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.







Monday, 7 March 2016

8 Pet peeves! - Coffee & Conversation







I know you are more like me than you think you are.

I know you have some Pet Peeves.


Here are 8 of my Pet peeves. 


Disclosure:  they may have been rather influenced by not getting my full night's sleep.






1. People who park where they shouldn't so that it is difficult for the people who should be able to park there to get a spot.

2. People who say you never told me that when you know you have but they don't pay proper attention.

3. People who say they told you something when it was really the other way round.

4. People who start telling you about something you should do when you had told them about that ages ago.

5. People who leave everything to the last minute.

6. Movies made from books but the endings or even more than that are changed, the book was good because of how it was written and the outcome so why change it. 

"I've got 8 Pet Peeves today!"

7. Dogs who bark early in the morning and wake me up.

8. Husbands who wake you up 10 - 20 mins before your alarm is due to go off and you know you have no chance of getting back to sleep, why do I have to miss out on that last bit of sleep? Makes for a bad start to a Saturday morning, and this is from the man who has shared nearly 39 years of Saturday mornings with me.






Feel Free to list some of your Pet Peeves in the comments.



Monday, 8 February 2016

Think Twice! - Coffee & Conversation

Have you ever had the feeling that someone was annoyed at you for something that you had done or said or written that was not what you had actually done, said or written but they just thought it was?

I was on the Hometalk Website one day and decided to leave a comment on a kid's craft someone had shared.

I mentioned that I loved their idea and it had given me an idea for something to make for my SS kids.

A few days later I noticed that I had a notification that someone had replied to my comment.

In I go to see if someone was asking me what my idea was, or if the author of the post was saying thank you for the comment only to be really taken aback with what I saw.




The reply to my comment was a sharply written one which basically was asking


What did you mean by SS?


I was very thankful that someone else had already seen it and replied with

 "I'm sure she means her Sunday School Class" 

and I then replied to confirm that was indeed exactly what I had meant.


Glancing at the location of the person who had asked the question I saw we were writing to a lady from Germany.  Obviously she had taken another meaning for my abbreviation.


How many times do we take for granted that people will know that we mean?

How many times do we just assume that people will understand because we know what we mean?

Perhaps I should have known better because I had lived in Belgium for over 6 years and in that time conversed with many different nationalities on a regular basis and there were times when there were misunderstandings just to do with phrases used in one language and how they translated to another language.

I have also lived in the US for 3 years and remember an instance where something I said could easily have been misunderstood when shopping with an American friend one Christmas


Looks like we need to think twice before we write!




I teach English as a Second language each week and I need to think carefully how I say things to the students  -  so I should be good at this.



"Looks like we need to think twice before we write!"




Do you think twice before you write?

Have you ever written something that someone misunderstood completely?



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!