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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Verse 12: “Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”

Quoted directly from the Secretary of State of Missouri’s website (http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/history/slogan.asp): “Why Is Missouri Called the “Show-Me” State? There are a number of stories and legends behind Missouri’s sobriquet “Show-Me” state. The slogan is not official, but is common throughout the state and is used on Missouri license plates. The most widely known legend attributes the phrase to Missouri’s U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903. While a member of the U.S. House Committee on Naval Affairs, Vandiver attended an 1899 naval banquet in Philadelphia. In a speech there, he declared, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” Regardless of whether Vandiver coined the phrase, it is certain that his speech helped to popularize the saying.”

In Willard Duncan Vandiver’s case, he was saying that “you got to show me”. He wasn’t one to take flowery speeches lightly. He had to see it to believe it.

Paul and Barnabas (and by the way, it is in verse 9 that Saul is called Paul from now on) are in Paphos and were called by the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. He wanted to hear the gospel message, but a sorcerer who was with the proconsul, Elymas by name, sought to turn the proconsul from the Good News of Jesus Christ. Paul, through the power of the Holy Spirit, caused Elymas to be blind for a while. Verse 13 reads, “Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.” Paulus still heard the teaching from the early church missionaries, but the miraculous blinding of the sorcerer was indeed “a clincher”, showing the power of the Holy Spirit.

How blessed it is, for those who believe by faith alone. And, yet, God still shows His miracles when they are needed…in His time.

Something to think about.

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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 13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”–”

I love to play board games with my family and friends. All games, of course, have rules. It has often bemused me (between chuckling and rolling my eyes) to see my sons play a game they made up, and then make up rules on the fly! Especially if the one making the rules is losing! (I think I remember seeing Calvin and Hobbes do something like this in the comic strips!)

We went to the Lego store down at Disneyworld during a vacation once; I purchased a small Lego game called Ramses’ Return, a sequel game to Ramses’ Pyramid, I think. Once you “assemble” the game (remember it’s made of Lego’s) and learn the rules, you can play it. What is neat is that the Lego makers of the game encourage the players to add rules for variety (but write them down, of course!). My sons and I each assembled customized Lego figures down at the store and bought them. So, I added one of my custom figures as a “roll the dice” helper. If the mummy lands in your area while you have some of the treasures that you’re trying to escape with, you get sent back to the beginning and lose that treasure. I added a heroic bionic archaeologist (don’t laugh, this is my Lego character, I created him! 🙂 ) that, if you roll the right color, will save you from the mummy and help you keep the treasure.

Paul continues his arguments on the Judaizers’ insistence of the law by reminding them (through quotes of Scripture in Deuteronomy 27:26 and Habakkuk 2:4) that the law only punishes; it doesn’t save. Faith was always the way to justification. As the Holman Concordance on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians puts it on page 37: “The Judaizers would have been wrong in their fundamental message even if they had lived during the time of Moses, because they misunderstood the purpose and power of the law.” Christ came to take the curse of sin on Himself through His sacrifice. It is only through Him that we are redeemed and free. So why add a bunch of rules that you don’t have to follow anymore? Christ has already provided the saving rescue…and through Him, you’ve “won the game”.

Have a blessed day in Him.

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Ephesians 6:16 “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”

Happy (and belated) New Year everyone! Let’s continue with the first of the two hand-held pieces of the armor: the shield of faith.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, “shield” means “a broad piece of defensive armor carried on the arm” or “one that protects or defends “. (I like both definitions.) “Faith” has several variations on the same meaning, but I like this one best: “belief and trust in and loyalty to God.” Faith has its Latin roots in the same word where we get the word “fidelity” from.

The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible states that “shield” occurs 68 times in the Bible (in its singular and plural forms). “Faith” occurs 246 times as the root word “faith”; 82 times as “faithful”, 8 times as “faithfully”, 19 times as “faithfulness”, and 4 times as “faithless”. As you can see, there’s a lot of faith in the Bible! 🙂

Something interesting I turned up here: of the 68 times that “shield” occurs in the Bible, only once is it used in the New Testament. The other 67 times, it is used in the Old Testament only. One of the Old Testament references is Psalms 18:35. I’ll share with you in the next post how God showed me that verse this past weekend!

Have a blessed day and new year!

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verses 11-13: “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully, just as I also have been fully known. But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

These verses tie into the previous post’s verses about maturity. When we grow up, we naturally don’t act as we did when we were kids (some might argue otherwise about people in today’s society! 🙂 ) As kids, we want to be adults so we can do things that require more responsibility and maturity. Jesus wants us to grow as Christians; for one thing, that’s how we become disciple makers…we have to grow as a disciple first. Even when we become a mentor or disciple maker, we still grow. You never stop learning at the feet of Jesus!

And just as “we see in a mirror dimly” now, through our study and gifts, one day, we “shall know fully, just as (we) also have been fully known”. Have you ever read a good mystery, or seen a good movie, only to never find out how it ended? And then the satisifaction (or disappointment) that you had when you finally, finally found out what happened? I guarantee you, you won’t be disappointed in the final pages of Jesus’s story!

May faith, hope, and love abide in you today; but the greatest of these is Love!

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