Monday, February 21, 2011

Jesus Will Come Quickley

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:12-21

Steps: 11, 12

God says that He will come quickly. He has stated this since 31 AD when He went back to heaven. He has told us that He will come and now all of the time prophecies have been completed. We still have a few of these prophecies that have not been settled yet but will soon come to pass and soon Jesus will literally come to gather His people to Him. Many of us will be shocked to see Him but I hope some of us will accept the warning and be ready. This is my last post in this daily devotional. I hope to start another one in January on 36 addicts in the Bible. Thank you for reading with me, it has been my pleasure to write for you. May God bless and keep you.

Prayer for Today: God, You have showed us many things in the last year. I pray that You will not only continue to talk to us but actually bring us to a point of change. Grant us Your grace and peace and thank You for taking so much time to be with us. We hope to see You soon.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

God's Final Statement

And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Revelation 22:10-15

Steps: 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

As God finishes His work He makes a final statement about all of His people. Some will stay with their addictions and reject God and some will accept His process of recovery and will join with God. When this final event happens there will be no more changes, all will have chosen their position and will change no more.

Prayer for Today: God help us to choose You before this final time comes. Help us to be willing to know so that we can be on the right side. Thank You for Your love and patience with us and for giving us this opportunity.

Friday, February 18, 2011

God Has a People Who Will Not Submit to the Beast

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Revelatin 14:1-5

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. Revelation 15:2-4

Steps: 11, 12

God says that He can develop a last day people who have victory over all forms of Satan's addictive processes. God says it can be done, all of His people can walk free from any thing that Satan seeks to sell. God can give us complete and total victory.

Prayer for Today: We pray dear God that You will protect us and develop this kind of recovery in us. Thank You for Your testimony in the 144,000 and the offer that this experience is available to us today.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Beast of Revelation 13

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. Revelation 13:1-9

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

In Revelation 13, as well as in Revelation 12, we have the history of the apostate church teaching a doctrine that inhibits recovery from sin. This history has repeated over and over again in the history of this world. But Jesus is trying to tell us it will happen one more time and then He will close down the process once and for all. He wants us to see what happened in the past and what will happen yet in the future so that if we hear what He is saying we can be protected. All through this devotional I have chosen some significant events so that we can learn to trust God's Holy Word and recognize that He has always been addressing our addiction issues at the root, rather than at the event. It is now time for us to take a realistic look at the events taking place around us and then decide what we want to do and where we want to go with God.

Prayer for Today: God, you have talked to us for over a year now, and we pray that the relationship we have built together will last forever. Help us not to fear You or to distrust You, and yet if that is the case please find ways that will help us to overcome these fears and develop that trust relationship that You want for us. Grant us these gift from Your love to us.
For those who are interested in a little more study on the issue of Revelation 13 please feel free to read about Revelation at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Falling Away of the Church

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. II Thessalonians 2:1-14

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12

God tells us that the spirit that killed Paul and Peter would continue and even enter into the church. The very church of God would prove to be dangerous to God and His people. In fact before Jesus comes again the church would apostasize and turn on God's people. History confirms that this has happened several times and then Daniel and Revelation indicate that this will happen just before the second coming of Jesus. We need to be so solid with Jesus that when this happens we will be prepared and covered by Jesus to protect us from this event.

Prayer for Today: God' help us to be willing to see these events coming, help us to learn from the past, and help us to be willing to walk with You and be protected from what is to come. Thank You for Your love and care.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Peter Goes to Rome Also

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. John 21:18

Steps: 11, 12

In God's timing Paul finally went to Rome and was killed their as a martyr for Jesus. Peter also made it to Rome, and Jesus had prophesied what would happen to him after he had done all of his work for Jesus. It is an interesting idea in the Bible that one of the greatest blessings of service to Jesus is to be allowed to suffer for His name sake. See Acts 5:40-41. Peter also was allowed to be crucified and he chose to be crucified upside down as a testimony of his memory of denying Jesus three times. Peter and Paul suffered for their Master and Friend.

Prayer for Today: God grant us the serenity to acceptGod grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Help me to choose to follow You even if I know that I am going to suffer for Your sake. Help me to count any suffering as a blessing because I have been identified with You.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Paul Prepares for Death in Rome

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. II Timothy 4:1-8

Steps: 11, 12

Paul has lived a good life and has served His Lord well. He has been a blessing to all with whom he has come into contact with. Now that he has spoken to all the people that God has sent him to speak to Paul himself says that he is ready "to depart". He reports that he has fought a good fight and he has finished his activities, and he is now ready to receive that crown that will be given to him on the resurrection day. We don't have a lot of the details of how he died but there is a good presentation at the following address - Paul did his job well and he died so that we could see how an ordinary man could follow Jesus.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, help us to be as steady and faithful as Paul was. You know what needs to happen for us and we ask that You will accomplish these mighty things in us as well. Thank You for these wonderful promises of service.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Paul Spends His Final Days in Rome Preaching

And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Acts 28:16-20, 28-31

Steps: 11, 12

As he had done all through his time of recovery Paul continued to preach the good news of recovery. Paul was now at Rome and as long as he lived he would preach what it was that God had shared with him. Now he preached to the Jews in Rome and anyone else who would talk with him. He shared his experience, strength, and hope as long as there was life in him.

Prayer for Today: God, our time is coming when we must speak our testimony of what You have done for us. Thank You for all that You have done for us and help us to be willing to share with others as You bring us in contact with them.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Paul Finally Arrives at Rome

And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. Acts 28:11-16

Steps: 11, 12

After much trial and difficulty Paul arrives in Rome. Now he will experience the next phases of his journey and he will be given opportunity to testify of his experience, strength, and hope in the world's capital city - Rome.

Prayer for Today: God, help us to be willing to go where You want us to go, do what You want us to do, and say what You want us to say. Thank You for another opportunity to do service for You and for Your people.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Paul is Bitten by a Snake on an Island

And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.
And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary. And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. Acts 28:1-11

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12

In God's providence Paul, and the men on the ship sent to Rome, were shipwrecked and escaped to an island called Melita. The people of the island treated the men well and while making a fire to get them warm Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake. The people of the island thought that Paul must be a criminal seeking to escape justice. They expected him to die for no lived after a bite by this kind of snake. But Paul showed no harm and then the people changed their minds and thought Paul must be a demi-god. Paul ends up healing all of the people on the island and thus brings the good news of salvation to all of these peoples. Shortly after this experience they continue on their way to Rome, where Paul has an appointment made by God.

Prayer for Today: Please Lord help us to take advantage of any crisis that occurs around us and help us to be able to preach about You and Your power so that people are convinced of Your love and grace.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Paul Prophecies Shipwreck

But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island. Acts 27:21-26

Steps: 11, 12

God is now sending Paul to Rome to testify for him. He is on a ship with 276 other soldies, prisoners, and sailors. They are in the middle of a storm and they don't know if they live or they will die, but God gives Paul a vision and tells him again that he will arrive at Rome to testify of Jesus and that God will save all people aboard. None the less there will be a shipwreck and all of them will be cast upon an island. So God wanted to share this message to all on board to give them hope. God always wants to be gracious to all of His people.

Prayer for Today: Help us God to be faithful to you even in the middle of a literal storm and literal ship wreck. We need Your help and we need Your guidance. Grant us Your grace, Your wisdom, and Your compassion while we are walking this earth. Thank You again.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Paul Appeals to Caesar

Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him. And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought. And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go. Acts 25:1-12

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12

Paul has been in prison now for several years. He hears that the Jews are requesting him to come to Jerusalem to stand trial. Paul knows that if he is sent back to Jerusalem that he will die at the hands of the Jews. So when Festus, the Roman governor is not inclined to defend him Paul appeals to the highest Roman ruler - Caesar - Nero. He knows that he might die at the hands of Nero but he knows for sure that he will die at the hands of the Jews. In addition Paul remembers the words of Christ in Acts 23:11 that God has said he needs to testify in Rome. So Paul throws his life onto the words of Christ and is willing to go to Rome to testify and die if necessary.

Prayer for Today: God, grant us the serenity to do what You would have us to do. Help us to have the peace which fear can not shake. Help us to be willing to share our experience, strength, and hope, with anyone who will listen and enter into recoverey with us. Thank You for Your love and grace.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Paul Waits for Justice to be Served

And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound. Acts 24:22-27

Steps: 11, 12

Paul has been taken into captivity by the Romans, to defend him against the murderous intent of the Jewish leaders. Paul continues to defend his position and protests that he is not breaking anyones laws, Gods, the Jews, or the Romans. He states that he is simply doing what God has called him to do. Yet God has placed him where he can preach the gospel to the leadership of the area. While there he has the opportunity to testify for Jesus for over two years, and yet has not been justly cared for. By the laws of the land Paul should have been released yet in the providences of God Paul has been kept in jail to preach this holy gospel.

Prayer for Today: God, grant us the serenity to be at peace with You even when things do not unfold for us as we had planned. Help us to trust You that Your plans are unfolding each and every day and that people will be blessed, and brought into recovery, if we will trust You and wait on Your plans. Thank You for Your grace.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

God States that He will Send Paul to Rome

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.” Acts 23:11

Steps: 11, 12

Paul has been through many things and when he arrives in Jerusalem he is accosted by the Jews and they try to kill him. But God rescues him through the Roman soldiers. Then God tells him that no matter what happens he will end up at Rome to testify for Him in the capitol city of the world.

Prayer for Today: God has many blessing in store for us even when the way looks difficult and almost impossible to get there. Grant us great peace and joy as we walk the difficult path.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Paul Warns the Church of Apostasy

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship. Acts 20:28-38

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6, 11, 12

Paul knows that he is not coming back to Ephesus and he warns the church that apostasy will occur. He knows that great change will occur before the end. (See II Thessalonians 2:1-3). So he warns the church that even in their midst would be people who would rise up that did not care about Jesus but wanted to draw people away for themselves. After Paul finished his warning he hugged and kissed them before heading to Jerusalem.

Prayer for Today: God help us not to be the ones who lead people astray. Help us to be the ones who are faithful and true to the words of God. Help us to be willing to go into recovery from sin and to help others get there to. Help us to be willing to trust in Your plans for us and for Your children.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Paul Heads Toward Jerusalem Prepared to Suffer for Jesus

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Acts 20:17-27

Steps: 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12

Paul had seen in vision that he must go to Jerusalem and he called all of the elders together and began to give them final instructions as to what needed to be done. He reports that he had done a thorough job and was ready to die for Jesus. He had been faithful and had warned everyone of what they needed to do to be right with God. Now he is prepared to go to Jerusalem to face whatever God has in store for him.

Prayer for Today: Help us to learn to trust You God that You have the way prepared for us and You know every step of the path and You have prepared for every emergency. Thank You for Your love and care for us, help us to be willing and trusting to walk with You in all things.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Paul Preaches to All of Asia

And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. Acts 19:8-10

Steps: 11, 12

In Acts 19:1 it states that Paul was now in Ephesus, one of the major cities of Asia. He preached there for two years and through his efforts the whole area of Asia had heard of Jesus and His teachings about salvation and recovery from all of the different issues of sin. God's will was accomplished and many people were saved. See Acts 19:17-18

Prayer for Today: God, help us to recognize Your voice when your servants come to speak to us. Grant us Your grace and Your truth, and Your desire to do right. Help us to be willing to follow all of the truth You grant us. Help us not to turn back to the old ways of addictive thinking and behaving.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paul Saves the Jailer from Death

And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. Acts 16:19-34

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

Paul and friends had cast out a demon from a young lady in the city of Philippi. As a result the people who attempted to control the addiction of this lady reported this change to the police and Paul and Silas were arrested, beated, and sent to prison. While in prison they continued to praise Jesus and at midnight God freed Paul, Silas, and all of the prisoners. The jailer, seeing that everyone could go free was ready to commit suicide for any jailer who lost his prisoners was killed for incompetance. Paul stopped him before he could harm himself telling him that although all were freed, none had left because of Paul. The prisoner hearing of all of these stories about Paul asked what he could do to be saved. Paul told him that what he needed to do was to believe in the Man who had sent Paul - Jesus the Christ. The Jailer did this and he, and all of his family was baptized.

Prayer for Today: God, when You visit us in the form of Your children, help us to accept Your message, and Your invitation. Help us to accept this message at the cost of all else for this is our salvation, or deliverance from our addictive behaviors, and our addictive thoughts. Help us to trust You and move immediately and not wait for further displays of Your love and power. Thank You again for Your patience with us.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Paul Preaches in Macedonia

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. Acts 16:6-10

Steps: 11, 12

After getting the message to go to the Gentiles from the leading Apostles in Jerusalem Paul headed out to preach. He wanted to go into Asia but God said no. After a short while God gave Paul a vision about going to Macedonia a nation just north of Greece. Paul was ready to go and to share the love of Jesus and His power to help people recover from sin. Now that he had his marching orders, nothing would hold him back from sharing his experience, love, and hope in Jesus.

Prayer for Today: God, help us to be willing to go out and share in any time and in any way that will be helpful to someone out there who is struggling in You. Give us the courage, the words, and the grace to help. Thank You for Your love.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Official Commandment from Jerusalem

Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. Acts 15:12-21

Steps: 4,5,6,7,10,11,12

After Paul and Barnabas returned from Asia, they went to Jerusalem to discuss the issue of allowing the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. After reviewing all of the information, and hearing the brethern, James, the brother of Jesus, declared that the gospel should be sent to the Gentiles for God had already declared that the gospel was to go out to all of the people in the world.

Prayer for Today: God, thank You for sending the gospel, Your good news, that we could also enter into this worship with You and receive Your gifts of recovery. Help us to use this gift, and then in turn to share it with others. Thank You for Your love.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gospel of Recovery Taught in Antioch

And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. Acts 13:42-52

Steps: 3,4,5,6,7,10,11,12

In Antioch Paul and Barnabas were teaching the Jews on the Sabbath day and the Gentiles asked if they could hear it as well on the next Sabbath. That next Sabbath almost the whole city came to hear about recovery from Paul and Barnabas. When the Jews saw all of the people coming to Paul, and not to them, they were envious and jealous and started to gossip about the disciples. Paul and Barnabas confronted this addictive behavior and began to focus more of their energies on the Gentiles who were willing to listen honestly and then respond honestly as well. This established a pattern of behaviors in the disciples work, to focus on those who would listen and not get caught up in nationality.

Prayer for Today: God help us to hear Your truths through whomever You want to speak through. Help us to respond to truth and not to tradition. Thank You for seeking us out and sending unto us teachers that have something to say.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Peter Imprisoned

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” Acts 12:1-11

Steps: 11, 12

Peter was taken captive and placed in jail to satisfy the Jewish leadership. While in jail he was chained with two chains because the king wanted to be sure that Peter did not escape. The angel came in an took Peter's chains off, and walked him through all of the gates and the angel left him in the streets. At first Peter thought he was in a vision, and then it dawned on Him that God had freed him from prison.

Prayer for Today: God, we accept today that You are able to free us from anything, from chains, prisons, and addictions. Help us to wake up and accept Your gift of freedom. Thank You for Your love.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Gospel to the Gentiles

Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. Acts 10:23-29, 44-48

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

Peter responded to the call of the Holy Spirit and went to follow the three men that had been sent by the Roman Centurion Cornelius. When Peter arrived at the home of Cornelius he saw that there were many Gentile people there and he remembered what the Holy Spirit had told him that God had cleansed the people and he was to minister to them. Peter reminded the people that Jewish tradition forbade him from coming into the house but God had showed him that he was not to call any man common or unclean. After preaching to them Peter saw the Holy Spirit come upon the people and Peter saw that since God had approved and accepted them that there was nothing to hinder them from being baptized. This was the first major evangelistic effort for the Gentiles and it set the stage for all further work with God’s peoples in other nations.

Prayer for Today: God, help us to not let our personal traditions stop us from working and sharing for You. Grant us victory over our thinking and the thinking that our families have shared with us. Help us to give the gift of recovery from sin to anyone who wants it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Peter’s Vision

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Acts 10:9-22

Steps: 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12

While Paul is getting established as a Christian in Damascus, Peter is granted a vision of how to take the gospel of recovery from sin to the Gentiles. A Roman Centurion named Cornelius has sent three men to find Peter to invite him to come and share his experience, strength, and hope with Cornelius and his Gentile friends. God is aware of Peter’s thinking about it being illegal to speak to the Gentiles, because of his Jewish training and bigotry. Before the three men come to Peter, God gives Peter a vision of three sheets of unclean animals. After each sheet God tells Peter “What God hath cleansed that call not though common”. Peter was wondering what this vision meant and the Holy Spirit told Peter that the three men who were coming were sent by Him and that Peter was to go with them doubting nothing, for the Holy Spirit had sent them.

Prayer for Today: God, You know how easily we get confused when trying to sort out Your will from our human traditions. Grant us an awareness of what You want for us and give us the courage and instruction to do it as You instruct us. Help us to obey like Peter did.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ananias – God’s Sponsor

And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. Acts 9:10-18

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

While Saul was meditating in darkness for three days, God was working with him explaining and revealing many things to him. At the same time God was working on a disciple named Ananias. God called him in a vision and Ananias responded. God told him about Saul and told Ananias to go and lay his hands on him for God gave a vision to Saul as well that there was going to be a man named Ananias that would come and heal him from his physical blindness while God was healing Saul from the spiritual blindness. Ananias was afraid to go to Saul because of Saul’s reputation, but God explained that Saul was going to be His man. Then Ananias obeyed and all was completed to God’s satisfaction.

Prayer for Today: God, help us to be healed from our physical ailments but more importantly heal us from our spiritual ailments. We want to see You and respond to You and then obey You trusting that You know more about all of these issues than we do. Thank You for Your willingness to work with people like us.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Paul’s Conversion

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Acts 9:1-9

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12

Saul, soon to be called Paul, one of those who approved of the stoning of Stephen, was on his way to Damascus to capture more people and put them in prison for believing in the name of Jesus. On his way to find people who loved Jesus, Saul had the opportunity to meet Jesus personally. Jesus asked him why he persecuted Him. Saul asked who He was and God said that He was Jesus. Then Saul, now convinced that Jesus was real, asked what he should do? Jesus told him to go on into the city of Damascus and it would be told him what he should do. Saul was in the city three days and had been blinded by the brightness of the glory of Jesus. For three days Saul was fasting and praying and in deep sorrow for what he had done to the followers of Jesus, Whom Saul now accepted as real. Soon Saul would be taught his duty.

Prayer for Today: Father in heaven, You know the things we have done in our history on Earth. We have done most everything that can be done but sadly it was on the evil end of the spectrum. Today we ask for Your grace, like Saul. Forgive us for our ignorance, and forgive us for our downright evil behaviors. Help us to know what You would have us to do. Give us the time and opportunity and the awareness to feel sad and sorry as to how we have treated You in the person of Your children, and then help us to accept Your forgiveness. Thank You for Your love.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Great Scattering of the Church

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Acts 8:1-4

Steps: 11, 12

After the death of Stephen the church was persecuted by the Jewish leadership and God used this to scatter His church all of over the local area and started the dispersion of the recovery message throughout Asia and then throughout the world. But the one who initiated the persecution was the Rabbi Saul. He was under conviction regarding the death of Stephen and he could not shake the message that God had placed on his heart. How he dealt with conviction on his heart was to persecute people who had the same belief system as Stephen. Acts 26:9-11. Yet God used this man to accomplish the spreading of the message to all the world.

Prayer for Today: God help us not to wrongly judge people who cause us to re-think our position. Help us to recognize Your hand in the activities of people who we do not agree with when You are using them to get us to look, think, and act differently than what we have done before. Help us to cooperate with You in any way that would be helpful to us and to others. Thank You for Your mysterious ways.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Stoning of Stephen

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:51-60

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

Stephen was one of seven deacons chosen in Acts 6 to minister to the new converts. Stephen was also a wonderful preacher who confounded the Jewish Rabbis with the truth. He was falsely charged with blasphemy and was brought before the Sanhedrin to testify to what he had said. He preached a wonderful sermon about the history of Israel and their continual rebellion against God. At the end of the sermon Stephen could see that they leaders were not listening to the truth but were continually looking for a way to condemn and kill him. At the end of his sermon he cut it short and pronounced guilt on the leaders and they acted out their hatred to God by killing His servant, the only one they could get their hands on. Stephen, the deacon/sponsor died trying to help his people see the light. It is also interesting that Stephen’s death marked the end of the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9. This was the probationary period of time given to the nation of Israel to repent and come into right relationship with God. As a result of their killing of Stephen they testified, as they had also done at the trial of Jesus, that they did not want God ruling over them. Their murder of Stephen ended their time of probation, they cut themselves off from God, and Stephen’s replacement, Paul of Tarsus, sent the gospel message out to the whole world.

Prayer for Today: God, please help us to have soft hearts that we may hear Your messages from whomever You want to send. Help us to recognize You in their message and help us to receive it as something of value. Grant us Your great deliverance from our addictions to error and fear. Thank You for Your deliverance.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sponsor/Priest Gamaliel

Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. Acts 5:34-42

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

Just as the leadership was about to make a fatal mistake their sponsor, Gamaliel, a famous lawyer and Rabbi stood up to counsel the brethren to not take this step and fight against God. His counsel was to leave them alone for if they were not of God they would fail and eventually die off or disband, and if they were of God there was nothing that the leadership could do to stop it. So the Jewish leadership called the disciples back in, beat them, and then commanded them to not speak in the name of Jesus and then let them go. The disciples response was in true recovery style – they rejoiced that they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus and then they went back to work sharing publically in the temple and in every house and they refused to stop teaching, preaching, and healing in the name of Jesus.

Prayer for Today: God help us when it is our turn to suffer for You that we will not be turned away from what You have asked us to do. We pray for wisdom, diplomacy, and firmness of recovery to do what You have called us to do. Thank You that we too can suffer for you when in harmony with you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Addictive Response of the Priesthood

Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told, Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. Acts 5:17-33

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

As a result of the progress that the disciples were making in teaching and healing the people the religious leadership grew jealous and guilty. The arrested the disciples and put them in jail and then God released them and sent them back out to teach and heal. When they were arrested again the priests asked the disciples “Did we not command you to not teach in this man’s name? The disciples responded that they thought obeying God was a higher order than obeying man. Then the priests prepared to kill them.

Prayer for Today: God, help us to be willing to obey You over mankind no matter how high they are in the system. Help us to put You first in our hearts and lives. Thank You for Your mercy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Gospel Combined with Healing

And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. Acts 5:12-16

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12

After the testimony of Ananias and Sapphira, and the crippled man, people were convinced that the disciples were working in harmony with God. People were so convinced of the truth, and the power, of God to heal that people began to bring their sick to the disciples as they had brought them to Jesus. God healed every one of the sick, convincing people that they should join this group of people and share their experience, strength, and hope regarding the power of God to heal body and spirit.

Prayer for Today: God, help us to recognize Your power in our lives. Bring us healing, body and soul as well. Then help us to be willing to invest our time and energy into allowing You to teach us how to go out and heal, both body and soul. Help us to be representatives of You as You did to the disciples. Thank You for Your love and care.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ananias and Sapphira – Money Addicts

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. Acts 5:1-11

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

In the time of this story the early church is still getting its bearings and through the heart responses of the people enough money is coming in to care for the people who have been cast out of home and work because of their decisions to follow Christ. Because of the great needs of the people many are selling homes and properties to get the money to give to the church to help all of these displaced people. Ananias and Sapphira have been moved to sell a piece of property and want to give to the church but decide that they can give, and keep some of their promised money aside to profit by. They want the approval of the church and they want to make some money as well. So they sell the property and then they tell the church that they sold it for less money than what they received. When they knowingly were telling an incorrect sum of money and intentionally deceived the church, then God stepped in and used this case to warn the new church that God does not tolerate intentional deception. They were not looking for help and none more was offered. These two people, hardened in their addiction to money, were allowed to die to warn the rest of us to not trifle with God. Great fear came on the church and people gained confidence that God was really in control and He knew who was doing what.

Prayer for Today: God, You know our hearts and the addictive issues we suffer from. Protect us from ourselves and help us not to choose our addictions over You. Deliver us from our many addictions and grant us thy great peace.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Peter, John, and the Disciples Response to the Threatening of the Jews.

And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. Acts 4:23-37

Steps: 11, 12

After being threatened, Peter and John tell the rest of the disciples, and the early church what happened to them. They prayed to God and He heard their prayers and baptized them again with His Holy Spirit and they went out again with boldness and taught the Word of God. They also shared all of their possessions one with another because many of them had lost positions of work as a result of their new convictions and God blessed them with selling houses and properties and giving the money to the disciples who shared with all people as they had need.

Prayer for Today: Thank You Lord that we can stand firm for You even when commanded to do otherwise by leaders. Help us to remember that You are our primary leader and it is our job to listen to You first and the rest of our leaders as they are in harmony with You. Help us also to share with others and You lead and direct. Thank You again for Your love.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Jewish Leadership’s Response to Peter’s Defense

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. Acts 4:13-22

Steps: 11, 12

When the Jewish leadership heard the response of Peter and John they decided to talk among themselves. They acknowledged that a miracle had clearly been done but to approve of the miracle would be to approve of the man that they had just killed just about two months before. They decided to threaten them to not speak any more on the subject to the people. Peter and John declared in response that they would obey God rather than man in issues like this one. Still the leadership threatened them and then turned them loose.

Prayer for Today: God, when it is our turn to stand firm for You even against the authorities of the land we pray that You will grant us strength so that we will put obedience to You above everything in this Earth. Help us to choose recovery over all other things.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Peter’s Defense Before the Sanhedrin

And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. Acts 4:5-14

Steps: 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

The Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling group, met to hear Peter’s defense about teaching the resurrection of Jesus and to hear how he had healed the crippled man. They asked by what power, a definition of name, had they healed the man. Peter testified that by the name, or power, of Jesus had this man been healed. Peter testified that by the power of the man whom these same rulers had killed, and who God had resurrected, was the crippled man healed. Peter then testified that in the name of Jesus, or the power, was the only way anyone could be healed on the entire Earth. The leadership was shocked by the boldness of the testimony of Peter and John. They knew that these men had not been educated in the Rabbinical schools yet there reasoning was solid and they knew that the only one who could have taught them such reasoning was Jesus, the very one whom they had killed, hoping that He would not be resurrected. On top of this the healed man was standing there and they knew that no one had the power to heal such a person unless it had been God Himself. Now they were stuck, how could they reject the testimony of reason, and miracle?

Prayer for Today: Help us Lord that when we see the data in front of us that we will surrender to logic, reason, truth, and Spirit with an open heart willing to see and to do as You guide and direct us. Thank You Lord for Your love.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Disciples are Arrested for Healing and Preaching

And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. Acts 4:1-4

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

Peter and John were arrested for preaching that Jesus, a state and Jewish criminal, was resurrected from the dead. The resurrection of the dead was a doctrine, or teaching, that the Jewish leadership, especially the Sadducees, did not accept as truth. They therefore were going to be sure that this doctrine was not taught while they were in power. This was another example of religious persecution in Israel. The Bible taught the resurrection of the dead, an Jesus had certainly displayed that resurrection could and would occur in His presence. Then when Peter and John displayed supernatural power in the healing of the crippled man the leadership grew frantic enough to persecute by arresting the disciples. None the less 5000 more people believed in what the disciples were preaching, and displaying, and they joined the new church, thus making a new church of 8000 people in 2-3 days. God was revealing Himself through His disciples and the people were responding to the message of recovery from sin through Jesus.

Prayer for Today: God help us to recognize Your movings, and Your teachings through whatever source You choose to reveal Yourself through. Grant us the gift of spiritual discernment that we may recognized Your voice, and spiritual courage to accept it fully and freely when it comes. Help us to want to have victory over our addictions and to receive it from You. Thank You for Your love.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jesus Heals A Man Through His Apostles

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. Acts 3:1-10

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 11, 12

Jesus sends Peter and John to the temple and they see a man crippled from birth. When the crippled man sees Peter and John he looks expectantly at them hoping to receive something special from them. Peter tells the man that he does not have silver or gold but what he does have he is willing to give and in the name of Jesus he heals the man. The three of them now go into the temple and the people recognize the man and are filled with wonder and amazement at what happened. When Peter sees the people looking at him as though he did something wonderful He preaches the gospel to the people in the temple informing them that it was not in his power to heal anyone but he healed in the name of Christ. Then he proceeds to tell the people how they can get healing and spiritual help if they really want it and that would be to come to Jesus for themselves, and if they will believe in Him He will help them just as much as He helped the crippled man.

Prayer for Today: God, grant us the faith, and then the opportunity to be healed physically and spiritually. Help us not to miss out on any opportunities to come to You for help and help us to believe You when You say You want to help us. Thank You for Your willingness to come to us, to find us, and to offer Your gifts to us. Help us not to turn away. Thank You again.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Church Grows

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:37-47

Steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12

When Peter finished preaching a sermon about how the power of God had been displayed amongst the disciples and how it ministered to the people, and what it meant for Jesus, then the people were pricked in their hearts. They recognized that they were addicts and that they needed help. They asked the simple question “What shall we do?” Peter gave them instructions to be baptized and live the life that God had instructed them to live. That day 3000 people were added to God’s fellowship. They immediately began to share their experience, strength, and hope and the message continued out into the world for all to hear and all to decide and all to follow Jesus.

Prayer for Today: Help us to be willing to hear Your voice today in whatever form it may come. When it does come help us to be willing to accept it and to follow You wherever You would lead us. Thank You for seeking us out and offering Your love and acceptance.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Peter Explains the Anointing of God’s Church

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:12-21

Steps: 11, 12

All of the people were amazed when they heard the disciples speak in their own language about the mighty works of God in the life and death of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Peter explains to the people that this was simply the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as spoken of in the book of Joel (Joel 2:28-32). God wanted the people to know that His power was still active, the He was still involved in the affairs of me, and that He was the One who had sent Jesus and now was displaying His power for the blessing and benefit of the people at Jerusalem. God wanted His people to know that whoever called on His name with an honest heart would be saved.

Prayer for Today: God, help us to hear about Your wonderful works, as we read these testimonies of people who were there to witness Your power. Help us to hold on to these things by faith and trust that You will do them for us also if we want to know truth and get solidly into recovery. You know Father that our addictions tend to dull our understanding of spiritual issues and today we call on Your name to deliver us from sin and to stabilize us in You. Thank You for Your love and patience with us.