2183.) Acts 9:1-25

September 13, 2017

“Conversion of Saul” © Jef Murray, 2011

Acts 9:1-25   (NLT)

Saul’s Conversion

1 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers.

Yes, we know! The last we heard of Saul he was trying to destroy the church and dragging believers off to prison.

So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus,

Damascus is 135 miles from Jerusalem. A significant journey.

asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.

Galatians 1:13-14 (NIV)

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.  I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him.

Michelangelo’s “Conversion of St. Paul”

Here is the first account in Acts of Paul’s conversion
(see also chapters 22 and 26).

4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.

"Conversion of St. Paul," contemporary Southern American artist Chris Cook

“Conversion of St. Paul,” contemporary Southern American artist Chris Cook

Acts 9:5 (KJV)

And he said, Who art thou, Lord?

By the miracle of Redemption Saul of Tarsus was turned in one second from a strong-willed, intense Pharisee into a humble, devoted slave of the Lord Jesus.

My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8 Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9 He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.

Here is my personal theory of these three days of blindness:  Saul was a brilliant man, well-trained in the Torah and unusually adept at expressing himself in speech and letters. I think he was whizzing through the reams of Scripture he had memorized and stored in his mind — putting it together, by the help of the Holy Spirit, with all that he had heard about Jesus, and becoming more and more sure that Jesus is in fact the Messiah. In his physical darkness, Saul was being spiritually enlightened. No wonder he forgot about food!

10 Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord!” he replied.

11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”

13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”

— just in case God didn’t know these things!

15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

Oh, my. Like Jesus in Gethsemane, Saul in his blindness is “counting the cost.”

17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

“Ananias restoring the sight of St. Paul,” by Pietro da Cortona, 1631.

18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.

To all of us who are praying for loved ones to come to Jesus, loved ones who seem hard or indifferent to the Word of God, or who believe themselves intellectually beyond Jesus-of-the Bible, or who are consumed by a cult or an addiction or a bad relationship — the story of Saul’s conversion is so heartening! Jesus finds them, even when they aren’t looking for Him! Let us not stop praying for them, for the Lord’s will is that none should perish, but that all should have everlasting life.

_________________________

Music:

“Just a Little Talk with Jesus (Made Me Whole)” —  HERE  is Tennessee Ernie Ford (1919-1991) and the Jordanaires.

I once was lost in sin but Jesus took me in
And then a little light from heaven filled my soul
It bathed my heart in love and wrote my name above
And just a little talk with Jesus made me whole

Now let us have a little talk with Jesus
Let us tell Him all about our troubles
He will hear our faintest cry
He will answer by and by
Now when you feel a little prayer wheel turning
Then you’ll know a little fire is burning
You will find a little talk with Jesus makes it right

Sometimes my path seems drear without a ray of cheer
And then the cloud about me hides the light of day
The mists of sin may rise and hide the stormy skies
But just a little talk with Jesus clears the way

I may have doubts and fears my eyes be filled with tears
But Jesus is a friend who watches day and and night
I go to Him in prayer He knows my every care
And just a little talk with Jesus makes it right

_________________________

Saul Preaches in Damascus

Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”

Because Saul was a skilled student of the great rabbi Gamaliel, he could take advantage of the synagogue custom that invited any able Jewish man to speak on the Scriptures at synagogue meetings.
—David Guzik

Romans 1:16 (NASB)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

22 Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

Saul Escapes from the Jews

Later Paul remembers this event, as pictured here by James Shaw Crompton. 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 -- "In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through their hands."

Later Paul remembers this event, as pictured here by James Shaw Crompton. 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 — “In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through their hands.”

23 After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him.

He who was once the hound is now the fox.

24 They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. 25 So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall.

Job 19:20 (ESV)

I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
Murray.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/murray.jpg?w=450
Michelangelo.   http://www.mystudios.com/art/italian/michelangelo/michelangelo-st-paul.jpg
Cook.  http://www.chriscookartist.com/images/stpaul.jpg
candle put out.    http://www.markmallett.com/blog/wp-images/Smoldering_wick.jpg
Pietro da Cortona.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananias_of_Damascus#/media/File:Saint_Paul_Ananias_Sight_Restored.jpg
Crompton.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/9-crompton.jpg?w=450
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2182.) Acts 8:26-40

September 12, 2017
"Philip and the Ethiopian" by Alexandre Abel Denis de Pujol, 1848 (Musee des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes)

“Philip and the Ethiopian” by Alexandre Abel Denis de Pujol, 1848 (Musee des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes)

Acts 8:26-40 (NLT)

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.”

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Missions is God finding those whose hearts are right with Him and placing them where they can make a difference for His kingdom. Some of the great missionaries in history did not live long lives, but their lives dramatically affected eternity.

God had access to Philip, and the Book of Acts gives the exciting account of how God used Philip’s life to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Philip was preaching powerfully in the city of Samaria. So mightily did God use him that the entire city was rejoicing at the miracles God was doing. This would be any evangelist’s fondest desire, to see an entire city responding to the gospel through his preaching. Yet Philip was not activity-centered in his Christian life. He was God-centered. Philip was not preoccupied with expanding his reputation as a great preacher or miracle worker, he was concerned that his life remain in the center of God’s activity. When he was instructed to leave his fruitful ministry, he did not hesitate.

God continues to seek those as responsive as Philip to go on mission with Him. Have you seen the activity of God around you? What is God presently inviting you to do?

27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

31 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
33 He was humiliated and received no justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” 35 So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.

36 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” 38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

"Ethiopian Eunuch" American artist Paul Goodnight. From his website: "Paul Goodnight’s vibrant and emotional work has often been a reflection of his life--from the demons he faced during the Vietnam War to the time he was incarcerated. “I’ve learned that art is making me, rather then me creating it.”

“Ethiopian Eunuch” by American artist Paul Goodnight. From his website: “Paul Goodnight’s vibrant and emotional work has often been a reflection of his life–from the demons he faced during the Vietnam War to the time he was incarcerated. ‘I’ve learned that art is making me, rather than me creating it.'”

39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.

_________________________

Music:

Tradition has it that this eunuch, who “went on his way rejoicing,” brought the Gospel to the continent of Africa.  HERE  is some joyful African gospel music from the Soweta Gospel Choir.

_________________________

40 Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
Pujol.  http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Wave/image/joconde/0039/m063804_0000269_p.jpg
God centered.   http://lifechampions.weebly.com/uploads/2/0/2/4/20245583/7976842_orig.jpg
reading.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/5d48a-philip2beunuch.png
sheep shearing.  http://www.hardysanimalfarm.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/sheepshearing.jpg
Goodnight.  http://www.picassomio.com/paul-goodnight/14789.html

2181.) Acts 8:1-25

September 11, 2017

Acts 8:1-25   (NLT)

We pick up Acts just after the stoning of Stephen.

1 Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.

Persecution Scatters the Believers

A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.

We are entering part two of Acts:  “You will be my witnesses in . . . Judea and Samaria.”

2 (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.)

The persecution which began in this chapter grew in Roman times and still continues today.

The famous observation of Tertullian that, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” has a depth of insight which is all too often lost on believers today. We have no trouble thinking of persecution and martyrdom as a great obstacle to the spread of the gospel which will not, however, be successful in hindering Church growth. We would have no problem affirming that the blood of the martyrs is a hurdle which, by God’s grace, can be overcome. But to say that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church is an altogether different concept. If martyrdom is a surmountable obstacle to the growth of the Church, then the Church might advance just as well, even better, without it.

But if the blood of the martyrs truly is the seed of the Church, then without it, the Church does not grow. Without martyrdom, the Church would never have taken root in the world of Tertullian. Without martyrdom, the Church would not have spread to the Auca Indians in South America, or to China or Burma or the islands of the South Seas. The blood of the martyrs is a necessary means for the worldwide application of Christ’s great redemptive accomplishment. This is the full force of Tertullian’s insight.

—Nathan Pitchford

3 But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.

Philip Preaches in Samaria

4 But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7 Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.

9 A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.

8. magic

12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!”

Essentially, Simon wanted to be “in charge” of the Holy Spirit! He regarded the Holy Spirit as a “power” he could use as he willed, instead of a Person who would rule his life. “The sin was a desire to possess spiritual power for personal ends,” Bible commentator G. Campbell Morgan says.
—David Guzik

20 But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21 You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22 Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, 23 for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.”

24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!”

about “simony”

According to Merriam-Webster, it is “the buying or selling of a church office or ecclesiastical preferment.” The term comes from this story. During the Middle Ages, when the Church and the state were closely intertwined, simony was a constant problem. Dante, in his Commedia, placed simonists in the eighth circle of Hell, buried upside down, the soles of their feet burning with oil in a mock baptism (as pictured below by Gustave Dore).

8. Inferno

25 After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a song reflecting the “great joy” of Samaria.

Henry Van Dyke was a professor of English literature at Princeton between 1899–1923 and also chaired the committee that wrote the first printed Presbyterian liturgy, The Book of Common Worship of 1906.

When he was filling in as a guest preacher at Williams College, Williamstown, MA, in 1907, he found himself overwhelmed by the beauty of the Berkshire mountain. He wrote the words that would become the hymn “Joyful, Joyful.” When he walked into the college, he handed the words to the president and said, “Here’s a hymn for you. It should be sung to Beethoven’s ‘Hymn to Joy.’”

Today “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” is one of the most popular hymns of all time.

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
verse 4.   http://www.warrencampdesign.com/heartyBoys/acts/part1/images/acts.8.4_lg.jpg
Christian martyrs and a lion.   https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c4/The_Christian_Martyrs_Last_Prayer.jpg
magic.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/8-magic.jpg?w=450
Simon offers money.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/6bab2-simon-sorcerer.jpg
Dore.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7a/DvinfernoPopeNicholasIII_m.jpg

2180.) Psalm 16

September 8, 2017

Psalm 16   (NRSV)

Song of Trust and Security in God

1Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

3As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.

4Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.

5The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

6The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.

farm land in Minnesota

“boundary lines” — farm land in Minnesota

7I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

8I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.

10For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.

16. resurrection butterfly Noyes

John 11:25-26 (ESV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

11You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Pentecost Psalm

The apostle Peter quoted from this psalm while speaking to the crowd on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:22-32 (New Living Translation)

People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.  But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.  But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.  King David said this about him:

‘I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life,
and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’

Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us.  But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne.  David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.

“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Shane and Shane and “Psalm 16 (Fullness of Joy).”

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
v. 1.   https://dailyverses.net/images/en/NIV/psalms-16-1.jpg
Without you, nothing makes sense.   https://patriciawonders.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/hum.jpg?w=720
farm land.  http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=65699&rendTypeId=4
Michael Noyes butterfly and calligraphy.   http://www.michaelnoyes.com/images/products/product_36_copyright.png

2179.) Proverbs 14

September 7, 2017

Proverbs 14   (CEV)

Wisdom Makes Good Sense

1A woman’s family

is held together

by her wisdom,

but it can be destroyed

by her foolishness.

Love the crooked upper window!

2By living right, you show

that you respect the LORD;

by being deceitful, you show

that you despise him.

3Proud fools are punished

for their stupid talk,

but sensible talk

can save your life.

Words are powerful.
They can create or they can destroy.
So choose your words wisely.

4Without the help of an ox

there can be no crop,

but with a strong ox

a big crop is possible.

5An honest witness

tells the truth;

a dishonest witness

tells nothing but lies.


Don’t ask a man for a vow. If he has integrity, that’s enough. If he lacks integrity, no vow can bind him.

–Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus

6Make fun of wisdom,

and you will never find it.

But if you have understanding,

knowledge comes easily.

7Stay away from fools,

or you won’t learn a thing.

8Wise people have enough sense

to find their way,

but stupid fools get lost.

When a nation goes down or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.

–Carl Sandburg

9Fools don’t care

if they are wrong,

but God is pleased

when people do right.

10No one else can really know

how sad or happy you are.

11The tent of a good person

stands longer

than the house

of someone evil.

12You may think you are

on the right road

and still end up dead.

Well, if it comes to that, I guess I would rather be dead on the right road than on the wrong one!

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road…”

— C.S. Lewis in  Mere Christianity

13Sorrow may hide

behind laughter,

and happiness may end

in sorrow.

14You harvest what you plant,

whether good or bad.


15Don’t be stupid

and believe all you hear;

be smart and know

where you are headed.

16Only a stupid fool

is never cautious–

so be extra careful

and stay out of trouble.

17Fools have quick tempers,

and no one likes you

if you can’t be trusted.

18Stupidity leads to foolishness;

be smart and learn.

19The wicked will come crawling

to those who obey God.

20You have no friends

if you are poor,

but you have lots of friends

if you are rich.

21It’s wrong to hate others,

but God blesses everyone

who is kind to the poor.

“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely, and the unwanted according to the graces we have received, and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”

— Mother Teresa of Calcutta

22It’s a mistake

to make evil plans,

but you will have loyal friends

if you want to do right.

23Hard work is worthwhile,

but empty talk

will make you poor.

24Wisdom can make you rich,

but foolishness leads

to more foolishness.

25An honest witness

can save your life,

but liars can’t be trusted.


Liars, when they speak the truth, are not believed.

–Aristotle

26If you respect the LORD,

you and your children

have a strong fortress

27and a life-giving fountain

that keeps you safe

from deadly traps.

28Rulers of powerful nations

are held in honor;

rulers of weak nations

are nothing at all.

29It’s smart to be patient,

but it’s stupid

to lose your temper.


If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.

–Chinese proverb

He that can have patience, can have what he will.

–Benjamin Franklin

All human wisdom is summed up in two words—hope and wait.

–Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

30It’s healthy to be content,

but envy can eat you up.


Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.

–Harold Coffin

31If you mistreat the poor,

you insult your Creator;

if you are kind to them,

you show him respect.

32In times of trouble

the wicked are destroyed,

but even at death

the innocent have faith.

33Wisdom is found in the minds

of people with good sense,

but fools don’t know it.

_________________________

Music:

The wise, innocent ones have learned, in the reading of the Word and the living of the life of faith, the difference between what is important and what is not, between what is eternal and what is temporal, between what is “something” and what is “nothing.”

HERE  is Craig Morgan and “This Ain’t Nothin’.”

_________________________

34Doing right brings honor

to a nation,

but sin brings disgrace.

35Kings reward servants

who act wisely,

but they punish those

who act foolishly.

_________________________

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
Teresa of Avila quote.   http://i.quoteaddicts.com/media/q1/1267320.png
builds her house.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/5b0dc-proverbs141.jpg
wise words.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/7d/33/31/7d3331c7f38cb602782542cf69c4a04e–bible-proverbs-.jpg
integrity.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/bible_scriptures_on_trust_and_integrity_business_card-p2407182133128116734j5c_400.jpg
Where are you going?   http://www.todayslifeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/296321044_640.jpg
verse 10.   https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6053/7014714397_25dbe6551c_b.jpg
right way, wrong way.    https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/right-way-wrong-way-2307359.jpg
Kind hearts are the garden . . .   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/b8/86/68/b88668a0327e9dbc6336c25314aa7507.gif
anger.    http://christianmotivations.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/2/0/7620268/9094653_orig.jpg?0
Mother Teresa.    http://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/mother-teresa-pics-0101.jpg
Action speaks louder.   https://pastortravisdsmith.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/talk-is-cheap.jpg?w=625
The Boy who cried Wolf.    https://cdn.usborne.com/catalogue/covers/eng/width_223px/ele-boy-who-cried-wolf.jpg
patient chickens.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/patient2.jpg
envy.     https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8525/8479435698_ee5396edb9_b.jpg
wise and innocent.   http://payload375.cargocollective.com/1/19/609483/9804649/Matthew_10_16_1024.jpg

2178.) Psalm 94

September 6, 2017

Psalm 94 (The Message)

1-2 God, put an end to evil;
avenging God, show your colors!
Judge of the earth, take your stand;
throw the book at the arrogant.

3-4 God, the wicked get away with murder—
how long will you let this go on?
They brag and boast
and crow about their crimes!

5-7 They walk all over your people, God,
exploit and abuse your precious people.
They take out anyone who gets in their way;
if they can’t use them, they kill them.
They think, “God isn’t looking,
Jacob’s God is out to lunch.”

8-11 Well, think again, you idiots,
fools—how long before you get smart?
Do you think Ear-Maker doesn’t hear,
Eye-Shaper doesn’t see?
Do you think the trainer of nations doesn’t correct,
the teacher of Adam doesn’t know?
God knows, all right—
knows your stupidity,
sees your shallowness.

Yes, yes, I thoroughly agree! Way too many people are stupid and shallow! (Strain to pat self on back.)   

(Pause to reconsider.)

Lord, you know that often I am stupid and shallow. Help me grow wiser in your truth and kinder in my dealings with others.

12-15 How blessed the man you train, God,
the woman you instruct in your Word,
Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil,

Where is your “circle of quiet”? 

According to these verses, it is where you are studying the Word of God and praying. Jesus often got up early and went to a remote place to pray to his Father. Susanna Wesley, mother of 19 children, found her circle by throwing her apron over her head; the children knew she was praying and waited until she came out. My mother had devotions early every morning at the kitchen table, reading Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening.  I hope that DWELLING provides a circle of quiet for my readers.

while a jail is being built for the wicked.
God will never walk away from his people,
never desert his precious people.
Rest assured that justice is on its way
and every good heart put right.

.
16-19 Who stood up for me against the wicked?
Who took my side against evil workers?
If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,”
your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
you calmed me down and cheered me up.

Psalm 94:19 (Good News Translation)

Whenever I am anxious and worried,
      you comfort me and make me glad.

Here are some of God’s  “comforts” for us:

Psalm 46:1-3 (New International Version)

God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
   and the mountains quake with their surging.

John 16:33 (New International Version)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

2 Corinthians 1:5 (English Standard Version)

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

20-23 Can Misrule have anything in common with you?
Can Troublemaker pretend to be on your side?
They ganged up on good people,
plotted behind the backs of the innocent.
But God became my hideout,
God was my high mountain retreat,
Then boomeranged their evil back on them:
for their evil ways he wiped them out,
our God cleaned them out for good.

_________________________

Music:

Be it the frightening power of nature, or the success of the wicked, or anxiety over our own lives, we as believers need have no fears — we are safe in God’s arms.  HERE  is “Safe”  by Phil Wickham.

_________________________

The Message (MSG)    Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Images courtesy of:
Psalm 94:18.  https://68.media.tumblr.com/d2eadb00b77f229c5ca04a903a63695b/tumblr_omsfitBHED1s91yx0o1_1280.jpg
stupid people.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/stupidpeoplelarge.jpg
A Circle of Quiet (actually a book by one of my favorite authors, Madeleine L’Engle).   https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51eOV3mwl9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Psalm 94:19.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/gods-comfort-psalm-94-19.jpg

2177.) Psalm 47

September 5, 2017

Psalm 47 (NIV)

1 Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.

2 How awesome is the LORD Most High,
the great King over all the earth!

 

3 He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.

4 He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.
Selah

Amy Carmichael, 1867-1951.  Born in Ireland, she went to the mission field of India in 1895 and never left.  Much of her work involved rescuing young children from temple prostitution.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

“He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob, whom He loved.”

Have you ever looked longingly at another life and wished that you had as much as it has to offer? But He shall choose, and He does not call the inheritance of any Jacob “poor.” He calls it the excellency of Jacob. The marvel is not that we have so little to offer, but that we have anything at all. There was no worthiness in Jacob.  Whom He loved is the only explanation.

But—and is not this comforting?—God needs each separate soul, each personality with the inheritance of His choice, for the perfecting of His purpose in the spiritual creation. And when it is perfected He will be satisfied, and we too shall be satisfied, “lost in wonder, love, and praise” that we ever were allowed the smallest share in it.

5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.

6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.

7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

8 God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.

9 The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.

_________________________

Music:

“Love Divine, All Love Excelling” is one of Charles Wesley’s most sung hymns. It ends with a glorious vision of heaven, with the redeemed falling before the throne of God, “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”

HERE  The Sanctuary Choir, The Cathedral Choir of Young Men and Boys, The Cecilian Carolers, organ and orchestra perform “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” in the 2009 Christmas concert from First Presbyterian Church, Davenport, Iowa. Arrangement by Mack Wilberg, conducted by Steven R. Jobman.

1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.

2. Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

3. Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

4. Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Psalm 47 with hands.   https://i.ytimg.com/vi/TsinZiRvEh8/hqdefault.jpg
Psalm 47:2 with river and cliffs.     http://oneyearbibleimages.com/psalm47.jpg
Amy Carmichael.    http://www.myfrienddebbie.com/images/amycarmichael.jpg
Sing praises.   https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7773/18142703966_f029609324_b.jpg
Lost in wonder.   http://www.atlantamasterchorale.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/wonder.jpg