Acts 12:24-13:15 This passage in Acts reveals some of the secrets of multiplying the church through the spread of the gospel. The first verse says, "But the word of God grew and multiplied."
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Proverbs 17:14-15 We talked yesterday about the holy rain that descends when we praise the Lord. Today's proverb talks about strife and compares it to the letting out of water. We have a dam close by us, and on certain days the dam is opened to let out the water into the river. Before this happens, an alarm sounds to warn all those on the river to go to shore to avoid the rushing current that is about to be released. If anyone ignores that warning alarm and does not reach shore, he runs the risk of having his boat capsized by the raging currents, and he could drown.
Psalm 135:1-21 When I read this passage about the vapors ascending from the ends of the earth, I recall one of the funniest yet most penetrating sermons I ever heard. The psalmist writes, "He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasures" (v. 7).
Proverbs 17:9-11 It is the nature of man to cover for himself when he has done something wrong. When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing they noticed was that they were naked, and they were ashamed. They were vulnerable. They dressed themselves in fig leaves to cover their nakedness. Before this time Adam and Eve wore glory clothes. God's glory light shone around them and protected them from being vulnerable. We are created in God's image to show forth His glory, but since the Fall, Satan has used shame as a false covering for those who sin. The good news is that Jesus bore our shame on the cross. He became vulnerable and naked for our sakes so that we might be covered with His blood and robe of righteousness and thereby be protected from shame.
Acts 10:1-23 We sat in the amphitheater under a cloudless sky. We were seated in an amphitheater built by Herod in Caesarea centuries ago. My husband read the account from Acts 10 to the people on our tour of Israel. As he read this story, I realized the great victory Peter had over prejudice in his life. We all need such a victory.
Proverbs 17:6 As I am reading this proverb, I am also watching my husband walk his first grandchild. He is smiling from ear to ear as he strolls this crown princess. Children's children are the crowns of old men. I know my husband would prefer his grandchildren over ten thousand crowns. Each of our grandchildren is a crown of glory to my husband. Also as a father to three fine sons, he is the glory of his three sons. Glory! Glory!
Proverbs 17:4-5 This proverb shares how God looks at the poor. Anyone who mocks the poor reproaches God. "He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished" (v. 5).
Psalm 130:1-8 Have you ever been offended? Most of the offenses I experience are those that I take up for others. The Bible is clear, however, that love is not easily provoked or offended. I have come to ask God's forgiveness for not walking in His path of love, and then to ask Him for the power to get back on that path. When we are personally offended, it is always because our pride has been hurt. Knowing this has helped me to stay on the path of love. The moment I am offended, I confess pride because I know it was my pride in some way that was hurt.
Acts 7:51-8:13 As Stephen was being stoned he prayed. "And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:60, KJV).
Psalm 128:1-6 Throughout the Word of God there are many blessings listed that come to those who fear the Lord. We fear the Lord when we stand in awe of Him and desire to obey Him because we know His great love. When we fear the Lord, we desire to be obedient and walk in His ways. Some of the blessings that will overtake us as we fear and obey Him are listed in this psalm.
Psalm 127:1-5 One of the seminars I teach is called "BUILDING A FAMILY FOR GOD." I wrote a short book about this, and many of the principles I share in this book and seminar are presented in this psalm.
Psalm 126:1-6 One of the fruit of the Spirit is joy, and whenever we sow love into the lives of others, we can expect to reap joy. There is nothing in this life that brings more joy to me than to see my children blessed and serving the Lord with faithfulness. If this brings joy to my heart, can you imagine the joy God experiences when He sees His children walking in love with others?
Psalm 125:1-5 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people" (v. 2). This psalm has great meaning to me since I have had the opportunity to see the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city set on a hill, but there are mountains round about it. The way Jerusalem is positioned gives it a natural security system.
Acts 4:1-37 Most of us remember the days in grammar school when we would have "Show and Tell." Our homework assignment was to bring to school something we wanted to show the class, and then we were to share with the class all we wanted to about whatever we brought to school. The items often included a baby sister or brother, a favorite pet, a special rock, etc. There is something about the combination of seeing and hearing that makes an indelible imprint upon the brain. In this passage in Acts we see how it was now show and tell time for the disciples.
Acts 3:1-26 It was about three in the afternoon when Peter and John encountered a lame man begging at the Gate Beautiful as they entered the temple courtyard. Peter looked into the man's eyes and said, "Silver and gold I do not have but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk" (v. 6).
2 Samuel 22:21-23:23 One of my joys in life is to rise before dawn and praise the Lord with all of His creatures at sunrise. There is a verse in Psalms that says, "You make the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice" (Ps. 65:8). Have you ever noticed how the birds sing the loudest at dawn and sunset? I try not to miss this morning and evening symphony of worship, and I love joining my voice to it. I also love to see the morning star in the sky, and I recall Jesus' description of Himself: "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star" (Rev. 22:16).
Psalm 121:1-8 What a comfort to know I have a keeper. We all need a keeper—a protector, provider and problem solver. Those who are blessed with good parents had the experience of the safety of a peaceful, loving home. I can remember the secure feeling I had when my dad came home from work and everyone was settled in our home for the night. I knew if we had any problems, Dad could handle them. I can remember my mother tucking me in at night. She used two giant safety pins to pin my covers down so I would not kick them off in the night. I went to sleep knowing the safety of a warm bed that would stay warm all night. My parents were good keepers, and they saw to my every need. I also have been blessed with a wise husband who keeps our checkbook balanced and sees to the financial, physical and spiritual needs of our home. He has been a wonderful keeper of me for over forty years, and I really need a keeper.
"Could you come down out of the heavenlies long enough to give me a hand with this dirty laundry?"
Have you ever uttered those words in your home? Some wives have trouble pulling their husbands away from the TV set. Others struggle to keep them from bringing work home from the office. But a growing number of women these days are asking: "How do I deal with my husband, the intercessor?"
John 21:1-25 The water gently washed over the heart-shaped rocks that were formerly pillars to an ancient temple. We looked in the distance across the Sea of Galilee and relived the story written in John 21. We were standing in one of my favorite spots on the shore of the Galilee. The place is called Peter's Primacy, and it is the place where Jesus cooked a meal for His disciples after He was resurrected. It was at this place that Peter had the opportunity to confirm his love to the Master three times after denying Him three times. This was Jesus' last meal with His disciples before He ascended, and something essential for their future happened here during their dinner conversation. Jesus told them of their future occupation in the kingdom.
John 20:1-31 This passage in John was always a mystery to me. Why did Peter and John believe Jesus was raised from the dead when they saw the linen napkin? Part of the burial clothing of a person in that day was a linen napkin that was wrapped around the head of the deceased. This part of Jesus' burial clothing was lying neatly folded in a place by itself. Listen carefully as John describes that event: "Peter therefore went out and the other disciple, were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw linen cloths lying there, And the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed" (vv. 3-8).
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