26 Mar 2017
March 26, 2017
Acts 17: 1-9
Now Paul and Silas traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was Paul's custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he interpreted the Scriptures to the people. He was explaining and proving the prophecies about the sufferings of the Messiah and his rising from the dead. He said, "This Jesus I'm telling you about is the Messiah." Some who listened were persuaded and became converts, including a large number of godly Greek men and also many important women of the city.
But the Jewish leaders were jealous, so they gathered some worthless fellows from the streets to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. "Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city," they shouted. "And Jason has let them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, Jesus."
The people of the city, as well as the city officials, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. But the officials released Jason and the other believers after they has posted bail.
How can anybody consider anyone else "worthless"? I had to read this reference a few times over because I kept getting stuck on the word 'worthless'. This really bothers me. Just like Trump flipping his focus from the wealthy to those less fortunate and changing his message....only to leave those less fortunate in the lurch, now that he's in office. Don't ever do this, folks. Don't ever believe anyone does not have value or worth. Because someone doesn't act in value or worth, per your standards, does not mean they are worthless, or not worthy, or, that it isn't being expressed, or within. Even the worst sinner (per God, not you) in the world has value and worth, if only to teach others what sin is, so another won't succumb.
Todays lesson is interesting to me. a synagogue is for the worship of God by Jews, yet there were godly Greeks there who were converted to believe in the Messiah-Jesus, as well as many important women of the city, and some Jews who were also converted. I've mentioned this before that it boggles my mind. Were the Jews allowing the godly Greeks in to convert them to their God, customs, etc.? And women being converted in the synagogue would have been huge back then, as well. No wonder the Jewish leaders threw a hissy fit. But how could they do what they did - devalue people, incite a mob, create a riot, as "men of God"? What testimony would THAT leave? Jealousy? Ya, that's godly....NOT! Then, they couldn't have or find who they were looking for, so they took others. Surely this reminds one of what is going on in the name of the new immigration action President Trump and his gang are trying to enforce?!
Treason? For believing in Jesus. I thought treason was a governmental, not a spiritual thing. Huh. Guess they didn't understand God and Jesus' Kingship vs Caesar's. Good old divisiveness rears it's ugly head....again.
How sad that Jason and the other believers had to post bail. It's sometimes comforting to know history repeats itself, and yet, as I watch what the U.S. President and Homeland Security is doing to wonderful people across America and in the world, this is the most shock filled, negatively awe inspiring and painfully nauseating observance, as was similarly done "back then", based on the lesson today.
The Jewish leaders said "Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are disturbing our city." It goes on to say, "The people of the city, as well as they city officials, were thrown into turmoil by these reports."
Ya. History repeats itself and the ACTIONS even have worth. AS in how NOT to act, believe, call names, divide, ETC.!
As we embrace the day chosen to remember Christ's death, and celebrate his resurrection from the dead and entrance into heaven, let us be reminded of how he bore stripes from having been flogged for the sins of the people, carried our burdens symbolic by carrying the cross as he led the way up the hill, and suffered mercilessly having been nailed to a cross, was mocked, and died, having taken upon himself our sins and the sins of the world. So much so, that he was disfigured from having been in hell on our behalf and unrecognizable to Mary, having risen the first time. But having been made whole by God, was able to return to complete his journey on earth, so you, and I, could learn about salvation/getting into heaven, how to live our lives, and about Holy Spirit, to prayerfully receive and be baptized by/with Holy Spirit. Oh, that we would all be raised to new glory in resurrection with him!
Scripture, via Paul, Silas, and/or Timothy as shared with us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to 'Always be joyful. Keep on praying. NO matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." The NASB, NIV, RSV, etc. state it essentially this way: 'Rejoice always, pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' NOTE: it says IN everything - as in - IN THE MIDST OF - not 'for' or 'because'. Yes, I've said this before and I'll continue to say it again.
NO ONE and NO journey is worthless, despite outward appearances viewed and declared such by those choosing to label as such.
Consider how much we are learning about how evil portrays itself in the world and the importance of coming together as a body of believers to help those around us. And the foundation needed of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit in every ones' lives to achieve true life....and life everlasting. Without THE Messiah, Jesus Christ, there is no heaven, nor forgiveness of sin, no freedom from evil. Only hell....from a Christian perspective. Please note: I cannot and will not discount the beliefs of other religions who believe in their glory, their god, but being a Christian means believing it is only through Jesus one gets to heaven. "....'For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, 'The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.' [Psalm 118:32] 'There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them." Acts 4:11-12.
'One day an expert in religious law asked Jesus how to receive eternal life. Jesus replied "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"
The man answered, " You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. 'And love your neighbor as yourself.'
"Right!" Jesus told him. Do this and you will live! Luke 10: 25-28
Let Us Pray
God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, forgive the sins of those who care and try to do better. For not doing their best, for not doing more. For those who don't care, but say they do, only do so in a painful, negative way to suit their own way, their own needs divisively, address them as you would. But thank you for giving them the freedom to make their choices like the rest of the world, for in their choices, those of us who are Christians, or who endeavor to become such, or those journeying in other positive religions, have learned how not to be, act, believe negatively, and helped us realize all the more of who you are, and who you are within us, and that those choosing other religions gods will do the same. All of us. That is not to say we do not sin, oh, yes, we do. But we labor not to, at least I try not to, which does not mean I do not, but it does mean I sorrow, and beg your forgiveness, when realized. May I not purposefully sin. Jesus, thank you for having been willing to carry on in the face of evil, and answering God in the affirmative, having honored him by following his ways, taking the journey, which allowed your life to make all things right for the rest of us who choose you as Lord and Savior on the path to heaven. I pray right now that the world will get right with you, God, and others' will choose their religions gods, so that we may all be safe from each other. For the majority of the worlds major religions all believe in one form or another to love your neighbor as yourself and to do for others as you would have them do unto you. Why must there be supremacy? Why can't we all just live in our own boundaries and share such with others? Why must we feel we own the dirt beneath us to the extent that no one can enter in need? Or that we cannot share in love? We may have nothing to give but respect, but respect we should certainly give. We don't even have to understand. But if actions are born of love, why not know that you, or another religion's god is within? Help us, Father. For we know not how we sin. And love us all the more unto righteousness. All have worth. Thank you. I love you. I praise you. Amen.
Grateful for God's lesson today?
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Let us hear from Paul as he prays:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'.
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Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'
"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11: 25-30
And the people said,
I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God. Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided. I encourage you to pray your own prayers as well.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
NOTE: I said it long ago, but let me say it again. If you are wanting to lead a group, start a church, or are confined in an institution, or live in a country where the Gospel is not preached, and you don't know what to say or how to say it, and yet feel led to share, teach, or preach, besides just reading straight out of the Bible and sharing what God puts on your heart, please feel free to share any or all of what I've written, if it will help you, as long as you include where it comes from, due to copyright laws. Jesus gave God's love and healing freely, as well as his message. Our responsibility is to get the Word out to those who need to hear it. If what I've written....by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit....or what he has said through me....has helped you, it may help others that you know. You are welcome to share it. God calls all of us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Please share it with the fullness of love that God, Jesus, Holy Spirit....and I....have given it. Amen!
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