ACTS

The following comments are from Navigator's and Quiet Time Diary journals. One verse will be entered, then the comment, then the date.

1:3    To these (disciples) He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

    Some people don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead. This is the most important part of being a Christian.
    Here is the proof. Jesus came to His disciples (now called apostles) and talked to them about "things concerning the kingdom of God."
    We have been told that all of the disciples/apostles except John were killed for their faith. If they didn't believe Jesus arose, then they could have said it wasn't true, but they all died as additional proof that this verse is true. (DRM 5/19/13)

1:5    . . . for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

    This is one of a few quotes from Jesus after He had risen from the dead. At that point He said "in a few days" and it was literally in a few days when the Holy Spirit came into the disciples.
    Today we are told that Jesus will come back on the "third day" and that a day is a thousand years. That's really not specific. Jesus wants us to be ready to see Him at any/every moment.
    While we don't know the literal day of His return, He wants us to be ready EVERY day. (DRM 10/10/13)

1:6, 7    So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;

    How long, Lord? This is a question that has gone unanswered for 2,000 years now - and probably longer.
    Believers in Jesus can only imagine a world with no sin - no conflicts, no pain, no sorrow, no death - but we are told it is coming soon.
    Now that Israel exists as a nation, we know that He is coming "soon," and to anticipate His soon return. Will you be ready for the big event? (DRM 9/27/12)

1:8    but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth. 

    This answers the following question: {What are some ways I can be a witness for my Lord?} I was brought up not to talk to strangers, and it has been difficult to break. Ever so slowly the Holy Spirit is leading me to ask questions that can start a conversation. (DRM 6/2/02)

    In this verse Jesus was telling the apostles (v.2) His plan for spreading His word. Naturally, it would start in the city they were in, then expand to the whole world. As time progressed, and followers increased, more and more people would be involved in spreading His word. Am I doing a part TODAY? (DRM 2/12/06)

1:9    And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

    What would it have been like to see Jesus rise into a cloud? While we are accustomed to seeing airplanes go into clouds, this had to be a real experience for those who observed Jesus do it. The writer wouldn't have made this up - it was too unusual . . . and there were other witnesses and no one ever disputed this fact.
    With all the things Jesus mentioned in v. 8, we can tell it would be a while before His return. NOW all of those events have occurred, so we can truly believe His return is imminent now. (DRM 3/24/14)

1:10    And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.

    Today, we can see a hot air balloon or helicopter rise straight into the sky and think it's nothing rare or unusual.    
    About 2,000 years ago, people had no aircraft in the sky, and seeing Jesus rise was more unusual/amazing to them than it would be today. Still, we don't see individual people rise into the sky without a jet pack on their back.
    Again the angels that talked to them were men and appeared to be wearing white clothing - more assurance on what angels are really like.
    No matter men's inventions, Jesus can do things that no one else can. (DRM 8/25/14)

1:11    They [two men in white clothing] also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

    When Jesus returns to earth, He won't come back as a child, like He did 2,000 years ago, but as an adult. He was lifted up while they were watching (v.9), so He will return from the sky. With technology today, and cameras everywhere, everyone will see Him! Am I ready for His return?  (DRM 2/15/09)

1:13    And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.    

    Soon after I became a Christian, I asked where I could find the names of all the disciples. Since believers of all ages are disciples, the 12 are the apostles. Judas had died after the betrayal, thus this is a list of the 11 remaining before they added Matthias (v.26). (DRM 2/13/06)

1:14    These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus , and with His brothers. 

    This answers the following question: {How can joining with others in prayer enhance my prayer life?} I think the key here is "with one mind." If we don't share each others needs and requests, others won't know how the Lord is working in our lives. I need more help on this. (DRM 6/3/02)

1:21, 22    ". . .  Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us 22beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."

    In the previous verse there is a reference to Psalm 109:8 where it was felt they should replace Judas with another disciple. I was surprised to read there were about 120 people in the room (v. 5). While they chose Matthias to replace Judas, it seems to me that Jesus chose Paul soon afterwards. My (our) goal should be to do as the Lord directs us to do but knowing that He can, and will, also do the unexpected. (DRM 2/16/09)

1:26    And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. 

    This answers the following question: {How do I make a decision when I face a tough choice?} As the apostles did in v.24, I pray for direction. When the problem is serious, I wait for an answer from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the answer comes at the last moment, but I usually get an answer, praise the Lord! (DRM 6/4/02)

2:2    And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

    I wonder how many times I have read in the Bible, "and suddenly?" It seems that the Lord God likes to surprise us when we least expect anything. That's what the rapture will be like. The Holy Spirit generally is quiet, but this time His entrance into believers caused noise. I wonder if the noise was His entrance or the noise of people speaking in tongues? (DRM 2/17/09) I think the noise was the noise of the wind. (DRM 3/10/09)

2:3    And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

    Tongues are still a mystery to me. I know several people who have been given this gift, but I don't literally understand its purpose other than being an assurance of salvation. Here the tongues appear to be visible - thus it was truly an exciting event. (DRM 2/14/06)

2:4    And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 

    This answers the following question: {What power have I received to help me witness for the Lord?} I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is in my life. While I had asked not to speak in tongues, He has told me other things and responds to most of my questions. Thank you Jesus! (DRM 6/5/02)

2:5, 6     Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

    This is called the day of Pentecost. The previous verses describe what happened. The Jews that were nearby overheard the event and were amazed that the people were speaking in their native language. It would be like I was speaking Russian, or some other language that I never learned.
    Only God knows how He did this. We are to listen and follow His direction and not question "how?" (DRM 7/12/12)

2:13    Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."

    During Pentecost the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, but observers thought they were drunk with wine.
    After a person becomes a Christian, and is following the Word, non-Christians sometimes say "He is a Jesus freak" or something similar. There is a similarity to how the apostles felt and how we feel today when a non-believer listens to us. [But we know who is right] (DRM 11/15/86)

2:15    For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;

    Peter was very perceptive in knowing what had happened on this day of Pentecost. The outsiders thought the disciples were drunk for their speaking in various tongues, but Peter started his sermon by explaining exactly what had happened. The Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit gave him the understanding - which is important to all true Christians. (DRM 2/18/09)

2:17a    'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY. . . '

    This answers the following question: {How will I share the Gospel today?} As we think we are in the Last Days, more and more people are prophesying about the coming of 'the end.' This is an opportunity to tell others the urgency of knowing Christ as their savior. (DRM 6/6/02)

2:19    AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE
           AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW,
           BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.

    This is a quote from Joel 2:30, referring to the last days.
    I truly believe we are living in the very, very last days before Jesus comes to take His church, the bride of Christ, out.
    The wonders in the sky above could include all the recent meteors and "blood moons."
    The signs on the earth could include all the dead fish coming ashore in all parts of the world.
    Blood and fire could refer to nearly any fire where many people died and all the killings of people recently.
    Jesus is coming back very soon! (DRM 6/15/16)

2:21    'AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.'

    Peter quoted 5 verses here from Joel 2:28-32, which refer to the Last Days. As true Christians, we (I) should always anticipate Christ's return at any moment, and be prepared.
    He doesn't want anyone to miss the opportunity to be with Him in Heaven, but all must "call on the Lord" to get there. (DRM 2/15/06)

2:24    But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

    On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave a sermon. For most of us, this is a summary of what we believe and, Peter being the speaker, we know that these events actually occurred because he was there.
    Jesus really did arise from the grave after His death. Peter (among many others) saw Him and no government or other authority could disprove this fact. Jesus' dead body was never found.
    The agony of death now is replaced with the hope of eternity in Heaven with our Savior - Jesus. We have great days to look forward to! (DRM 9/10/16)

2:30-31    "And so, because he [David] was a prophet, and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS UPON HIS THRONE, 31he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ. . .

    David had been told by God that one of his descendents would be the Christ ( 2 Samuel 7:12-13), thus indicating that his kingdom would always exist. Without Jesus' existence, I would have no hope of living in that Kingdom. How I pray that others had this confidence! (DRM 2/16/06)

2:32    This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

    Peter, the speaker here, was a witness of the resurrected Jesus. He actually saw Him alive both before and after His crucifixion. Since we (I) weren't there to see Jesus, we have to believe and have faith that all that is written is true. Our eternal destiny depends on it. (DRM 2/19/09)

2:38    Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. . . "

    The first time I read this verse it seemed like baptism was a requirement to become a Christian; then I saw the first word, "Repent." First we have to confess our sins, repentance, then He forgives us for our sins, then we get baptized as an expression of our commitment to Him, and desire to live the rest of our lives for Him. Mark 16:16 is clearer. (DRM 2/20/09)

2:40    And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"

    Pentecost had just occurred and Peter was still evangelizing to the people of Jerusalem. I thought this quote of Peters was still appropriate for today. It shows me that styles may change, but human nature has always been the same for thousands of years. (DRM 2/17/06)

2:42    And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 

    This answers the following question: {What can I learn about fellowship from these early believers?} Until now, the churches that I have attended did not act like the church in this verse. Just last night we did ALL of these things. I am thankful that I have finally found a Biblical church. (DRM 6/7/02)

2:43    Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

    This could be a controversial verse today. The apostles were the 12 disciples (less Judas) that were chosen by Jesus. After He went to Heaven, the apostles were given the ability to do "many wonders and signs" probably including the healing of the sick.
    The controversy is if that ended with the death of the apostles or if it continues today.
    Certainly God chooses to heal the people He desires. How this is accomplished is up to Him and not by any intermediary. It was more common then. (DRM 1/12/14) 

2:44, 45    And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

    What we call the Christian church began in Jerusalem after Jesus' resurrection. The Christian "family" grew together and apparently there were few disagreements - as the original disciples/apostles' clearly knew and shared what Jesus taught (v. 42). They had Christian love for each other and shared their possessions.
    As time progressed and the church kept growing, this group living attitude seemed to drift away.
    While we don't generally live in a "commune" today, it is good to share our knowledge, possessions and finances with other Christians in need. This is done when we keep meeting together weekly in our church. (DRM 4/17/16)

3:6    But Peter said, "I do not possess silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene - walk!"

    This answers the following question: {What can I do or give to help someone in need?} I don't know if Jesus has given me the ability to heal others like Peter did - and have never had the opportunity to find out. I can continue to pray for others in need and hope that the Lord will heal them if it is His will. (DRM 6/8/02)

    Sometimes I wonder how great it would be to have the gift of healing - and still wonder if it exists today like it did when Jesus and Peter did these things. I think the person being healed must have faith that they will be healed, or nothing happens. Did that happen here? (DRM 2/18/06)

3:8    With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

    If I had just been healed of a disease or inability to walk since birth (v. 2), I'm sure I would have reacted the same way. I would want everyone to know that I was healed - and share my gladness. It's rare that God acts - through others healing touch - in such a dramatic way today, but when He does, I think we all should want to tell others about it - Praise the Lord! (DRM 2/21/09)

3:16    And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. 

    This answers the following question: {To whom do I give credit when I see God using me in others' lives?} tGbtg = To God be the glory! I've tried to give God the glory when complemented on anything that He had done through me. I should use the word Jesus more as He is truly the provider. (DRM 6/9/02)

3:17, 18    And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

    This is part of "Peter's Second Sermon" to the people at the portico of Solomon (v. 11). He was clear and bold in his statements. Here, in these two verses, he seems to understand that the people listening weren't the ones who murdered Jesus - that they made a mistake. Even today some people blame the Jews for Jesus' murder - and that is wrong. God knew His Son would die and today's Jews weren't even there! (DRM 2/22/09)

3:19    Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

    This is from Peter's second sermon to the men of Israel (v. 12). In the prior verses, Peter reminded them of the events that had recently taken place and they were witnesses of these events. (v. 15)
    In this verse, Peter appeals to the Israelites of the day, but also to unbelievers who are reading his sermon, to repent from their sins of the past and to come to the Lord Jesus - who truly is the Christ. (v. 20)
    {Christ is NOT Jesus' last name.} (DRM 7/31/12)

3:26    "For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways."

    Peter was speaking to the Jews at the "portico of Solomon" (v.11). He was certainly direct! God's intention was always to save the Jew first, then the Greek-non-Jews. Thankfully, all people can receive salvation - or I wouldn't be writing this! The Jewish people still have a special place in God's heart. (DRM 2/19/06)

4:1, 2    As they [Peter and John] were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

    Jesus had risen from the dead. The disciples were convinced and the tomb was empty. They had just healed a sick man.
    The Sadducees didn't like the message and had Peter and John put in jail overnight (v. 3). There was a simple solution for the dispute in my mind - all the Sadducees had to do to disprove the disciples was to show them Jesus' body - they probably looked everywhere to do that - but failed.
    Their failure is our proof that Jesus really did rise from the dead - and He promised that we will too. That's truly the Easter message. (DRM 4/22/14)

4:4    But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. 

    This answers the following question: {What results am I looking for when I proclaim Jesus to others?} While I realize that some people want time to "decide" on something like salvation, I believe that TODAY is the day that people should trust in the Lord. They must repent of their sins. (DRM 6/10/02)

    If 5,000 people came to believe the message of Jesus Christ in one city in one day today - we would have a great "revival" as some would call it. Why doesn't it happen? Is it a lack of workers or inactivity of the Holy Spirit? I think it's a lack of workers. Hopefully that will change for me soon. (DRM 2/20/06)

4:9,10    if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10let it me known to all of you, and to the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ. . . 

    This answers the following question: {What evidence would there be if I was tried for my faith?} Would people notice my devotion? Would people listen to my manner of speech? Would people ask me what I do in my spare time? or would they see my sin of fear and measure me by that? Lord, let my faith grow in You! (DRM 6/11/02)

4:11    He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.

    The Jewish priests and Sadducees had arrested Peter and John for healing someone and preaching to the people about Jesus; in whose name they healed (v. 2, 9-10)
    Peter used the quote in this verse which was originally prophesized in Psalm 118:22.
    The priests had rejected Jesus while He was alive. Now that He has resurrected, which no one else could do, He is our chief cornerstone, our God that watches over us, heals us and provides for our needs, etc.
    Jesus is our rock, on which we build our faith. (DRM 11/7/15)

4:12    ". . . And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

    If I were to state this verse today in the USA in a secular forum, I would be highly criticized and called names for saying there is only One way to Heaven. No matter what they say, I should still try to be bold - like Peter - and know that I am speaking the truth of the Bible. (DRM 2/23/09)

4:13    Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

    As an uneducated and untrained Christian, this gives me hope to be able to be used by Jesus also. God had healed the lame beggar (3:6) through Peter, and they were speaking to people about Jesus when they were arrested (4:3) and put in jail for a day. Their confidence grew as the Holy Spirit grew in them. (DRM 2/24/09)

4:18    And when they had summoned them, they [Jewish council] commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

    What would I do if I had the same problem? What's my priority, keeping quiet (as told) or telling others about Jesus? Obviously, to tell others about Jesus - and being able to take the consequences. What I do TODAY impacts what I will do in eternity. (DRM 2/21/06)

4:20    for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard."

    This answers the following question: {What am I doing to impact the minds of others about me?} While I don't know what others think, I feel that my job is to show them how Jesus has affected my life. May my words be pleasing to the Lord and may others see Him in me. (DRM 6/12/02)

4:29    "And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Thy bondservants may speak Thy word with all confidence." 

    This answers the following question: {For what should I be asking God in my prayers?} I have been accused of thinking of myself too much. I try to pray for others more and hesitate to ask God for too much. Certainly I would like to pray for boldness in my speech, so He may be honored. (DRM 6/13/02)

    Just like today, the disciples of Jesus were at least somewhat afraid to speak the Word in confidence. Here they prayed to God for the needed confidence, and they were filled by the Holy Spirit in v. 31. This should also occur to believers today, with His help. (DRM 2/22/06)

4:31    And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

    Prayer changes things. While I don't know if the earth actually shook or if Luke was referring to a spiritual shaking-change, people changed as a result of prayer.
    No matter how much I (we) have prayed, it never is enough. God wants our devotion and acts on our requests, if it is His will. (DRM 2/25/09)

4:32    And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.

    The title above this section in my Bible is "Sharing among Believers." Some people whom I have heard have called it "socialism" and are against it, as it doesn't encourage lazy people to work.
    Jesus always wanted to help those in need, but not those in "want." If there was a genuine need for something and the person truly trusted in Him and His provision, it would be given.
    Like Jesus and the people referred to here, we should help those who have a genuine need if we are able. (DRM 12/11/16)

5:2    and kept back some of the price [for the land] for himself, with his wife's full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles feet.

    What did Ananias do wrong? I think he had agreed to give the apostles the FULL amount that was received, thus he and his wife lied in not giving the amount previously promised. I must always keep my vows to the Lord. (DRM 2/23/06)

5:3    But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land?"

    This answers the following question: {How have I lied to others and before God? What can I do about it?} The only thing that comes to my mind was in 1991, when I was taking my Bible course, I promised to help at the nearby rescue mission. Finally in 2001, I went to the mission, and later helped in 2004. It took me a while to fulfill my promise to the Lord, but I finally did a little - much too late. (DRM 6/14/02 added to 5/30/05)

5:9    Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well."

    Why did Ananias and Sapphira die? The only thing I can think of would be the context of the previous verses (4:36-37) where Joseph gave the full price of his sale to the church. Did Ananias agree to give the FULL price in advance, then change their minds? If so, then this is a bit more logical - as they sinned against what they committed to do. (DRM 2/26/09)

5:12    At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico.

    Jesus had allowed His apostles to heal the sick (v.15) to spread the Good News. While some people today say they can do some of these things, it was clearly done on a larger scale then. The purpose was probably to grow the church and also Jesus' compassion for others as He saw their needs. I believe Jesus still heals people today - but more "quietly." (DRM 2/27/09)

5:16    And also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits; and they were all being healed.

    A healing ministry like this one would be very popular today also. It would seem to be evidence that God wanted people to believe in what the apostles were teaching. While I am in a different time, I believe that they healed and also in the message of the gospel as they presented it. (DRM 2/24/06)

5:19-20    But an angel of the Lord during the night opened the gates of the prison, and taking them [the apostles] out he said, 20"Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life."

    No matter what man or Satan does, if God wants us to do something different, He will change the circumstances to get His message out! This is a great example of how He provides for His followers - and hopefully will open doors for me - when He decides I am ready. (DRM 2/25/06)

5:25    But someone came and reported to them, "The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!"

    Where did our prisoners go? The high priest of the Sadducees (v. 17) put them (apostles, v. 18) in jail the night before, but they were gone the next morning (v. 20). No one thought that an angel would release them!
    As we (I) do the will of God, anything can happen for Him to spread His word. Nothing is impossible for God. Since I am still alive, He's not done with me yet. (DRM 2/28/09)

5:29    But Peter and the apostles answered and said, "We must obey God rather than men."

    This answers the following question: {How can I stand firm for the Lord when faced with peer pressure?} verse 32 reminds me that it is the Holy Spirit that tells me what to do. When I hear (in any way) clear direction, I must follow His leading. Fortunately all of my friends (?) know where I stand. (DRM 6/15/02)

5:36    "For some time ago Theudas rose up claiming to be somebody; and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. And he was slain; and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing."

    This verse was from the Pharisee named Gamaliel (v. 34) suggesting that Peter and the apostles NOT be slain, as the following of Jesus may be short-lived. He was correct - IF the movement was of God (v. 39) it would continue, but if by a man, it would cease. Truly Christianity is God's desire! (DRM 2/26/06)

5:38, 39    ". . . So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God."

    A Pharisee named Gamaliel (v. 34) spoke the words in these verses. I would give him credit for saving the young Christian church, as they intended to kill the apostles they had in custody (v. 33). Gamaliel knew you can't fight/win against God - and sometimes we (I) as an individual must just yield to His purpose/plan even if it doesn't make sense at the time. (DRM 3/1/09)

5:41    So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. 

    This answers the following question: {How do I respond to persecution from others?} Some people don't want my bookmarks. Of course I am disappointed that they won't accept the free gift, but I don't get into a dispute with them over it. I think I have learned to "stay the course" through these incidents. (DRM 6/16/02)

5:42    Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

    How nice it is to have boldness! When I was a very new Christian, I wanted to have everyone know what happened to me and I went to people at work and friends etc. 
    Lord, give me more confidence to speak about You as I am given the opportunity. (DRM 8/7/87)

6:3    "But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task."

    This answers the following question: {How can I apply the qualifications for service given here?} I'm not sure how I rate. I try to be of good reputation, I ask the Spirit to lead my decisions, and I pray for wisdom daily. Am I up to the task of being a servant of Jesus? (DRM 6/17/02)

6:4    "But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word."

    The twelve apostles had too much to do. They were asked to serve meals and, in this passage, delegated this work to seven others. Their mission was to preach His word. The importance of prayer is included in this verse. I must remember to pray at all times when I want to serve the Lord. It's far more important than we (I) realize! (DRM 2/27/06)

6:7    The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

    This verse is encouraging. The disciples had just made a decision to allow some (7) men to be in charge of the "serving of food" (e.g. overseers/leaders) and others to continue to work in studying and (probably) proclaiming the word of God (v. 2).
    Jesus=God was pleased with this decision because the church continued to grow. Even Jewish priests, who were opposed earlier, seem to be the ones referred to here.
    With prayer and devotion to the Lord, all things are possible - not only in Bible times, but also today. (DRM 8/13/14)

6:8    And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 

    This answers the following question: {How might I apply the qualities found in Stephen in my life?} Complete and total dedication to the Lord probably gave Stephen his gifts from the Lord. As I grow in knowledge, I pray that Jesus will also use me in some special way. (DRM 6/18/02)

6:13,14    They put forward false witnesses who said, "This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; 14for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and later the customs which Moses handed down to us."

    [Re: 6:13]    This is a part of the trial of Stephen, to become the first Christian martyr. As I read this verse, it made me think how similar it was to the trial of Jesus. The men from the synagogue (v. 9) were determined that they didn't like his/His actions, so had to create a way to put him/Him away. Living for Christ can cause problems. (DRM 3/2/09)

    Stephen was the first Christian that died for his faith. Some Jews from the Synagogue of the Freedmen (v. 9) argued with Stephen's teaching and signs and wonders performed (v. 8). In these two verses they falsely accused him of speaking against the temple and Law, so this had to occur before the temple was destroyed in AD 70.
    How are we to react when falsely accused for our faith? It's hard for unbelievers to understand when the Holy Spirit is in our hearts and not theirs. Really their problem is their own unbelief. We need to keep praying they will know and trust in the Lord Jesus. (DRM 11/22/16)

7:1     AND the high priest said, "Are these things so?"

    This section is titled, "Stephen's Defense," and begins a review of the history of the Jewish people, beginning with Abraham.
    I am not to assume that other religions leaders know the whole story of the Bible - and should be familiar with the whole plot of the Book from cover to cover - as it is a complete book - leading to salvation. (DRM 2/28/06)

7:8    And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

    This is just a part of the history of the Jews that Stephen gave as a part of his defense. I chose this verse due to the terminology "twelve patriarchs," which I understood to be the twelve tribes that eventually divided the land of Israel into twelve sections. (DRM 3/3/09)

7:9b    And yet God was with him [Joseph], and rescued him from all his afflictions and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of pharaoh, King of Egypt.  . . 

    This answers the following question: {To what degree am I allowing God to control my life?} God is in control. It's the hardest to remember that when I get sick or hurt in any way. He has a plan for all of the circumstances that come in my life. I just have to obey Him. (DRM 6/19/02)

7:23    "But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel."

    Stephen's sermon continues with the story of Moses. This verse shows that God has patience. Moses didn't start his calling until he was 40, and I believe the exodus was when he was 80 - so I still believe God can use me as I get older - as He did with Moses. (DRM 3/1/06)

7:25    And he [Moses] supposed that his brethren [the Israelites] understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.

    Moses was just 40 years old (v. 23) when he killed the Egyptian and felt he was called to deliver the Israelites, but God hadn't told him that yet. He had to wait until he was 80 (v. 30) before God directed him on what to do.
    Certainly I have been guilty of also 'getting ahead of God' and need to be patient and wait for His direction. (DRM 3/4/09)

7:35    "This Moses whom they disowned, saying, 'WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE?' is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. . . "

    Stephen continues his defense, and continues on the life of Moses. In this verse I was reminded that the Israelites didn't like Moses 40 years earlier when he left them, but God had other plans, and can use people who are dedicated to Him. Also Moses had "help" and wasn't alone. I shouldn't fear about being alone because, like Moses, there was an angel nearby to protect him while he was doing God's will. (DRM 3/5/09)

7:37    "This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, 'GOD SHALL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.' "

    This answers the following question: {How might I better support the authority God has placed over me?} Listen! Most of the time I don't know what God has planned for me this day. While I try to follow His general will, I have to listen for specific daily instructions if I am to change. (DRM 6/20/02)

7:39    "And our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him [Moses], but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt,"

    Time after time the Jews refused their prophet or later Messiah, but they did not realize it; which I think is the point of Stephen's sermon here. I pray today that I may hear His voice of direction and truly follow Him. (DRM 3/2/06)

7:47, 48    "But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; . . . "

    This answers the following question: {What changes can I make to build a better house (body) for the Lord?} How do you "contain" God in a house? He is omnipresent. He is also dwelling via the Holy Spirit in Christian's hearts. He wants my whole heart, not just part of it. May I be TOTALLY devoted to Him! (DRM 6/21/02)

7:51    "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did."

    Stephen's transition from recalling Jewish history to direct accusation is in this verse. Of course this caused the Council to become angry enough to have Stephen stoned to death. I'm thankful to live in a country where I have free speech and don't have to fear for telling others the gospel message! (DRM 3/3/06)

7:52, 53    Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it."

    This is the second part of Stephen's accusation against the court or high priests in Jerusalem. He reminded them that they killed the prophets and the Righteous One - which is Jesus. As expected, they killed/stoned him for what he said, but it's important that he said it - and he was bold in his pronouncement - which is what all Christians should be - and not worry about the consequences - That's hard! (DRM 3/6/09)

7:58    When they had driven him [Stephen] out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

    Stephen was a powerful voice to tell people about Jesus. The "witnesses" were false witnesses based on Acts 6:13.
    This was the beginning of the persecution of believers in Jesus - and it continues to this day - and seems to be growing.
    One of the leaders in this attack on Stephen was a "young man named Saul." Saul later came to see Jesus on the Damascus road and converted and changed his name to Paul. (DRM 12/17/12)

7:59    While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 

    Stephen had just explained in a speech how the Jewish people had turned on the prophets and messiah that had been predicted.
    Stephen was stoned and at the very end he asked the Lord to receive his spirit. 
    I can only hope that on my final day, that I will be so much like Jesus that the transition will be easy.  DRM 8/8/87)

7:60    And falling on his knees, he [Stephen] cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" And having said this, he fell asleep. 

    This answers the following question: {How would my actions have been alike or dislike Stephen's?} I try to have a forgiving attitude with all people. The most difficult are the ones who speak continual lies. Still, I consider the source and again try to forgive them as Stephen did. (DRM 6/22/02)

8:1    Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him [Stephen] to death.
        And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

    Stephen was the first Christian martyr - who died for proclaiming Christ to unbelievers (6:8-10). This occurred before Paul became a Christian, thus he was named Saul.
    In this verse Stephen's death caused a change in the small Christian church - they "were all scattered. . . " which God ordained - He wanted the gospel to be spread throughout the whole world eventually (Matt. 28:19-20).
    Christians are now spread throughout the world, and so many still need to put their faith in Jesus. We each need to do what we can to share the gospel. (DRM 9/10/17)

8:4    Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.

    Saul - later Paul - at this time was looking for Christian believers and putting them in prison (v.3). Even though they were running from the persecution, they continued to preach to others after this trial of their faith. They couldn't help but tell others the good news of Jesus. How am I doing? (DRM 3/4/06)

8:5    And Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. 

    This answers the following question: {What changes in my life do I need to make to be more like Philip?} This has been the question of my life! More prayer and devotion to the King. I need to hear His direction and depend on His provision. I also need wisdom to learn more of His word. (DRM 6/23/02)

8:6    The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing.

    Due to the death of Stephen, the early disciples (church) split up and went to various cities (v. 4).
    Apparently the Philip referred to in this verse is called 'Philip the evangelist' and wasn't Philip the apostle. (Acts 6:5, 6)
    This is an example of how God works. Our tendency is to think that the death of Stephen was not good, but God used Saul's persecution of Christian believers to cause the splitting or widening of the area where the gospel would be preached - and demonstrated in this case. (DRM 7/8/12)

    When we truly know Christ we cannot keep the good news about Him to ourselves. Even in the most challenging circumstances, we want to keep on telling others about our Savior and Lord. (from Our Daily Bread, 7/8/12)

8:7    For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.

    It seems that a lot of the early converts to Christianity were due to healings that God performed through various apostles/disciples. In this verse Philip healed many.
    Jesus still heals our diseases, but He is more quiet about it. This is an evidence that the Holy Spirit is still on the earth. (DRM 3/7/09)

8:18    Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money. 

    This answers the following question: {How has jealousy of others hindered my spiritual growth?} Simon wanted the gift of the filling of the Holy Spirit using material goods. I have wanted material goods and have been jealous of others who have them. I need re-direction to emphasize spiritual growth over material wealth. (DRM 6/24/02)

    A free gift should be free. Simon tried to buy his gift. As different parts of the Body, we all have different gifts. If Simon was indeed in the believing Body of Christ, he had yet to receive or know his gift - which could also apply to me, as I would like other gifts, but am satisfied with what He has given me. (DRM 3/5/06)

8:20,21    But Peter said to him [Simon], "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.

    Simon wanted to buy God's gift of salvation so he could give others the gift of the Holy Spirit (v. 20) as the apostles' had done (v. 18).
    Simon's heart had not changed - he was a magician (v. 11) and drew crowds of people for that purpose.
    God=Jesus' gift of salvation is a gift only He can give. It can't be bought for any amount of money. Simon's heart was not on serving the Lord, but rather drawing a crowd.
    Salvation is a gift from God at the time we put our heart/trust solely in Him and repent from all sin. (DRM 11/15/16)

    [Re: 8:20]    Simon saw the works that Peter and John were doing in the Holy Spirit (e.g. laying on hands to receive the Holy Spirit) and wanted to be able to do the same thing. He offered them money for "power" (v. 18-19). God doesn't work that way. He chooses who He wants to do His work. It's a free gift.
    As believers today, we (I) have to be submissive to His will and listen to His direction as to what He wants us to do. (DRM 3/8/09)

8:26    But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desert road) - then he met the Ethiopian eunuch. 

    This answers the following question: {How can I grow in my faith so I will be ready to share Christ?} Right before Philip talked to the Ethiopian eunuch, he heard an angel speak to him. When I hear the Holy Spirit telling me to do something, I shouldn't hesitate. My faith will grow by following His direction. (DRM 6/25/02)

8:27, 28    So he [Philip] got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.

    Philip was told by an angel to meet this man who was traveling home from Jerusalem to Ethiopia.
    Philip did what he was told with no objections. The man was reading from Isaiah 53 and Philip's mission was to explain Jesus to the man who wanted to know.
    What would be the hardest part for me (us) to do as Philip did? The man wanted to hear the gospel and Isaiah 53 clearly points to Jesus' death. The hard part is simply to trust the angel and "go" and share what we have learned. (DRM 9/20/2013)

8:29    The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."

    This verse reminds me that I should listen to hear where the Holy Spirit leads me.
    If I am too caught up in my own ideas and not God's plans, I will not hear what He wants me to do. (DRM 8/27/87)

8:30, 31    Philip ran up [to the Ethiopian eunuch] and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31And he said, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

    There is no doubt that God 'set this up.' Sometimes He obviously works events to change peoples' lives, and other times it's more quietly and slowly. The eunuch was reading Isaiah 53, and Philip could easily interpret that. The eunuch's heart was ready, and he immediately got baptized (v. 38). Perhaps the application is that I (we) should always be ready to explain the gospel. (DRM 3/9/09)

8:32, 33    Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this:
                    "HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER;
                    AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT,
                    SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH."
                33"IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY;
                    WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION?
                    FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH."

    Philip was led to the Ethiopian eunuch (v. 26) by an angel of the Lord. This court official was reading from Isaiah 53:7, 8 and was most willing for Philip to explain it to him.
    Since the prophecy had just been fulfilled by Jesus, Philip did a great job at explaining this to the eunuch . . . so much so that Philip baptized him as a result of his new faith (vv. 36-38).
    After we put our complete trust in Jesus, we should express our faith in baptism, just as this eunuch did.
    God=Jesus knows our heart. (DRM 6/13/17)

8:35    Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.

    The Holy Spirit told Philip to talk to the Ethiopian eunuch (v. 29) and so he did.
    The eunuch was reading from Isaiah 53 and asked Philip to explain it to him.
    Here Philip was used by God and the eunuch became a believer and was baptized (v. 37-38).
    Like in this verse, God wants us to open our mouth and tell others when He (Holy Spirit) tells us to. I know I need help on this . . .  (DRM 4/21/13)

8:36    As they [Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch] went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?"

    When a person becomes a true follower of Christ, they should be baptized to show their desire to follow the Lord. This is NOT a requirement for salvation, but an outward expression of the commitment in the heart. The best time to do this is immediately after the decision was made. I regret that I waited so long before I was baptized as an adult.
    The Ethiopian eunuch seemed to know about baptism and probably did it within an hour of hearing the Gospel, then Philip was "snatched" up and sent somewhere else (v. 39), which I don't totally understand. (DRM 6/27/15)

8:37    [And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." {be baptized} And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."]

    This story of the Ethiopian eunuch seems so simple now - for a believer. . . but the point of conversion requires faith "with all of your heart" before baptism. I pray that many will come to trust in Christ "with all of their hearts" as a result of this ministry or through the Holy Spirit in some way. (DRM 3/6/06)

9:3    As he [Saul/Paul] was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him,

    God=Jesus quite often works "suddenly" when we least expect it. Certainly Saul/Paul and his companions (v. 7) didn't expect anything. I also noticed that this occurred at the end of his journey - approaching his intended destination. God=Jesus often seems to come at the "last minute" to save us - or change our direction. The light could have been Jesus Himself. (DRM 3/10/09)

9:4-5    and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus' whom you are persecuting. . . "

    [re: 9:4]    This answers the following question: {How can I use my past life as a tool to tell others of Christ?} When giving my testimony, I always tell people what it was like before Christ entered my life. It's always important for people to see a difference. (DRM 6/26/02)

    [re: 9:4-5]    This was Saul-Paul's dramatic experience on the way to Damascus to find more Christians to persecute. This is a great illustration on how the Lord Jesus chooses who will be His followers, and not the other way around. I must be willing to hear His voice and do His will. (DRM 3/7/06)

9:6    . . . but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do."

    Jesus made a dramatic appearance to Saul/Paul on the way to Damascus. Both Saul/Paul and his companion heard Jesus' voice (v. 7), but Paul was blinded by the Light.
    There was no doubt in Paul's mind Who was directing his steps from then on, (v. 5) as Jesus said Who He was.
    Today it is rare to hear anything verbally from the Lord or His messengers - angels. His direction today comes through the Holy Spirit and we need discernment as to who is speaking to us. (DRM 6/6/15)

9:10    Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am Lord."

    One of the great challenges of being a Christian, as least for me, is clearly hearing God's voice. Ananias seemingly didn't have this problem; and even better, he was willing to do what he was asked. Moses didn't do that at the beginning of his call.
    There are different ways to hear the Lord's voice: 1. Audibly - like I think Ananias did. 2. As a strong impression like in a dream. And 3. from the words written in the Bible. . .  which seems to be the most common way today.
    The point is not to just hear the instruction of the Lord - but to obey and DO what is told. (DRM 9/26/15)

9:13    But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem;

    This answers the following question: {Given this situation, what excuses would I have offered the Lord?} Are you sure? Why me? If this is really true, show me something else. . ., I'm afraid. I can't speak. 
    They are all excuses - when I hear the Holy Spirit, I must do as I am told! (DRM 6/27/02)

9:17    And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

    If I were Ananias, what would I do? Would I really go to Saul? I think I would if I heard an audible directive, but might not if it was only a "feeling." I pray that when God=Jesus has a specific task for me that I will know what it is without any doubt or reluctance. (DRM 3/8/06)

9:19b, 20    Now for several days he [Saul/Paul] was with the disciples who were at Damascus, 20and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."

    From this verse we are told that after Saul's healing from his blindness that he quickly went to be with the disciples in Damascus. This must have required some faith in the disciples as they considered Saul's reputation! Apparently Saul was proclaiming Jesus soon after his conversion. To me, that is proof that the Holy Spirit entered him, as I felt a similar feeling to tell people of my conversion, but not to the point of speaking in the churches. (DRM 3/11/09)

9:21    All those hearing him [Saul/Paul] continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?"

    Paul's purpose in going to Damascus was to at least imprison believers in Jesus, then he had the conversion experience which dramatically changed his life.
    People who knew Saul/Paul before his conversion had difficulty in believing the genuineness of his new faith in the Lord Jesus that he was previously attacking.
    Some conversions are very dramatic (like Saul/Paul's) and others aren't. The important part for us is to trust in Jesus with all our heart, no matter what I/we believed before. (DRM 10/13/13)

9:23-25    When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him [Saul/Paul], 24but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; 25but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.

    Saul in this passage later changed his name to Paul. Saul was traveling to Damascus to capture Christians and planned to bind them and bring them back to Jerusalem (v. 2). Jesus interrupted Saul's journey and his companions also heard Jesus' voice (v. 7).
    Now that many days had passed, Paul's sight had been restored and he wanted to return to Jerusalem (v. 26). These verses show that "his disciples" helped him to escape the city. His disciples were possibly his traveling companions - thus they were also converted by Jesus' voice.
    When Jesus speaks - we are also to listen and obey - generally it's the still small voice of the Holy Spirit or from His Word - the Bible. Don't act if the message isn't Biblical. (DRM 3/30/16)

9:27    But Barnabas took hold of him [Saul/Paul] and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.

    The value of a friend! When Paul came to Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the other disciples (v.26), but they were all afraid of him. Apparently Barnabas was an exception, and he took Paul to meet the apostles. From what is written, they allowed him to go with them for a short time until he went to Tarsus.
    Barnabas was the key figure in this verse. Do I (you) have someone who would do the same for me? (DRM 3/12/09)

    9:28    And he (Paul) was with them moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 

    This answers the following question: {How does my speech and conduct differ from the world?} The words that worldly people use aren't in my vocabulary. By listening to others, quite often I can tell where their heart is. I pray that my actions and speech are honoring to the Lord Jesus Christ. (DRM 6/28/02)

9:29    And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death.

    If taken out of context, this sounds like it could be written about Jesus - rather than Paul. I should expect that if I get to be a bolder witness for Jesus Christ that some will also object to my message, but I should remember that it's not me that they object to, but the message = Jesus. (DRM 3/9/06)

9:34    And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; arise and make your bed." And immediately he arose.

    I had a false assumption that the people in the Bible who were healed were believers in Jesus, but that is NOT the case several times with Jesus and here with Peter. It seems that AFTER they were healed they became believers. But that shouldn't lessen my faith that He still heals the illnesses of believers today. (DRM 3/10/06)

9:36    Now in Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha (which is translated in Greek is called Dorcas): this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did. 

    This answers the following question: {What type of reputation do I have among my peers?} I have no idea what people think of me. They don't tell me. I'm afraid it might be "changeable" or "self-centered" as they don't know the various things/works that I do alone. (DRM 6/29/02)

9:40    But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

    Jesus gave the apostles incredible abilities that others didn't have. Here Peter - through the Lord - raised Tabitha from the dead. I believe that the healings and powers that were used in the first generation of the church were a reason for its initial growth. Today's church growth comes from the infilling of the Holy Spirit and the sharing of the faith of believers. (DRM 3/13/09)

10:1-2    Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, 2a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.

    This is the introduction to "Cornelius's Vision," and describes a bit of his character. The words "devout" and "prayed to God continually" indicate to me that he was probably a believer in God. In later verses, as he saw the vision of an angel, he followed the directions that were given him. God works in different ways for different people. I don't think very many people actually "see" angels. (DRM 3/14/09)

10:3    About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in to him, and said to him, "Cornelius!"

    Generally angels are invisible, but I know they are there at times in my life. I've seen their work when things seemed impossible suddenly something happens. I don't know how I would react if I could see them! (DRM 6/1/03)

10:4    And fixing his [Cornelius'] gaze upon him [an angel of God] and being much alarmed, he said, "What is it, Lord?" and he said to him, "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God."

    If there was any doubt before, this verse makes it clear that our prayers are heard by the Lord Jesus. It amazing to think that He cares about me, one person in the six billion on earth today! It's a privilege to talk to the Man at the top! (DRM 3/11/06)

10:11    and he beheld the sky opened up and a certain object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground. . . 

    This is from a vision that Peter had from the Lord. Later verses showed that we, as Christians, are not limited as to what we can eat. Nothing is unclean. It's another example of the freedom that we have as servants of Christ. (DRM 5/21/2000)

10:12-13    and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air 13And a voice came to him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat!"

    While Peter wondered what this vision meant, it seems obvious to us today. When I have a dream, I also wonder what they mean. Maybe they are directions form the Lord and I am missing the point. I hope that whatever the Lord truly wants me to do - He will make clear to me - as the voice did to Peter in v.15. (DRM 3/12/06)

10:14    "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

    The Lord had just given Peter a vision of all types of animals that he could eat. These animals could not be eaten according to Jewish law. In verse 15b the voice returned: "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."
    This reminds me that as born-again Christians, we are no longer subject to Jewish laws as we have received grace from Jesus Christ's death. (DRM 9/5/87)

10:15    And again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."

    Peter had just seen a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with all kinds of animals - declaring them good to eat. This was one way that we are free from the Law and can eat more types of food than the Jews. Thank you Jesus for this freedom! (DRM 6/2/03)

10:20    "But arise, go downstairs, and accompany them without misgivings; for I have sent them Myself."

    When I tell others that the Lord or the Holy Spirit "told me" to do something, the reaction usually is "oh, really," or "prove it" or "I doubt it." Here the Lord told Peter to go and he didn't doubt. I should do the same. (DRM 5/22/2000)

10:22    They [three men visitors] said, "Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.

    I would normally expect a visitor to say, "we (I) have a question," or similar if they came to my home. Here the statement is that they wanted to "hear a message" from Peter. Fortunately Peter had just received a vision (trance) about the subject, but neither Peter or the visitors knew what this was leading to. We (I) must always be open to hearing from the Lord, no matter how the message comes. (DRM 3/15/09)

10:23b    And on the next day he [Peter] got up and went away with them [men sent by Cornelius], and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

    I have little to add to this story for clarification. Today I thought that Peter brought "some of the brethren" with him on his way to Caesarea and Cornelius "called together his relatives and close friends" (v.24) so this could have been a big group of 50 or more people. It seemed that neither Peter or Cornelius knew why the were meeting. (DRM 3/16/09)

10:28    And he [Peter] said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown to me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean."

    This was the beginning of sharing the gospel with non-Jewish people. Both Peter and Cornelius had dreams or visions that God=Jesus had caused them to meet. This whole section shows that it is God's plan that ALL know Jesus as their Savior - not just the Jews. (DRM 3/13/06)

10:40, 41    "God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible. 41not to all people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us. . . 

    Back to the basics, how people came to see the risen Christ after the resurrection. Verse 41 shows that God knows EVERYTHING including who would come to see Christ, contrary to some teaching of today. May I hear true teaching where I am taught the Word of God. (DRM 6/3/03)

10:42    "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead."

    "He ordered us" as Peter said. Perhaps he was referring to the disciples, but I don't think that way. From all the other related verses in the Bible, I think Jesus wanted ALL Christians to preach and tell others of Him in some way. I'm no exception. (DRM 5/23/2000)

10:43 ". . . of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."

    This was the last sentence of Peter's statement at Caesarea. It clearly states that we must trust in the name and person of Jesus. With so many people today using this name and forms of it as a swear word, I wonder what Jesus thinks? The people of today think only of TODAY and not of their eternal destiny. I pray their eyes and heart will be opened to trust in Jesus. (DRM 3/17/09)

10:45    And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also.

    This hadn't happened before. God was allowing Gentiles to come into His Kingdom! His chosen people, the Jews, are still first in His heart, but He made it clear that ALL were welcome - and that changed history - and my life, too! (DRM 3/14/06)

11:2-3    And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, 3saying, "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."

    People don't like change. When Peter got back to Jerusalem, the Jewish believers wanted to know why he met with non-Jews. They thought they knew God's will - but had to deal with this new change. I also have to deal with change in my life - and follow His will. (DRM 3/15/06)

11:9    ". . . But a voice from heaven answered a second time, 'What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.' "

    This section of Acts 11 is a retelling of Peter's experience to the Jews (v.2 circumcised) in Jerusalem. At that time the thinking was that the gospel was only for the Jews. Peter's new vision was that the gospel is for ALL people who will believe.
    I praise the Lord that this happened, as I wouldn't "qualify" under the old system. (DRM 3/18/09)

11:16    Then I remembered what the Lord had said: "John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

    This is interesting to me as I have not yet been baptized totally in water, but do feel the Holy Spirit within me. 
    This passage does NOT make it clear to me if water baptism is necessary, but I also understand that water baptism shows to other believers that you are truly going to follow Jesus Christ and want to be a part of His body.  (DRM 9/12/87)

11:17    "If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?"

    Back in the first century, the disciples were all Jews. They thought that Jesus only came for the Jews. Now that He called this Gentile family to be saved, they came to reason that Jesus wants EVERYONE to be saved. (DRM 5/24/2000)

    Peter related his experience as I wrote on 6/2/03, trying to prove to objectors that God now wants ALL to believe in Him and not just the Jews. Without this happening, I would not have been considered for heaven. Thank you, Jesus! (DRM 6/4/03)

11:20    But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 

    The Word spread! Some men were bold enough to tell the Greeks [non-Jews] and they became believers. This is another way to tell us today not to limit our conversation to one group of people - but ALL people need to know the Lord. (DRM 6/5/03)

11:21    And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.

    This is really an extension of verse 20, where men of Cyprus and Cyrene came to Antioch and preached to the Greeks (non-Jews) and they trusted in the Lord. This was unexpected; it was like the Lord God was setting a fire (of belief) that wouldn't go out. Now all who repent and believe can become Christians! (DRM 3/19/09)

11:22    The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch.

    Greeks (non-Jews) were putting their trust in the Lord Jesus at Antioch. Previously they thought that only Jesus "qualified" for saving grace.
    It was like a fire that needed more firemen, as it was spreading. In this case we want the fire to grow and the "firemen" to fan the flames.
    What am I doing to fan the flames of sharing the gospel? Whatever it is - it is not enough. (DRM 1/5/13)

11:23    Then when he [Barnabas] arrived [in Antioch] and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;

    Some disciples that were unnamed (v. 19) went to Antioch and preached the word of the Lord to the people there. Before this occurred, the disciples/apostles only preached to Jews.
    This was a major turning point for our faith that occurred in Antioch. If that hadn't happened, Christianity might have just been a branch of Judaism.
    Today, true Christians should love the Jews because Jesus was Jewish and over half the Bible is the same for both faiths. (DRM 5/27/15)

11:24    for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. 

    This verse was written about Barnabas of the early Christian church. I felt it was a good verse to describe what the Lord wants all Christian men to be like . . . NOT just one of the crowd. Individuals. (DRM 5/25/2000)

11:26    . . . and when he [Barnabas] had found him [Saul = Paul], he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

    The new Christians in this verse were mainly Greeks (v. 20) for the first time. Prior to this, the Word was spoken only to Jews (v. 19).
    Barnabas brought Paul to Antioch and they taught all the new believers with no prejudice on their prior background.
    The Lord wants us to tell others - in one form or another - of all races and prior religions - about the Lord Jesus and their need for salvation.
    While the Jews are still God's chosen people, He wants all people to join Him in His Kingdom. (DRM 7/27/12)

11:29    And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea [for they had just had a drought].

    God's people were taking care of their own. Sharing is a theme that goes through the Bible. Parts of the Bible say how much to give, etc. It's important to give in thankfulness. I never will give too much. (DRM 5/26/2000)

    This could be the beginning of Christians helping others in need. Most likely they learned to do this from the Bible and the Holy Spirit. It seems that this is not done as much today in USA as in the past. We all should give as we are able - sharing the things that God has given us. (DRM 3/16/06)

    The poor have been in the world through all of time. This verse reminds me how they always could use help to fulfill their needs. While I have given to various things, I still feel that I haven't given enough to the literally poor. (DRM 6/6/03)

12:2,3    And he [Herod] had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. 3And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. . . 

    Persecution started with the birth of the church. It still continues - and I should be prepared for it. As I start to hit opposition, I can still smile and know that I am truly proclaiming Christ - or the words wouldn't irritate them. Lord, make me strong enough to stand up to their comments - with a smile. (DRM 6/7/03) 

12:5,7    So Peter was kept in prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. 7And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and roused him, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands.

    Prayer changes things. Normally we would think that there was no hope for Peter here, but God hears the prayers of believers and I think the more people who pray for the same thing has an influence; but He is sovereign. I must keep praying! (DRM 5/27/2000)

    [re: 12:5]    We have the special privilege of appealing to the Highest authority concerning anything in our lives. Peter's church was praying for him - and hoped it would yield results. I should be praying continuously. (DRM 6/8/03)

    [re: 12:7]    God can do anything He wants. Physical and spiritual doors that have been closed can suddenly be opened through His power. When I think that something can't be humanly done - I have to remember that if He desires - it WILL be done. (DRM 6/9/03)

    [re: 12:7]    If God wants something to be done, it will be. Many people were praying for Peter (v. 5) while he was in prison and he was about to be sentenced the next day (v. 6). God sent an angel-deliverer and all the gates opened. The came could happen to me if He wants me to do something - I truly believe He has a plan. . . (DRM 3/17/06)

12:6    On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison.

    By this description, I'm convinced that Herod did everything humanly possible to make sure that Peter did not escape from the prison.
    The prayers of the church (v. 5) clearly influenced the Lord God to send an angel to deliver Peter from the enemy.
    Man can set up all kinds of security to "protect" or hold someone, but God has the ultimate authority as to what will happen He is the One to be worshipped.
    Prayer changes things! (DRM 8/21/13)

12:10    When they [Peter and angel] had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

    Sometimes I wonder if what I heard or saw or read is really from God, or is it something that I want, and not God's desire. In v.9 Peter wondered if this was real or a dream, but clearly God can do anything for those who love Him. Doors can open that seemingly were locked if God wants them to. I (we) have to believe that God will work out a plan that will bring Him more glory in the end. (DRM 3/20/09)

12:11    And when Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."

    When the Lord wants something to happen, He ALWAYS gets His way! Peter was lead out of jail by a series of miracles that only God could orchestrate. I must learn to depend on the Lord to also set up the things I am to do with the rest of my life. (DRM 5/28/2000)

12:18    Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter.

    The world doesn't plan for the work of angels. I can imagine the soldiers searching the prison for Paul and how none of them did anything wrong - other than sleeping. This is just another reminder how God can work miracles to help the people He loves. (DRM 3/21/09)

12:14    And when she recognized Peter's voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 

    Rhoda, the girl here, obviously should have let Peter in. The world has the same problem with Jesus. Most of the time they know His voice [by the Holy Spirit] but don't let Him into their hearts. Let me hear Your voice and do whatever You will for my life. (DRM 6/10/03)

12:22-23    And the people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" 23And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

    This refers to Herod's death after Peter was delivered by an angel from his prison cell. The point of these two verses is to always give God the glory for all that He has done. When King Herod didn't, he died. God wants and deserves the glory for everything He has done. (DRM 3/18/06)

12:23    Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

    Herod had done some real bad things in his life and deserved the final judgment that befell him.
    This verse was special to me as it shows how quickly a person can die. If a person does not admit to God and Jesus Christ as the savior of his soul, he will be condemned as shown here. 
    Thank God for His grace! (DRM 8/9/87)

    Herod was giving an address to the nation, and the people said he was a god and not a man. The king did not give God any mention, thus verse 23. 
    Lord, sometimes I continue with my life and don't mention You as I should. You know my heart. To God be the Glory! (DRM 5/29/2000)

13:2    And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

    There are two major differences between this and my life: #1 They were worshipping and praying to the Lord as a group where I am usually alone. #2 They were fasting, which I've never done and get headaches if I do. I need a prayer group again! (DRM 6/11/03)

13:4    So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

    The first 8 words here mean a lot to me. Sometimes I hear and know what the Holy Spirit is telling me, but lately when I ask "How can I do this?" I get no response - which means "wait." Lord Jesus, may I hear and do Your will. (DRM 6/12/03)

13:8    But Elymas the magician (for thus his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 

    We are in the spiritual war! There are enemies to Christians, both spiritual [Satan] and physical people who Satan uses to attack our faith.  Certainly I have spoken to people who have no interest in Jesus and are unaware of the battle raging. (DRM 6/13/03)

13:9-10    But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, 10and said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?. . . "

    This could be the first place where Saul is called Paul. Clearly Paul was chosen by God in how he acted and spoke in verse 10 to Elymas the magician (v.8). As the narrative continues in the next verse, God also gave Paul the power to blind this man - thus confirming again that He was with Paul. God chooses to bless each of us in different ways. I wonder how He will use me (you) in the future. (DRM 3/22/09)

13:11    "And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time." And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand. 

    The above was said by Paul to a magician called Elymas who was deceiving people. Certainly Jesus gave Paul special abilities in that time. This also makes me think of Jesus as being the "light" and people who don't believe as being in darkness. 
    Lord, may I be in Your "light." (DRM 5/30/2000)

    When I think of the filling of the Holy Spirit [verse 9] generally I think of healings and good things. Here it appears that it is bad, but it is not a permanent blindness - and I'm sure the man thought more of sins [verse 10] he had done while he was blind. Paul certainly had the Holy Spirit in him! I don't know how I could handle that. (DRM 6/14/03)

    I found this verse to be unusual because the person who was inflicted with blindness was opposing Saul=Paul in his proclamation of the gospel. Usually I think of the Bible and healing rather than afflictions. I must remember that what I do with my life will affect what God=Jesus could do with my health. PTL for His patience! (DRM 3/19/06)

13:15    And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it."

    Paul must have been well known! Soon after he walked into an unfamiliar synagogue, he was asked if he wanted to preach to the people. The people knew he had taken a stand for Christ and wanted to hear it. Paul didn't just sit there quietly. (DRM 5/31/2000) 

    Did they know Saul=Paul was in the crowd when the invitation was given? What did they know about him? Of all of the churches that I have attended, this invitation has never been given - in fear that someone who spoke may not be speaking the doctrine of their denomination. My only way of speaking is through this web site. (DRM 3/20/06)

13:17    The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it.

    This section of Acts 13 refers to one of Paul's missionary journeys. Here he is speaking to the people in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch.
    Paul was reminding the people of their history as a nation. This verse refers to the Israelite time in Egypt when they grew (made great) from one family to over a million people.
    God chose the leaders of the Israelites and also our leaders today. He knows why certain people are in power, even though we may not understand it. God was and still is in control. (DRM 4/25/13)

13:22    And after He had removed him (Saul), He raised up David to be their King, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.'

    God knows the heart of each person - what they desire to do for Him. This is a great verse that reminds me of what God thought of David. God knew how David wanted to please Him, so God knows my heart also and how I want to please him. (DRM 6/1/2000)

13:23    From the descendants of this man [David], according to the promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,

    This was from the beginning of a speech that Paul gave at the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch (v. 14). Paul started with a history of the Jewish people, then progressed to this statement in v. 23. The good part is that they probably had not heard of Jesus before - as I believe that the name of Jesus can't be referred to in synagogues today. Still it is our job to tell them however the Lord leads. (DRM 3/23/09)

13:30,37    But God raised Him from the dead. 37but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. 

    This is the foundation of my faith. We all die or leave earth in some way, but Jesus set a new example in being raised from the dead. I can't go to a cemetery to visit His grave. I know that when I die I'll be with Him!!!!!! (DRM 6/2/2000)

13:33    that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'THOU ART MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE.'

    The resurrection is the confirmation of my faith. It's the main distinctive of Christianity. This verse states that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and is the basis for my hope that I will be also. This assurance is as absolute as the quote from Psalm 2:7. (DRM 3/21/06)

13:37    But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

    Every other person who ever lived on earth died and was buried, but God did not let Jesus be buried, He arose from earth to go to heaven and His body is not here. 
    We will leave our bodies here on earth when we die, but our souls will arise like Christ's body and will never die. This thought will keep me going all of my life. (DRM 9/17/87) There were two other Old Testament people who were not buried, one of which was Moses, and they will return to warn people during the tribulation to turn to Christ. (DRM 1/24/2004)

13:39    . . . and through Him every one who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

    This is near the end of Paul's speech to the Jews at Pisidian Antioch. I thought this verse clearly got to the point that belief-faith was/is required to trust in Jesus. This faith is freedom from all things, thus replacing the Law of Moses. Not that we (I) should continue to sin, but that He provides for our forgiveness if we (I) repent of my sins. (DRM 3/24/09)

13:41    'Behold, you scoffers, and marvel and perish; 
                For I am accomplishing a work in your days,
                A work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it in you.' (Hab. 1:5)

    I just read Habakkuk 1:5 and it's not exactly the same as Acts 13:41 above. As usual, I take verses personally and the word IN you is the cause this time. The point seems to be that Jesus will change me from the INside out. The change is dramatic and others will observe that it's IN us. (DRM 6/3/2000)

13:44    And the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God.

    The message of Paul the first week at Pisidian Antioch (v. 14) caused people to talk. To me, this seems like a "revival" of interest in spiritual things, like we pray for today. The Holy Spirit was working there, and apparently many (v. 48) came to trust in Christ. How we need something similar today! (DRM 3/22/06)

13:46    And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly [to the Jews] and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 

    I underlined the word boldly here because that's something that I'm praying that the Holy Spirit will give me. Certainly it wasn't easy for Paul and Barnabas to get the reaction of the crowd of Jews, but the truth was that they has other "sheep" to feed. (DRM 6/4/2000)

13:50    But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.

    At first it seems that the Jews welcomed Paul's message. In v.42, as Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagague, the people wanted to hear more, then, when the Gentiles also heard the Good News (v. 44), the Jews got jealous (v. 45) and became critical. Paul's method was always to speak to the Jews first, then go to the Gentiles (v. 46). Today I think His message should go out to anyone - just don't keep it to myself (ourselves). (DRM 3/25/09)

14:3    Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. 

    I believe that God can do ANYTHING through His people. One of the tools that He has given has been signs and wonders. My only problem is how Satan also can deceive people by doing similar things. The main thing is where these gifts come from, and how to determine from whom. (DRM 6/5/2000)

    This verse contains my problem of yesterday - "speaking boldly" has always been a problem for me. Maybe the next words are the key: "with reliance upon the Lord." I must change to be an effectual witness to others! (DRM 6/15/03)

14:4    But the multitude of the city was divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.

    This verse is about the city of Iconium (v. 1) and shows me the effectiveness of Paul's, and others, speaking through the Holy Spirit. Without a curious heart, no one would have come to listen. As we see today in Iraq, a divided city could cause civil war, as opinions are strong. Still many came to Christ, as we need today. (DRM 3/23/06)

14:9    This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well. 

    I think I would like a healing ministry where I could be used of God to make people well again. As in this verse, I now realize that the person being healed is the one who must have faith - not the intermediary for God. Again, I need God's help for direction. (DRM 6/16/03)

14:11    When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have become like men and have come down to us."

    The man from Lystra was healed because he exhibited faith (v. 9). The crowd saw what Paul had done, and gave him the credit, rather than God who worked through him (Paul). While they were incorrect in saying that Paul was a god, their statement was partially true in the the gospel says that Jesus is God, and became a man and came down to us. We (I) always need to know the facts as they are written in the Bible. (DRM 3/26/09)

14:13    And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice [to Barnabas and Paul] with the crowds. 

    In that time, sacrifices were given to many gods. This priest of Zeus, felt that Paul and Barnabas were so good that they were also gods. In the following verses Paul convinced them that he was a person, just like all of us. Certainly no sacrifices should be given to humans, and God doesn't need them, either.  (DRM 6/6/2000)

    In early Christianity [and some now] people were confused. They wanted to continue their habit of sacrifice to their god. With Jesus, who already died for our sins, we no longer need physical sacrifices. He is our substitution. Praise God for this gift! (DRM 6/17/03)

14:17b    He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. 

    God has given us everything we could ever need to survive here. So many times I take everything for granted and don't seem to thank God enough for His great gifts to me. One gift that I always try to appreciate - is not mentioned here - my health. When I see others in poorer condition, I am always thankful that God gave me the health and abilities that He has! (DRM 9/18/87)

14:19    But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the multitudes, {go to 14:19b below}

    Paul arose from the [near?] dead. Lazarus rose from the dead and probably others also. But they also eventually had a burial. Jesus was resurrected. His bones are not here. That's why I should worship Him. Jesus was and is God! (DRM 6/18/03) 

14:19b-20    . . . they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20But while the disciples stood around him, he arose and entered the city. And the next day he went away with Barnabas to  Derbe.

    If Paul was dead or not, I believe that the other disciples that "stood around him" were really praying for his life. Since God answers prayer and loved Paul [as He loves all of us], He allowed Paul to continue the work He had started in him. (DRM 6/7/2000)

14:21    After they had preached the gospel to that city [Derbe] and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,

    The Jews had stoned Paul (v. 19) supposing him to be dead, but he got up after the incident. I'm sure that he was ready to leave that city - and went to Derbe the next day (v. 20). In this verse, they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch - which is where the people who stoned Paul came from. Paul and the disciples knew that not all the people in the city were against them, just a few. How would I react? (DRM 3/27/09)

14:22    strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God."

    Paul had just gone through stoning (v. 19-20) and God continued his ministry. He had many other trials and tribulations over time. My trials could be emotional, mental, physical or spiritual; but somehow I know the Lord Jesus will be with me through each one. (DRM 3/24/06)

15:1    And some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."

    Dissention and false teachings have been a part of the church since the beginning. Fortunately there is one rule book - the Bible - and all of the IMPORTANT questions are answered there. Thank you Lord, that I know that the Bible is the only real truth. (DRM 6/19/03)

15:5    But certain ones of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed, stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."

    The church has had debates for thousands of years! In this section the Pharisees had a "work" that had to be accomplished to become a Christian. Thank you Jesus, that you don't require works for salvation, only faith! (DRM 6/8/2000)

15:7    After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

    God knows what we will do today, what we say and who we will meet. He knows everything about us - as He made us.
    Our job is like Peter's. We are to make the gospel known by one way or another. I feel inadequate for the task - that's one reason that I need to read the Bible (instruction manual) every day. (DRM 5/23/12)

15:8,9    "And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith."

    The discussion here was if a non-Jew convert to Christianity needed to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses. The answer is in this quote and also verse 11. I circled the word FAITH in verse 9, as that truly is what is needed for conversion, not outward acts or deeds. I know, by faith, that God will leave me on earth until He is done with me. (DRM 3/25/06)

15:10 Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

    This refers to the need for circumcision for new believers (v.1) to be saved. Trusting in Jesus with faith is a spiritual act, not a physical act. Peter points out here that they or their fathers didn't need to get circumcised to become believers - so why make others do it?
    This debate must have been a major discussion, as it's also mentioned in other Bible books. The result seems so accepted today. We, as believers, must concentrate more on spreading the gospel and sharing His words. (DRM 3/28/09)

15:11    "No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."

    In this chapter there was a question if Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. 
    The answer is clear in this verse: We are saved by grace (not by works) and the only way to be saved is through Jesus Christ, our Savior. (DRM 9/21/87)

    This continues from yesterday's reading. Christians are saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus. We don't need to add anything else. I have gotten snared by legalism, but really it's my traditions that seem like legalism. Praise the Lord for His gift! (DRM 6/20/03)

15:16    'AFTER THESE THINGS I will return,
            AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN,
            AND I WILL REBUILD THE RUINS,
            AND I WILL RESTORE IT, . . .

    This is the beginning of a quote from Amos 9:11-12. James, in quoting this verse is showing that God would rebuild the Spiritual tabernacle (church) of David. The next verse shows that ALL of mankind will seek Him, thus the prophecy that Gentiles and Jews would be a part of the believing Christian church.
    All includes everyone. Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, etc. All can come to Christ and be a part of His coming Kingdom - if they will change and trust in Him alone. (DRM 3/29/09)

15:17,18    'IN ORDER THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME' 18SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM OF OLD.

    James quoted this passage from "of old," but I couldn't find the exact words written here in the references in Amos and Jeremiah. God clearly chose the Gentiles to believe in Him by the acts of the Holy Spirit already evidenced.
    God loves ALL of His creation, and no one should be excluded from His or our love. (DRM 3/26/06)

15:19,20    Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20but that we we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 

    This discussion continued about Gentiles becoming Christians - as previously the Gospel was only preached to the Jews. These were major decisions that had to be made. Thank God, being a Christian is open to everyone! (DRM 6/9/2000)

15:36    After some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are."

    Paul was certainly a traveler! He liked going out to meet new people and proclaiming the Word of the Lord. In this case, he wanted to see how much progress had been made in the cities that he previously visited.
    As spring comes, I also want to go out and see more people and enjoy the warmer weather. I wait on the Lord to direct me on where He wants me to go. (DRM 3/30/09)

15:37, 38    Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.

    I don't understand why this would cause such a major disagreement (v. 39). As humans, we have different opinions on many subjects. As Christians, we are instructed to love others in our spiritual family.
    Prayer is not mentioned in this section (v. 36-41) and probably would have helped if they had asked the Lord Jesus for direction. (DRM 10/8/12)

15:39    And there arose such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 

    I don't recall too many "sharp disagreements" being stated in the Bible. I thought love was the answer. Knowing the source, the disagreement was God's way of getting twice as many people to know of His Son - by two groups going separate ways instead of one larger group. (DRM 6/10/2000)

    Disagreements have occurred throughout history. Paul wanted to visit past cities he had seen, and Barnabas wanted to bring Mark along. Neither Paul or Barnabas went to the initial destination! I think we have to listen to God for direction, then do as He desires. (DRM 6/23/03)

    Christians are human beings, thus we have differences of opinion on certain issues. Here Paul didn't want to take John-Mark on the journey. While I feel that the Bible promotes unity in the body of Christ, things happen. I think this verse shows Paul's humanity and reminds us that we can also fail the Lord and need to seek His direction. (DRM 3/27/06)

16:1    Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there named Timothy, I think his history is important. His mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5) was a Jewish believer and was well spoken of. Since Paul often referred to him like a son, he must have been young.
    God uses all types of people to share His message. The enthusiasm of youth, and early knowledge of the Gospel is important. How I wish I had known the Lord at an earlier age! (DRM 3/31/09)

16:5    So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.

    As Paul, and now Timothy and others, were going on their travels, the Holy Spirit was telling them where to go and [I'm sure] what to say. The result is in this verse. This should be an example for me to "listen to." (DRM 6/11/2000)

16:7    and when they had come to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them. 

    Communication from God comes in several ways, one is the Holy Spirit - as mentioned here. That "still small voice" has a big powerful influence on Christians' lives. When I hear the Holy Spirit, I must know that it is Him and not my desires, then do as I am told! (DRM 6/24/03)

16:9    And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."

    Certainly the vision in this verse was the main impetus to cause Paul to go to Macedonia, but the Holy Spirit was also working in verses 6-7, telling Paul to avoid other cities - thus he was even more open to "suggestions." I must always be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit; like Paul was here. (DRM 3/28/06)

16:13    And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. 

    Some aspects of evangelism haven't changed. Paul went to where groups of people gathered to tell them of Christ. It seems to me that I should do the same. (DRM 6/12/2000)

16:14    And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshipper of God, was listening; and the LORD opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

    "First Convert in Europe" is shown above this verse. I think the important aspect of this verse was how the woman was saved: "The Lord opened her heart." She was listening and had free will, but the Holy Spirit opened her heart. He saw her willingness to accept Him. (DRM 6/25/03)

16:17    Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, "These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation."

    This slave girl seems to be telling the truth to me, but Paul discerned that a demon was in her and it was withdrawn in the next verse. Lord, give me discernment to know which things are from You and which are deceptions. (DRM 6/13/2000)

    In verse 18, "Paul was greatly annoyed and turned and said to the spirit, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!' " which I don't understand yet. She was telling the truth. In Paul's mind she came to have the truth in her, rather than to proclaim the message and not have it in her heart. (DRM 6/26/03)

    What's wrong with what the slave-girl said? She had a spirit of divination in her (v. 16) and was a fortune teller. Like in Mark 4:7, the demons in the person knew Christ or the Holy Spirit, but the body didn't. Once this was discerned, Jesus or Paul cast the demon out of the person. This takes discernment and knowledge of the person's background. (DRM 3/29/06)

16:19    But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities, . . .

    This is part of a longer story about a slave girl with the spirit of divination (v. 16) and Paul had the spirit come out of her (v. 18).
    Normal people would be pleased at this, but her master was more interested in profit, so caused Paul and Silas to be beaten and imprisoned.
    Some people today are more interested in money than their soul. They are living for today and should be thinking more about "tomorrow" - eternity. How can they be convinced to think further ahead? (DRM 4/1/09)

16:22    And the crowd rose up together against them [Paul and Silas], and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them, and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods.

    What had Paul and Silas done? They had healed the slave girl mentioned yesterday {16:17} The slave girls master said she was no longer profitable and made the crowd rise against them. The whole point seems to be that if I am proclaiming God's Word that some will be offended. (DRM 6/14/2000)

    I thank God that He placed me in a country that has mostly "free speech." In many countries of the world, this could still occur and that can either increase a person's secretive faith, or keep them away all together. I need to be more bold where it is allowed. (DRM 6/27/03)

16:23, 24    When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; 24and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

    This is a narrative of what happened to Paul and Silas in Philippi (v. 12) when they started their work there.
    Today the world looks less and less favorably toward Christians and the Bible warns us to be prepared for persecution.
    This could happen to us. How would this affect my faith if it were to happen to me? (DRM 10/26/11)

16:25    But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

    God knows what we are doing at every moment. He wants us to share His Good News to all who will listen. Paul and Silas, even in prison, were able to share the gospel with the others in prison by their singing of praise to the Lord. Am I doing this when I see other people? Sometimes I write, sometimes I speak, sometimes smile, but always show Jesus in my life somehow. (DRM 4/2/09)

16:26    Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 

    This certainly tells one of the main verses in this chapter! There is a meaning to this in:
    When a person is genuinely in love with the Lord, the Lord is continuously watching over the person. Almost anything can happen and the cause can only be God's hand in the situation. The Lord will provide, I know! (DRM 9/22/87)

    Earthquakes generally aren't considered miracles, but in my eyes this one was. To have such an earthquake and no damage is amazing, to shake and unlock the doors and chains is amazing, but in the guard's eyes, the most amazing thing was that none of the prisoners escaped. (DRM 6/15/2000)

    In the previous verse Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns. God knows who loves Him. God controls all aspects of our lives and how we will [or won't] serve Him. Clearly, God wanted Paul and Silas freed from prison and He can do ANYTHING to get His way! (DRM 6/27/03)

16:29-30    And he [the jailer] called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

    The jailer was not apparently thinking about becoming a Christian before the earthquake struck, but the earthquake seemed to shake him up with fear. A conversion can take place suddenly, and we need to be ready to explain as Paul and Silas did for the jailer and his family. (DRM 3/30/06)

16:30-31    and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household."

    The jail guard was definitely changed by the effect of the earthquake. He wanted to be as calm and trusting as Paul and Silas. Certainly this would become the beginning of a new life for him (the guard) and his family. (DRM 6/16/2000)

    [re: 16:31]    This is what Paul and Silas said to the prison guard. They most likely said more than just this quote. While I'm glad with the results, I feel that each member of the family had to make their own personal decision to follow Christ before they were saved. (DRM 6/28/03)

16:37    But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out."

    The pain of being an outward spokesman for Christ. Attacks of all types can and do happen to Christians today also. It makes no difference what country we are citizens of. My mind will anticipate this, but my soul will depend on the Lord Jesus to defend and keep me. (DRM 6/17/2000)

    This verse shows me the personality and confidence of Paul. God=Jesus had shown Paul the truth and he wanted to share with as many others as possible. He truly suffered for his stand in faith. I would like the boldness of Paul - but should also expect some of the suffering. (DRM 6/28/03)

17:2-3    And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, [at Thessalonica] and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ."

    I understand how Paul's tradition was to go to the Jewish synagogue first to reason with the Jews, my "surprise" in this statement was that Paul was allowed to talk to them for THREE weeks. I doubt that today's society would allow him back after the first visit!
    Paul's message was always clear and bold - and the important part was that (v. 4) some were persuaded . . . and a large amount of  . . .  Greeks . . . and leading women. (DRM 4/3/09)

17:4    And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a great multitude of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 

    Not all will become Christians, only some. God through Jesus Christ has predestined those to know Him that He has chosen. We don't know who they are. So, when I tell others, some will change and others won't. I have to accept this. (DRM 6/18/2000)

17:5    But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and coming upon the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.

    The message of Jesus is not a popular one today, and has not been since He was on earth. Paul's preaching at Thessalonica brought this reaction, as he seemed to be proclaiming they should worship someone other than Caesar (v. 7). Telling people about Jesus is sure to cause a reaction! (DRM 3/31/06)

17:11    Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 

    This is exactly what everyone should do. I personally feel that the difference between a Christian and a religious person is how they take the actual words written in the Bible.
    Religious people accept SOME of what is written the parts they like, but Christians must live by every word, as every word was God inspired. (DRM 9/25/87)

    Paul and Silas did well in Thessalonica, but the opposition sent them out of town. Here at Berea, the Jews were not only willing to listen, but also willing to study the Bible to learn the truth. Paul seemed to be making progress here. I need these examples on how to run my life. (DRM 6/29/03)

17:13    But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds.

    While some Jews believed in Paul's message (v. 12), the majority still refused to believe in the work of Christ.
    The group mentioned here were probably the majority, the Jews that still were in unbelief.
    The same thing can happen today with all of the various viewpoints on how to get to Heaven. The Bible says there is only One way. The world, inspired by demons, will try almost anything else to distract us and attempt to change our mind to their way of thinking.
    Follow Jesus - He is the only way. (DRM 8/30/15)

17:17    So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. 

    Paul the evangelist. I chose this verse today because it showed that he was willing to talk to ALL people individually and that his faith was so great that he spoke to people EVERY DAY, not just on Sunday or weekends. Paul is a good example to lead others to Jesus. (DRM 6/19/2000)

17:18    And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities," because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

    At least the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were willing to listen to Paul. They were open to new ideas and wanted to know more. Paul was given the opportunity to tell them about Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.
    Today's society is different. Jesus is well known and it seems that most people have their own opinion and don't want to hear a 2,000 year old "story" that some feel is false.
    Maybe our job is harder than Paul's - they were more willing to listen - but we have to keep showing Jesus in our lives and, if possible, also in our words. (DRM 2/26/15)

17:19    And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?"

    Paul had arrived in Athens and observed the city full of idols (v. 16). After speaking at the synagogue and market place, in this verse he was asked to speak in a public arena. Like Paul, I should be ready to tell others about Christ whenever and wherever asked. (DRM 4/1/06)

17:20    " . . . For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean."

    Paul was at Athens and telling Epicurean and Stoic philosophers (v. 18) about Jesus and the resurrection. In v. 19 and here, Paul was invited to speak at the Areopagus.
    God had given Paul the opportunity to share his faith and reason with the people in Athens. He wants us all to be ready to share our faith when given the opportunity. (DRM 4/4/09)

17:23    For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD." Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

    Paul was very astute in finding this statue titled 'to an unknown God.' It has always been a challenge since I became a Christian to think of a way to bring up the subject of Jesus in conversation with non-Christians; and what words to say.
    I believe God will give us the illustration when He wants us to tell others - we are to use the words (probably in the Bible) that He gives us. (DRM 4/5/09)

17:24    The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;

    God is an alive being. How could He not be? He has a mind and it must be Awesome because He created the most complex thing on earth - the human body. Who else could have done that? It couldn't have grown from a fish! . . . and God created all the animals, too!
    We can't make an image (photo or statue) of a God no one has seen. We are not to worship statues, art, or photos of a god that is not the Lord.
    Worship only the one true God, no images, no statues - only God, our Creator. (DRM 10/28/12)

17:25    neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things;

    God is our creator. He can create anything He desires. There is nothing that we can do that He can't do better. He wants our love, thus, after we come to know Him, we give Him of our talents and treasures. It's done in appreciation, not as a way of salvation, as He can't be bought. He already owns it all. (DRM 4/2/06)

17:26    and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

    In the beginning God created Adam. As time progressed, more and more people populated the earth. While this is not given, I wonder how many children some people had in their 900+ year lifespans?
    God knew when each of us would be born, who our parents would be, and where we would live (our country, state, city and street).
    How easy it is to think that each life would be so radically different based on any one of these decisions, and we had no part in it! God is awesome! (DRM 5/29/12)

17:27    that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, through He is not far from each one of us; 

    This is part of a Paul mini-sermon. (on Mars Hill) I felt this verse was concise. Unbelievers should seek God and will find Him. He isn't hard to find, He is very near - if we will only look and listen! I need to be reminded of this also! (DRM 6/30/03)

17:29    Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

    God can't be put in a box. He created the universe and can not be formed into an image that seems to make Him human. He is spirit, not flesh.
    Paul was trying to explain this in the "Sermon on Mars Hill" in Athens, Greece. Paul's premise was that God is known and sent His Son, Jesus to die and be resurrected (v. 31).
    God=Jesus loves us. He is everywhere. When we worship Him, we worship Someone who knows all and created our earth and the universe - and still cares about us individually. He deserves all our worship. (DRM 4/30/17)

17:30    Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

    The "times of ignorance" could have been the time before Moses (through God) wrote the first five books of the Bible, or it could refer to people who just did not know God (v. 23). In either case, that's not the situation today.
    We know God through the evidence He gives us in nature (e.g. birds, trees, fish). No one else could create these things from nothing.
    Now is the time to repent from our sins and follow the Lord God=Jesus, and do His will. (DRM 6/8/13)

17:31    . . . because He [God] has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man [Jesus] whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

    This is part of the last sentence that Paul presented in his "Sermon on Mars Hill." I always remember this passage from the earlier statement, 'To an unknown God.' (v. 23)
    In this verse Jesus is presented as the Judge of the future. He is qualified for the position based on God raising Him from the dead.
    This clearly confirms that God chose Jesus to be His right hand Man. It is still difficult, but true, that God=Jesus as they have different roles - but are both part of the Trinity. (DRM 11/18/11)

17:32    Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this."

    The resurrection IS hard to believe. It's hard to prove. FAITH is required. I think the faith in Jesus and the resurrection come simultaneously. Some will sneer and reject, but others will hear and consider. Thank you Lord for letting me hear and accept this truth. (DRM 6/20/2000)

    Times haven't changed in this respect. Some will dismiss the Gospel and others will investigate, then follow our Leader, Jesus Christ. I pray that I may be used to help people to know Christ better. (DRM 7/1/03)

18:4    And he [Paul] was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

    After Paul's sudden conversion to Christianity, his life changed dramatically. After he learned the gospel, it was his driving desire to share the Good News with as many people as possible. He was an evangelist in our terminology.
    While God wants us all to share His Good News with others, there are many ways this can be done. (e.g. proclaiming His Word, writing as He directs, feeding the poor, helping after disasters. . . )
    What are you doing to share the Lord's Good News? (DRM 7/15/12)

18:5    But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 

    Apparently this is the point where Paul quit his job as a tent-maker and became a servant of Christ. It seems that I am at that point, but want the assurance of health - which I also realize only He can give . . . what to do? (DRM 7/2/03)

18:6    And when they [Jews] resisted and blasphemed, he [Paul] shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be upon your own heads! I am clean. From now on I shall go to the Gentiles."

    This was an important part of Paul's life - and mine. While there is evidence before [the family from Rome?], this seems to be a decision point for Paul. If the faith was limited to a Jewish sect, I wonder if I would ever have known Jesus as Savior. (DRM 6/21/2000)

    Paul was determined, and always went to synagogues when he entered a new city. Now in Corinth, he had more Jewish resistance. I think this statement was one of frustration, as I have had, as he later went to other synagogues - as he knew that ALL people need to trust in Jesus. (DRM 4/3/06)

18:9-10    And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; 10for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city."

    [Re 18:9] Many people want to know what God's will is for their lives. This verse seems real clear to me. If you don't tell people how you are different how will they believe? Lord, make me more vocal! (DRM 6/22/2000)

    [Re 18:9] How I would like the Lord to tell me the same thing! Perhaps He just did, as the Bible should be our instruction manual. Since I take the Word literally most of the time, I should take verses 9 and 10 personally - and be more outspoken. (DRM 7/3/03)

    [Re 18:9-10] The city was Corinth. Paul originally went to the Jews, but stated in v.6 that he would only go to the Gentiles. These two verses include a quote from the Lord. It seems to me that He approved of Paul's statement to only go to the Gentiles. This kept Paul in Corinth for 1 years. How would I like direction like Paul received - more often! (DRM 4/6/09)   

18:14-15    But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put us with you; 15but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters."

    This time Paul was brought before a judge who would not convict him - as stated here. This shows me that God is really the ultimate ruler and has the power to effect people's lives as He chooses. Paul could continue. God, through Jesus Christ, can do these things for me too! (DRM 6/23/2000)

    [re: 18:15]    The Jews were bringing charges against Paul's statements. The leader [here stated] was unwilling to judge on their laws. This makes me think of the "separation of church and state." Over thousands of years, people have tried to separate the two. (DRM 7/4/03)

18:24    Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures.

    The rest of this passage tells of Apollos and how he learned more about the Scriptures and his boldness in speaking the word. I like the "modern" name and should learn more about this person of God. (DRM 6/24/2000)

    Apollos spoke boldly for the Lord. In verse 26 he was told of some inaccuracies by Pricilla and Aquila and corrected them and became a great help for those to know, then grow in their faith in Jesus. 
    He is another person that I would like to be more like. (DRM 7/5/03)

18:25    This man [Apollos] had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John.

    The Word was spreading. Apollos had heard and believed in Jesus by an unknown person. He knew about John the Baptist, but needed more instruction on what Jesus did. Priscilla and Aquila (v. 26) "discipled" Apollos. No matter how old we are, there is always more to learn about Jesus and everything in the Bible. My (our) life should always point people toward Jesus. (DRM 4/7/09)

18:26     . . . and he [Apollos] began to speak out boldly in the synagogue.. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

    Apollos was teaching people about Jesus, but didn't know 'the end of the story', as he was teaching from what John the Baptist (v. 25) had taught.
    Aquila and Priscilla (v. 2) were a husband and wife team that had been instructed by Paul. They took Apollos aside and instructed him on the full ministry of Jesus while He was on earth.
    How I would have liked to have had a mentor or personal spiritual teacher like these were for Apollos. By showing this in the Bible, we are encouraged to go and do the same if we are able. (DRM 10/24/12)

18:27    And when he [Apollos] wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he helped greatly those who had believed through grace;

    Apollos was a natural evangelist and was preaching the message of John the Baptist, as he did not know of Jesus. After he was informed of the rest of the story, God used him to preach to the Jews (v. 28). We each have a different role to do in His Body. It seems that mine is seed planter - what's yours? (DRM 4/4/06)

18:28    For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. 

    Apollos was a Jew that had come to know the Lord (v. 24-25). God was able to use this man to be a loud and intelligent witness of our Lord. 
    Sometimes I wonder if I could do that, and not be "afraid" of others thoughts - as they are from the world. (DRM 9/26/87)

19:2    He [Paul] said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."

    This section of Acts 19 causes more questions in my mind. In this verse about a dozen (v. 7) disciples said that they were baptized into John's baptism, and had repented of their sins. (v. 3) Paul re-baptized them (v. 5) and they began speaking in tongues. (v. 6) I believe that the Holy Spirit must enter a believer, but don't think speaking in tongues is a REQUIREMENT to be a believer in Jesus Christ. (DRM 4/8/09)

19:5    On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 

    Earlier in the chapter, Paul asked some believers if they had received the Holy Spirit, and they said no.  Today's verse shows what happened next. 
    This has special meaning to me in the fact that I have not "really" been baptized, even though I feel the Holy Spirit within me. 
    I must consider baptism before long.  (DRM 9/28/87)

19:6    And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

    God, through the Holy Spirit, gives people different gifts. In this case, Paul was the agent and the Holy Spirit gave them tongues and prophesy. I have asked NOT to have tongues as a gift, as I wouldn't understand. Jesus has and will give me other gifts. (DRM 6/10/01)

    These new believers had originally known only of John's (the Baptist) "baptism of repentance" (v. 4). After Paul's preaching and the Holy Spirit's filling, they spoke in tongues and prophesized as mentioned in this verse. I believe that these are two of many different gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to new believers. We are all different. (DRM 4/5/06)

19:13, 15    But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." 15And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"

    How can we tell others about Christ if we don't know Him ourselves? First repent and trust in Jesus, then receive the Holy Spirit who will convict you of sin; and go, tell others what He has done for you. (DRM 4/6/06)

19:19    And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

    God had allowed many people to be healed of their diseases by the words given by Paul and others. The church grew mightily and prevailed (v. 20).
    As a result of this, the people who practiced magic apparently quit and burned their books.
    How great it would be if we had an outpouring of the Holy Spirit like this was, and people changed their ways instead of what I see on the streets today! (DRM 4/9/09)

19:24    For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen;

    Demetrius was jealous. He was earning a lot of money making silver gods (v. 26) of Diana (Greek = Artemis) and was afraid he and his fellow craftsmen would lose their income if the new Christian religion took over.
    I would probably be concerned if I were a silversmith also, but probably would have tried to understand what the new Christianity was/is about before causing a "riot." Most likely his business continued, but in a smaller way.
    He wasn't interested in either religion, only his profits, and he really needed to know Christ.  (DRM 4/10/09)

19:26    You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all.

    This is part of a quote from a silversmith who had a business making shrines of the goddess Artemis/Diana (v. 24). From this half of chapter 19, it seems that he stirred up his workers to create a near riot when Paul was scheduled to speak.
    How can this apply to us today? It seems that we have lots of opposing lobbyists who want their business to profit from a new law or way of thinking. Like then, it all seems profit motivated.
    When Jesus returns all will be straightened out. I can't wait for that day! (DRM 12/26/11)

19:27    "And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence."

    This verse was spoken by a silversmith named Demetrius who made silver shrines honoring this goddess. He stirred up the people and they seemed to have intentions to kill Paul. The Holy Spirit, through Paul's friends, kept him away from the action. This shows how God protects us. (DRM 6/11/01)

    This silversmith (v. 24) was concerned that his income may be lost as his main job was making idols - shrines. He got a crowd stirred up to protest Paul and the disciples who proclaimed the living God. My job is to tell others about Christ. There will always be others with other opinions and confrontation does not help the cause of Jesus. (DRM 4/7/06)

19:37    "For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess."

    The riot continued from yesterday's reading The town clerk tried to calm things down with the verse above. True Christians do not harm other religious idols, but rather try to tell people the Way, the Truth and the Life of Jesus. Not all will understand. (DRM 6/12/01)

20:6    We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days.

    Looking at a map in the back of my Bible, I wondered how far it was from Philippi to Troas. It doesn't look to be very far at all - and it took five days to get there!
    This is a major way that the world has changed in even the past 100 years. With air travel, we can probably get nearly anywhere on earth in two days now. When reading the Bible, we (I) have to remember what life was like in that era. We (I) should be thankful for all the things God has given us today. (DRM 4/11/09)

20:7    And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. 

    This section (Acts 20:1-16) contains various topics on Paul's journey. I thought this verse was interesting because it refers to believers gathering on the FIRST day of the week. Apparently our tradition has gone back a LONG time! Paul also preached a long time! (DRM 6/13/01)

20:9    And there was a certain young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor, and was picked up dead.

    Paul was a long-winded preacher, as he was preaching until midnight (v. 7). Eutychus' exhaustion seems justified. In verse 10, Paul prayed over him, and he recovered, PTL. God certainly was with Eutychus that night, with or without Paul's prayers. (DRM 4/8/06)

20:20    . . . how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,

    This is part of what the author said in his farewell to Ephesus.
    Here he is reviewing what he did at the church and hoped that he did a good job to proclaim the gospel, either in the public square (it's unlikely they had a separate church building) or in individual homes.
    He was truly a servant of Christ and sets an example for each of us to do something similar to share Jesus' plan of salvation. (DRM 8/15/12)

20:21    solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I received another "trust in God" e-mail yesterday with a series of good works that will be rewarded when you get to Heaven. It all sounded good - except repentance for sins and faith in Jesus Christ weren't mentioned. Without these two things, I think a lot of people will be disappointed on their last day. (DRM 4/9/06)

20:22    And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.

    I have no idea what will happen to me tomorrow, or even five minutes from now. God=Jesus is in complete control of my life. As Paul indicates here, even with total uncertainty, he kept going.
    No matter what happens, God is in control. (DRM 4/12/09)

20:24    However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

    Paul was a very, very dedicated Christian and wanted to please the Lord in every way.
    He was a great example of how we should be, and hopefully I may be able to help people know more of Jesus in some way. (DRM 2/21/87)

    This is a convicting verse to me. Paul clearly indicates here that his ministry for Jesus is more important than his life. I also have a ministry that the Lord has given me, but get diverted constantly and don't feel I am doing His will. Lord, tell me how. . . (DRM 6/14/01) This prayer was answered on June 16, 2001, when the Lord directed me on distributing the bookmarks to churches beginning that day! (DRM 1/22/05)

20:25-27    "And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. 26Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men, 27For I do not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

    [Re:20:25-27]    While the book of Acts' author is unknown, Paul is quoted in this section that the people will no longer "see my face," so he anticipated earthly death.
    Like Paul would say elsewhere, he felt he finished the course and told people the message of the gospel. Each person has to make their own decision on what to do with Jesus. He did his part by telling them.
    As Christians, we are given the same task - to present the gospel to others in one way or another. When the course (life) is over, can I/we say the same as this author? Did everyone I know - know of my faith? (DRM 7/17/16)

    [Re: 20:27]    This is from Paul's farewell speech at Ephesus. I believe the statement in this verse is absolutely true for Paul, as there are lots of illustrations of all that Paul did at various churches - which were all beginning at the same time - this is why he had to write the letters he did - to explain the faith to all in a clear way. While Jesus is the primary Example, it would be good to "not shrink" from declaring the gospel, as Paul stated here. (DRM 4/13/09)

20:28    "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."

    Paul was leaving Ephesus (v. 17) and this warning was in his farewell speech. He knew there would be a power struggle between those who would want to lead the church. Similar things happen today in some churches when a new leader-pastor is chosen. God is not a God of division, and this should be avoided if possible. (DRM 4/10/06)

20:29, 30    I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

    No one seems sure who wrote Acts. It seems to be either Luke or Peter. Still, the writer was the leader of this congregation and he knew that Satan would attempt to break up the church in some way before it grew larger.
    Satan can work in various ways. Judas is an example of how he can work from within a group of believers.
    While we want to believe that everyone in our church is a believer, we have to talk to people and know their views over time to avoid deceit in the Body of Christ. (DRM 12/20/11)

20:31    Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.

    This is from Paul's "Farewell to Ephesus" speech. According to this verse, Paul had previously spent three years at the church, and he didn't want the people there to be deceived by false teachers (vv. 28-30).
    It can be easy to be deceived, as a new speaker can tell you 90% truth, then add a little falsehood in the sermon. We must compare what we are taught to what's written in the Bible. We only want to hear and know God's truth. (DRM 9/28/17) 

20:34    "You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me."

    Work. My interpretation of this verse is that Paul worked as a tent maker to provide for all of his own needs, thus not requiring a salary. It's hard to believe that he was just a "part-time pastor." Lord, teach me how to schedule my time to work and serve You too. (DRM 6/15/01)

21:11    And coming to us, he [Agabus] took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. ' "

    It seemed that everyone Paul came in contact with in this passage was trying in every way to talk Paul out of going to Jerusalem. Paul was very determined to go however, and was willing to let anything happen to him. What would I do if several people told me NOT to go somewhere or do something? Probably listen, and still go if GOD told me to. (DRM 4/11/06)

21:12    When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him [Paul] not to go up to Jerusalem.

    Paul was very determined that he wanted to go to Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost (20:16). As he traveled, different people kept telling him not to go. In this chapter (v. 11) Agabus showed him that he would be bound in his own belt, but Paul was determined to go.
    I have also been "stubborn" at times and at times I was wrong and other times I was right in what was done. This is back to dependence on God=Jesus. (DRM 4/14/09)

21:13    Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."

    Everyone seemed to try to persuade Paul to avoid going to Jerusalem in this chapter. 
    Paul's answer should be the answer of all true believers when asked to do something for the Lord. 
    I hope that I can also be more Christlike and be willing to do anything for Jesus Christ! (DRM 9/29/87)

    Paul was on his travels and was warned not to go to Jerusalem. Even with the warnings, he was determined to go - as this verse states. I must also be determined to do as I feel the Lord is leading me. I must overcome my fears and lean on Him. (DRM 6/16/01)

21:21    and they [the Jews in Jerusalem] have been told about you, [Paul] that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.

    It seems hard for me to believe that Paul would promote these things, as we still do these things today, even though not as a requirement for salvation. The teachings - revelations of Moses are a basis for our faith and show us our need for a Savior - Jesus the Christ. (DRM 4/12/06)

21:26    Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.

    Paul was a Jewish Christian. The Jews wanted him to continue to follow the Law and had heard that he didn't. At least for this first part of his "test," he followed the directions of the elders (v. 18) and went to the temple.
    God wants us to love all people and be a witness of His love to others. While I may not agree with some customs/traditions, if they don't conflict with my faith, I think it's best to follow them - so as to show that I'm not trying to create a "scene." (DRM 4/15/09)

21:27    And when the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the multitude and laid hands on him,

    Paul knew "something" would happen when he got to Jerusalem. When they "laid hands on him," it wasn't friendly! While Paul knew it was coming, he did not stop from going, or change his story. (DRM 6/17/01)

21:28    crying out, "Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place."

    Paul had been in the temple nearly seven days (v. 27) when someone recognized him - then they brought this (v. 28) charge against him. During this whole section of Acts, the crowds grew and he had to be taken by Roman soldiers (v. 32) without being able to defend his actions. That was yet to come.
    This can happen to anyone - even today - and the key is to let the Lord be in control. He will give us (me) the words to say at the right time. (DRM 4/16/09)

21:33    Then the commander came up and took hold of him [Paul] and ordered him to be bound with two chains; and he began asking who he was and what he had done. 

    When Paul was seen, a riot began and, before he got killed, a commander "captured" him. Paul's life had been saved by God through this commander. He wanted an explanation as to what caused the riot. (DRM 6/18/01)

21:34    But among the crowd some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he could not find out the facts on account of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks.

    Whenever there are two stories about an incident, at least one is not true. Just seeing Paul in Jerusalem was enough to get a mob excited. No matter what a person says or does, there will be people who will disagree in the choice. The goal is to do what the Lord God wants me to do. (DRM 4/13/06)

22:4    I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison. 

    Before Paul was converted to Christianity, he was a leader in the persecution of Christians. 
    All non-Christians do this in some way, but not as extreme. I know that I thought that people were Jesus freaks once, and remember "flower power" and laughing at those people without trying to understand why they were acting as they did. I should have asked! (DRM 9/30/87)

22:6    "And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,

    Jesus' brightness is much brighter than the sun - as Paul stated this occurred around noon. Later, it's made clear that Paul's blindness occurred as a result of the intensity of the Light. When Jesus came into my life, He left a little light in me that I should be sharing with others. (DRM 4/14/06)

22:7    and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'

    Paul gave his testimony to the crowd of people. While he had been trained to speak, and knew Hebrew, their language, he knew that the Lord would speak through him. Each of us has a way to tell others about the Lord. (DRM 6/19/01)

22:15    For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.

    This is just part of what Ananias said to Paul when Paul was brought to Damascus at his conversion.
    I chose this single verse because this statement could apply to each one of us. God's will is for ALL of us to witness to all that we come in contact with. In the O.T. (Lev. 19:18) and N.T. (Gal. 5:14) we are to love our neighbors as ourselves - that's everyone! (DRM 4/17/09)

22:18    and I saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.'

    While others told Paul not to go to Jerusalem, he went anyway. The crowds got stirred up and he gave his testimony. Now the Lord Jesus was telling Paul to leave. He told the guards he was a Roman and they will have a trial. . . (DRM 6/20/01)

22:21    "And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles. ' "

    This was part of Paul's defense before the Jews in Jerusalem. Paul is quoting the God=Holy Spirit voice that He heard. Apparently he was told to go to Jerusalem and that would lead to Paul's being sent to Rome - to the Gentiles. I must always listen and obey the Lord's still small voice - when I hear it. (DRM 4/15/06)

22:29    Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.

    While Paul suffered a lot for preaching about Jesus, his Roman citizenship saved him from some punishment, as mentioned in this section of Acts.
    As this country (USA) becomes less and less Christian, am I willing to suffer for telling others the Gospel of Jesus Christ? (DRM 4/18/09)

23:3    Then Paul said to him [high priest Ananias], God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?

    Apparently Paul didn't know that he was speaking to the high priest in this way (v. 6), but I think he had every right to be bold for being slapped on the mouth (v. 2) for saying that he had a good conscience for his behavior to date. (v. 1)
    Later verses show that this was a most unusual trial (v. 7) with both Sadducees and Pharisees.
    We are to speak the words that God gives us. (DRM 4/19/09)

23:6    But perceiving the one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!"

    Paul seemed to be an instigator, causing a division of the people who were to judge him. Since I have also done similar things, I understand. Paul was defending himself with the TRUTH and became dependent on the Lord and His angels to protect him. (DRM 6/21/01)

    Paul knew that the Sadducees and the Pharisees wouldn't agree on this point; so by bringing it up, a decision on his fate couldn't be made. He would have to go to a higher authority, and share his faith to that person or group. He seemed to be looking for more opportunities to share his faith, as I should be. (DRM 4/16/06)

23:11    The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."

    Paul was creating a stir and what he was saying to the people and had been arrested. Paul testified about the Lord before the high priest (which separated the Pharisees and the Sadducees.) 
    The Lord came as mentioned above, and asked Paul to take courage. 
    I should also take courage when things don't go as expected, as I should realize that it will all be for the best in the end. (DRM 10/1/87)

23:12, 13    And when it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13And there were more than forty who formed this plot. 

    Certainly Paul had an interesting life. In the preceding verse (v.11) Jesus told Paul that he would go to Rome, so he knew he would get through this plot, but how? Paul had the faith to trust in the Lord to provide all things - including his safety! May I trust like that. (DRM 6/22/01)

    [re: 23:12]    Paul had enemies in the Jews, but the enemies were truly enemies of his message rather than his person. They didn't want to hear about Jesus. As usual, Jesus had a plan and this was through Paul's nephew, who heard the plan and reported it. I should also expect enemies as I tell others about Him in some way. (DRM 4/17/06)

23:16-17    But the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, "Lead this young man to the commander for he has something to report to him."

    The Jews had a plan to kill Paul. God had just told Paul that he would witness in Rome also (v. 11), so, even though he knew this plan to kill him would fail, when his nephew came to tell him of the plot, Paul sent him to a centurion.
    I chose today's verses because the informer was young. God doesn't care your age, so long as you want to serve Him, He can use you (me) (us). (DRM 4/20/09)

23:23    And he [commander] called to him two of the centurions and said, "Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen."

    Certainly the commander took the plot to kill Paul seriously. At first thought, it seems that 270+ soldiers is a lot to protect one prisoner, but they didn't know how many people might attack them. (There were 40 {23:13} )
    Paul's Roman citizenship (v. 27) protected him. When I (we) get in trouble, God can protect me (us) with His army of angels. That doesn't mean that I am going to do anything intentional to test God. (DRM 4/21/09)

23:24    They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor.

    In at least one way, Paul was like Jesus, in that the various authorities didn't want to make a decision, but rather passed him on to the next in command for a decision. I'm sure that Paul was wondering where he would be sent next, as I should be as I listen for God's direction. (DRM 4/18/06)

23:33    And when these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor [Felix], they also presented Paul to him. 

    Paul was on the move. The commander who saved Paul from the plot, sent him to the governor with 200 soldiers at night! The governor Felix agreed to give Paul a trial. Certainly Paul knew that all events were in God's hands and he was dependent on Him. (DRM 6/23/01)

24:5    We have found this man (Paul) to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world.
24:5 {NASV} "For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world; and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."

    Thank God that we had this troublemaker! So many of the best parts of the New Testament were in Paul's letters, that certainly were God inspired! 
    I can only hope to be a better witness and to be more of a "troublemaker" like Paul was! (DRM 10/2/87)

    This doesn't sound like a good defense to me. If a person is a pest, I would suggest he just go to a different city, and everyone has a different opinion - or just admit that. There will always be differences between Christians and non-Christians. (DRM 4/19/06)

24:14    But this I [Paul] admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the prophets;

    Paul had just heard the opening statement by Ananias' attorney, Tertullus. I think the word "admit" in this verse is important, as it shows that Paul was listening to the charge. While the admittance was not of wrongdoing, it probably allowed him to continue speaking and proclaiming the Truth as the Holy Spirit directed his words. (DRM 4/22/09)

24:15    having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 

    Paul was defending himself against Governor Felix with these words. Again, he was clearly stating his faith in public and not afraid of the consequences. I keep praying that I will become more bold, but not necessarily in the same circumstances as Paul. (DRM 6/24/01)

24:21    ". . . other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, 'For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.' "

    Apparently Paul said nothing inthe temple to cause his arrest. This verse indicates the only thing he said that could cause the trial.
    Felix put Paul in custody (v. 23) for at least two years (v. 27) without a trial to do the Jews a favor.
    I would call this 'to silence the opposition'. Still Paul was able to have visitors and probably wrote letters to the churches and disciples. (DRM 4/23/09)

24:26, 27    At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him. 27But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned. 

    [re: 24:27] Felix apparently had no problem with Paul. He didn't kill him, but just kept him in prison during his term of office. Paul already knew from God that he would go to Rome. Certainly Paul needed a lot of patience for this! (DRM 6/25/01)

    [re: 24:26, 27] I need more patience. Here Paul was in prison for 2 years, probably because Felix wanted bribe money to let him free. Obviously I'm not the only one who has had to "wait upon the Lord." (DRM 4/20/06)  

25:7    When Paul had appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

    Now Paul was on trial in front of the king. The king did not know what charges were being charged against Paul, so invited the Jews to appear also. 
    The Jews were looking for charges and made up some, as they disagreed with his teachings. 
    Even today people disagree with true believers of Christ, and we should be prepared to stand trial before "them" as Paul did. (DRM 10/3/87) 

25:10    But Paul said [to Festus], "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know."

    As mentioned yesterday, Paul was in jail for two years without a trial. Governor Felix was succeeded by Governor Festus. Like Felix, Festus wanted to please the Jews (v. 9), so probably didn't expect Paul to appeal to Caesar (v. 11). Paul was insisting on his innocence.
    Paul had rights as a Roman citizen. We have rights as being citizens of our country. Everyone should have a FAIR trial. (DRM 4/24/09) 

25:11    "If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar."

    This quote was given by Paul to Governor Festus. Festus wanted to send Paul back to Jerusalem - where there were more accusers - but Paul knew the accusations were false. Paul was determined in his faith and wanted a fair trial. (DRM 6/26/01)

    Festus was Felix's successor. He wanted to keep the Jews happy (v. 9), so considered giving Paul to them - as they wanted to kill him. Fortunately, Paul could go to a higher authority, and God had already told him that he would go to Rome. Always follow His leading. (DRM 4/21/06)

25:14    And while they were spending many days there, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, "There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix;

    The bureaucracy has been around for centuries. Paul's case had to go step by step through appeals and the chain of command.
    I don't think Heaven will be like that. I believe that I will see Jesus Himself, Ruler of all. (DRM 6/27/01)

25:18-19    When the accusers stood up, they began bringing charges against him not of such crimes as I was expecting, 19but they simply had some points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive.

    Governor Festus had a visitor, King Agrippa, and Festus told Agrippa about Paul's case. These two verses were from the introduction that Festus told Agrippa when Paul was brought before them.
    From the words in these two verses and v. 27, it appears that Festus wanted to set Paul free. Was it a mistake for Paul to appeal to Caesar? No, Jesus said he would go to Rome (23:11). (DRM 4/25/09)

25:22    And [King] Agrippa said to Festus, "I also would like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," he said, "you shall hear him."

    This section of Acts 25 seems to be a bridge leading to Paul's speech/defense before King Agrippa, the next step leading up the appeal ladder. I need more of the patience that Paul had - as this process took years to complete. {Acts 24:27} (DRM 4/22/06)

25:26    "Yet I have nothing definite about him [Paul] to write to my lord. Therefore, I have brought him before you all and especially before you. King Agrippa, so that after the investigation has taken place, I may have something to write.

    Festus knew of no charges against Paul, but many people disliked him. That seems to be a concern about "freedom of speech" to me. Paul hurt no one, but some wanted to kill him. This world is not fair sometimes and we must trust in the Lord for help. (DRM 6/28/01)

26:8    "Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?"

    I wonder the same thing that Paul asked here. What happens when a person dies? Do they just cease to exist, or does that soul go somewhere? Today, we have many "near death experiences" that prove that everyone goes somewhere. The biggest decision in life determines where. (DRM 4/24/06)

26:13    at midday, O King, I [Paul] saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me.

    "Brighter than the sun" makes me think of Heaven. I recall in Revelation we are told {Rev. 21:23} "And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it . . . " for the Son of God is the Light of that world. I can't wait! (DRM 6/29/01)

26:14    And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads."

    This is part of Saul's/Paul's Christian conversion story. Certainly it was vivid and dramatic.
    At some point every Christian has to make a decision to follow Christ. Some type of light has to come to them/us that Jesus is the true Son of God and the One we will worship from this point on. While Paul's conversion was dramatic, most of us have less vivid stories of that day. It could be after a slow realization to some, but there still needs to be a point of commitment.
    If you haven't done this, do it today. No one knows what day will be our last on earth. (DRM 3/15/17)

26:15    And I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. . . '

    Paul's vision was different. Today I thought that, while I don't have visions, Jesus is not normally the Person who gives direction. Usually He sends angels to speak for Him. Paul was a special person to speak to the Lord Jesus Himself. (DRM 4/26/09)

26:27    [Paul said] ". . . King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do."

    Paul's defense to King Agrippa was another version of his testimony as to how he came to know Jesus. Today's verse was at the end of the testimony - including a logical progression how Jesus' life fulfilled what the prophets of old said about Him.
    How I would like to be as bold and direct as Paul was whenever I explain the gospel to someone. (DRM 4/27/09)

26:28    And Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."

    Testimonies are often powerful. Paul had just related his to King Agrippa, and got this reaction. Some people have also thought my testimony was unusual. I can hope and pray that the Lord will bring more people into my life that I can share my testimony with them. (DRM 6/30/01)

    Paul's testimony was very persuasive - and he had many opportunities to tell it to others in his situation. It seems that my testimony is interesting, but not persuasive to others. Only God knows if I will be able to share it more with others in the future. (DRM 4/25/06)

27:9    And when considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast [Day of Atonement, September] was already over, Paul began to admonish them.

    Travel in Paul's day apparently took months, not hours like today. His trip depended a lot on the wind, whereas today the wind means little normally. In Paul's time people were more aware of God's power in nature like the wind, whereas today God is generally ignored. (DRM 7/1/01)

27:10    [Paul] and said to them, "Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be attended with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."

    Paul was trying to tell the people on the ship that the storm would get worse, but they wouldn't listen; even though they had already had difficulties (v. 8-9). Like Paul, we, as Christians, can see things that the Holy Spirit tells us, but the outside world can't see, even if we tell them. Some will not see that the storm is approaching. (DRM 4/25/06)

27:11    But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul.

    This statement sounds typical of today. The centurion's logic was probably that the captain of the ship would make the right decision about the weather, and if they should proceed - not the prisoner - Paul.
    Sometimes it's hard to discern if the natural world of the Holy Spirit is correct. If the Holy Spirit speaks, then that is the way to follow! (DRM 4/28/09)

27:20    Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.

    Who wrote this? Luke? If I was in the same situation, I would probably also have NEARLY given up hope, but there would also be a little hope that God would provide a way out. Perhaps he was describing the ship's crew?
    Never give up! There's always a little hope - as God=Jesus makes the ultimate decision as to what will really happen. When everything seems "hopeless," He usually - or can - change the circumstances - have faith! (DRM 4/29/09)

27:25, 26    "Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 26"But we must run aground on a certain island."

    [re: 27: 25, 26] The boat Paul was in had been is a storm and wind for several days. He knew that he would make it to Rome and had been reminded of such by an angel. He wanted to encourage the crew. Certainly if an angel talked to me, I would be encouraged and tell others. (DRM 7/2/01)

    [re: 27:26]    Paul was telling others on the ship (v. 21) how an angel of God (v. 23) told him what would happen. Their reaction is not given, but it must have been skepticism at least. It's very difficult to explain spiritual things to non-spiritual people. They will be watching our actions. (DRM 4/26/06)

27:34    "Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation; for not a hair from the head of any of you shall perish."

    Apparently Paul was listened to. For fourteen nights they were drifting at sea, and now, apparently they were near land [it was night]. Paul told the 275 people to eat and they did! They trusted Paul. We should trust Christ in the same way. (DRM 7/3/01)

27:38    And when they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.

    There were 276 people on the boat (v. 37) and Paul assured them they would live (v. 34). Still, I think this verse shows that they had faith in what Paul was saying, or they wouldn't have thrown away food. Soon after they sighted land (v. 39). They (and I) had faith in the unseen and eventually got to land. (DRM 5/3/06)

27:41    But striking a reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable; but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves.

    Everything Paul had told the people in the ship had come to pass. In v. 34, Paul said none of them would perish, and in v. 44, they were all brought safely to land. God had told Paul, and Paul told others of His plans. When we (I) hear a specific direction from the Lord, it must be followed, and shared with others if appropriate. (DRM 4/30/09)

27:44    and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And thus it happened that they were brought safely to land.

    Paul was right, they had run the boat aground and either swam or floated on planks to the shore. No one died as Paul prophesized. Paul trusted in the Lord - and I should also at all times. (DRM 7/4/01)

28:4, 5    And when the natives saw the creature [snake] hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, "Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live." 5However he [Paul] shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.

    God loves His own people. He would not allow harm to come to Paul. Paul's destiny was to go to Rome. I pray that the Lord also loves me and will continue to keep me from harm like this. (DRM 7/5/01)

28:8    And it came about that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.

    I think that all people would like the gift of healing others. While not stated here, all healing truly comes from God, thus Paul prayed first. The true key to our faith and spiritual growth is prayer. (DRM 5/3/06)

28:11    At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, [Malta] and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead.

    It seems that time goes rapidly to me now. Back in the first century, progress was much slower. The sea was not hospitable in the winter, so they had to wait until spring to cross from one side of the Mediterranean Sea to the other. Probably it would take less than one hour today in an airplane! God has patience to get His will accomplished. I need more patience to wait for His direction. (DRM 5/1/09)

28:15    And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

    Transportation was different in Paul's day than today! Today we wouldn't think much of people traveling 43 miles to see us, but in that time, it had to take several hours to travel that far.
    Paul was glad to see other believers in the Lord - as they were probably hard to come by in an idolatrous world.
    Even today, except for certain cities, finding true Christians is becoming harder and harder - and we should be thankful for the encouragement these friends - brethren - give us. (DRM 7/28/14)

28:16    And when we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

    Prisoners aren't generally allowed to stay by themselves. Paul must have been trusted - even by the authorities and wasn't considered a major threat. His "works" during the trip indicated he was special. May I also be special in God's eyes. (DRM 7/6/01)

28:21    [the leading men of the Jews said. . . ] And they said to him, "We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you."

    While I think Paul eventually saw Caesar, it isn't in the book of Acts. He spoke to the Jews in Rome and later spoke to large groups of Jews in Rome, but not all accepted Jesus as the Savior. The Bible states throughout that not all who hear the Word will accept it. I must accept this statement when I have a ministry. Not all will accept Christ. :-( My job is to tell. (DRM 7/7/01)

28:22    "But we [Jews from Rome] desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere."

    The Jews in Rome didn't know Paul was coming, but apparently were willing to listen to him. Even today some Jews are willing to listen (very few) and my job is to share the gospel to everyone - however the Lord leads me. (DRM 5/4/06)

28:26    saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY,
                            "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
                            AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; . . . " '

    In this verse Paul quotes from Isaiah 6:9 in reverse. Paul has arrived in Rome and was speaking to the leading men of the Jews (v. 17) who did not agree (v. 25) with each other and Paul. Truly Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled in Rome, but also to this day. In general, I have found it difficult to explain Jesus to Jews. (DRM 5/2/09)