Love Mercy


We are called to not only be merciful, but to love mercy (Micah 6:8). To love it! When you love something you sacrifice for it, you protect it, and you put it before yourself.

Mercy (not getting what you deserve) is like that for a Christian and here’s why: God has shown us such immense mercy (hesed), the obvious response is to show mercy to others (Matt. 18:33).

Jesus and merciful are synonymous. Christian and merciful should be likewise.

Mercy, although not easy, is a requirement. The LORD expects it of His children.

Are we showing it?

The Potter & The Clay


God sent Jeremiah on a field trip to a potter’s studio where he saw an artist forming & fashioning clay as he saw fit. The end result was a beautiful, useful pot.

This simple, but powerful analogy illustrates how God shapes the lives of nations & individuals.

With total authority, God patiently & purposefully uses circumstances & people to mold us into what He desires.

He forms us into His image, we do not form Him into ours!

To be in God’s will is to be on His wheel.

When we face difficulties, often we ask, “God, why is this happening?” But we must remember to trust the hands of the Potter. His way is best, even when we can’t understand it. He knows how hot to make the kiln and how long to keep us in there. Without faith, it is impossible to please God! (Heb. 11:6)

Jeremiah 18 is a wonderful reminder that God loves to remake marred vessels. He continually sanctifies us. Without the Potter, the clay can do absolutely nothing! Yield & submit to the Potter; His ways are best.

He is in the people-molding business. God looks at that marred lump of clay and sees the potential pot yet to be formed in the future.God can use whatever He wants in order to turn you into an honorable vessel for His service; pain, relationships, promotions, & demotions.

This may seem depressing – but when you really think about it, it’s VERY HOPEFUL!

  • God doesn’t give up on you.
  • He knows what He is doing,.
  • He will create the best version of you that you will allow Him to create!
  • That is a powerful message!

It’s really a story about the Potter’s Grace!

When you see a wonderful & beautiful vase, you don’t think that the vase made itself: you marvel at the Maker!

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Lies from the enemy


The enemy is very good at making you think his thoughts, then making you think you thought them, and then accusing you for thinking them. 

The Holy Spirit teaches us by bringing to remembrance God’s Word to swat his lies away (John 14:26). This is the only real defense we have against the devil’s attacks:

  • I’m not forgiven.
  • I’m all alone.
  • I’m so afraid.
  • I’m worthless.
  • God is disappointed in me.
  • God is upset with me.

Do you know the Scripture to use against these lies? Do you know which sword to wield? (Eph. 6:17)

Tomorrow we will look at these fiery darts and how the Holy Spirit can help you extinguish them.

If you suffer from these sort of attacks, but you can’t make it and you would like my notes, IM me; I would be happy to send them to you.

Spiritual Gifts; Let Us Use Them!

Parents love to give their kids gifts, don’t we? We also love it when they actually use them!

We are all given spiritual gifts from our Heavenly Father. We will all stand in judgement to give account of how we used our gifts at the “bema” judgement seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10)

HOW ARE YOU USING YOURS?

The person to whom much is given, much is expected, & much will be rewarded (Luke 12:48). The person who is not using their gifts for Christ  everything will be taken from him (Matt. 25:14-30).

We all have gifts from the Holy Spirit, let us use them! (Rom. 12:6)

I want to here Him say: Well done, good & faithful servant! (Matt. 25:21)

Don’t you?

Are There Still Miracles Today?

Are there still miracles today?

Only every time a person is born again.

Only every time a person repents of their sins.

Only every time a person decides to choose life.

Only every time Jesus heals our pain.

Billy Graham said it best: “A transformed life is the greatest miracle of all.”

I don’t know, you tell me: Are there still miracles today?

Fruit Inspectors

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control. (Gal. 5:22)

All of these characteristics can be in your garden if you let God grow them.

In contrast to this fruit are the works of the flesh. They can equally be in your garden… if you water and feed them.

In Matt. 7:15-20, Jesus says you know a tree by its fruit. Even a child can grasp that concept.

Fruit presupposes life, growth, and cultivation.

How’s your fruit? X-Ray your heart. Inspecting the fruit in your life is a healthy (although painful!) habit to practice. In a sense we are all fruit inspectors.

Does your fruit pass inspection, or fail it?

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What Comes Out When You Get Tripped Up? Fruit or Works (Gal 5:16-26)

Ever been seated at a restaurant and a waiter goes by with a tray full of bowls? You can’t see what’s in those bowls but everything is nice & neat. Everything is in order… until they get tripped up. Then what’s inside comes tumbling out!

What comes out when you get tripped up?

What’s inside your bowls: the fruit of the Spirit or the works of the flesh? (Gal. 5:16-26)

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Who wrote Acts?

Who wrote Acts?

A Defense for Lukan Authorship of Acts

Who wrote Acts? Did you ever wonder? Because it doesn’t say. What’s the difference—Does it even matter? Well, yeah – I’d say it kind of matters. So, here’s a 1,950 year old spoiler alert: Luke most likely wrote Acts. Not only that, but he wrote Acts as a follow-up to the longest of the canonical Gospels; The Gospel of Luke. But, how did scholars arrive at this conclusion? How do we know? Here are some factors that we can use to determine the authorship of Acts. Will the real author please stand up?

Evidence to support Lukan authorship comes in two forms, external evidence and internal evidence.[1] The external evidence is what scholars have said about the document’s author and the internal evidence are what clues we can get from the document itself.

As far as the external evidence goes, at the top of the list is the testimony of the early Church Fathers. They fully supported Lukan authorship. This testimony is both early and unchallenged. Moving on, The Muratorian Canon (AD 180) affirms Lukan authorship, as does Irenaeus in his work, “Against Heresies” (ca. AD 180). Also the Anti-Marcionite Prologues, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian in “Against Marcion” all in the late 2nd Century unanimously support Lukan authorship.

When we come to the internal evidence the case is a little harder to establish, but still pretty clear. First of all, if you look at the formal literary introduction of the prologues of Luke and Acts, both mention that the recipient as “Theophilus” (which means, “Friend of God” [whether this was an actual person or a generic term for any Christian reader is debatable]). The author also mentions his “first book” in Acts, which would indicate that Acts was a second book (or what we might call today, a sequel). The sophisticated writing styles of Luke and Acts are extraordinarily similar: Hellenistic Greek used, vocabulary, common themes, and literary devices (such as the travel narrative). Both authors have knowledge of Roman law, nautical terms, and Greek society… which points to Luke.

 The “We” Passages of Acts

If Luke wasn’t there then how did he write about it? Here is where it gets interesting. First and foremost let’s not belittle the Holy Spirit’s work in all of this. “All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16).” However that process looks, the Holy Spirit was absolutely vital to the writing of Acts. Amen! Secondly, this privileged information that Luke mentions in Acts can be explained by the “We” Passages.

In Acts 23:25-30, 25:14-22, and 26:30-32, the author switches from the regular third person narrative (he, she, they) to a first person plural (we). This denotes someone who was actually there as an eyewitness. Some believe this portion to be copied from “an itinerary or diary that he himself wrote.”[2] This is intriguing for several reasons. The author obviously recognizes himself as a traveling “companion of Paul.”[3] We learn in Col 4:14 that Luke was one such traveling companion. Secondly, since the author uses “we,” he would not use his name in these instances and anyone mentioned in these passages cannot be the author. Thirdly, since this person is mentioned with Paul in chapter 27-28 as going with Paul to Rome, it is reasonable to assume that the author was with Paul as he was imprisoned.[4] While Paul was in prison he wrote many letters and mentions people by name that were there too. Luke is on that list. So if we take the names of the people mentioned in the “we” passages and subtract them from the people listed in the prison epistles, the only person is—Luke.


[1] Robert Wayne Stacy, TheDocinabox, “Lukan Authorship of Acts,” accessed January 14, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35FfvIyIZcw.

[2] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 292.

[3] Ibid., 296.

[4] Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2003), 283.


Bibliography

Carson, D A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005.

Lea, Thomas D., and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and             Message, 2nd ed. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2003.

Stacy, Robert Wayne. 2012. “Lukan Authorship of Acts,” TheDocinabox, January 3, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35FfvIyIZcw.


Submitted to Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the course NBST 520 New Testament Orientation II

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