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"Beloved, I
pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."
3 John 2
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8/18: Christians Don’t Cling
7/21: What Was Spoken By The Prophet Joel, Pt 5

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Friday, December 16, 2011
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ephesians 6:14a, 17
Stand firm.......... Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Acts 7:55-8:8
55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him,
58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
8:1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.
3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.
6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.
7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.
8 So there was great joy in that city.

Pardon the lengthy passage. I always like to keep scripture in context and if you are not familiar with the stoning of Stephen I wanted to make sure you understood why Saul and others were attempting to destroy the church and Christians were being scattered as they fled Jerusalem (Acts 8:3, 4). As I read this passage this morning it struck me that as Christians were scattered they told people about Jesus wherever they went. I wonder if today's Christians would do the same. I think that often times we determine if God is involved in a particular event by whether it is going good and easy or if it is difficult and there is opposition. If something is hard I hear many Christians say, "well, I guess it must not be God's will for me or us to do this". I the Christians in the 1st century Church would have used that logic to determine God's will they would have fled Jerusalem and then kept their mouths closed concluding that their efforts to advance the good news about Jesus was not what God wanted them to do. I don't know about you but I can think of a more likely candidate that does not want people to share about Jesus.

In Acts 8:5-8 we are told that as Philip shared about Jesus in Samaria that people paid close attention to what he said because of the miraculous signs he performed. The New International Version of the Bible that I posted is a little unclear in its rendering of this passage. They make it sound like the people were interested in what Philip said because of what they heard (him say) and the miraculous signs they saw. Let me give you my literal translation from my Greek New Testament. What is a Greek New Testament? It is what it say, it is in Greek and unless you have taken Greek you would not be able to read it. "The people gave heed to the things Philip spoke, with one accord hearing and seeing the miracles he did." The New American Standard Version (Updated) agrees with me except for the application of the phrase, "one accord".

Acts 8:6
6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. (NASU)

I believe which ever translation you prefer you should not connect the word "heard" to the phrase "what Philip said" and here is why. If you read verse 7 we see it make sense that the people not only saw miracles preformed by Philip but they heard them also because those miracles included evil spirits coming out with "shrieks". It does not says it but it would be easy for me to think there was also a great uproar of celebration as paralytics and cripples walked. The bottom line is that as Christians were scattered they told of the life changing and eternal life giving message of Jesus the Christ and people paid attention to them because they backed it up with miraculous power that only comes from a supernatural God. When God moves supernaturally it brings glory to Him and the people that are touched by it rejoice. Verse 8 says, "So there was great joy in that city". Don't we want our cities to know the joy of the abundance of life that Jesus offers (John 10:10)? The answer is yes, of course we do. Then why don't we share as we go. The answer is because we lack the power to back up the message. That is our problem, not God's. We don't believe in it any long, we don't teach (well I do) and we don't pursue supernatural power so that we can perform the life changing miracles we need.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5
4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power,
5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

1 Corinthians 4:20
20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

God works through me supernaturally from time to time. I wish He would do it more. I am sure that it is my problem that He doesn't, not His. When He does a third of the people disagree with what is happening, a third of the people are excited and the other third either don't know what to think or don't care enough to find out. As for me, how I feel about it, I will side with God. (please reference 1 Corinthians 2:4,5; 4:20)

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