Archive for June, 2011

A Question for You

Acts 20:31 Therefore (because savage wolves will come in among you) be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I (Paul) did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 

 

What is it like to cry for THREE YEARS straight?

NIGHT and DAY?

Over others?

Certainly, this was no pity-party of Paul’s.

These were tears of birthing,

Tears of seeing Christ formed in EACH ONE.

Tears of rejoicing

Of

Urging

Reminding

Cautioning

Advising

Counseling

Warning

Instructing

EACH sheep in the flock.

EACH lamb.

Drenching himself with love for the brethren.

O that this love would be shed abroad in our hearts for each one.

The Lord sees and collects your tears in a bottle.

I think maybe many bottles for Paul’s.

How about you?

Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.

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THOTS Small Thoughts: How often do we do it?

Acts 2:46-47 DAY BY DAY continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number DAY BY DAY those who were being saved.

As often as we do it with each other, is as often as the Lord will add to our number those who are being saved.

Acts 19:9-10 …and (Paul) took away the disciples, reasoning DAILY in the school of Tyrannus. This took place FOR TWO YEARS, so that ALL who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

As often as we do it, is as much as the word goes forth to those who live in our nation, both Jews and Greeks.

There are seven days in the week, including a day of rest.

Do we have just 1/7th the fellowship today?

Do we have just 1/7th the gladness today?

Do we have just 1/7th the praise today?

Do we have just 1/7th the favour of the people today?

Do we have just 1/7th those who are being reached today?

Do we have just 1/7th those who are being saved today?

Paul and the disciples met daily in one place for two years.

In our day, if we met once a week, then to equal what Paul and the disciples achieved in those two years, we would need to meet together for 730 years. Mmmmm. And we wonder as to why we aren’t seeing great results, as often as we might?

Daily Paul reasoned with them.

Do we daily ‘reason’ why not to be with them?

THOTS Small Thoughts: In the Midnight Hour

Acts 16:25-30 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God…and suddenly there came a great earthquake….all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened….(the jailer said) “Sir’s, what must I do to be saved?”

(v31-35) They said, ” Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him with all who were in his house. And he took them THAT VERY HOUR OF THE NIGHT and washed their wounds and IMMEDIATELY he was BAPTISED, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. Now, WHEN THE DAY CAME…

Did you realise it was between MIDNIGHT and DAYBREAK, sometime in the early hours of the morning, between 12pm and 6am, that the jailer and all his household were saved AND baptised?

What a midnight feast was had! And you thought nightime was for sleeping!

Salvation is a 24/7 business.

“Believing” is an urgent requirement and doesn’t wait for someone to be invited along to church.

“Water baptism” doesn’t wait for when the sun is shining outside, the birds are chirping and the water temperature is just so!

This jailer and his whole household have testified to that fact!

From prison with prayer, praise and prose…and a promise,

Freedom from sin that binds.

Warning!

WATER BAPTISM….

Should we? Might we? May we? Can we? Must we?

If you were in an army and you were given an ORDER from a Commanding Officer to do something and to do it, by implication, NOW, would you sit on that ORDER and consider it, and choose your own timing of when to carry it out? Or would you be required and expected to OBEY, and to obey immediately, as soon as was practical for you to carry the orders out?

It would surely be to obey and to do so in an immediate way. Commands are only commands if there is an urgency to have them carried out. And we dare not disobey and not do something we have been commanded to do!

Well, the ORDER has come via the Commander and Chief to “Repent and be baptised!” (Acts 2:38)

Certainly, from this next verse the forgiveness of sins is wrapped up in the act of baptism. It’s not just a “symbolic” (powerless image only) act to do, as many say it is, where one can take or leave the symbolism-as long as you confess your sins and believe. Instead, the truth, according to Scripture, shows that baptism is inextricably linked to your redemption and forgiveness of your sins. How important is that?!

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “ Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ FOR the forgiveness of your sins

Where does it say that this is an ORDER then? Can’t I take time to study it out or wait until I’m ready, or when the ‘conditions’ are just right?

Acts 10:46-48 “Then Peter answered ‘Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptised who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did can he?’ And he ORDERED them to be baptised in (into) the name of Jesus Christ.

Peter the apostle ORDERED them all to be water baptised. The verse following on from this one above states that they all received this and obeyed this because (v48) “Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.” They had to have been water baptised within those next few days, if not straight away following Peter’s order, otherwise the text would have stated that Peter would have had something to say about it had they not, as he was there with them over those next few days! They would not have offered this hospitality if they were going to in any way think about it or delay this command. Remember these were Gentiles-it wasn’t their historic practice to be baptised or cleansed by water immersion. Note also, that Peter said “Surely no one can refuse the water…” and by implication he was referring in particular to his accompanying Jewish circumcised brethren, who could have so refused this to these Gentiles, but who did not. Indeed, how silly it would have been if the Gentiles themselves (new to this) had “refused” it, which of course they did not.

The other word for ORDERED above in other English translations sometimes used is the word, COMMANDED.

It is the Greek word ‘prostasso’ and this Greek word for “ORDERED” or “COMMANDED” can also be found in these following Scriptures:

Matthew 1:24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded (prostasso) him, and took Mary as his wife.

The angel of the Lord commanded Joseph and he instantly obeyed. He did not think twice about it.

Matthew 8:4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded (prostasso), as a testimony to them.”

Jesus Himself affirmed the importance of instantly obeying the “command” (prostasso), in this case from his servant Moses.

Acts 10: 33 So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded (prostasso) by the Lord.”

Do you remember what the Lord had “commanded” Peter in this instance from this passage? It was the vision Peter had received from God three times in a trance when he was praying, which was about the acceptance of the Gentiles into the faith. A pretty important thing you would agree! We, as Gentiles are saved as a result of that vision! Note how Peter himself had to then act immediately upon this COMMAND (prostasso) by the Lord?

Matthew 21:6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded (prostasso) them.

May we also do, and the people you know, do, all that Jesus COMMANDS us to do. For Him and for our benefit.



By the By

“STEP RIGHT UP!”

“STEP RIGHT UP!”

The only Christian ENTERTAINMENT I know of from Scripture

is

the kind that ENTERTAINS angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2)

THOTS Small Thoughts: “X” Marks the Spot

 

Gentile believers = Christians     

 

 

Hebrew believers = Christians

 

 

Gentile + Hebrew disciples = Christians

 

 

 

 

Acts 11:26….(they were) first called CHRISTIANS in Antioch.

So, who was at Antioch? And what was “special” or different about the church there?

Acts 11:19-20 So then those who were scattered because of the persecution (ie JEWS) that occured in connection with Stephen, made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to JEWS alone. BUT there were some of them (JEWS), men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who CAME TO Antioch and began speaking to the GREEKS also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. (AND in Acts 13: 1 there were in the church at Antioch, prophets and teachers that were JEWS). So, in the church at Antioch were both JEWS and GENTILES.

Acts 11: 26 states that these JEWISH and GENTILE believers in Messiah Jesus, who were called “CHRISTIANS” were more than “believers”-they were “DISCIPLES”. “And after an entire year they (Saul and Barnabus) met with the church and TAUGHT considerable numbers and the DISCIPLES were first called CHRISTIANS in Antioch.”

How did they become “DISCIPLES”? It was because they were TAUGHT consistently and received instruction in the ways of the Lord and followed that teaching and that Way. For they were also known as followers of the Way (Acts 9:2).

Are you a “Christian”?

I suppose from this, only if outsiders call you one, based on what they see and know. What do they see and what do they know when they look at you?  They didn’t call themselves Christians in the church at Antioch. It was a calling, not a naming, and by others. And so, as the outsiders did in Antioch, when they look at you and your church, do they witness Jews and Gentiles gathering together, or at least associated in some way with an undeniable connection (wild olive branch with natural one)? Do they see you as a peculiar people sold out to Jesus the Messiah, as DISCIPLES of His?

Whether or not it was therefore a disparaging term, or a complimentary one, it was neverthless a Greek way of needing to identify and label a GROUP of people who seemed peculiar. King Agrippa later used it somewhat scornfully when speaking with Paul as to whether he would himself become a Christian so soon after Paul’s words of persuasion to him (Acts 26:28).

The WHOLE GROUP of JEWISH and GREEK DISCIPLES were called Christians. The term Christians was used in the plural form also in this passage. There were already terms for this group when they were separate before this time (ie those Gentiles or those Jews) but to an outsider, in seeing them joined together, something that was very “peculiar” had taken place, which never had happened before like this, the outsiders wondered what to call them, and so called them “CHRISTIANS”!

So, the term arose only in the context of these JEWISH and GENTILE believers; together being DISCIPLED unto the ONE Messiah!

AND so…

Both JEW AND GENTILE alike,

Were being identified as the ONE NEW MAN in Messiah.

 

CHRISTIAN…

This is the Way, walk ye in it.

JEW and GENTILE both.

TOGETHER.

As one.

 

 

 

A Word of Encouragement

Have you ever been told to get up and make your bed?

Have you ever told someone else, a son, a daughter perhaps, to get get up and make their bed?!

The apostle Peter went to Lydda (Acts 9:32) and “there he found a man named Aeneas who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralysed. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up. And all who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.”

So, what does it mean to “get up and make your bed”?

Certainly this paralysed man knew this bed as his ‘home’, for the last eight years of his life. It wasn’t a bed in his home-it was his home. The sheets about him were his everyday garments, protecting him, keeping him warm. The pillow beneath his head was his comfort, if ever he could feel it or know it. He was conditioned to accept this circumstance which he found himself in, for eight long years. Until the day came, when he heard the power-filled words that spoke of a name, the name of Jesus Christ, the name that is above every name, and with it, the knowledge that the Person represented by that name, heals him, then and there, even from his bed.

When Jesus was in His twenties, some years before his public ministry, this man became paralysed. No doubt he was in the mind of God at the time when this happened, but it wasn’t until eight years later, at just the right time in the things of God, that Peter came and declared to him his healing. It was at that timing in God that ALL in the towns of Sharon and Lydda turned to the Lord as a result of this healing. Perhaps that wouldn’t have happened eight years ago, or seven years ago, or six, or until the heart of this individual had turned toward the Lord himself in his hour of desperation. Whatever the case may have been, he did receive healing and wholeness before the eighth year turned into a ninth.

But he was also instructed to ‘make his bed’. That which he had known as his ‘home’ and that which he had become accustomed to, he personally, now after his healing, had to deal with. He had to say to this place from where he had come; no more will you be my ‘comfort’ continually (for we even try to make ‘prisons’ comfortable for ourselves, if they possibly can be), no more will you be my garments about me, no more will you be my shield from the outside influences that might seek to get at me.

He had now received newness of life again in his physical body, his physical feeling returned, but he also had to ‘make his bed’ by actively dealing with his past and choosing to leave it behind him; to cover over old memories and hurts and wounds that he had known of, to let go for good, now and for all time, the old ‘garments’, that had reminded him daily and nightly of his low position and of his inadequacies and failings; of things he could not do.

He was now healed in his body and had to allow himself to be healed in his soul and in his emotions and in his mind. He was enabled to act upon this matter himself at the command of Peter by dealing with what had gone before and from where he had come from.

Aeneas could now throw off the old ‘garments’ and put on the new garments; the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness. For so his name means: Praise.

Beds are for sleeping in, they are not for living in. Jesus Christ gives you wholeness and completeness. But you have to act on what has gone before and decide to let it go. So He can cover over the past with His healing love. To walk out of that old ‘living’ room and close that door behind you and walk on in newness of life.

So, if you haven’t already, be encouraged to ‘make your bed’. Let God help you to tidy up those areas in your own soul, in all rooms or chambers in your heart that you know you have left be ‘unkempt’ -disshelved, messy, neglected and ‘untidy’ and disordered. And let him bring order and completeness to all areas in your life. He can well do it. Then your healing and your ordered life, can be a testimony of His goodness and all that He can do for you and for others. All fear goes. Paralysis has to leave in Jesus’ name. Let go of the ‘comforts’ that are not really comforts after all and receive the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Know Him as your Shield about you, protecting you from all the abuse and hurts of the past, as you get up and walk on in forgiveness, leaving the old and walking in the new.

In His name…

Rise up…

And make your bed.