Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Acts 20 Study - Day 7 "Finish the Race and Complete the Task"

Hello Everyone,

Keep praying for the makeover we discussed on day 6.  Watch for to change you from the inside out.  

Let's begin day 7.

"Finish the Race and Complete the Task"


Acts 20:22-24

New International Version (NIV)
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

There is so much to pull out of these three verses.  We will go over a few points but I encourage you to study on your own and meditate on the word.

1.  Paul says that he was compelled by the spirit to go to Jerusalem.  Back in Acts 20:2, 3 and 19, Paul says that he was being plotted against by the Jews and he was trying to avoid them, so you know it had to be the Holy Spirit that was compelling him to go to Jerusalem because he was not going to go.  Let's take a moment to look at Paul's obedience to God. The very place Paul was trying to avoid going to God said go!  Do we obey God when he wants us to do something we have purposely avoided or feared doing?  Paul's obedience when he doesn't know what will happen to him is amazing to me.  For those of us who are planners at heart, we struggle with not being able to know what is to happen next. (We have to rest in Jeremiah 29:11)

2.  Paul then talks about how the Holy Spirit warns him of what is to come.  (Acts 20:23) The Holy Spirit will warn you as well.  How you ask?  All I can say is that He will and you will defiantly know it is Him.  You must stay plugged into God through prayer and fasting to keep the lines of communication open between you and God.

3.  Knowing full well the dangers before him, Paul said his life is worth nothing as long as he, "may finish the race and complete the task..." (Acts 20:24)  WOW!!! Are we that committed to God and the task that He has given us to do? Regardless of the dangers, ridicules and misunderstandings we have a job to do.  The task Paul had, we still have to this very day, we are to "testify of the gospel of God's grace." (Acts 20:24)

If you are not sure of how to describe grace to someone here is an acronym by the late Pastor Adrian Rogers;

G - gifts
R - received
A - at 
C - Christ 
E - expense 

When we testify of God's grace we are testifying of the gifts of redemption, salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We know that all Believers in Jesus Christ have the purpose of sharing the gospel of God's grace.  Also each one of us has an individual task that God created us for.  Ask God to reveal yours to you.    

Look for opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with someone each day. Let them know that if they repent of their sins God will forgive them.  Then they confess that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead. Then they can ask Jesus to come into their hearts to be their Lord and Savior and they will be saved.  Hallelujah!

Dear God our Father, thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ.  Thank You for sending Him to save us through His death, burial and resurrection.  God help us to live for You and witness to others about Your grace.  Help us to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. God, help us to "finish the race and complete the task." (Acts 20:24) In Jesus' Name.  Amen. Thank You God. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Acts 20 Study - Day Six "How Are You Living"

Happy Day After Christmas Everyone!

It is time for day six of our Acts 20 Study!


Acts 20:17-21
New International Version (NIV)
17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.


In this passage of scripture we see that Paul sends for the elders of the church in Ephesus. Paul said, "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you..." (Acts 20:18)  Paul talks about how he served the Lord with great humility and tears even when he was being severely tested by the Jews who were plotting against him.  He also talks about how he did not hesitate to preach anything that would be helpful to them.  Paul declared to everyone that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

Let's breakdown this observation so we can get more out of it.

1.  Paul mentions that everyone knows how he lived. How are you living?  I once heard this said, I just can't remember who said it, "Who you are at home is who you really are." WOW!  Are you living one way at home and another way in public?  Are you messy at home and neat in public?  Are you mean at home and kind in public?  If you are living one way at home and another way in public, ask God to help you to be a person of good character and to posses the fruit of the spirit wherever you are. (Galatians 5:22)  Ask Him to create in you a clean heart and to renew in you a right spirit (Psalm 51:10) in order for you to live right whether in private or in public.

2.  Paul served the Lord with great humility and tears even while he was being tested and plotted against.  Like Paul we have to continue to serve the Lord even with tears in our eyes, when our faith is being tested and when people try to set traps for us. (Notice I said try.  That's all they can do is try because no weapon formed against you shall prosper. (Isaiah 54:17)  

3.  Paul said that he did not hesitate to preach anything that would be helpful to them. When you have something helpful (not gossip) to share with someone please don't keep that to yourself.  Share the information.  If the person receives the information, praise God.  If the person does not receive the information shake the dust off your feet, meaning let it go, you did what you could.  

4.  Paul declared to everyone that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.  We have to do the same thing.  We must declare that people repent of their sins and proclaim faith in Jesus Christ. This is the Great Commission.  We are commissioned to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. 

Okay I know this is a lot to apply but the application starts out very simply. We are going to get an extreme makeover.  Yes A Makeover!!! We are going to pray to God our Father asking Him for one.

Dear God our Father.  We thank you for all that you are teaching from your Holy Word. We thank you for bringing to our attention all of the areas were we need to be made over.  Father, make us over from the inside out. Help us to possess the fruit of the Spirit at home and in public.  Help us to serve you faithfully regardless of our circumstances and what others try to do to us.  Help us to not hesitate to share helpful information.  Help us to obey the Great Commission, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.  All this we pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013



Hello and Merry Christmas Everyone,

The Acts 20 Study is on hold until December 26th.  

There is no better time to accept Jesus Christ as your LORD and Savior then today.  Just pray this prayer.
Dear God, I am a sinner.  I please forgive me of all my sins.  Lord, Jesus please come into my heart and save me.  Jesus I believe you are the Son of God.  I believe that God raised you from the dead and that You are alive and in Heaven.  Thank you Jesus for saving me.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen

If you just prayed that prayer your name is now written in the Book of Life in Heaven.  Stay close to God through prayer, reading the Bible and joining a Bible believing church.  

Merry Christmas Everyone!  Happy Birthday Jesus!

Love you so much,

Friday, December 20, 2013

Acts 20 Study - Day Five "Travel Arrangements"

Hello Readers,

Did you think about people in your life that you need to run to and put your arms around?  I hope you did.

It's Time For Day Five!


Acts 20:13-16

New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders

13 We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.


Paul had made travel arrangements to be in Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost. However on his way he would have to stop in 5 different cities and skip over Ephesus all together in order to make it to his final destination in time for Pentecost.  We all make plans but only God knows how they will be achieved.

Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."  

What plans do you have in mind?  What goals do you already have for the new year?  We all have goals that we desire to achieve and we may even have the entire journey mapped out, but God has the ultimate say so about the steps that we take.  That is why we have to remember Proverbs 16:3, "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans."  You make the plans, commit (give) them to God (allowing His will to have control) and He will establish it (make it happen).  Do you get that? 

 When we give our plans over to God's will, He can then give us our will!!!

The ONLY way for your plans to come true is to give them away to God. You can't hold onto them!  God needs to know that you put Him first before ALL of the things you have planned.  In Jeremiah 29:11, God tells us that He knows the plans for our lives but many people forget to read the next couple of verse where God says,"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me... You will seek Me..." Jeremiah 29:12,13  In order to know God's plans for us we have to call upon God, pray to God and seek God.  Then we will know the plans He has for us and then we will be astoundingly surprised by how He includes our plan in His plan.  He created you so the things that you want are spiritually rooted in what He created you for. WOW!!!


Are you ready to apply what was just observed?  This is the application process that I would like to suggest to you:
1.  Write down your plans.  Be detailed and use only positive words.
2.  Pray to God and tell Him that you are giving over all of those plans to Him for His will to be done. 
3.  Seek God for Him to direct you each day.
4.  Write down what God shows you about His plan for your life and compare it to your plans that you gave to Him.
5.  Then give God crazy praise because of how He merged His plan for you with your plan.



Dear God our Father, thank you for giving us thoughts and ideas about our futures.  Thank you for giving us the privilege to give them over to You.  Help us not to be afraid to let Your will be done in our lives.  Help us to yield to Your will and way. Guide us everyday and help us to stay on the right path.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Acts 20 Study - Day Four "He's Alive!"

Hello Readers,

Now that we have gotten the sleep out of our eyes, let's get started on day four of this study!


Acts 20:10-12

New International Version (NIV)
10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

The young man Eutychus had died falling out of a window. (Acts 20 study day 3)  Paul, the one Eutychus fell asleep listening to, went down to the young man's body threw himself on the young man, put his arms around him and Paul said, "He's alive".

Who are you running to and putting your arms around?  Are you bringing people back to life?  

Sometimes the very people you are trying to encourage pay you little or no attention. They fall asleep while you are speaking to them but those very people may end up needing you to help them and bring them back to life when they fall on hard times.  Don't be angry with them and ignore their need.  Run to them, put your arms around them, show them loving kindness and you will bring them back to life. 

Think about the people you come in contact with, family members, friends, co-workers, bosses, church member etc. Who is really going through something right now and could us your arms around them?   How do you bring someone back to life?  First by praying for them.  Jesus Christ intercedes for us by praying to God for us daily.  Hallelujah!  We should follow that example and pray for people daily. 

Secondly, we need to share God's word with them.  You may have a Bible verse that you run to when you are down and need an encouraging word, share it with that person.  It may bless them.  

Lastly, be there for them.  You can send them a daily encouraging text or tweet when you can't see them face to face.  Be consistent in showing them that you care.  One word of caution.  Don't make their problem your problem.  Yes, we weep with those who weep however we cannot become infected with their issue because you will end up hindering them instead of helping them.

Dear God our Father,  thank you for giving us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Thank you Jesus for daily praying for us.  Help us to be wise in how we help those who are going through hard times.  For those who don't know you Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, touch their hearts and give them a mind to want to be saved.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Acts 20 Study - Day Three "Don't Fall Asleep"

Hello Everyone,

I pray the last two days of this Bible study have been a blessing to you and eye opening.

Let's get started on day three!


Acts 20:7-9

New International Version (NIV)

Eutychus Raised From the Dead at Troas

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.


Paul was visiting in Troas and he knew that he would only be there for a short time so he kept on talking because there was a lot that needed to be shared with the people.  You know what that is like.  A preacher keeps preaching and all you can think of is when will he finish so you can go eat and take a nap. Well, Eutychus was tried of listening to Paul.  It was late at night and the conversation was of no interest to him.  Get this, the Word of God was being spoken to them, the promises of God were being proclaimed and the gospel of Jesus Christ was being shared.  However all of that which Paul may have been sharing with them was not exciting enough to keep Eutychus awake.  The word of God was being spoken but Eutychus slept through it and fell to his death.

How often do we fall asleep when God is trying to get a word to us.  Not just naturally asleep but spiritually asleep.  God is speaking to us through His word, pastors, and teachers who share an encouraging word with us. The "sleep" is not taking the word into our hearts so it can change us, correct us and help us grow.  If we are not growing then we will sleep and fall to our spiritual death like Eutychus.  Sometimes we "sleep" because the word being spoken to us is not what we want to hear.  It might be a word of discipline when we want to be told great things.

Almost 8 years ago I ended a relationship with a handsome, a smooth talker and that's all he was!  I did not want to hear that he was not the one, so I slept and wasted 7 years of life instead of listening to the word that was being told to me.  I had to fall and hit my head to finally wake up. Thank God for His mercy.

We cannot afford to sleep when God speaks.


Set a time to go to God in prayer and to read His word in order to hear from Him.  Listen to God speak regardless of how long it may take to get the full message.  Stay alert and take in the word that God has for you.  It will help you to grow and become that person God created you to be.


Dear God our Father,  thank you for speaking to us.  Thank you for the Bible that we can read, your spoken word in print.  Father, forgive us for sleeping through the word, sleeping through our prayer time and sleeping when you are calling us to do great things for the Kingdom of Heaven.  Help us to absorb your word like a sponge and stay alert.  In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Study of Acts 20 - Day Two "How Many People Are Traveling With You?"

Hello Everyone,

Hope each of you let your light shine today.  Let's dive into the study!

Acts 20 Study - Day two "Who Are You Traveling With?"


Acts 20:4-6

New International Version (NIV)
He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. But we sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

At this particular time Paul had seven companions traveling with him.  The question, how many people are traveling with you, came to my mind after counting the number of men who accompanied Paul.  In order for these men to have been selected by Paul to travel with him and help him on the mission field, they needed to have unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, be trustworthy, and fully committed to the Great Commission.

In a discussion I had with a dear sister I mentioned that you can't take a big group of people with you up the mountain.  Since Paul would travel some places by boat, let's imagine that EVERY person you know, literally, traveled with you on a cruise ship.  How chaotic would that trip be?  Not everyone would have the same goal as you do.  Some will want to go site seeing.  Some will only want to eat at the 24 hour buffets and sleep all day.  Some will want to do some of everything. The purpose for the trip, a great vacation, would be lost in the confusion and disagreements.

Instead of a cruise ship, think about your life as a believer in Jesus Christ and the plan God has for your life. You cannot take everyone with you.  Yes you love them, pray for them and help them but only a select number can travel with you on your life journey.  Those special people need to be like those traveling with Paul. They need to have unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, be trustworthy, and fully committed to the Great Commission.  That group of people will make up your inner circle.

Side Note: For you single Christians, the person you decide to marry needs to be a person who could be in that inner circle.  If they want to sit on the sidelines and not go on this journey with you, you need to pray for them and move on.  You don't want that weight on your shoulders for the rest of your life.

Dear God our Father,  thank you for all you have done for us.  Thank you for making our travel plans, for Jesus being our travel guide and the Holy Ghost your constant companion when others come and go.  Help us to choose the right people to travel with on this Christian journey.  Help us to also do right by them.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Monday, December 16, 2013

Acts 20 Study - Day One "Encouragement"

Hello Shining Lights,

This is day one of our Acts 20 Study.  Let's get started!


Acts 20:1-3

New International Version (NIV)

Through Macedonia and Greece

20 When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, where he stayed three months. Because some Jews had plotted against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia.
The keyword for this section of verses is ENCOURAGE!!! Paul encouraged the disciples before leaving them for his journey.  Then as he traveled through the area he spoke, "many words of encouragement to the people".  Who are we encouraging?  Paul was planning a trip but still took time to encourage the disciples.  He was travelling on his way to Greece but did not let the opportunity to encourage many people pass him by.  Then he stayed in Greece for three months and I believe that he was encouraging people even then.  One name for Paul should be "The Encourager"! 
Encourage means to give courage, hope and confidence.  You may be going through a very ruff valley in this life journey but that should not stop you from speaking a life giving word to those around you and also to yourself. (That will have to be a separate lesson.) Ask God to give you what to say and how to say it so that the word you give to someone is a life giving and inspiring word.  I cannot tell you how many times I retype or adjust an encouraging text message or tweet to make sure the word sent out is a life giving word and from the LORD. 
Please understand that your encouraging word does not have to be super deep.  Here are some examples of encouraging things to say:
1.  God Love's You!
2.  I Love You!
3.  God is with you.
4.  I am with you.
5.  You were mastered by the Master.
6.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
7.  God doesn't make junk so you must be a treasure. (Love that one!)
What is so wonderful about speaking a word of encouragement is that when you do, you hear yourself saying it and thus you encourage yourself and the other person at the same time!!!!! Do you get that?  You absolutely cannot encourage someone without encouraging yourself.  As the words come out of your mouth, they are heard by your ears and the other persons ears.  WOW!!!!!!!  Thank God for revealing that.  HALLELUJAH!!!!  (Yes, I like exclamation points.)
Dear God our Father,  thank you for your holy and encouraging word.  Father help us to be an encouragement to everyone around us.  Give us wisdom in what we say.  Help us to choose the right life giving words to give each other courage, hope and confidence.  In Jesus' Name. Amen!
Let Your Light Shine!
P.S. God loves you and I love you too!

Acts 20 Study - Ten Day Study

Hello Readers,

I pray that each one of you is well.  Well physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally and financially.  Hallelujah and Amen!

On December 8th, my pastor, Dr. Lee Ward, preached a great message and asked the members to read Acts chapter 20 on our own.  So on Wednesday of that week it was on my heart to share with you what I have been learning from this eye opening chapter in Acts.  Over the next 10 days we will walk through Acts 20.  As we go through this passage of scripture feel free to share what you are learning and your comments. 

The S.O.A.P. Bible study method is the format that I am using.  It stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.  This is a great study format that you may want to incorporate in your personal Bible study or scripture reading.

Are you ready to embark on the study of Acts 20?  If so let's GO!!!!!

Light you light shine!