Monday, 3 October 2016

All Together Now? - 31 Days in Acts



This is Day 3 of our 31 Days in Acts Series for this month and if you would like to read the previous posts please click here first and then come back again.


Years ago as a teenager I had to take a group of young girls at a camp for morning and evening devotions.

This was the first time I had ever had to look at passages of scripture and make decisions as to what I should help to focus someone else's mind on.

The thing I have always remembered out of those weekly devotions was one from Acts ch. 2 which I based around


All together, all in one accord.



But the all in one accord didn't start there at the start of chapter 2, it was already mentioned in v 14 of chapter 1.

Not only did this refer to the 12 disciples being in one accord which would be a great feat in itself but it also included the brothers of Jesus and His mother Mary and other women.
Right so women and men all in one accord?
This is not something we see all the time!

What were they in agreement over?
We read that it was agreement in prayer and supplication, so yes maybe we have seen groups of people able to come together to prayer in total agreement about certain things but would their agreement then continue into other aspects?
In Acts ch.1 v.15-26 we already see that the number of people together were now 120 which is 10 times the number of the disciples. 

Could this size of group stay in agreement?
Yes they were definitely in agreement in following the scriptures because they took instruction and acted upon Psalm 109 v 8 to choose someone to take the place of Judas.




Looking at the first 4 verses of Acts ch. 2 we see some more things to do with them all being in agreement.

verse 1     all with one accord in one place
verse 2     sound of a rushing mighty wind filled the whole house
verse 3     sight of a tongue of fire resting on each person
verse 4     all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other languages


After reading these last two sections I do have two things that I am pondering:

If they had voted for a replacement for Judas would some disagreement have entered the group?
If they had not been all in one accord would the Holy Spirit have filled them all?




So far it's all been about agreement or in one accord and involving all the group but there was another group of people affected by this situation but things were not the same for them.

Acts ch.2 verses 5 - 15 show us the Crowd's Response to what had happened that day.

Here there were two sides
  1. Some were amazed and marvelled at how they could hear about the wonderful works of God.
  2. The others mocked and blamed it on drunkenness.

The first side ended up wanting to know more, the second dismissed it.
No agreement here!

But Peter now had the attention of many people.

And he used that to proclaim Jesus.


Verses 14 - 39 show the wise use of time and attention and a clear presentation of the Gospel in a way that the crowd were focused now on Jesus and not on the mystery of what was going on around them.
Peter called them to repentance, water baptism and to receive the Holy Spirit - he left nothing out!


The Promise of God was not just for the 120 who had been waiting but for all that were there.



But that wasn't the end of it.

See you tomorrow for the continuation.



Sunday, 2 October 2016

Who is your Attention on? - 31 Days in Acts



Yesterday we said Thank You to Luke.

If you missed it please take a little time to click over to DAY 1 to see how our introduction to this great book of the Bible led us to be thankful and to consider how we tackle things for God.


Today is Day 2 and you will probably be hoping I get through more than 3 verses this time.  Me too!


I'm focusing in on a message in the next part of Acts chapter 1, the little message that the 2 angels gave to the followers of Jesus who were with Him up to His last moments on earth.

But before I go on to that there are also words of Jesus in this section that are very encouraging and important.

So Let's pick out some verses along the way from Acts ch.1 v.4-11




From verse 7 we know that it is not for any of us to know times that God has decided upon, so I was struck by how important and special it must have been for those with Him to hear Jesus Himself say

 "not so many days from now" in verse 5.

Jesus was saying soon, very soon, something was going to happen.

What was Jesus talking about in verse 5?

The Promise of the Father which is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

How exciting and maybe even a bit terrifying for the believers because they could not imagine what it would entail but if Jesus said it they would trust it because they trusted Him.


Verses 9 & 10  are all about the attention of the followers and what it was centred upon.

Firstly their attention was all on Jesus as He spoke to them so this means they clearly heard Him promise that very soon (a matter of days) they would have the presence of the Third Person of the Trinity with them.

Then their attention was all on Him as He ascended.

In fact all of their attention had been on Jesus during that time. They probably didn't want to give their attention to anything else just after that; who would want to miss out on anything that might happen then?

They may have missed things before during the three years with Jesus because they couldn't keep their attention continually upon Him for all of that time.  But this was now surely a different situation with the resurrected Lord.

The two angels who suddenly appeared in verse 10 reassure them that Jesus will come back again - reiterating what Jesus Himself had already told them but they weren't all like Luke (taking a note of everything Jesus said and did from Day 1) so they could well have forgotten He said it or had not been paying proper attention that day and didn't even hear it.




The Special Little Message these two angels gave them covered 4 things:

  1. Jesus went to Heaven.
  2. Jesus will return from Heaven.
  3. Jesus will come back in the same way as He went.
  4. He will be the same Jesus  -  He will be unmistakable. 

All of this vital information in one verse.

I had to give all of my attention to this special little message because that is what was expected of me as well as the disciples. 


Are you giving your full attention to the Special little message?

It is expected of all of us because we need to know the truth of what God has planned for Christ's return and for the comfort, teaching and miracles of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives until He does return.



Saturday, 1 October 2016

Do you read everything in a Book? - 31 Days in Acts


Well do you?

I read many books but I have to admit I do not read every single word in each book.

I also do not read every single page in the book.

And I also do not read every single section of the book.

Yes along with many other readers I usually jump right in at the start of the first chapter.
I ignore the acknowledgements, prefaces, table of contents etc. and head in to want I really desire to do which is to read the story.


But do I miss out on something important if I do this?



Well in my son's book (which is just published and sitting on our kitchen table as I write this) I would have missed out on a short, touching message if I had not read the dedication page.
Yes he mentions his mum and dad!!!

Then in a few other books I have had to go back and read the preface because I discovered I needed to have a bit of information from that section to actually know why something was specifically being handled in the books.


"So what about the book of Acts then?"


When I started reading the first chapter today I was tempted to skim over the first few verses - you know that bit where Luke is addressing Theophilus.

I was ready to treat it like it was just a necessary, polite greeting to someone and the important stuff would appear in the next section.

Oh how wrong I was and have been in the past because I have done exactly that before several times.

Today I really didn't get much further than the prologue, preface, greeting or whatever you want to call that first 3 verses because I did read them carefully and I learnt a few things from them.






You see I often plan to take notes and document pictures when I'm on a holiday and I start off well but never have I ever finished the task.

LUKE DID!

The evidence is in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of The Acts of the Apostles

3 years of documenting the ministry of Jesus and then many years of documenting the work of the Apostles and the early church.

We have a lot to learn from Luke.
And we have a lot to be thankful to Luke for.

Luke did not start well and then get bored, tired, lazy and not complete the task but instead he kept on faithfully working on this job God had brought him to.

Oh that we would start well and finish well as Luke did!

Then I have to wonder did he realize how important this recording of events and words and feelings would be down through the centuries for others like us?
He would not live to receive our thanks or acknowledgement of the time, effort and thought he put into this.

Oh that we would be willing to do our tasks without the need of recognition and thanks or any accolade for whatever we do for the Kingdom of God.

So why did I find those 3 verses so interesting?



Luke brings out 2 important points about Jesus in these first 3 verses.

  1. Jesus gave commands before His Ascension.
  2. Jesus revealed Himself after the resurrection to speak of the truths of the Kingdom of God.

Luke is pointing these facts out to his friend at the very start to introduce the importance of them, and of course Luke was there so He knows first-hand how important they were.


"Makes you think even before you start reading the story!"

So whether we call these 3 verses an introduction, a prologue or a preface maybe I / We need to rethink how we approach the things we read if the first 3 verses of Acts 1 is indicative of a good prologue.

Makes you think even before you start reading the story.



I'm trying to read and write about the Book of Acts for 31 Days so please come back and join me for some notes & some thoughts each day. 

Other Days can be found HERE


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 95

Each Sunday I choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 95 


This is one of Encouragement to come to God with Praise and Worship



This Psalm falls into 5 parts:


V. 1-2
A Call to Praise

V. 3-5
The Reason Why

V. 6
A Call to Worship

V. 7
The Reason Why

V. 8-11
A Prophetic Word of God


"The way to go deeper with God"


A Call to Praise.
The way to come and approach The Lord: singing, joyfully, knowing He is our rock, thankfully, remembering our Salvation.


The Reason Why.
He is a Great God.
He is a Great King.
All of the Earth is His.
All of the Sea is His.
Everything is His.


A Call to Worship.
The way to go deeper with God: with reverence, humility and awe of our Creator.


The Reason Why.
We are His People and He is our God.  He is the one who protects and cares for us.


A Prophetic word of God.
A Reminder not to be like the Israelites in the wilderness when they hardened their hearts, tempted God and looked to themselves and not God.






The first part of the Psalm seems to be the instruction of how we are to pursue 
our relationship with the Lord


The second part is how not to have the right relationship.







Sunday, 31 January 2016

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 146

Each Sunday I choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 146 


This is one of those Psalms I feel is overlooked at times.


This Psalm falls into three parts:

V. 1-2
When to Praise the Lord.

V. 3-4
Who not to Trust in.

V. 5-7
The Hope we have in the Lord.

V. 8-9
The Deeds of the Lord.

V. 10
The Crescendo!



"When should we praise the Lord?"


When to Praise the Lord.
We must praise Him while we are alive.
Not just some of our years but all the years we we live knowing that He is the Lord.



Who not to Trust in.
Oh we should know this but still it has to be mentioned.
Humans are human they are not perfect as God is perfect.
Man has been given life by God and one day each man will lose that life he has been given.
We are finite so can not be the true inspiration for anyone.


The Hope we have in the Lord.
We have true happiness & help when we trust in God because He is our Hope.


The Deeds of the Lord.
Look how much we are told God does just in these few short verses.
He is the Creator, the Truth, the honest Judge, the Provider, the Rescuer, the Healer, the Uplifter of our souls, the Lover of Righteousness, the Carer.
But we must not forget He is also the one who will confront the wicked.


The Crescendo! 
The Psalmist again ends as he started this Psalm with Praise for the Lord.







We are not to choose when or how often we should Praise the Lord.
We are to do it while we live.
While we have breath.



We should start our days with Him in Praise and end them in Praise
to the only one who is worthy of that Praise.

To God be the praise forever and forever!








Sunday, 24 January 2016

Pondering The Psalms - Psalm 27

Each Sunday I choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 27 


This is one of the Psalms of David.


This Psalm falls into five parts:

V. 1
Declaration

V. 2-3
Confidence

V. 4-6
Praise

V. 7-12
Teaching

V. 13-14
Hope


Declaration.
We need to physically say these words.
We need to speak forth the truth, to truly grasp that we need not be afraid
       
                        He is our Light

                              and
                                        He is our Salvation 

                                              and
                                                        He is our Stronghold


Confidence.
The speaking out as in the last two verses and the knowledge that there is no need to be afraid leads on to being confident about what we know God has promised  -  this makes me think of Psalm 34 
He has promised that He is on our side.


Praise.
The result of seeking God, wanting to live in His ways and being in His Shelter can only lead to us giving Him all the praise and thanksgiving we can.


Declaration, Confidence, Praise, Teaching, Hope.


Teaching.
Crying out to God, seeking His face and accepting His gracious help leads us to listen and pay attention to Him to learn what is the good and acceptable will of God   (Romans 12:2)
All because we are not leaning to the way of others or to our natural instincts but we are being focused on His way.


Hope.
Knowing God's promises, having gained confidence in knowing God's will and His way and being prepared to wait on Him has all come to the point where we know we have hope for now and for the future.







A Lighthouse and a Lifeboat

illustrations

of 

His Love stretched out to us.






Saturday, 23 January 2016

Christian Songs for Kids - Rolled Away

Do you find it hard to get visuals and recordings for different kids songs?


Each month I am going to share 
one or two songs with you providing  

Visuals 
(Powerpoint or Picture or details of how you can make one) 

Words   
(chords also available)

Recording  
(mp3 or video to learn the song) 


Then if you would like to download the visual of the song there will be a link provided to my creation, or I will direct you to where else you can find it.   



Also don't forget you can go to the top of this post or to the sidebar on the right and sign up for an email reminder of my posts. 

Then you will know when the next song is posted.


This month I am taking the theme of


Forgiveness of Sins



The song I have chosen is 



Rolled Away

This is one of the most enjoyable choruses for the kids to interact in as they love to do the actions and sing it faster each time trying to keep up with the actions and not get mixed up.

When they are enjoying it they are still picking up the concept behind it and it is also the type of tune that just sticks in their heads.

I have been using this song for over 30 years and all the children over all those years have had fun with this song.




POWERPOINT


Here is a powerpoint show with music from Hebron Outreach so have a look at it and if you go to their website you can copy it freely.







WORDS


To get a copy of the words and the chords click HERE

There are two arrangements and the words are slightly different.





ACTIONS

Rolled away   -  roll your hands around each other and flick them over your shoulder  x3
And the burden  -  rest both hands on your shoulder
Of my heart  -  move both hands to your heart
Rolled away  -  roll your hands around each other and flick them over your shoulder
Every sin had to go   -  repeated flicking of hands over shoulder
Neath the cleansing flow  -  raise hands and ripple fingers as you bring your hands down in front of you
Hallelujah  -  nothing
Rolled away   -  roll your hands around each other and flick them over your shoulder  x3
And the burden  -  rest both hands on your shoulder
Of my heart  -  move both hands to your heart
Rolled away  -  roll your hands around each other and flick them over your shoulder





RECORDING

You will find an audio recording of the song with slightly different words  HERE
(listen for free)




Notes:
I cannot find any information on the author or the copyright for this song.
If anyone can help me with this information please leave a comment below or contact me by email which you will find on my About Me Page


More Songs on this Theme:
God is so Good.      (Available later)
My heart was Black with Sin.      (Available later)