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Jehoshaphat was a man who held no grudges,even though in an attempt to save himself,Ahab put Jehoshaphat's in danger,he still went along to help Ahab's son.Even though Joram wasn't as evil as his parents were...he was still bad...and Elisha had no respect for him.
It's so obvious from this OT reading who's godly(Jehoshaphat,Elisha)and who's not...Their lives spoke of their faith.I guess that's what I want in my life as well....that my life truly be a light...that I live out my faith and love for God(and my neighbours)not just profess it.
I thought a bit about the Shunammite lady...she had money,she came to terms with the fact that she's never have a son...so really she wanted nothing from Elisha except to show honour to God by showing kindness to His servant...no strings attached.
The same crowd that was ready to worship Paul and Barnabas turned against them...Sometimes I wonder if we as humans truly know how to worship...When we're happy we sing out loud,praise God with all(?)our heart...when we're faced with problems we get mad at the same God we once worshipped...some even reject Him completely...I pray that God teaches me how to worship Him...No stings attached..just because He is God and I am...terribly me(human)...Oh yes we should reject worship from men...I hear fans who go so nuts over their idols that they rip out earings,clothes from them...stalk them..even when we as christians "respect","adore" certain leaders that we feel God is using....we want to go and unload all our problems,we don't care how tired they are....we just want them to pray for us,hoping for a touch from God..then if they make a mistake in their lives,we're ready to stone them.....
I also pray to have the kind of heart Paul did...even with bruises from the stones,maybe even limping...he still went about the kingdom business...his faith so evident in his life...
God bless you all

before even reading the rest of the blog, I must comment...

Mike thanks for the comments on LEGACY... I think they are right on track... And they are great! Loving GOD and loving people... We are all leaving a legacy... What a legacy to leave...


Here's something on legacy that I found inspiring, but i can't recall the author of the quote. "I expect to pass through this world but once. any good things, therefore, that I can do,any kindness that I can show a fellow being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." It reminds me of the proverb that says, "When it is in your power to do good do not withhold it."

Part of Paul's legacy in Acts 14 is that wherever he went he invested in people (called disciples) who invested in people. Jesus left us that legacy too when he gave us his last words of 'making disciples who make disciples who make disciples, unti He returns.'

Acts 14: Lystra

In a time and area of the world where magic, sorcery, and other activities alleged to have abounded - WHY jump on these guys bandwagon so quickly?

Because the area had, according to legend, screwed up before - and lest it happen again, and they be wiped out - the people of Lystra were trigger happy to worship the return of what they thought were Zeus and Hermes.

"Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker."

In Greek mythology, it was common for the “gods” to come to earth in human form, though they did not always do so for the good of man... The people in Lystra had a legend that once Zeus and Hermes had visited their land disguised as mortals, and no one gave them any hospitality except for one older couple. In their anger at the people, Zeus and Hermes wiped out the whole population, except for the old couple. No wonder the people of Lystra were so quick to honor Paul and Barnabas! - David Guzik

Now Zeus and Hermes (whom the Romans called Jupiter and Mercury) were traditionally connected with that region; in the eighth book of his Metamorphoses (lines 626 ff.) the poet Ovid tells a well known story of how they came to those parts incognito and received hospitality from an aged couple, Philemon and Baucis, who were well rewarded for their kindness, while their inhospitable neighbours were overwhelmed by a deluge.
Paul's Follow-Up: Going back to previous "stops".

Personally this hit me hard. I received almost no follow-up after salvation. I travelled to a family church 30 miles up the interstate, and was on my own the next 6 days. Person at work who pointed me to Christ hardly ever spoke to me - surely not as much as he did when trying to "evangelize me"/"save me".

My faith was not an issue, but after wonderful Sunday worship - I found myself after six months finding it harder to hit my knees in prayer, read the Bible, think of Christ - I JUST started becoming easily distracted. Then going back getting "right" on Sunday only to drift again thru another week.

I am not talking about an indoctrination, but just "caring" for other Christians. A phone call, an email, an accountability/prayer partner, a Bible Study Group, occasional planned activities, and PRAYER for the new Christians.

Paul and Barnabas seemed to have a very succinct and patterned system for follow-up. It is a little different than above because "new" churches (groups of people) were involved - but other than "organization" it would seem also to apply to individual new Christians.

["They" being Paul and Barnabas]

"They were willing to give up their lives to carry the gospel." But have you ever known anyone willing to give up his life for follow-up? They did. They went back to the cities, and it would have been hotter for them than their first visit. It would have been very easy for them to say, "They are already saved, let's play it cool. They are going to get to heaven." They were so committed to follow-up that they would spend their lives if need be. That is some kind of commitment. I find that there are many people burdened over leading people to Christ, and willing to give their lives to preach the gospel, but I don't find too many people giving their lives to follow-up the saints."



1)"strengthening the disciples" - Gk. episterizo: which is made up of epi meaning "upon," and sterix meaning "a prop" or "a support." Paul and Barnabas went back to prop up the disciples. Episterizo is used four times in the book of Acts for propping up new believers (Ac. 14:21; 15:32, 41; 18:23). Literally it means "to strengthen." They helped the disciples to stand on their own and to be strong. - John MacArthur

2)"encouraging them to remain true to the faith" - Exhorting them - The word "encouraging" is parakaleo in the Greek and means "to push a person toward a certain kind of conduct." It is like saying, "Here are the facts, now go do it!" - ibid.

[Purpose of exhorting is to have them continue in faith, and be prepared for the coming hardships (spiritual warfare).]

3)Organization: appointed "elders" so the people would have local leadership when Paul and Barnabas were gone.

4)prayer with fasting: concentrated prayer

5)"committed them to the Lord" - in the end when all the follow-up of the evangelists is done - they "commended" the new believers (church) to God.

Cited direct lifts from a John MacArthur sermon.

I think one of the most amazing things about the story with Paul & Barnabas is that they had to work so hard to keep the people from falling into idolatry and worship of them. In our American culture, that's what everybody seems to be looking for---celebrity! Even some in ministry unfortunately. And then this same crowd that was ready to make sacrifices for them and worship them as Zeus and Hermes was so quickly stirred up to anger and violence by rabble rousers. Even if they had had selfish motives and wanted to bask in the glow of all this idolatry, it would have turned on them with such a fickle crowd. Moral of the story: don't believe the hype!

Thanks so much for doing this blog. It has been a real blessing to me this year.

In regards to your last question...I sort of have a stating of the obvious. Maybe I am just dense, but I never read Proverbs 17:22 this way before...

I've been thinking and talking a lot lately about rejoicing always. Not just rejoicing when things are going well. I find, though, that all too often I (and most everyone I know) are fine with rejoicing so long as we are happy with life...but will give over to grumbling and complaining as soon as that changes.

This verse sort of reinforced this thought for me...that we are to rejoice always...are to have a joyful heart always. I love that he calls it medicine.

Who takes medicine when they are well?

The joy of the Lord is our medicine...what makes us well and gives us strength to stand no matter what life brings.

That just smacked me upside the head this morning! But I am glad for it!!

Mike doing anything for anyone without the motivating factor of love is useless and will not earn you “goodie” points with God. Well it’s not really useless for the person or people you are doing it for but it is useless for the person doing if there is no love and that is by way of the Apostle Paul as written in the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians,.

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

II Kings 3-4:17

What I love about the bible are all the personal stories of the Patriarchs, the Prophets and kings. To me their stories are like Case Studies that I can observe, study and see all the warts, mistakes, miss-steps and obedience to God or lack there of. Since we live in a “Cause and Effect” world, I don’t have to bop myself upside the head repeating the same mistakes they did. If I study carefully their choices and the subsequent consequences, I can avoid failing down the same well they did. There are so many traps laid out to catch us and it is wonderful to have inside knowledge of how the devil operates, as well as avoiding those choices that eminent from my focus on “self.”

Jehoshaphat again aligns himself with Ahab’s family. This time it is his son, Joram. The last time this happened he almost got himself killed (I Kings 22), yet he again forms a pact with Israel. However because Jehosaphat is with Joram, the prophet Elisha, given the Word of the Lord regarding the battle, tolerates Joram and God gives them a great victory. How many people think they are all that and a bag of chips because they have been involved in something that is successful; however, the success of the project is not because they have clean hands or favor with God, it is because someone on the team is being honored by God because God is giving them respect and favor. I know I have been guilty of that.

We would laugh if we found out that the donkey Jesus rode on in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem thought that all the cheering was for him. But we are like the donkey when we take credit for things that succeed because we think it’s all about us; instead of realizing that the victories we experience, the favor we have, come because God sees us through the prism of His Son, Jesus. When God looks at me, a Christian, He does not see me He sees Jesus.

Isaiah 64:

6We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.

Acts 14:8-28

When someone who can walk is injured and has to stay off their feet for even one week, when they become ambulatory again, they have a problem with balance. If someone is immobilized for an extended period, they usually go to a rehabilitation hospital to learn to walk and move again. This man that was healed had never walked before so not only did he receive strength in his feet to walk, he got instantaneous control of muscles he had never used before. That is just awesome.

Psalm 140:1-13

I imagine that David wrote this Psalm as he dodged King Saul’s dogged attempt to catch and kill him. Instead of trying to ambush and kill Saul or using the two opportunities that walked into his life to take Saul out, David gave the job of extracting vengeance over to God. David is such a role model to follow when others have wronged us and we want to get our pound of flesh. God takes care of all those who come against His servants and children. That is knowledge that I need to get deep down inside of me.

Proverbs 17:22

How we approach the day, how we respond to our situations and circumstances is a matter of choice, always was, is and will be. Circumstances shouldn’t color our day, we should color our circumstances with a joyful attitude. Happiness is based on circumstances; joy is based on knowing the outcome. As Christians, we are more than conquers which implies that we will have things to conquer, but we win!

As the Apostle Paul states, 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4)

The reading today about the woman with the empty vessels reminds me of a recent empty-vessel experience in my life. After 15 years working at the local newspaper, my job was eliminated. I could have applied for one of a handful of jobs that were created in the reorganization or I could have done nothing and walked away with a severance package that would continue to provide income for about six months. Should I try for a sure thing -- one of those new jobs -- or should I walk away? I took it before the Lord and was very sure that I was being led to walk away. My colleagues were shocked. What are you going to do? they asked. I had no idea. I would spend some time with my kids, try some freelancing, look around for another job, and if worse came to worse move back home with my parents. (I'm almost 40 and would not want to do that, but they said my family and I were welcome and I was willing to go, if that was God's will.) I had emptied my vessel and laid it before God, then I filled it with the only "oil" I had -- complete faith in God. Well, before I could get my first unemployment check a job offer came in with comparable pay, good benefits and better hours. And get this -- I had not contacted this employer. The vice president, a former co-worker, contacted my husband. Said he had heard about my predicament. He was down to a handful of finalists for an open position but he said if I got my information to him right away he would consider me alongside the other candidates. I did as he requested and I got the job! Hallelujah! Was that a "God thing" or what?! If I had planned the future myself, without laying it empty before God, I probably would have gone for the "sure thing" and applied for one of those other newspaper jobs. I probably would have been unfulfilled and unhappy. Newspaper readership is declining. I could well have found myself in a tough spot again in a very short time. I have yet to start my new job, but knowing that God orchestrated it I believe it will be just what I need for this season of my life. I am so grateful to Him and I pray that the concept of the empty vessel -- just like those in our reading today -- will be one that stays with me for the rest of my life and that God helps me share with others.

A note on circumcision and the law...1(A)Some men came down from Judea and began teaching (B)the brethren, "Unless you are (C)circumcised according to (D)the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." Now,some translations say"some of the sect of the pharisees,while others say some of the believers....When we say Paul was the founder of christianity,we need to ask"by whose definition"?Man's or Gods.Circumcision was a seal of righteosness for Abraham,we know that Abraham believed in God and it was credited to him as righteousness...As believers we have the seal and guidance of the Holy Spirit who will lead us to ALL truth,if we let Him.I always asked myself this question...if Israel was called out to be separate,given a set of rules which Jesus Himself said He had not come to abolish(Mat5:17),if God doesn't change and wants us to be one body(jews and gentiles then then God change His rules to suit us...In the past,His laws were both to the jew and the aliens who lived among Israel,now as grafted in branches(romans 11) do we change the original tree....or become one with the original,natural olive tree.Jesus was brought up according to jewish law,circumcised,attended the feasts His Father had ordered(doesn't mention his supoosed birthday on christmas)and upheld the commandments...Did God give a set of rules to change them....or did man have a better idea on how to worship God....There are many misunderstandings,some texts say the law was abolished and we are not to keep the law,Timothy and Titus who had greek heritage were circumcised...Pater when faced with having to kill and eat unclean animals said(after the resurrection)that he would not eat any unclean thing...now that dream was interpreted in acts to mean he could go into the house of a gentile...but if it did mean he could eat what God had not considered food but "unclean"how come Jesus never taught him that in three years,surely if Peter had seen Jesus eat pork then he would have changed his mind about what's food and what's unclean.The pharisees had added a bit more to the Law....rituals on how to wash your hands,the distance you were allowed to walk on the Sabbath that were not part of God's law...Jesus came to teach and explain what the teachers of the law had complicated....so if He did according to the law(even sent the lepers to present themselves to the priests according to the law)...who are we to follow..our church fathers who have done as good a job as the teachers in distorting the word,helped by bad translations...or do we ask the Holy Spirit to teach us the Truth..I pray that we find the Truth and that it may set us free.... "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.......
11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.
.....abolishing the law....if now we are brought near,now we are not excluded from the citizenship of Israel....if now we are one with Israel in whose heart God will write the law..then later abolish it....it just doesn't make sense..God doesn't contradict Himself...He says we should ask for wisdom and I pray you are challenged in your study to seek the Truth and let the Holy Spirit teach us all because God sure isn't the author of confusion....
God bless you all

I want a faith like that!

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