Thursday, July 9, 2020

"The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends...  Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people... “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." - Acts 10:24, 27, 47
The summer months, prior to covid-19, used to bring a vast number of opportunities for inviting people to your home. The occasions may have been holidays, celebrations or just plain fun. At the end of the day everyone would leave, well fed and filled with fond memories. But, were they changed?
Cornelius was a man with great social prestige. I'm sure that he had many occasions to entertain family and friends.  Yet, this gathering was different than any other before. People didn't gather to eat, drink and be merry. They came together in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord had commanded Peter to tell them. (Verse 33) At the end of the night no one wanted to leave, because... they had been changed.
This is the question: will your home be open in the future for others to gather to hear the good news of Jesus? Will you make plans through the coming years to invite family and friends to hear a missionary, see a Gospel movie or have a Bible Study? Cornelius wasn't even converted yet, and he filled his house to evangelize. When was the last time someone left your home having been changed?

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

"When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus." - Acts 9:26-27
I well remember the first year or two after Bible College. I was seeking the Lord's direction for ministry and looking for any opportunity to preach. My pastor was a kind and gracious man who took me to ministerial fellowships and introduced me to fellow pastors. As a result, I was invited to preach at different churches and eventually one called me as their pastor. My pastor, George Bogan, (who later became my father-in-law) was a true "Son of Encouragement" (Acts 4:36) to me. Everyone needs a Barnabas.
Paul shook his world for Jesus. He had the courage and tenacity that very few men have. He traveled throughout his world three times with the gospel message and debated with the wisest men of the day. He wrote volumes of deep doctrinal truth that even Peter found hard to understand. (2 Peter 3:15-16) Yet, Paul needed an encourager to come along side and introduce him to the disciples in Jerusalem. Paul needed a Barnabas.
Be wise my friend, and don't try to go it alone. We all need someone who will be an encourager on the road of life. At the same time, there is someone that the Lord has brought into your life that needs you to be their encourager. Will you answer that call? Just remember... Everyone needs a Barnabas.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

"For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."" -- Acts 9:16
Suffer or success... Here we find two opposite polls. Many people are willing to give all they have to succeed, but not many are willing to suffer. They want great gain without any pain. But, what kind of gain will they have?
Paul was chosen of the Lord to suffer for the sake of his name. It was all about the cause of Christ. Today there are many who believe that Christians should be successful and prosperous. Yet, if they have to suffer for the Lord's name, they back off. They want great gain without any pain; even if the gain is the cause of Christ.
As we serve the Lord my friend, let us remember his words in John 15:20, "'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you." If the cause of Christ will be our gain, there will be pain. But, oh what a gain it will be!


Monday, July 6, 2020

"And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” ... And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing." -- Acts 8:29, 39
Some people are led toward making money. Others are driven toward success at any cost. Still others are all about living the "good life". In a very real sense, everyone is led by something. What is it that leads you?
Philip was led by the Holy Spirit. He willingly dropped everything to go where the Lord wanted him. When he had accomplished his task, he was off again, led by the Spirit elsewhere. As a result of going where he was led, Philip had the privilege to share the good news of Jesus with someone who was ready to believe. All this happened because he was at the right place at the right time.
That is the key to being led correctly my friend. When the Lord is the one leading you, it will be certain that you will be at the right place at the right time. Make the right choice every day; look for the Spirit of God to lead you step by step and you will be surprised how he will use you.


Sunday, July 5, 2020

"But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God." - Acts 8:20-21
We hear it all the time; "Everyone has their price!" There seems to be a general sense that everything in life can be bought. People have been known to buy freedom from justice, positions of power, as well as academic recognition. Some even believe that the good things of God are for sale. The truth is, God's blessings are reserved for those whose hearts are right with Him.
Centuries have come and gone, but very little has changed in the misunderstanding about the things of God. As much as Simon believed that the gift of God could be purchased, there are those today that give large sums of money to the church with ulterior motives in mind. They are persuaded that God will bring success to their business, and eventually they will have a special place reserved in heaven. But, they tend to forget, God's blessings are reserved for those whose hearts are right with Him.
Have you been convinced that God can be bought my friend? When you are ill do you seek His healing work by doing good works or giving large gifts? Such thinking is not far from the ways of Simon the magician. God freely cares for His children out of love and grace. These are gifts that can never be bought. Remember, God's blessings are reserved for those whose hearts are right with Him.

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Saturday, July 4, 2020

"On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria... Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." - Acts 8:1, 4

On two occasions, our family has moved to new church ministries. Both times the change has been quite a shock to our lifestyle. Yet, each change brought spiritual challenge and significant growth. When the Lord is in the change, it can be of great value. Change for the sake of change can be a real pain, but... change for God's sake will bring great gain.
The intriguing truth of this passage is found in this fact; Acts 1:8 begins to unfold in Acts 8:1. Persecution brought change in lifestyle and led to many believers moving to new and unfamiliar regions. Yet, wherever they went, they preached the Word and people came to Christ. While the change was frightening and very unsettling, it was for God's sake and... it brought great gain.
Great persecution may not be breaking out in your life, but events may be occurring that are bringing unexpected change. Since God is always in control, you can be sure that this change has divine purpose. Will you pray for the Lord's wisdom to get the most spiritual value out this change? Remember, when God is in the change, there will be great gain!


Friday, July 3, 2020

“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. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord" - Acts 7:30-31
D. L. Moody was a powerful and productive american evangelist of the nineteenth century. From his conversion in 1855 throughout the 1860s Moody grew to be quite the Christian worker and preacher. But on Sunday, October 8, 1871 he concluded his evening sermon in Chicago and shortly afterward a fire broke out, burning on until Tuesday afternoon, consuming much of what Moody had built. In the months that followed the young preacher came to realize that he needed to stop moving forward on his own, but first wait on the Lord for for His direction. Tragedy became triumph in Moody's life.
Moses had launched out on his own and murdered a man in the process. He was forced to flee for his life and spend the next forty years on the far side of the desert, shepherding flocks. At a ripe old age of eighty one would think that his usefulness was ended. All his youthful dreams and fervency were long gone with the passing years. But, the lesson was clear, until we breath our last, God is not finished with us. In the hands of God, the greatest tragedy can become a triumph.
Have you had a few fires or desert years my friend? Have your dreams and personal aspirations all gone up in smoke? Well, come alone to the wilderness bush and find the divine fire of new dreams and aspirations. Take time and listen for the voice of God and let him turn your tragedies into triumphs!