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Exodus 20:1-21

While out doing errands last Saturday, I pulled in a left turn lane to stop at a stoplight.  As I waited there, I watched someone run a red light.  Maybe that person thought the yellow light would be longer.  Or, it could be that they were in a hurry and decided to run it.

What if someone thought, “I don’t need to stop at a stoplight.  That’s stupid.”  If they followed through with that thought, they may get away with it, but over time, odds are they’ll eventually face a wreck.

We know that if certain laws are broken, police can get involved.  If someone runs a red light, speeds excessively, etc., their safety and the safety of others is compromised, so cop cars are expected.

God has laws too, like the Ten Commandments.  His loving laws make life better.

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Acts 13:42-44, 1 Corinthians 9:24

I’m fascinated by Billy Graham’s righteous ministry and recently read, Thoughts and Reflections on Billy Graham’s Life Principles.”  Here’s a quote from singer George Beverly Shea regarding a 1947 Charlotte event.  It was Billy Graham’s very first service.  George said, “This young man has great faith.  He’s asked the people to come forward.  They are singing, and he’s got his eyes closed, his hands folded; and he’s quiet now…He just quietly waited and prayed as the hymn was being sung, and they came in great numbers.

God used Billy Graham to draw many people.  We also know that God greatly used Paul and Barnabas.  Acts 13:44 says, “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.”

Even though Paul, Barnabas, and Billy Graham aren’t with us on Earth, they left behind mighty ministries fueled by God.  In the Billy Graham book, James H. Landes said, “Billy believes in the local church.  He realizes that when he’s gone, the local church is that part of the body of Christ that must continue to edify and minister to those who are redeemed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We’re the church.  We probably won’t reach as many people as Billy Graham or Paul, but we can at least take the extended baton and, as Paul conveyed, do our best in the race, striving for “the prize.”

Psalm 84:11-12

On a very rainy day earlier this month, I took our white, fluffy dog outside.  I held a large, black umbrella over him, but he didn’t seem to notice.  I followed him as he wandered around. He got a little wet, mostly on the fur near the top of his nose, which stuck out just beyond the perimeter of the umbrella.  He doesn’t like being wet and didn’t look happy, so when I got him inside and toweled him off, he was his happy self again.

Imagine God putting a shield of protection over the children of God, kind of like an umbrella.  We may whine about getting a little wet from the problems that come, but we don’t realize God’s actually keeping us from a downpour of problems.  God is our shield.

 

Philippians 4:6

One day last month, the kids and I were getting ready to go on a walk.  We were in our carport when I heard what sounded like a small bird’s wings fluttering fast above me.  I then looked up and saw a large dragonfly!  It was caught in the netting we use to discourage roosting.  The drab-looking dragonfly tried repeatedly to fly forward with its 3 1/2″(?) wingspan through a 1″ x 1″ wire square.  We love dragonflies, so I reached for a broom and gently moved the netting, revealing a way out.  After a short while, it realized freedom was actually behind it.  It buzzed out, went behind me for a moment, and then it was gone.  We like to think it was thankful.

That dragonfly had just one idea to solve a problem.  It only tried forward force to escape the netting.  But haven’t we all tried to pound a square peg into a round hole at times in our lives?

Whatever problems we may have or will have, God can help in ways we wouldn’t expect.  Philippians 4:6 says that no matter what problems we face, we need to pray with a thankful heart to God, presenting our requests.  God doesn’t want us to worry.

 

Acts 9:36, 10:1-8, Galatians 6:9

In Acts 9, there is an account about a woman named Tabitha.  She was known for “always doing good and helping the poor.”  And in Acts 10, there is an account of a ‘devout” man called Cornelius.  Cornelius “gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”

Are you like Tabitha and Cornelius?  If so, keep doing good, or as Paul would say, “Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Acts 8:26-40

On this Memorial Day weekend, I’m thinking about Philip.  Per a Heavenly angel’s command, Philip intercepted an Ethiopian in a chariot on the Jerusalem to Gaza road.  Philip helped him understand Scripture and then baptized him.  After they left the water, God teleported Philip to another place called Azotus.  If Philip and the Ethiopian were at Gaza when God made Philip disappear, the NIV Study Bible says that would be roughly 20 miles away.  Teleporting Philip over about 20 miles?  I wonder what Philip was thinking.  Maybe it was a memorable thrill ride that he described to others on Earth.  And it’s possible that he could have told/can tell his teleportation tale to others in Heaven.

 

Acts 5:12-42

Jesus faced opposition while on Earth, and after He ascended to Heaven, the apostles faced opposition as well.  Because of Jesus, they were able to perform miracles for the people to witness.  The Sadducees knew about this and were very jealous.  They decided to arrest the apostles.  Subsequently, the apostles were put in jail.  However, at nighttime, an angel opened the jail doors and told them to go and teach the people.

The next day, the officers had to tell the Sanhedrin that even though there were guards and a “securely locked” jail door, the apostles weren’t there.  That report confused the chief priests.

God sent the apostles an angel to get them out of jail.  I believe God sent me an angel on 5/21/09.  I was driving without my family on Bever Avenue, a busy street, when someone ran a stop sign and headed for the left front of the car.  I was forced to swerve immediately to the right onto a side street, and unfortunately, there was a little car that suddenly appeared at a stop sign there, right in my path.  I closed my eyes and braced for the impact as my tires screeched, but instead, the front of our car just seemed to float.  When I opened my eyes, I saw the little car I had tried to avoid still at the stop sign, with no damage.  I was pointed in the right direction.  Shaken, I drove very slowly and found a place to park.  I checked out the car.  There wasn’t any damage, and I wasn’t injured!

Believe what you like, but I believe God sent an angel to pick up our car.  Thanks be to God, my rescuer!

Acts 3-4:1-22

There are many accounts of healing by Jesus in the New Testament.  But after Jesus ascended to Heaven, Peter and John later came upon a 40+-year-old man who was crippled.  The crippled man had been brought to the temple gate each day so he could beg.   Peter called on the power of Jesus’ name for the man and he was healed!  The man jumped around, praising God.  He wasn’t the only one praising God.  Shocked onlookers that knew the man, ran to them, praising God too.

Oh, the power of Jesus’ name!  If the man’s mother was around, I’m guessing she would have been one of the loudest praising God.  PRAISE GOD!

 

Genesis 1

When I read the first chapter of Genesis recently, I tried to visualize God creating, but my imagination was interrupted as I remembered that my NIV Bible is in English, and the language of the Old Testament was written in Biblical Hebrew.  And since I’m reading the Bible for the third time, I want my reading to be beefed up with details to deepen my relationship with God.  An online search lead me to biblehub.com where I found English to Biblical Hebrew translations.  I found that day=yom, night=layil (lah’-yil), sky=shamayim (shaw-mah’yim), earth/land=erets (eh’-rets), and sea=yam (yawm).  After I write in the Biblical Hebrew translations to my Bible and re-read Genesis 1:1-10, it’ll probably give me chills with the added effect.  Maybe I’ll even read it aloud to my family with ocean wave sounds in the background.  Yeah.

Genesis 2:9, 3:22-24, Revelation 22:12-16

Last Wednesday, I finished reading the Bible.  It was just the second time I’ve read it.  Since Revelation is the last book of the Bible, it was fresh in my mind when I read the news about Billy Graham passing on to Heaven.  There are wonderful details about Heaven in Revelation, but as I read this time, I found the tree of life to be particularly fascinating.  As I read, this time I was reminded that the tree of life is also mentioned in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

In Genesis 2:9, I read that God created beautiful trees that were “good for food.”  God is perfect, so just know that if He says the food is good, it’s perfectly tasty.  Also, the tree of life was in the middle of the Garden of Eden.  In Genesis 3:22-24, I read that if they (Adam and Eve) would have taken and eaten from the tree of life they would have lived forever.  Because of that, God guarded the tree of life with a flaming sword and cherubim.

In Revelation, Jesus spoke the words,”…right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”  Putting all of the verses together, it sounds to me like those that are saved get to enter the city gates and take and eat from the tree of life leading to eternal life.  I like to picture Billy Graham and loved ones that have gone to Heaven, walking awestruck through the city gates, picking fruit from the lovely tree of life, eating the delicious fruit and then living happily ever after.

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