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Acts 17…A Short Ministry in Thessalonica

acts17b

Acts 17

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

A Short Ministry in Thessalonica

17 Then they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As usual, Paul went to the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and showing that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead: “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah.” 4 Then some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, including a great number of God-fearing Greeks, as well as a number[a] of the leading women.

Riot in the City

5 But the Jews became jealous, and they brought together some scoundrels from the marketplace, formed a mob, and started a riot in the city. Attacking Jason’s house, they searched for them to bring them out to the public assembly. 6 When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too, 7 and Jason has received them as guests! They are all acting contrary to Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king—Jesus!” 8 The Jews stirred up the crowd and the city officials who heard these things. 9 So taking a security bond from Jason and the others, they released them.

The Bereans Search the Scriptures

10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea. On arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica found out that God’s message had been proclaimed by Paul at Berea, they came there too, agitating and disturbing[b] the crowds. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul away to go to the sea, but Silas and Timothy stayed on there. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as quickly as possible, they departed.

Paul in Athens

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was troubled within him when he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with those who worshiped God and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Then also, some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers argued with him. Some said, “What is this pseudo-intellectual[c] trying to say?”

Others replied, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign deities”—because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the Resurrection.[d]

19 They took him and brought him to the Areopagus,[e] and said, “May we learn about this new teaching you’re speaking of? 20 For what you say sounds strange to us, and we want to know what these ideas mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but telling or hearing something new.

The Areopagus Address

22 Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. 23 For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed:

TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.

Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it—He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. 25 Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. 26 From one man[f] He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. 27 He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’[g] 29 Being God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.

30 “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”

32 When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to ridicule him. But others said, “We’d like to hear from you again about this.” 33 Then Paul left their presence. 34 However, some men joined him and believed, including Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.


Acts 16…Paul Selects Timothy

acts 17

Acts 16

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Paul Selects Timothy

16 Then he went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. 3 Paul wanted Timothy[a] to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number daily.

Evangelization of Europe

6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the message in Asia. 7 When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, bypassing Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 During the night a vision appeared to Paul: A Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 After he had seen the vision, we[b] immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize them.

Lydia’s Conversion

11 Then, setting sail from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, a Roman colony, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia. We stayed in that city for a number of days. 13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women gathered there. 14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. 15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 Once, as we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit of prediction.[c] She made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 As she followed Paul and us she cried out, “These men, who are proclaiming to you[d] the way of salvation, are the slaves of the Most High God.” 18 And she did this for many days.

But Paul was greatly aggravated and turning to the spirit, said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out right away.[e]

19 When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20 Bringing them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are seriously disturbing our city. They are Jews 21 and are promoting customs that are not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice.”

22 Then the mob joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had inflicted many blows on them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to keep them securely guarded. 24 Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.

A Midnight Deliverance

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped.

28 But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because all of us are here!”

29 Then the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the message of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. 33 He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized. 34 He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had believed God with his entire household.

An Official Apology

35 When daylight came, the chief magistrates sent the police to say, “Release those men!”

36 The jailer reported these words to Paul: “The magistrates have sent orders for you to be released. So come out now and go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to them, “They beat us in public without a trial, although we are Roman citizens, and threw us in jail. And now are they going to smuggle us out secretly? Certainly not! On the contrary, let them come themselves and escort us out!”

38 Then the police reported these words to the magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them, and escorting them out, they urged them to leave town. 40 After leaving the jail, they came to Lydia’s house where they saw and encouraged the brothers, and departed.


Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled!

Your heart must not be troubled. Believe[a] in God; believe also in Me.   John 14:1

26″ Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”  Matthew 6:26

This is Gracie AFTER election day!  Gracie was like this ON election day!  Gracie was like this BEFORE election day!  Why is Gracie without a worry or a care?  Because she knows I love her and I am going to feed her, clothe her (yes, I actually dress her), and she will continue to sleep in a warm bed with me!  She does not have a worry in the world!!

Jesus told us the SAME thing!  If He cares for the birds, how much more will He care for us?  We are much more than birds to Him!  All the people who are up in arms about election day, upset, complaining, worried, mad, and frustrated are telling us something.  Their hope and total dependence is on the government and they view the ones in office as their source!  Since when is any man or woman my source of anything?  Jesus is my saviour, my way maker, my provider, my answer to EVERYTHING!

Are you a tither and a giver?  If you said yes, stop worrying!  The Bible says HE will cause man to bless you!  Is Jesus Lord of your life?  If you said yes HE IS KING OF YOUR LIFE!  It doesn’t matter a fig who is or is not president!  JESUS IS YOUR SOURCE!

I am going to quote my son and what he said on Facebook today.  I have not seen it put better!  He is the one that is the preacher!  What he said is as follows:

“I don’t care who the world voted for. That’s the world. They live in darkness. They are ignorant of things. What has me stumped is how Christian people can vote and support a party that’s views are so opposite of the Bible. The election doesn’t change anything in my life. God is my provider so this world’s economy doesn’t have any effect on me. And I’m saved so whenever Obama turns his back on Israel and Jesus comes back I’m going to heaven. But I am sad that there are so many people needing to be saved with just a short amount of time to save them now. The world can vote how they want but a lot of Christian people disappointed me with their votes.”  –The Rev.

Pretty wise for a 24 year old,  and it is truth!  God IS our provider….stop sweating it!  Obey God and be at peace.  God will always have you covered!!

Blessings, dear reader!  No wonder God had me writing on the dire circumstances of Paul and Silas and yet they ministered to God through praise!  It shook the very foundation of the earth!!  Don’t forget what God has been saying!  Let us do all we have been learning!  God is still in control!!!

GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GOD BLESS ISRAEL!!!


A Midnight Deliverance Through United Prayer!

Acts 16:25-26

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

A Midnight Deliverance

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Have you ever wondered if God was going to show up in y0ur situation a little late?  Don’t feel bad, y0u aren’t the only one!  God is never early, but He is never late either.  He always shows up in the nick of time!  As we notice in our scripture, things were looking pretty bad for Paul and Silas.  Beaten, their feet locked in stocks.  I am sure no one applied any form of medical attention to the deep cuts that bled.  The prisons back then certainly did not have modern conveniences of our day today.  There had to be a stench all around them.  It was not uncommon for the prisoners to be fed bug infested food.  That is more than enough for me to complain about right there!  But, not Paul and Silas!  Nothing shook them off their praise!!

Notice something quite interesting here.  It says an earthquake shook the foundations of the jail!  No other place felt the earthquake.  Only the jail!  It also loosened the stocks of all the prisoners!  When the jailer saw what had happened he was going to commit suicide.  If it had been found that he had lost the prisoners he was going to be executed anyway.  Paul cried out to him, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here!”  Acts 16:28.

The jailer knew he had just seen and witnessed the supernatural.  He fell down at Paul and Silas’s feet and wanted to know how to be saved!  That jailer was saved and his whole family as well!  I love what Bro. Hagin says here!  “A lot of folks today are just sitting around doing nothing, waiting for God to do something for them.  They say, ‘If God sees fit, He will move on my behalf.’

If that is true, then why didn’t Paul and Silas just suffer in silence and not pray and sing praises to God?  Why didn’t they just wait and see if God would see fit to do something in their lives?  If this is true why didn’t Paul and Silas say, ‘Let’s just leave everything to the Lord‘?

We need the kind of praying Paul and Silas did.  When things begin to be shaken, some people are going to be shaken, too!  You see, the shaking will cause some people to come into the church and others who aren’t sincere to leave the church.  Folks who don’t want to change won’t stay around long if things are being shaken,  because some things believers should get rid of, such as sin, will be shaken, too!  In some churches there are even some people who need to be shaken, because they will never commit themselves to a local church body and walk uprightly.  Sometimes they are there and other times they aren’t.  It all depends on how the mood hits them!  Those people will then go when the shaking begins, but others will come into the church and stay.”

Join me tomorrow for “Ushering in the Glory of God Through United Prayer”.  I know you will be blessed!  Until then, precious reader, be blessed and walk in victory!!

*Reference: Bible Prayer Study Course by Kenneth E. Hagin


Just Because You Are In God’s Will Doesn’t Mean the Circumstances Will Be Easy

I have thought about this many times.  Just because you are in the perfect will of God doesn’t mean the circumstances will be easy.  I heard someone preach one time, if anything negative happened in your life somehow you had opened the door to the devil to come in and cause it.  They said if you were in a wreck, had a sickness, etc. it was either because of something you said or you didn’t confess the Word as you should have therefore you were at fault.  I asked this person just what had Paul done to be imprisoned, shipwrecked, beaten, and stoned.  Their reply was Paul had caused it by the actions he had done when he was Saul.  You all know my word for this type of theological error….BOLONEY!  When Saul was converted on the road to Damascus weren’t his sins washed away and he was forgiven never to have them remembered against him again just like the rest of us?  Watch out for theology that doesn’t line up with the Word!

The Holy Spirit led Paul and Silas to Philippi to do the work of the Lord!  In no way were they out of God‘s will!  According to Rev. Hagin, Sr., “Sometimes when things don’t go right, people think, ‘Well, I must be out of the will of God….What awful sin did I commit to cause God to put this on me?’ God didn’t send that test or trial they are facing; the DEVIL sent it!”  According to John 10:10 satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy!  God didn’t whip Paul and Silas!  Wicked and ungodly men whipped them!  Why and HOW could God punish you for something He doesn’t even recall??  Common sense tells you that is nonsense!  Now, before you say, “Well that is why I don’t serve God!  Everyone says the devil turns up the heat when you serve God because he hates you even more for it!”  Dear reader, he hates you anyway!  Whether you serve God or not satan is out to get you!  As a Christian, at least you have the blood of Jesus and weaponry to protect you.  When you aren’t saved, you have nothing!  You are a sitting duck for the devil!

According to Bro. Hagin, “A life of ease, with no rough or difficult places to endure and no sacrifices to make, does not indicate whether or not a person is in God’s will.  If it did, then Paul never did get in the will of God in his entire ministry!  You can’t judge being in the will of God by whether or not you have tests and trials in life and obstacles to overcome.”

I can relate to what Bro. Hagin is saying!  I went through this not long ago myself!  You cannot judge if you are in the will of God as a pastor by the number of members in your church, the amount of the tithe and offering, or by how many or how few read your blog!  The way you determine you are in the will of God is not by your circumstances and how “perfect” they may appear, but by ministering to the Lord until you know in your spirit what God wants you to do!

In Bro. Hagin’s words and I quote, “The devil will just try to aggravate you to death with circumstances, if you’ll listen to him.  But if you’ll learn how to deal with the devil, you’ll be all right.  And if you don’t, then the circumstances of life will overwhelm you.  Because if Satan can get the least edge on you, he’ll just hound you and try to worry you to death.  But believers don’t need to be easy prey for the devil.  Rather, we need to spend our time ministering to the Lord.”

Bro. Hagin would tell the Lord he knew he had a certain responsibility as pastor, but he was going to preach the Word, , treat everyone right, and visit the sick and do the best he could.  For the rest, He was leaving it up to the Lord!  Bro. Hagin was a mighty man in God!  Everywhere he went revival surely followed.  Why?  Because he was following God!!

We must grow up, dear reader.  We can’t let what our eyes see and our ears hear rule us!  Babies go on feelings.  When they are hungry, they cry.  When they need a change of clothes, they cry.  When they don’t see Momma, they cry!  We are more than babies.  We are to be renewed by the Word to the point that no matter what we hear and see, we are going to remember what God has said, praise Him for it, and walk on in peace!

I am not telling you, you will never FEEL fear, anxiety, upset, depression again.  I am telling you when you sense it, stop and say, “What was I thinking about when this started?”  I promise you, it will not be what lines up with the Word.  Then rebuke the devil, raise your hands to heaven and begin to praise God!  Minister to the Lord and He will in turn ALWAYS minister to you!!

Blessings in abundance to you, my precious reader!  I will see you soon!!

*Reference “Bible Study Course” by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr.


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