Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 34/260: Read Acts 10

“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” The King James Version reads, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

In short, God doesn’t care where someone works. He doesn’t care what color someone’s skin is. He doesn’t care how much a man has in the bank, or how big his house is, or what kind of car he drives.

God is no respecter of persons, and God’s children should follow His lead. Racism and classism are sinful attitudes and must be rejected by God’s people.

Children often sing about Jesus’ love for all:

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

May we all develop the same innocence and love and show no partiality in our dealings with God’s creation.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 8:12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the _______________ of _______________ and the name of _______________ _______________, both men and women were baptized.

Pray

Pray for understanding toward those who are different than you. Pray for tolerance without compromising the truth.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 33/260: Read Acts 9

The story of Saul’s conversion is one of the most inspiring and encouraging in the New Testament. Our first introduction to this man has him consenting to Stephen’s death (Acts 8:1). Here, he is “breathing threats and murder against the disciples.” Later, he says of himself, “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (1 Timothy 1:13).

Despite his attitude and actions against Jesus and the church, Saul of Tarsus “obtained mercy” and became one of the greatest champions for Christ—Paul the apostle—the world has ever known.

I have heard people say they could never visit a church service for fear that the building would collapse on them. I doubt any of them have sinned like Saul, though. Even if they have, God’s mercy and grace and love is strong enough to overcome their past, if they are willing to submit to Him like Saul did.

Saul, who would become Paul, was “a chosen vessel” of Christ’s. Don’t neglect opportunities to teach your neighbors about Christ, no matter how sinful they may be in your eyes. Don’t allow your past to hold you back from the future God has planned for you.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 8:12. But when they _______________ Philip as he _______________ the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were _______________.

Pray

Pray for the ability to see the best in people, even if they can’t see it themselves. Pray for opportunities to teach them about Christ.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 32/260: Read Acts 8

What does it mean to preach Jesus? When Philip went to the city of Samaria, “he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” The result was an obedient faith. The Scriptures tell us “they believed” and “both men and women were baptized.”

Later, Philip was sent to the Ethiopian eunuch as he traveled from Jerusalem to Gaza. The man was reading from Isaiah’s prophecy, but had trouble understanding its import. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” The result was again belief and baptism.

Many in the religious world attempt to circumvent the grace of God, seeking loopholes to avoid obedience. Some want the benefits of Christianity without submitting to the commands of Christ.

This chapter shows that obedience based upon faith is a part of believing the message of Jesus. “Preaching Jesus” is not just telling stories about the Lord, but includes instructions on how to follow Him and how to access the blessings available to His followers. May we always strive to teach and preach the whole counsel of God.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Acts 8:12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Pray

Pray for wisdom in teaching others about the Savior. Pray for strength to resist compromising His truth.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 31/260: Read Acts 7

Isn’t it amazing how the same message is received in different ways by different people? On Pentecost, Peter told the Jews gathered there that they had crucified the Son of God. Their response was one of repentance and obedience. Here, Stephen delivers the same general message, but the response was much different.

Both audiences were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37; 7:54), but instead of inquiring how to fix their condition, Stephen’s audience “gnashed at him with their teeth.” They didn’t want to hear the truth; they didn’t want to accept responsibility.

Stephen was murdered because of his faith and his boldness. He refused to back down; he declined to compromise the message even in the face of death.

How strong is our faith? How easily do we bend to the will of our friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors and reject the truth of the Word? It is not likely we will face the same level of persecution as Stephen and others in the first century when Christianity was illegal, but far too often we compromise when the stakes are much lower.

How can you take a stand for Christ today?

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Acts 8:12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Pray

Pray for those over whom you may have a positive influence for Christ, that they may receive the message with an open heart like those on Pentecost.

Book Review: Life in the Shadow of Death by Michael Whitworth

Life in the Shadow of Death by Michael Whitworth
Life in the Shadow of Death
by Michael Whitworth
2019, Start2Finish

How do you deal with grief? Everyone is different, and everyone moves through the emotions related with grief at a different pace. Michael Whitworth deals with the topic gently and with sensitivity in his book, Life in the Shadow of Death. This short book is a must-read not only for ministers, but for all Christians. Every one of us grieves and ministers to friends as they grieve, and brother Whitworth’s book gives the reader insight into what to say and do the in those situations.

Brother Whitworth reminds us of some “unconventional losses” that are often overlooked or mishandled when we think about grief: miscarriage, suicide, and divorce. The church can and must do a better job of deal with these situations with meekness and love, and the author gives some practical and Scriptural advice on how to do that.

From the back cover:

“We live in a grief illiterate society.”

Truer words were never spoken. Grief is more than unpleasant; it’s messy. Grief is more than foreign; it’s counter-intuitive. Grief is more than probable; it’s inevitable. Do you know what the Bible has to say about grief? Have you prepared yourself to grieve, and to do so well when your time comes?

Life in the Shadow of Death will educate you on grief and equip you to grieve to the glory of God. In the book Michael Whitworth discusses what the Bible has to say about the grief journey, how to weep appropriately with those that weep, how to grieve unconventional losses, and how we can know we are never alone in the valley of the shadow of death.

Purchase Life in the Shadow of Death by Michael Whitworth.

God’s Merciful Invitation (Isaiah 55:1-13)

Isaiah A Study of Selected Texts

God’s Merciful Invitation (Isaiah 55:1-13)

  • 55:1-5 – The invitation extended
    • To everyone (Revelation 22:17)
    • Salvation cannot be earned (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9)
    • “He who dies with the most toys wins?” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
    • Action required: incline, come, hear
    • “The sure mercies of David” (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Acts 13:34-39)
    • Christ is the faithful witness (Revelation 1:5; John 18:37)
  • 55:6-9 – Accepting the invitation
    • Action required: seek, call, forsake, return
    • Seek (Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 11:6)
    • Repentance: forsake wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts, and return to the Lord (Proverbs 23:7; Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8)
    • Abundant forgiveness (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:19)
    • Contrast between man’s thoughts and ways and God’s
  • 55:10-13 – The purpose of God’s Word
    • Rain and snow serves physical purpose
    • God’s Word serves spiritual purpose
    • “The pen is mightier than the sword” (Hebrews 4:12-13; John 6:63; 1 Peter 1:22-25; James 1:18,21)
    • “Jesus does not offer us the peace of the world. Peace is not the absence of alarm, but the presence of God in our lives.” (Michael Hatcher)

Discussion Questions

1. How abundant is God’s mercy?

2. What are “the sure mercies of David”?

3. In order to be forgiven, what must the sinner do?

4. What is the contrast between man’s ways and thoughts and the Lord’s?

5. What does He mean when God says His Word “shall not return to me void”?

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 30/260: Read Acts 6

How important is your reputation? When the apostles sought men to help serve the widows, a good reputation was important. Yet, a good reputation does not guarantee a wealth of friends. Winston Churchill said, “If you don’t have any enemies in life you have never stood up for anything.”

Stephen stood for the truth, and his stand created enemies. There were some men who disputed with Stephen, accused him of blasphemy, and even set up false witnesses against him.

Peter wrote, “But even if you should suffer for righteous-ness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness has fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:14-17).

Suffering can come from good or from evil. Do an honest evaluation when you face trouble to be sure your suffering comes from standing for the truth.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Pray

Pray for strength in your stand for the truth, and for patience in the face of persecution.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 29/260: Read Acts 5

Jealousy. A desire to receive the accolades of peers. Greed for attention and praise. This is not only the story of Ananias and Sapphira, but all too often, this is the story of us.

The early church shared their possessions and distributed to each other when needs were made known. Ananias and Sapphira saw others doing this, and wanted to be included, but when they sold their land they kept part of the money back. They claimed that they had given all, and Peter called them out. “You have not lied to men but to God.”

The result was an immediate punishment from God; both Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead. The impact on the church was widespread.

We need to guard our hearts against jealousy in the church. Rejoice in the accomplishments of others without seeking the steal the spotlight for yourself. Do not lay claim to the good works of others, or lie about your own activities.

Do not seek the praise of your fellow man. Do good to the glory of God and let God reward you, even if no one this side of eternity takes notice.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the _______________ of Jesus Christ for the _______________ of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy _______________.”

Pray

Pray for humility in your service to the Lord, seeking glory for Him and not self.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 28/260: Read Acts 4

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

What a testimony to the impact Jesus had on the lives of these men! What kind of an impact has the Christ had on your life?

When you talk to others about the Lord, are you confident in your belief? Can others see Jesus in your life, the way you talk and act? Do you exhibit the meekness and mercy of the Messiah? Do you love your neighbor enough to tell him about the only path to salvation?

Peter and John were so convinced that they would not let the threats of violence derail them from the mission. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Is your faith so strong that you have to tell others?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them, “_______________, and let every one of you be _______________ in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall _______________ the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Pray

Pray for boldness as you talk to others about God regardless of consequences.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 27/260: Read Acts 3

The birth, life, and death of Jesus were foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament. Hundreds of years before He appeared in the flesh, they said He would appear. They not only prophesied about Him, but also His church. Peter says, “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.”

Here are just a few of the prophecies fulfilled in Christ:

  • Jesus’ lineage (Genesis 26:1-5; 28:13-14; 49:10; Isaiah 11:1-10)
  • Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
  • Worked miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6) and taught in parables (Psalms 78:1-4)
  • The betrayal (Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12-13)
  • The crucifixion and surrounding events (Isaiah 50:6; 53; Psalm 109:24-25; 34:20; Zechariah 12:10; Amos 8:9)
  • The resurrection (Psalm 16:8-11; 68:18; 110:1)
  • The church (Isaiah 2; Daniel 2; Joel 2)

These were not educated guesses; these were Spirit-inspired prophecies about the Savior of the world and His kingdom.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Pray

Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the foreknowledge of God to provide a path to salvation for His creation.

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)