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Archive for July, 2015

Verse 41: “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

Those who follow this blog know I sometimes use cartoon references (back when cartoons were fairly safe to let your kids watch), especially Saturday morning cartoons. (I realize to today’s generation of kids, that “Saturday morning cartoons” doesn’t make sense to them, with the advent of cable and cartoon networks.) But I digress…

Hong Kong Phooey was one of my favorite cartoons on Saturday mornings. Even though it only lasted less than 2 seasons, I enjoyed the comic superhero, who was a mix of The Shadow and Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu. He was voiced perfectly by the great actor Scatman Crothers. Part of the “in joke” of the show was, that no matter who Hong Kong might splatter with mud or run over with the Phooey-mobile on the way to a crime, everyone who was the inadvertent brunt of the encounter took delight in crossing the path of “America’s secret weapon against crime”! Everyone virtually sang Hong Kong’s praises, even if he might have just run over their feet! Nobody was ever mad that he accidently hit them! They sounded honored to have had said encounter with the great superhero. I never
caught that as a kid, but as an adult, it does make me chuckle.

The disciples, on the other hand, truly and sincerely rejoiced to be beaten in Jesus’s name. No warning from the council this time; they received the customary 39 lashes (one less than the amount to cause death) and released. They knew they were in God’s will, and they knew His will was no “health and wealth” religion like we sometimes see today. It’s easy to complain to God when things go bad during the day; but take a minute and thank God that they weren’t worse! Thank God that He is still there, and can use even bad things for His good.

Something to think about today.

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Verse 39: “but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”

Two businessmen are walking through a train station. The first one is talking about advice his broker gave him: “My broker said to hang onto that stock…that it should really take off in the long run. What does your broker say?” The second one replies, “Well, my broker is E. F. Hutton, and he says…” at which point everyone working or walking around them, stops, and quietly leans in, ears cocked to the conversation, to hear the advice that Hutton gave this man. This is an old TV commercial for E. F. Hutton: the marketing caption was “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen”.

So it was with Gamaliel, a wise teacher and Pharisee on the Sanhedrin council. Footnotes in my Bible record that he was the teacher of Paul; his was a calming influence on the council, especially since this council was ready to kill the disciples. He argued that other insurrectionists had come and gone, and nothing lasting had ever resulted from their efforts. His proposal was to let the disciples alone; if their cause was from man, it would crumble. But…if it was from God “you cannot overthrow it”. He was reminding them that if God is for something, man cannot oppose it and hope to win…man would be doomed to failure and to punishment.

My Holman Concordance on Acts had a very interesting paragraph on page 79: “This passage holds two great lessons for us. First, the calm, quiet logic of Gamaliel should appeal to Christians repeatedly told in Scripture to be sober and controlled. Second, though committed believers must speak out against heresy and cultic error, attacks against fellow Christians on minor matters are out of place and out of character. People whose views do not agree with ours should be left to God, lest we discover they were right and we were wrong and find ourselves fighting against God. Such was the case of the apostle Paul who all his life could never forget he had once been God’s vigorous enemy.”

Would that we had more Gamaliels in today’s contentious, bickering world.

Something to think about today.

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