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Be Careful What You Wish For

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Scripture:
Acts 21:30-32 Then all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. While they were trying to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Immediately he took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. When they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.


Observation:
Paul had gone to Jerusalem to worship but rumors abounded that he was spending a lot of time with Gentiles. He had even brought a gentleman from Ephesus with him and the Jewish officials were certain that he would have tried to sneak this man into the temple. While this was not the case, people jumped to conclusions and the entire city got riled up about Paul’s presence. 
Paul was simply trying to do the right thing and worship God. Yes, he had been ministering to Gentiles, but at this moment he wasn’t pushing any particular agenda. The people, however, wante…

More than a Gender Reveal

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Scripture:
Luke 1:72Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Observation:
John the Baptist has just been born and his father has affirmed his name. Suddenly, Zacharias regains his voice and begins to speak prophetically. Not only speaking of his son, he speaks of the soon to be born Messiah and reveals his mission. This is the fulfillment of God’s promise to his people.
This is the dawning of the gospel, a revelation about the very hopeful transformation of humanity. The goal is to be able to serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness. This would be affirmed later by the apostles:
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passion…

Why Not Act in Secret?

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Scripture:
John 7:1   After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. 2 Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; 4 for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 (For not even his brothers believed in him.) 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. 8 Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
Observation:
Jesus’ disciples wanted him to go to Jerusalem and show off his power. The things they had observed throughout the Galilee were amazing and they knew that he could “wow” the cro…

We Don’t Like to Wait

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Scripture:
James 5:7-11
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Observation:
The beloved believers may have felt oppressed by the wealthy and powerful but they were being encouraged to be patient. They were never promised a life of ease, or of quick fixes, but they were to take heart in the long view of things. Waiting was to be a normal part of the life of the beloved.…

Being Authentic

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Scripture:
2Cor. 10:7   Look at what is before your eyes. If you are confident that you belong to Christ, remind yourself of this, that just as you belong to Christ, so also do we. 8 Now, even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9 I do not want to seem as though I am trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such people understand that what we say by letter when absent, we will also do when present.
Observation:
Paul’s letters were written as tools of discipleship for the church in Corinth. This was a church that had issues and so Paul, with authority and power that came from his relationship with Christ, was willing to confront and deal with difficult issues. There is a warning here, that no one ought to think that they have exclusive rights to Christ. Paul …

Have You Forgotten Something?

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Scripture:
1Cor. 4:8   Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Quite apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we might be kings with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. 10 We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12 and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.
1Cor. 4:14   I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you might have ten thousand guardians in…

There Is Something About Obedience

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Scripture:
1Chr. 10:13   So Saul died for his unfaithfulness; he was unfaithful to the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD; moreover, he had consulted a medium, seeking guidance, 14 and did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
Observation:
Saul died a sad death after being wounded in battle. The man who had started his reign with such vision and excitement ended up losing it all. He had the opportunity to begin a new dynasty, a kingdom in which his family would rule. All that he had to do was be obedient to the God who had chosen Saul to be king. Sadly, he chose to go his own way, making his own decisions and continually being disobedient.
He refused to follow God’s commands and continually thought that he knew better, sometimes even trying to tell God that he had come up with an improvement on God’s plan. This disappointed God and instead of trying to rectify his wrongs, Saul continued t…