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Archive for June, 2015

Verse 29: “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

The special technical programmer was in a quandary: the project manager wanted him to code the program in a certain way. However, the business customer wanted him to code it in a different way. And then the architect had his own way he wanted it done. None of the three stakeholders could agree on how to do it. Meanwhile, the programmer calmly coded the logic, tested it, and presented it ready to elevate to production. All three of the stakeholders said, “Why did you code it this way?” “I followed the advice of my organizational manager who I answer to, and followed his model” he said. “But why did you take his orders over ours?” they asked. “Because,” said the programmer, “he signs my paycheck!”

The apostles had been thrown into prison by the high priest and the Sadducees. However, an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and told them to go to the temple and to teach. When the high priest had the guards bring them (note it was non-violently, lest they arouse a mob) and asked, “Why are you still doing this when we told you to stop?”, Peter and the others tell them why: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Throughout the years, there have been times when the laws of man and the law of God were in conflict. There have been documented cases of civil disobedience. I remember telling my son once that he needs to defend himself if he gets bullied in school, although the rules are structured in such a way that both participants in a fight are disciplined. He asked, “but I’ll get in trouble too.” I told him, “you may get into trouble with the school, but you won’t be in trouble with me, if you are in the right.” The apostles were more concerned with what God commanded than what man commanded.

In this day and time, when it seems man wants to flaunt sin in God’s face under the guise of laws…remember what Peter and the apostles said.

Something to think about today.

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Verses 12-15: “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.”

When people are desperate for healing, they’ll go to great lengths and stretch their beliefs to try and to attain that healing. I’m reminded of an old Night Gallery episode called “The Miracle at Camafeo”. In this episode, Mexican villagers assemble at a holy shrine, where once a year someone is healed from their sickness or blindness or disease by a miracle of God (unfortunately, I don’t recall all the details of the episode). Seeking to cash in on the phenomenon is an American gangster who has gotten released from prison in the hopes of having his “paralysis” cured (of course, he’s faking it to get south of the border and escape the law). The priest cautions the man that the miracle will touch one who truly needs it, but for any who seek to misuse the blessing…they will be punished. A young blind boy is chosen, and suddenly can see again. After celebrating with him, the priest returns inside the shrine to see the gangster “miraculously healed too!” As the gangster walks past the priest outside into the sunshine, he suddenly finds himself blinded by the sun…and then finds himself truly blind! In a gesture of sincere aid, the young boy offers his dark sunglasses to the stranger, who now truly needs them.

People were being healed by the apostles, because the apostles were doing these wonders in Jesus’ name. So great was the demand for the healing, that people were actually lining sick folks up, hoping that just the shadow of Peter would touch them and heal them. That’s faith! I remember the story of the woman straining through the crowd to get to Jesus for healing in Luke 8:44. Knowing that she couldn’t get to Him, she had the faith that if she just touched His robe, she’d be healed. She was, and Jesus blessed her.

Maybe you need healing today: physical, emotional, spiritual, or some other. Don’t give up; God does answer prayer. Sometimes, all you need to do is come…and have a little faith.

Something to think about today.

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Verse 4: “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Stress can do funny things. And I don’t mean funny ha-ha. You can tell folks that you are fine…you can appear healthy and in good spirits…but if you don’t handle negative stress in a healthy manner, it can wreak havoc with your internal physical, mental, and emotional health. You can fool some people; you might even be able to fool your family and your doctor (to a degree), but physical exams will be the tell-tale signs. You can’t fool your own body and well-being from the adverse effects of negative stress.

Peter was telling Ananias this much. He and his wife Sapphira had sold some property and were presenting the proceeds to the church, much like many believers were doing. He told Peter that these were all the proceeds from the sale; he thought he was fooling everyone (because he hung onto part of the money). But Peter, tipped off by God, confronted him. In his rebuke, he reminded Ananias: “You have not lied to men but to God”. He was reminding him that God is not fooled; He is omniscient. The penalty for their act was their very lives as they died instantly.

Jesus paid the cost for our sins on the cross. We still sin today, so the proper response, even as born-again Christians, is to confess and to repent of the sins. Tis better to confess a sin, then lie and have committed two sins. Remember, God is not fooled.

Something to think about today.

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Verses 32-35: “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”

The wonderful thing about our Carpenters for Christ group working with the Kansas church to build a new structure is the spirit of cooperation and sharing. Within the Carpenters ourselves, we share and take care of our tools, whether it’s a Carpenter tool or someone’s personal tool. The members of the church were eager to help in ways that we needed. Six of the ladies did our laundry, using their own homes. Snacks and drinks were provided. There was always a nurse present on duty, in case we needed her services (and we did at times!) Some of these, of course, were requests on the CFC’s part, but the church seemed to go above and beyond this. There was the first Sunday, when a man from the congregation volunteered to pay each of our bills at a local buffet restaurant; that was a pleasant surprise. It just seemed like everyone came together for the good of the body.

This is what the early church did. They took care of their own; they contributed to the common needs of the flock. God blessed their efforts. That’s also what churches today need to do. If you have a talent or skill, or simply a possession like a car, use it to glorify God. Use it in His service. Like we pray during these mission trips, we are all just tools in God’s Hands…and there is no better feeling than when God uses you to help others.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verse 29: “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,”

We just recently came back from a Carpenters for Christ mission trip to Salina, KS. We helped a church erect a new sanctuary building since they have outgrown the space they are now using (a donated trailer). As I interviewed church members for our documentary video, I was struck by their passion for the lost in the area where they are building their new sanctuary. God has been removing barriers that the devil has thrown up, and the fields are ripe with harvest. These folk seem always ready to take action, whether it’s to visit someone in need or even just pray over someone. I had a gout flare-up one morning during the mission; no sooner had I told one of the ladies who was serving us refreshments about it, that she stopped what she was doing and prayed over me. I was moved, touched, and humbled.

Peter, John, and the followers were praying for that same boldness. They, too, were in a field ripe for harvest. Despite the run-in with the religious authorities and the prospect of more trouble from them, they prayed to God for deliverance and for the boldness they knew they would need to spread the Good News. We should all read that passage in Acts; we should all be moved, touched, and humbled.

Something to think about today.

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