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Acts 8…Saul the Persecutor

acts 8

Acts 8

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Saul the Persecutor

8 Saul agreed with putting him to death.

On that day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and mourned deeply over him. 3 Saul, however, was ravaging the church. He would enter house after house, drag off men and women, and put them in prison.

Philip in Samaria

4 So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the message of good news. 5 Philip went down to a[a] city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. 6 The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.

The Response of Simon

9 A man named Simon had previously practiced sorcery in that city and astounded the Samaritan people, while claiming to be somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least of them to the greatest, and they said, “This man is called the Great Power of God!”[b] 11 They were attentive to him because he had astounded them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip, as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then even Simon himself believed. And after he was baptized, he went around constantly with[c] Philip and was astounded as he observed the signs and great miracles that were being performed.

Simon’s Sin

14 When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had welcomed God’s message, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 After they went down there, they prayed for them, so the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet come down on[d] any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18 When Simon saw that the Holy[e] Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power too, so that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20 But Peter told him, “May your silver be destroyed with you, because you thought the gift of God could be obtained with money! 21 You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

24 “Please pray[f] to the Lord for me,” Simon replied, “so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

25 Then, after they had testified and spoken the message of the Lord, they traveled back to Jerusalem, evangelizing many villages of the Samaritans.

The Conversion of the Ethiopian Official

26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: “Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is the desert road.)[g] 27 So he got up and went. There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians,[h] who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem 28 and was sitting in his chariot on his way home, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud.

29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot.”

30 When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the Scripture passage he was reading was this:

He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
 and as a lamb is silent before its shearer,
so He does not open His mouth.
33 In His humiliation justice was denied Him.
Who will describe His generation?
 For His life is taken from the earth.[i]

34 The eunuch replied to Philip, “I ask you, who is the prophet saying this about—himself or another person?” 35 So Philip proceeded[j] to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning from that Scripture.

36 As they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. The eunuch said, “Look, there’s water! What would keep me from being baptized?” [37 And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”][k] 38 Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer. But he went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip appeared in[l] Azotus,[m] and he was traveling and evangelizing all the towns until he came to Caesarea.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving!  I think it is my favorite holiday of all.  I love the colors, the fact my family is in one place at one time after busy schedules and not enough time to get everything in!  As you all know,  I equate everything practically to God‘s Word and what He says pertaining to things in everyday life.  The Bible is very practical and applicable!!  That is what it is meant to be and should be.  Thanksgiving is no different for me.

When I think of Thanksgiving I don’t think about pilgrims and indians and feasting.  I think of the lepers Jesus healed in the Bible.  Let us look at this passage for a moment.  In Luke 17:11-19 it states as follows:

Luke 17:11-19

King James Version (KJV)

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Look closely at what Jesus says to the one healed leper when he returned to thank him.  He asked him where were the other nine that had been  CLEANSED?  What did He mean CLEANSED?  When someone has leprosy they no longer have the ability to feel pain.  The leprosy eats through the nerve endings and lepers commonly die of infections from injuries due to this fact.  Before they die, they often lose the affected area of their body.  It could be fingers, toes, etc..  When Jesus CLEANSED them He healed the leprosy, but their bodies were not RESTORED to what they had been before.

Now notice what Jesus said to the man who came back and fell at His feet to thank Him.  I call this a spirit of gratitude.  It is when you are so overwhelmed by what God has done for you, you feel it is almost disrespectful to even stand in His presence!  I have felt this a few times in my life.  Actually it was  just BEFORE God blessed me mightily!  I do not believe those extreme blessings would have  come if I had not honored God by kneeling and thankfully praising Him for the blessings I already had in my life!  As the man knelt, Jesus asked him where the others were?  Why had they not come to thank Him.  Then Jesus did something EXTRA for the man!  HE MADE HIM WHOLE!!

Jesus cleansed the others, but to the one who showed reverential gratitude, he recovered everything the leprosy had eaten away!!  He had all of his fingers, toes, and his skin was as though he had never been scarred by this terrible disease!  The others still had the after effects of the leprosy.  They too would have been MADE WHOLE had they just carried a spirit of thankfulness and praise in their hearts as the one did!

Let us not just be mindful of praise and our gratitude to God in the month of November.  Let us remember every single day of the year what God does for us every single day of the year!!   Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, my precious reader!  Enjoy your time with your family and if you cannot be with them this year, have a wonderful time in the Lord!  He is ALWAYS there!  Blessings in abundance!!


Are You Operating in Discernment or Judgement?

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town   to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan   woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well   and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.   Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water   welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty   and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet….

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.   Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.  John 4:4-18, 28-39 NIV

There is an easy way to know if we are walking in discernment or just being critical or judgemental.  Here we find a woman drawing water from the well.  She had never met Jesus before and He had never seen her before, yet He knew ALL of her past.  Notice Jesus didn’t despise her for it.   His reaction was to offer salvation, which is referred to as “living water”.  He didn’t tell her everything that was wrong with her and if she had made other choices she would have saved herself a lot of grief, as true as that may be.  He didn’t turn His back on her and call her unclean and would have nothing to do with her.  He didn’t react to her with anything but love when He could have pronounced judgement!   Instead, He offered love and salvation.

If you are born again, this very nature of Jesus, is in you! We can live out of our emotions which can be full of anger, haughtiness, and criticism, which is the “fleshy” man or we can live out of our renewed spirits.  You know which one you are operating in by who you are acting like.  Are you acting like the rest of the world or are you operating in love like Jesus did to this woman?  Are you offering salvation or are you condemning?  Are you offering love or do your thoughts leave you despising someone?  If you see something wrong in someone and you are  offering prayer, true concern, praying that someone realizes the love of God and the error of their ways you are walking in discernment.  If you are angry and want someone to “get all that is coming to them”,  you are walking in judgement!

I love the last verse listed where it says she went and told the people about Jesus and how He had told her everything about her life.  Notice this woman didn’t run home with her head hung in shame.  She went into town and witnessed to others what He had done and that He was the Messiah and those in turn were drawn to Him!  Judgement will always bring shame and ostricizing!  Shame will always run from God (remember Adam and Eve hiding themselves due to the shame of their disobedience?).   Discernment will draw people into relationship with our Lord and with the church!

Ask yourself today, how am I acting toward a person that bothers me and why?  Am I drawing them to living water or is the way I am treating that person pushing them further into sin and away from the light that is within me, which is Jesus Christ?   You will  then know  if it is discernment or judgement you are flowing in.  Purpose to love and be all Jesus has called YOU to be, which is a light to a darkened world!

Thank you for stopping by, dear reader!  I will see you soon!


Are You Operating in Discernment or Judgement?

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town   to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan   woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well   and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.   Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water   welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty   and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet….

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.   Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.  John 4:4-18, 28-39 NIV

There is an easy way to know if we are walking in discernment or just being critical or judgemental.  Here we find a woman drawing water from the well.  She had never met Jesus before and He had never seen her before, yet He knew ALL of her past.  Notice Jesus didn’t despise her for it.   His reaction was to offer salvation, which is referred to as “living water”.  He didn’t tell her everything that was wrong with her and if she had made other choices she would have saved herself a lot of grief, as true as that may be.  He didn’t turn His back on her and call her unclean and would have nothing to do with her.  He didn’t react to her with anything but love when He could have pronounced judgement!   Instead, He offered love and salvation.

If you are born again, this very nature of Jesus, is in you! We can live out of our emotions which can be full of anger, haughtiness, and criticism, which is the “fleshy” man or we can live out of our renewed spirits.  You know which one you are operating in by who you are acting like.  Are you acting like the rest of the world or are you operating in love like Jesus did to this woman?  Are you offering salvation or are you condemning?  Are you offering love or do your thoughts leave you despising someone?  If you see something wrong in someone and you are  offering prayer, true concern, praying that someone realizes the love of God and the error of their ways you are walking in discernment.  If you are angry and want someone to “get all that is coming to them”,  you are walking in judgement!

I love the last verse listed where it says she went and told the people about Jesus and how He had told her everything about her life.  Notice this woman didn’t run home with her head hung in shame.  She went into town and witnessed to others what He had done and that He was the Messiah and those in turn were drawn to Him!  Judgement will always bring shame and ostricizing!  Shame will always run from God (remember Adam and Eve hiding themselves due to the shame of their disobedience?).   Discernment will draw people into relationship with our Lord and with the church!

Ask yourself today, how am I acting toward a person that bothers me and why?  Am I drawing them to living water or is the way I am treating that person pushing them further into sin and away from the light that is within me, which is Jesus Christ?   You will  then know  if it is discernment or judgement you are flowing in.  Purpose to love and be all Jesus has called YOU to be, which is a light to a darkened world!

Thank you for stopping by, dear reader!  I will see you soon!


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