2346.) Galatians 1:1-10

April 30, 2018

Galatians 1:1-10   (ESV)

Greeting

1Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers who are with me,

Paul wrote this book; his authorship of this magnificent letter is virtually unquestioned.

And what a magnificent letter this is! Galatians has been called the “Declaration of Independence of Christian liberty.” The great reformer Martin Luther especially loved this letter; he called Galatians his “Catherine von Bora,” because, he said, “I am married to it.” Leon Morris wrote, “Galatians is a passionate letter, the outpouring of the soul of a preacher on fire for his Lord and deeply committed to bringing his hearers to an understanding of what saving faith is.”

Many scholars believe that Galatians was written in the late 40’s or the early 50’s; an approximate date of 50 A.D. is often given. It seems that Paul wrote this letter before the Jerusalem Council mentioned in Acts 15, because although he mentions several trips to Jerusalem, he makes no mention of the council. Because the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 dealt with the exact issues Paul writes about, it would seem strange if it had already happened, yet he made no mention of it. If it is true that Galatians was written around 50 AD, then Paul would have been a Christian for about 15 years, being converted on the road to Damascus around 35 AD.

–David Guzik

To the churches of Galatia:

This letter was addressed to the churches of Galatia, because Galatia was a region, not a city and there were several churches among the cities of Galatia.

“During the third century bc some Celtic peoples (or Gauls) migrated to this area and, after fighting with the people they encountered, they settled into the northern part of Asia Minor. In due course they came into conflict with the Romans, who defeated them, and from this time they remained under the authority of the Romans as a dependent kingdom. The name ‘Galatia’ covered the territory settled by the Gauls.”

–Leon Morris

Galatia contained the cities of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, among others. These cities were visited by Paul during his first missionary journey. The entire region is within present-day Turkey.

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins

Now, Paul will briefly expand on the work of God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The first thing he wrote about Jesus is that He gave Himself for our sins.

“Throughout the epistle Paul points the Galatians to the centrality of the cross. He cannot wait to make this plain, and we find a reference to it in his very first sentence.”

–Leon Morris

Jesus gave. We know from John 3:16 that God the Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Yet God the Father was not the only giver; Jesus also gave. Jesus is a loving, giving God and a loving, giving Savior.

Jesus gave the greatest thing anyone can give – Himself.  Jesus gave the greatest gift He could. There is a sense in which we do not even begin to give until we give ourselves.

Jesus gave Himself for our sins.  Our sins put us on a road to ruin and destruction. If God did not do something to save us, our sins would destroy us. So out of love, Jesus gave Himself for our sins!

“These words, ‘who gave himself for our sins’, are very important. He wanted to tell the Galatians straight out that atonement for sins and perfect righteousness are not to be sought anywhere but in Christ . . . So glorious is this redemption that it should ravish us with wonder.”

–John Calvin

to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity.”

–Martin Luther

No Other Gospel

6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

The message of the gospel is what Jesus did on the cross for us as revelaed by the Scriptures and proven by the resurrection. Yet there is something about that message that is offensive to many people. They prefer not to think of themselves as helpless sinners, in need of a Savior, as ones who can do no good in and of themselves. Eventually they begin to think that instead of them needing God, God is pretty lucky to have them. Do not listen to the voices telling you to be proud of yourself, your knowledge, your goodness, Paul says. Instead, turn your eyes to Jesus and His grace.

10For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

“I am a servant of Christ!”  This is a heavy saying. We want to maintain good relations with others, especially family members and co-workers who are in our daily lives. But more important is to maintain a faithful and obedient relationship with Christ. It is never wise to disobey God in order to keep the peace with people. Remember Peter in the High Priest’s courtyard, and how he wept once he realized that the opinion of a servant girl had mattered more to him than faithfulness to Jesus!

_________________________

Music:

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  This is my prayer each day for you, my fellow DWELL-ers.  HERE  it is as a song, sung by Fernando Ortega.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Free to live for Christ.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/galatians-cover.jpg
map of Galatia.   https://dshiflett.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/galatia-map.jpg
Luther(an) rose.    http://www.lcgs.org/images/lutheran%20rose.jpg
Peter weeps.   https://www.trinitybelleplaine.org/how-do-you-recover-from-denying-jesus/
Advertisements

2345.) Psalm 83

April 27, 2018

Psalm 83 (NIV)

A song. A psalm of Asaph.

Study the psalm in two parts:

·    Verses 1 – 8:  what the enemies of God and Israel are doing

·    Verses 9 – 18: what the psalmist wants and prays that God will do

1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
2 See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”

 “Let them come from east and west, south and north, and close round Israel; God alone is mightier than they.”

–Alexander Maclaren

5 With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against you—

6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them
to reinforce Lot’s descendants.

9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor
and became like dung on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession
of the pasturelands of God.”

These are all people who were destroyed. Here is the body count:  Gideon destroyed Midian; the story is in Judges 6-8. Oreb and Zeeb were princes of Midian. People from the tribe of Ephraim killed them; the story is in Judges 7:24-25. Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian, in Judges 8:21. Sisera and Jabin come from another story, in Judges 4:1-24. Jabin was king of Hazor, and Sisera was the leader of his army. A woman, Jael, killed Sisera as he hid in her tent. Two judges of Israel destroyed Jabin’s army at the River Kishon.

13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, LORD,
so that they will seek your name.
17
May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.

Luke 6:27-36 (New Living Translation)

Love for Enemies

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.  Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!  And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!  And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.  You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”

_________________________

18 Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a song which praises our God who is Most High!  “Immortal, Invisible” has the most vivid word pictures that point us to divine Truth! This version with Cynthia Clawson is simply wonderful!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 83:18.   http://www.alittleperspective.com/psalm-83-reverse-parallelism/map.   
map.   http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterSix/Psalm83.htm
Lincoln quote.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/destroying_my_enemies_by_hellhoundp2k.jpg

2344.) Acts 14:21-28

April 26, 2018

Acts 14:21-28   (NLT)

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch of Syria

21 After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, 22 where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.

As Paul and Barnabas decided to head back home to Antioch, they passed through the cities they had visited before, to strengthen and encourage the Christians in those cities. Paul and Barnabas wanted to do far more than gain conversions; they had a passion to make disciples.

–David Guzik

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

THE COURAGEOUS SPIRIT

One of the characteristics of the early church was courage. The Twelve crept fearfully into the upper room to protect themselves from the authorities, but they came out on Pentecost boldly proclaiming the risen Christ to everyone they could reach. Your knees may knock together for a time as you go out into ministry, but that’s all right. Keep on going. Do the thing Christ asks you to do, and he will fill you with his Spirit and therefore with courage. The courage comes only when you act.

The first Christians became unstoppable. The world had no categories to deal with people like these. They did not fear prison, and they did not fear death. The world had no weapons to use against them that could succeed (Isaiah 54:17).

On Paul’s first missionary journey the citizens of Lystra stoned him so badly that the Christians there believed him to be dead. However, he was revived and continued on to preach in Derbe. Then, instead of returning to safety, he went back to Lystra to check on the believers. He was anxious to go back to where he had been stoned and beaten and encourage them by telling them what a marvelous thing it is to be a Christian. He returned to Lystra to strengthen the believers and encourage them to continue in the faith. Then he went on his way from Lystra, rejoicing.

Do we know anything about that kind of courage? The same Spirit who was in Paul can be in you and me.

23 Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

“The apostles had left behind only a tiny core of believers, and these had hardly been taught anything, since the apostles had been there at best for only a few weeks. How could this little group survive? It survived because the work was actually being done by God. The church was his church.”

–James Montgomery Boice

24 Then they traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia. 25 They preached the word in Perga, then went down to Attalia.

26 Finally, they returned by ship to Antioch of Syria, where their journey had begun. The believers there had entrusted them to the grace of God to do the work they had now completed. 27 Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too. 28 And they stayed there with the believers for a long time.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is another Don Moen favorite — “Be Strong and Take Courage.” Remember that His grace is sufficient for everything you may face today!

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Staying strong in the Lord.   http://fbcobpodcast.blogspot.com/2015/11/staying-strong-in-lord-acts-1419-28-900.html
the lion gets courage, from The Wizard of Oz. http://matchstic.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/courage.jpg
back with the believers in Antioch.   http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/yo-paul-turkey/

2343.) Acts 14:1-20

April 25, 2018
"St. Paul healing the cripple at Lystra" by Karel DuJardin, 1663 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

“St. Paul healing the cripple at Lystra” by Karel DuJardin, 1663 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Acts 14:1-20 (NLT)

Paul and Barnabas in Iconium

1 The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. 2 Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. 3 But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4 But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.

Paul and friends stay in a town as long as they can, to establish the believers and ground them strongly in their faith, for they all know that opposition will come.

Acts 14:4 is the first time Paul and Barnabas are called apostles in the Book of Acts. The only other time the title is used for them in Acts is at Acts 14:14. Paul often used the title of himself in his letters.

5 Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6 When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. 7 And there they preached the Good News.

“The apostles did not go into these cities to do miracles, and then to preach. Rather, it was the other way around: They went to preach; then sometimes there were healings.”

–James Montgomery Boice

Paul and Barnabas in Lystra and Derbe

8 While they were at Lystra (19 miles south of Konya in present -day Turkey), Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting 9 and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed.

10 So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking.

11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” 12 They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker.

The god Hermes was the messenger of the gods, so he would be the one talking.

14. Zeus and Hermes

Psalm 95:3 (ESV)

For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.

13 Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening,

That may have taken a bit. It says the crowd was shouting in their local dialect, which Paul and Barnabas may not have understood. But the preparation for sacrifice needed no explanation!

they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, 17 but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.”

No soft sell here! Paul calls their gods “worthless things” and urges them to turn to the “living God.” And the rain and good crops and joy that they thought came from Zeus — all of it really comes from God!

18 But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them.

In his book Metamorphoses, Ovid tells the tale of an old married couple, Baucis and Philemon, who were the only ones in their village to welcome the gods Zeus and Hermes when they came disguised as poor men. This story was well-known in Paul’s day, especially since Paul was in the area where Ovid said this event had occurred.

Baucis and Philemon entertain the gods, by an unknown artist.

“Zeus and Hermes came disguised as ordinary peasants and began asking the people of the town for a place to sleep during that night.
“To a thousand houses did they go, asking for lodging and for rest.  A thousand houses did the bots fasten against them.” Finally they came to Baucis and Philemon’s rustic and simple cottage. Though the couple were poor, they showed more pity than their rich neighbors, where “all the doors bolted and no word of kindness given, so wicked were the people of that land.”

After serving the two guests food and wine, which Ovid depicts with pleasure in the details, Baucis noticed that although she had refilled her guest’s beechwood cups many times, the wine pitcher was still full. Realizing that her guests were in fact gods, she and her husband “raised their hands in supplication and implored indulgence for their simple home and fare.” Philemon thought of catching and killing the goose that guarded their house and making it into a meal for the guests. But when Philemon went to catch the goose, it ran onto Zeus’s lap for safety. Zeus said that they did not need to slay the goose and that they should leave the town. Zeus said that he was going to destroy the town and all the people who had turned him away and not provided due hospitality. He said Baucis and Philemon should climb the mountain with him and not turn back until they reached the top.

“After climbing the mountain to the summit (“as far as an arrow could shoot in one pull”), Baucis and Philemon looked back on the town and saw that it had been destroyed by a flood. However, Zeus had turned Baucis and Philemon’s cottage into an ornate temple. The couple was also granted a wish; they chose to stay together forever and to be guardians of the temple. They also requested that when it came time for one of them to die, the other would die as well. Upon their death, they were changed into an intertwining pair of trees, one oak and one linden, standing in the deserted boggy terrain.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baucis_and_Philemon

19 Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side.  They stoned Paul

How fickle the crowds are! One minute they are calling Paul a god, the next, stoning him.

As for Paul — did he think of Stephen, and his own role in Stephen’s death?

and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. 20 But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town.  The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Lord, I Offer My Life to You”  by Don Moen. I look at Paul’s “all in” attitude for Christ and I am inspired to focus less on self and more on the Lord!

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
DuJardin.  http://www.wga.hu/art/d/dujardin/2healing.jpg
map.   https://markmeynell.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/acts-13-14-map.png
Zeus and Hermes.  http://www.alexanderstoddart.com/images/sideimage_contact.jpg
bringing the sacrifice.   http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/yo-paul-turkey/
Baucis and Philemon entertaining.    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Oq8Hy5YMraw/SDIJn6S-5JI/AAAAAAAAATI/uZWo2u44Me4/s1600-h/Baucis-Philemon.jpg
stoning.   http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/yo-paul-turkey/

2342.) Acts 13:30-52

April 24, 2018

Acts 13:30-52   (NLT)

Paul’s preaches the resurrected Jesus

Now Paul gets to the best part of the story:  Jesus’ resurrection!

30 But God raised him from the dead!

But God! What glorious words! Humankind had done their best to fight against God — even to kill Him — but God was greater than our sin and rebellion, and Jesus rose in triumph over sin and death.

–David Guzik

The study of the biblical phrase “But God” is certainly a rewarding one, showing God always to be wise and loving! Here are just a couple examples:

Genesis 8:1  (NIV)

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Romans 5:8  (NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

31 And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel.

32 “And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, 33 and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus:

‘You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.’

34 For God had promised to raise him from the dead, not leaving him to rot in the grave. He said, ‘I will give you the sacred blessings I promised to David.’ 35 Another psalm explains it more fully: ‘You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.’36 This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed. 37 No, it was a reference to someone else—someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay.

38 “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. 39 Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do. 40 Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,

41 ‘Look, you mockers,
be amazed and die!
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.’”

Paul ends with a warning to believe that the promise God made long ago has come true in Jesus Christ!  As it says in Hebrews, “All of God’s promises are YES in Christ!”

42 As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. 43 Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.

Paul Turns to the Gentiles

44 The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. 45 But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.

Of course there will be opposition. Do not be surprised. As James said in his letter, chapter 1, “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance.” I once heard Elisabeth Elliot speak on this passage; who could address it with more credibility than she?

46 Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. 47 For the Lord gave us this command when he said,

‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’”

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. 49 So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.


50 Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. 52 And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The believers were filled with joy! “The happiness of a genuine Christian lies far beyond the reach of earthly disturbances, and is not affected by the changes and chances to which mortal things are exposed. The martyrs were more happy in the flames than their persecutors could be on their beds of down.”

–Adam Clarke

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Matt Redman’s “Yes and Amen.” I like this song a lot.

Father of kindness, You have poured out of grace
You brought me out of darkness, You have filled me with peace
Giver of mercy, You’re my help in time of need
Lord I can’t help but sing
Faithful, you are, Faithful forever you will be
Faithful, you are,
All your promises are yes and Amen
All your promises are yes and Amen

Beautiful Saviour, You have brought me near
You pulled me from the ashes, You have broken every curse
Blessed redeemer, You have set this captive free
Lord, I can’t help but sing
Faithful, you are, Faithful forever you will be
Faithful, you are,
All your promises are yes and Amen
All your promises are yes and Amen

I will rest in your promises My confidence is your faithfulness
All your promises are yes and Amen
All your promises are yes and Amen

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
verse 47.   https://iteams.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/acts-13.png
 empty tomb.   http://www.biblestudyresources.org/why-we-believe-jesus-rose-from-the-dead.html
a light to the Gentiles.    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xwYP4kBnL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

2341.) Acts 13:1-29

April 23, 2018

13. verse 2 with dove

Acts 13:1-29   (NLT)

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Old Testament. But sometimes I get to the point where I have had enough of the prophets! So at a break in the book of Ezekiel (we have finished the chapters on the judgment of Israel), we will return to the book of Acts. Wonderful New Testament stories! Thrilling accounts of God at work in miraculous ways as the good news of Jesus Christ spreads beyond the Holy Land!

The Book of Acts can be divided into four principal parts with Acts 1:8 serving as a key text:

“And you shall receive power from on high when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria even to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The four main divisions are:

  • Part 1 — The Church in Jerusalem
    (chapters 1-7)
  • Part 2 — The Church in Judea and Samaria
    (chapters 8-12)
  • Part 3 — The Church in Gentile Territories
    (chapters 13-21)
  • Part 4 — Paul’s Trials and Voyage to Rome
    (chapters 21-28)

We will be DWELLING in the Word in the first portion of Part 3 and watching Paul and his associates bring the Gospel to Galatia.

Barnabas and Saul Are Commissioned

In Acts 12:25, we learned that Barnabas, Saul, and John Mark were all at the church in Antioch, having returned from delivering a gift of support to the church in Jerusalem “(Acts 11:27-30). Saul and Barnabas were among the teachers and prophets there.

1 Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas),

Quick, which Herod is this?  The one who ordered the killing of John the Baptist.  The one who mocked Jesus just before His crucifixion.

and Saul. 2 One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.”

You can’t really say “yes” to God’s call on your life until you can say “no” to things that will keep you from that call.
–David Guzik

Ephesians 2:10 (Contemporary EV)

God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are.

3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

Paul’s First Missionary Journey

4 So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus.

Barbabas grew up on the island of Cyprus; as long as he is traveling, he might as well drop in on the folks!

5 There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.

This is the same Mark who will later write the Gospel of Mark.

6 Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus.

This city was known for its immorality: “Paphos was infamous for its worship of Venus, the goddess of [sexual] love” (Barclay). We will see in Paphos a familiar combination: Immorality connected with spiritual darkness.

–David Guzik

7 He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing.

9 Saul, also known as Paul,

Saul’s father was a Roman citizen, and Saul received a quality Greek education. So in Jewish circles he was Saul, and with others, he was Paul. It is not unlikely that he went by both names all his life, depending on which group of people he was with.

was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10 Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11 Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him.

Surely Paul must be thinking of his own days of darkness, and hoping that Elymas would also find the light of God.

12 When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

Paul Preaches in Antioch of Pisidia

13 Paul and his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port town of Perga.

They leave the island of Cyprus and arrive at the mainland, what is now Turkey.

There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 But Paul and Barnabas traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia.

The fact that John Mark abandoned them here will cause friction between Paul and Barnabas later.

On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services. 15 After the usual readings from the books of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.”

A synagogue service generally went like this:  Opening prayers were offered, then there was a reading from the Law (the first five books of the Old Testament). Then, a reading from the Prophets. Then, if there was an educated person present, he was invited to speak on subjects related to the readings.

16 So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. “Men of Israel,” he said, “and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me.

Paul gives a brief overview of Jewish history which shows that God has a plan for Israel.

17 “The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. 18 He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. 19 Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

“After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people begged for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’

23 “And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel! 24 Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized. 25 As John was finishing his ministry he asked, ‘Do you think I am the Messiah? No, I am not! But he is coming soon—and I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the sandals on his feet.’

Paul goes on to say that some Israelites accepted Christ, but many did not.

26 “Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us! 27 The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. 28 They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.

29 “When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb.

_________________________

Music:

One of my favorite missionary hymns! I love the words “story,” “light,” and “kingdom”!  HERE  is “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nation,” sung by the Melody Four Quartet (memories of my childhood and Christian radio!).

The Melody Four Quartet used an eclectic mix of influences in their tightly-woven harmonies to create an elegant sound consisting of less showmanship than many of the flashy quartets of the 1950s. Each member — Glenn Jorian, Clair Hess, Ray Felten and Bill Pearce — was an incredible singer apart from the group, and together they created a unique sound that was as sophisticated as it was musically solid.

The group got its start when WMBI was looking for a standby quartet, in case they needed to fill airtime. Clair and Glenn were part of that standby quartet with two other gentlemen. One day their first on-air opportunity came, and 10 seconds before they went live the producer asked, “Does this quartet have a name?” With the clock ticking, someone called out, “We are calling them Melody Four!” That day a quartet was born. And these same four singers stayed together for 52 years of performances and recordings.

–from http://www.homecomingmagazine.com/article/hall-of-honor-melody-four-quartet/

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Acts 13:2.  https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1709.html
Prayers over Barnabas and Saul.   http://www.marysrosaries.com/collaboration/images/8/84/Paul_and_Barnabas_sent_on_1st_missionary_journey_Acts_13.jpg
map of first missionary journey with arrows.  https://markmeynell.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/acts-13-14-map.png
Paul signature.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/paul-signature.gif
map with close-up of Turkey.    http://www.bible-history.com/maps/maps/map_paul1.jpg
Jesus on the cross.   http://www.jesuschristsavior.net/Words.html

2340.) Proverbs 17

April 20, 2018

“Bread and Water” by Steve Lyon-Bowes

Proverbs 17 (The Message)

A Whack on the Head of a Fool

1 A meal of bread and water in contented peace
is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

“Ponder every thought that may disturb contentment. If you have fewer comforts than you used to have, or fewer comforts than other people have, or fewer comforts than you desire, do you not still have more than you deserve?”

–Charles Bridges

2 A wise servant takes charge of an unruly child
and is honored as one of the family.

3 As silver in a crucible and gold in a pan,
so our lives are assayed by God.

4 Evil people relish malicious conversation;
the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.

5 Whoever mocks poor people insults their Creator;
gloating over misfortune is a punishable crime.

Really! Remember the finale episode of Seinfeld?!

.

6 Old people are distinguished by grandchildren;
children take pride in their parents.

Our newest grandchild! Hunter Logan McGuire. April 9, 2018. 9 lbs and 15 oz!

7 We don’t expect eloquence from fools,
nor do we expect lies from our leaders.

8 Receiving a gift is like getting a rare gemstone;
any way you look at it, you see beauty refracted.

9 Overlook an offense and bond a friendship;
fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend!

A friend taught me how to have a happy life. It really is so simple. “Choose NOT to be offended.” I will confess that some people give me many opportunities to practice this habit! Yet I will vouch for its usefulness. “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another . . . “

10 A quiet rebuke to a person of good sense
does more than a whack on the head of a fool.

11 Criminals out looking for nothing but trouble
won’t have to wait long—they’ll meet it coming and going!

12 Better to meet a grizzly robbed of her cubs
than a fool hellbent on folly.

13 Those who return evil for good
will meet their own evil returning.

“To render good for evil is divine, good for good is human, evil for evil is brutish, evil for good is devilish.”

–John Trapp

.

14 The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam,
so stop it before it bursts.

15 Whitewashing bad people and throwing mud on good people
are equally abhorrent to God.

16 What’s this? Fools out shopping for wisdom!
They wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it!

 17 Friends love through all kinds of weather,
   and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

“Let it be applied. Then two startling questions will arise. First, a question as to whether I am really a friend to anyone; and second, a question as to how many real friends I have.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

“We must look to our Lord for the best example in this matter. We see the Son of God taking on our nature so that he might be our friend and brother (Hebrews 2:14). The mystery of this friendship is beyond our imagination.”

–Charles Bridges

18 It’s stupid to try to get something for nothing,
or run up huge bills you can never pay.

19 The person who courts sin marries trouble;
build a wall, invite a burglar.

20 A bad motive can’t achieve a good end;
double-talk brings you double trouble.

21 Having a fool for a child is misery;
it’s no fun being the parent of a dolt.

 22 A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
   gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

23 The wicked take bribes under the table;
they show nothing but contempt for justice.

24 The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard;
fools look for it everywhere but right here.

25 A surly, stupid child is sheer pain to a father,
a bitter pill for a mother to swallow.

26 It’s wrong to penalize good behavior,
or make good citizens pay for the crimes of others.

27 The one who knows much says little;
an understanding person remains calm.

28 Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise;
as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

–Abraham Lincoln

_________________________

Music:

Verse 17 talks about the value of friendship. Let’s say THANKS today to all of our wonderful friends! Make a few phone calls, write a few emails!  HERE  is Elaine Paige and Dionne Warwick and “Thank You for Being a Friend.”

_________________________

The Message (MSG)   Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Images courtesy of:
Lyon-Bowes.    http://www.paintingsilove.com/image/show/178473/bread-and-water
Seinfeld.   https://www.vix.com/es/btg/series/59188/9-interesantes-datos-sobre-el-polemico-final-de-seinfeld
True friendship dog and cat.    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/693976623800070649/?autologin=true
leaky dam.   http://www.bayviewbaptist.org/clientimages/21617/leaking_dam_op_800x1066.jpg
A friend loves at all times.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/friend_daisy.jpg
By their fruits.   http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.com/2015/08/does-jesus-fruit-tree-illustration_1.html
Laughter is the best medicine.   http://www.phlbi.org/blog/2017/08/laughter-best-medicine/
Abraham Lincoln.   http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/last.jpg