JULY 17-23 DO YOU COUNT YOUR STEPS?

July 17 – (Acts 23:23-35) According to some commentaries, Lysias sent approximately half the Roman soldiers in Jerusalem to protect Paul. Antipatris was 35 of the 62 miles by road from Jerusalem to Caesarea (v. 33). This was a difficult but not impossible distance for soldiers to march in the cool of the night (Wouldn’t you say they got their “steps” in that night!).  Only the 70 “horsemen” (v. 32) continued on to Caesarea. These are interesting details that again support the fact that God’s plan and purpose for our lives will not be thwarted.


July 18 – (Acts 24:1-21) The closest thing to an actual trial for Paul took place before Felix when the Jews from Jerusalem brought their charges against him.  Felix was not persuaded.  He dismissed the court but continued to hold Paul in custody.  Felix spoke frequently with Paul in private.  All of these “trials” may have come about just so Paul would end up conversing in private with Felix about Jesus.  Was all this worth a moment to share the gospel with one man?  Selah


July 19 – (Acts 24:22-27) How long was Paul in custody in Caesarea?  Who was allowed to take care of his needs?  To whom did he testify?  Paul seemed to use every place he was in to affect anyone around him. He did this whether he chose to be there or was forced to be there.  This makes me think of places my steps have taken me, that I really don’t enjoy being at.  What can I say or do at those moments to bring His presence there for me or someone else?  Think of two places you don’t necessarily enjoy being at.  Ask God what He placed you there for.  Then take courage and make that an “out-post” of heaven! 


July 20 – (Acts 25:1-12) Paul practiced many things in his life.  Discipline was one of them.  He seemed disciplined before believing in Jesus.  He seems disciplined afterwards.  One of the main reasons that Paul was used so greatly by God was because he was greatly disciplined by God as well.  This puts a different slant on the word “discipline”, doesn’t it? Paul had to go through many difficult times so that he’d be sharpened into one of the greatest men the Church has ever known. He was learning to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide him.  We all go through difficult times.  Let’s remember it is discipline to follow God’s steps for us no matter what it looks like at the time.  It is bringing us closer (if we allow it) to His transforming image!


July 21 – (Acts 25:13-27) We need a little background.  Agrippa the king was Agrippa II, son of Herod Agrippa and great-grandson of Herod the Great.  He ruled over several minor, primarily Gentile territories.  The emperor Claudius had given Agrippa II rule over the temple in Jerusalem.  He also gave him the right to appoint the high priest.  Bernice was his sister and constant companion.  One source said they were living in open incest.  Needless to say, Paul was given audience to people who needed to hear of God’s love in sending Jesus.


July 22 – (26:1-11) Festus asked King Agrippa for advice on Paul’s case.  When King Agrippa asked to hear Paul’s case, Paul recounted how Jesus had changed his life.  Of Paul’s three “defense” speeches (chs. 22,24,26), this one before Agrippa gives the most detailed explanation of the gospel. Why do you think that was?   Paul had to tell them about his past.  He had to admit or voice publicly, his sin before he could explain how God had forgiven him and cleansed him, which set a new course for his life.  How do we testify today?  Do we try to expound on the “miracles” of God in our life and not show “where we have come from”?  Selah


July 23 – (26:12-23) As Paul continued to testify, his hearers were “almost” convinced to believe in Jesus.  They wanted to free him but felt restrained because Paul appealed to Caesar.  If Paul had not appealed to Caesar, he probably would not have had an opportunity to testify to those needing to hear God’s message of love on this day.  God orders our steps.  Let’s make those steps count. 

JULY 3-9 FREEDOM! AMERICA - IN CHRIST

July 3 – (Acts 19:1-10) What did they begin calling disciples of Christ at the time?   Do you remember when a Bible was produced with these words on the cover?  Do you remember that some felt this was sacrilege because it didn’t say Holy Bible?

                It says in verse 10 that all residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. That amazes me! All residents heard….  I’m sure Asia was not as far-reaching as it is today but they reached “all residents in a 2-year span!  Anyone want to do some research to put this in perspective?


July 4 – (Acts 19:11-20) God is very creative in all things.  We see here that God validated His spokesman in some very creative and remarkable ways.  He worked through Paul’s own hands in extraordinary ways, displaying His power to these people.   Then He shows the people who had the appearance of being His spokesman…. but was a counterfeit. 


July 5 – (Acts 19:21-27) Lives were coming to Christ but some businesses were beginning to fail.  Can you think of any other businesses in those times that would have failed?  What about today?  Do we hurt certain businesses because of our lifestyle?  Do they even notice?  Something to ponder….


July 6 – (Acts 19:28-41) The theater in which this riot took place held more than 20,000 in Paul’s time.  It was the place people gathered for town business meetings. That seems like a large space! Gaius and Aristarchus were eventually released.  Aristarchus reappears later as Paul’s companion.  The Asiarchs were the keepers of the imperial Roman cult in Asia. They were concerned about the safety of their fellow citizen Paul.  The town clerk was the chief administrative officer of the city.  The sacred stone that fell from the sky probably refers to a meteorite.  Meteorites were associated with Artemis worship. The proconsul was the head of government in a Roman province.  The town clerk’s reasoning shows the Christian gospel was not contrary to Roman law and did not disrupt public order. Now that we have defined some of these words, go back and reread these verses.  Does it give you greater understanding? 


July 7 – (Acts 20:1-6) In verses 1-16, Paul is ministering in many places.  Three of these will later become letters from Paul encouraging these new Christian small groups.  Name three that Paul wrote letters to.


July 8 – (Acts 20:7-16) In studying the book of Acts, we are seeing the direct fulfillment of our Lord’s promise.  In Acts 1:8, Jesus told His disciples they would be witnesses even to the remotest part of the earth.  Paul, on his third journey to regions beyond, is wrapping up his three-year stay in Ephesus.  He is about to travel hundreds of miles enroute to Jerusalem, some over land, most by water.  In these twelve verses, we find him and his companions amid several different reactions to the message…but they press on regardless.  This is a good lesson to learn in perseverance!


July 9 – (Acts 20:17-38) As Paul is talking about his journey of testifying of Jesus in the cities.  What things did he have to look forward to in Jerusalem (v.22)?   What I noticed was “bound in the Spirit”.  Paul not only knew where he needed to go but also knew the Holy Spirit would only reveal what to say at the time he needed to testify.  So many times, I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to interact with someone but if I don’t have what to say ahead of time, I chicken out in initiating the conversation to begin with.  This reminds me that God will always give us the words to proclaim His Glory “at the time” He designs.  Trusting Him for the words in the moment He designs, is what I am working on.  Selah

June 26-July 2 Recognizing Miracles in Our Lives

June 26– (Acts 16:11-24) Verse 13 intrigued me. They went outside the city to pray. They sat down by the riverside with the women there.  Interesting.  I pictured woman doing laundry.  I also supposed it was a place where men and especially leaders of that area would not be. In this humble place, strong supporter for Paul and Christians would find the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  God can use every place we are to draw “all men (and women)” to Him!


June 27 – (Acts 16:25-40) Paul and Silas were praising God in jail and an earthquake freed all the prisoners vv. 25-34).  Isn’t the greater miracle that none of the prisoners left the jail?  Read verses 25 again. Could it have been that the worship and presence of God was so real that the prisoners felt it and didn’t want to leave God’s presence? Now that’s the power of praise and worship!

                Paul used his Roman citizenship to deal with the magistrates.  Was Barnabas (the one Paul did not want to bring along) a Roman as well?  Could this have been the reason Paul and Barnabas went separate ways?  Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but it gives me cause to remember again that God allows only good for us as His children.  Selah!

DID YOU KNOW? Silas was a Judean Christian and a leader in the Jerusalem church.  He is known by the name “Silvanus” in the N.T. epistles.  He worked closely with the apostle Peter, and delivered Peter’s first letter to its recipients in Asia Minor (I Pet. 5:12)


June 28 – (Acts 17:1-9) Did you notice how Jason and the followers were “let go”?  I’ve heard personal stories of missionaries having to buy their way out of situations.  My “concrete thinking” struggles with that sometimes, yet here God has put it in the scriptures.  It amazes me how my belief system about certain things can be so messed up.  It also amazes me how God’s Word reveals those “messed up” areas and what thinking needs to change.  Want to share something that the Lord has shown you that needs to change in your thinking or belief system?


June 29 – (Acts 17:10-21) We again have mention of leading (prominent) women coming to believe in Jesus.  I would love to know how they impacted the immerging “church”. I am reminded again that all women are born leaders.  It may not seem that way but the fact that we were given the awesome responsibility and privilege to bear children shows us that.  God would not have created us to “grow” children in the womb and not “grow” them in this world to reflect His likeness and for His Glory.  I’m sure you can affirm children need to be lead! Selah


June 30 – (Acts 17:22-34) No matter where Paul was led to tell the gospel, He adapted to the crowd just enough to “get on their level” so they could apply what they were hearing.  The people of Athens had so many gods they worshipped.  Paul understood where they were coming from, what their felt needs were and spoke to them from that point.  If we are to reach our world today, we would be prudent to do the same.  Selah


July 1 – (Acts 18:1-17) We know that the Jews have been scattered many times throughout history.  Here are two familiar names connected with Paul because they were “scattered” yet again.  What were their familiar names (vv. 1-4)?  Do you see how their “uprooting” caused something good in their lives as well as their new neighbors?

                Was Paul ever afraid (vv. 9-11)? What did it take to give him courage to carry on?  This reminds me that God knows what we need and will always supply us.  (Phil 4:19)


July 2 – (Acts 18:18-28) Sponsored by the church in Antioch of Syria, Paul begins his third missionary journey in the spring of A.D. 52 (18:23-21:16). He traveled by foot through the region of his first mission on into Galatia and Phrygia.  On the second missionary journey the Spirit had prevented him from continuing west into Asia (16:6).  This time Paul heads directly west toward Ephesus.  It always helps me to get a map of his journeys so I have a visual.  

 

June 19-25 WHO (OR WHAT) DO YOU WORSHIP?

June 19 – (Acts 14:8-18) In verses 8-18, Paul prays for and God heals a man. The people then want to worship Paul.  Paul and Barnabas try to explain that God is the source but the crowd wants to sacrifice to them!  I   think it was because the people were idol worshippers and just added Paul and Barnabas to their list of idols to worship.  As we see something working in our lives, do we depend on that more than on God?  That could be idol worship.  Let’s take another look at our lives and see who or what we depend on the most.  Selah            


June 20 – (Acts 14:19-28) My how the attitude changes with just a few persuading them that Paul and Barnabas are evil (or have done wrong things).  First, let’s be very careful about voicing our “opinions” about the motivations of fellow Christians. Next, how do we react when we are persecuted because of our faith? Do you think they rejoiced that their tribulations were so much like what they saw Jesus go through?  And yet today when we face any tribulation because of our faith, we think we have sinned or are not in God’s perfect will.  Maybe we need to get a different perspective and “count it all joy”!


June 21 – (Acts 15:1-11) Do you think this is the beginning of division of the early church?  Today we’ve divided over all kinds of things.  Name a few different denominations and how they are different in how they believe.  What are the ‘sticky’ points?  What is the common ground?  How are we confusing the new believer and what are we doing about it?


June 22 – (Acts 15:12-21) When some apostles had begun to leave Jerusalem for a wider witness, the Jerusalem leadership was continued by others.  Jesus’ brother James had a prominent role (12:17; 21:18-25). At the Jerusalem council, James supported Peter’s conclusions about a “circumcision-free” Gentile mission and offered a suggestion for establishing fellowship between Jewish and Gentile Christians. James refers to the “prophets” (v.15), showing that he could appeal to more than one OT text to defend the inclusion of Gentiles by faith alone.  There is an allusion to Isa. 45:21. James concentrated however on Amos 9:11-12 which anticipated the time when God would restore the house of David and claim a people for Himself from among the Gentiles. James agreed with Peter that the time of including Gentiles in God’s people had arrived.


June 23 – (Acts 15:22-35) Once they had come to an agreement whether Gentiles needed to keep laws the Jewish people had practiced, they sent extra confirmation (in the form of some “common folk”) back to Antioch.  Once they delivered the letter, they stayed and encouraged the people as prophets. I bet they needed the Holy Spirit and prophetic words as they were having to change their belief system to a whole new way of thinking.  I’d say I need the same thing.  I need the Holy Spirit to teach me how to think and speak and act against “unrighteous beliefs” I have followed.  Selah


Jun 24 – (Acts 15:36-41) First there was division between groups of believers.  Then there was division between the two active heads of evangelism in the church.  Was one right and the other wrong?  Was God trying to get more ground covered by dividing them? God is so creative in how makes each of us unique…. for a special purpose in His kingdom.  We have different ways of looking at things and showing His glory.  These differences can cause division among the brethren.  The only way God can work and get glory from these differences is when we approach each other (and the differences) through God’s eyes of love.

                DID YOU KNOW? Paul’s second missionary journey centered on the cities of the Greek provinces of Macedonia and Achaia, including Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth.  This second journey probably began in A.D. 47 or 49 and ended in 51.


June 25 – (Acts 16:1-10) Paul and Silas were traveling to different cities preaching the gospel.  There were two areas the Holy Spirit prevented them from entering.  What were they?  Why do you think they weren’t supposed to go there?  Do those regions show signs today of not having the gospel at the beginning?  Does the Holy Spirit ever tell you not to go somewhere?  Oh…to be so tuned in to the Holy Spirit moment by moment so that you are right where God wants you….to show His Glory!


June 12-18 Extravagant Miracles & You!

June 12 – (Acts 12:6-19) God has truly delivered Peter from death in an extravagant way.  Peter had a very hard time believing it was really happening.  The Christians he went to, had a hard time believing it as well.    Herod would not believe it was from God and as a result the guards were killed.  As unbelievable as a miracle may be, it is still a real miracle.  When miracles happen in our lives, let’s not think of it as any less.


June 13 – (Acts 12:20-25) Herod Agrippa I was a grandson of Herod the Great.  He grew up in Rome, where the future Roman emperors Gaius (Caligula) and Claudius were his childhood playmates. It was largely due to these friendships that Herod was granted rule over various territories in Judea.  Herod was a violent persecutor of Christians, perhaps because he believed such persecution would help him gain favor with the Jews (v. 3).  He executed James, and had Peter put in prison.  Following a well-received speech given to the people of Tyre and Sidon, Herod was enthusiastically praised as a god.  Rather than reject the people’s worship, he embraced it.  The Bible says that because of this demonstration of godless pride, an angel of the Lord immediately struck him down, and he died a gruesome death (v. 23).


June 14 – (Acts 13:1-12) What was the sorcerer’s name?  What was his translated name? Do you think there are false prophets today?  How are they drawing people away from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?  What about us ‘common Christians’, do we misrepresent Christ in our lives and words?  Selah

DID YOU KNOW?   Chapters 13 & 14 relate Paul’s “first missionary journey.” Sent by the Antioch church, Paul and Barnabas witnessed on Cyprus and in the southern cities of the Roman province of Galatia.  


June 15 – (Acts 13:13-25) In these verses, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Antioch in Pisidia.  The rulers of the synagogue ask for a word of encouragement.  Paul encourages them by retelling what God has done in their lineage in history.  It is always encouraging to recount how God has ordered your steps and guided you to where you are today.  Let’s remember…

            DID YOU KNOW?  Antioch in Pisidia was one of 16 cities that the Syrian king Seleucus named after his father Antiochus.  The city had a large Jewish population and the high status of being of Roman colony, probably Asia Minor’s most important.  Designed to be a smaller version of Rome, it was organized into seven districts and possessed all the amenities that Rome afforded.  These included an aqueduct, bathhouse, and most notable, its large sanctuary devoted to emperor worship.


June 16 – (Acts 13:26-41) As Paul is continuing his history lesson and God’s purpose in those events, I come to verses 36. “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in His own generation…”  I’m asking myself, “Am I serving the purpose of God in my own generation?”  Selah


June 17 – (Acts. 13:42-51) Barnabas and Paul spoke first to the Jews and when they rejected Christ, they then spoke to the Gentiles.  This was foretold in Isaiah 49:6. In this rejection by the Jews, they incited a specific group of people against Paul and Barnabas.  Who were they? I know it was common to incite prominent and devout men but it seemed rare that women are included (because of their cultural significance of that time).  Do women today have more influence than in Bible times?  In what way?  In my observations, I’m realizing how much impact wives have.  Though the man is to be the head of the marriage, I’ve noticed that eventually the head is turned to the attitude or direction that the wife has and sets.  It makes me fall at Jesus’ feet and ask Him to totally direct my will and emotions toward Him alone.  I don’t want to direct anyone anywhere but to His Presence and Glory.  Selah


June 18 – (Acts 14:1-7) Paul’s witness in Iconium followed the pattern in Pisidian Antioch; he began in the synagogue.  Both Paul and Barnabas are referred to as apostles (vv. 4, 14).  The word has the general meaning of “one who is sent.”  It is also used throughout the NT as a more technical term for someone chosen and commissioned by Christ for the proclamation of the gospel (Matt. 10:2; Luke 9:1; Acts 1:2,15-26).  Paul understood his calling as an apostle to be like the calling of the original Twelve in the technical sense, because he had seen Christ on the road to Damascus and had been specifically chosen and appointed by Christ (9:15; 26:16-17).

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June 5-11 Peter! What did you do?

June 5– (Acts 10:1-8) God uses every position He places us in, so that His glorious plan can happen.  I can picture that with Cornelius. He was a centurion of the Italian Cohort. A Cohort usually consisted of 600 men under the command of six centurions. In remote areas, such as Judea a Cohort might have as many as 1,000 men.  Centurions were paid as much as five times the pay of an ordinary soldier, so Cornelius would have been socially prominent and wealthy.  Cornelius was also a devout man who feared God.  A “God-fearer” was a Gentile who worshiped Israel’s God but who had not submitted to Jewish conversion rites.  Cornelius followed two of the primary expressions of Jewish religion – prayer and alms giving. The ninth hour was 3 P.M. and was a set hour of prayer for Jews according to later tradition.  After the vision, Cornelius obeyed his directive…. but I see he used wisdom from above in whom he chose.  Two servants (probably loyal to him but not soldiers) and a devout soldier (probably one who would not harm a Christian, but see him safely brought to Cornelius.)  Does this description help you see God placing the right person at the right place “for such a time as this”?  Please know God does that every day with each of us.  Can you see it? Selah


June 6 – (Acts 10:9-33) This is the other half of God setting up an intersection of specific people so that His Word goes forth.  Both parties had to listen and obey even when it went against their “traditions”. When Peter was asked to stay in Joppa, God brought about another meeting that would change the direction of their “evangelizing” forever.  Recount how Peter came to preach to Cornelius and his household.  This is a “change of events” that got Peter directed from evangelizing the Jewish nation to including Gentiles as well.  Can you see God’s hand orchestrating your life as well?  He does it with love and mercy and grace whether we see it or not!  Bless His Name Forever! 


June 7 – (Acts 10:34-43) Peter seems to make 7 distinct points in these verses. See if you can pick them out: 1. God shows no partiality in persons (Aren’t you thankful your heritage was included?)  2. Jesus came as a Man through whom God worked in love and power.  3. When Jesus arrived He destroyed the effects of evil everywhere.  4. They put Jesus to death by hanging Him on a tree. (Even the Romans thought this was a most shameful way to die. Cicero, the Roman orator, said, “The cross is so terrible that it should not be mentioned in polite company.”) 5. God raised Jesus on the third day and made Him manifest to chosen witnesses.  6. Jesus commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that He is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead (10:42).  7. Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins through His name (10:43)


June 8 – (Acts 10:44-48) The Holy Spirit interrupted Peter, just as He had on the Day of Pentecost, and what He did here is very significant.  Peter had just given these people something to believe, the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Then he told them, “The prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins.”  As soon as Peter’s audience heard these words they believed. And immediately upon believing they received the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus said they would.


June 9 – (Acts 11:1-18) The Christians in Judea heard that Peter was with the Gentiles.  To the Judeans, eating and staying with Gentiles (or anyone disreputable in their thinking and customs) would be to agree with who they were and what they believed in.  In others words, you became one of them.  They had some serious questions about Peter and asked him.  After his revelation was revealed, they accepted it as from God.  Do we do the same thing with fellow Christians today?  When we have heard disparaging words about a fellow Christian do we go to that person and ask the hard questions to clarify the truth of the matter?  I have been affected by Christians who did not follow this principle.  I realized I can’t “fix anything”, especially when I am not confronted.  What “good” has come from these experiences? I am much quicker to go to that person to “reason out”.  I also remind myself “judge not lest you be judged”. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal truth about any situation. Selah


June 10 – (Acts 11:19-30) “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenician and Cyprus and Antioch” … (v. 19). Phoenicia was in the area of present-day Lebanon.  Its primary cities were Tyre, Sidon, and Ptolemais. Antioch (modern Antakya) was the largest city of the area and capital of the Roman province of Syria.  It had a population of a half million or more.  Only Rome and Alexandria were larger in ancient times. With the establishing of a church at Antioch and its outreach to Gentiles, the focus in Acts now shifts from Jerusalem to Antioch.  How did the Christians in Antioch know there was going to be a famine in Judea (vv. 27-30)?  What did they do about this knowledge? How do you think their relocation to Antioch helped them send relief to their brothers in Judea? Have you been “relocated”? As the Lord leads, how do you “help” those in need around you?


June 11 – (Acts 12:1-5) Herod Agrippa I was a grandson of Herod the Great.  He grew up in Rome, where the future Roman emperors Gaius (Caligula) and Claudius were his childhood playmates. It was largely due to these friendships that Herod was granted rule over various territories in Judea.  Herod was a violent persecutor of Christians, perhaps because he believed such persecution would help him gain favor with the Jews (v. 3).  He executed James, and had Peter put in prison.  This execution was during the days of Unleavened Bread which was the seven days following the Passover meal, and were considered holy and were not to be violated by an execution.  I understand why Herod the King had no qualms about killing James during this time but it says the Jews were pleased by this act.  How could they be so wrong in their thinking?  Are we ever “so wrong” in our justification today? Selah

MAY 29-June 4 Travels in Acts

May 29 – (Acts 8:1-8) We have just seen what happened to the first deacon (Stephen) in his following the Lord.  In this passage, we now hear about the second named deacon (Philip).  Where was he sent?  Persecution was scattering the committed Christians.  Do you see a purpose in this persecution?  It’s amazing to me again, how creative God is.  The persecution caused the Christians to scatter.  That scattering spread the gospel.  When you are scattered, let’s say due to health or worldly obligations, does the gospel get spread to where you go?  Selah


May 30 – (Acts 8:9-25) Who was attracted to the miracles done through Philip by the power of God?  He believed on Jesus and was baptized and followed Philip.  Explain how he was saved but still needed some very important “renewing of the mind”. Does this apply to us as well?  Did you notice in verses 21-23, Philip is operating in the gift of the word of knowledge?  We just studied that last week in our study on the Holy Spirit.  That gift is still given today!


May 31 – (Acts 8:26-39) Philip was being led in many ways by the Holy Spirit.  We would say he was a mighty man of God.  Can that kind of description be said of us today?  What must we do? Are we willing to make the sacrifice?  Selah


June 1 – (Acts 9:1-9) Saul is now confronted by the God he was trying to protect by persecuting the Christians.  It’s amazing to me how we can have such good (and we think holy) intentions for our actions but they may be the very thing that is discouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can convict and guide us into righteous acts. 


June 2 – (Acts 9:10-19 a) As I am reading these verses, I get a picture of Saul being highly esteemed ….in the worlds’ leaders’ eyes.  But it is this very position that will later gain entrance to the worlds’ leaders as Saul tells of his miraculous conversion.  Saul went places the other disciples would not have easily been allowed into or brought into out of curiosity.  Who do we think are never reachable for Christ? They may be the very ones, that once redeemed are a “Saul turned Paul” to the world.  Pray for them.  

            DID YOU KNOW? Ananias. There are three different men named Ananias in the book of Acts (see 5:1; 9:10; 24:1). The Ananias who was apparently the first believer to welcome Paul after his conversion is a positive example of obedience to the Lord (9:10-19).


June 3 – (Acts 9:19b-31) Because of Saul’s reputation before his conversion, the Disciples of Christ had a hard time accepting Saul. I need to explain something here that I needed clarification.  It seems now that when it speaks of the apostles, it is speaking of the original disciples.  The disciples are now those who accepted Christ through the preaching/ministering of the original disciples (now called apostles). So, in verses 26-27, Saul was not believed by the disciples (those converted after Christ’s death and resurrection) so one man (Barnabas) took him to the apostles (the original Disciples of Christ) who believed Saul was truly converted).  In each new city, Saul seemed to have to prove himself all over again.  But with Barnabas to vouch for him, he was accepted by the brethren and able to be effective in his witnessing by the telling of his testimony.  Has the testimony of your conversion ever caused others to consider Christ as their Lord and Savior?  All our conversions have been eternal-life-changing, for at least one person! Someone out there will relate to your testimony!


June 4 – (Acts 9:32-43) 7/2) Acts 9:32-43 ~ When Peter went to Lydda, who was healed through his ministry there?  Joppa was very near to Lydda and because news spread to Joppa of the healing in Lydda, who was healed in Joppa? Do you see God’s hand fitting the puzzle pieces together?  There’s more “fitting” to come! 

 

MAY 22nd-28th Fasting and the Holy Spirit -2

Day 8

How Can a Christian be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Part II

      1.   How then are we filled with The Holy Spirit? (Matthew 7:7-11)

 

         2.   Will the Holy Spirit fill you if you ask Him?

 

        3.   How do you know? (I John 5:14-15)

 

        4.   What must you do when you have asked Him to fill you? (Hebrews 11:6)

 

        5.   Now that you have asked The Holy Spirit to fill you, thank Him.  God is dependable; His Word is true.  If you were sincere, He has filled you.  What should your attitude be from this day forward?  (I Thessalonians 5 :18).

 

           Do you believe that you are filled with The Holy Spirit at this moment?  If so, thank Him that you are filled.  Thank Him for His indwelling presence and power.  Thank Him by faith for victory over defeat, for effectiveness in witnessing.  Praise God and give thanks continually.

Prayer Focus:

            Pray for your co-workers, classmates, neighbors.

            Confess any sins.

            Pray for all government workers.

            Pray for the elderly, lonely, homeless, orphaned, widowed.

            Pray for whatever/whoever else that the Holy Spirit is bringing to our mind.

 


Day 9

How Can a Christian know when he/she is filled?

Read Galatians 5:16-26

      1.   What is the primary way that we can know if we have been filled with The Spirit? (I John 5:14,15)

        2.    When you asked to be filled with The Spirit, did you feel any different?

            Do not depend upon feelings.  The promise of God’s Word, not our feelings, is our authority.  The Christian lives by faith (trust) in the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Word. 

        3.    What will The Holy Spirit demonstrate in and through your life, as a result of His filling you? (Galatians 5: 22,23)

        4.    What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit?

        5.    What mannerisms, language, activities and inconsistencies in your life do you feel hinder The Holy Spirit’s fruit, power and gifts?

        6.    What happened as we are occupied with Christ and allow The Holy Spirit to work in us? (II Corinthians 3:18)

          Jesus promised that we would receive power after The Holy Spirit has come upon us.  After receiving power, we will naturally want to be His witnesses wherever we are. (Acts 1:8).  There is a difference between the fruit of The Spirit, and the gifts of The Spirit.

         When the fruit of The Spirit (Galatians 5: 22,23), is developed the Christians becomes more mature spiritually.  The maturing of the fruit of The Spirit is a lifelong process which goes on continually as Christ is being formed in the life of the Christian.  Some Christians give greater evidence of the fruit of The Spirit than do other Christians because of a greater degree of yielded-ness to His working.

         The more we acknowledge ourselves to be dead to sin and give allegiance to The Lord Jesus Christ, and His life within us; and the more we allow Him, through the power of The Holy Spirit to live out His life through us; the more evidence will be the fruit of the Spirit.

Prayer Focus:

            Praise and worship God for the evidence of The Holy Spirit in your life.

            Confess what fruit of the Spirit is lacking in your life.

            Ask and thank the Holy Spirit for His help in aiding you to develop/cultivate the fruit of His Spirit in your life.

            Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and in the Middle East area.

            Pray against terrorist attacks all over the world.

            Pray for the persecuted church missionaries, and the Bod of Christ.

            Pray for a closer/surrendered walk and relationship with God.


Day 10

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Part I

Read I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4:11.

         There are three different things that need to be distinguished in a person’s life.  There are: 1. natural talents/abilities.  2.the fruit of The Holy Spirit.  3. gifts of the Spirit.

         At our natural birth, we are given gifts of talent and abilities.  Someone may be able to play musical instruments, others may have a natural talent towards art, carpentry, sewing, or memorization of facts.  These are only a few examples.

         The list could go on and on.  These are examples of natural talents and abilities given at one’s natural birth into the world.  Natural talents can be the avenue in which our spiritual gifts are used.

         When we are born again, and receive Christ into our lives; The Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. The fruit of The Spirit is the manifestation of a spiritual life; a Spirit-led life.  If the Holy Spirit is in control and leading your life, you will exhibit evidence or fruit of His control.  Review Galatians 5: 22,23.

         At conversion, when we are born again, The Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us; He then gives us spiritual gifts.  These gifts are given to us at our spiritual birth.  These gifts are given to every believer to empower him/her to serve within the framework of the Body of Christ.

       In simple terms, a spiritual gift is a Spirit-given ability for Christian service.   God is a God of variety.  There are many gifts.

        1.   What are the spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12:3-8?

 

        2.   Match the gift from this passage of scripture, to its meaning/description.  You and a friend can compare.

        A.  ____________________ is sympathetic

        B.  ____________________ leadership

        C.  ____________________ speaking to men to edify, encourage, comfort, urge, the act of persuading or encouraging someone to do something usually to improve behavior.

        D.  ____________________ helping others.

        E.  ____________________ instruction.

        F.  ____________________ service.

        G.  ____________________ comfort, instruct, encourage, strengthen, support others.

Prayer Focus:

            Sing a worship song to the Lord.

            Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit may be bringing to your mind.

            Thank God for His Indwelling Spirit.

            Thank Him for the gifts of the Spirit.

            Pray for a closer walk and relationship with God.

            Thank God for His Son, Jesus Christ, the sacrifice of His son in dying for your sins, and for placing you into the family of God.

            Pray for your lost loved ones.

            Continue to pray as the Holy Spirit leads you.

 


Day 11

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Part II

Read I Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30.  The gifts here are listed into three natural categories.  List them.

         The word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and discerning of spirits are called revelation/mind gifts.  The gift of prophecy, divers kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues are called gifts of inspiration/vocal gifts.

         The gift of faith, gift of healing, and working of miracles are called power/working gifts.

Explanationof each Gift

Word of wisdom:  This is supernatural insight, or revelation into the divine will and purpose, showing how to solve any problem that may arise.

Word of knowledge:  That is supernatural revelation of divine knowledge, or insight in the Divine mind/will/plan; and also the plans of others that man could not know of himself.

Discerning of spirits:  This is supernatural revelation, or insight into the realm of spirits to detect them or their plans, and to read the minds of men.

Prophecy:  This is supernatural utterance in the native tongue.  It is the miracle of divine utterance, not conceived by human thought or reasoning.  It includes speaking unto men to edification, and to exhortation and comfort.

Divers kinds of tongues:  This is supernatural utterance in other languages which are not known to the speaker.

The interpretation of tongues:  This is the supernatural ability to interpret in the native tongue what is uttered in other languages not known by the one who interprets by The Spirit.

Gift of Faith:  This is supernatural ability to believe God without human doubt, unbelief, and reasoning.

Gift of Healing: This is supernatural power to heal all manner of sickness without human aid or medicine.

Working of miracles:  This is supernatural power to intervene in the ordinary course of nature and to counteract natural laws if necessary.

Prayer Focus:

            Worship, praise and thank God for His spiritual gifts.

            Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what your gifts are.

            Ask Him to show you ways in which you could serve your church and others with your gifts.

            Ask Him to heal all of your inner hurts, bitterness, and wounds.  Forgive those who have hurt, wounded, disappointed, rejected, and mistreated you in any way.  Pray for them to be healed, helped, saved, and blessed.

            Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in the rest of your prayer time.


Day 12

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Part III

      1.    Read Ephesians 4:11-13.  List the 5 gifts mentioned in these verses.

 

 

         In the previous lessons, lessons ten and eleven; you learned about the gifts that The Holy Spirit gives to the Christian once he/she gives their life to Christ.  In this lesson, we will learn about the gifts of people, that Jesus Christ, Himself gave to the Body of Christ to help grow the Body of believers, into the ways of God, and into spiritual maturity.

         These are five different types of ministers that are gifted to The Body.  They are usually placed in leadership of a Body.  That is the reason why you may see a difference in the way a minister/preacher of the gospel, presents the message.  It is because of what type of gifting that Jesus bestowed upon them.  Each type of person/gift is needed to bring balance into the overall ministry and equipping of the Body of Christ.  Let’s look at each one:

            a.   Apostles:  a delegate, one sent with full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the one doing the sending remains behind to back up the one sent.  God sends them to do what He; Himself would do if He went.  This is one who is sent. This one has the ability to serve in another culture.  This is the missionary gift.  This one is also a church planter.

            b.   Prophet:  One who speaks for God; preachers of righteousness; they forth tell and can foretell.  Prophets instruct, warn, exhort, rebuke, and remind others of God’s Word relevant to a particular situation in a current context.  The gift of prophecy is The Spirit-given ability to proclaim the written Word of God with clarity and to apply it to a particular situation with a view to correction or edification. 

                  The prophet can be the most misunderstood/rejected of the fivefold ministry gifting because of the types of messages that they may be instructed to give by God. Some of the messages may be ones      of correction and warning.

            c.   Evangelists:  A bringer of glad tidings; soul winner.  It is the special ability to communicate the Gospel message in relevant terms to unbelievers.  It is the gift of proclaiming The Good News of salvation effectively, so that people respond to the claims of Christ in conversation and in discipleship.

            d.   Pastor:  shepherd, one who tends the flock.  Those with this gift will guide, graze(feed) and guard the flock.  Some may have the shepherding gift, but may not be called to the office of pastor.

            e.   Teachers:  Those who teach The Word of God. The gift of teaching is the supernatural ability to explain clearly and apply effectively the truth of The Word of God.

        2.   What are the seven duties of ministers? (Ephesians 4:12-13)

 

 

 

Prayer Focus:

            Pray for those who are in leadership in your congregation.

            Thank God for the gift of people that He has placed in your life.

            Pray for the ministry of angels to be activated in your life, your church family, and the lives of your family and friends.

            Pray for revival in America, the healing of America, the plans /purposes of God to be established in America: and the enemies plans/purposes destroyed for this country, your life, your family’s lives, your church, and the lives for those you have been praying for.


Day 13

How can a Christian continue
to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Read Ephesians 5:18. “Be filled” in the Greek, means “keep on being filled constantly and continually.”

        1.   How to continue being filled with the Spirit:
   a.   In prayer, we must not only pray for ourselves, but

                       for_____________. (Ephesians 6:18; I Samuel 12:23)

    b.   We must___________________ daily (Acts 17:11)

    c.   We must abide in Christ.  How do we do that?

                       (John 14:21; John 15:10)
 

 

     d.    Read Ephesians 4:30-32.  How do we grieve the Holy Spirit?





      e.     How do we get rid of sin in our lives? (I John 1:9)

 

 

        f.     What does the Holy Spirit want to do for us? (Romans 8:13)

 

          The Spirit-filled life is an obedient and abiding life.  Begin each day by asking God to cleanse your life according to I John 1:9. Present your body to The Holy Spirit according to Romans 12:1-2, and ask Him to keep you filled with His power.  Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to men who are lost.  Be sensitive to His leading.  Expect others to come to Christ through your witness.  Don’t quench The Spirit by failing to respond.  Rejoice in all things, praising God even in adversity I Thessalonians 5:18; Romans 8:28.

Prayer Focus:

            Put into practice what you have observed, through the previous guided prayer focuses.  Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into praise, worship, confession of sins, thanksgiving, and prayer requests.

 


Day 14

Review and more facts on the Holy Spirit

Using the following Scriptures, give more facts about the Holy Spirit.

         1.   John 14:16-26:  He is our ______________________________.

         2.   Romans 8:14:  He L______________________ us.

         3.   II Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 3:21:  He C___________________ us.

         4.   Acts 1:8:  He gives us P________________________.

         5.   Ephesians 3:16:  He S_________________________.

         6.   I Corinthians 6:19-20:  He I_______________________ in us.

         7.   John 16:8:  He C_________________ us of our guilt.

         8.   John 16:26:  He T___________________ us.

         9.   Ephesians 4:30; He can G_____________________.

 

         The Holy Spirit can lead us by The Word of God (The Bible), by inner promptings, by other believers, by dreams and visions.  Please be aware that not all dreams and visions are of God.  Some are caused by our emotions, demonic influences, our own inner desires, something we ate, something physical or emotional that may be going on inside of us.

         It is wise to seek guidance and confirmation from mature/spirit- filled believers when you are unsure about the source of your dreams and visions.

         The Holy Spirit changes us, gives us power, gives us strength and lives in us.  He corrects us, teaches us, and can experience sorrow and other emotions.  He is part of the Holy Trinity: God The Father, God The Son, God The Holy Spirit.

        10.  Name at least five other things that you have learned about the Holy Spirit.  Share and compare your results with others who have participated in this study.

Prayer Focus:

            Put into practice what you have observed through the previous, guided prayer focuses in this study guide.  Allow The Holy Spirit to lead you into praise, worship, confession of sins, thanksgiving and prayer requests.

 

 

 

 

May 15th-21st FASTING AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit

14 day Devotional, Prayer & Study Guide  By Joe and Sharon Thrower

Now that we've spent a little time in Acts, we are going to do a deeper study of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. During these two weeks we are fasting - asking The Holy Spirit for more of Him.  Jump in , it will do the "BODY" good! 

First things First

         Before we embark upon this wonderful experience of discovering who the Holy Spirit is, and how He plays an important part in our lives, we want to make sure that He is living/dwelling within us. 

         God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins.  When we believe on, accept, and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; He promises that His Holy Spirit will come and live in us.

Please ponder the following spiritual truths from God’s Word.

1. God Loves You.

“For God so loved the world [this includes you and me], that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16).

2.  Jesus Is The Only Way To God.

“Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (John 14:6).

3.  You Are A Sinner.

“There is none righteous, no not one.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:10,23).

4.  The Result Of Sin Is Spiritual Death.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 6:23).

5. Jesus Paid The Penalty For Your Sin.

Jesus, Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness.”  (I Peter 2:24).

6. You Can Be Saved From Your Sin.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

(Romans 10:9).


A Life Changing Experience

         Before we can know God, we must be in right standing with Him.  

That’s what it means to be made righteous or to be cleansed from all unrighteousness.  If you want to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, pray this prayer sincerely from your heart:

Dear God,

     I now understand that I am a sinner and that you loved me enough to send Jesus to pay the penalty for my sin.  Please forgive all my sins and make me clean in Your sight.  I invite Jesus into my heart and life to be my Savior.  I will turn from my sin and live for Jesus.  Amen.

         If you prayed this prayer and sincerely meant it, then you are a new person inside.  The Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 

(2 Corinthians 5:17) From this day on you will never be the same.  The Holy Spirit entered your life to help you live a new and changed life in Christ.  Your life will take on a new meaning as you seek to discover the special plan God has for you.  By reading the Bible, God will guide you and give new direction for your life.  Knowing God and living for Jesus is indeed a life-changing experience.

GETTING STARTED IN YOUR NEW LIFE

Here are a few suggestions that will help you get started in your new life with Christ.

      a.   Get connected with a church family.  Attend regularly, a church where Christ and the Bible are preached.

      b.   Learn to know Jesus better by reading the Bible every day.  You could start with the Gospel of John.

      c.   Talk to God in daily prayer, in the name of Jesus.

      d.  Tell others that you are a new Christian.

      e.   Praise God:  in prayer, in worship, and in conversation with others.

      f.    Tell others about salvation through Jesus Christ.


5/15/17                                                         Day 1

Who Is The Holy Spirit?

         What do you know about The Holy Spirit?  What does the Holy Spirit mean to you personally?  Jesus promised in His apostolic commission that the Holy Spirit would give us power to be His witnesses.  “But you shall receive power when The Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8).

         The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is not some vague, ethereal shade, nor an impersonal force. He is a person equal in every way with the Father and the Son.  All of the divine attributes are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.  Personality is composed of intellect, emotions and will.

1.  In Corinthians 2:11, what indicates that The Holy Spirit has intellect?

2.  In Romans 15:30, what indicates that He has emotions?

1.   Does the Holy Spirit have a will? (I Corinthians 12:11)? ______________

2.  Read John 3:18. Summarize this passage in your own words.

Prayer Focus:

            Invite the Holy Spirit to lead your life.

            As Him to help you to live your life totally obedient and surrendered

            unto God.

            Begin to praise and thank God for His Son, Jesus, who died for your

            sins; for His indwelling Holy Spirit; and for who He is.

            Continue to pray for whatever the Holy Spirit brings to your mind.


5/16/17                                                          Day 2

The Nature of The Holy Spirit

         The first reference to The Holy Spirit is made in Genesis 1:2. His influence is noted throughout the Old Testament, but it becomes more pronounced in the life and ministry of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Finally, after our Savior ascended to be at the right hand of the Father, the place of power: He sent The Holy Spirit to be the “Comforter” or “Helper” (John 14:26) and John 15: 26).  The Greek word for comforter or helper is Paraclete, meaning the “one called along beside” the Christian as a companion and friend. Also, the one who “energizes,” “strengthens” and “empowers” the believer in Christ.

What do we learn about the nature and operation of The Holy Spirit in each of the following references?

1.  John 14:16

2.  I Corinthians 3:16

3.  Romans 8:2

4.  John 16:13

5.  Hebrews 10:29

6.  Romans 1:4

Prayer Focus:

            Adoration:  Begin to worship and praise God for His Holy Spirit, for His greatness, and for who He IS.

            Confession :  Confess and ask for God’s forgiveness for any sins that The Holy Spirit may be bringing to your mind.

            Thanksgiving:  Thank God for His Son, for His perfect care, for your family, for food, clothing, shelter, continue to thank Him for. . .

            Supplication:  Pray for any unsaved loved ones.  Pray for your individual family members.  Pray for your neighbors.  Pray for your church family and leaders.  Pray for whatever/whoever else that The Holy Spirit may be bring to your mind.


5/17/17                                                             Day 3

Why The Holy Spirit Came

         The Holy Spirit came to bear witness to The Lord Jesus Christ and to glorify Him.  As Jesus had come to exalt and reveal The Father; The Holy Spirit was sent to exalt and glorify The Son, Jesus Christ. It logically follows, then, that the more we allow The Holy Spirit to control our lives; the more we shall love and serve The Lord Jesus Christ, and the more we shall be conscious of His loving presence.

            1. Read John (16:13-14).  What is the chief reason why the Holy Spirit came?

            2. What will be the logical result when The Holy Spirit controls our lives?

            3. According to John 15:8, how is The Father glorified?

            4. Read Romans 9.           

Prayer Focus:

            Adoration:  Begin to sing a song of worship unto God.

            Confession:  Confess and ask forgiveness for anything that the Holy Spirit may be bringing to your mind.  Forgive anyone who has wronged you in any way.

            Thanksgiving:  Thank God for a new day, your family, for His provisions, for waking you up today, continue to thank Him for. . .

            Supplication:  Pray for spiritual, physical, relational, and financial growth of your church family.  Pray for the manifestation of the power of The Holy Spirit in your church services and your personal lives. Pray for whatever else that The Holy Spirit may be bring to your mind.


5/18/17                                                         Day 4

How is the Holy Spirit related to Every Christian?

Read Romans 12:1-8; I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 5:18

         At the moment of spiritual birth every Christian is regenerated, in-dwelt, sealed, guaranteed, baptized and filled with The Holy Spirit.  The act of regenerating, indwelling, sealing, guaranteeing, and baptizing the Christian into the Body of Christ; by The Holy Spirit, is a positional relationship and may or may not be accompanied by an emotional experience.

         As a result of this relationship with Christ, every Christian has the potential to witness with power, and to live a life of victory over sin.  This potential power, the life of Jesus Christ in every believer, is released by faith as the Christian surrenders the controls of his life to The Holy Spirit.  Since it is the ministry of The Holy Spirit to glorify Christ; Jesus Christ now has unhindered opportunity to work in and through the believer to perform His perfect will.

            1.  The Holy Spirit does a number of things for and to a person when he/she becomes a Christian (time of spiritual birth).  What are they?

                             A.  John 3.5

                             B.  I Corinthians 3:16

                             C.  Ephesians 4:30


                             D.  I Corinthians 12:13

                             E.  II Corinthians 5:5

            2.   Summarize in your own words what The Holy Spirit does for the Christian according to:          
           A.  Romans 8:16


           B.  Romans 8:26-27                

 

Prayer Focus:

            Praise and worship God.

            Confess any sins.

            Thank God for. . .

            Pray for the leaders of our land on the National, State, and Local levels.

 


5/19/17                                                            Day 5

What is the Spirit Filled Life?

      1.   What is the main reason we are to be filled with the Spirit? (Acts 1:8: Acts 4:29-30)

      2.   According to Ephesians 5:18, is it commanded or suggested that we be filled with the Holy Spirit?

      3.   What are two additional results of being filled with The Spirit (Ephesians 5:19,20)?

      4.   Can a person be a Christian and not have The Holy Spirit dwelling in Him (Romans 8:9)?

      5.   What work of The Holy Spirit is necessary for successful Christian living and service (Ephesians 5:18)?

         The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-filled life.  The Spirit-filled Christian is one who, according to Romans 6:11, has considered himself dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Christ is now on the throne of the life.  He Is Lord!  The Holy Spirit came to exalt and glorify Jesus Christ.  In order to be filled with The Holy Spirit, a Christian must be dead to self.  When he is dead to self, The Lord Jesus Christ, Who now has unhindered control of his life, can begin to express His love through him.

         Every Christian must be filled with The Holy Spirit in order to have the power to be a more effective witness for Christ.  Every biblical reference to the filling of The Holy Spirit, in both the Old and in the New Testament, is related to power for service and witness.

Prayer Focus:

            Praise and worship God.

            Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit may be bringing to your mind.

            Pray for our children and students at our schools and Universities.

            Pray for the infilling and baptism of the Holy Spirit.

            Pray for any personal needs, desires, wants, concerns.

            Thank God for His goodness, His Spirit, His Son, and for who He is.


5/20/17                                                          Day 6

Why are so few Christians Filled with the Holy Spirit?

      Basically, the problem involves the will.  Man is a free moral agent.  He was created by God with a mind and will of his own.

      1.   Read the following scriptures: I John :15-17; Galatians chapters 5,6; and Acts 5:1-11.

 

 

      2.   How does Paul describe himself in Romans 7:19, 20, 24?

 

     

           3.   Why are there so many unhappy Christians? (Galatians 5:16,17)?

     

 

           4.   What are the reasons so few Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit?

                          A.     Psalms 119:105



                              B.     Proverbs 16:18



                            C.     Proverbs 29:25

 

                 The lack of knowledge of the Word of God, pride, fear of what man will think, secret sins, worldly-mindedness, and lack of trust in God are some of the many reasons that so few Christians are filed with The Holy Spirit. There are so many more.  Name at least three more.

Prayer Focus:

            Praise and worship God.

            Confess any sins.

            Thank God for whatever comes into your mind.

            Pray for our policemen, firefighters, safety workers, those in our armed forces.

            Forgive and pray for anyone who has hurt, wounded, or mistreated you in any way.  Ask God to help/bless them.


5/21/17                                                          Day 7

How Can a Christian Be Filled with the Holy Spirit?
Part I

A desire to serve Christ and help others find Him should be your motive for being filled with The Holy Spirit.

Read Romans 12:1-2; I John 5:14-15; Acts 6:8; Acts 7:60

Steps on how to be filled with the Spirit:

      1.    What is the admonition found in Ephesians 5:18?

 

 

      2.    Why do we need to be filled with the Spirit? Read Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 1:8

 

      3.    What is the prerequisite to being filled with the Spirit according to John 7:37 and Matthew 5:6?

 

      4.    If our desire to be filled with the Spirit is genuinely sincere, what will we do? (Romans 12:1-2)

        

         The fruit of The Spirit is never an end in itself, but only a means to the end that we win men and women to Christ, which in turn will bring glory and honor to Him (John 15:8).

         There can be no unconfessed sin in our lives.  The Holy Spirit cannot fill an unclean vessel.  The Holy Spirit waits to fill you with His power.  Do not resist Him any longer.

Prayer Focus:

            Praise and worship God.

            Confess any sins.

            Give thanks to Him for . . .

            Pray for a fresh filling and baptism of His Spirit

            Pray for your nation, Israel, the nations of the world.

 

May 8th-14th Wise Words of Gamaliel

May 8 – (Acts 5:17-32) Here is another miracle that is seldom talked about considering “breaking out of jail” (vv. 17-25).  Does this remind you of Resurrection morning in any way? Does it remind you of when the leaders tried to lay hands on Jesus but He just “passed” through the crowd?  Is this part of “greater works will you do…”?


May 9 – (Acts 5:33-42) I couldn’t quite follow what Gamaliel was suggesting at first (vv. 33-39).  Was he saying they should kill the apostles and then all the followers would disperse?  I realized then that he was saying (but not admitting) that they had killed the leader already, so all they had to do was now wait and see if the “followers” would disperse.  His foundation was true… if it is man’s doing, it will eventually fail but if it is God’s doing, God’s purpose will be done!  Do you ever feel this way about situations around you?  It is so important to listen to the Holy Spirit guiding you. I was reminded of Gamaliel's response again this week. If it is of God…. Selah 


May 10 – (Acts 6:1-7) As the number of disciples were multiplying, a complaint arose against the Hebrews by Greek-speaking Jews (Hellenists) because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.  The Hellenists were those Christians born and raised in provinces away from Palestine so they had not learned Hebrew but spoke Greek so the church was divided by a language barrier. Do you see how the enemy can divide us today?  We also see the Hellenists murmuring.  Did they go right to the leadership with their valid concern?  I don’t know for sure.  What I do know is the Israelites murmured in the wilderness and God judged them for that.   Selah

                 Daily provisions were daily given out.  The elders (leaders or pastors) were doing all of the administration as well as seeking God and delivering the message to the people.  What was the solution to their dilemma?  Did you notice that Stephen was the first named “deacon”? Name the others. Do we follow that pattern today? 


May 11 – (Acts 6:8-15) Earlier in this chapter, Stephen is the first mentioned that was chosen to help with daily distribution.  He was one of these Hellenists or Greek-speaking Jews. He also gave his testimony with signs and wonders in several synagogues.  Freedmen (Jews who had been slaves in the Roman Empire and had later been set free) belonged to one of the synagogues. Another of the synagogues consisted of Jews from Cilicia and Asia. It’s interesting to note that the capital of Cilicia was Tarsus.  Paul was from Tarsus, so it is very likely he was part of this group.  Does this give you a different picture of these events?   


May 12 – (Acts 7:1-22) Stephen answers their accusations by giving a history of how God guided the Israelites from the beginning….and how they disobeyed God’s leading and kept getting off track.   Sometimes when we get off track, we need to look back at the journey to see if we are on the correct track.  Unfortunately, those accusing Stephen did not want to see the error of their ways….yet again.


May 13 – (Acts 7:23-43) The rejection of Moses’ attempt to reconcile two quarreling Israelites (ex. 2:11-15) illustrates Israel’s constant rejection of its God-sent leaders (Acts 7:35).  Here’s a question: Do you think the two quarreling Israelites were part of the Exodus forty years later?  If so, how do you think they reacted during that journey?  Have you ever been in something similar in relation to your spiritual journey?  Hmm…I’m pondering this. 


May 14 – (Acts 7:44-60) The “Stephen” the disciples chose as one of their first deacons, becomes an orator for Christ and one of the first martyrs.  I wonder how long he was a deacon before his Home-going. We also see Saul being instrumental in the beginning of this persecution of Christians.  This persecution causes them to scatter to other parts of the world…. which carries the gospel there as well.  When we lose our job, is Jesus moving us to another “mission field”?  Selah