Monday, February 19, 2018

Timothy Joins Paul's Team

Faith in Action

Self-controlled, Upright and Godly Faith

The Good Fight of Faith

Acts 16:1-5 The Message

A Dream Gave Paul His Map

16 1-3 Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn’t offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek.
4-5 As they traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size.

For Reflection

Well, All I can say is, "OUCH!" Timothy endured great pain and the potential for life-threatening surgery to become Pauls protege. Now, that's commitment!   Timothy's mother was a Jewish Christian and his father, a heathen, was Greek. Mixed marriages were common among the Jews in Ephesus.

Known for his piety, Timothy was to take charge of the church at Ephesus. Timothy's circumcision was necessary so that the Jews would accept him as a teacher. It was right that they would be taught by one of their own and selected to lead by a group of their own. It suited the nature of both God and man.

Pray

Pray for those who teach the Word.  Pray that those who hear the Word and are transformed by their understanding. Pray so that your trust in the Word grows deeper. Pray that your commitment to the Word grows stronger.

Forward to a friend

Friday, February 16, 2018

Aeneas Healed, Residents Turn to God

Faith in Action

Self-controlled, Upright and Godly Faith

A Disciplined Faith

James 2:8-13 The Message

Acts 9:32-35 The Message

Tabitha

32-35 Peter went off on a mission to visit all the churches. In the course of his travels he arrived in Lydda and met with the believers there. He came across a man—his name was Aeneas—who had been in bed eight years paralyzed. Peter said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!” And he did it—jumped right out of bed. Everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him walking around and woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them.

For Reflection

The Bible is filled with miraculous physical healings.  The failing of humankind is a desperate case.  This desperation is most visible when we are utterly without the strength to help ourselves.  It is then we turn to God.

We are quickly misled to assume that if we have the faith of Peter or Paul, we too could heal. Then when we fail to heal, we think we do not have sufficient faith.  We neglect to realize that they did not heal by their own power. Because Peter directed, Aeneas asked, and God gave. Physical healing is the sign that nothing is beyond the power of the Holy Spirit to heal, not even death.

As Peter instructed, we should use the power God gives us to foster, within our human limitations, spiritual and physical healing. 

Pray

Make your life a creative gift or healing grace.

Forward to a friend

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Phillip's Preaching Ministry

Faith in Action

Self-controlled, Upright and Godly Faith

A Disciplined Faith

Acts 8:4-8 The Message

3-8 And Saul just went wild, devastating the church, entering house after house after house, dragging men and women off to jail. Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries. Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Message about Jesus. Going down to a Samaritan city, Philip proclaimed the Message of the Messiah. When the people heard what he had to say and saw the miracles, the clear signs of God’s action, they hung on his every word. Many who could neither stand nor walk were healed that day. The evil spirits protested loudly as they were sent on their way. And what joy in the city!

For Reflection

Some give their lives to teaching and proclaiming the Gospel.  For some, the Word is a threat, for others an invitation to salvation.

They were ordinary Christians, scattered by persecution. They engaged all with whom they met with the marvelous message that freed one from the hopelessness of their secular lives. They were not self-appointed public teachers or those who founded churches or those who administered baptism. Because their souls were full with the promise of the holy spirit, their authority was unquestioned.

Isn't it ironic that persecution was the very thing that promoted that which their persecutors wanted to destroy?

Pray

Locate your prayers in your willingness to pass on the hope in the Gospel to all who will listen. Pray not with your words alone, but also with your works.

Forward to a friend

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Peter's Healing Ministry

Faith in Action

Self-controlled, Upright and Godly Faith

A Disciplined Faith

Acts 5:12-16 The Message

They All Met Regularly

12-16 Through the work of the apostles, many God-signs were set up among the people, many wonderful things done. They all met regularly and in remarkable harmony on the Temple porch named after Solomon. But even though people admired them a lot, outsiders were wary about joining them. On the other hand, those who put their trust in the Master were added right and left, men and women both. They even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on stretchers and bedrolls, hoping they would be touched by Peter’s shadow when he walked by. They came from the villages surrounding Jerusalem, throngs of them, bringing the sick and bedeviled. And they all were healed.

For Reflection

Worshiping just outside the temple in what was known as Solomon's colonnade or porch, the new believers met regularly in in harmony. They were known as healers.They put their lives online to help the sick.
The sign of a Christian is his or her willingness to heal at all costs. It is the willingness to give one's life to healing that reveals one's conviction in the Holy Spirit. It is the authentic call to God's grace. It is the reason for being.

Pray

Pray that you will be known for your restorative grace.

Forward to a friend

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Care for the Widows and Children

Faith in Action

Self-controlled, Upright and Godly Faith

A Disciplined Faith

James 1:22-27 The Message

22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25 But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

For Reflection

Your religion is defined by what you say, but your faith is determined by what you do.  You say that you follow all the rules, yet you turn away from those that do not measure up.  You say you are blessed, yet you do not take the time to be a blessing to others. You say that you are humble, and yet you thank God that you are not like one of "THEM."

You say you are full of grace, and yet the secular world contaminates you. Look into your mirror with the eyes of Christ and become the person who Christ sees.

Pray

Look into your soul and fill it with the compassionate love for all of humankind.  Displace the notions of self with the convictions of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Widow's Son Restored to Life

Faith in Action

Self-controlled, Upright and Godly Faith

Faithful Disciples

1 Kings 17:17-24 The Message

17 Later on the woman’s son became sick. The sickness took a turn for the worse—and then he stopped breathing.
18 The woman said to Elijah, “Why did you ever show up here in the first place—a holy man barging in, exposing my sins, and killing my son?”
19-20 Elijah said, “Hand me your son.”
He then took him from her bosom, carried him up to the loft where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he prayed, “O God, my God, why have you brought this terrible thing on this widow who has opened her home to me? Why have you killed her son?”
21-23 Three times he stretched himself out full-length on the boy, praying with all his might, “God, my God, put breath back into this boy’s body!” God listened to Elijah’s prayer and put breath back into his body—he was alive! Elijah picked the boy up, carried him downstairs from the loft, and gave him to his mother. “Here’s your son,” said Elijah, “alive!”
24 The woman said to Elijah, “I see it all now—you are a holy man. When you speak, God speaks—a true word!”

For Reflection

Elijah met a woman at a well and as he was instructed by God, asked the woman for food.  Elijah ensured the woman that even in this famine, she would have sufficient food for him and her family.

Later, the woman's son died and she blamed Elijah for exposing her sins which lead to her son's death.  Elijah's prayers revived her son and the woman recognized Elijah's special relationship to God.

As God has done with this widow, God will take care of your physical needs and your spiritual needs.  As the widow, your trust in God will be confirmed by God's generosity. 

Pray

Prayer brings you closer to God and increases your trust in his generosity and grace.  Pray about all things and listen for God's whispered truths.

Forward to a friend

Friday, February 9, 2018

Say only Yes or No

Faith in Action

Self-controlled, Upright and Godly Faith

A Disciplined Faith

Matthew 5:33-37 The Message)

Empty Promises

33-37 “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

For Reflection

Our world is filled with empty promise.  Promises are expensive.  An idle promise compromises the faith you hold so dear.  A promise is not a tool to gain compliance.  It is a sign of your commitment to the love of God.  Do you really want to waste the grace of your faith by taking oaths you cannot or will not honor or failing to fulfill a promise

Pray

Pray that your word is known to be truthful and reliable.

Forward to a friend