Sunday, May 10, 2009


Taking a break from the blog for a few days. I am traveling on business. I will continue reading Acts and will share any insights upon my return on Thursday.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Acts 14-16

Continued movement, continued miracles, continued persecution.

At the end of Ch 15, Paul and Barnabas have a disagreement and part ways.

Ch 16- The voice of the narrator suddenly changes from 3rd person to first? Maybe I'm missing something but it certainly seems that the chapter begins with "they" and, after Paul's vision, changes to "we" and "us."

Ch 16 is pretty action packed. Paul and Silas drive a spirit out of a slave girl. They are arrested, stripped and flogged. They thrown in jail and shackled. During the night, there is a great earthquake and all the doors fly open. The jailer was scared that he would be killed because the prisoners had escaped and was going to kill himself but Paul and Silas called out to him that they were still there. The jailer wants to be saved. Paul and Silas tell him what he needs to believe, they baptize him, he cares for them. In the end...

35When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men." 36The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace."

37But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out."

38The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Acts 12-13

I'm not so good at keeping up with this daily blogging of my reading, am I?

Acts 12

Peter has been arrested and is heavily guarded. Herrod is out for blood. He has had James killed and received favorable ratings for it so plans to get Peter, too. Peter is very heavily guarded at all times in prison. In the middle of the night, an angel comes to Peter and frees him and leads him to safety outside of the gates. Peter goes to his family and tells them what has happened and then leaves for another place.

When his disappearance is discovered and a search does not reveal him, Herrod has the guards executed.

21On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." 23Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. 21On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." 23Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

That would suck as a way to die, wouldn't it?

Acts 13

The Holy Spirit calls upon Barnabas and Saul.

They travel a great distance. And meet with Bar-Jesus (Elymas) and proconsul, Sergius Paulus.

Proconsul is a government leader type. I looked it up.

The proconsul wanted to hear Barnabas and Saul. But Elymas, a magician, wanted to stop them.

9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10"You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun."

Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

The chapter goes on to say that seeing this happen to Elymas made him believe in the power of the Lord. Wonder about Elymas? Did he become a believer and have his sight restored?

Paul and his companions travel to Pisidian Antioch. Paul preaches at the synagogue about the history of David- how we got to David and how David became king and David's descendants. Paul goes on to tell how Jesus came and was not recognized as being the Son of God but also fulfilled the prophecies. Paul states that Jesus is the way. Through his sacrifice, we have forgiveness.

They go to leave and the people want to hear more. The crowds disperse and the Jews continue to hear more of what Paul has to say. The next day, a very large crowd forms to hear Paul. The Jews are jealous. Paul tells them that they had the chance to hear it first and chose to not believe.

46Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

" 'I have made you[g] a light for the Gentiles,
that you[h] may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'[i]"

48When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

The Jews stir up persecution against Paul and Barnabas so that they are expelled from the region. They continue on their journey with joy, filled with the Holy Spirit.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Acts 9-11

I'm not good about blogging over the weekends, sorry!

Saturday, Sunday, and Today's reading takes us through 3 chapters of Acts.

Chapter 9 starts with the story of how Saul became a follower of Jesus. We had read about Saul previously- he approved of the stoning of Stephen, he was separating and dispersing the followers of Jesus, having people arrested (which I assume included mistreatment, beatings, etc).

Saul is on his way to Damascus to arrest followers of Jesus and send them to Jerusalem. Just before he arrives in Damascus, he sees a bright light and hears Jesus. He is then blind for 3 days.

Jesus then calls Ananias to go to Saul. Ananias is afraid of Saul but is assured by Jesus, through a vision, that Saul is expecting him. Ananias does as he is asked, goes to Saul, and Saul's eyesight returns and he is filled with the Holy Spirit.

Saul began preaching to the Jewish people in Damascus but they didn't trust him because they knew what his purpose had been in coming to Damascus. He has to sneak away from the city.

Saul returns to Jerusalem and joins the followers.

Next follows several miracles performed by Peter.

32While Peter was traveling from place to place, he visited the Lord's followers who lived in the town of Lydda. 33There he met a man named Aeneas, who for eight years had been sick in bed and could not move. 34Peter said to Aeneas, "Jesus Christ has healed you! Get up and make up your bed." [b] Right away he stood up. 35Many people in the towns of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas and became followers of the Lord.

Peter also raises a woman named Dorcas from the dead.

Acts 10

This is the story of Peter and Cornelius.

Instead of just detailing the story, there are verses that caught my eye. The important point of the story is that Jesus isn't just for the Jewish people. Cornelius was a Gentile and a very devout man. The Jewish people did not believe that a Gentile could be a follower.

Acts 10: 28b

But God has shown me that he doesn't think anyone is unclean or unfit.

Also, Acts 10: 34-35

34Peter then said:
Now I am certain that God treats all people alike. 35God is pleased with everyone who worships him and does right, no matter what nation they come from.

Of all the verses in the Bible that people choose to take and force into their own agenda, I think these are verses that should be used more often. Instead of finding ways in the Bible to excluse and judge people, let's cling to these verses and accept and love ALL people. God is please with everyone who worships him and does right, no matter what nation they come from. He doesn't find anyone unfit or unclean. He treats all people the same. Now those are POWERFUL ideas!

Acts 11

Basically wraps up what had happened with Peter and Cornelius. Also tells about the followers preaching to Gentiles and the word spreading.


Most of the reading of Acts has been like a history lesson for me. Story telling of what happened after the ascension. But I love that I found something in this book of the Bible that supports what I believe my faith is based on! Love and acceptance of all people because all people are God's people. None of us are unclean or unfit!

Until tomorrow (Acts 12)


Friday, May 1, 2009

Acts 8

Saul is breaking up the church. He approved of the stoning of Stephen. He's arresting members of the church and breaking up families and sending people away.

Sounds like a pretty bad dude.

Phillip is in Samaria, preaching, performing miracles, driving evil spirits out of people.

And there's a guy named Simon, known for witchcraft and tricks that appear to be of God but aren't. He converts due to Phillip's teaching. He and many Samarians are baptized.

Peter and John arrive in Samaria and call upon the Holy Spirit to touch the people of Samaria. This apparently hadn't ever happened before.

Simon sees that when Peter and John lay hand son people, they receive the Holy Spirit. So he wants to be able to do the same and brings money to Peter.

20Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

Peter and John then return to Jerusalem.

And then it gets weird.

Read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunich.

I feel like I don't have enough knowledge to understand the importance of this story. So I am going to look up some other insights and see what makes sense to me.

Here's an Executable Outline with a lot of information. It sums up the story, gives thinking points, makes some observations, provides lots of references and then sums everything up with a nice conclusion and thinking points:

1. With the conversion of "The Ethiopian Eunuch", we are impressed with the simplicity of salvation...
a. With a simple presentation of the gospel, one can be saved after just one lesson
b. Whether it is preached to large crowds or to just one person, the gospel is indeed God's power to save! - cf. Ro 1:16

2. When the gospel of Jesus is truly preached...
a. The death of Jesus for our sins will be stressed
b. The importance of baptism as commanded by Jesus will be mentioned as well
  1. Such that people will want to know "what hinders me from being baptized?"
  2. Such that people will want to baptized immediately
c. The purpose of baptism will be properly understood, knowing that one can be baptized in private just as well as in public
d. The necessity for a whole-hearted faith in Jesus will be emphasized, otherwise one simply gets wet in baptism!

Was your conversion anything like that of "The Ethiopian Eunuch"? When someone "preached Jesus" to you, were you compelled to ask: "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" - Acts 8:36

If not, have you considered why not? Could it be that the gospel of Jesus Christ was not shared with you in its fullness...?

So there is a myriad of things that happen in this chapter. Saul is a bad guy, Philip is a preacher-man, many miracles are performed, Simon doesn't get it but Peter sets him straight, Philip converts an Ethiopian eunich.



On April 26, 2009, my pastor spoke about the importance of reading the Bible. I got honest with myself- I don't read it regularly and haven't since high school. He issued a challenge. Read the Bible daily for 6 weeks. I'm taking that challenge and will share my daily readings and thoughts and experiences here. Feel free to join me!