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“Targeted By Satan”

BIBLE READING: Acts 27-28 DISCUSSION Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you tried to do the right thing, there was always something that would happen that would throw you off course or discourage you?Maybe you were doing well with your faith, but then you would have a tragedy, a setback, a temptation that got the best of you and sent you down a wrong path. I believe with all my heart that the Devil is either directly or indirectly responsible for those things.Now don’t get me wrong, we cannot blame him for our faults, because we are still responsible for our own actions.But Satan is a very crafty and determined individual.He has made it his mission to do whatever he can to discourage us from living for Jesus.As you notice, it seems that Satan was at work during the missionary trips of Paul as well.Whether it was his stoning in Lystra, his imprisonment in Philippi, his beatings in Jerusalem and now the storm and shipwreck while headed to Rome, Satan is doing whatever he can to di…

“Seizing The Moment”

BIBLE READING: Acts 24-26 DISCUSSION In our readings today, we are confronted with two of the saddest stories within all of Scripture.The first is the story of Felix.Felix was the Romanprocurator of Iudaea Province, whose wife Drusilla was a Jew.Felix had come from Jerusalem to bring charges against Paul because of his preaching.In the closest thing that Paul has received to a trial at this point, Paul gives his defense.Felix, maybe due to his wife being a Jew, had a “rather accurate knowledge of the Way” (Acts 24.23).As he listens to Paul’s defense, which included Paul’s conversion as well as items of self-control, righteousness and judgement, Felix was alarmed and said “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity, I will summon you” (Acts 24.25).Sadly, from what we understand of secular history, that opportunity never came.The next story involves Agrippa, who was the Jewish King.As Paul makes his defense to King Agrippa, Paul knows that Agrippa has understood and believes the m…

“Long Winded Preachers”

BIBLE READING: Acts 20. 4-38, 21, 22, 23.1-35 DISCUSSION As a preacher I try to be mindful of how long my lessons last.Of course, there is always going to be a joke about how I preached too long, or about how I put their baby to sleep, and of course my favorite “If a preacher can’t say what he has to say in ten minutes, he ought not to be preaching.”Deep down in my heart of hearts I know that they are just joking, but I also know that there is a little truth to their jabs. I wonder if the Apostles ever got that kind of criticism?I can hear it now “Paul, if you wouldn’t preach so long, we could have beat the pagans to the marketplace for lunch!”.All joking aside, in our reading today we do have an example of a lesson that lasted till midnight.While Paul was preaching, I am confident that Eutychus was doing his best to hear every word.However, at the same time, I am sure he had to get up and go to work the next morning and was tired after a long day.It would have been natural for him to b…

“The Weight of the World”

BIBLE READING: Romans 14-16 DISCUSSION Just a few days ago I witnessed an object lesson that I will never forget.Jordan Abrams was speaking in high school chapel at Mars Hill Bible School on the subject of working together.He took a concrete block and held it over an egg and asked the question “what will happen if I set this block on this egg?”Of course, the response was “Crush it!”.He then attempted to gently lay the block onto the egg and of course it did crush the egg.However, when he placed four eggs with a plastic bottle top on each of them, together they were able to hold the block securely without crushing them.It was an amazing object lesson that I will not soon forget.The point was, in working together we will be able to handle the pressures that come along in our daily Christian walk.Paul alludes to this idea in Romans 15 when he writes “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak…” (Romans 15.1).The Bible refers to us as a family, because that i…

“Learning Something New”

BIBLE READING: Romans 11-13 DISCUSSION It is a blessing to be able to study the Bible for a living.Of course, I would study it even if I wasn’t paid too, but being a minister enables me the luxury of having more time to dedicate to studying the Word.However, along with that also comes the danger of thinking that you know everything there is to know about that subject or passage.That sounds very arrogant for someone to ever feel that way, but it is very dangerous and happens a lot more often than you might think.In fact, you may have done it as well!You begin to read a passage that is very familiar to you, for example John 3.16.Before you know it, you’ve read over it so quickly thinking you already know that verse and move on to something else.See, it is so easy it can happen to anyone!That is why passages like Romans 11.33-36 are so valuable for us to read over often.Paul says, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscr…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Romans 8-10

“Rejoice in What?!?”

BIBLE READING: Acts 20. 1-3, Romans 4-7 DISCUSSION There are many occasions in our lives that give us reason to rejoice.The birth of a child, a promotion at work, obedience to the Gospel. These are all occasions in which rejoicing would be the perfectly acceptable expression of our feelings.Paul, however, gives us a most unusual reason to rejoice; our sufferings.That is right! Paul says that we have reason to rejoice because of our sufferings (Romans 5.2).The reason we can rejoice is not because of the pain that is associated with our suffering, but because of what the suffering produces… patience.Let me give you a few examples: a mother can rejoice over the suffering that is associated with giving birth because of the child it produces.An athlete can rejoice in the pain of the practice, because of the feeling that comes with a victory.You see, in a lot of cases the blessing that we receive comes from the pain in which we must bear.That is what Paul is trying to teach the church at Rome…