VIDEO The Acts of the Apostles

May 10, 2014

Please watch this film to find out how the Holy Spirit worked amazing and incredible signs and wonders through the apostles in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; the Saviour of all.

ACTS of The Apostles

Someone to Trust

Many proclaim themselves loyal, but who can find one worthy of trust? Proverbs 20:6 nrsv

“I just can’t trust anyone,” my friend said through tears. “Every time I do, they hurt me.”  Her story angered me—an ex-boyfriend, whom she really thought she could trust, had started spreading rumors about her as soon as they broke up.  Struggling to trust again after a pain-filled childhood, this betrayal seemed just one more confirmation that people could not be trusted.

I struggled to find words that would comfort. One thing I could not say was that she was wrong about how hard it is to find someone to fully trust, that most people are completely kind and trustworthy. Her story was painfully familiar, reminding me of moments of unexpected betrayal in my own life. In fact, Scripture is very candid about human nature. In Proverbs 20:6, the author voices the same lament as my friend, forever memorializing the pain of betrayal.

Jesus, help us to share Your love with the world.

What I could say is that the cruelty of others is only part of the story. Although wounds from others are real and painful, Jesus has made genuine love possible. In John 13:35, Jesus told His disciples that the world would know they were His followers because of their love. Although some people may still hurt us, because of Jesus there will also always be those who, freely sharing His love, will unconditionally support and care for us. Resting in His unfailing love, may we find healing, community, and  courage to love others as He did.

Welcome to Monica Brands!

Jesus has made true love possible.

 

By Monica Brands

INSIGHT:Love is one of the most prominent themes in the apostle John’s writing. In John’s gospel, Jesus spoke often about love: God’s love for the world (3:16), the love of the Father for the Son (3:35; 5:20; 10:17), Jesus’s love for His disciples (13:34–35), how the disciples were to show they love Jesus and each other (14:23–28), and even what love looks like (15:13). In his later letters (see 1, 2, and 3 John), John continues to focus on God’s love, mentioning God’s love for us or our love for Him and others more than thirty times.

Perhaps the most famous of all Jesus’s statements about love is found in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus said this in the same context of asking His disciples to love one another as He had loved them (13:34) and mere hours before He demonstrated this great love by going to the cross to die for them. Sacrificing ourselves for another is the greatest expression of love. Who needs to see Jesus’s love through you today?

Overcoming the Barrier of Inadequacy

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

No one likes feelings of inadequacy, but they are something we all must learn to handle, as no one can avoid them permanently. Tragically, however, many people live with a cloud over their head because in their thinking, they never measure up. For some, this may be due to childhood experiences that negatively affected their self-image. For others, the problem may stem from a lack of success related to work, school, relationships, or any number of things.

In today’s passage, Paul asks a question that points to a common insecurity: “Who is adequate for these things?” (v. 16). Have you ever avoided serving the Lord in ways that challenge your comfort zone? If so, you’ve probably missed a tremendous opportunity to overcome feelings of inadequacy. He has promised to lead us “in triumph in Christ” (v. 14), but unless we believe Him and step out in faith, we’ll never experience the fullness of life that He has planned for us.

Feeling inadequate is not a sin, but using it as an excuse is. When the Lord challenges you to do something that you feel is beyond your abilities, you have two options: You can focus on Christ and proceed in triumph, or you can focus on yourself and withdraw in defeat.

It’s really a matter of faith. God would never ask you to do something without empowering you to accomplish it. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will do it perfectly, but each step of obedience is a victory. The alternative is to play it safe, but then you’ll miss out on God’s best for your life.

Secret Faults vs. Presumptuous Sins

“Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Psalm 19:12-13)

David, the author of this majestic psalm of praise to God for His revelation of Himself and His nature to man, voices his own frustration at his inability to mold his life totally in accordance with God’s revealed plan. He recognizes and asks for God’s forgiveness for his failure to measure up, and asks for strength to avoid habitual sin patterns and willful rejection of God’s way.

God had already made a careful distinction between these types of sins. “The priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. . . . But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously . . . the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:28, 30-31).

Paul also recognized such a difference. Keep in mind that all sin is abhorrent to God and must be repented of, resulting, of course, in His forgiveness. But Paul claimed that even his blasphemous, murderous persecution of the church was done “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). His plea of ignorance did not excuse his guilt, but through it he “obtained mercy” (v. 13) and “grace” (v. 14).

This is a “pattern to [us] which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (v. 16). Let us not be guilty of willful, presumptuous sin, but on these occasions when we do fall, we can be thankful that our “longsuffering” (v. 16) Savior still affords us such mercy. JDM

“By grace are ye saved through faith.”

Joshua 2:1-21

AS it is not possible to divide this narrative at an appropriate place, we must take, on this occasion, a little extra time for our reading.

Joshua 2:1

There is no pretence for believing that Rahab was, originally, better than her name implies. She had been a sinful woman, but God’s grace had appeared to her and enabled her to believe in Jehovah, the only living and true God. Perhaps, on this account, she began to practise hospitality, and therefore, when the two men came to the city gates she was waiting to give them shelter. At any rate, providence cooperated with grace, and brought the believing woman into communication with those who could secure her safety. It was a work of faith on her part to receive the spies.

Joshua 2:2

Israel’s enemies do not sleep, but keep good watch, and we also may rest assured that Satan and his legions will soon find us out if we go to war with his kingdom.

Joshua 2:3

This must have been a trying moment for Rahab, and she had at once to decide whether she would give up her country or her God: whatever error she committed in her mode of action, her decision for the living God had no flaw in it.

Joshua 2:5

This was a gross falsehood, and is not to be regarded in any other light. Her faith was weak, and therefore she adopted a wrong plan for accomplishing a right thing. We may not lie under any circumstances; but Rahab was very imperfectly aware of this. Orientals do not condemn, but rather admire clever deceit, and therefore her conscience did not condemn her upon this point. This fact shows that although faith may be marred by failings, it will save the soul if it be sincere.

Joshua 2:6

Does not this look as if she had already, through her faith, become a virtuous and industrious woman, diligent in business proper to her sex? Vice is very seldom industrious.

Joshua 2:7

Rahab had effectually misdirected the pursuers, and lulled to sleep all suspicion against herself. Her success does not, however, justify her deceit. Whether it succeed or fail, falsehood is always wrong.

Joshua 2:11

She avowed her faith and gave her reasons for it, reasons which show that she had diligently gathered all information, had been a shrewd observer, and was fully convinced that Jehovah alone was the true God, ruling both in heaven and earth. She had heard no sermons, and seen neither Moses nor the prophets, and yet she believed. She will surely rise up in judgment against those, who, living in the midst of the means of grace, remain unbelievers still.

Joshua 2:13

She sued for her own life, but like a true child of God she did not forget her kindred. One of the certain results of grace in the heart is a holy care for others. Grace and selfishness are as opposite as light and darkness. O may none of us forget to pray for our fathers, and mothers, and brethren, and sisters. May we live to see the whole family saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.

Joshua 2:14

Thus she obtained a promise of safety at once, and it was couched in very cheering words. “We will deal kindly and truly with thee.” This is the manner in which the Lord Jesus deals with all who put their trust in him.

Joshua 2:19

When the men were leaving her they gave her a token, and made with her an agreement which is full of instruction. The scarlet line was to her house what the blood upon the lintel was to Israel in Egypt: the blood-red standard is the national flag of believers. Those who would share with God’s people must enlist under their banner, and therefore Rahab was instructed to hoist the sacred ensign. Safely was promised to all beneath the scarlet line, but to none else, however near and dear to her they might be. The like benefits belong to Christian households. Those of us who believe in Jesus, and rest in his precious blood, will be saved, but none besides. O let us see to it that we do not rest content until we lodge where the blood-red standard is displayed, for that house alone will stand when all others fall with a crash. In Jesus we must dwell, if we would escape the general doom. The sole token by which our faith realises her security is the blood of the covenant.

Joshua 2:21

She complied with the stipulation. We must neglect no gospel command, however trifling it may seem to those who understand it not. By a public profession of faith we must bind the scarlet cord in the window. Neither Baptism, nor the Lord’s Supper, nor any other Gospel statute must be neglected, and we must note well that the gospel runs thus—He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.

Hebrews 11:31

In Rahab’s case faith was most prominent, as Paul reminds us in—Hebrews 11:31.

James 2:25, 26

But at the same time good works were not wanting, for we are reminded of the practical nature of her faith in—James 2:25, 26.

 

You Are Sealed and Guaranteed by God’s Spirit

Ephesians 1:13

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard on the telephone! A beautiful and very expensive piece of Russian porcelain that we had sent to a dear friend in the United States had arrived broken in pieces! It was so broken that it couldn’t be put back together again. What made this situation even worse was that this was already our third attempt to mail this piece of porcelain—and every single time we had tried, it had arrived broken!

We were so frustrated with these attempts to mail this porcelain that we decided to personally carry it on the airplane with us the next time we flew our transatlantic flight to see this friend on the other side of the world. Although it was a huge piece of porcelain and very difficult to carry, the only way we could be assured that it would arrive safely was to personally and gently carry this delicate object ourselves. Finally, the day came when we boxed up the large porcelain, packing lots of stuffing around it. We brought that bulky box with its fragile cargo onto each airplane that carried us to our destination. When we finally delivered the exquisite gift to our friend, she rejoiced to see that it had finally arrived at her house without a single broken piece and without a scratch!

If you’ve ever received something in the mail that was broken, you can probably relate to this story. Or have you ever ordered something by mail that you were so excited to receive but that was a big disappointment when it arrived? When you opened the package, did you find out it was so poorly made that you had to return it to the sender?

Or have you ever ordered a product with the promise of a certain delivery date, only to have the arrival of the package delayed so many times that you nearly lost your temper with the company from whom you ordered it? All these scenarios can leave you feeling very frustrated and disappointed, can’t they?

Well, in the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul lets us know that God Himself is waiting for a special delivery package! He is so excited to receive this package that He has personally done everything necessary to ensure that it will arrive intact, complete, with no defects, and without a single piece of it being broken or scratched. He has also done everything necessary to make sure it arrives right on time!

Notice that Ephesians 1:13 says, “… In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Today I want to draw your attention to the word “sealed.” This word comes from the Greek word sphragidzo. This is extremely important.

Seals were used in New Testament times to guarantee that the contents of a package were complete and not defective. Such a seal would only be placed on a package if the product had been thoroughly examined and inspected to make sure it was fully intact and complete. If it were broken, defective, or faulty, the guarantor would not put his seal upon it. The seal was proof that the product was impeccable.

Such seals were also put on parcels before being mailed to their final destination. Parcels bearing such “seals” were usually sent by extremely wealthy individuals. These seals, which bore the insignia of a particular wealthy or famous person, meant that this package was to be treated with the utmost, tender care.

To seal such a package, the sender poured hot wax onto the flap of the envelope or the string that bound the box. Afterward, he pressed his insignia into the wax, leaving a visible, distinctive mark. This insignia alerted everyone that the package was the possession of a wealthy or powerful person. Therefore, the “seal” guaranteed that the package would make it to its final destination.

Well, the Bible says you are “sealed” with the Holy Spirit of promise. This means there is nothing incomplete or defective about you. When God made you new, the last thing He did was check you out, thoroughly examining and inspecting you before placing His final seal of approval on your heart.

In Ephesians 1:13, Paul says that if you belong to the Lord, you have been “sealed” with the Holy Spirit. For God to “seal” you with His Spirit means that you are God-approved! Your contents are intact and in order. You should never again view yourself as if you are “damaged goods.” You’re not damaged! You are approved, endorsed, recognized, affirmed, sanctified, and notarized by the Spirit of God. You have the seal of God’s approval, so start acting as if you’re special. God thinks you are very special!

The “seal of the Holy Spirit” is also the guarantee that you’re going to make it to your final destination. God is the One who inspected and packaged you. He also put His guarantee on you to ensure that you’re delivered to His ordained destination for your life. That means you should never complain that you’re not going to make it. Of course you’re going to make it. God will see to it!

When demons see the seal of God on your life, they know they are not to mess around with that package. You’re a special package, to be treated with special care. Angels watch over you and guard your safe passage from one place to the next. Evil forces may attempt to delay the timing of your arrival, but the seal of God in your heart guarantees that you’ll get there.

 

An interpretive translation of Ephesians 1:13 could be the following:

“… The moment you believed, God thoroughly examined and inspected you to make sure that you were fully intact and complete. Because He found nothing in you broken, defective, or faulty, God put His seal upon you—the ultimate proof that He found you to be impeccable. That seal meant you were approved, endorsed, recognized, affirmed, sanctified, and notarized by the Spirit of God. It was His guarantee that you are going to make it to your final destination.”

This should tell you how intensely God longs for your arrival in Heaven! He Himself has inspected you, sealed you, and guaranteed you. Now He watches over you to see that you make it all the way into His Presence, where He eagerly anticipates that day when He will see you face to face. So whenever the devil speaks to your mind or your flesh screams that you’re not going to make it, rebuke those lies and point to the seal God has placed on your life!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am so thankful today that You have sealed and guaranteed me! Forgive me for those times when I speak badly of myself, judge and condemn myself, or put myself down in front of others. I should be proud of and thankful for who I am, because the blood of Jesus has cleansed and redeemed me. You were so convinced that I was free of defects that You sealed me with Your Spirit, giving me Your ultimate seal of approval. Help me appreciate the great work You have done inside me! Thank You for guaranteeing overseeing and assuring me that no force on earth and no demonic powers can stop me from arriving at my ultimate heavenly destination!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am “sealed” with the Holy Spirit. My contents are intact and in order. I am approved, endorsed, recognized, affirmed, sanctified, and notarized by the Spirit of God. Because God has “sealed” me, it is guaranteed that I am going to make it to my final destination. When demons see the seal of God on me, they know they are not to mess around with me! I am a special package, to be treated with special care. Angels watch over me and guard my safe passage from one place to the next. Evil forces may attempt to mess with me, but the seal of God guarantees that I’ll arrive safely and complete!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Do you view yourself as “damaged goods,” or do you see yourself as approved, endorsed, recognized, affirmed, sanctified, and notarized by the Spirit of God?
  2. If you don’t view yourself the way God does, what scriptures can you begin to memorize, meditate on, and confess to renew your mind to the truth of who Jesus Christ has made you to be? Why not make a list of those scriptures and put them in a visible place where you can frequently be reminded of them?
  3. Do you know some believers who are struggling with their self-image and could use a little boost from a friend to help them think higher of themselves? If so, why don’t you take a little time today to go out of your way and let them know that they are approved and endorsed by God?

 

More On Brokenness

 

Brokenness is the product of a person who has come face to face with:

  • The holiness of God:

I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exaltedabove Him were seraphscalling… ‘Holy, holy is the Lord… ‘” (Isaiah 6:1, 2)

  • His own depravity:

Woe to me!I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lipsand my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5)

 

PROUD, UNBROKEN PEOPLE

 

 

BROKEN PEOPLE
Are driven for self-advancement

 

 

Desire to promote others

 

Are driven to be recognized or appreciated Possess a sense of unworthiness; are thrilled to be used at all; are eager for others to get the credit

 

 

Are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked

 

 

Rejoice when others are lifted up
Think of what they can do for God Know that they have nothing to offer God

 

 

Feel confident in how much they know Are humbled by how much they have to learn

 

 

Are self-conscious Are not concerned with self at all

 

 

Keep people at arms length Risk getting close to others/are willing to take the risk of loving intimately

 

 

Are quick to blame others Accept personal responsibility – can see where they were wrong

 

 

Are defensive when criticized Receive criticism with a humble, open heart

 

 

Are concerned with being “respectable” Are concerned with being real

 

 

Are concerned about what others think

 

 

Care only about what God thinks

 

 

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