Saturday, December 15, 2012

We have been given the message....

"Now an angel of the LORD, said to Philip, 'Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.  This is a desert place.  And he rose and went.  And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure.  He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.  And the Spirit said to Philip, 'Go over and join this chariot.'  So Philip RAN to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, 'Do you understand what you are reading?'  And he said, 'How can I, unless someone guides me?'"  Acts 8:26-31

I love this story in scripture.  An angel of the LORD speaks to Philip. And from what I understand from scripture, angels are pretty amazing.  They are God's servants who carry out some of God's plans on earth; bring God's messages to people, carry out some of His judgments; battle demonic forces; protect God's people; and generally patrol the earth (Luke 1:11-19; Acts 12:23; Daniel 10:13; Psalm 91:11-12; Zech. 1:10-11).    But it is to be Philip, not the angel who was to go to the Ethiopian in a "desert place" and tell him about Jesus!!!   Acts 8:35 "...Philip opened his mouth and beginning with this Scripture (scripture the eunuch was reading,Isaiah 53:7,8) and told him the good news about Jesus."

Philip proclaiming the Gospel in Samaria after Stephen's stoning which scattered many believers from Jerusalem, and there was much persecution...and an angel of the LORD interrupts Philip telling him to travel south, to a desolate place.  Philip obeys, and once there he sees the Ethiopian eunuch.  The Spirit of God then says "Go over and join the chariot." And catch this, Philip RAN!!  He runs to him and overheard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

"And he said, 'How can I, unless someone guides me?'  And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.  Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:  

'Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter 
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, 
so he opens not his mouth.  
In his humiliation justice was denied him.  
Who can describe his generation?  
For his life is taken away from the earth.'

And the eunuch said to Philip, 'About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?'  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture, he told him the good news about Jesus."

Could not the angel have told the Ethiopian about Jesus?   The Spirit of God gave that charge to Philip.

There are people much like the Ethiopian who don't understand the Scripture, and they don't know Jesus - "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be save." (Acts 4:12)."   And there is no one else, not the angels, who have been given that charge....that commission, that command to proclaim the good news about Him, other than His people - Christ followers.

Some say a "godly life" should serve as a witness...but "Without words, what can our actions point to but ourselves?  A godly life cannot communicate the incarnation, Jesus' substitution for sinners, or the hope of redemption by grace alone through faith alone.  We can't be good news, but we can herald it, sing it, speak it, and preach it to all who listen.  In fact, verbal communication of the gospel is the only means by which people are brought into a right relationship with God." (Ed Stetzer Preach the Gospel, and Since it's necessary, Use Words)

The Apostle Paul in Romans said:  "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'"  Romans 10:13-15

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Psalm 39:1 devotional - Charles Spurgeon

“I will take heed to my ways.”

Psalm 39:1

Fellow-pilgrim, say not in your heart, “I will go hither and thither, and I shall not sin;” for you are never so out of danger of sinning as to boast of security. The road is very miry, it will be hard to pick your path so as not to soil your garments. This is a world of pitch; you will need to watch often, if in handling it you are to keep your hands clean. There is a robber at every turn of the road to rob you of your jewels; there is a temptation in every mercy; there is a snare in every joy; and if you ever reach heaven, it will be a miracle of divine grace to be ascribed entirely to your Father’s power. Be on your guard. When a man carries a bomb-shell in his hand, he should mind that he does not go near a candle; and you too must take care that you enter not into temptation. Even your common actions are edged tools; you must mind how you handle them. There is nothing in this world to foster a Christian’s piety, but everything to destroy it. How anxious should you be to look up to God, that he may keep you! Your prayer should be, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” Having prayed, you must also watch; guarding every thought, word, and action, with holy jealousy. Do not expose yourselves unnecessarily; but if called to exposure, if you are bidden to go where the darts are flying, never venture forth without your shield; for if once the devil finds you without your buckler, he will rejoice that his hour of triumph is come, and will soon make you fall down wounded by his arrows. Though slain you cannot be; wounded you may be. “Be sober; be vigilant, danger may be in an hour when all seemeth securest to thee.” Therefore, take heed to thy ways, and watch unto prayer. No man ever fell into error through being too watchful. May the Holy Spirit guide us in all our ways; so shall they always please the Lord. -- Charles Spurgeon Morning & Evening devotional for daily encouragement

Saturday, March 17, 2012



I hate the sound of the jackhammer - loud, irritating.

Often I feel God deals with me like a jackhammer, but it is not He who is loud or irritating -- but me. As He demolishes the strongholds in my life, sinful cemented habits, wrong thinking, pettiness, evil thoughts, pride, stubbornness, selfishness, defensiveness, unbelief, things hidden within that I don't want others to know about, and those things I am not even aware of - irritating sounds erupt - FROM ME. The LORD Jesus though continues His sanctifying work by His grace.

He wills to - for He is holy and His will is for His child, to be holy.

John 17:17 "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."

Painfully thankful for His way: the Holy Spirit, the Word. Thankful for those who faithfully preach the Word which jackhammers my wicked heart. I must obey...but I struggle. Wretched/stubborn sinner that I am, but praising God for He has set me free and has given me life and power through His Spirit who dwells in me.

Psalm 12:6 "The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground purified seven times."

Grateful to the LORD for the gift of repentance. God says I can "with confidence draw near" Him and will receive mercy and find grace when I do. Grateful to the LORD for those in the church who love this old jackhammer even when she is at her most irritating.