Parasitic Sins

Hi, my name is Pamela and I’m a “Spider-Solitaire-aholic.” The first step is getting out of denial.

After yesterday’s 1 Min Motivation, I decided to change my tactics and strategies.

  1. I asked David to stop reporting when he wins.
  2. I ate lunch in my office, not his. (There is no Spider Solitaire on my computer.)
  3. I played computer games when I had a time limit. (I had fifteen minutes before we left for church.)

I learned my “play until you win” attitude is a “parasitic” sin. It wastes time and sucks the life right out of my day!

Hebrews 12:1-2, “Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running  – and never quit. No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. (2) Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” The Message

God had my number. Last night Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis preached on Romans 12:2. He even had an acrostic for “transform.”

Truth. Revealed. As. Now. Scripture. Frames. Our. Renewed. Minds.

“If God is not dealing with you – you need to get closer to Him. …Why change? It’s the Lord’s plan. …Growth doesn’t happen by chance – it happens by change.” Gary Van Nyhuis, May 30, 2018

I didn’t want to share my addiction to “Spider” – again. I tried not playing at all. I stopped cold turkey. Then I decided to play one game. Since I hadn’t played for so long, I justified trying again and again and again. Maybe sharing my struggle will clear a path to help you conquer your struggles.

Hebrews 12:12-13, “So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!’ The Message

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We’re Not Quitters

My granddaughter, Olivia, has lost weight. They couldn’t find the reason and scheduled some pretty intense tests for today. When I got up, I texted some verses to her mom, Bethany.

Psalms 139:2, 5, 7, 10, “You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight… (5) I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead, and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going… (7) Is there anyplace I can go to…be out of your sight? …(10) You’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting!” The Message

God arranged for the message to arrive the minute they left for the hospital. I followed it up with…

2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.” New International Version

At 9:30 am, I felt a burden to pray for Olivia. I let Bethany know I was praying and sent this…

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you.” New International Version

I knew the procedure had begun and I prayed harder. Then I remembered my devotion in “Streams in the Desert” yesterday.

“Jacob won the victory and the blessing here not by wrestling but by clinging. …We too will not win victory in prayer until we cease our struggling. We must give up our own will and throw our arms around our Father’s neck in clinging faith.” J. R. Miller

  * * * * * * * *

“An incident from the prayer life of Charles H. Usher illustrates how wrestling prayer is actually a hinderance to prevailing prayer. …”My little boy, Frank, was ill, and the doctors held out little hope of his recovery. …I said to the Lord, ‘Oh, God, I have spent much time in prayer for my son, and yet he is no better. I will now leave him to you and give myself to prayer for others.’ …From that time forward he began to get better.” Streams in the Desert

I gave Olivia back to God and started my work. She came through the tests with flying colors. Now we wait for the results.

* * * * * * *

I was feeling pretty good about myself as I made lunch. I decided to play a computer game while I ate.

Two and a half hours later, I noticed the time! Yikes! I wasted most of the afternoon! Then I felt pretty bad about myself.

Hebrews 10:1, 2, “…No matter how many sacrifices were offered year after year, they never added up to a complete solution. If they had, the worshipers would have gone merrily on their way, no longer dragged down by their sins.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“It’s not a matter of how badly or how often you’ve failed – it’s a matter of what God can make you when you accept His grace, get up again, and allow Him to empower you to do better. So the word for you today is – you can start again.” The Word for You Today

I repented. Then I listened to Steven Furtick’s 1 Min Motivation…

“This. Stops. Here. …I am making a decision about my priorities today that will affect my tomorrow. …I’m gonna learn some new tactics, some new strategies. This. Stops. Here.”

I need new tactics and strategies!

Hebrews 10:39, “But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.” The Message

If this shattered your image of me – GOOD! Don’t look to me – I’ll fail. Look to Jesus Christ!

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

People Can’t Just Walk In

When I read my Bible yesterday, one phrase stuck out…”People can’t just walk in.”

The temperature was in the 90’s. David went outside early to mow and do some landscaping. I started laundry and writing.

God whispered to me, “You are alone with David on this holiday. Are you going to treat it like every other Monday? Or are you going to spend time with David?”

“I’ve been pretty quiet the last few days on social media. Silent, in fact. That’s because Levon and I went away for the weekend without the kids. Woo-hoo! It was glorious. We ate, we strolled, we swam, we talked, and we enjoyed some much-needed alone time together…”

In her email, The Merry Momma added, “I relished the entire weekend free of refereeing sibling squabbles, cutting up food, constantly using reminders to ‘listen and obey,’ or listening to crying…I made a comment to someone about how much I was looking forward to this weekend, and for a brief moment, I worried that my excitement was a bad sign…But I got over that pretty quickly…It’s good for us as moms and dads to get some time alone together…Don’t listen to the voices of guilt.”

Memorial Day is special to David and I. Our first Memorial Day together was hard. I watched him march in the parade and then he cooked me dinner – pork steak. A day later, he flew off for Advanced Individual Training. I didn’t see him again until September 2nd! There were no cell phones, computers, or internet then. He could only call me once a week on Saturday nights. Worst. Summer. of. My Life.

Every year, we reminisce about the parade, the time apart, the loneliness, and the reunion! That is one of the “Secrets of a Good Marriage” – reminiscing!

“The secret of a good marriage lies in learning how to live and work together.

  1. Agree to pray together daily.
  2. Find something good to say about each other every day.
  3. Don’t forget to snuggle.
  4. Think of yourselves as a team – not just a couple.
  5. Respect your differences.
  6. Eat at least one meal together each day.
  7. Submit your disagreements to God.
  8. Develop a strong sense of humor.
  9. Identify ‘your special place’ and ‘your special song.’
  10. Reminisce together.

“God’s Little Devotional Book,” 214-215.

We can use the tabernacle as a picture of a Godly marriage.

Hebrews 9:2-8, “…(2) a larger outer tent was set up. The lampstand, the table, and ‘the bread of presence’ were placed in it. This was called ‘the Holy Place.’ (3) Then a curtain was stretched, and behind it a smaller, inside tent set up. This was called the ‘Holy of Holies.’ (4) In it were placed the gold incense altar and the gold covered ark of the covenant containing the gold urn of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, the covenant tablets, (5) and the angel-wing-covered mercy seat. …(6) the priests went about their duties in the large tent. (7) Only the high priest entered the smaller, inside tent… (8) …people can’t just walk in…” The Message

Our kitchen, dining room, and living room are the holy place for our family. They are full of light, food, and heavenly smells. (Fresh, homemade bread anyone?) It’s where the family gathers around the table.

But behind the curtain is a smaller tent, a bedroom with a lock. It is our Holy of Holies. A locked door means Dad and Mom need some alone time together.

It’s a perfumed room, full of memories:

  1. Golden urn of manna – reminds us how God met our needs.
  2. Aaron’s rod that budded – reminds us how God leads us to the right decisions.
  3. The Covenant Tablets, (10 Commandments) – reminds us of our wedding vows.
  4. The angel-wing-shadowed mercy seat – reminds us that God is watching over us.

It’s easy to get caught up in duties in the outer rooms. We don’t spend time in our Holy of Holies. We enter and promptly fall asleep! Or we half-listen to our spouse as we scroll social media.

“She couldn’t capture what was happening because her phone was too full of what had happened.” “What Do You Need to Delete” 1 Min Motivation, by Steven Furtick

My holiday was not as glorious as The Merry Momma’s was. I snuggled with David on the couch as he watched “Duck Dynasty” reruns. All. of. them. After a few episodes, I wandered to our second TV and watched a movie. We did spend some alone time together before he turned on the TV.

“A good marriage isn’t something you find, it’s something you make.” Gary Smalley

I did feel guilty for not practicing. Then this morning, I received a message with the songs for Wednesday night. The Worship Pastor gave us a holiday, too!

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

God’s Today

May 28, 2018

3:27 a.m.

“Be a writer,” they said.

“It’ll be fun!” they said.

“Are we having fun yet?”

Maybe, “they” are.

* * * * * *

Wednesday night a young man asked me to give him piano lessons. He wants to play like I play. I asked him if he was willing to practice 2 hours a day. I thought that would discourage him. He said he would. Then he found out I live in another town. Taking lessons would not be convenient.

Funny, the most worthwhile endeavors are never convenient. My piano teacher, and parents, believed learning the piano was worthwhile. But we didn’t own a piano. They made arrangements for me to practice at our church – 10 blocks from home.

Every day I walked 5 blocks home from school. Then walked back 10 blocks to the church – in every kind of weather. I practiced for 2 hours and then came home. After supper, I did my homework.

What he heard cannot be taught. It comes from decades of playing at every service. After church today, most went home, sat down, and rested. I was at the Nursing Home Service playing the piano. Obedience will cost you.

Hebrews 5:8, “Though He was God’s son, He learned trusting obedience by what He suffered, just as we do.” The Message

Jesus came to earth and fulfilled all the prophecies. All of them. I endeavor to use all the gifts God gave me. Some gifts burn inside me. That is why I continued practicing even after doctors said, “Stay home and avoid allergens.”

Writing is the same. The words form in my mind and loop around until I write them down. It’s rarely convenient!

Hebrews 4:14-17, “Now that we know what we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. (15) We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. (16) He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin. (17) So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” The Message

I was not alone this afternoon. There were 7 others who came to the Nursing Home Service. We sang, visited, laughed, learned, and prayed with the residents. The new-to-me hymns were a hit! They sang with such gusto that the activities director, in her office, applauded. It’s a privilege to serve with those 7.

Hebrews 3:12-14, “So watch your step, friends. Make sure there is no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. (13) For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes! (14) If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.” The Message

I’m sure they were all looking forward to going home, sitting down, and resting. (I took a long nap.)

Hebrews 4:1, “For as long, then, as that promise of resting in Him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Hebrews 4:5-7, “…’They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.’ (6) So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient. (7) God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today,…” The Message

God renews the promise every day. We don’t need to start over. We just go to Jesus, take the mercy, and accept His help.

Hebrews 5:11, “I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Hebrews 6:1, “So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Hebrews 6:15, “Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 3:24, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” New International Version.

4:50 a.m. I’m going back to bed!

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Keep a Firm Grip

May 26, 2018

We attended another graduation party this afternoon. The pictures tell the story of the honoree from birth to the present. They think, “I’m finished!”

Nope. Now they enter SHK – the “School of Hard Knocks.” You can’t skip out on this school. It comes to you. The number one thing it tries is to knock your faith right out of you!

Hebrews 2:1, “It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off.” The Message

Intelligence, education, common sense, or your job title will not keep you safe in SHK. You need the “Armor of God,” (Ephesians 6:10-18), daily Bible reading and prayer. Satan is sneaky. He works his way into your life to keep God out.

Acts 13:6-8, 10, “…a Jewish wizard who had worked himself into the confidence of the governor, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man not easily taken in by charlatans. …(7) He was as crooked as a corkscrew. (8) …he stirred up a ruckus, trying to divert the governor from becoming a believer. …(10) …inventing schemes to cheat people out of God.” The Message

You don’t go through SHK alone. God leads you. If you follow Him, He knocks out the enemies for you.

Acts 13:19, “…having wiped out seven enemies who stood in the way…” The Message

A favorite tool of Satan is compromise – and distraction. Adding something to your faith in Jesus.

“In the letter, it is Jesus-and-angels, or Jesus-and-Moses, or Jesus-and-priesthood. In our time it is more likely to be Jesus-and-politics, or Jesus-and-education, or even Jesus-and-Budha. This letter deletes the hyphens, the add ons. The focus becomes clear and sharp again: God’s action in Jesus.” The Message Introduction to Hebrews

* * * * * * *

Hebrews 1:14, “Isn’t it obvious that all angels are sent to help out with those lined up to receive salvation?” The Message

In time, they will find the work God planned for them. The work will change them. When Saul stopped preaching to the Jews, he changed his name. From that time on he was known by his Roman name, Paul.

“Paul (Saul’s Roman name) now focused his strategy on Gentile evangelism. His sermons, as recorded in Acts, indicate the way the Good News was presented to the Gentiles (13:16-41) and to a sophisticated audience (17:22-31), emphasizing the activity of the Holy Spirit and the power of Jesus’ resurrection.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Congratulations graduates!

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Peter Slept Like a Baby!?!

May 25, 2018

I woke up at 2:00 a.m. After tossing and turning for half an hour, I got up and read. I went back to bed and still couldn’t sleep. I got another book and read a chapter of it.

“Be strong and courageous, my daughter. Life is not lived within the safety of walls.” “On Every Side” by Karen Kingsbury

(But I left the house this week, Lord. I went to the baby shower – and stuck my foot in my mouth. And yesterday, I went to lunch and shopping with Bethany and Olivia.) I went back to bed.

After I overslept, I cringed when I read my “list” for the day. I kept moving unfinished projects to the next day. There were 2 items from Monday, 3 items from Wednesday, and 2 items from Thursday.

Scanning the list, I did the one thing that had a noon deadline. Then I started the laundry – 6 loads. Yeah, I was behind on that, too.

I didn’t get confirmation on an important detail for Sunday’s service. I sent an email which led to 4 more calls…(Tell your wife, to tell the Pastor…).

My blogging task for today was to customize my fonts. I chose simple ones and made them large. I chose “Huge” for headlines because I’m nearsighted. (My aunts will thank me.)

My brain was fried by lunchtime. I took a “decorating break.” I added gold centers to the 5 flowers on my swag light. (Decorating rejuvenated me better than a nap.)

My sister called. She was having a bad day and need to print something off. I said, “Sure.”

While waiting for her, I got out the sewing machine. I repaired the loose stitching in 2 of David’s work shirts. I called the bass player’s widow to check on her. I carried the ironing and paraphernalia upstairs while we talked. (Yes, I iron. I want David to look good. I tell him it’s a fulltime job.)

She got another call shortly after my sister arrived. I set up the ironing board while Michele printed a document.

Michele really had a hard day! After the call saying she was laid off, she went to plant her garden. A swarm of bees decided to check it out while she was there. They moved into the tree next to it. We talked about the land of Canaan flowing with milk and honey.

While she was there, my mom and my daughter called! (We can go all week without the phone ringing!) My daughter was hungry for catfish. I told her to call David.

Michele had to go and I started on music. The new bass player borrowed some of my music at practice. I decided to have an extra copy of each song – just in case – for Sunday. I practiced and made copies.

Then I moved on to the Nursing Home Service music. My theme this month is “Faith of our Fathers.” They didn’t have that hymn in the new lyric songbooks. I chose “A Child of the King” and “This is My Father’s World.”

I didn’t have music.

I went through my hymnal collection and found them. I copied them off and learned them. (My sight-reading is a tad rusty.) 

David called, “We’re going out with Laura.”

I threw the last load in the dryer and changed my shirt. I picked out a scarf and some jewelry. (See, Lord, I’m going out.)

It took an hour to get to the restaurant. At Laura’s, David played with the dog and identified some weeds in her flowers.

The chicken is what they are famous for, but they have catfish on Fridays. The food is great and worth the wait.

David and Laura watched the Cardinal’s game while waiting. (I would rather bang my head against the wall. Did I ever mention I hate sports?) Instead, I mentally went over the 13 items still left on my list. Maybe, I could write my post and make a grocery list.

The food arrived and I shocked my daughter by cleaning up my plate. (Normally, I eat half and take the other half home.)

David decided to take a detour on the way home. He drove us to his boss’ farm, admired the barn cats and turned around. (Thank God, no one was home!)

When we dropped Laura off, he showed her how to use her new weed eater. I sat in the van scrolling through Facebook.

I was finally ready to write my post. It was 9:00 p.m. My thoughts were jumbled. I gave up and got ready for bed.

At 3:00 a.m. I woke up again. (Why, God, why?) I remembered the “1 Min Motivation” from Steven Furtick today.

“When You operate by your own standard of forgiveness…’when they apologize’…’when they come back and make it right’…You will never be free until you embrace God’s standard – to forgive as you have been forgiven – not for them, for you. …You cannot let them keep you in a prison of a past event. Until I embrace God’s standard I cannot expect God’s strength. He will be a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. If you let offense into your heart all day long…and look for reasons to be offended…and wonder at the end of the day, ‘Why am I anxious?…There’s no standard.” “You Won’t be Free Until You Do This…” 1 Min Motivation by Steven Furtick

Am I anxious because of unforgiveness? Am I looking for reasons to get mad at David? Am I mad at God for moving me from my old job?

My thoughts came to a screeching halt.

My job was exactly like today! You had to keep switching printing jobs. The copier seemed to run all day. The copies needed collated, folded, stapled, delivered, and filed. (Just like laundry!) In the meantime, you are balancing accounts, paying bills, and filling out reports. Sprinkled through that are calls, texts, emails, and details you can’t forget. Why do I miss it?

I remembered my verse for today.

Acts 12:6, “Then the time came for Herod to bring him out for the kill. That night, even though shackled to two soldiers, one on either side, Peter slept like a baby. And there were guards at the door keeping their eyes on the place. Herod was taking no chances.” The Message

Peter loved fishing. (I believe it’s like sports – you either love it or hate it.) After Jesus died, he went back to fishing. But Jesus moved him away from the lake into the city. He became a “Fisher of men.”

Herod planned to publicly lynch him in the morning. He was handcuffed to 2 soldiers and there were 14 more soldiers guarding the door. Peter was not anxious, afraid, or tossing and turning. He slept like a baby!

I rolled over, grabbed my teddy bear, (David), and tried to go back to sleep.

God whispered, “Remember when you got the text reminding you of Olivia’s tee ball game? You felt guilty but prayed for rain anyway. Do you hear the thunder? I answered your prayer!”

I finally got back to sleep and got up at a decent time – 5:00 a.m. (Sigh.)

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

June, 2018 “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide Chapters

  • 1 – Galatians 3, 4
  • 2 – Galatians 5, 6; Acts 15
  • 3 – James 1-4
  • 4 – James 5; Acts 16, 17
  • 5 – Acts 18; 1 Thessalonians 1-3
  • 6 – 1 Thessalonians 4, 5; 2 Thessalonians 1, 2
  • 7 – 2 Thessalonians 3; Acts 19; 1 Corinthians 1
  • 8 – 1 Corinthians 2-5
  • 9 – 1 Corinthians 6-8
  • 10 – 1 Corinthians 9, 10
  • 11 – 1 Corinthians 11, 12
  • 12 – 1 Corinthians 13, 14
  • 13 – 1 Corinthians 15, 16
  • 14 – Acts 20; 2 Corinthians 1
  • 15 – 2 Corinthians 2-5
  • 16 – 2 Corinthians 6-8
  • 17 – 2 Corinthians 9-11
  • 18 – 2 Corinthians 12, 13; Romans 1
  • 19 – Romans 2-4
  • 20 – Romans 5-7
  • 21 – Romans 8, 9
  • 22 – Romans 10-12
  • 23 – Romans 13-15
  • 24 – Romans 16; Acts 21, 22
  • 25 – Acts 23-25
  • 26 – Acts 26, 27
  • 27 – Acts 28; Ephesians 1, 2
  • 28 – Ephesians 3-5
  • 29 – Ephesians 6; Colossians 1, 2
  • 30 – Colossians 3, 4; 1 Peter 1

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Ready to Do as God Says?

Mommy: “Are you glad it’s the last day of school?”

First Grader: “I wish it were the last day of college!”

Grandma: “Then you have to go to work.”

Daddy: “And you don’t get summers off!”

We all want our “learning season” over now! We want the rewards and promises of God today! But God doesn’t work that way.

Psalms 33:11, ‘The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.’  But we must be prepared to wait on God’s timing. His timing is precise, for He does things ‘at the very time’ He has set. It is not for us to know His timing, and in fact we cannot know it – we must wait for it. If God had told Abraham while he was in Haran that he would have to wait thirty years before holding his promised child in his arms, his heart might have failed him.” Streams in the Desert – May 24

God didn’t show Abraham how long he would have to wait. But, He showed Paul exactly what would happen to him.

Acts 9:16, “And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for – the hard suffering that goes with this job.” The Message

Paul accepted the job with all its suffering. Why? This was the job for which God created him. Before he misdirected his burning desire and zeal for God. Until he followed God’s plan for his life, he was always searching. It was an itch that would not go away – an unquenchable thirst. He had to do something!

“…written by a wise man of old, Jean Pierre de Caussade: ‘When one is thirsty one quenches one’s thirst by drinking, not by reading books which treat of this condition.’ If we are dying of thirst, passively reading books about water quenches little; the only way to quench the parched mouth is to close the book and dip the hand into water and bring it to the lips. If we thirst, we’ll have to drink. I would have to do something.” “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp

This is why reading books about the Bible do not satisfy like reading it for yourself. Even singing songs from the Bible do not quench your thirst for the Word of God. You have to read and study it. Ask God to show you things in it.

Back to Paul – how could he accept that assignment knowing the suffering to come?

Acts 9:31, “They were permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God. The Holy Spirit was with them, strengthening them. They prospered wonderfully.” The Message

Paul was not alone. God treated everyone the same. He strengthens anyone who treats Him reverently.

Acts 10:34-35, “God plays no favorites! (35) It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from – if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.” The Message

We would do well to follow the example of Abraham and Cornelius. They showed us how to wait properly.

Acts 10:31, “He said, ‘Cornelius, your daily prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God’s attention.’ ” The Message

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

Phillip Grabbed His Chance.

God speaks to us all day long. I turned on Creflo Dollar and watched while waiting for the tea kettle to whistle. In those few minutes, I heard this…

“You still are trying to find out what you should do, instead of having faith in what has already been done.” Creflo Dollar

God told Abraham to move because He was going to give the land to his descendants. He moved and…

Acts 7:5, “God gave him nothing, not so much as a foothold. He did promise to give the country to him and his son later on, even though Abraham had no son at the time.” The Message

…nothing! The inhabitants didn’t turn the land over to him and he still didn’t have a son! But Abraham knew God keeps His word. He knew God would work it all out in His own time. It was already done!

Moses didn’t even look around until he was 40. (The older we get, the more important our relatives become!)

Acts 7:23, “When he was 40 years old, he wondered how everything was going with his Hebrew kin and went out to look things over.” The Message

We are never too old! Moses didn’t return to Egypt until he was 80! Abraham didn’t become a father until he was 100! There is nothing we can do but wait. We can’t make something happen.

Acts 8:21, “You’ll never be a part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes…” The Message

The hardest part is waiting for God to open the door. When He opens the door, no man can shut it, (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:8). We have to have faith because it’s already done!

When we try to make things happen in our own strength it becomes another religious program. We learned yesterday – religious programs fizzle out! And we are left with the consequences.

Acts 7:41-42, “…and congratulated each other on the wonderful religious program they had put together. (42) God wasn’t at all pleased; but he let them do it their way,…and live with the consequences…” The Message

Sometimes, God asks us to move. If we don’t obey, he makes us more and more uncomfortable. Don’t wait until the situation is painful to go! Jesus told his followers to go into all the world and preach the gospel, Matthew 28:16-20.

Acts 8:1, 4, “That set off a terrific persecution…. (4) Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries…” The Message

We are at a crossroads. Do I stay or do I go? Those who stay need persistence and perseverance. We must do the same thing over and over, even when it seems pointless.

“Persistence is proven when you don’t see the point and you persevere anyway.” Steven Furtick, 1 Min Motivation, “Persevering When You Don’t See the Point”

* * * * * * *

Acts 7:1, “…What do you have to say for yourself!” The Message

Me? I’m going to grab this chance and use this passage to preach Jesus.

Acts 8:35, “Philip grabbed his chance. Using the passage as a text, he preached Jesus to him.” The Message

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Do Not Trifle with God

Ananias had everything going for him. His name meant “Yahweh has been gracious.” He had a gem of a wife (*wink*), Sapphira, whose name meant Precious. He had a lot of lands.

How do I know? He sold a field. This field was not inherited from his father. You did not sell the inherited land. You passed it down to your children or nearest relative.

He bought the field as an investment. Maybe he wanted to expand his business but later changed his mind. It’s possible he brought the price he paid for the field and kept the profit.

The problem was not the field or the money – it was his motives. He wanted admiration like Joseph, called Barnabas got. We read about him in Acts 4:36-37. His name meant “Son of Comfort.” Others sold fields (and houses!) giving the money to the disciples, see Acts 4:34.

Ananias conspired with Sapphira to donate most of the money to look good. They lied about the amount and both paid for it with their life.

Acts 5:11, “…They knew God was not to be trifled with.” The Message

The event put the fear of God into everyone. God sees what we cannot see. He sees motives and sin in our hearts.

He also sees hearts that are searching for Him. They need someone to share the “Good News” with them. They need someone to spell out the “Save Me, Jesus, Prayer!” That is why God gave these instructions to the disciples.

Acts 5:20, “Go to the Temple and take your stand. Tell the people everything there is to say about this Life.” The Message

You can’t out-give God. God blessed those who sold fields and houses, donating the money. Ananias saw them getting richer. That may have been another motive.

Proverbs 8:20, “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.” The Message

This chapter gave examples of other leaders. They made something of a splash, claimed they were somebody, and acquired followers. (Dear Lord, I’m sorry I mentioned the new followers yesterday. Forgive me. Amen.)

Acts 5:36-37, “Not long ago Theudas made something of a splash, claiming to be somebody, and got about four hundred men to join him. He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it. (37) A little later, at the time of the census, Judas the Galilean appeared and acquired a following. He also fizzled out and the people following him were scattered to the four winds.” The Message

They fizzled out! Human programs fall apart. But there is nothing you can do about God’s work. You can’t fight God!

Acts 5:38-39, “So I am telling you: Hands off these men. Let them alone. If this program or work is merely human, it will fall apart, (39) but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it – and you better not be found fighting against God.” The Message

The disciples were witnesses of Jesus’ life. They endured horrific atrocities and died as martyrs. Yet, they never changed their message.

“Jesus saves!”

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