He commanded us to preach

Acts 10


And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

It says He commanded us to preach. Considering that He commanded us that, we should be ready to take opportunities to preach the gospel.


straightway he preached Christ

Acts 9


And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Like Saul of Tarsus when the Lord converted him, we should be quick to preach the Lord Jesus Christ, and who He is, in all the places we go.


Genesis 41 - Key


And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, [It is] not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

I think it would have been so easy for Joseph to take the credit for interpreting dreams, but instead, He gave the Lord the credit, and the Lord blessed him so much it was ridiculous.


Proverbs 3:5,6
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

For a long time, I've wondered, how do I apply these verses to acknowledge Him? I think what Joseph did is a great example of that. I'll acknowledge the Lord by giving Him the credit when He gives me an ability.


Genesis 41 - Outline

Pharaoh dreamed that seven skinny cows came and ate seven fat cows who had come before them
Pharaoh dreamed that 7 shriveled ears of corn ate seven fat ears of corn
nobody could help, but the chief butler remembered Joseph
Joseph was suddenly taken out of prison, and gave the credit to the Lord for interpreting dreams
Pharaoh told Joseph his dream about the cows
Pharaoh also told Joseph about his second dream about the ears of corn
Joseph told how God was showing what was going to happen to Egypt's economy in the immediate future
Joseph also told what to do to take care of the problem
Joseph went from rags to riches as Pharaoh recognized his wisdom
the seven years of prosperity
Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim
there was a Great Depression in Egypt, and a world food crisis in in all of the economies in the world


take sin seriously

Acts 8


Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

Simon's wrong speech came a from wrong thought, which came from a wrong heart. He wasn't supposed to pray for forgiveness for saying it, but for the thought. When we recognize sin in our lives, we should recognize it all the way to the root of the problem in our hearts.

When we sin, even if it seems small to us, it's very important to recognize that it's our wickedness, and repent of it, and pray to the Lord for forgiveness.


Acts 7


And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Now if we want amazing stories of intrigue, and betrayal, and action, and people changing sides of a conflict, we don't have to look much further than the book of Acts. And, unlike movies like Star Wars, the book of Acts is all true stories.

I was thinking about how Saul had been there when Stephen got killed, and how later, as Paul, he described himself:

1 Timothy 1:13
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief.

If Stephen hadn't prayed, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, would Saul ever have converted, and would we have Paul today?

Paul's name is on 14 books of the New Testament, as writer, or at least as co-author with another person. (I went through and counted them once.) So the Lord used Paul to write down an amazing amount of God's Word in the New Testament. Some people even think that Paul probably wrote more books of the New Testament, as well, that he didn't put his name in.

Sometimes we get in unfair situations that may be just a little bit like when Stephen was killed. Maybe we're standing up for the Lord and for what's right, and we're telling the truth, saying things that need to be said, even if people don't want to hear it. When Stephen did that, the people became very angry at him, and yelled, and shut their ears, and all went after him together.

Now the people we know don't often kill us for doing what's right-- but sometimes our situations can seem to be a little bit like Stephen's, in a way. How did Stephen respond? And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. We should respond the same way, loving, forgiving, and returning good. Who knows when, out of a situation like that, the Lord might raise up another great thing like Paul?

Colossians 3:13
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.


not only an errand runner

Acts 6


And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Stephen was appointed to daily serve widows' tables, but he didn't have to settle for only doing that. He was full of so much faith he was working miracles, and he was out there preaching the gospel with irresistible wisdom.

Just because the Lord has given us something to do in one area, doesn't mean we can't also serve Him in other areas. We might be busy with work, school, and Bible studies, but we should still be going out and preaching the gospel.


lying and keeping part back

Acts 5


But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?

Once again, I saw something about dishonesty. This time, it was about acting like, or saying we're giving some whole thing to the Lord or to people, when we're only giving partially.

It made me think of commitments we can make to ministries.

Jeremiah 48:10
Cursed [be] he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed [be] he that keepeth back his sword from blood.

I looked up that word, deceitfully once, and means something like, negligently.

Luke 9:62
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Let's follow through with the commitments we've made. If we're not going to follow through, we don't need to make some great commitment to God in the first place.


Genesis 12 - Key


Why saidst thou, She [is] my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take [her], and go thy way.

Abram didn't tell an outright lie, because she was his half-sister, but it was still dishonest.

Genesis 20:12
And yet indeed [she is] my sister; she [is] the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

We shouldn't be dishonest, even a little bit, even for a good reason.


Warnings in the Bible, about the sin of dishonesty, made me think of how I use my time at work. When I'm paid by the hour, and it's during my working hours, if I'm not working faithfully, that's like stealing wages from my employer. I'm not saying I can never take a 5-minute coffee break, but this convicted me about trying to work on other things, even good things, at the same time that I have plenty of the work to do that I was hired for.

When I'm getting paid to help people with things, I'll work on putting other things completely aside while I'm helping them, instead of being a dishonest worker by trying to do both at once.


Genesis 12 - Outline

Abram departed like the Lord told him
the Lord appeared to Abram, and Abram built altars to the Lord
Abram told Sarai to say she was his sister, so they wouldn't kill him for his wife, because she was good looking
Pharaoh gave Abram lots of good stuff
Pharaoh and his household got plagued, Abram got kicked out, and something worse could have happened, all because of what Abram did


speak His Word with all boldness

Acts 4


For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Sometimes people will try to stop us from preaching the gospel, but we should be bold because the Lord has called us to be His witnesses.

Don't get me wrong, we shouldn't take this too far. For the most part, if there's somebody who tells us not to preach the gospel in one place, and there's another place where people will actually be wanting to have the gospel preached to them, we should move along.

But when the Lord has called us to do it, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)


healed by faith

Acts 3


And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Who's faith was it? The man didn't know they were going to give him healing. Peter and John took him by the hand and raised him up. He might have had some faith too, but I think it was Peter and John's faith.

They were going up to pray, and they had powerful, life-changing faith. We should have great faith when we go to pray, so that people can be "healed" in every way.

It wasn't by Peter and John's own power and holiness, it was by faith. That's different, because it wasn't their own, it was faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.


what shall we do?

Acts 2


Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Is this verse the gospel message? No, and it's not all that Peter said at the time. Is it what we must do in order to have eternal life? No, these are all great things to do, but we don't need to speak in tongues to be saved, we don't need to be immersed in water to be saved, and we don't need to repent in our actions in order to be saved.

Let's look at this verse in context. Peter had already quoted earlier, in the same chapter,

What We Need to "Do" to be Saved

And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This, of course, is talking about calling on the name of the Lord out of faith, not like saying magic words. And Peter went on to tell the gospel, of who Christ is and what He did for us on the cross, and in light of His resurrection.

Who He Is

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

His Death on the Cross

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

His Resurrection

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

This is the good news, the gospel, according to the Word of God, the Bible, and this is the message we're saved by believing.

Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

The key reaction here, was in their hearts; that's where we need to repent, by having faith. What they asked next, was about actions they could take, what shall we do? That is why Peter answered with telling them things to do, like being immersed in water; not because some action was needed on their part for them to be saved.


ye shall be witnesses

Acts 1


But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Being witnesses for the Lord, to every part of the world, was the mission that the Lord gave to His followers. As His followers, we should be witnesses for Him.


faith in God's resurrection power

John 22


And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

Abraham wasn't lying when he said, I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. He really believed that Isaac would be coming back with him, because he believed God had the power to do any thing, even to raise the dead.

Hebrews 11:10
Accounting that God [was] able to raise [him] up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Abraham was blessed because he believed something just like the gospel that we're saved by believing today. Abraham believed that he would have a promised descendant, an only begotten son. He believed that the son would be a sacrifice, and that God would have the power to raise him from the dead. That figure was fulfilled in Jesus.

From Psalm 2:12b:
...the Son... Blessed [are] all they that put their trust in him.


separating fact from speculation

John 21


Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee?

What went on here is a common occurrence in Christian beliefs and teaching, and it's important to point out so we can understand it. Jesus said one thing, but "the brethren" (the Christians) read between the lines, and assumed it meant something more than Jesus actually said. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't. The important point is to separate what He actually said, from our own ideas about it.

This is true for interpreting the Old Testament and New Testaments, and for studying what the Bible has to say about what's going to happen in the future and at the end of the world. Some of our own speculations can be really good and useful... but only if we remember to make the distinction between those speculations, and sure facts. That's what the writer of the book of John did here. He did not say He shall not die. He did not say He shall die. He just pointed out that what the brethren thought wasn't necessarily the case, because it wasn't exactly what Jesus actually said.

For example, many people believe "that disciple" this book refers to, was John. It very well may have been John. But, for some reason, the author of the book did not see fit to say who it was, only that it was "that disciple." So it may have been John, or it may not. If we refer to him being John, I think that's fine as long as we're clear that it's what we think, and not what the Bible says, so it's not absolutely for sure.

I seem to remember that for the person that this gospel referred to as "that disciple," there are passages in the other books of the Bible that referred to the person in the same position and situations, as John. Do I remember right? If you know or can find one of those passages, leave a comment that tells it.


be not faithless, but believing

John 20


Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

We should have faith that the disciples didn't come and steal Jesus' body during the night, or anything like that, but He really rose from the dead.


Jesus, The Son of God

John 19


The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

Here's just a short thought. It's an important fact that Jesus is the Son of God. That means a lot, and it should mean a lot to us.


don't deny the Lord

John 18


And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also [one] of his disciples? He denied [it], and said, I am not.

Denying the Lord can come in a form that we don't expect it to. For example, denying our relationship with the Lord, is denying Him. Let's watch our speech, and take opportunities to speak up for the Lord, without being afraid of what will happen to us for it.


What is eternal life?

John 17


And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

This is a great Bible verse for telling people the good news about Jesus. Having everlasting life is all about having a relationship with Jesus Christ, that is, knowing Him.


Proverbs 24 - Key


[If] thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength [is] small.

About the day of adversity, I think of times when we're tempted to sin. When we know something would be wrong, we should have the strength to do what's right instead of fainting and giving in.


[Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

When my alarm clock went off this morning, I knew I really should just get up, but I felt really tired, and I thought it wouldn't make any difference if I just slept for a few more minutes. I thought I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock, but then I ended up sleeping for a lot longer. Afterward, I couldn't figure out why it never went off again. I think I hit the wrong button.

That was an example of a time of adversity, a little battle I had about whether I was going to do what was right or wrong. On those future mornings, I'll remember to show inner strength against adversity by not fainting like that when I should get up.


Proverbs 24 - Highlights

v1,2, 19-22
don't envy the wicked
be strong, deliver the dying (applies to Pro Life, and praying for people)
how wisdom is like honey
getting back up when you fall down
don't be glad when something bad happens to your enemy
"unprovoked revenge" :)
"change": I looked up the word, and sometimes it has to do with, doing the same thing over again, a different way; changing your face, like a disguise; deceit, being a traitor, sometimes for one side, sometimes for another.
calling right, right, and wrong, wrong
work first, play later
the slothful


Genesis 11 - Key


And the LORD said, Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

I saw the power of unity. The people could do whatever they imagined and nobody could stop them, when they were all together and had the same language. I usually think of unity as just a good thing, but there can also be unity for a wrong reason. Here I saw the possible problem of pride.


There are things we could get involved in where the other people and us could really be on the same page. I would have a tendency to think that something like that would be a good thing because of that togetherness, but it could just as easily be unity for a bad cause, like the tower of Babel. I'll keep my eyes open to avoid situations like that.


Genesis 40 - Key


And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and [there is] no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, [Do] not interpretations [belong] to God? tell me [them], I pray you.

Joseph said, [Do] not interpretations [belong] to God? It struck me that Joseph just simply believed that the Lord would do this miracle for them. We should have that kind of faith, that we just know the Lord will help us when we need Him.


1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

When I'm struggling against the temptation to get mad and talk the wrong way to people, I'll have the simple faith that I don't need to give in to that, because the Lord's help is sufficient. I'll work on having the same kind of faith that Joseph had, when he just knew that the Lord could give the interpretation of the dream.


Genesis 11 - Outline

The people all had the same language, and they started the first "space program," to build the world's first skyscraper, to reach all the way up to heaven. They tried to make a name for themselves so they wouldn't be scattered all over the world.
The Lord scattered people anyway. He "gave the gift of tongues" for the first time :-) and limited people by causing them all to speak different languages.
the generations of Shem
the generations of Terah, where Abram came from


Genesis 40 - Outline

Joseph ended up in charge of two of Pharaoh's officers in the prison
the two officers had dreams, and Joseph knew that help to interpret the dreams would come from the Lord
the butler's dream meant good news, that he would be Pharaoh's butler again
Joseph told his innocence and asked for assistance
the baker's dream meant bad news, that he would be executed a terrible way
the dreams came true in 3 days, just like Joseph had interpreted
after all that, the butler forgot to speak up for Joseph


peace & good cheer despite trouble

John 16


These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

The Lord Jesus told us the truth about the trouble that's going to happen to us. However, we can have peace and good cheer because of Him, because of His Word that He's spoken to us, and because He has overcome the world.

Next time we're troubled (in tribulation), let remember the things the Lord has spoken to us, and how He got the victory on the cross. Then we can have peace and be of good cheer.


Proverbs 23 - Key


Let not thine heart envy sinners: but [be thou] in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

This isn't really a warning against doing sinful things, as much as it is about our hearts. Instead of having an envious heart, we should have the fear of the Lord.

We could be upset when we see other people doing sinful things and it doesn't seem like there's justice. Instead of having that upset heart, we should fear the Lord and trust in Him because we have His promise. We have hope for a good future that we won't miss out on.


When I get upset because of sinners, I'll remember this promise that I have a hope and a good future.


Proverbs 23 - Summary

warnings about eating with:
"evil-eyed people"
warnings about what drunkenness is like
warnings about what a prostitute is like
the fleetingness of riches
child training:
v9, 12, 19, 22-23, 26
the importance of loving and listening to good advice, with your ears, your eyes, and your heart
correct corporal punishment is needful, not harmful
v15-16, 24-25
if the children are righteous and wise, the parents will have joy and gladness
the redeemer of the fatherless
the hope in a reward for the righteous


Genesis 10 - mighty before the Lord


the descendants of Japheth
the descendants of Ham:
Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the LORD
present day Iraq:
all of the groups of "Ites" from the Canaanites in the general area of present day Israel
the descendants of Shem
Peleg, in his days was the earth divided

Key v11-12

Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same [is] a great city.

Asshur was credited with building several huge cities. I've been thinking about how real men work hard, and that was definitely something that would take a lot of hard work.


I'll work diligently.


Genesis 39 - Key


And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

Joseph was willing to suffer the painful loss of sinful comfort and pleasure. He made a sacrifice, and even left his clothes behind. He wasn't too concerned about the results, even though his boss got furious with him and threw him into prison.

Sometimes we can feel so weak, powerless, and helpless against sinning. We might think, How did I fall into that so easily, when I really didn't want to? I didn't even think about it. It must be impossible for me to avoid. But other times, we can often recognize little moments of decision, where we're completely free to do what's right, if we really want to. That's when we need to make those right decisions, and that's how we'll escape those sins.

At a time like that, Joseph had the strength of heart and willpower to run from temptation. We should do the same.


Sometimes I have, moments of decision, when I'm trying to redeem the time, like to stop watching videos when I should be doing my work, or to get up on time in the morning when I feel like sleeping in. In those moments of decision, the Lord prompts me that I have the full knowledge that what I'm doing is wrong, and the full ability to do what's right if I really want to. If I keep doing it then, I know it'll be deliberate sin, and I'll have no excuse. That's when I'll work on being like Joseph and running from temptation.

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