Verse by Verse Studies — Week Twenty-two — Honoring the Trinity

Week Twenty-two – Verse by Verse Studies – Honoring the Trinity

Note: In honor of Trinity Sunday, May 31, 2015, readings for the week focus upon the trinity.

Sunday, May 31

2 Cor. 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Prayer: Lord we want it all – grace, love, and fellowship – and in wanting it all we want all of You.
Thought for the day: Our experience of God is conditioned by our three-dimensional experience of time: time past, time present, and time future.

Monday, June 1

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: May you, God, in all your holy forms in all your holy ways appear in all of our lives.
Thought for the day: If our parents have a double claim to our lives, then our God has a triple claim on our lives.

Tuesday, June 2

Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Prayer: God, we give thanks for the giving of yourself in giving the Christ child.
Thought for the day: Luke has a way of telling the Christmas story so that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all included.

Wednesday, June 3

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for sending the counselor for us.
Thought for the day: To have and to lose the presence of Jesus would have been more than the apostles could bear. Can you say the same?

Thursday, June 4

Acts 2:33 Exalted to the right hand of God he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Prayer: God, our Father, we thank you for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit who reminds us of our relationship to Christ Jesus.
Thought for the day: Even if some suppose conviction to be a thing of revivals long past, conviction remains the work of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, June 5

I Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
Prayer: Jesus, we give thanks that you gave yourself to bring us back to the Father through the Spirit.
Thought for the day: All of God sought to redeem all of humanity.

Saturday, June 6

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism: one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Prayer: O God, we give thanks that we know you though the loving Spirit of Your Son.
Thought for the day: Where the Spirit of God is, no division can remain.

Pentecost 61 ~ The Holy Spirit

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Studies in Paul’s Prison Epistles — Acts 19: 1-22 Paul Goes to Ephesus

Studies in Paul’s Prison Epistles – Acts 19:1-22

Note: Before his imprisonment Paul had spent over two years preaching and ministering in the city of Ephesus.  This city was one of the three most populace cities of the ancient world, and its temple of Artemis was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient World.  Artemis was a fertility goddess of the time.

H – E – A – R – D

See also: Acts 2:38; 5:15; 1 John 4:1-2; Eph. 1:1; Ezekiel 3:17-18; Joel 2:28

Holy Spirit – vs. 1-7 — In Ephesus the Spirit was present, but believers needed to experience the Spirit in their individual lives.  As immersed believers they had the Sprit, and with the apostolic blessing they had the miraculous power of the Sprit.

Evangelism – vs. 8 — Paul remained in Ephesus for the purpose of evangelism.  He wanted to reach the world.  If only the leaders of the church would desire to reach all in their community today, the world would begin to change for Christ.

Asian Province – v. 10 — Paul remained on in the province for more than two years, and with the help of other Christians many more were won to Christ. The text says all heard.  Have all within our community heard the good news?

Remarkable restoration – v. 11-12 — In the Christian community under the leadership of the Apostle Paul individuals were restored to health, sanity, well-being.  Today’s church should be a womb for remarkable restorations.

Demonic Deliverance – v. 13-22 — Demonic powers continued to hold sway over the lives of many.  They feared Paul as an adversary, but the hypocritical were no match for their powers.  Today we must know where we stand if we are to deal with the forces of evil. Only if we prove to be genuine followers of Christ can we withstand the demonic spirits of the world.

Exemplary story:  Pigeon Forge is a popular resort town I have visited. Family and friends relish trips there, since it boasts many souvenir shops.  The town’s economy is driven by its tourist trade. Ephesus was a resort town, and its main attraction was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world,  the temple of Artemis.  Visitors could buy charms and trinkets from the temple that honored the goddess of fertility, Artemis.  When Paul brought the Gospel to Ephesus, the very economy of the town was in jeopardy.  People began to abandon their preoccupation with the worship of a goddess of trinkets for the worship of Jesus, the Son of the living God.

Ephesus Great Theatre

Being Still — An Old Challenge for a New Day — Exodus 14:14

English: Johnson Bible College chapel

English: Johnson Bible College chapel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being Still — An Old Challenge for a New Day – Exodus 14:14

Big.  The little college I attended in Tennessee has grown big.  It is so big that it has become a university with three campuses – one in Tennessee, one in Florida, and one online.

I was recently invited to a regional rally for Johnson University on a Friday night.  Anyone who knows the history of the campus would expect that there would be stories galore at an assembly of the alumni of the school.  This night did not disappoint.

Among the alumni present was one Mary Beth, the daughter of a prominent professor of the school and a class president.  Her class was 1975 or 1976.  I do not recall the precise year, since I was among the  underclassmen.

Mary Beth held forth with a story about prayer.  As class president she was tapped by the administration to spearhead a prayer vigil for the school.  It was not uncommon to have prayer vigils then.  Some were conducted in small groups, and others were round the clock vigils stretching on for several days.  I could recall how we would scramble to get a decent time, but don’t let me get started.

Mary Beth was charged with the responsibility of praying for the debt retirement for two new dormitories during a Fall prayer vigil.  Prayer was the opportunity to step back, be still, and let God do the work of God.  Mary Beth recounted that the answer followed in the early Spring.   The debt was retired, the construction cost of the dorms was paid in full.

The prowess of my memory is a matter of debate.  Some of my female friends may declare I have a short memory, and some students may argue the opposite; but I regress.

This recollection dates from about 1976.  I was seated in the back of Alumni Memorial Chapel listening to Dr. Floyd Clark.  As he led the singing he interjected his challenge, “Stop.  Listen.  Can you hear them? I can hear the angels.  Can you?”  We were then to go on singing one round and another of the chorus he had chosen with the expectation that we would hear angelic voices.

White coral bells upon a slender stalk,

Lilies of the valley deck the garden walk.

Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear them ring.

That will only happen when the angels sing.”

I cannot say that I did hear angels singing other than the angelic voices of the congregation.  In the men’s dorm, Brown Hall, I could not find anyone who heard celestial angels that night.  Nonetheless, the message was important.  There are times when you must be still.  In stillness you let God do the work of God.

I cannot say whether the students of the big university have yet come to understand the lesson.  It was a lesson Moses knew time and again.  Exodus 14:14 says, “the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Studies in Ephesians — 2:11-22

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Studies in Ephesians – Ephesians 2: 11-22

 

B – U – I – L – D

 

See also: Gal. 3:27, 28; I Cor. 3:11; I Peter 2:6; Rms. 12. 1, 2; I Cor. 12:14-15; Is. 28:16; Ps. 118: 22

 

Blood that bonds  – v. 13 – Ever watch an old western?  You might have seen the ceremony of two men becoming blood brothers.  When we were immersed into Christ we became brothers and sisters by a bond of blood.

 

Unity – v. 14, 18 — There is a strength in unity, and there is a unity in the body of Christ.  We are united with Christians across the world, and we are united with Christians through the ages.  The voices of Christian leaders echo over the ages.  They thrill us with their love of God.  They shame us with their absolute devotion.

 

Intertwining – v. 19 – In Christ we are a body knit together.  The aches and pains of one are those of the body.

 

Leadership – v. 20 – The church is built on one cornerstone, Christ.  Its support is the apostles and prophets.  As I rest my hand on the Bible with its New Testament I have the apostles with me.  They are no farther than arm’s reach.  These apostles – Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter, Paul – and these prophets – Luke and the writer of Hebrews – still offer that leadership and order that the church needs.

Dwelling – v. 22 – When Jesus left, he gave a promise that he would send the Comforter.  That Holy Spirit abides in the church, since we are intended to be the dwelling place of God.  When the sick, poor, and lonely turn to the church for refuge, the church must respond in the loving spirit of Christ.

 

Exemplary story:  No doubt you have heard of how Sam pieced together the map of the world.  For her geography lesson one teacher distributed to her pupils copies of a world map from an activity book.  The teacher cut each sheet of paper into a dozen or so pieces.  She asked her class to reassemble the map. The challenge seemed formidable.

Sam completed his puzzle first. The teacher praised for his accomplishment.  Then she asked how he had finished his work so quickly.

He replied, “I just put Jesus together and then the world fell in place.”  Sam saw something the teacher had  overlooked. On the reverse side of the map was a picture of Jesus.