Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Like a butterfly leaving a cocoon (Acts 13:13-34, Philippians 4:19, Psalms 119:105, Rev 20:6)

"Caribbean Blue Butterfly"
Butterflies give us hope that we also will be beautiful in the end.

Today I had to go to the dentist again... argh!  One of my teeth broke 2 times so I went to a new dentist.  Had to get a crown.  It feels much better but today I found out I'll need another crown next week.  I don't know if it hurts when butterflies come out of their cocoons.  But it sure is a wonderful reminder of how God is making us more beautiful as we grow in Christ.  A lot of people in the USA are frightened about what's going on with Israel and the other nations.  But God knows what's coming next and we just need to trust Him.  He will not forsake Israel ever.  He will also not give up on us.  And even though crowns really hurt in the fixing, it's wonderful to have no pain in my teeth when it all heals.  I think that's what it will be like in Heaven.  No more pain.

13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
So in the last chapter, Paul came back from Tarsus.  In this section, Paul defends Israel, he acknowledges both Jews and Gentiles (us) worship God.  The significance of Israel's ancestry is very important.  Israel was a man chosen to build the nation.  He got the name, "Israel" by wrestling with God.  To me it doesn't seem like a good idea to wrestle with the Almighty.  But God was so pleased with him, He named him, "Israel."  And they most definitely became a great nation.  Jerusalem is their capitol city.  Even in 2015, people try to take their land.   The good news is, when Jesus takes us to the New Jerusalem, the wars will finally end for Israel.  Before then there will be 1000 years of peace where Jesus will reign.

I've wrestled with God at times too.  He likes to see us thinking and waiting for His call.  Personally, I believe God delights to see us reading His Word.  When I was working in programming, I'd panic when my contract jobs ended.  So the Lord would bring this verse to mind:
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:19)
Then I 'd get a call for another job...  The Bible is full of great advice and what God really wants us to do. 
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
(Psalms 119:105 NIV)
In this part of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul reminds the Jews of their inheritance.  And explains what it means to those of us who are Gentiles.   Can you see God's plan with the Apostle Paul through this?  He studied under the top Jewish teacher, "Gamaliel."  How cool is that?  God had been preparing Paul for an extraordinary ministry all along. 

Jews were in Egypt for 40 years.

16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18 for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; 19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

God gave them judges so Moses could govern without getting worn out.  Moses' Father-in-law, "Jethro" suggested he set up a small claims court for minor problems and a more serious court for  major offenses.  It reminds me of the way the US and England are set up. We have small claims up to the Supreme Court.  

“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him:‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do. ’
Saul didn't turn out to be a very good king.  He was nice looking but not very good with people.  So God chose David as the Jewish king.  Jesus was born of the house of David.  He is the only Son of God. This is the short version of the interaction between Jesus and John the Baptist:

23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said:‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’"

26 “Fellow children of Abraham (Jews) and you God- fearing Gentiles, (Us) it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
Jesus was innocent.  He committed no sin.  He only died for us, so we could be forgiven.

32 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:
“‘You are my son; today I have become your father. ’

34 God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David. ’"

And now we're waiting for the second coming of Jesus.  In Revelation it says:
6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6 NIV)

Many believe this will happen on earth.  We will actually be able to live in peace for 1000 years. Plenty of time for a good nap : )

Here's my prayer-

Heavenly Father,
I thank You and praise You for all You have given us.  I pray You will restore our nation. Many people are discouraged with the turn of events in the USA and especially Israel.  I know that nothing is impossible for You.  I pray You will bless Israel and provide peace.  Please protect us from this President's ambitions and give our House and Senate boldness to fight the good fight.  I pray You will guide us to elect a qualified President in the next elections.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Here's a song from Big Daddy Weave, "The Only Name," (link)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dynamic Duo's (Acts 13, Isaiah 43:18-19, Luke 6:38)

"God blessed us good!"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Last week I cleaned out one of my cupboards and realized how I needed to get rid of some of my thoughts from my past too.  This week my husband and I went to do the grocery shopping and I realized the cupboard was full of canned foods we hadn't eaten. So we put most of it in a bag and gave it to the local food bank.  Thoughts of hungry children came to mind.  I made up our meals using some of the food we already had, and had a nice low grocery bill.  I kept thinking of families who needed this food more than we do.  That's the Holy Spirit's nudge : )

Let go of the past, confess to the Lord, forgive yourself, others, and move on. 
18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert."
(Isaiah 43:18-19 NKJV)
Give to others and find joy,
38 "Give, and it will be given to you:  good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
(Luke 6:38 NKJV)
If you remember, Paul was so volatile that Peter asked him to go back to Tarsus for awhile.  So while he was there he shared the gospel.  While he was gone, Peter helped the Christian Churches accept him.

Acts Chapter 13
1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers:  Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
Although Paul was rough around the edges at first, the Lord led him to write most of the New Testament letters.  Also, Paul had been taught by the top teacher in the Synagogue, Gamaliel.  This knowledge would be very helpful for Paul to share.  So as the new Church tried to understand how things fit, Barnabas (a really nice man) and Paul, a Jewish scholor, became a dynamic duo.  In the New Testament the disciples went in twos a lot. 


Preaching in Cyprus
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.

They would have been in ancient Greece.  John spent many hours with Jesus.  He was a kind man who learned not to jump to conclusions from Jesus.  He always felt loved with Him.  Me too.  I think his time with Jesus also helped him learn much of the New Testament.  He wrote the book of John.  These are some of my favorite verses from Jesus to John:
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. ’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.  (John 3:7-8 NKJV) 
To me, that means today the Lord led me to share canned food at a foodbank and work on my blog.  Tomorrow, I will probably have another asignment.  The Holy Spirit inspires us. We might not even realize at first : )

6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar- Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”

I think there's two dynamic duo's in this section:  Peter and Barnabas, and then John joined them.

The Sorceror was in the AD series about the Bible on TV.  I hope they release the movie in many languages so others can see and understand it.

And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
(Acts 13:1-12 NKJV)

Here's a song from Kim Walker, "We Cry Out" (link)

Christianbook.com is having a Clearance sale on Bibles, music and all sorts of stuff.  Enjoy!