Romans 1:18-32 This passage in Romans gives the cycle of unbelief. Unbelief is the root of all sin, and we see the progressive degradation of sin that befalls a person who does not believe in Jesus. The first step in unbelief is the denial that God exists. People often ask me if God is merciful, how could He send anyone to hell who has never heard the gospel? My response is always that even nature reveals there is a God; no one will go to hell unless they choose to. Originally hell was reserved for the devil and his angels, but because of the Fall there will be people in hell now who have chosen not to believe. Paul concludes that such people are without excuse because the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen. Paul then shares the cycle of unbelief and how it always leads to eternal death instead of eternal life. People who remain in unbelief do the following:
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Romans 1:1-17 Jesus made it clear while He ministered near the Galilee and in Jerusalem that He came to minister first to the house of Israel. This was His first charge by the Father. He carried the message of the kingdom of God to the Jew first. We have the same commission Jesus had, but many of us have forgotten to go to the Jew with the liberating message of the gospel. Paul in this passage reminds us of our commission to the Jew first (v. 16).
Acts 28:1-31 We saw yesterday how 276 souls aboard Paul's ship were spared. In today's reading we see how Paul's life was spared. All those on board the ship swam to the island of Malta, where they were well received by the natives there. There was a chill in the air, and when Paul gathered sticks for a fire, a snake bit him. No harm came to Paul, and this was a great witness to all present.
Acts 27:21-44 Something I've noticed in reading through the Bible every year are the things angels say when they visit us on earth. Over and over again they greet those on earth with the words, "Fear not." We remember the words of the heavenly hosts as they announced the birth of Jesus: "Fear not; for behold, unto you is born in the city of David a Savior?.?.?.?" The words of Gabriel to Joseph and Mary were "Fear not." In today's reading in Acts we see the angel appearing to Paul as he is being transported to prison on a boat that was encountering heavy seas. The angel said, "Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar; and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee" (v. 24, KJV).
Proverbs 18:22 Wives are good things. Some women may object to being called a "thing," but it is a good thing when a man finds a wife and enters married life. Not everyone will marry, and I was beginning to think none of my boys would ever get married. From the time they were small boys I prayed for godly mates for them. Now they are all married to godly wives, and we have grandchildren. All three were married in a span of nine months. I share this with singles that are looking for a mate to illustrate how fast things can change in their lives.
Proverbs 18:20-21 One of my most hated tasks as a homemaker is cleaning out the refrigerator. I always dread it because I come up with some pretty nasty-looking and smelling items. Some fruits have turned into penicillin. There is nothing more smelly or nasty than rotten fruit. Bugs and flies are attracted to rotting fruit. Today's proverb tells us, "A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
Psalm 5:1-12 Some people are morning people, and others are not. We have a Russian son whom I know not to talk to until he has had his first cup of coffee. People who are not morning people are usually a little resistant when they hear testimonies of people who spend their first waking hour with the Lord. To such people I share that they also can spend their first hour of the morning with the Lord because morning begins at midnight. Both the midnight hour and the later morning hours are precious to God.
Acts 24:1-27 God created man to be directed by the Spirit. When He breathed into Adam, he became a living soul. The image of God was indelibly imprinted in Adam's being. The breath of God was the very Spirit of God infusing into the flesh body of Adam. That spirit sometimes is referred to as the core of our being. The soul part of man is his mind, will and emotions.
Psalm 3:1-8 But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head" (v. 3, KJV). We sing a chorus taken from this psalm often in our church, and every time I sing it I feel strength rise up within me. The proverb reading today asks who can bear a broken spirit. There are so many today with broken spirits who need the Lord to be the glory and the lifter of their heads. The Lord came to heal the brokenhearted, and only He has the power to do this. When we feel lower than a snake's belly, the Lord comes and lifts our heads up.
Proverbs 18:13 Today's proverb warns against making a decision before you have all the facts. So often we hear what we want to hear and then make decisions accordingly. We need to hear all the facts before we move ahead. Remember the phrase, "Just give me the facts, man."
2 Kings 22:3-23:30 Josiah was king and began his reign at the young age of eight years old. The Scriptures tell us he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the ways of David his forefather. He turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. Wouldn't we all love to have such words said about us when our life reaches its end here on earth?
2 Kings 20:1-22:2 How many times have you thought, I wish I could turn the clock back to the good old days of my youth when there were solid values and virtues? I know I have thought many times of my high school years when drugs were only done by what we considered the "weirdos" and sex outside of marriage was taboo. What happened to those days of innocence?
When we pursue truth, virtue and service as loving God, our pursuits are acts of worship.
Wondering which version of the Bible is right for you? Comparing can help you make the choice.
Psalm 149:1-9 Most of us are familiar with the Indian war dances, which always occurred before they entered warfare with their enemies. Dancing and rejoicing before the Lord is also an effective weapon before we go to war against Satan. We have the scriptural example of this when Jehoshaphat sent the singers ahead of his army and ambushments against their enemies were established. "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever" (2 Chron. 20:21, KJV).
Acts 20:1-38 Fear is one of the greatest enemies of every Christian. Satan seeks to paralyze us with fear. Fear is Satan's anesthesia that causes us to be frozen on his operating table where he can perform wicked surgery on our souls. One of the secrets of the early church's success in the spread of the gospel is that those early believers loved not their lives to the death. When we read Revelation 12:11, we often skip over the last part. This verse reads, "And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."
Acts 19:13-14 God is not the author of confusion. Satan is. We learn this in this chapter in Acts. Wherever idols are worshiped or participation in the occult is present, there is confusion because the author of confusion is on the scene.
Acts 18:22-19:12 When my children were little I would find Bible heroes, and then I would pray for my sons to be just like them. One of these Bible heroes was Daniel, who had an excellent spirit. Today we see another Bible hero whom we would like our children to emulate. His name was Apollos.
Acts 18:1-21 The red and yellow poppies shook gently in the breeze under a postcard blue sky as we looked upon the ruins of Corinth. Once a great city where Paul spent over a year and a half, it now was covered with a field of poppies. We were spending some time in Greece just after our tour to Israel. As I looked at what was left of Corinth, I understood why Paul spent so much time there. It must have been a beautiful city. We actually saw the judgment seat area where Gallio drove the Jews from his presence.
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