July 1, 2014 Bible Study — Will We Remain Faithful In the Face of Certain Persecution?

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.

Day lily (14)

Proverbs 18:8

    We all like to hear rumors. They make us feel like we are more important than we are because we know “inside information”. The problem with rumors is that we allow them to colour our judgement without knowing if they are true. Sometimes we form an opinion about someone based on a false rumor and forget why we thought as we did. When we learn that the rumor was false, we do not always correct our opinion of the person. We should be careful not to trust rumors before they are confirmed.

Day lily (16)

Psalm 149:1-9

    Let us sing praises to the Lord. Other psalms tell us to praise God before all people. This one reminds us not to forget to sing God’s praises among the faithful. Sometimes we need reminders that God has done great things for others. Let us never forget to tell those around us what God has done for us. The psalmist tells the faithful to have the praises of God in their mouth and a sharp, double-edged(NIV) sword in their hands. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the word of God is sharper than a double-edged sword. Let us keep that in mind and arm ourselves with the word of God so that we may present His will to all we meet.

Day lily (18)

Acts 21:1-17

    Time after time as Paul journeyed to Jerusalem the Holy Spirit sent people to prophesy to him that he would suffer if he completed his journey. Luke tells us that they urged him not to go to Jerusalem at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We know that Paul refused to listen to these promptings. He accepted that the prophecies of what would happen to him in Jerusalem were true, but he was determined to go to Jerusalem. Luke, the writer, seems to believe that the Holy Spirit was sending these prophecies as a message to Paul to not go to Jerusalem, but Paul believed that the Spirit was calling him to go to Jerusalem and accept what would happen when he got there.
    I have come to believe that Luke was correct, the Spirit was sending the prophecies to convince Paul to turn aside from Jerusalem. However, there are times when God will call us to a course of action which will include consequences we will not enjoy. Paul’s steadfastness in his determination to go to Jerusalem should be a model to us. When the Spirit calls us to a course of action we should not allow the knowledge that it will lead to persecution dissuade us from following that course. And perhaps Paul was correct in his understanding because the Spirit certainly made use of Paul’s subsequent imprisonment to further the spread of the Gospel.

Day lily (19)

2 Kings 18:13-19:37

    Sennacherib, the king of Assyria invaded Judah and sent a force to besiege Jerusalem. Then he demonstrated his arrogance, his hubris. First he sent his field commander to demand Jerusalem’s surrender. The field commander declared for all to hear that the people of Jerusalem should not rely on God to rescue them because God was not powerful enough to do so. Then, when Sennacherib was forced to withdraw his army to face the armies of Ethiopia (Cush), he sent a letter to Hezekiah repeated the assertion that God was not powerful enough to stand against the Assyrian army. Both times, King Hezekiah took those words to God and asked God what His answer was. In both cases, God told Hezekiah, through the prophet Isaiah not to worry, He was indeed powerful enough to stop the armies of Assyria and they would not enter Jerusalem.
    Time and again throughout history powerful leaders have claimed that God could not stop them (usually because they did not believe in God). For example, Stalin famously dismissed the Catholic Church (and all of Christianity) by asking, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” Yet it was another Pope who played an instrumental role in bringing down the empire which Stalin had built. God will not be mocked and those who believe they are more powerful than He will learn that they are wrong.

June 30, 2014 Bible Study — Be On Guard Against Those Who Distort the Truth

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.

Day lily (9)

Proverbs 18:6-7

    Be careful what you say because foolishly spoken words will get you into trouble. If you find yourself constantly getting into arguments, you are probably saying things you should not say. Learn from your past mistakes and guard your words carefully. This proverb contains a warning that I do not heed often enough.

Day lily (10)

Psalm 148:1-14

    Let us praise the Lord because He made us. If it were not for God, we would not exist. Everything that exists should praise God because He is our creator. Think about how great God is and the wonders which He has performed. Let us be filled with joy at the thought of praising God. I will praise God, no matter where I find myself from the deepest deeps to the highest heights. The glory of the Lord knows no bounds.

Day lily (11)

Acts 20:1-38

    Paul warned the elders of the Church of Ephesus to guard themselves and the body of believers they had been given charge over. He told them that false teachers would come into the Church seeking to draw people away to follow them. Some of those false teachers will arise from within the Church itself, distorting the truths of the Christian faith in order to benefit themselves. Paul’s warning is one that we need to heed today as well. If we look around us, we see many Church groups which have abandoned Biblical truths. There are groups which have started claiming that sexual immorality is not a sin. There are groups which have abandoned a focus on loving our neighbors and caring for the needy. We must not make the mistake of overlooking one sort of distortion of God’s truth because a teacher is combating another distortion of God’s truth.

Day lily (12)

2 Kings 17-18:12

    God allowed the Kingdom of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, to be conquered by the Assyrians. The people of Israel were sent into exile by the Assyrians. The passage tells us that this happened because the people of Israel did evil in the sight of God. Rather than follow God’s commands and worship only Him they followed the pagan practices of the nations around them. The writer speaks of their various sins and then mentions that they went so far as to sacrifice their own sons and daughters. God sent prophet after prophet to call them back to Himself, but they would not listen, until finally their sins brought disaster down upon their heads.
    Every time I read these passages where the writer expresses his horror at the fact that the people sacrificed their own children upon the pagan altars I cannot help but think of the tragedy of the easy acceptance of abortion in our own country. In our society we sacrifice our own children upon the altar of convenience. Here too God has sent prophets calling us back to following Him, but people refuse to listen, some going so far as to say that it is not a sin to do things which God has condemned.
    I am not a proponent of making abortion illegal (although I do not believe that doing so would be a bad thing). I am a proponent of convincing people not to kill their children, even if those children are still in the womb. I believe that we as Christians should stop worrying about changing the laws and spend more time allowing the Spirit to use us to change people’s hearts. Let us strive to convince people to stop worshiping the gods of convenience and self. Turning their hearts instead to God, their Creator.

June 29, 2014 Bible Study — Are We Practicing Sorcery?

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.

Day lily (5)

Proverbs 18:4-5

    Once again, the NIV translation makes sense of this passage for me. The words we speak are like deep waters, containing and concealing many dangers. Wisdom in those words is like a rushing stream, refreshing and transforming the landscape around us.

Day lily (6)

Psalm 147:1-20

    Let us praise the Lord. He is great enough to count and name each of the stars, yet He will heal the brokenhearted and bind their wounds. It is not our strength, intelligence, wisdom, or beauty which gives God pleasure. Rather God is pleased when we obey His commands because we fear and love Him. Let us put all of our hopes in God’s unfailing love. I will glorify God, because even though none can stand against Him, He has sacrificed His own Son for each and every one of us.

Day lily (7)

Acts 19:13-41

    There is an interesting story here. A group of Jewish exorcists attempted to use the name of Jesus and of Paul in order to cast out demons. They thought that Jesus’ name could be used as one more incantation in their “magic”. The name of Jesus is not an incantation we can use to get the results we are looking for. If we attempt to use Jesus’ name that way, it will end as badly for us as it did for these Jewish exorcists. However, the results will glorify God, just as the results in this story did. When the believers in the area heard the story of the exorcists they recognized their own sins and the dangers of practicing “magic” and “magical” thinking. They gathered the books and devices they used to practice magic and destroyed them. The key here was not the destruction of these items, but the irrevocable renunciation of the practices they represented.

Day lily (8)

2 Kings 15-16:20

    Yesterday’s passage told us that Amaziah ruled Judah and did what was pleasing in God’s sight. Today we learn that his son and his grandson did likewise. However, none of the three kings destroyed the shrines in the high places. In the meantime, king after king rose to power in Israel and did evil in God’s sight. The kings of Israel abused their power and practiced idolatry. When Amaziah’s great-grandson, Ahaz, took the throne in Judah he began following the pagan practices which were practiced at the shrines in the high places and treated his subjects the way that the kings of Israel did. He actively imitated the pagan practices of the peoples surrounding Judah, going so far as to replace the altar in the Temple with one based on an altar set up by the Assyrians in Damascus. The implication of the description given is that King Ahaz transformed the Temple worship from worship of God to worship of the Assyrian gods.
    The failure of Amaziah, his son, and his grandson, to root out pagan practices from among those who worshiped the Lord led to King Ahaz preferring those practices to the worship of God. We can see the same thing in the Church around us. When we look the other way when people fail to remain faithful to God, people will gradually “move the line” further and further from where God really wants us to be. When the Church in the United States stopped condemning divorce, it reduced the Church’s ability to defend God’s will for marriage. We need to relearn how to condemn sin without condemning the sinner. The failure of Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham to lead their people to complete faithfulness led to Ahaz, who sacrificed his own son in the fires of a pagan god. Yet Ahaz’ son was Hezekiah. God will use our failings to bring about revival. Let us pray that a spiritual leader arise today to lead us in a revival like the one which Hezekiah led.

June 28, 2014 Bible Study — “Did You Receive The Holy Spirit?”

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 18:2-3

    This is an important proverb to think about. When I talk to people I disagree with, am I having the conversation in order to increase my understanding? Or am I only interested in telling others what I think?

Day lily (2)

Psalm 146:1-10

    I will praise God as long as I live. Others may put their confidence in their connections and the people they know in high places, but I will put my trust in the Lord. Powerful people will die, but God will help me for all of eternity. Let all that I am praise the Lord until after I breathe my dying breath.

Day lily (3)

Acts 18:23-19:12

    We have two references here to believers who only knew “the baptism of John” and had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Apollos was an enthusiastic speaker who became a powerful voice for the Lord once he received the Holy Spirit. The believers whom Paul met in Ephesus were genuine, yet it was not until they received the Holy Spirit that they gained the power to perform wonders. Is the lack of miracles in the Church in America because not enough of us have the Holy Spirit? How can we bring the Holy Spirit to more people of faith? What do we need to do differently in order to encourage believers to receive the Holy Spirit?

Day lily (4)

2 Kings 13-14:29

    In today’s passage we read of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, who did what was evil in God’s sight. Yet, when the land of Israel was being badly oppressed by the king of Aram, Jehoahaz prayed for God’s help and God delivered the people of Israel from the king of Aram. Despite God delivering them, they did not turn from their sins. We also read of Amaziah, king of Judah, who did what was pleasing in God’s eyes, but not as David had done. Amaziah allowed the people to continue worshiping in the high places where they combined worship of God with pagan practices. Amaziah became arrogant and went to war against the king of Israel. As a result, he suffered a terrible defeat. As I read this I see that God will some times come to the aid of those who sin, and those who usually do what is right will not receive God’s aid when their actions do not align with His will.

June 27, 2014 Bible Study — Knowing When To Move On

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 18:1

    I went with the NIV translation of today’s proverb, but I read several other translations as well. Someone who is not friendly separates themselves from others and only cares about what they perceive as benefiting themselves. They start quarrels that it makes no sense to have, quarrels where neither side gains anything.

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Psalm 145:1-21

    I will do as this psalm commands. I will praise God every day and tell the next generation of His mighty acts. He is good and has been compassionate to me. I have witnessed the faithfulness and righteousness of God. Let us not be shy in telling others about what we have seen God do in our lifetimes. I will praise the Lord and encourage all that lives to do the same.


Acts 18:1-22

    After an unproductive stay in Athens, Paul moved on to Corinth. When he got there he started preaching at the synagogue every sabbath, working as a tent maker (or leather worker, the correct translation is unclear) with Aquila and Priscilla to support himself. When Silas and Timothy got there, Paul was able to spend more time preaching. It was at this point that some of the Jews began to oppose him and his message. Those who opposed Paul did not just disagree with him and argue with his claims. They insulted him. Rather than meet his arguments with reason and scripture, the Jews who disagreed with the Gospel message resorted to calling Paul names. Rather than continue to argue with those who would descend into name calling rather than admit they had lost the argument, Paul moved on. This is an important lesson for us. When those we are attempting to convince of the Gospel message begin to reject it on the basis of ad hominem arguments, it is time to stop trying to convince them and move on.


2 Kings 10:32-12:21

    Joash was raised by the high priest, Jehoiada. Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord because Jehoiada instructed him. However, Joash left the shrines in the high places, where people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense. It is not clear in the NLT, but these were places where people worshiped both God and idols. There would be religious reforms and people would return to worshiping God. They would worship God at these high places, but over time pagan practices would slip into their worship. Eventually, the pagan practices would work their way back into Temple worship. This repeated pattern tells us the importance of testing our faith and practices against those living outside of our local faith community. In a way it tells the importance of the larger Church body.

June 26, 2014 Bible Study — What Is Idolatry?

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 17:27-28

    Those who are truly wise do not have a lot to say, even a fool will seem wise if they keep silent most of the time. You can gain a reputation for intelligence and wisdom by not speaking. Learning to keep your temper will make it easier to avoid speaking up in situations that will make you seem foolish.


Psalm 144:1-15

    As I read this psalm, I recognized it as being appropriate in my current situation. I am in a new job where there are people with whom I find myself battling as I seek to do the best job that I can. I need to remember that God will give me the skills needed to fight these battles in the proper ways. As I serve God and do as He directs, He will be my ally in the battles I face. It is not up to me to win these battles. God will win them for me. If I am careful to only fight those battles which God commands me to fight, I will find myself in a position of strength when I face those who oppose me.
    I have recently seen how true this is, and it leads me to praise God. He is indeed my rock and fortress.


Acts 17:1-34

    As I have been reading through Acts this year I noticed something. On multiple occasions, when opposition to Paul’s preaching arose in a town, the believers sent Paul out of town. As I read, it became more and more clear to me that Paul did not deal with disagreement well. Paul did not know when to back down, when to move on. Others had to tell him, “This is not your battle to fight.” This is not to say that Paul was wrong to fight the battles he fought, just that it appears that sometimes others had to tell him when there was nothing more to be gained from continuing the fight.
    We often forget that there is only one person in the Bible who we are supposed to imitate. That person is Jesus. The Bible accounts tell us about the good things and the bad things which people like Paul did. All too often, we see the accounts of Paul and think that his confrontational style is something we are supposed to imitate, even the parts where he got it wrong. If we are faithful to God as Paul was, we will face trials and persecutions. However, sometimes we are supposed to “leave town” when we have stirred things up through our faith. We need to listen to our fellow believers when they tell us it is time to move on.


2 Kings 9:14-10:31

    The family of Ahab ruled in Israel and did evil in the sight of the Lord. As a result of their evil, Ahab’s entire family was killed. We often think that their sins were about idolatry, and this is not wrong. However, it is not complete. Ahab and his descendants abused their power. They mistreated the weak and powerless in order to satisfy their own pleasures. Their failure to honour God and follow His commands led them to believe that it was their right to treat others as objects who existed purely as a means to satisfy their lusts and desires. They chose to worship “gods” who they could manipulate to get what they wanted. Ultimately they were unwilling to accept that God was sovereign over themselves. They denied that they were accountable to anyone or anything for their actions. Ultimately, that is what idolatry is, the refusal to accept that we are accountable to anyone outside of ourselves. They discovered, when it was too late, that they were wrong. Will we make the same mistake? Or will we recognize that God will hold us to account for our actions?

June 25, 2014 Bible Study

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 17:26

    It is destructive of society when the innocent are punished. The government will break down when officials are punished for telling the truth, no matter how unpleasant that truth may be.


Psalm 143:1-12

    The psalmist appears to be suffering from depression. Yet he holds out hope for escaping from that depression. Verse 8 contains something I desire to pray every day:

Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.

Then verse 10 contains more on that theme:
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.

The psalm ends by reminding us what we need to do in order to count on God to rescue us. The psalmist declares, “I am your servant.” If we live our lives as God’s servants He will never abandon us.


Acts 16:16-40

    Paul and Silas were arrested, beaten, and thrown in jail. But not just thrown in jail, but put in stocks so that they could not sit comfortably, or move about to relieve cramping muscles. Yet in this situation they prayed and sang hymns of praise to God. While they were doing this there was an earthquake which sprang the locks and opened the doors of the jail. When the jailer came out and was about to kill himself, fearing that the prisoners had escaped, Paul was able to tell him that all of the prisoners were still there.
    I have wondered from time to time why none of the other prisoners escaped. I realized today that this passage answers that question. The passage tells us that when the earthquake happened the other prisoners were listening to Paul and Silas pray and sing hymns. The other prisoners were so entranced by the message that allowed Paul and Silas to sing after being beaten and locked up that they were unwilling to go anywhere until they learned more. This is what explains the jailer and his households quick acceptance of the Gospel. If those hardened criminals (I assume that at least some of them were) were more interested in what Paul and Silas had to say than in escaping, there must be something to it. Do we witness to the Gospel in a way that has a similar impact on those around us? If not, why not?


2 Kings 8-9:13

    This passage shows us the importance of marrying someone who is godly. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, was a godly king. However, his son, Jehoram, married the daughter of Ahab, the king of Israel. We are told that as a result of marrying the daughter of Ahab, who was himself a wicked king, Jehoram did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Furthermore, when Jehoram’s son, Ahaziah, became king, he was also wicked. Ahaziah followed the evil example of his grandfather Ahab rather than the good example of his grandfather Jehoshaphat.
    In some ways all of this was a result of Jehoshaphat partnering with Ahab for many tasks. While Jehoshaphat was a righteous king, he had a friendly alliance with King Ahab, who was an evil king. It seems likely that Jehoshaphat’s close alliance with Ahab led to his son marrying Ahab’s daughter (perhaps that marriage was even part of that alliance). This all is a reminder of the dangers of joining in common cause with those who do not serve the Lord. I am not saying that we should not do so, but when we do, we must be wary.

June 24, 2014 Bible Study — God Uses Even Our Disagreements

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 17:24-25

    A sensible person asks themselves, “Is this wise?” about every decision they make. A fool answers the question, “Well, maybe not, but look what I can get if I do this.” A wise person focuses on what is wise, the fool is distracted by glitter and glitz.


Psalm 142:1-7

    The psalmist describes a feeling we have all had at one time or another. Our troubles were so great (or perhaps are right now) that we do not know which way to turn. Every choice we see before us seems to lead to disaster. We have no one we can turn to for help, no one is willing to help us (or, at least it seems that way). When we come to that place, let us cry out to God. If we turn to God and make Him all that we desire, He will show us the way out of our troubles. He will bring into our lives those who are willing and able to give us the assistance we need. But first, we must turn to Him and desire only what He wants us to have.


Acts 15:36-16:15

    In this passage, Paul and Barnabas fought over taking John Mark with them on their next trip. We often read this and think what a shame it was that two such men of God had a falling out. What we often fail to realize is that God was working in this falling out. As a result of this disagreement, instead of one missionary journey by two men there were two missionary journeys by four men. Even if Barnabas had gotten his way and Paul and Barnabas had traveled with John Mark, John Mark would have merely been a pupil of the two men. In the actual event, John Mark went with Barnabas as his partner. In addition, if Paul and Barnabas had traveled with John Mark, Paul would almost certainly not have gotten Timothy to join him in his travels.
    So, while yes it is a shame that two such great men had a falling out, God’s kingdom was served by the event more than if they had patched things up. Paul and Barnabas each went to separate places to minister, thus doubling the number of people who could be reached. John Mark was raised to a level of greater responsibility at a time when he was ready for that. Timothy began training to be a leader in the Church. Even Silas was taken out of his comfort zone and caused to apply his gifts in ways he would not otherwise have done. We should recognize that sometimes a falling out between two Christians, or two groups of Christians, are a result of God calling them into different directions, paths that they would not otherwise follow.


2 Kings 6-7:20

    We have two stories here of how God works in ways that seem impossible until they happen. In the first story, the king of Aram sent an army to capture Elisha. Elisha’s servant was afraid because the king of Aram’s army was much greater than the defenders (or at least the defenders he was aware of). Elisha calmed his servant by showing him the forces of God arrayed on their side. Elisha’s response to the young man is always one which wells within my heart, and is one which we should always remember, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Let us never forget those words of comfort.
    The other story is about Samaria under siege. Things had gotten so bad that people were resorting to cannibalism. When the king learned of this, he determined to kill Elisha, rejecting Elisha’s call to wait for the Lord’s deliverance. Elisha told the king that by that time the following day, not only would the siege be broken, but food would be ridiculously cheap. One of the king’s officers told Elisha that such a thing was impossible, even for God. Elisha’s prophecy did indeed come true, and the officer who doubted God’s power was trampled by the people going to gather the spoils God had given them. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that anything is impossible for God. In both of these stories, God overwhelmed armies without resorting to force of arms.

June 23, 2014 Bible Study — The Jerusalem Council

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 17:23

    This proverb needs little explanation, except to note that the wicked accept the bribes in secret in order to pretend that they act from noble motives.


Psalm 141:1-10

    I will call out to the Lord, relying on Him to save me. Verse three struck me: yes, my prayer is that God will take control of what I say and guard my lips so that nothing comes from between them which might fail to glorify Him. The psalmist reminds us that we must be on guard against drifting towards evil. It is so easy to gradually drift into evil, telling ourselves, “It is only a small lie. What harm can it do?” Or something similar. Let us pray constantly that God does not allow us to fall into such a trap. I will look to God for the help I need to avoid such pitfalls. It is by His power that I will be saved.


Acts 15:1-35

    While Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch of Syria, some men arrived from Judea and began teaching that the Gentiles needed to be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them strongly. Things became so heated that the church in Antioch decided to send a delegation to Jerusalem to ask for a ruling from the Apostles and the elders of the church there. The debate continued in Jerusalem. However, here the Apostles and the elders of the church met together and discussed the issue. After much discussion, Peter stood and addressed the meeting, siding with Paul and Barnabas. Then Barnabas and Paul gave their account of the Spirit’s working among the Gentiles. Finally, James stood and summarized the sense of the council.
    I have long felt that the Jerusalem Council recounted here is a model we should follow in Church governance. They met together and everyone got an opportunity to have their say. When the discussion had gone on long enough and a consensus began to emerge, the leaders spoke up to put the emerging consensus into words.


2 Kings 4:18-5:27

    In the story of Elisha curing Naaman of leprosy, Naaman was insulted that Elisha did not come out to meet him. After all, he was a great general. He expected Elisha to come out and wave his hands over him so that he was cured. Or, perhaps, Elisha would set him some epic task to prove that he was worthy of being cured. Instead, Elisha instructed him to do something simple and mundane, a little strange, but otherwise of no particular note. Naaman’s reacted by getting angry that Elisha did not show him more respect. It was only when his officers pointed out that he had not come to Elisha to be honoured, but to be cured, that Naaman relented.
    How often do we react in a similar fashion when God gives us a task? We think the task is beneath us? Or that He should have used a more exalted person to assign us the task? We need to accept that sometimes God calls us to a task that has no glory attached to it. Perhaps God is calling us to a task that no one will notice that we are doing. Let us embrace that task and serve God in the role to which He calls us. Let us not seek to gain more attention than is required to do what God has called us to do.

June 22, 2014 Bible Study — Laughter Is the Best Medicine

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 17:22

    As “Reader’s Digest” puts it, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Years ago, a friend of mine proposed that emotions can be manipulated, so as Christians it is our duty to manipulate those around us to be cheerful. There is definitely some truth to that. Whether or not you are cheerful is a choice. What emotions you feel is under your control (not completely, but it is possible to change how you feel). You will feel the emotions which you choose to express. Strive to express those emotions which are positive.


Psalm 140:1-13

    When we find ourselves surrounded by wicked and violent people, let us call out to the Lord for deliverance. When we are threatened with violence, that is the time to call out that the Lord is our God. I will make it my prayer that liars not prosper in this land. I know that God will cause burning coals to fall on those who use violence against the innocent to advance their wicked plots. I will not allow the violent to intimidate me into denying my God.


Acts 14:8-28

    When Paul and Barnabas healed a crippled man in Lystra, the people thought they were the gods Zeus and Hermes. When Paul and Barnabas realized that the people were going to offer sacrifices to them, they remonstrated with them not to do so. They were barely able to convince the people not to offer sacrifices to them. Yet, a short time later when men from the towns they had most recently preached in arrived, the people of Lystra were convinced to stone Paul, leaving him for dead. Let us remember how easily people can go from loving us to hating us.
    Paul and Barnabas left Lystra and preached in Derbe. Then they went back the way they had come and spent time in each of the cities where they had preached, even though they had been driven out of those cities by mobs in the first place. The passage tells us that they appointed elders in the churches (technically, assemblies of believers) of each city. It is worth noting that they turned each elder over to the Lord through prayer and fasting. Once more I am convicted that I do not do enough fasting.


2 Kings 3-4:17

    When the widow came to Elisha for help, Elisha did not give her money. Instead he gave her the opportunity to raise money for herself. He told her how to use the resources she had with God’s aid in order to meet her bills. Yes, God worked miraculously, but the widow had to take action as well. Let us use this as our model for helping those in need.