Thursday, May 30, 2013

Does Satan Use Children's Books to Lead People Astray?

But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all Righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?  Acts, Chapter 13, verses 8-10.

If God had this person in the Bible who used sorcery called a “child of the devil,” do you think He would approve of the fascination with the children’s book series that has sorcery as a primary focus?  This series has become so popular that both adults and children are reading them, promoting them to others.  It makes me sad Satan uses children’s books as a subtle way to lead people astray.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Not Taking Undeserved Credit...

And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace, because their country was nourished by the king’s country.  And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.  And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.  But the Word of God grew and multiplied.  Acts, Chapter 12, verses 20-24.

This makes me think of times when God gives me a clever idea.  People will sometimes compliment me on them and ask how I came up with the idea.  I’ve found that it’s much better for me to say, “God just had the idea pop into my head,” rather than to take the undeserved credit for it.  This passage reinforces that we are supposed to make sure we always give God the glory instead of using it as an opportunity to add a few more feathers to our cap.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Just an Interesting Tidbit...

Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch.  And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.  Acts, Chapter 11, verses 25-26.

I just thought this passage was interesting because it tells about the origin of the term “Christians”.

(Sorry it's not more, but my postings are sections of the book: Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, so readers can get the information in the book for free. This was just and interesting tidbit of information I found while was reading the Bible cover to cover. Debbie)

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

God Doesn't Want Us to Put Down Different Cultures...

And he [Peter] became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air, And there came a Voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.  And the Voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.  This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.  Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. And called and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.  Acts, Chapter 10, verses 10-18.

When I first read this, I thought it was speaking solely about people formerly not being allowed to eat pork and other foods which had been forbidden in past Bible teachings.  This passage has far-reaching ramifications.  Later on in the same chapter it further clarifies this passage.
And he [Peter] said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.  Acts, Chapter 10, verses 28. 
It goes on to say: Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.  Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come.  Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.  The Word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all).  Acts Chapter 10, verses 32-36. 
Furthermore it says: And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and dead.  To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.  Acts Chapter 10, verses 42-43.
Parts of the passage that I’m quoting are changing the way that Christians think about the social system.  In the past, certain nationalities or cultures were not to associate with others.  God shares His will with Peter through a dream, using food as a comparison.  Previously, certain foods had been considered unclean and not to be eaten just like there had been certain cultures of people who were not to associate with each other.  Through this dream, God says that all the foods are acceptable to Him in the same way that ALL people are His.  God doesn’t want His disciples just to preach to particular types of people or cultures.  Everyone needs to hear the Word of God.
It shows that God didn’t feel any one nationality, culture or race was better than another.  He wants everyone to have Salvation, not just certain people.  I think if this was important to God then, people should live their lives accordingly.
It’s sad to see and hear some supposed Christians talk negatively about people of different ethnic backgrounds.  I don’t think we are being the best example of how God works in our lives when we are putting down different cultures.  I don’t believe God wants us to think we are better than others whether it’s because they have a different ethnic background, different financial status, believe differently, etc.  I think He wants us to be compassionate and supportive of everyone, being an example of how He works in our lives.
Here are some related passages:
*What then? Are we better than they?  No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  Romans, Chapter 3, verses 9-10.
*For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  Galatians, Chapter 3, verses 26-29.
*And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.  Matthew, Chapter 28, verses 18-20.
This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Are We Captivated by People Who Defy Our Ethical Reasoning?

And there was great joy in that city.  But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of god.  And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.  But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.  Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus.)  Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.  And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whosoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.  But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  Acts, Chapter 8, verses 8-22.

Some of the things that amaze me in this passage are related to Simon who could use sorcery to get a whole city to be in awe of him and the things he did.  If it was possible then, it makes me wonder if people in power, certain celebrities, religious leaders, etc. do the same thing now.  Are we captivated by particular people who defy all our ethical reasoning? I’m not sure on this one, but it makes me wonder about people in the media or some religions that get rich from people sending in their life savings to them.  This is just something to think about.
Additionally, when Simon saw the power given through the Holy Spirit when they were laying on hands, he wanted it too.  Rather than become committed to his belief in Jesus, doing it the hard way through changing his life, Simon picked the easy way out and thought he could have his cake and eat it too!  He thought he could live his worldly life and buy the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Well, Peter saw right through that plan!
The sad part of all of this is that I somewhat identified with Simon.  Sometimes I’m looking for the easy way out to accomplish God’s Will with the least amount of risk on my part.  I need to be more open to being the person that God wants me to be.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Have a Lot of Room for Growth...

When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth.  But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.  Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  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, Chapter 7, verses 54-60.

I was impressed with how forgiving Stephen is.  They have bitten him and are in the process of stoning him to death, yet he asks God to forgive them.  I have a difficult time forgiving people who have hurt my feelings ten years ago.  Boy, do I ever have a lot of room for growth!

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Undaunted by those Unable or Unwilling to Contribute...

And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go.  And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.  Acts, Chapter 5, verses 40-42.

My son was committed to raising money for “Jerry’s Kids.”  I tried to encourage my children to be sensitive to the needs of the less fortunate.  This fourth grade student went from house to house all weekend long collecting money.  Undaunted by those who were unable or unwilling to contribute, his determination led him to collect a record amount for this worthy cause.  Earlier, I had suggested that he had done enough and should think of quitting but he wouldn’t give up until he felt he had done his very best for this cause.  I need to be as dedicated to my beliefs, regardless of what others think.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

One of My Bigger Shortcomings!

There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the Words of this life.  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning and taught.  But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told.  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.  Acts, Chapter 5, verses 16-23.

Telling others about Jesus’ death and Resurrection was important enough that God had an angel unlock the jail cell doors these two different times.  If He went to all that trouble, don’t you think He wants me to be more open about sharing my faith with others?  That’s one of my bigger shortcomings!

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily
reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

This Passage Always Rings Too Close to Home...

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own?  And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?  Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?  thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.  And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.  And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?  And she said, Yea for so much.  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?  Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.  Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.  And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.  Acts, Chapter 5, verses 1-11.

I’m very fortunate God that has this story of Ananias and his wife pop in my mind from time to time, especially at times when I’m trying to find an angle to beat the system.  An example would be my planning to have my college daughter come and eat at the breakfast buffet in my hotel when I come to her town to visit.  Since I’ve realized how I was calculating this in my heart, I now go to someone at the hotel and offer to pay for my daughter to join us for breakfast.  It’s not that anyone minded or would have missed the food.  What matters is that I contrived this plan in order to save a few bucks on my daughter’s breakfast and God knows what’s in my heart.  He knows when I’m making up lame excuses for why I’m not going to church on a particular occasion or why the sales person deserved my less than patient response to the store’s policy, etc.
It would be nice if God didn’t need to remind me so often.  That’s not the case.  Satan works in very subtle ways and finds ways to sneak into our lives through our planning and scheming and our making excuses for our choices.  I’m so thankful that God takes the time to remind me.  I don’t ever want to let these subtle things work into my life and slowly lead me astray.  I need to maintain a focus on God and the reminders He puts in my mind (some people call it a conscience), which help to refocus me.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Those Who Profess to be the Messengers of God...

And he [lame man] gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.  And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?  The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath gloried His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.  But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.  And His Name through faith in His Name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.  Acts, Chapter 3, verses 5-16.

In healing the lame man, Peter didn’t take credit for the miracle but made sure that the people focused on this miracle coming from faith in Jesus, not through Peter’s efforts.  When I watch religious shows on TV, I’m appalled at the way some of them focus more on the religious leaders who get paid, than they do on Jesus Christ.  Peter didn’t say “I” healed the lame man through Jesus.  “I” am able to do this miracle through Jesus’ power.  “I” need you to send me money so that “I” can continue these miracles.  Peter gave the total credit to Jesus, no “I’s” or “Me’s”.
Sometimes, I get concerned about those who profess to be the messengers of God, but publicly draw attention to themselves.  If Jesus and His apostles didn’t draw attention to themselves for the miracles they did and didn’t ask people for money, do you think Jesus would approve of those on TV who do?  It’s just something that seems noteworthy as you watch different religious shows that do this.  You need to be able to discern the Will of God.  Trust your instincts.  He will guide you through these.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

How would you share your faith with someone who feels prejudice from others?

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

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