Spiritual Rants: July 11 “How To A-C-T-S Right In Prayer” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18 Acts 28:1-31 Psalm 9:1-12 Proverbs 19:1-3

Old Testament:  1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18

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1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18  A Real Spill

Chronicles is God’s view of the history of Israel.  Kings and Chronicles are the view from earth.  Saul’s death is recounted as the prelude to David’s story.  He was anointed in Hebron as the “shepherd” over Israel as prophesied by the priest, Samuel.

David tried to enter Jerusalem but was rebuffed by inhabitants, the Jebusites.  David said he’d make the first person to off a Jebusite the commander of the army.  Joab was first.

As recounted in 2 Samuel (23:8-11), Jashobeam (aka Joseb-basshebeth in Samuel), Eleazar, and Joab were David’s top three commanders known as “the three.”  There were thirty especially valiant warriors know as “the thirty.”  They one time went into enemy territory to get a drink of water for David when he was thirsty.  David poured it out and said he couldn’t drink water for which they had risked their lives.  Others also performed admirably and their deeds are briefly recounted as in the blog on 2 Samuel (cf. The Church Begins).

Israel was united at first so warriors are recounted from what would be both the northern and southern kingdoms.  Today we are called to be Jesus’ warriors and devote ourselves to Him as Commander.  Our armor is described in Eph. 6:10-17.  See what the commander of the thirty decrees, “We are yours, O, David!” (v. 18).  Can we say the same about Jesus today?

New Testament:  Acts 28:1-31

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Acts 28:1-31  No Charge

Everyone was deposited safely on the island of Malta on the Greek island of Crete.  Paul started a fire which roused a snake to attach itself on his hand.  Maltans all thought this was a sign that Paul was a murderer but then Paul shook the asp into the fire.  They all figured he would swell up and drop dead but after a considerable time nothing happened.  Then they thought he was a god!

Paul stayed on the island with a man named Publius.  Paul laid hands on him and healed him.  Publius fed him for three days.  Many others came to Paul for healing when word got out about Publius.

After three months, they set sail for Rome.  On the way they stopped off the coast of Italy in Puteoli where they had fellowship with other Christians for seven days.

In Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself without being chained though he still had a guard.  Three days later, Paul called the leading Jews together to address them.  He said . . .

1)  He hadn’t committed an offense against anyone but was imprisoned in Jerusalem and turned over to the Romans.

2)  No charge was found to be valid against him but since the Jews objected to the finding, he appealed to go to Rome.

The Jews in Rome said they hadn’t received any complaints about him but, nevertheless, would like to hear his story because they had heard so much about the “sect” of which he was a part.

A day was set for Paul to explain his views and many people showed up to hear him.  He spent all day showing them from the Old Testament Scripture that there would be a future kingdom and trying to have them trust Jesus.  Some were persuaded but others refused to believe.

They were particularly torqued when Paul quoted Isaiah 6:9-10.  The passage is a rebuke to Israel for being so hard-hearted and Paul used it as an explanation for why the gospel was going to go next to the Gentiles.  After that the Jews left, mumbling to each other.

Paul stayed in Rome for two years in an apartment he rented with his own money.  He loved having people over so he could tell them about the coming kingdom and about the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was totally open and no one hindered him.  From prison he wrote the so-called Prison Epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.  After he was released from prison, he wrote 1Timothy and Titus.  After  a second imprisonment, he wrote 2Timothy as he was awaiting execution (2Tim. 4: 6-8).

 

“Balancing The Books, Pt. 1,”  Psalm  9:1-12   A Psalm Of Thanksgiving By David

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Psalm 9:1-12

We’ll be looking over Psalm 9 for the next two days.

I recommend the acrostic A-C-T-S to remember a good way to make sure you cover all your bases when you pray.

A –  Adoration

C- Confession

T – Thanksgiving

S – Supplication (asking for stuff)

There are psalms to cover all these parts of prayer.  Today’s is a good one to teach how to thank God for things.  David does a great job of it!

David is very thankful!  He is thankful for all His wonders (v. 1b).  I think God is often subtle.  As powerful as He is, He can use that power to be subtle.  Sometimes you can miss it.  Be on the outlook for it.  Remember may of the people of His time missed Him when He came as a man.  He was subtle.

Even though he was a warrior, David loved music and sang praises to God (v. 2).

David was thankful that God used His power to subdue his enemies and the nations around him (vv. 3-6).

David was thankful that God was going to judge the world someday (vv. 7-8).  We can trust Him to straighten everything out eventually (vv. 9-10).  Are you looking forward that?  The next election isn’t going to put things right.  That won’t happen until Christ comes back to rule in the millennium (see Addendum To The End).  Are you looking forward to Christ putting everything in order in the future?

In the meantime, we can trust Christ to protect us and exonerate us (vv. 9-10).

David affirms his trust in God who does not forget those are being afflicted (v. 12).  He even requires blood recompense, capital punishment, for those who are murdered (v. 12, “For He who requires blood remembers them”).   He sings praises to God for all the above (v. 11), that God does wonders, subdues His enemies, judges the world, protects us, proves us right, and doesn’t forget us.

Can you praise God and thank Him for all those things today?

 

Proverbs 19:1-3   Rich Man, Poor Man

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Integrity is the best policy.  Have you ever heard that?  Verse 1 reinforces that idea.  I’ve found it’s always best to be totally honest and then trust the Lord.  For one thing, you don’t have to worry about contradicting yourself and you don’t have to try to remember all your lies.  You can just talk from the heart.

Poor people often tell the forthright truth.  Rich people are usually trying to protect themselves.  Remember the story of the blind man in John 9?  He was quizzed by the rich, religious Pharisees about his blindness that was healed by Jesus.  Here is the account, ” . . . they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, ‘Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.’ He then answered, ‘Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” So they said to him, ‘What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”’  He answered them, ‘I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear [it] again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”’ (John 9:24-27).   The poor, formerly-blind man didn’t have any stake in the conversation about Who Jesus was.  He just spoke from his heart.

Notice the second half of verse 1 implies that the subject is a rich person since the form is Hebrew parallelism or contrast (cf. Prov. 28:6 where the first line is identical and “rich” is the parallel).  It is the person protecting his interests that is “perverse” and a “fool.”  He may be willingly ignorant (v. 2a) and rushes away from interrogation (v. 2b).  He may want to have “plausible deniability.”

In a recent commentary, I told the story of a elderly deacon in my country church who was ignorant of the procedures of church discipline in Matthew 18:15-18 (see A Really Bad Movie).  It may have been acceptable for the average layman or church member to be ignorant of church discipline in the Bible.  It is unforgivable for a long-time deacon.  Yet how many deacons or elders know even the basics of their Bible these days?

This type of ignorance is “foolishness” (v. 3a) and it enrages the Lord as they “rage” against him in their hearts (v. 3b).  How can they really be loving the Lord if they don’t know His Word (cf. 1 John 2:3-6; John 14:21).

How often do churches assume that the richer people in the church must be smarter and more spiritual?  And how often are they placed in leadership in the church despite numerous warnings (cf. James 2:1-7; 5:1-6; Prov. 11:4, 28; 18:23).

We remember that the Declaration of Independence affirms “pursuit of happiness” not realizing that it means primarily spiritual freedom.  We have forgotten the example of our Lord Who was poor.  We have forgotten that, “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it” (Prov. 10:22 ).

 

Choose Life: Scripture:  Acts 28:3   NASB    “Sticks And Stones”

“But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.”    Acts 28:3

 

As the book of Acts draws to a close, we find out that in addition to all of Paul’s other trials, a snake latches onto his arm and bites him!  And think you’re having a bad day!  Most likely, when Paul was picking up sticks to put in a fire, he picked up the snake by mistake.  Paul was the Mr. Magoo of the apostles.  Most commentators believe his “thorn in the flesh” (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7; bad eyesight implied in Gal. 4:15) was bad eyesight.  He was just trying to help and feed the fire to warm everyone but ended up getting bit.  Poor Paul!

The end of Mark’s gospel (16: 18) indicates that those who would spread the gospel in that time would be able to cast out demons, speak in tongues, pick up snakes, drink poison, and heal people.  These miracles would confirm to their hearers that they were messengers from God.  In fact, this is what happened in this instance with Paul.  The natives at first thought Paul must have committed a major sin like murder (cf. v. 4).  But isn’t it amazing how fickle people can be?  Since he didn’t die or even swell up, the natives changed their mind and wanted to worship Paul as a god (v. 6)!  Paul simply shook the snake off his arm and went about his business (v. 5)!

What is the moral of this story about Paul and the snake?  Snakes often represent Satan.  But neither serpents or Satan were able to thwart Paul’s mission to bring the gospel to the greatest ruler of that time, Caesar (Acts 25:11-12; 28:19).

Is there something God has called you do?   Nothing will be able to stand against you (cf. Isa. 54:17; Jer. 1:18).  Just do it!

 

 

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application: 

When I was looking for a place to have a service several years ago, my physical therapist asked me what was going on.  I told him I was looking for a place to meet.  He said that I could meet in his place.  We did.  I thanked him profusely.  He said I didn’t need to get so excited and expressed that no matter what God’s will would have been done.  But this is the way he put it, “Hey, the stones would cry out!”  He was alluding to Christ’s triumphant entry when the naysayers told Christ to tell his followers to pipe down, they were too noisy.  Christ indicated God’s will would be done and He would be praised even if it was only the stones crying out (cf. Luke 19:39-40).

If you are called by God to do something and you’re sure of it, keep on keeping on.  Things will work out (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).  Satan may throw sticks and stones but God will sustain you (cf. Ps. 55:22).

 

 

 

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   No Charge

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