Thursday, September 22, 2011

Daniel 1:1-21

*The story of Daniel is one of the most well known in the Bible but there is still so many who have never really studied it, myself included. I pray that my eyes will be open to new things that I never knew.

Chapter 1:1-7
    When king Nebuchadnezzar (I will refer to him as Nezzer from now on) took over Jerusalem he had several of the sacred vessels taken from the temple along with the best men sent to Babylon. The men were taken from royalty ad nobility, considered to be without defect and high intellect. They were the best of the best. These men were to be trained 3 years and then serve in the kings army. Among those men were Daniel (God is my judge), Hananiah (The Lord has been gracious), Mishael (Who is what God is), and Azariah (The Lord has helped). Once they were in Babylon they were given new names but not by choice. They were Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
Chapter 1:8-16
    The king wanted the men to eat from his food which was a great honor. But Daniel and the three other men didn't want to go against their religious views in order to please the king. They asked that they only drink water and eat vegetables. But the commander was afraid that they would be weaker than the rest of the men. So a trial period was set up for 10 days. At the end of the test Daniel and the three men were healthier than all the rest so they were allowed to continue their diet. It is important to remember that these were young men who held firm to their faith even while they were on their own. Because of their faithfulness the Lord rewarded them with abundant knowledge.
Chapter 1:17-21 
     At the end of the three years the king had the men brought before him and of course Daniel and the other men were the top among all the rest. The King learned even more of all the things that the Lord had blessed them with. Daniel stayed there until the first year of Cyrus' reign.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Acts 28:1-31

Chapter 28: 1-10
      Once their ship had hit land they were greeted by the natives to the island along with a big fire. This was so nice for the men of the ship because the weather was cold and they were wet. Paul was helping pick up sticks when he was bitten by a poisonous snake on the hand. The natives began to say that it was his punishment from the gods for what he had done. But because God was protecting him he did not get ill in anyway. Instead he begins to minister and heal others. They stayed on this island for three months until the weather conditions were safe to travel.
Chapter 28:11-16
      They finally set sail for Rome again but not without a few more stops along the way. While in Puteoli Paul was allowed to go and stay with other believers but probably with a close watch by a guard. People were so excited about his visit that they travel several miles just to greet him. Both Paul and Luke were overwhelmed by the people's overall reaction to them. Once they were in Rome Paul was put back on house arrest but with some freedom.
Chapter 28:17-29
      After a few days of rest Paul calls several of the head leaders to meet with him in hopes of discussing his case with them. They wanted to hear all that he had to say so they made arrangements to meet up again. On that day Paul begins to preach and like in so many cases before some listened and received and some walked away. He began to speak on the things that the prophet Isaiah had spoken on about people's hearts growing dull. It did end with the promise that God would restore their hearts if they understood and returned.
Chapter 28:30-31
      For the next two years while he was still in prison he preached to whoever came to him along with writing his famous prison epistles. Other than that there is no definite description to what happens to him at the end of the two years in this book. Other books in the bible do shed a little light some of the events that happened.

* May we have boldness like Paul to preach even during the hard times and may our hearts never grow dull to His truths.

Acts 27:1-44

Chapter 27:1-12
       Paul along with a few other prisoners are being transported to Rome for their appeal to Caesar. They were guarded by a centurion named Julius. The first part of their voyage was spent on a small boat making frequent stops along the way and then they were find a larger boat to get on and finish there journey. It is said that they began this trip in the fall because of the wind conditions they were facing. Since Paul had had some experience in sailing he knew that this journey would be very dangerous if they continued on. The centurion didn't want to listen and kept them out at sea.
Chapter 27:13-20
      Once they were out to sea a terrible wind came out of no where and turned them from their original direction. They found shelter on an island called Clauda where they reinforced the boat with cables and lowered the anchor. The next day as they were in another storm they began to toss their cargo overboard to help lighten the boat. Many began to believe they were going to die.
Chapter 27:21-26
       The men on the ship had gone a long time without food and Paul knew why. He stood up and told them that if they had just listened to him then none of this would have happened. But he did have good news. He had a vision of an angel of the Lord standing before him. He was assured that there would be no lose of life because the Lord was not thought with them. Paul still had to meet with Caesar.
Chapter 27:27-44
      When I read this passage I was picturing a smallest boat like the size of a nice yacht, but that it was not. It says that there were 276 people on this ship. It also says that they cut ropes to another boat that was attached to the one they were on. Paul once again speaks out on what they should do and they decided to listen to him this time. They knew that they were going to wreck on the dry lad but they were trying to lessen the load anyways. The men had not eaten in 2 weeks and after they got their fill of the wheat they threw the rest overboard. In the end we see that the soldiers once again spare Paul's life by not killing him just because he was a prisoner.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Acts 26:1-32

Chapter 26:1-11
     Paul gets a chance to defend himself before the king, who was very knowledgeable of Jewish Laws and customs. He asks that they will be patient with him as he explains his story. He begins by talking about his youth and how it was spent in Jerusalem and then goes on to tell of how he was responsible for so many peoples death because of his vote.
Chapter 26:12-18
     In these verses we see again where Paul tells of when he became a follower of Christ and the events that lead up to his conversion. Each time this story is spoken about there are always new shades to it but the main points or theme is always consistent.
Chapter 26:19-23
     These verses are probably some of my favorite that Paul speaks. He simply tells the king that he has never done anything that would prove disobedient to his heavenly Father and that he obeys the laws of the prophets and Moses. Because of the way he lived many wanted to kill him but God always made a way for him.
Chapter 26:24-32
     The king could say nothing else than that Paul had lost his mind. Paul not wanting to stray from his topic turned it to the king. He knew that the king was aware of all the things that had been going on around the empire and even in his own kingdom. Paul's only desire in all this was that all the people there would be free from their sins and become believers. The king and his sister grew tired of what he had to say and they left the room. According to the king Paul had done nothing worthy of death and if he didn't have to appeal to Caesar he would have been set free.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Acts 25:1-27

Chapter 25:1-12
     Paul once again in being brought in front of the main leaders in order to be judged. This time it is the new governor, Porcius, who is heading this trial up. He called for a few other men to join him on a trip to Caesarea where Paul was still in custody. Once there the people brought all these very serious charges against Paul. In response Paul simple denies these accusations and said he has broken no laws. Porcius wanted to appeal to his new citizens and asked Paul if he was willing to go to Jerusalem in order to judged in front of the Sanhedrin. Paul knew his chances there would be slim if any to a fair trial. Paul answered that he appeal to Caesar. Porcius along with the other men decided to send Paul to Caesar.
Chapter 25:13-27
     After several days had passed the King Agrippa and his sister Bernice arrive in Caesarea with much celebration. Porcius fills them in o what is going on with Paul's case and simply says he see nothing wrong with this man. He is supposed to report to his thoughts and charges when he sends a prisoner to his lord but he is unable to write anything about Paul. This is why he has brought the king and his sister in on the trial.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Acts 24:1-27

Chapter 24:1-23
      Five days after being put in the custody of Felix, Paul is brought before him again since Ananias finally arrived. He along with his elders accused Paul of being a disturbance and desecrating the temple. The crowd quickly agreed with them. Paul then gets the chance to respond to the accusers. He doesn't deny that he believes in the resurrection but he didn't desecrate the temple. He never started riots but he did stand and preach the gospel. Felix heard all that Paul had to say and knew he had done nothing wrong but knowing that a riot could happen if he handled the situation wrong. He ordered Paul to go back to the prison but he would have some freedom while there.
Chapter 24:24-27
     Felix and his wife would ask Paul several times to come and speak with them about the Gospel but they would become frightened and tell Paul to leave. This went on for two years but there was still no acceptance. Felix was succeeded by Porcius and when he left for Rome decided to leave Paul in prison, washing his hands of the situation.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Acts 23:1-35

Chapter 23:1-11
      Paul is standing in front of the high priest, Ananias and begins to speak exactly what he is thinking. He basically calls him a hypocrite. He then causes a division in the crowd because he speaks against the Sadducees and calls himself a Pharisee. Sadducees believed that there was no resurrection, no angel, and no spirit where as the Pharisees believed in them all. When the uproar happened the commander was afraid for Paul's life so he had his men go down and get him and put him back in jail. While in jail he had a vision from the Lord. I love how after we go through rough times the Lord reveals Himself to us so to encourage us.
Chapter 23:12-22
      Forty men began to conspire on a plot to kill Paul. They all made an oath not to eat anything until Paul was dead. Paul's nephew heard of what they were planning and immediately went to speak with him. He then goes before the commander and tells him all that would happen to Paul if he listened to the 40 men who were about to ask to men with him. The commander listened to him and had the boy leave and tell no one what he had heard.
Chapter 23: 23-31
     The commander called for two centurions and gave them strict orders as to what they should do to escort Paul safely out of the city. He also wrote a personal letter to the governor Felix who would be receiving Paul in his custody. In the letter he informs him on all the misdoings that had taken place against Paul. Once he arrived before Felix he was told that he would have a speedy trial but until then could rest comfortably in Herod's palace. He was being shown the respect that others had not given before.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Heart That is Set Apart

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."
                                                                                         Galatians 6:9

      I am hearing more and more of young ladies who are trying to live a godly life but finding out just how hard that life can be. First off you must know that you are not alone. There have been many girls/women, myself included, who have had struggles in this area. You feel like no other girls like you because you are different or that no guy will like you because you are considered a "good" girl. This is so not true and there are so many passages in Scripture that would disprove this lie that we all believed at one point. We are daughters of the King who are cherished more than precious jewels. Yes, it is sometimes very lonely when you don't go along with what the world says is right but we don't serve the world. We serve a King who knows the plans He has for us and He is faithful to complete them.
      It is important to know this, even those times when you feel alone and think that no one is taking notice of you that is probably not the case. When you are following Christ it IS evident in your life and people can see that. Especially when it comes to relationships you will be noticed if you are different. But this is ok, what a witness you have when you are holding to high standards in order to keep your name pure.
       This is my last little input for any girl who is anxious. God has not only set young women like yourself apart but also young men. There are strong godly men out there who are waiting and seeking for godly women like yourself. The more active I get in the youth ministry the more I see this to be true. I have met many young guys who are going to be wonderful husbands to you girls who remain strong in your faith. Don't let the world discourage you from doing what God has called you to do. It is very much worth the wait and the struggle. Continue to seek after Him and He will give you the desires of your heart.

*Pray Pray Pray!!!! Pray for godly friends to help hold you accountable and encourage you. Pray now for the guy who will one day be your husband. Pray for your heart, that it will be guarded from lies and worldly things.