Acts 27:21-44 Something I've noticed in reading through the Bible every year are the things angels say when they visit us on earth. Over and over again they greet those on earth with the words, "Fear not." We remember the words of the heavenly hosts as they announced the birth of Jesus: "Fear not; for behold, unto you is born in the city of David a Savior?.?.?.?" The words of Gabriel to Joseph and Mary were "Fear not." In today's reading in Acts we see the angel appearing to Paul as he is being transported to prison on a boat that was encountering heavy seas. The angel said, "Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar; and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee" (v. 24, KJV).
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Proverbs 18:22 Wives are good things. Some women may object to being called a "thing," but it is a good thing when a man finds a wife and enters married life. Not everyone will marry, and I was beginning to think none of my boys would ever get married. From the time they were small boys I prayed for godly mates for them. Now they are all married to godly wives, and we have grandchildren. All three were married in a span of nine months. I share this with singles that are looking for a mate to illustrate how fast things can change in their lives.
Proverbs 18:20-21 One of my most hated tasks as a homemaker is cleaning out the refrigerator. I always dread it because I come up with some pretty nasty-looking and smelling items. Some fruits have turned into penicillin. There is nothing more smelly or nasty than rotten fruit. Bugs and flies are attracted to rotting fruit. Today's proverb tells us, "A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
Psalm 5:1-12 Some people are morning people, and others are not. We have a Russian son whom I know not to talk to until he has had his first cup of coffee. People who are not morning people are usually a little resistant when they hear testimonies of people who spend their first waking hour with the Lord. To such people I share that they also can spend their first hour of the morning with the Lord because morning begins at midnight. Both the midnight hour and the later morning hours are precious to God.
Acts 24:1-27 God created man to be directed by the Spirit. When He breathed into Adam, he became a living soul. The image of God was indelibly imprinted in Adam's being. The breath of God was the very Spirit of God infusing into the flesh body of Adam. That spirit sometimes is referred to as the core of our being. The soul part of man is his mind, will and emotions.
Psalm 3:1-8 But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head" (v. 3, KJV). We sing a chorus taken from this psalm often in our church, and every time I sing it I feel strength rise up within me. The proverb reading today asks who can bear a broken spirit. There are so many today with broken spirits who need the Lord to be the glory and the lifter of their heads. The Lord came to heal the brokenhearted, and only He has the power to do this. When we feel lower than a snake's belly, the Lord comes and lifts our heads up.
Proverbs 18:13 Today's proverb warns against making a decision before you have all the facts. So often we hear what we want to hear and then make decisions accordingly. We need to hear all the facts before we move ahead. Remember the phrase, "Just give me the facts, man."
2 Kings 22:3-23:30 Josiah was king and began his reign at the young age of eight years old. The Scriptures tell us he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the ways of David his forefather. He turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. Wouldn't we all love to have such words said about us when our life reaches its end here on earth?
2 Kings 20:1-22:2 How many times have you thought, I wish I could turn the clock back to the good old days of my youth when there were solid values and virtues? I know I have thought many times of my high school years when drugs were only done by what we considered the "weirdos" and sex outside of marriage was taboo. What happened to those days of innocence?
Psalm 149:1-9 Most of us are familiar with the Indian war dances, which always occurred before they entered warfare with their enemies. Dancing and rejoicing before the Lord is also an effective weapon before we go to war against Satan. We have the scriptural example of this when Jehoshaphat sent the singers ahead of his army and ambushments against their enemies were established. "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever" (2 Chron. 20:21, KJV).
Acts 20:1-38 Fear is one of the greatest enemies of every Christian. Satan seeks to paralyze us with fear. Fear is Satan's anesthesia that causes us to be frozen on his operating table where he can perform wicked surgery on our souls. One of the secrets of the early church's success in the spread of the gospel is that those early believers loved not their lives to the death. When we read Revelation 12:11, we often skip over the last part. This verse reads, "And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."
Acts 19:13-14 God is not the author of confusion. Satan is. We learn this in this chapter in Acts. Wherever idols are worshiped or participation in the occult is present, there is confusion because the author of confusion is on the scene.
Acts 18:22-19:12 When my children were little I would find Bible heroes, and then I would pray for my sons to be just like them. One of these Bible heroes was Daniel, who had an excellent spirit. Today we see another Bible hero whom we would like our children to emulate. His name was Apollos.
Acts 18:1-21 The red and yellow poppies shook gently in the breeze under a postcard blue sky as we looked upon the ruins of Corinth. Once a great city where Paul spent over a year and a half, it now was covered with a field of poppies. We were spending some time in Greece just after our tour to Israel. As I looked at what was left of Corinth, I understood why Paul spent so much time there. It must have been a beautiful city. We actually saw the judgment seat area where Gallio drove the Jews from his presence.
Proverbs 17:27-28 This proverb basically says, "If you have any sense at all, keep your mouth shut." Solomon puts it more eloquently when he writes, "He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace: when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive."
Acts 16:16-40 Picture Paul and Silas in stocks in prison. They should have been so discouraged and depressed, but this was not their state at all. They had been beaten, and I am sure the stocks were irritating their fresh wounds, yet they made a quality decision. They decided to praise the Lord anyhow. They began to sing praises to God. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and the foundations of the whole prison were shaken, causing the doors of their cell to fling open. The guard of the prison awakened and was in great fear. This guard was about to kill himself because he knew he would be killed if Paul and Silas escaped. Paul cried out, "Do not harm yourself, for we are here." Then this prisoner fell at their feet and asked, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your house will be saved." The guard took them to his house, where Paul and Silas explained to the whole household about the Lord. The guard washed their wounds and then everyone in his household was baptized.
Psalm 142:1-7 In the old days stores had complaint departments. These departments are now called Customer Service, but the name change has not changed the function of these departments. Customer service usually handles disgruntled people who have purchased something they are not satisfied with and have brought it back to the store for an exchange or for their money back. Those who stand behind the desks of customer service think they have a tough job, but their job does not compare to the job Moses had. He had over 600,000 complaining, murmuring Israelites at his throat day and night. At one point in the travels through the wilderness Moses asked the Lord to show him favor by just killing him. He had had it with their complaints, and he knew God was weary of it also.
Psalm 141:1-10 David knew how important the words we speak are. Throughout the Psalms, he prays for God to help him control his tongue. He prays in this psalm, "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips" (v. 3).
Proverbs 17:22 In recent years some medical doctors have used "laugh therapy" with their patients. I heard a story about a lady who was healed through laughter. Her doctor prescribed a steady diet of "The Three Stooges." She was instructed to watch the videos of their old films as much as possible. It worked. She actually laughed her way to health. This secret was known by Solomon, who writes, "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."
Psalm 139:1-24 Yesterday we talked about how God can perfect everything that is a concern to us. Today we see how God is concerned for us and knows us intimately. In fact, God knows my needs before I even share with Him these needs in prayer. David writes, "For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether" (v. 4).
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