Tag Archives: Paul

Daily devotional for 26 July 2017 – Hebrews 13:15-16

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Daily devotional for 26 July 2017 – Hebrews 13:15-16

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I want to encourage you with the words from Hebrews 13:15-16 (NIV):

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

The writer of Hebrews (Paul) makes is clear (and rightfully so, to my humble opinion) that believing in God is not a one way street where God is there for us. No, we are here to serve Him and not the other way around. This is also one of the things that is very wrong with the Word of faith movement (aka “prosperity” teachers), because they make us believe that God is there to work for us. If we want something than God will give it. Yes, He has told us to pray and receive, but with the clear addition that we have to ask for something according to His will. And we will only start asking and praying for the things we need as soon as we start becoming more serious in our faith.

Because we are here to serve God, God is entitled to receive sacrifices and praise from us. And God wants it also be that we not only praise Him directly, but also by sacrificing ourselves by doing good unto others.

Love growing in faith!

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 27

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 27

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 27th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul sails for Rome
  • The storm
  • The shipwreck

Paul sails for Rome

Paul (and other prisoners) were now put on a boat (under the guidance of a centurion called Julius) to sail to Rome. Along the way they stopped Sidon, where we see how God touched Julius heart by allowing Paul to go to friends there and let them provide for him. Even in times of difficulties we will see that God has not forgotten us and is providing for us. Without God in Paul’s life I don’t believe that Julius would have allowed this. So I urge you even in your hardest times to trust on God to provide for you!

At some point they arrived at Myra in Lycia where they found an Alexandrian ship that was going to Rome. During this voyage they had already lost a lot of time due to the wind working against them. And Paul knew because the Day of Atonement was coming close that it became more dangerous, therefore he warned all of them the voyage would be disastrous and that great losses would come to both the ship and the men. God will always warn us if danger is coming, so that we can let God guide us away from that danger. Listen to the Holy Spirit and don’t think you should not listen, because if the Holy Spirit speaks than He does so for a reason!

Unfortunately they did not listen and they continued their journey to Rome.

The storm

We now see that the storm indeed came and all the predicted losses indeed happened. In our lives we will not be exempt from storms, but God will warn, guide and protect us. After a certain moment Paul told them about his warnings, but also that from now on they should not lose their courage and continue and know that no more losses would be incurred (through God). He told them that an angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid as he will stand trial in Rome. And that God has graciously given him the lives of himself and the lives of all that sailed with him. God is so good! Then he warns them that although nothing would happen to their lives they should know that they would run aground.

The shipwreck

When the men feared that a shipwreck was imminent they were trying to leave the ship, but Paul told them to stay on the ship and know that they will keep their lives. Through the Holy Spirit all of them listened and stayed. Then he told them to eat again, because the last 14 days they barely ate anything. And the next morning they reached land without any lose of life. Their some of the guards were planning to kill all the prisoners, but God intervened on Paul’s behalf and touched Julius’ heart and all lives were spared.

Know that God is continuously with you and will protect you!

 

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 24

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 24

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 24th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul’s trial before Felix

Paul’s trial before Felix

5 days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some elders and a lawyer, named Tertullus. See how determined enemies of God are to try and take down true believers. Luckily we can rely on the protection of God!

When Paul was brought before Felix, it was the lawyer that opened his statement. Here we can see how he tries to flatter Felix so much to get him on their site. People that are in a trial against believers will use others means like flattering or lies to get the believer to be convicted, because they know based on the facts they have no chance. Also for this reason it is important to continuously rely on the Holy Spirit.

After the flattering they immediately started their lies about Paul that he was nothing but a troublemaker, while during his whole ministry he himself did not cause any trouble at all. In fact, it were always his enemies (with their hearts hardened by the devil) that made trouble against him.

See how Paul silently waited his turn and did not interrupt until Felix allowed him to speak and he thanked Felix to allow him to defend himself. He uses the truth as his defense telling that the only reason that he came to Jerusalem was to worship and that he did not make any trouble and that he has more than enough witnesses to that fact. He also was lead by the Holy Spirit by telling that his accusers had no prove for all their (false) accusations against him. He did admit that they way that he follows God, is considered by the elders as a sect, but that he also holds the law and believes in all that the prophets have foretold. Also that he has the same hope of the resurrection of both the righteous and wicked.

He came to Jerusalem after years of absence and clean and was only bringing offering for the poor. See how Paul does not fear the attacks of his enemies. We also need to put our faith on God to know even in time of attacks that God is always with us. Also he confronted the elders to bring those accusers from Asia if they have proof.

We see however that although this Felix was part of the rulers of the land (as a Roman) he did not dare to make a decision and stopped the hearing and to appease the elders he let Paul stay in jail for 2 years when he was replaced by Porcius Festus. That we are in fact right doesn’t mean that all people will do what is considered to be the right thing. Bug even in those time God is always with us, so don’t despair.

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 16

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 16

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 16th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Timothy joins Paul and Silas
  • Paul’s vision of the man of Macedonia
  • Lydia’s conversion in Philippi
  • Paul and Silas in prison

Timothy joins Paul and Silas

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Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple called Timothy lived. He was a disciple with a Jewish mother and a believer with a Greek father. The believers in Lystra spoke well of him, so Paul wanted him to join him. Because everyone knew of his Greek father, he had Timothy circumcised. We see that the main reason for his circumcision was to let people know that he was truly a believer. Although after Jesus died on the cross for our sin, circumcision was no longer required, he did it to show believers that he was truly a child of God. He made this decision to honor God, because by this people could see that he was truly devoted to God. We see that while they travelled from city to city that the churches were strengthened and grew in numbers. Sometimes God will require us to make steps in faith, so that it will help others to grow closer to God. So, I pray that we are also willing to make decisions that can help others to also grow in faith. Never feel to good to make decisions in your life, if you know that God will use that act of faith to help others to grow in faith as well.

Paul’s vision  of the man of Macedonia

In this part of Acts 16 we see how important it is to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God didn’t just gave us the guidance of the Holy Spirit for fun, but because this Gods way of protecting us.

We see that they were travelling through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, but that they were kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. We see that they reached the border of Mysia, but that they were stopped from entering Bithynia. Instead of forcing to go in they passed Mysia and entered Troas.

During that night Paul received a vision from God about a man from Macedonia to come over and help them. Not until this vision Paul and his travelling companions decided that God gave them approval to Macedonia.

For us it is also important to wait for God to get approval to do His work on His time and not our own time. If we do this, than we will see that it will be blessed when we undertake something.

Lydia’s conversion in Philippi

After the vision they travelled to Philippi in the region of Macedonia. They stayed there for a couple of days and on the Sabbath, they went outside the city gate to the river, where they expected to find a place for prayer. We see that they found woman there and they started to talk with them. One of the woman was Lydia. She was a worshipper of God and God opened her heart to respond to the message of Paul. She and her members of her household were baptized and after that she invited them to stay at their home. See how they continuously followed the Holy Spirit and through this God provided for them.

I pray that we all follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that God can protect us and guide us to the right place and persons we need in our work for God.

Paul and Silas in prison

At one moment Paul and Silas went to the place of prayer and were followed by a slave that was possessed by a fortune-telling spirit. With this spirit she earned a lot of money for her owners. She kept shouting the reason that Paul and Silas were there: that they were servants of the most high God, who were telling everyone the way to be saved.

She continued to do this for days and after a while Paul became annoyed by this and addressed the spirit in her directly and commanded the spirit in the name of God to leave her, which it did. See how we can command spirits to leave as long as we do it in the name of God!

After this the spirit left her and she could no longer tell the future. This made her owners very angry and they captures Paul and Silas. See how not everyone will be happy when we save people in the name of Jesus. They brought them to the magistrates and told everyone that they were causing problems and soon they had people joining them and they got the magistrates to strip them and flog them. Afterwards they were thrown in jail.

Instead of being in despair they used their time in prison to pray and sing hymns to God, which other prisoners could also hear. How beautiful and amazing that God will use everything in our life to His benefit! At that moment an earthquake took place and all doors were opened of the prison and the guard was about to kill himself afraid of the repercussions on his life. But Paul immediately told him not to do it, because all prisoners were still there. This had such an impact on the guard that he went to Paul and Silas and asked how he could be saved. They told him to believe in the Lord. See how God let all this happen so that this guard could be saved and become a Christian! Wow!

That same night he and his household were baptized and they were taken to the house of the guard were they were treated for their injuries and got also food. The next day the magistrates ordered him to release Paul and Silas so they could leave. but Paul did not agree with this, because as Roman citizens they were punished and thrown in jail without a (fair) trial. Because the magistrates knew they were wrong and hoped that Paul and Silas would leave quietly, so that they would not be embarrassed by their actions.

Know that God will make sure that if we have to suffer because of our work for God, that God will make sure that the people that do us harm, will be the ones that will be punished for it. After they appeased by the magistrates they went to the house of Lydia were they first encourage them, before they left.

God is so good!

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 14

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Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 14

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 14th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • In Iconium
  • In Lystra and Derbe
  • The return to Antioch in Syria

In Iconium

Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue in Iconium were spoke so effectively that Jews and Greeks believed. But unfortunately there were also Jews that did not believed and they started to poison the minds of people there to stir them up against these two workers for God. Know that when you do the work of God, that you can be met with a lot of resistance, because not everyone will believe and agree with the word of God. When they learned that a plot was made against them, God made sure that the fled to the towns of Lystra and Derbe. This chapters shows how God will make sure that we will not be harmed, when we are carrying out His work even in the most dangerous moments.

In Lystra and Derbe

In Lystra they walked pass a man that had been paralyzed from birth. And when they passed him, Paul looked him directly in the eyes (and Paul saw that he had faith) and said to him to stand up and walk. And see how God healed this man immediately! God has given us the ability to immediately heal people in His name!

Unfortunately this chapter also shows how people can be misguided as they saw them for Greek Gods. When they noticed this they made it very clear that they are only humans and that the man was healed by Gods power not theirs. We also see how some people can be very wicked as some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over to stone Paul. Paul was stoned and left for death outside the city. But because his work for God was not done, he was completely healed. Paul entered the city again and the next day they left Lystra to go to Derbe.

The return to Antioch in Syria

In Derbe they again won a lot of people for God. See how powerful our work will be if we are truly called for it by God! After they were done they went back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch to strengthen the Christians there. In those towns they also made sure that the churches were strengthed through fasting and and prayer and that people were appointed to lead those churches. God doesn’t just let people to be converted, but also makes sure that we receive a good foundation for our further walk in faith.

When they arrived in the church in Antioch they told of everything they had gone through during their travelling.

Bible study ‘Gospel of Luke’ – Chapter 24

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Bible study ‘Gospel of Luke’ – Chapter 24

Before reading this blog/Bible study, please start your time with first praying to God and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and through this Bible study. Ask God to give you insight and knowledge to understand the secrets and treasures He has stored for us in this chapter of the Bible. Also I ask to read (even more then one time) the chapter first before proceeding with reading this Bible study. God knows what you need to learn, not me .. I just write what I receive from the Holy Spirit.

Bible study

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today we will be talking about Chapter 24 of the Gospel of Luke. Welcome to this new Bible study serie in which we will undergo a journey through the Gospel of Luke.

This chapter tells the following stories:

  • The resurrection
  • On the road to Emmaus
  • Jesus appears to the disciples
  • The ascension

The resurrection

Luke 24-1

On the first day of the week the woman (later in this chapter described as Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James) went to the tomb, to find the tomb opened and also empty. At that moment, when they were still wondering where the body of Jesus was, 2 man stood behind them. As we can read in this chapter, these were of course 2 angels. In the description we can also see that it was easily to determine that they were not ordinary man, but angels. If God sends His angels, then you can be sure that you will easily distinct them from man.

God sent these angels to make sure that these woman could see that it was not by man, but by Gods hand that Jesus was not there anymore. The angels also reminded them about the faith of Jesus that He would rise again.

The angels told them not to look under the death, for the one that is alive! After this encounter they went to the remaining eleven disciples and told them about the resurrection of Jesus. Here we see their lack of faith, for not believing them. Only Peter knew that He had to check the tomb by himself so he could also acknowledge himself that Jesus was no longer there.

I love the amount of faith we see with these woman compared to the disciples. When the angels appeared to them, they believed immediately the words the angels spoke. The disciples however were very negative and I doubt that at that moment they even believed that Jesus would come back. We need to have to level of faith of these woman!

On the road to Emmaus

Luke 24-2

2 of the man that were also following Jesus, were now on the road to Emmaus. They were discussing all the things that had happened in the day before, especially with Jesus. In this story we can see how absorbed we can be with the things going on in our lives, that we fail to notice that God is walking with us at that moment. This story shows that we have to really focus our attention first on God, to see that He is with us and that we are never alone!

Let the Holy Spirit open your eyes for His presence. Do not let the world close your eyes.

Jesus appears to the disciples

Luke 24-3

We continue to read that Jesus made Himself known to the disciples and still they did know it was Jesus, but that it was a ghost! Jesus had to remind about everything He had told them before He died and rose again. Then He had to remind them of all He had told them and was already foresaid by prophets.

Jesus life was already fully determined before He came to earth!

Also He lets them know that know He has risen that they will have to start preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins. But it is important to see that they were not allowed to leave the city, before they were given strength from God!

The ascension

Luke 24-4

It was now time for Jesus to go back to Heaven. But before He did so, he blessed His disciples so they could be sent out into the world. If we are to do work for God, we need the anointing from God!

 

God bless you, Amen!