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Archive for October, 2010

Chances are you might hear a few kids say that today. It’s cute when they do. But in Acts 14 there is real ‘tricking’ and ‘treating’ going on and it is not so cute. Coupled with the rare occurrence of today being both Halloween and Sunday, it seemed too fitting not to tie them all together.

Our spiritual lives are in constant jeopardy of being ‘tricked’ or ‘treated’. We are susceptible to both. For those who are strong, they need ‘treats’ to keep them strong. For those who are weak, a ‘trick’ can cause them to do a 180.

Paul and Barnabus were strong; they spoke to persuade those who were not. Their ‘treats’ (seeing large numbers of people believe their message, plus seeing the wonders God worked through them confirming that He was with them) kept them strong.

Those who believed their message were not yet so strong. In one verse they were so excited they wanted to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabus. But they were easily persuaded by non believers and were soon willing to stone them. They were ‘tricked’.

Paul understood this ‘tricking’ and ‘treating’. It is for this very reason that he went back to those he had shared with to encourage and strengthen them. He knew that as soon as he ‘treated’, some would come behind him to ‘trick’.

And so with us today, as we go into our respective churches, we will likely be ‘treated’. Be assured that not too far behind, there will be some attempt to ‘trick’. Whether to weaken those who have been strengthened or to completely destroy those who are weak, ‘tricking’ and ‘treating’ will both occur today.

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Because God was with Him, Jesus “went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil”. Those were Peter’s words to Cornelius as recorded by Luke. I like that phrase – ‘because God was with Him’.

There were many who believed otherwise. In fact, they believed the opposite so strongly that they had Him crucified. In spite of all they saw Him do while He was alive, they still did not believe that God was with Him.

And that became the first part of the message of the early church. They kept the fact that God was with Him before the people. ‘You killed Him’ they would say, ‘but God has raised Him from the dead’; just a little more proof – a little more confirmation – that God was in deed with Him.

Is there anything better that could be said of anyone? At the end of our lives, will it matter what we have accomplished if it cannot be said that God was with us? And if that can be said, will anything else really matter? If that can be said, there will be a trail, not of all we have acquired, but of all we have helped.

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Murderous Threats

Acts 9 begins with this verse; “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples”. As soon as I read it, I thought of my own situation. My enemy was breathing out murderous threats against me. I could readily relate to the thought. What happened over the next few days is a good example of how the Lord speaks and guides through the reading of His word.

When I first read it, it shed light on the source of my thoughts. I read and could see that God did not particularly like the fact that Saul was disturbing His church; and from it, I figured He didn’t like it that Satan was disturbing me.

And so I prayed; ‘Lord is there something You can help me see – some kind of evidence that confirms You are still in control of my situation?’ Just as Saul’s threats were taking its toll on the church, Satan’s threats were taking their toll on me.

The more I thought about what I was reading, the more it became clear that Satan was the source of my trouble. The Lord was confirming it. He was shining His light on my path. As I understood that He was concerned enough for His church that He took care of its enemy, it helped me to see that He was concerned enough for me that He was taking care of mine.

Acts 9:31 tells the rest of the story; “Then the church enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord”. John says that Jesus “was the light of men”, and that “The light shines in darkness”. His light truly did shine in my darkness. He was my light. He gave me peace and strengthened me. He encouraged me through the Holy Spirit. In the fear of the Lord is a great place to live.

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Recalculating

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