Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Makes you think doesn't it? The Roman empire did fall!

Romans 1:21-32

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 
slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Bible Gateway

Monday, July 29, 2013

There are verses throughout the Bible that connect the Old and New Testaments. It is such a joy to see so plainly how God has been working with mankind since creation. He never gives up. If you are spiritually dead he would heal you if you only open your eyes and ears to his Word.

Acts 28:23-28
When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.
And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:

“‘Go to this people, and say,“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
Bible Gateway link

Sunday, July 28, 2013

When we hear God's word we should revel! If hearing it makes you feel guilty, inadequate or undeserving, do not. He loves you."The joy of the Lord is your strength."

Nehemiah 8:8-10
They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Bible Gateway link

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Discouraging words are powerful, but prayer is more powerful. Whatever you're working on: marriage, family, faith, God will strengthen your hands if you ask.

Nehemiah 6:9
For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.”Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
Bible Gateway Link

Saturday, July 20, 2013

You alone are God! I'm so glad I figured out He's God and I'm not.

Chapter 86

Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
For You will answer me. 

Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord, 
And shall glorify Your name.
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Isn't this lovely: "Righteousness and peace have kissed."

Psalm 85:8-13

I will hear what God the Lord will speak,

For He will speak peace

To His people and to His saints;

But let them not turn back to folly.

Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,

That glory may dwell in our land.

Mercy and truth have met together;

Righteousness and peace have kissed.

Truth shall spring out of the earth,

And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Yes, the Lord will give what is good;

And our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before Him,

And shall make His footsteps our pathway.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It is never too late. Somewhere, someone in your family may have lost touch with the Lord and may have stopped passing on the good news. You can find God again and he "will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him."

2 Chronicles 30:8-9

Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you.

For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bible every morning, but Vine and Branch only here and there. I hope you miss it!

I will be sporadic with Vine and Branch the next two weeks since I'll be on a sailing cruise in the Sea Cloud II through Ireland and Scotland. Bless you all and pray for our safe travel. Thanks, Kim

Saturday, July 13, 2013

All you intellectuals out there listen up. This is what Paul had to say to the great thinkers in Athens. I'm not a great thinker, but I could hear this every day and not tire of it.

Acts 17:24-27

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,

nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,...

Bible Gateway link

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Not a few of the leading women" were persuaded. In addition to everything else, I assume that was quite a cause for alarm for the status quo. No wonder they admitted these brave disciples had "turned the world upside down."

Acts 17:2-6
And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”
And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.
But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd.
And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,

Bible Gateway link

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Imagine having all your needs filled. Believe me, most of us are terrible at really knowing what we need, and worse at providing for ourselves what would satisfy us. Be faithful and open your mouth wide, He will fill it.

Psalm 81:8-10

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Bible Gateway link

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Now Asa knew how to pray! Those who would say God doesn't take sides would be wrong. Note King Asa didn't defeat the Ethiopians, they fled before the Lord.

2 Chronicles 14:9-13
Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.
And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”
So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.
Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah carried away very much spoil.
Bible Gateway link

Monday, July 8, 2013

Don't you want your heart cleansed? The struggle in the new church over circumcision is like all our struggles with the church. It is not about religiosity, it is about Christ. God chooses, we choose to obey.

Acts 15:4-11

When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”
The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.
And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.

And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,
and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.
Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Solomon's son, Rehoboam, became the next king, but didn't ask God for wisdom. He didn't even ask for God's help to lead. Leaders need God's help. That's why Solomon was great and Rehoboam is not exactly a household name.

2 Chronicles 10:4-11
“Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.”
He said to them, “Come to me again in three days.” So the people went away.
Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?”
And they said to him, “If you will be good to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”
The Arrogance of Rehoboam

But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.
And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?”
And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us’; thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's thighs.
And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”
Bible Gateway link

Saturday, July 6, 2013

This prayer seems as relevant today as it was when the Psalms were written. What is with us humans? You'd think over time we would get better. I guess it is a consequence of a fallen world.

Psalm 80:3-6
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!
O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears 
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh among themselves.
Bible Gateway link

Friday, July 5, 2013

We are "a wind that passes and comes not again." Well that is humbling! And yet in His mercy He atoned for our sins. If you wonder why He would bother, don't. You are precious, "even the hairs of your head are all numbered." Luke 12:7

Psalm 78:35-39

They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God their redeemer.

But they flattered him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.

Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
they were not faithful to his covenant.

Yet he, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.

He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and comes not again.

Bible Gateway link

My grandmother's first name was Rhoda, and so is mine. I have always been known by my middle name Kim. When I first ran across Rhoda in the bible, it was one of the gazillion awesome things I noticed in the word of God. He speaks your name too.

Acts 12:7-17
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.
And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”
And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.
When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.

And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer.
Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.
They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!”
But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.
But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.
Bible Gateway link

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Don't stand in God's way. He can change any heart and the Holy Spirit can open any eyes.

Acts 11:15-17
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.
And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?”
Bible Gateway

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

We can't get away with a thing. That's good. A secret life is rarely productive and if it's not secret from the one who matters most, what's the point?

1 Chronicles 28:9

“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
Bible Gateway link

Monday, July 1, 2013

We think we know the rules, and if we just follow them somehow we'll earn our way to salvation. Over and over Christ tells us it is not about the rules. He's trying to tell us: it is about Me! Open your heart to Me moment by moment. Risk, surrender, trust, live!'

Acts 10:9-15

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.
And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance
and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.

In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.
And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”
And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

Bible Gateway link