Acts 29 – Memorable -1

To move victoriously into the future, we must remember His works of the past.

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1 Chronicles 16:8, 11-12 – Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people  ……  Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.  Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

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I don’t think I am unusual in this, but I have memories from my early childhood.  I believe that memories can be established in our minds, and in our spirit-man, as we are impacted by what our senses perceive, especially if those points of impact are reinforced with love and kindness from those who flavor the moments with their presence.  I consider myself highly blessed to have memories from my early childhood that have been seasoned and preserved in my life, even to this moment in time; memories I can share with others; memories that bear the mark of the Lord’s hand, not only in my life, but in so many lives that have impacted mine.  How thankful I am for each of those memories!

And there are memories of much more vivid substance that were created from events in my life from that time forward; events of which I partook, and in many cases, the people involved are still alive to testify to the truth of them.  And still there are the memories of others, decades and centuries before my memories, that have ample testimony for the proof of their truthfulness through the writings of multiples witnesses who have, with their own hands handled, their own ears heard, their own eyes seen, their full senses perceived, to stand the test of time.  And all these witnesses speak of their own memories that each of us can set in the archives of our own spirit and soul. 

It will be such memories, truly memorable events of which I prayerfully write the devotions for this year.  You may have many of your own.  Or it could be that your past has been one in which such testimonies and stories have been considered improper, implausible, or simply rubbish.  It is amazing to me that there are yet people on the earth who believe people like Jesus, the apostles, and characters of the Old Testament are purely fictional, or at the best, real characters with fictional histories.  Don’t think that so strange.  There are yet people in the 21st Century who still declare the earth to be flat.  I find it fascinating that there were more witnesses to the resurrected Lord than there were to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, yet in many schools, Biblical teachings are banned.  To that end I ask you to turn your thinking.  God is real.  Jesus is alive.  Holy Ghost is present in the earth today.  The church is still the body of Christ, and God still works through the church to perform the supernatural.

Manna for Today – Acts 1:1-11; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; John 14:12-17; Philippians 3:13

Acts 29 -Memorable – 2

Here is a real Acts 29 manifestation of God’s power through healing.

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James 5:15 – And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up . . .

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The year was 1976.  The Church of God we were attending was holding revival meetings with a true evangelist named Wayne Smith.  My father was very sick at that time, suffering with bleeding ulcers.  He was scheduled for one final exam, after which he was scheduled for surgery to attempt to correct the stomach issue.  I shared this with the evangelist, and on a Tuesday night after the service, he told me he believed he should go then and minister to my father. 

He followed me to my father’s house, and I took him in to introduce him to my parents.  He could see that my father was suffering and seriously needed healing in his body.  He quoted James 5:13-16, and then asked if we had any anointing oil in the house.  (The traditional thought is that anointing oil is olive oil.)  We had none.  He thought about it for a moment, and turned to my mother and asked, “Do you have any cooking oil?”  Mom went to the pantry and retrieved a bottle of Wesson oil she used for cooking.  The evangelist said that would be fine.  He anointed my father with that oil, and then he prayed the prayer of faith for my father’s healing.  There was in immediate felt presence of the Lord in the room, and my father, who had been lying on the couch, sat up abruptly.  Suddenly the color returned to his face, his breathing steadied, and he said, “The pain is gone.”  We had a wonderful time of rejoicing and thanking the Lord, and then my father walked Evangelist Wayne Smith to the door, thanking him for his ministry.

Two days later, my dad entered the hospital for some morning tests, after which he would stay the night and go into surgery early on Friday morning.  The tests were performed, and we began the wait for surgery the next day.  We arrived at the hospital early the next morning to visit with my father prior to the surgery.  As we chatted, his doctor came into the room.  He paused for a moment, and then spoke.  “Clyde, I don’t know what has happened, but you don’t need any surgery.  We’re releasing you this morning to go home.”  I asked the doctor about what he said.  The test performed on the previous day used a scope inserted into my father’s stomach so they could clearly see what needed to be done.  That examination revealed a completely well stomach with no signs of any kind of ulcers.  My friend, this miracle took place long after the Scriptures were written.  Anyone telling me that signs and wonders have passed away is too late.  This was indeed an Acts 29 manifestation.

Manna for Today – James 5:13-16; Mark 16:15-20; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 17:18; John 20:21

Acts 29 – Memorable – 1

To move victoriously into the future, we must remember His works of the past.

________________

1 Chronicles 16:8, 11-12 – Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people  ……  Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.  Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

_________________

I don’t think I am unusual in this, but I have memories from my early childhood.  I believe that memories can be established in our minds, and in our spirit-man, as we are impacted by what our senses perceive, especially if those points of impact are reinforced with love and kindness from those who flavor the moments with their presence.  I consider myself highly blessed to have memories from my early childhood that have been seasoned and preserved in my life, even to this moment in time; memories I can share with others; memories that bear the mark of the Lord’s hand, not only in my life, but in so many lives that have impacted mine.  How thankful I am for each of those memories!

And there are memories of much more vivid substance that were created from events in my life from that time forward; events of which I partook, and in many cases, the people involved are still alive to testify to the truth of them.  And still there are the memories of others, decades and centuries before my memories, that have ample testimony for the proof of their truthfulness through the writings of multiples witnesses who have, with their own hands handled, their own ears heard, their own eyes seen, their full senses perceived, to stand the test of time.  And all these witnesses speak of their own memories that each of us can set in the archives of our own spirit and soul. 

It will be such memories, truly memorable events of which I prayerfully write the devotions for this year.  You may have many of your own.  Or it could be that your past has been one in which such testimonies and stories have been considered improper, implausible, or simply rubbish.  It is amazing to me that there are yet people on the earth who believe people like Jesus, the apostles, and characters of the Old Testament are purely fictional, or at the best, real characters with fictional histories.  Don’t think that so strange.  There are yet people in the 21st Century who still declare the earth to be flat.  I find it fascinating that there were more witnesses to the resurrected Lord than there were to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, yet in many schools, Biblical teachings are banned.  To that end I ask you to turn your thinking.  God is real.  Jesus is alive.  Holy Ghost is present in the earth today.  The church is still the body of Christ, and God still works through the church to perform the supernatural.

Manna for Today – Acts 1:1-11; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; John 14:12-17; Philippians 3:13

Don't Miss the Freedom

One of man’s major problem issues is missing what is desired because of what is present.

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Acts 28:16 – And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

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Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage, “You can’t see for forest for the trees.”  There is great truth in that statement.  It points to one of mankind’s greatest often-encountered problems in day-to-day living.  I am amazed at how many great blessings, lessons we need to learn, and joys of living we can miss every day because of all the other things that are in our lives.  Consider this somewhat imaginative example of what I’m saying. 

Someone tells you that in a dimly lit room before you, there lies in wait for you a box with one million dollars that is yours by merely picking it up and carrying it out of the room.  However, there is also in that room a rattlesnake (quite venomous), a black-widow spider (quite venomous), and a large tarantula.  If you enter the room just focusing on the money, you put yourself in grave danger from the venomous creatures.  If you enter the room just focusing on the problems and dangers, you may find it so easy to overlook the great reward in the room if you but find it, secure it, and walk out with it.

What we are talking about is a matter of circumspection; being aware of your surroundings while being focused on the task at hand, or whatever it is you need to see, discover, or learn.  The scenario above too often fits the way we go about day-to-day living.  There are blessings all about us; key people who can help us, teach us, direct us, even protect us.  There are resources all about us, but because we’ve don’t recognize them, or understand how to retrieve them, and often more importantly, the problem in the room with us becomes a great distraction to us, we go through life with a shortage mentality.  We fail to recognize our opportunities because we lack knowledge, insight, and/or focus.

Allow me to speak to one other issue here; our freedoms.  Our enemy attacks us with all sorts of devices.  We become to caught us in how to avoid the attacks that we fail to see the great freedoms that are ours in Christ by which we can escape.  Symptoms of sickness can be so persuasive that we forget to recognize the authority we have to use the Name of Jesus and His Word to defeat them.  Financial pressures can be so great that we forget our right to make withdrawals from the accounts we have built through our giving (the laws of reciprocity).

My friend, the resources we need are already present.  There are blessings in abundance awaiting our retrieval.  There are victories awaiting our entry upon the scene.  Just because bondage may seem to exist in abundance, don’t miss the freedoms that are more than sufficient that are provided to us by our Lord.

Manna for Today – Acts 28:11-16; Mark 11:22-24; Ephesians 5:15; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Acts 29

It’s time for the church to be transformed into what Jesus said it was to be.

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Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

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The beginning of the New Testament church was NOT in the four gospels.  It is clearly manifest in the book of Acts, especially in chapter 2.  It was on the day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that the New Testament church was truly birthed.  From that point forward in the New Testament, there are only two books that are not concluded with the word, “Amen.”  They are the books of Acts and James.  I make that statement because of the meaning of the word, “amen.”  It does not mean “that’s all for now.”  It means, “let it be established,” or “so be it.”  I am personally convinced, specifically regarding the book of Acts, that the conclusion of chapter 28, the final chapter included in the New Testament, that the final chapter(s) of Acts has (have) NOT been written.  I don’t know how many chapters may exist after chapter 28, so, to keep it simple, when I refer to “Acts 29,” I am referring to the works of Holy Spirit through the people of God following the conclusion of the writing of what we know as the New Testament. 

I am likewise convinced that the theme for the book of Acts, from the beginning of the church age until the conclusion of the writing of chapter 28 is clearly stated in Acts 1:8 – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  Jerusalem, Judaea, and Samaria were already well-known to the writers and readers of the New Testament writings.  But at the moment in time when Jesus said those words, the “uttermost part of the earth” was NOT known at all by the writers and readers of New Testament writings.

As you think on that, consider all the nations of the world today, many of which did not exist prior to the 20th Century, and the vast majority of which did not exist in the lifetime of the writer of Acts, Luke.  For those who might think that the days of signs and wonders ended with the close of the writing of Scriptures, the concept I share here clearly reveals such thinking as erroneous.  And when we add the almost 20 centuries in which confirmed testimonies of the supernatural power of God manifesting through the church, we must conclude that the book of Acts, at least in its eternal form, is still being written.  And I want to be a part of Acts 29.  How about you?

Manna for Today – Matthew 17:20; Mark 11:22-24; Luke 1:37; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Acts 1:1-11

The Need to Discover

If you’re unsure about your precise location, it’s good to look around.

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Acts 28:13 – And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:

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Do you know where you are right now?  I’m not talking about geographically, but spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.  It is amazing how often through life that we come to moments in time where we might ask ourselves just such a question.  You may have just faced a crisis in life; one of almost any kind, that has left you with a momentary sense of questioning about what’s next in life.  And there are those times in life when you feel like you just need to “get away from it all.”  You feel like you need a get-away, a vacation, a break from it all.  And it could be that you really are so overshadowed by difficulties that you simply want to run away.  While every human being has likely had such feelings, I can assure you that there is no reason you have to live that way. 

In Paul’s case in our Text for Today.  Paul, along with his travel companions, including his custodial guards, had gone through a very difficult time, including, shipwreck, horrible weather, being stranded on an island, snake-bitten, and finally coming to a place where none of his company had a thoroughly accurate account of where they were.  So, they “fetched a compass.”  That means that they chose to travel in perhaps a circular pattern, using their starting point as the center of the circle in an attempt to re-discover a point from which they could begin their journey to their intended destination.  In one way or another, all of us have been in that place.  You may be one of those people who presently find yourself in just such a place.  I have good news for you.  You can find your way on your journey.

  • Take a moment right where you are and give God thanks that you’re still alive and well.
  • Find someone around you, whether you know them or not, and minister to their needs.
  • Rejoice in the blessing of the Lord that such ministry will bring to you.
  • “Fetch a compass.”  Make a determination about you next step.  Use where you are as a launching pad and begin to discover what you can reach from where you are.  Discover what’s around you.  It’s called being circumspect.
  • In that process of searching will come moments of discovery.  When you find a definitive point from which you can determine your necessary direction, and allow Holy Spirit and wise counsel from those who know where they are to help steer you to where you need to go. 

While these may sound like very natural instructions, they are, in truth, deeply spiritual instruction and wisdom.  Your destination awaits your arrival.  Be blessed in your travel.

Manna for Today – Acts 28:11-16; Ephesians 5:1-21

The Need to Discover

f you’re unsure about your precise location, it’s good to look around.

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Acts 28:13 – And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:

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Do you know where you are right now?  I’m not talking about geographically, but spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.  It is amazing how often through life that we come to moments in time where we might ask ourselves just such a question.  You may have just faced a crisis in life; one of almost any kind, that has left you with a momentary sense of questioning about what’s next in life.  And there are those times in life when you feel like you just need to “get away from it all.”  You feel like you need a get-away, a vacation, a break from it all.  And it could be that you really are so overshadowed by difficulties that you simply want to run away.  While every human being has likely had such feelings, I can assure you that there is no reason you have to live that way. 

In Paul’s case in our Text for Today.  Paul, along with his travel companions, including his custodial guards, had gone through a very difficult time, including, shipwreck, horrible weather, being stranded on an island, snake-bitten, and finally coming to a place where none of his company had a thoroughly accurate account of where they were.  So, they “fetched a compass.”  That means that they chose to travel in perhaps a circular pattern, using their starting point as the center of the circle in at attempt to re-discover a point from which they could begin their journey to their intended destination.  In one way or another, all of us have been in that place.  You may be one of those people who presently find yourself in just such a place.  I have good news for you.  You can find your way on your journey.

  • Take a moment right where you are and give God thanks that you’re still alive and well.
  • Find someone around you, whether you know them or not, and minister to their needs.
  • Rejoice in the blessing of the Lord that such ministry will bring to you.
  • “Fetch a compass.”  Make a determination about you next step.  Use where you are as a launching pad and begin to discover what you can reach from where you are.  Discover what’s around you.  It’s called being circumspect.
  • In that process of searching will come moments of discovery.  When you find a definitive point from which you can determine you necessary direction, and allow Holy Spirit and wise counsel from those who know where they are to help steer you to where you need to go. 

While these may sound like very natural instructions, they are, in truth, deeply spiritual instruction and wisdom.  Your destination awaits your arrival.  Be blessed in your travel.

Manna for Today – Acts 28:11-16; Ephesians 5:1-21

The Honorable Attracts Honor

Acts 28:10 – Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.

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Some people crave it while others shun it.  Some people embrace it while others run from it.  Some people clamber after it, doing whatever they must to gain it, while others think it sinful if all honor is not given to the Lord.  I am writing about HONOR.  How do you view it?  What is your perception of how honor should be handled? 

In Romans we read that we are to “give honor to whom honor is due.”  It also speaks of giving, or paying tribute, which can be a form of giving honor.  My writing today is to encourage the honorable Christian to keep themselves in the love of God, praying in the Holy Ghost, and to NOT flee from or shy away from real honor that comes to you for your faithfulness to God and life of righteousness in Jesus.  I have witnessed for my entire life as a Christian a wrong attitude in so many Christians concerning receiving honor.  It has arisen form a false humility that is so well concealed that many believers worthy of honor go out of their way to try to appear humble, when they are in fact misunderstanding and misdirecting the honor Father wishes them to have. 

For example, someone speaks a great word from the Lord, the church is truly stirred, lives are powerfully impacted and changed, and people come to that minister with sincere words of thanks, honoring him as a truly anointed man of God.  But what does the minister do?  He responds something like this.  “Oh, no; I didn’t do anything.  It was all the Lord.  Give Him all the glory.”  Dear reader, what does the Bible say about such words and such an attitude?  Jesus said that the glory Father gave to Him, He has given to us.  When the Scriptures declare that God will not give His glory “to another,” it is speaking of God giving his glory to any other being that people would worship.  The fact is, that the glory God gave Jesus is the same glory Jesus has given us.  It has been given to you.  What will you do with it?  God has given it to you.  Will you deny it?  Will you deny His will for your life? 

I am in no way speaking of a sense of arrogance, pride in which people with false pride glory.  I am talking about integrity of heart.  When you are honored for your labor and service in the kingdom of God, accept it humbly, acknowledge the honor God has bestowed upon you, thank Him for it, and testify to His faithfulness to you for your obedience.  Father wants to honor you.  Embrace it with great thankfulness to the Lord, and rejoice in the honor that is yours for being allowed to serve Him wherever you can.

Manna for Today – Acts 28:1-10; Romans 13:7; Revelation 4:11; 1 Corinthians 4:5; John 17:18 & 20:21; Isiah 42:8

Clothed with Proof

God will not leave His faithful witnesses standing naked for their speech.  He will clothe them with proof.

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Acts 28:6 – Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

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Look closely at the picture revealed by our Text for Today.  Paul had just been bitten by a venomous viper, which he had simply shaken off into the fire.  He then proceeded on about the business at hand; living.  The native people on the island knew what kind of snake it was; obviously one possessing a fast-acting venom that quickly impaired and even killed its victims.  But this was not so with Paul.  With Paul, something was different.  Instead of swelling from the venom, and then convulsing and dying, especially after a “great while” had passed, he simply kept on living.  Keep in mind that Paul was a Pharisee among the Pharisees.  He was well educated in Old Testament and the Law.  He knew the Old Covenant well.  He knew his authority, that “no weapon” formed against him would prosper, and he stood on his faith.

My dear reader friend, that should be the mindset and faith in which we, too, live every day of our lives.  When a faithful witness of God’s Covenant stood forth, speaking forth the Word of God in faith, God never failed to clothe them with truth.  Consider the following examples.  Noah spoke truth and was faithful, the flood came, but Noah was clothed the proof – the ark.  Abraham spoke truth and was faithful, the time for sacrifice on Moriah came, but Abraham was clothed with proof – God provided a ram in the thicket.  Joseph spoke truth and was faithful, slavery came, but Joseph was clothed with proof – Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt.  Gideon spoke truth and was faith, tens of thousands of Amalekites and Midianites made war against him, but Gideon was clothed with proof – the armies were destroyed.  David spoke truth and was faithful, Goliath rose up and roared, but David was clothed with proof – David slew Goliath and took his head. 

Example after example in the Scriptures show clear evidence and pattern that God always clothes his faithful spokesmen with proof.  He always confirms His Word with signs following.  Our God is faithful.  Will you arise and speak the truth?  Will you remain faithful, even when great attacks come against the truth you have spoken?   We need a series of meetings.  Meet God, meet his requirements, meet the enemy, meet victory, meet the future, and have every one of these meetings in faith, walking in love, honoring the Lord.  He will see to it that you are well-clothed.

Manna for Today – Acts 28:1-10; Mark 16:15-20; Jeremiah 1:12

Handling Death

When you deal with death, things bite

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Acts 28:3 – And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

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If you’ve ever worked at clearing land of trees, shrubs, brush, and the like, you have likely experienced at least a small portion of what Paul encountered as he gathered dry wood for fire.  If you’ve ever camped and had to build a campfire, you’ve had similar experience.  In both instances, you have gathered sticks for burning.  You may not have encountered a venomous snake, but you were likely exposed to some kind of poisonous plant (poison oak or ivy or sumac), and if you’ve lived long enough, you’ve surely encountered thorns or briars.  The point is simple; when you’re about the business of just living, obstacles, problems, and even attacks will arise against you.

At this point, the key question is this.  When those attacks come, what will you do?  A point I often make when speaking and writing is this.  Every attack that comes against you in life, be it satanic or not, Satan will use as a tool in his attempt to steal from you, kill, you, and destroy any possible righteous influence you can bring.  After all, that is his modus operandi, or his M.O.  I urge you, for that reason, don’t deliberately say or do things that make such attacks possible.  There will be more than enough for you to battle in life to prevent Satan’s John 10:10 description.

Once again, I submit this question to you.  When lethal attacks come at you, what will be your response?  We see Paul’s.  He simply shook the serpent off into the fire, trusting the Lord, and went on without any ill effects.  But let me become a bit more focused.  What was Paul doing?  He was building and maintaining a fire necessary for warmth and survival.  My friend, in the church today, that is still the work of every man and woman of God.  You have the Consuming Fire (Holy Ghost) living inside you.  What fuel do you offer to keep that fire burning brightly, intensely, in its consuming capacity, and in its purifying capacity?  The world about you is in darkness.  it’s cold out there, and sadly, the chill seems to be doing more than simply spilling over into the church.  In some churches, the fire has all but gone out.  Let our prayer be this; no matter how many serpents may rise from the fire, no matter how desert-like the world around us is, we will build the fire, keep it high, and bring others to it that their life, too, may become ignited by Holy Ghost.  Don’t fear death.  Handle it like a child of God, with boldness, with authority, with fire.

Manna for Today – Acts 28:1-10; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; John 10:10