WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM…(The Bible’s Impact on the Academy – Education) [Sept 13]

Ever wondered what it was all about? Ever wondered what type of class might give you insight into what faith is about? Ever gone through a class and came out the other side not catching the reality of what it was about? Ever wondered what the difference is between the various Christian denominations? Growing up with a family that went to an Anglican church gave me one perspective. Going to church with friends usually meant I was going to a french Catholic church. Moving and then finding a church that seemed to feel good and was teaching and preaching from the Bible has struck home and is where I am to this day. Ever wondered what christians believe? Ever wonder what churches believe? Ever checked out to see if a church has a statement of faith? The church I go to has a “What we believe” page that speaks of the 16 fundamental truths that the Assemblies of God believe. It still amazes me to this day that in all my years prior to finding my current church home that I missed the memo that it was all about having a relationship with Jesus. It was more than just rituals and routines, it was more than structure and schedule, it is all about inviting Jesus into your heart and living out each day in relationship with Him. He is with me every step of every day and is there to talk to no matter what comes my way. WOW! That is such an incredible revelation and how the Holy Spirit is able to speak into my very situation when I am stuck, I am questioning, I am needing wisdom or guidance or both. He is there! God will never leave me and never forsake me. God is for me and not against me. God is comforter and my guide. WOW! It makes such an incredible difference to know that this is the day that the Lord has made and so I get to rejoice and be glad in it. It makes such an incredible different to know that I am not going through this on my own and by myself. So how about you? Where are you at? Today’s reading comes to us from Ezekiel 22 which reads…
Israel’s Shedding of Blood 1And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2″And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then declare to her all her abominations. 3You shall say, Thus says the Lord God: A city that sheds blood in her midst, so that her time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! 4You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought your days near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. 5Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you; your name is defiled; you are full of tumult.
6″Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. 7Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. 8You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths. 9There are men in you who slander to shed blood, and people in you who eat on the mountains; they commit lewdness in your midst. 10In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are unclean in their menstrual impurity. 11One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.
13″Behold, I strike my hand at the dishonest gain that you have made, and at the blood that has been in your midst. 14Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. 15I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your uncleanness out of you. 16And you shall be profaned by your own doing in the sight of the nations, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
17And the word of the Lord came to me: 18″Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are dross of silver. 19Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, to blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 22As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”
23And the word of the Lord came to me: 24″Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed or rained upon in the day of indignation. 25The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. 28And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord has not spoken. 29The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. 30And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. 31Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God.” –Ezekiel 22

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Education or Academy on the subject of Westminster Shorter Catechism and the impact of Ezekiel 22:26 on it. We learn that this means going over a shortened version of the Westminster Confession of Faith, a training manual to provide instruction based on the basics of the faith. We learn how it was drafted by a council of Scottish and English theologians at Westminster with the intent to help unify the Presbyterian churches of England and Scotland through a common doctrinal basis. We learn how this was approved by Parliament in 1648 but lost its official status when the monarchy was restored under King Charles II who was Catholic. We learn how other Presbyterian churches as well as Congregationalists and Baptists picked this up with adaptations. (they mentioned particularly in the US) So what is a catechism you may ask? It is a set of questions and answers to help people better understand the faith – explaining doctrines and include specific Bible content. We learn in today’s devotional how question 61 focuses on the topic of the Sabbath and how it is supported by today’s reading from Ezekiel 22:26.

Westminster Shorter Catechism Project
Westminster Shorter Catechism 
Question 61

Q: What is forbidden in the fourth commandment? 
A: The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required,
1 and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful,2 or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.3

Ezekiel 22:26. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. 
Malachi 1:13. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD. 
Amos 8:5. Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
Ezekiel 23:38. Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths.
Isaiah 58:13. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words. 
Jeremiah 17:24, 27. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein. . . But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
Westminster Shorter Catechism Project |
 WSC Question 61 
So where are you at today? Have you been going through the motions? Have you been going through the routine? Have you been trying to follow the rules? Or have you had a heart transformation? Have you started a relationship with Jesus? Have you invited Him into your heart?  So let’s pray
Let’s pray…
Prayer of Salvation Example
For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.
Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for everything that is in it. I thank You Lord that I don’t walk into any situation without you or on my own. I thank You Lord that You will never leave me nor abandon me and will even prod me back on track when I try to go it my own way and get off track. Help me today Lord as I prepare for this day. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear so that I can bring Your truth, Your hope, Your light, and Your love into every situation. Help me to accomplish all that You prepared in advance for me to do. Give me opportunities and the boldness and courage to take them so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

FRANCIS COLLINS ON SCIENCE AND FAITH…(The Bible’s Impact on Scientific Discovery [July 27])

Do you realize the connection? Do you realize the reality? Do you realize how science reveals what God has created and what our faith tells us? Do you realize that God’s Word is true? Do you realize that God’s Word never returns void? Do you realize the benefits of faith and science combined? Do you realize the impact that having both can have not only on your life but the lives of all those around you and around the world? Will you love God in all that you do? Will you love God every aspect of your life? Will you love God with all that you do? Will people know of God’s love thru all that you do? We’ve been chosen for a purpose! So let’s accomplish the purpose for which we have been created! Let’s live lives that will allow us to hear “well done my good and faithful servant“. Will you answer the call, even when you don’t think you are qualified and thus be qualified by God?

Today’s reading comes to us from Matthew 22

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

1And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.4Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”‘ 5But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Paying Taxes to Caesar

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

23The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27After them all, the woman died. 28In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”
29But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

The Great Commandment

34But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment.39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Whose Son Is the Christ?

41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”‘?

45If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

–from Matthew 22

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on scientific discovery brings us the topic of Francis Collins on Science and Faith. It begins sharing how in 2000 the human genome map was decoded. We learn that the team that completed this work was led by Francis Collins. We even learn about how in a speech by President Bill Clinton the map of the human DNA was the “most wondrous map ever produced by mankind” and revealed “the language in which God created life.” We also learn about how in the book The Language of God Francis Collins quotes Jesus’s words about “the greatest commandment” in support for his belief that being a scientist and a theist was only possible but also beneficial. Today’s devotional goes on to quote from Belief by Francis the following:

AT THE TOP of my stairway, positioned so that I pass it several times a day, is a verse from the Bible that has been elegantly rendered and decorated by my daughter. If any man lacks wisdom, says the quote from the book of James, let him ask of God, who gives to all willingly and without reproach, and it will be given to him. The verse powerfully points to the connection between faith and reason. But it also presumes the seeker of wisdom already has some sense of the Divine, and knows where to go for help…

In Matthew 22.36–37, Jesus is asked by the disciples to name the greatest commandment in the Law. He responds, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. I find it of great interest that Christ added all your mind to this exhortation (the original verse from Deuteronomy does not include this). But here in the twenty-first century, many seem to have concluded that the spiritual experience and the life of the mind ought to occupy separate domains, and that disruptions, conflicts, and disenchantments will result if the firewall comes down. Surely humanity’s ongoing search for truth is not enriched by such limitations.

–from https://www.scribd.com/book/163592216/Belief-Readings-on-the-Reason-for-Faith 

So how about you? What do you believe and how has that impacted your life and the lives of those God has brought into your life or path?

Let’s pray…

Salvation Prayer Example

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.

Heavenly Father,
I lift up this day into Your hands. Last night I received a call from my son who was distraught and missing home. Help him Lord to make it through the end of his camp today and leaves there tomorrow and bless his time with his friend at his friend’s house till his mom comes to pick him up on Monday morning. Lord as I begin this day with so many thoughts and so many directions I lift up my family Lord as we are dispersed and ask for Your protection and Your guidance and Your wisdom so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Help me Lord to know what to do and what to say. Help me Lord to be a good dad. Help me Lord to be a good husband. Help me Lord to be a good leader for my camp. Help me Lord to be all that You created and need me to be. Lord, I give all this into Your hands trusting in You because I know on my own it won’t work but with You all things are possible. I ask all these things in Jesus’s name so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Amen.

Holy, Holy, Holy…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 29])

Will you be ready on that day? Will you be expectant until that day? Will you be obedient until that day? Will you be faithful and faith filled until that day? Will you be a living sacrifice till that day? Will you be humble? Will you be willing? Will you be seeking?

Jesus is coming back! So we need to be prepared for His return unlike the story of the bridesmaid who weren’t – didn’t bring enough oil and missed out – let’s be filled with the Holy Spirit and be expectant until the day of His return! Let’s be expectant! Let’s be loving and caring! Let’s be sharing the love and hope of Jesus with the world around us that they too will get to experience His return and spend eternity in heaven. Let’s worship God by doing all that we do as worship and sacrifice up to Him, not working as unto man but as unto the Lord! Let’s be worshiping Him in Spirit and in Truth!

The reason for the name of this blog is that back in 2005 my readings was from the book of Revelation. And now you know where the name from 2005 to eternity comes from.

Today’s reading comes from Revelation 4

The Throne in Heaven

1After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible speaks to the impact of the Bible on music. It pulls from Revelation 4:8 which says

‘And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”‘ — Revelation 4:8

It points us to the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” composed by Reginald Heber. “Holy, Holy, Holy” is his best known composition and as we can see was inspired by Revelation 4:8 as it speaks to the power of God. This hymn has been included in movies such as Titanic and The Fastest Gun Alive. Even with the song being sung through churches around the world, we see how it has been recorded by contemporary artists like Keith Green, Marcos Witt, Amy Grant, Sufjan Stevens, Ronnie Milsap, and Jimmy Needham.

So will you live out your life worshipping God in and through everything you do? Will you allow each day to help you be more prepared for His return from the clouds just as when He left the disciples? Let’s worship the creator rather than the created! Let’s worship the healer rather than the healing! Let’s live out our lives to the full that one day we may get to hear “Well done my good and faithful servant“.

Have you started your relationship with God yet? If not, is today your day? Let’s pray together…

Sample Sinners Prayer

I am celebrating with all of heaven for those who choose to start your relationship with Jesus. I am celebrating with all of heaven for those who choose to return to having a relationship with Jesus. We can never stray too far away and so I pray that everyone will turn back and be reunited with their heavenly Father who is waiting for your return.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything in it. I ask Lord for Your hand to be over me and guiding me through this day. Grant me eyes to see and ears to hear so that You Lord will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in and through all of my life. Help me to be the person You have created me to be and to pursue Your purposes and Your plans so that in Jesus’ name You will be exalted even as our reading from Revelation says “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come” for I know Jesus is coming back and Lord help me to be prepared and to finish the work You have given me to do and to be a good steward of all that You have given me. I ask all this Lord so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

A SERMON, A NARRATIVE, AND A PRAYER…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 22])

Will pressure transform you and reveal who you are? Will you walk in the Spirit and speak in love and in wisdom? What if because of your good works through the Spirit others turn against you and then start to lie about you? What if they started to attack you? How will you respond? How will you withstand such attacks? Will you put your hope and your trust in God and allow your faith in Jesus to be stand through it all? Will you be salt and light until the end of your days? Will you live with grace and power till the end?

Today’s reading from Acts 6-7 capture an interesting story of Stephen and his trials and how his faith filled him with grace and power in order to perform great wonders and signs among the people, yet there were some who came against him. Let’s catch up with the story and consider how we would respond or what lesson we can take away from the impact of this story on the rest of our lives…

Seven Chosen to Serve

1Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Stephen Is Seized

8And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Do you remember your past? Do you remember what you have learned through your past? Are you now living with the past behind you not holding you back from all that God has prepared and planned for you? Are you now living full of faith so that God is able to work in and through you in the world around you? Are you being God’s hands extended? Are you being God’s arms embracing? Are you sharing the love and grace of God with all those God has brought into your life? Will you take the gifts and the talents God has given you and multiply them that you will be a good and faithful steward? Are you able to speak the truths of history in order to point people to greatness of God? Are you able to share your story and the testimonies God has provided in and through your life? Consider the speech that is given by Stephen and the response of the people and his response of forgiveness in and through it all till the very end…

Stephen’s Speech

1And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 2And Stephen said:
“Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. 6And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. 7‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
9“And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him 10and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 11Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food. 12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit. 13And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all. 15And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers, 16and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17“But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. 19He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. 20At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, 21and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
23“When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. 26And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’ 27But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
30“Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’
35“This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’ 38This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us. 39Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:
“‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices,
during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
43 You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship;
and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’
44“Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. 45Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David, 46who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?’
51“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

The Stoning of Stephen

54Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Will you resist the promises of heaven? Will you resist the gift of God? Will you resist the intercessor of God? Will you resist the Son of God? Will you resist the prompting of the Spirit – His wisdom and discernment, His direction and correction?


Will you receive the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord? Will you be transformed by the Word of God and the renewing of your mind? Will you be born again into the kingdom of God so that you can live out the rest of your life on earth with God and then spend eternity with Him?

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

If this was the first time you have prayed this I join with the angels in heaven celebrating your decision to follow after Jesus and be born again. If this was a recommitment, I join with the angels in heaven celebrating your return like the father of the lost son who celebrated his son’s return. Let me know – leave me a comment – would love to pray with you, talk with you, and answer questions or point you to local resources that might be able to help you as you begin this journey.

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of the Bible’s impact on music speaks to us about Igor Stravinsky, the Russian composer. We learn about how our reading from Acts 6-7 inspired him to write the 1961 cantata A Sermon, A Narrative, and a Prayer which has three movements.

The Sermon is based on the book of Romans. The Narrative is inspired by the story of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 6:8-7-59. The prayer comes from the writing of Thomas Dekker and starts with “Oh My God, if it be thy pleasure to cut me off before night.” He closes the cantata with stringed instruments and voices singing “Alleluia.” (excerpts from STRAVINSKY, A SERMON, A NARRATIVE, AND A PRAYER / ACTS 6-7 – The Global Impact Bible – p. 1458)

So let’s go out today in the power of the Spirit, in the love of God, with the grace of God and make an impact for the glory of God in the world around us! Let’s help God’s kingdom to grow – let’s be going beyond knowing about Jesus to knowing Jesus, let’s be going from telling people about Jesus to making disciples, let’s be bringing the message of hope and love through Jesus Christ into the world around us that it may be transformed for the glory of God!

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that is within it. I thank You Lord that Your ways are better and higher than our ways and that through You even what the enemy planned for evil is turned around and used to glorify You. Help me today Lord with all that is coming down the pipe  (some of which is a surprise to me but nothing is a surprise to you) so that Your wisdom, Your discernment, Your love, Your grace, Your mercy is new every morning and so I grab hold of that as I prepare for this day in hopes that through my words and my actions You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.







Do you still have that childlike faith? …(The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 18])

Are you able to keep it simple like a child? Are you able to live with the innocent intentions of a child? Are you able to approach with the humility of a child? Are you able to approach in an unambitious way? Are you able to be docile like a child? Are you able to live with the affection of a child? Are you willing to “give up your ambitious aims and earthly contests, and imitate the simple unworldly ways of little children“? Are you willing to “lay aside all pride and prejudice and enter in with humility and meekness“? Can you be transformed to be more childlike by being “teachable, mild, humble, and free from prejudice and obstinacy“?

Consider what Matthew 10:15 says …

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.

–from Matthew 10:15

Are you willing to turn to Jesus and receive His gift of love, hope, and salvation?

Will you choose to not be a barrier from allowing children to enter into faith? Will you choose to help children who are seeking to draw closer to Jesus? Will you give children the opportunity to hear the Good News and the opportunity to receive it?

Today’s reading from Matthew 19 includes a similar request in verses 13-15 where we read:

‘Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. ‘

–from Matthew 19:13-15

So let’s take a moment to get some context by reading all of Matthew 19 together…

Teaching About Divorce

‘Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.

Let the Children Come to Me

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

The Rich Young Man

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

–from Matthew 19:1-30

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on Acts of Mercy speaks to Matthew 19:13-15 on the Bible’s impact on the care of children. Don’t be an obstacle to children getting to Jesus! Don’t be a barrier to the hope and truth and love and healing that is available through Jesus into the lives of the children! We need to be more focused on being servants! We need to be more focused on being like children! We need to be living lives with the awareness and the importance and the sanctity of life! If children are important to Jesus then they need to be important to us too! So let’s do what we can to protect and cherish children!

As I read today’s devotional it brings me back to the problems in this world that require children to be taken out of their homes for safety reason. As I consider and contemplate it I think of the children that I have watched come to both the kids and teen camps. All of whom by no fault of their own have ended up in the foster care system because of choices that were made by adults. We need to take hold of Jesus’ commands today! We need to take hold of what Jesus says in Matthew 19:14, Mark 9:37, and Luke 17:1-2! We need to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves just as Jesus stood up to those who were trying to keep the children away from receiving His blessing.  We need to be a voice of hope, of love, and of blessing over these children so that they too may know the love of God!

So how can you make a difference? Will you first receive the gift of God through Jesus Christ which is eternal life? Will you then be salt and light into the world so that others may also get the opportunity to meet Jesus? For salt to work, it requires contact and so we need to go out into the world! We are not of the world but we are in the world! No, it won’t be easy, but we can take hope because Jesus has overcome the world! So let’s make today count! Let’s step out of ourselves and our selfish ways and step into what God desires for us to do and to be into the world around us!

Never invited Jesus into your life yet? Let’s read this together…

Sample Sinners Prayer

Welcome into God’s kingdom. Want to talk about making a decision? Want to talk about having made the decision to follow Jesus? Leave me a comment and we can start a conversation. Find a local church body that is believing and preaching God’s Word!

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I lift You up and ask Lord for Your wisdom for this day. Help me Lord with the decision(s) I will need to make so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. You know the plans You have for me. You go ahead preparing in advance the good works You have for me to accomplish. Grant me wisdom and discernment, faith and confidence, courage and boldness to get it done in Your way. Let Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth and in my life as it is in Heaven. Not my way but Your way! Not my will but Your will. Help me Lord so that every word and action today will bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.