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Frances
Jul 15th 2010, 05:53 PM
Acts of the Apostles. (2)
Note:- Although the Apostles are mentioned collectively in various places, the book is mainly about Peter (1-12) and Paul 2.5 times as much (8-28).
Acts 1

What does the text say? – Luke refers to his former account of Jesus life, death and resurrection appearances when Jesus Commanded His disciples to “wait for the Promise of the Father” the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Who would give them Power to be His witnesses all over the world. Then, as they watched, Jesus ascended to heaven, men in white said “This same Jesus” would return to earth in the same way. The 11 apostles then returned to Jerusalem and continued in prayer with the women and Jesus’ mother and brothers. Peter referred to Psalm 109:8 “Let another take his office” so from the 120 other men who had been Jesus’ disciples from the beginning, after prayer they chose Matthias to replace Judas Iscariott.
Application? – Have I waited to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit before witnessing to Jesus’ Power in my life? Or have I thought I could do so effectively in my own strength? Do I believe the same Jesus who ascended to heaven will return in a similar way? Jesus had far more ‘ordinary’ disciples like me than Apostles while on earth; I am responsible for spreading the Good News of Jesus’ Sacrifice everywhere, in my own home, among my wider family, and to the uttermost parts of the earth – am I fulfilling my responsibilities? The disciples chose Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot – yet it seems that Jesus Himself chose Saul(Paul). Do I ever get in too much of a hurry to fulfil a need and make a mistake? Would I be wise to always ask the Lord for independent confirmation before taking steps - especially if they involve other people?

Quote:- (Henry H. Halley) “This is the New Testament’s last mention of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Esteemed and honoured though she was as mother of the Saviour, the Apostles gave not the slightest indication of feeling the need of her mediation between them and Christ” . . . . “Matthias was chosen to take Judas’ place . . . nothing further is known of Matthias.”

Frances
Jul 19th 2010, 05:01 PM
Acts 2

What does the text say? – At Pentecost Jesus’ disciples were all together in one place when there was a sound of a very strong wind that filled the whole place, then what appeared to be flames settled on each of them and they all received the ability to speak in another language from the Holy Spirit. There were Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem, who were amazed to hear disciples from Galilee speaking in their native tongue, about the wonderful things God had done – but some folk just thought Jesus’ disciples were drunk. Peter addressed the crowd that had gathered, he quoted Joel 2:28-32, and Psalms 16:8-11; 68:18 and 101:1, saying they applied to Jesus Christ who the Jews had crucified. In reply to the people’s distress he said they must repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ for Forgiveness of Sin, and they would receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. About 3,000 who accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour were baptised and continued receiving the Apostles teaching, and fellowship, also eating and praying together. They all pooled their possessions which were distributed to those in need. The Lord added to their number those who were being Saved each day.

Application? – Do I trust Jesus Christ to be my Saviour? Do I do His Will, His Way for His Glory? Have I experienced my personal Pentecost? Do I share the Good News of Salvation with other folk? Do I have fellowship with other believers? Do I invite others to have meals with me? Do I celebrate the Lord’s Supper, in His memory, regularly? Do I regard my possessions as mine alone, or for the Lord to use as He sees fit?

Frances
Jul 20th 2010, 04:48 PM
Acts 3

What does the text say? – Peter and John went to pray in the Temple at the 9th hour(3pm). A man lying at the gate, crippled from birth, asked for money. Peter said he hadn’t got any, but he’d give what he had, and told the man to get up in the Name of Jesus Christ, and helped him to stand, then his feet and ankles grew strong, so he went into the Temple with them “walking and leaping and praising God”. Peter told the crowd that gathered he, personally, hadn’t Healed the man, but Almighty God had through his faith in the Name of Jesus Christ whom they had killed because of their ignorance; he told them to repent and turn to God so their Sins would be blotted out and times of refreshment come form the Lord, Who will send Jesus Christ again for the final restoration of His people, as He’d Promised through the prophets long before (Deut. 18:15,18,19) and as Moses had said “everyone who will not heed that Prophet will be utterly destroyed”.

Application? – Do I attend prayer meetings regularly? Do I give others full knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Power? Do I demonstrate Christ’s Power by allowing it to flow through me to those in need? Do I have sufficient faith in Jesus Christ? Do I act in faith or presumption? Do I truly repent when I offend the Lord? Do I really heed Jesus Christ or will I be “utterly destroyed”?

Frances
Jul 21st 2010, 05:30 PM
Acts 4

What does the text say? – As Peter and John spoke to the people, the Priests, Sadducees and captains of the Temple arrived and arrested them however, many more people had believed what they said about Jesus, so the disciples had grown to about 5,000 men, apart from women and children. Next day the High Priest’s family as well as Rulers, Elders and Scribes demanded to know how Peter and John had healed the lame man. Peter replied the man had been Healed by the Name of Jesus Christ who they’d crucified and God had resurrected, also that through no other Name could Salvation be received. Their hearers were amazed that uneducated and untrained men had that ability, and realised they had been with Jesus; they could not deny the miracle, but forbade Peter and John to speak or teach in Jesus’ Name, but they replied that they would speak of what they had seen and heard. As the leaders could find no way of punishing them, they let them go. Peter and John reported all that had happened to the other Apostles, then they all prayed for boldness to speak God’s Word, and that He would Heal and do many other miracles in the Name of Jesus. Empowered by the Holy Spirit they all spoke God’s Word boldly, and with great Power witnessed to the resurrection of Jesus. None of Jesus’ disciples lacked anything as many who had property sold it and gave the proceeds to the Apostles, who distributed it to those in need. Barnabus sold land and gave it to the Apostles.

Application? – Who do I obey – God or other people? Do I pray for boldness to speak God’s Word? Do I allow His Healing Power to flow through me to those in need? Is giving to the Lord’s Work my priority?

Frances
Jul 22nd 2010, 04:27 PM
Acts 5

What does the text say? – Ananias and his wife Sapphira took part of the proceeds from the sale of property to the apostles(apparently indicating that it was the entire price they’d received). Peter said Ananias had lied to God. Ananias fell down dead and was buried. 3 hours later Sapphira arrived. Peter asked if the money given was the whole price realised, she said yes, and died. The apostles preformed many miracles and the disciples met daily in Solomon’s Porch in the Temple, many men and women believed in Jesus and joined them. The High priest arrested the apostles, but at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison and told them to go to the Temple and teach about Life, locking the prison again behind them. Officers were sent to take the apostles to the Council. The High Priest said they had been told not to teach in the Name of Jesus, so Peter and the other apostles said it is more important to obey God than men , and spoke of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. The Council plotted to kill the apostles, but Gamaliel said it was wiser to leave them alone, as if what they did and taught was from God they couldn’t stop it, and if not it would die out anyway. So the apostles were beaten and allowed to go; continuing to preach Jesus as the Christ.

Application? – Am I totally honest in all ways? If I say my whole life is dedicated to God, but do what I want instead of His Will, I’m as guilty of deception as Ananias and Sapphira. Do I stop speaking the Truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection because religious leaders tell me to? Do I allow the Holy Spirit to work through me in the ways He chooses? Do I ensure that if I suffer because I speak of Jesus it is because I’m speaking Truth, not because I am being unnecessarily objectionable in some way?

Quote:- (Henry H. Halley) “Their death (Ananias’ and Sapphira’s) was evidently intended to be an example of God’s displeasure at the Sin of covetousness and religious hypocrisy. . . . a warning … . against using, or misusing, the Church as a means of self-glorification,”

Frances
Jul 23rd 2010, 04:40 PM
Acts 6+7
What does the text say? – The disciples were multiplying rapidly and the Greek speaking ones complained that their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food; the apostles said they must attend to the Word of God and prayer, so the believers must choose 7 men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom,, to attend to such matters. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and Holy Spirit and Philip, Prochorus, Nicamor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, so the Apostles laid hands on them and prayed. The Word of God spread, the disciples multiplied and included many priests. God did many miracles through Stephen. Men from the synagogue of Freedmen argued with him, but lost their arguments with him, so persuaded some men to lie about him, stirred up the people and took him to the Council. The High Priest gave Stephen the opportunity to answer the charges against him, so he gave a resume of the history of the Jews starting with Abraham, including God’s Promise in Deut. 18;15, 18-19, and saying the Council had murdered the One promised in Isaiah 66:1+2. Then Stephen said he could see Jesus standing at the right hand of the Glory of God, so he was thrown out of the city and stoned. Before he died Stephen committed his spirit to God and prayed that his death would not be held against the perpetrators.

Application? – Do I neglect any believers who are ‘different’? Are appointments in Christian churches always made on the grounds of ‘good reputation, being filled with the Holy Spirit and His Wisdom? Am I helping the Word of God to spread in my locality? Do I allow the Lord to work His miracles through me? If I can’t win an argument do I consider if my point of view may be wrong? or try to discredit those I argue with? One day I, too, will see Jesus on the right hand of God – will He recognise me as His disciple or say He doesn’t know me?

Frances
Jul 24th 2010, 04:58 PM
Acts 8

What does the text say? – Saul approved of the death of Stephen. Then the Church in Jerusalem was severely persecuted and all, except the Apostles, went to live elsewhere in Judea and Samaria. Saul dragged every Christian he could find to prison. Philip went to Samaria, preached Christ and performed many miracles in His Name. A man called Simon, who had practiced sorcery and claimed to be someone great, believed in Jesus and was baptised. When the Apostles laid hands on people and they received the Holy Spirit, Simon offered them money to enable him to do so too. Peter said Simon would perish because his heart was not right with God and that he was full of bitter jealousy and held captive by Sin. An angel of the Lord told Philip to go south along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, where he came across a powerful eunuch from Ethiopia reading Isaiah 53:7-8 aloud. Philip asked if he understood what he was reading. The eunuch invited Philip into his chariot where, starting from that Scripture, Philip preached Jesus. When they came to some water, the eunuch, believing Jesus Christ was God’s Son, asked to be baptised. He was; then Philip left him.

Application? – Have I ever jumped to wrong conclusions and so harmed someone irreparably? Am I ready to tell folk of Jesus wherever I go? Do I give in to jealousy? Am I held captive by Sin? Will I perish because my heart is not right with God? Am I prepared to immediately go wherever the Lord tells me, even when He tells me to leave fruitful ministry to go to a barren wilderness? Do I, appropriately, apply telling folk of Jesus to each individuals situation?

Quote:- (Henry H. Halley) “God authenticated Philip’s message with miracles, but Peter and John were sent to I impart the Holy Spirit (:15). Then God directed Philip southwards to the Treasurer of Ethiopia, to relay the Gospel to the heart of Africa.”

Frances
Jul 25th 2010, 06:02 PM
Acts 9

What does the text say? – With dire threats regarding Jesus Christ’s disciples, Saul went to the High Priest for letters to synagogue leaders in Damasus, asking for their co-operation in arresting and taking any following the Way to Jerusalem. Nearing Damascus Saul was arrested by a Light from heaven and Jesus asked why he was persecuting Him; then told Saul to go into the city to be told what to do. Those with Saul heard the Voice but saw no one, then led Saul, now blind, into Damascus where he had nothing to eat or drink for 3 days. The Lord told His disciple, Ananias, to go and lay hands on Saul to enable him to regain his sight, and said that He had chosen Saul to tell Jews, kings and Gentiles of Himself. Ananias went to Saul and prayed, then laid hands on Saul so that he received his sight and the Holy Spirit. Saul was baptised and spent some time with the believers in Damascus, proving that Jesus was the Christ in the synagogues. Some Jews intended to kill Saul, so the disciples lowered him down the wall in a basket. When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples but they were afraid of him. Barnabus took him to the Apostles explaining his conversion, so Saul stayed with them, speaking boldly about Jesus. Some Greek speaking Jews tried to kill Saul so the disciples took him to Caesarea and sent him to Tarsus. Then the Churches throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria grew “in the fear of the Lord and Comfort of the Holy Spirit”. Peter travelled from place to place and came to Lydda where he met Aeneas who’d been paralysed for 8 years; Peter told him Jesus Christ had Healed him, and Aeneus got up, then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord Jesus. Dorcas, a believer in Joppa died, and her body prepared for burial. Peter was sent for; he knelt and prayed, then told the corpse to get up – and she did. Peter stayed for some time with Simon the Tanner.

Application? – When I realise my point of view has been wrong, do I admit it publicly? Have I met with Jesus Christ? If He tells me to do something that seems bound to result in agony for me, do I ask Him for confirmation of His Will? Do I do as the Lord tells me, even if afraid of the consequences? Do I take sensible precautions and evasive action when the need arises? Am I growing in ‘the fear of the Lord and Comfort of the Holy Spirit’? Do I allow the Lord to work His miracles through me? When He does, am I careful to give all Glory to Him? Do I realise that Life with Him will not, necessarily mean either pain or Peace?

Frances
Jul 26th 2010, 05:02 PM
Acts 10

What does the text say?- In Ceasarea, a devout Italian centurion saw, in a Vision, an angel of God who said God had noted his prayers and gifts to the poor, so the centurion must send for Simon Peter who was staying with Simon the Tanner in Joppa, who would tell him what he must do. Next day Peter went to the roof to pray and became very hungry; in a Vision he saw something like a sheet descending from heaven containing all kinds of animals and insects, and a Voice told him to ‘kill and eat’. Peter refused, saying he had never eaten anything ‘common or unclean. The Voice said “What God has cleansed you must not call common”. This happened 3 times before the ‘sheet’ returned to heaven. While Peter wondered what the Vision meant , 3 messengers from Cornelius arrived. Next day Peter and some Christians from Joppa went to Cornelius. When they arrived Peter explained that he had come in-spite of breaking the Jewish Law forbidding him associating with anyone ‘common or unclean’ and that he had realised that God shows no preference for any nation, but whoever ‘fears Him and works righteousness’ is acceptable to Him, and asked why Cornelius had sent for him. Peter then told of Jesus Christ and that whoever believes in Him will have their Sins Forgiven. While Peter was still talking the Holy Spirit fell on all who believed what Peter said. The Jews present were amazed that God gave His Holy Spirit to gentiles who believed also. So Peter commanded them to be baptised in the Name of the Lord.

Application? – Does God note my attitude to Him, over a long time, before offering more of His Blessings. Am I willing to learn more of what God requires of me? Do I act on what He says? Do I look down (for whatever reason) on those from other nations? Baptism in water is obviously not necessary for Salvation, as the Lord filled the believers with His Spirit before they were baptised in water.

Frances
Jul 27th 2010, 06:02 PM
Act 11

What does the text say? – The Apostles and other disciples in Judea heard that the Gentiles also trusted Jesus. When Peter went to Jerusalem he was accused of visiting, and eating with, uncircumcised men, so Peter explained about his Vision, and Cornelius’ Vision, and that the Gentiles were Baptised in the Holy Spirit, and asked how he could stand in God’s Way; then those who were offended praised God instead, saying they now understood the Gentiles also have the privilege of repenting of their Sins and receiving Eternal Life. Meanwhile the disciples who had scattered after Stephen’s death travelled far and wide. They told of Jesus but only to Jews. When some believers in Antioch preached about Jesus to Gentiles many turned to the Lord; Barnabus, who was full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith, was sent from Jerusalem to discover the facts and encourage them all to stay true to the Lord and many were brought to the Lord. Barnabus went to Tarsus to look for Saul, then they went to Antioch together, and stayed a year. After a prophecy of a coming famine the Christians all gave, according to their ability, and Barnabus and Saul took the offering to the Elders in Judea to relieve suffering.

Application? – Do I follow the Lord or customs I’ve long believed to be right? Do I praise God for everything He does, or only for those things I approve of? Am I strong in faith and full of the Holy Spirit? What can I do to ensure my faith in Jesus becomes stronger and that I am always under the control of the Holy Spirit? Do I encourage all Christians to stay true to the Lord? Do I give, according to my ability, for the relief of Christian suffering elsewhere? Or do I spend all I want to first, and then decide whether or not to give something from what is left over?

Frances
Jul 28th 2010, 04:00 PM
Acts 12

What does the text say?- King Herod persecuted the Church and killed John’s brother James, then arrested Peter. While Peter was in prison the Church prayed very earnestly for him. The night prior to Peter’s trial he was asleep, chained between 2 soldiers, with others guarding the prison gate, when an angel of the Lord woke Peter and told him to get dressed and follow him and the chains fell off his wrists. They went past the guards, the gates opened by themselves, as they walked down the street the angel vanished. Peter realised what had happened was not a Vision but reality, and went to join the prayer meeting. Although they’d prayed for Peter’s release those at the prayer meeting didn’t believe the servant who said Peter was at the gate, meanwhile he kept knocking. He told of his release, then went somewhere else. As Herod couldn’t find Peter he had the guards killed. The people of Tye and Sidon had angered Herod, but depended on his country for food, so sent a delegation to make peace with him. An appointment was made, Herod wore his royal robes and made a speech; his audience shouted ’it’s the voice of a god not man’. Herod accepted their worship instead of giving Glory to God, so he was eaten by worms and died. Meanwhile the Word of God spread and there were many new believers. Barnabus and Saul returned from Jerusalem with John Mark.

Application? – There will always be those who will persecute Christ’s Church, am I prepared for it to affect me too? Do I really expect my prayers to be answered? Do I doubt God’s Ability? Do I give Glory that belongs to God alone to another? If I accept glory that belongs to God alone I may suffer as a result.

Quote:- (Henry H. Halley) “This James, brother of John, one of the 3 inner circle friends of Jesus, was first of the 12 to die, AD44. Another James, brother of Jesus, came to be recognised as leading bishop of Jerusalem. When Herod imprisoned Peter, God Himself took a hand, delivered Peter and smote Herod. This Herod was the son of the Herod who had killed John the Baptist and mocked Christ.”

Frances
Jul 29th 2010, 04:56 PM
Acts 13

What does the text say?- Barnabus and Saul were sent from Antioch to Cyprus by the Hoy Spirit They preached in the synagogue in Salamis, John Mark was their assistant. In Paphos they met a Jewish sourcerer, a false prophet Elymas(Bar-Jesus), who was with the Pro-consul. The Pro consul wanted to hear the Word of God, but Elymas told him to pay Saul no attention; Saul(Paul) was angry and called him the son of the devil, deceitful, fraudulent and the enemy of righteousness who perverted the Ways of the Lord; and said he would be struck blind – which happened immediately, so the Pro-consul believed in Jesus. Paul, Barnabus and John Mark sailed from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John Mark went to Jerusalem. When Paul and Barnabus left Pamphylia they went to Antioch. In the Synagogue after Moses and the Prophets were read, they were invited to speak, so Paul told the congregation a potted version of the Jewish history culminating in Jesus death and resurrection. The Gentiles asked him to speak the following week, he did and almost the whole city came to hear the Word of God. The Jews were envious of the crowds and argued against Paul, so he and Barnabus said it was necessary to preach to the Jews first, but as the Jews had rejected the Word of God the’d offer eternal Life to the Gentiles. The Word of the Lord spread throughout the region, but the influential men and women incited persecution of Paul and Barnabus – who shook the dust off their feet and went to Iconium, and the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Application? – Do I always heed, and act on, what the Holy Spirit says to me? Do I always recognise false prophets? Have I ever perverted the Ways of the Lord? Could I be spiritually blind? Am I willing to move on if the Lord tells me to? Do I speak of Him to all who will listen? Am I full of Joy and the Holy Spirit?

Frances
Jul 30th 2010, 05:31 PM
Act 14

What does the text say?- Paul and Barnabus went to the synagogue in Iconium and preached with such Power that many Jews and Gentiles became believers, some Jews poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabus, but they stayed there a long time preaching boldly about the Grace of the Lord, and He proved what they said was true by doing many miracles through them. When they learned that a mob intended to stone them, Paul and Barnabus fled to Lystra in Lycaonia. Paul realised a crippled man sitting listening to him preach had faith to be Healed, he told him to stand up – he did, and started walking for the first time in his life. The crowd decided the Apostles were gods, and the chief priest of Zeus was going to sacrifice oxen to them; when they heard of this Paul and Barnabus managed to stop them, explaining they were not gods but ordinary men. Some of the men who’d been going to stone the Apostles in Antioch of Pisidia arrived and incited the crowd to stone them. Thinking Paul was dead they dragged him out of the city, but he wasn’t dead and went to Derbe with Barnabus next day where they made many disciples before returning to Lystra, iconium and Antioch of Pisidia, where they reminded the believers that many hardships must be suffered to enter God’s Kingdom and encouraged them to stay in the faith; they also appointed Elders in every church with prayer and fasting. They preached in Pisidia, Pamphilia, Perga and Attalia, then sailed to Antioch, reported their experiences, and stayed there a long time.


Application? – Do I ensure that I am always following the Lord and not going the way that seems right to me instead? What I run away from may follow me. Do I treat ordinary people as gods?

Frances
Jul 31st 2010, 04:24 PM
Act 15

What does the text say? - Some men went from Judea to Antioch of Syria and taught that circumcision is necessary for Salvation. Paul and Barnabus disagreed and argued with them vehemently – then went to Jerusalem to ask the Apostles and Elders. There was much discussion, then Peter reminded them that the Lord had given the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles too. As He had made no distinction between the circumcised and uncircumcised neither should they. James’ judgment was that it would not be made unnecessarily difficult for Gentiles turning to God, and only insisted that they must not have anything to do with sexual immorality or anything offered to an idol, and not eat anything strangled, or any blood – so a letter was written, and 2 leading Christians, Judas and Silas, went back with Barnabus and Paul to deliver it; then Silas remained in Antioch. After some time Paul and Barnabus decided to visit the Christians in every place they’d preached. Barnabus was determined to take John Mark too, Paul was adamant that they should not, considering him unreliable, so they parted. Barnabus and John Mark went to Cyprus and Paul and Silas went through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches.

Application? – Do I make becoming a Christian unnecessarily difficult for others? Might I ‘water down’ the Gospel to make it more ‘acceptable’ to those I want to be Saved – yet, in so doing, prevent them being truly Saved? Am I guided by the Word of God (as I can no longer consult the 1st century Apostles)? Have I turned away from sexual immorality? Am I contaminated by anything offered to an idol? Am I careful not to eat anything with blood in it? Do I encourage other Christians? Was the disagreement between Barnabus and Paul allowed by the Lord to ensure His Work was done in more places? Do I encourage young Christians who have let me down in the past, or do I not give them a 2nd chance? The Lord has ensured John Mark’s book is included in His Word.

Quote:- (Henry H. Halley) “the question of circumcising Gentile converts (was) about 50AD, 20 years after founding the church (in Antioch); probably about 10 years after reception of Gentiles into the Church. Although God had expressly revealed to Peter that Gentiles should be received without circumcision(11:18) yet a sect of Pharisee believers persisted in teaching that it was necessary – and the Church was rent with discord over the question.

Frances
Aug 1st 2010, 04:42 PM
Act 16:1-24

What does the text say? - Paul went to Derbe then Lystra where he met Timothy, a young believer whose father was Greek. Paul wanted Timothy to join him, so he circumcised him so he would be acceptable to the Jews. They travelled together, instructing the believers to follow the instructions given by the Apostles and the Church grew daily. The Holy Spirit forbade them to preach in Asia. Arriving at the borders of Mysia they went north, intending to go to Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit didn’t give Permission to go there, so going through Mysia they went to Troas, where Paul had a Vision encouraging them to go to Macedonia. They sailed from Troas to Philipi, the foremost city in the Roman colony of Macedonia. On the Sabbath they went to the river bank, thinking people would meet there for prayer, they sat and talked with some women meeting there. One of the women was Lydia who was baptised, then persuaded them to go and stay in her household. A slave-girl, possessed by a spirit of divination, that enabled her to earn a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes, followed Paul for several days. Although she told the truth about them Paul cast the evil spirit out of her, so her masters got the authorities to throw them in jail, where their feet were put in the stocks.

Application? – Am I willing to do things, painful in some way, so I will be acceptable to those I want to reach for Christ? Do I follow all decisions made by the 1st century Apostles? Is my life sufficiently in tune with the Lord that I am aware of His Voice at all times? Am I always willing to change my plans if He asks me to? Do I seek out prayer meetings wherever I happen to be? Am I fully aware that those who tell the truth regarding God, and his servants, may not always be submitted to the Lord? Through obeying the Lord I may suffer public humiliation.

Frances
Aug 2nd 2010, 05:26 PM
Act 16:25-40

What does the text say? - In the prison, their feet in stocks, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, heard by the other prisoners. About midnight an earthquake shook the foundations of the prison, opened all the doors, and released everyone’s chains. Convinced all the prisoners had escaped, the jailor was about to kill himself, but Paul assured him everyone was still there; he asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be Saved, he was told of Jesus and that trusting Him was the only way of Salvation. The jailor and all his family were baptised immediately, then he tended their wounds and he fed them. In the morning the magistrates sent word that Paul and Silas must be released, but Paul refused to go quietly saying though un-condemned Roman citizens, they had been beaten publicly and wouldn’t leave secretly; so the officials went and apologised to them and begged them to leave the city. Before going away Paul and Silas went to Lydia’s house to encourage the believers.

Application? – Would I, have I, praised the Lord if publicly humiliated? Would I, do I, praise Him when injured in body, mind or spirit for the Freedom my faith in Him gives? Have I been baptised (an outward demonstration of a change of heart, mind and Master). Do I do all I am able to help those I’ve harmed in any way – even of it was part of the job I’m paid to do? Do I leave places where I am not welcome, or stay?

Frances
Aug 3rd 2010, 04:50 PM
Act 17

What does the text say?- In Thessalonica Paul told the Jews in the synagogue of Jesus Christ, and explained, from Scripture, that Christ had to suffer then rise again from the dead. Some Jews who were not persuaded of the truth and incited a mob to attack Paul, Silas and Timothy; as they didn’t find them they dragged Jason and some new Christians to the city rulers, saying they were maligning Caesar by saying Jesus Christ was the King, but they were allowed to go on payment of fines. Paul and his companions were sent to Berea that night. They went to the synagogue, those Jews readily received their message and searched the Scriptures daily to discover if what they were being told of Jesus (in the old Testament) was true. Many Jews believed, and some Greeks(Gentiles) including prominent women as well as men. Jews from Thessalonica arrived and stirred up trouble, so the believers sent Paul away, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. While Paul waited for them in Athens he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues and market place. Some people took Paul to the Areopagus to speak about Jesus. Paul addressed the crowd saying he had noticed an altar to the unkown god, and that he had come to tell about Him. God, who made the world and everything in it, gives life to all, hoping that they would search for Him and find Him; He is not an idol but is willing to overlook mankind’s former ignorance, and commands everyone to repent, because He has set a day when He will Judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ who He raised from the dead. Some mocked, some were interested, and some believed what Paul said.

Application? – Do I tell others that Jesus is my Lord? When maligned for proclaiming Jesus is Lord do I go elsewhere to speak of Him? Do I stay where I am but speak of Jesus more privately? Do I search the Scriptures daily too learn more of the Lord, and to discover if what a preacher has said is true? Do I pass on what I have learned from my Lord to others? Do I use every opportunity to speak of Jesus to those who don’t know Him? Have I made anything, or anyone, my idol?

Frances
Aug 4th 2010, 05:38 PM
Acts 18

What does the text say? – Paul left Athens and went to Corinth where he met Aquilla and Priscilla his wife, who were tentmakers like Paul so he stayed with them and spoke in the synagogue every Sabbath. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia the Holy Spirit compelled Paul to testify that Jesus is the Christ. When the Jews opposed him, Paul said he had told them first, but would now tell the Gentiles the way of Salvation. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord Jesus and many of the Corinthians believed and were baptised. Paul had a Vision from the Lord telling him not to fear or keep silent, for no one would hurt him in that city. Paul stayed in Corinth for 18 months teaching the Word of God. When Gallio became Pro-consul of Achaia the Jews turned against Paul and took him to court, but Gallio wouldn’t listen to them because Paul was not accused of any offence in Roman law – even though the Greeks beat Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue in the court-room. Paul remained in Corinth for some time, then sailed for Syria with Priscilla and Aquilla, who remained in Ephesus after he left. At Ephesus Paul reasoned with the Jews, who asked him to stay, but he said he must go on to Jerusalem, but would return, God willing – he sailed to Ceasarea where he greeted the church there, then went to Antioch where he spent some time, then he went over the region of Galatia and Phrigia strengthening the disciples. Apollos, a Jew well versed in Scripture, spoke boldly of Jesus in Ephesus, but he only knew the baptism of John, so Aquilla and Priscilla privately told him the ‘Way of the Lord’ more accurately. When Apollos went to Achaia, with a letter of recommendation to the disciples there, he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing that Jesus is the Christ.

Application? – Do I speak with folk about subjects they find acceptable and wait for the prompting of the Holy Spirit before speaking of Jesus? Although in the centre of God’s Will I may still face opposition when speaking of Jesus. Do I know the Way of the Lord fully? Do I instruct those who only know a little of Him more fully? Am I aware that those I spend time and effort telling of Jesus may, one day, be more able than I to tell others of Him?

Frances
Aug 5th 2010, 05:47 PM
Acts 19

What does the text say? – While Apollos was in Corinth Paul arrived in Ephesus and discovered about 12 believers who had only heard of John’s baptism of repentance. As Paul told them they must believe on Jesus Christ they were baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus, then they received the Holy Spirit and spoke in Tongues, and prophesied, when Paul laid hands on them. Then Paul spent 3 months speaking of the Kingdom of God in the synagogue; when he met hardened opposition he went, with the disciples, to Tyrannus’ school for 2 years. By then all Jews and Gentiles in Asia had heard of the Lord Jesus. God did unusual miracles through Paul, so handkerchiefs he had touched were taken to the sick who were then released from Evil spirits and diseases. Some Jewish exorcists started using Jesus’ Name, including 7 sons of Sceva a Jewish chief priest. The Evil spirit said it knew of Jesus and Paul but not them, then overpowered them leaving them wounded and naked – which served to Glorify Jesus, so that many who practiced magic brought books, valued at 50,000 silver coins, and burned them in public. Demetrius, a silver smith, whose workers made silver shines to the goddess Diana(Artemis) called a meeting of other similar workers who, inflamed against Paul, dragged his companions to the amphitheatre. Many people who’d joined the crowd didn’t even know why they were there! At last the mayor was able to quieten the crowd, he said as Paul’s companions had neither stolen anything or spoken against their goddess, Demetrius and the craftsmen should take them to the courts where they could make formal charges against them, as it was they might all be charged with rioting.


Application? – Have I trusted Jesus Christ without realising I need to be baptised(immersed) in His Name to receive His Holy Spirit and receive His Gift of Tongues and His Power to do His will, His Way, for His Glory? Being Jesus’ disciple does not automatically protect me against violence. Do I expect the ‘unusual’ miracles worked through Paul to happen today? Do all ‘unusual’ miracles glorify Jesus, or the person responsible for them? Have I repented of ungodly actions and shown ‘fruit’ of my repentance? Have I destroyed everything I own glorifying other gods? If I demonstrate for, or against, anything do I make sure I agree or allow myself to be easily led? Do I use what power I have wisely, to Glorify Jesus?

Frances
Aug 6th 2010, 05:55 PM
Acts 20

What does the text say? – Paul (and Luke) went to Macedonia, then to Greece where he stayed three months. About to sail to Syria he discovered Jews were plotting against him, so he returned through Macedonia. Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus went ahead, waiting for them in Troas. On the 1st day of the week they met the local believers in a 3rd floor room to share the Lord’s Supper. Paul preached, continuing to talk until midnight. Euticus, sitting on a windowsill, fell sleep and fell out of the window to his death. Paul went down, embraced him, then pronounced him alive so everyone went back upstairs to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, then Paul continued preaching till dawn, when he left.
Paul’s companions sailed to Assos where they were to meet Paul, then they all went to Miletus where Paul sent for the Elders of the church; he told them they would not see him again as he was going to Jerusalem, expecting imprisonment and suffering. Paul warned that even people from their own group would become false teachers who would distort the Truth he had shared during the 3 years he was with them, reminding them that he’d worked to provide for the needs of himself and his companions, and that Jesus said ‘it is more Blessed to give than to receive.’ They prayed then, distressed that they’d see him no more, they accompanied Paul to the ship.

Application? – Am I always willing to go where the Lord wants me? Do I meet with local Christians every Sunday? Have I ever fallen asleep during a long sermon? Do I provide for my needs by doing whatever work is available? Will I follow where the Holy Spirit leads even if I know it means suffering? When speaking of the Lord Jesus and His Way do I ensure all I say is necessary and not just to fill available time?

Frances
Aug 9th 2010, 06:05 PM
Acts 21

What does the text say? – Paul and his companions left he Ephesians and sailed to Cos, then the next day reached Rhodes, then Patara, then boarded another ship sailing to Phoenicia. They sailed past Cyprus and landed at Tyre in Syria, spending a week with local Christians, through whom the Holy Spirit said Paul should not go to Jerusalem. The entire congregation accompanied them to the ship and knelt on the shore to pray with them before they boarded. At Ptolemais they stayed with the Christians for a day before sailing on to Caesarea where they stayed with Philip the evangelist, and where Paul was also warned of trouble for him in Jerusalem. Paul’s companions tried to dissuade him from going to Jerusalem, but he insisted he was ready to die for Jesus. Paul’s party met with James and the Elders of the church in Jerusalem and Paul told them all that God had done through him among the Gentiles. The Elders warned Paul that his ministry among the Gentiles was maligned by many Jews in Jerusalem, and suggested how he might demonstrate his allegiance to Moses Law. Some Jews from Asia accused Paul of taking Gentiles into the Temple and incited a mob against him by saying he told people to disregard the Law, and he was dragged out of the Temple. The Roman soldier’s Commander took his troops to stop the riot, arrested Paul who was being beaten, and asked the crowd what he had done and got a variety of answers. Paul asked if he could address the crowd, then stood on some stairs and addressed them in Aramaic.

Application? – As Paul was repeatedly warned by the Holy Spirit not to go to Jerusalem was he headstrong and foolish to go there? Or was the Holy Spirit testing him, having previously told him to go there? If the Lord has told me to do something then, by various means, not to do it, do I change my mind or continue regardless? Do I regard difficulties as God’s Will for me or remember His warnings against a course of action which I have disregarded? Do I, then, realise I have only myself to blame for the difficulties?

Frances
Aug 10th 2010, 04:29 PM
Acts 22

What does the text say? – Protected by the Roman army Paul addressed the mob, saying he, also, was a Jew born in Tarsus taught by Gamaliel. He was as zealous to honour God as they were. He had formerly persecuted those following the Way, sending men and women to prison, as the High Priest could testify as he, and the Elders, had given him the authority to arrest any of the Way in Damascus and take them to Jerusalem in chains. Nearing Damascus at noon he had been enveloped in a brilliant light from Heaven and fell to the ground. A Voice said ‘Saul, Saul why are you persecuting Me? I am Jesus of Nazareth who you are persecuting.’ Then told him to go into Damascus where he’d be told what he must do. As he had become blind his companions had led him into the city. Ananias, a devout Jew, came to him and said ‘Brother Saul receive your sight’ and he’d also said the God of their ancestors had chosen him to see the Righteous One and hear Him speak. Then Ananias asked why he was waiting to be baptised and have his Sins washed away by calling on the Name of the Lord. Paul said when he returned to Jerusalem, and was praying in the Temple, he fell into a trance and had a Vision of Jesus telling him to leave Jerusalem quickly as his testimony of Him would not be accepted there and that He was sending Paul to tell the Gentiles of Him. As the Jews were so furious, the Commander ordered Paul flogged to make him confess his crime. Paul asked the officer watching him being secured ready if it was legal to whip a Roman citizen – and Paul was untied. Next day the Chief Priests were ordered to appear with the Council before the Commander, and Paul was taken there.

Application? – Do I always take opportunities the Lord gives me to explain the true facts of a situation? Are my explanations clear and to the point? Or do I go into unnecessary details?

Frances
Aug 11th 2010, 05:31 PM
Acts 23

What does the text say? – Paul told the Council he had always lived with a clear conscience before God, so Ananias the High Priest commanded those near Paul to hit him on the mouth. Paul told Ananias he was a hypocrite, then apologised when he realised he spoke to the High Priest. Realising half those present were Pharisees and half Sadducees Paul said he was on trial because he, as a Pharisee, believed in the resurrection of the dead, which started an argument among the Council members, some for and some against Paul. The Roman Commander rescued Paul and took him back to the fortress. That night the Lord told Paul he must also be His witness in Rome. 40 Jews vowed not to eat anything until they had killed Paul. Paul’s nephew heard of it and told the Roman Commander, who sent Paul to Caesarea overnight, with 200 foot soldiers, 200 spear men and 70 mounted troops; the foot soldiers only going as far as Antipatris. At Caesarea Paul was imprisoned in Herod’s headquarters to await his accusers.

Application? – I can only stand before God with a clear conscience as He has Forgiven me because I trust in Jesus’ death on my behalf. Do I always apologise when I discover I am in the wrong? Do I take advantage of every possible situation to witness for Jesus? Do I know God is in control of my life in every apparently worsening situation?

Frances
Aug 12th 2010, 05:43 PM
Acts 24

What does the text say? – After 5 days Ananias arrived with some Jewish Elders, and Tertullus their orator who presented their case against Paul – that he was a troublemaker constantly stirring up riots all over the world, a ring-leader of those known as Nazarenes, he was arrested by the Jews for trying to desecrate the Temple but Lysias, the Roman Commander, took him and commanded them to present their case to the Governor. Paul was invited to speak, he admitted he was in the Temple but he was not arguing or inciting a crowd; he said he believed everything written in the Law and the Prophets, he trusted in the resurrection of everyone, the only difference was that he worshipped God according to the Way, which his accusers called a sect. Paul said he was in Jerusalem bringing money for the poor among those who believed in the Way as he did. Felix, who knew about the Way, adjourned the proceedings until Lysias arrived. Several days later Felix, and Drusilla his Jewish wife, sent for Paul to hear about his faith in Christ, but when he spoke of righteousness, self-control and the Judgement to come Felix was afraid and sent Paul away. Felix hoped for a bribe to release Paul, so sent for him quite often to talk to him. After 2 years Porcius Festus replaced Felix and Paul was left in prison to please the Jews.

Application? – I may be wrongly accused just because I follow Jesus Christ. The Lord may not release me from prisons of mind or ill-health, even though I, and others, pray fervently for my release. There may well be some who will want to discuss Christianity with me who will not, apparently, become Christians. I will be happier if I am willing to accept the confines of my ‘prison’.

Frances
Aug 13th 2010, 05:33 PM
Acts 25

What does the text say? – The High Priest asked Festus to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem for trial, intending to have him killed on the way, but Festus refused. When in Caesarea, Festus sat in Judgement on Paul when unprovable accusations were made against him, and he appealed to Caesar, rather than be tried in Jerusalem as Festus suggested. Before long King Agrippa and his wife Bernice went to Caesarea and Festus discussed Paul’s case with Agrippa, who said he’d like to hear what Paul had to say. Next day the prominent men of Caesarea, Felix and Agrippa tried Paul in the auditorium, so Agrippa could hear what Paul had to say, and Felix decide what to write about him to Caesar. Paul gave his testimony including his Vision of Jesus on the Damascus road, and said that he’d faithfully witnessed to Jesus ever since - telling all people to repent, turn to God and demonstrate their repentance in the way they live. Festus said Paul was going mad, but Agrippa said he was almost persuaded to become a Christian. Agrippa told Festus Paul could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.

Application? – Are there times when I would be wise to say nothing? Do I take every opportunity to tell how Jesus has changed my life? Do I say, whenever I have the opportunity, that Jesus offers New Life to all who truly repent, turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by a life lived for Him?

Frances
Aug 14th 2010, 05:07 PM
Acts 26

What does the text say? – Paul and the other prisoners were taken on a ship by soldiers commanded by the centurion Julius. They were to sail along the coast of Asia. At Myra in Lycia the centurion put his prisoners aboard an Alexandrian ship going to Italy. As the wind was against them they sailed along the sheltered coast of Crete, arriving at Fair Havens near Lasea, but the harbour was not sufficiently sheltered to over-winter there, so it was decided to sail for the safer harbour of Pheoni. They set sail when the wind dropped, but soon a dangerous gale developed. The sailors fixed ropes around the ship’s hull to strengthen it. Then the anchors were thrown out, but that didn’t stop their headlong rush, so they threw the cargo and ship’s tackle overboard. The storm lasted many days, all hope of survival was gone, and no one had eaten for days. Paul said they should have listened to him and not left Crete, and he prophesied the loss of the ship but no loss of life. After the storm had raged for 2 weeks the sailors realised they were close to land, so dropped the anchors, and started lowering the lifeboat, but Paul told the officers they’d all die unless all the sailors stayed on board, so the soldiers cut the ropes and let the lifeboat go. As all 276 of them had fasted for 2 weeks Paul urged them to eat. In the morning all the wheat was thrown overboard and the ship run aground as close as possible to the shore; then everyone either swam, or held onto debris from the ship, to get to shore.

Application? – Do I think my training enables me to always know best? Do I seriously consider suggestions others make, whoever they are? Do I continue to trust God whatever the calamities surrounding me are?

Frances
Aug 15th 2010, 05:02 PM
Acts 27

What does the text say? – They discovered the island was Malta and those who lived there were unusually kind, starting a fire for them. When Paul put some sticks on the fire a viper fastened onto his hand so, unharmed, he shook it off into the fire. The natives at first thought Paul must be a murderer then, because he was unharmed, a god. The local magistrate gave Paul and his companions hospitality, his father Publius was sick with fever and dysentery; Paul prayed and laid hands on him, and he was Healed. Then others on the island with diseases came and were Healed too. 3 Months later Paul and his companions set sail, in an Alexandrian ship, for Rome where Paul was allowed to live in a house he rented with a soldier guarding him. Paul sent for the leading Jews and told them why he had appealed to Caesar, and they set a day for Paul to tell them about the Way, as it was spoken against everywhere. When they gathered, Paul explained and testified all day concerning Jesus, from the Law and the Prophets; some did not believe but some were persuaded that Jesus was their Messiah. Then Paul lived there another 2 years and no one stopped him telling all who went to him of the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Application? – am I always kind to unexpected strangers? Do I make quick judgements about people which are, in fact, wrong? Do I offer hospitality to strangers? Do I pray for, and lay hands on, the sick in Jesus’ Name? Do I make good use of my time on earth, telling others of Jesus and His Kingdom? Not everyone I tell of Jesus will put their trust in Him.

Frances
Aug 16th 2010, 05:29 PM
Acts 28

What does the text say? – They discovered the island was Malta and the natives were friendly and unusually kind; they started a
fire for those from the shipwreck. Paul gathered some wood and as he put it on the fire a viper fastened onto his hand – so he shook it off into the fire, and he was unharmed. The natives thought at first he must be a murderer, but when he didn’t die from the snake-bite they decided he was a god instead. The local magistrate, whose father was sick with fever and dysentery, gave Paul and his companions hospitality; Paul prayed and laid hands on the sick man and he was Healed. 3 months later they set sail in an Alexandrian ship for Rome. In Rome Paul was allowed to live by himself with a soldier guarding him; he sent for the leading Jews and told them why he had appealed to Caesar. They then set a day for Paul to tell them about the Way, as it was spoken against everywhere. When they gathered Paul explained, and testified all day concerning Jesus, from the Law and the Prophets; some didn’t believe but others were persuaded that Jesus was their Messiah. Then Paul lived another 2 years in the house he rented, and no one stopped him telling all who went to him of the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Application? – Am I always kind to unexpected strangers? Do I make quick judgements about people that are, in fact, wrong? Do I offer hospitality to strangers? Do I pray for, and lay hands on, the sick in Jesus’ Name? Do I tell everyone who comes to my home about Jesus Christ? Do I realise not everyone I tell about Jesus will believe, and trust, in Him?