  • Adoration: Your plan is always the best and we are so blessed.
  • Confession: We too often fail to pass on Your Good News of Jesus.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for the Apostles testimony that encourages us today.
  • Supplication: Help us to pass on Jesus’ story to our world today.

God’s Question for me: Will you follow Me and let Me dissolve the boundaries that hinder you from sharing My testimony?

God’s Promise to me:  Nothing is impossible when you put your trust in God!

 

 

Honesty

20 Jun

ScriptureActs 5:1-21

God’s Message to Us: (What God is saying to us through these verses)honesty-is-the-best-policy

THERE IS SOMETHING very wrong when a person allows themselves to tell a lie as through it were the truth.  Society has polished this ability into a skill and it has turned today’s world into a disaster.  Who can you believe?  People take sides by which side has the most believable lie.  I left an example in this passage of how significant it is to Me when people lie.  You see, if a person will lie to another, they will lie to themselves, and to Me. 

ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA were a couple who were part of this early church.  Barnabas had sold a field he owned and put all the money in the pot for the church to distribute to whoever had a need.  Ananias and his wife wanted to contribute also.  They too sold a piece of land and kept part of the money for themselves, which was perfectly fine, and brought the rest to the church. The problem came when they told the church the amount they gave was the price they were paid for the land.  Peter recognized the untruth and said, “you didn’t lie to men but to God.”

ANANIAS FELL DEAD on the spot and was taken out and buried.  Sapphira came in soon and lied about the amount and she too fell dead on the spot. This story is told that all might know how vital being a truth teller is in My sight.  A person who will lie for you will lie against you.  Any form of telling an untruth defiles a person’s conscience.  There is a fine line between being completely honest and being untruthful.   You must be completely honest, even if it costs you—on your taxes, your tithes, whatever. What you get away with today, you will have to pay tomorrow.  You can only teach honesty to your family, friends, community by being honest yourself.  It all begins with you.

  • Adoration: How blessed we are to have a perfect God to direct us.
  • Confession: We admit we have not always been completely honest.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for Your Word that shows us the path to life.
  • Supplication: Help us to commit to the policy of complete honesty.

God’s Question for me: Will you place honesty on the top of your personal values?

God’s Promise to me: To live a lie is to die a thousand deaths.  There is no greater joy than to live with a clear conscience. 

 

 

The Prayer Secret

19 Jun

ScriptureActs 4:23-37

God’s Message to Us: (What God is saying to us through these verses)open hands

WHEN TROUBLES COME rejoice that I am there with you.  I know how they annoy you but when you are weak I am strong for you. Troubles change your time schedule, change your finances, cause headaches and frustration.  Turn to Me in My strength for comfort and guidance.  In this passage Peter and John turned to their friends with the report that they were threatened to never speak about Jesus.  Instead of fretting about it they lifted their voices in a wonderful harmony of prayer.  “Strong God, You made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.”   Oh how, it warms My heart when My followers come to me in trusting faith.

START WITH PRAISE when you come into My presence by prayer.  Don’t try to get My attention because of your woes but through your praise. There is no trouble you could have that I won’t see you through.  It is your confidence in Me that will see you through to victory. 

ASK FOR CONFIDENCE in whatever troubles you face.  Peter and John asked Me to “take care of the threats and give your servants confidence in preaching Your Message.” Now that is a prayer that turns My head.  The tone of this prayer changed the dynamics of the group of believers into one of total unity of purpose and passion.  A prayer of confidence in My power has many side benefits you wouldn’t dream of—it is the secret to answered prayer. 

  • Adoration: You are always available to listen to our troubles.
  • Confession: We are sorry we more often complain than have confidence in You.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for Your amazing power when we show You honor.
  • Supplication: Help us to trust Your wisdom and follow Your leading.

God’s Question for me: Will you recognize My power and wisdom and willingly follow My leading?

God’s Promise to me: Rest confident in Me and you will find so many of your troubles vanish into thin air. 

 

 

Belief Dictates Performance

18 Jun

ScriptureActs 4:1-22

God’s Message to Us: (What God is saying to us through these verses) beliefs

WHAT YOU BELIEVE dictates how you perform.  Here in Acts, Peter and John, Apostles of Jesus, were empowered with My Holy Spirit to speak on My behalf and perform miracles. This gave proof that what they were saying didn’t come from them, but from Me.  But many of the religious leaders rejected whatever they said or did because it meant they must make some changes in how they “did church.”  They refused to believe even though they knew this power didn’t come from Peter and John.  They were desperate to remain “in charge.”

IN DESPERATION THEY had Peter and John arrested—they must stop them from teaching and attracting such attention and causing “their people” to believe in Jesus.  They grilled the two men but didn’t get what they expected.  I empowered Peter to let loose on them.  He explained that the power to heal the crippled man didn’t come from them, but from the power of Jesus Christ, the one they killed on a cross, but God raised from the dead.  They said that salvation came through Jesus alone.  They spoke with such confidence that those arresting them could not take their eyes off them.  They were nearly speechless.  What could they say?

POWERLESS TO DENY that the crippled man had been healed, since he stood right there as a testimony, the religious leaders met to work out a plan.  They recognized a miracle had taken place and that many were believing Peter and John’s testimony.  Out of options, they decided to issue threats to silence Peter and John from speaking Jesus’ name ever again with anyone.  Their response was “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide.  As for us, there’s no question—we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.” 

  • Adoration: You are all-powerful, and we are confident in You.
  • Confession: We admit we are not bold in speaking out on Your behalf.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for the testimony of Peter and John and how it encourages us to speak up for You.
  • Supplication: Help us to rely on Your Spirit to give us the words to speak that will point others to You.

God’s Question for me: Will you boldly be My witnesses and rely on Me to provide you with the words of wisdom to say?

God’s Promise to me:  I will be with you just as I was with Peter and John, when you step up to the plate of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. 

 

 

One Message–Many Languages

15 Jun

ScriptureActs 2:1-21

God’s Message to Us: (What God is saying to us through these verses)languages

DRAWING A CROWD takes something extraordinary or unusual.  In this passage I used the sound of a gale-force wind—minus the wind.  Everyone recognizes the sound of wind.  But to look outside and see no wind blowing certainly peaked their curiosity.  It caused folks to come out of their homes and shops to follow the sound and see what was going on.  That is how I drew a crowd that day because this was a monumental moment in time.   

JERUSALEM WAS ALIVE with Jewish pilgrims from around the known world.  They were there for the Feast of Pentecost.  They spoke various languages but were all curious as to what was happening.  What they heard when they arrived at the source of the sound amazed them.  The Apostles of Jesus were all speaking of the mighty works of Jesus, His life, death, burial and resurrection.  The amazing part was they were speaking in the various languages of the pilgrims.  The Apostles were all Galileans and had no way of knowing all those languages. 

ON THAT DAY in time I sent the sound of the wind and empowered the Apostles to speak the languages of all the people visiting the city.  I poured My Spirit out that day to reach many Jewish people with the message of Jesus Christ. They in turn returned to their homes and the message spread like wildfire among the known world.  The reason for all this?  These Jewish people did not know that Jesus was the promised Messiah and had not heard His message of salvation. That message was whosoever will come to Jesus has access to forgiveness and no longer need sacrifice animals as atonement for their sins.  It was a message of freedom and joy. That same message I have commissioned you to be sharing with those who have not heard.     

  • Adoration: What a life changing message Jesus brought to the world.
  • Confession: We are sorry we aren’t being faithful ambassadors for You.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank you for your forgiveness that frees us from sin.
  • Supplication: Help us to be your witnesses to our known world.

God’s Question for me:  Will you faithfully pass on this message Jesus lived and died to deliver to the world?

God’s Promise to me: Whoever turns to Me, through Jesus testimony, will be saved.

 

 

Pass it On!

14 Jun

Scripture: Acts 1

God’s Message to Us: (What God is saying to us through these verses) pass it on

JESUS PARTING WORDS to His followers, when leaving earth, was the “marching orders” to be His witnesses to the “ends of the earth.”  A witness is one who has information others need to know.  Jesus was “God in the flesh.”  The world needs to know that My love sent Jesus to the earth to demonstrate my love and power.  The power was only used to bless others.  My power is still present today and I invite you to draw upon it.  As you carry out Jesus “marching orders” I am with you and will guide you. 

  • Adoration: We have all we need to be your faithful witnesses.
  • Confession: We are ashamed that we often ignore Your “marching orders.”
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for willingly imparting Your power to us.
  • Supplication: Help us to draw upon Your power and speak up for You.

TO KNOW JESUS is to know Me.  The miracles He performed no mere man could do.  Notice the miracles all had a purpose, to bless others, not to “show off.”  He stopped a storm to save lives.  He walked on water to get to his friends who needed Him.  He raised the dead, healed the sick, multiplied the food.  His life focused on blessing others.  Consider your life?  Who is being blessed by the truths you are passing on?

  • Adoration: What a perfect example of benevolence we have in Jesus.
  • Confession: We are sorry that our purpose is mostly to bless ourselves.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for opportunities to bless others in Your name.
  • Supplication: Help us to be available to help others in their needs. 

MY KINGDOM ON earth requires that those who believe pass on the message of salvation.  Each generation needs to be taught from My Word and experience their own relationship with Jesus.  Whose responsibility it is?  Most naturally it is parents who pass on their faith.  When they abdicate that responsibility, it falls to other family members who believe, or friends of that family.  To fail to teach a child My Word is to fail coming generations.  Each child is a link to future generations.   To ignore Jesus’ “marching orders” undermines society.  You are an invaluable link in My Kingdom—pass it on! 

  • Adoration: We are honored to be spokesmen for Your Word.
  • Confession: We are sorry we too often abdicate that honor.
  • Thanksgiving: Thank You for the joy of sharing Your Word of truth.
  • Supplication: Help us focus our lives on passing on the Faith.

God’s Question for me: Will you allow Me to empower you to speak up on My behalf? 

God’s Promise to me: As My ambassador I am with you and will give you the words to speak on My behalf to those who need to hear My message of salvation. 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: