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This Mornings Meditation

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1default This Mornings Meditation on Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:18 pm

Pamela

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Today's Bible Story
Thursday, March 6, 2008
A Puzzling Question, and How it was Answered
Acts 15:1-34



AFTER PAUL AND Barnabas had returned from their missionary trip, some visitors came to the church at Antioch from Jerusalem. These men were Jews, and they had never yet understood how Gentiles can be saved the same as Jews, without obeying the commands that Moses had given to the Israelites.
We remember that the law which God gave Moses to write in a book was intended for the Israelites, or Jews, only. The Gentiles had never kept the law, and many of them knew nothing about its teachings. This law had no power to save the people who obeyed it; the purpose of it was to separate people who worshiped God from those who worshiped idols. Without the law the Jews would have been as ignorant of the true God as were the Gentiles, while with it they could prepare themselves to receive the Messiah, whom God had promised to send into the world, for many passages in it spoke of him.

These visitors from Jerusalem looked unkindly upon the Gentile believers and said, Except you keep the law of Moses just as we do you can not be saved."

Paul and Barnabas had been among many Gentile Christians, and they had seen how these people received the Holy Spirit the same as did the Jews though they knew little of nothing about Moses' law. So these missionaries told the men from Jerusalem that they were mistaken, for Gentiles could be saved without keeping the law.

This question was a serious one with every person who had been a strict Jew. A vision on the housetop was necessary in order to show Peter that Gentiles might be saved as well as Jews. And there were many other strict Jews who had seen no housetop visions. These were the Jews who troubled the Gentile believers.

Finally it was decided by the church in Antioch that Paul and Barnabas should go, with certain other teachers, to visit the apostles in Jerusalem and talk with them about this matter. So the company started out, and as they went they visited other churches along the way and told about the success of the first missionary journey in far-off lands. And everywhere the disciples rejoiced to hear how God had blessed the Gentiles who believed in him.

In Jerusalem the brethren from Antioch were received kindly by the apostles and the other teachers in the church. And soon they told why they had come.

When their errand was made known, some of the teachers who, like Paul, had been strict Pharisees before they believed in Jesus, rose to talk. These men had not, like Paul, seen that believers in the true God and in his Son, Jesus, no longer needed to keep the law of Moses. They did not understand Jesus' teaching, that true religion shows itself in a pure life, and that people who know nothing about Moses' law can live pure and holy without keeping that law as did the Jews.

Peter listened with the other apostles and with the visitors from Antioch to the speech of these Pharisees who believed in Jesus. When they had finished, others talked, and finally Peter told about his experience at Cornelius' home, in Caesarea, where many Gentiles received the gospel and were baptized. Then Barnabas and Paul told of their long journey in Gentile countries, where many turned from idol-worship to believe in the true God and in his Son, Jesus.

James, the brother of Jesus, stood up as the last speaker, and every one listened quietly for they knew he had received wisdom from God to speak to them. He urged them to cease troubling the Gentile Christians about the keeping of Moses' law. He said, however, that they might write a letter to the Gentile believers, telling them to be careful not to do certain things which they had always done while they were worshiping idols.

James's advice pleased all the assembly, and the apostles and teachers in the church at Jerusalem decided to write such a letter and send it by Paul and Barnabas to the Gentile Christians in Antioch. This they did, and they also sent two of their own preachers, men named Judas and Silas, with the missionaries.

A large audience of eager-faced people greeted the company when it arrived from Jerusalem. And they listened carefully to the reading of the letter that the apostles had written and sent by these men. When they heard that they would not be demanded to live like the Jews in order to please God, they rejoiced greatly. And they continued to worship God with pure hearts, obeying the teachings of the gospel.

Judas and Silas, the men who came with Barnabas and Paul, spoke encouraging words to the believers, and urged them to cling to their faith in Jesus. Then, after certain days, Judas bade them good-by and returned again to Jerusalem. But Silas chose to remain with the church in Antioch.

http://www.spurgeon.org/morn_eve/this_morning.cgi



Last edited by Pamela on Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:40 am; edited 5 times in total


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

2default The Second Missionary Journey on Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:38 am

Pamela

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The Second Missionary Journey
Acts 15:36 to Acts 16:15

ONE DAY PAUL said to Barnabas, "Let us go again to visit the brethren in the Gentile countries." Barnabas was willing, so they arranged to start at once.
Now, John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas, had come to Antioch again and wished to go with them on their second journey. He had started with them on their first journey but had turned back; so Paul did not care to take him this time. Barnabas, however, thought it would be well to take the young man, even though he had turned back the first time. So he took Mark for his companion and Paul chose Silas, the preacher from Jerusalem, to go with him.

Barnabas and Mark went to the Island of Cyprus, while Paul and Silas went farther on, to the churches in Asia Minor. When they came to Lystra, the town where Paul had been stoned, they found a young man named Timothy whose father was a Gentile, though his mother was a Jew. This young man was an earnest believer in Jesus, and Paul was pleased with him.

Timothy joined Paul and Silas, going from Lystra to other cities where the gospel had been preached. And he continued with Paul for a long time, loving him as a father. Years afterwards, when Paul was shut up in prison he wrote beautiful letters to Timothy, showing how great was his love for this faithful young man.

The missionaries did not stop at every place to preach, because the time had not yet come when the people were ready to receive the gospel. The Holy Spirit caused the missionaries to understand this, and they passed on to other places.

Finally they came to Troas, a city that was built on the seacoast where ships came from countries even farther away from Jerusalem. Those countries had never been visited by one who knew the gospel. One night while the missionaries were in Troas, Paul had a vision. He saw in his dream a man standing on the shore of the country across the water from Troas and calling. He was looking earnestly at Paul, and crying, "Come over to my country, and help us!"

Paul knew from the appearance of this man that he belonged to the country of Macedonia. When he awoke from his dream he told his companions about the vision, and they believed, as he did, that God wanted them to cross over to Macedonia and preach the gospel there. So they bought passage on the first ship that sailed from Troas to Macedonia, intending to preach the gospel to the heathen people who lived there.

Now another disciple, a doctor named Luke, joined Paul's company, and sailed with him to Macedonia. This Luke afterwards wrote the "Gospel According to Luke," and also the "Acts of the Apostles," both of which are found in the New Testament.

The first city of Macedonia which they visited was Philippi. Here they did not try to find the man whom Paul saw in his dream, calling for help. They knew the vision was meant to teach that many people were needing to know about Jesus, and they believed God had sent them to preach to all who would listen.

In this city there were only a few Jews. They had no synagog, but the missionaries found a place outside the city where people met together by the riverside on Sabbath-days to pray. So on the first Sabbath they went down to the riverside.

Only a few people were there and they were women. But Paul and his companions sat down and taught them more about the true God. Paul told them about the great gift that God had sent to men in his Son, Jesus. And while he talked, one woman, named Lydia, believed his words about Jesus and knew that her sins were forgiven. Then she was baptized in the name of Jesus. Her household also listened to the gospel and received it gladly.

Lydia, the first Christian convert in the far country, now invited Paul and his companions to lodge in her house. She was a rich woman and she showed her gratitude to the missionaries by caring for them while they stayed in her home city.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

3default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:07 am

Pamela

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Paul and Silas are Arrested and Meet The Philippian Jailor
Acts 16:16-40
ONE DAY A mob of angry people led two men down the streets of Philippi to the city prison. These men were wounded and bleeding from the severe beating they had just received in the public square. As they were being half dragged along by the leaders of the mob, every step caused them greater suffering. Finally they reached the prison, and the jailer, seeing the crowd, quickly unlocked the door and thrust the two wounded men inside.


These two men were Paul and Silas, the Christian missionaries to Philippi. They had done nothing wrong, but because they had done right they were being punished by the heathen people. And this is how it happened:

As Paul and Silas and their other companions walked through the streets on their way to the riverside to pray, a slave girl followed them one day, calling to every passer-by, "These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to show us the way of salvation!" And every day after that time she watched for the missionaries to pass that she might follow behind and cry out to others in this manner.

This slave-girl had an evil spirit dwelling in her, which caused her to know that the missionaries were true men of God. Satan and all his evil spirits know every one who loves and worships God. They know the power of God is greater than theirs, but they try to bring trouble upon the people who served God. This slave-girl was controlled by the evil spirit, which caused her to tell people what would happen in the future. Many believed in her, and because of this they would often come to ask her questions. And always her masters would demand them to give money before she answered their questions. In this way the men who owned her for a slave became very rich.
Paul felt sorry for this poor slave-girl. One day while she was following him and his companions he turned about and said to the evil spirit that was in her, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of this girl." Immediately the evil spirit obeyed, and the girl was set free from his awful power. But no longer could she tell about future happenings; for without the evil spirit she could not do this.

The masters of the slave-girl were angered when they found out that their hopes for further gain from her fortune-telling were gone. They asked what had taken place, and when they heard what Paul had done they seized him and Silas and dragged them before the rulers of the city, saying, "These men, being Jews, are causing great trouble in our city by teaching strange customs which we Romans can not receive."


The people of Philippi objected to the teaching of such new religions in their city. When they heard the complaints made against Paul and Silas the rulers at once commanded that these trouble-makers should be cruelly beaten and imprisoned. And so it was that the missionaries were beaten until the blood flowed freely down their wounded bodies, and in this condition they were dragged off to prison.

Before the mob departed the leaders commanded the jailer to keep the prisoners safely, and he, supposing Paul and Silas must be dangerous men, cast them into an inner room and fastened them securely by putting their feet in stocks. Here he left them alone in the dark, ill-smelling room, to suffer from their wounds.

But Paul and Silas were not like other prisoners. They did not complain because they were treated so cruelly. They did not murmur because they had been wrongfully punished. As the hours passed by they talked to each other about God, and about his great love. Finally they began to pray, and far into the night their voices could be heard in the outer prison, singing songs of praise to the great God who loved them so much.

The other prisoners could not sleep. They had seen these two men dragged into their prison that day. They had seen their bleeding backs and suffering faces. Now they could not understand why these prisoners would be so happy, and they listened to the songs of praise and to the prayers of Paul and Silas.

At midnight suddenly the foundations of the prison began to shake in a great earthquake, and all the tightly locked doors of the prison swung open. Even the stocks which held the feet of Paul and Silas were unfastened. The jailer heard the great noise when the earthquake shook the prison, and he sprang out of bed. Seeing the doors flung open, he supposed the prisoners had all escaped. He knew the rulers would kill him if he allowed one man to escape from the prison.

But Paul and Silas saw that the jailer was about to do, and Paul cried out through the darkness, "Do not harm yourself! We are all here!" Then the jailer called for a candle and rushed into the prison. There he saw all the prisoners, with Paul and Silas among them.

Now the jailer was sure these men were not dangerous. He believed they were good men, who really taught the way of the true God, just as the slave-girl had cried. So he ran to them, tremblingly, and fell down at their feet crying, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

And there in the prison Paul talked to the jailer and the others who stood by, telling them about Jesus Christ, the Savior of all men. And he said, "If you will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall be saved."

This glad news brought joy to the jailer's heart, and he believed the message of salvation. That very night he was saved, and all the others in his household also turned to God. Now they took Paul and Silas into the house and washed their wounds, and bound them with clean cloths. Then they gave these two prisoners food, and entertained them as guests instead of fearing them as dangerous men. And before it was day the jailer and his household were baptized in the name of Jesus by these Christian missionaries.

When the rulers heard what had happened at the prison that night they sent word for Paul and Silas to be set free. But Paul answered, "The rulers beat us publicly, although we were Romans and had not been condemned by the law; now they must come themselves to tell us that we may go free." These words frightened the rulers. They did not know that Paul and Silas were Romans, and the law forbade any ruler to punish a Roman in this manner. They came quickly to the jailer's house and begged Paul and Silas to leave the city.
Before going away from Philippi, the missionaries returned to Lydia's house, to speak words of comfort to the other Christians; then they bade them good-by and went to another place. Years afterward Paul wrote a letter to the church in Philippi, and that letter we have in our Bible today, called the "Epistle of Paul to the Philippians."


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

4default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:01 am

Pamela

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Paul Tells the Wise Men of Greece about the Unknown God
Acts 17:16 to Acts 18:23

WHILE PAUL WAITED in Athens for his companions, Silas and Timothy, he walked about the streets and saw many idols standing here and there. He saw that the people of this city worshiped many different gods. They had even built an altar to the Unknown God.


There were Jews in this city also, and Paul visited their synagog to speak to them about Christ. In the crowded streets he met some thoughtful, earnest men to whom he spoke daily about the gospel. Others gathered round, curious to hear the conversation. When they heard Paul speaking about Jesus and about the resurrection from the dead they believed he was bringing tidings to their city of a strange god from some other land.

In this city was a place called Mars Hills. Here important matters were discussed, and the wisest men of Greece met on this hill. They brought Paul here and asked him to tell about this new doctrine of which he spoke so earnestly on the streets.

Then Paul rose up before all the wise men and said: "I saw an altar which you have built to the Unknown God. Of this God I wish to tell you now, for it is he who has made the world and all things in it. He is Lord of heaven and earth, and does not dwell in temples that are made by men. He gives life and breath to all creatures, and has made the people of every nation. This God whom I declare to you is not far from every one of us, and he desires that people of every nation should seek to know him. They should not try to make images to represent him, for he is not like gold, or silver, or stone, fashioned as the idols your own hands have made. The time was when you did not know about this God; but now he commands you to repent of your sins, for the day will come when he will call all men into judgment."
Paul then spoke to them about Jesus, whom God had raised from the dead to be the Savior. But when the wise men of Athens heard these words some laughed in scorn, while others shook their heads in doubt, saying, "Come again some other day to tell us more about this strange thing." They did not believe that the dead shall rise again. So Paul left mars Hill and went into the city.
Some who had listened to his sermon followed him and asked to know more about Christ. One of them who followed was a chief man of the city. He afterwards believed and was saved. A few others also turned from their idols and believed in the true God and in his Son, Jesus Christ.


From Athens, Paul went to another city of Greece, called Corinth. Here he found a man and his wife who were Jews, and who, too, were stranger in the city. Because they were tent-makers by occupation, and Paul also knew how to make tents, he worked with them to earn his living, and on the Sabbath-days he preached in the synagog of the city. Among the Jews who believed his preaching were this man and his wife, Aquila and Priscilla.

Finally Silas and Timothy came from Philippi to Corinth, and Paul rejoiced to see them once more. From that time he began to speak more boldly concerning Christ, and many of the Jews opposed him. Then he left them, and turned to preach to the Gentiles.

The chief ruler of the synagog and his household believed the teachings of Paul, and many others, too, received his words with gladness. These believers were baptized in the name of Jesus. Because the Jews who worshiped in the synagog would not receive the gospel, these believers worshiped in a house near by which belonged to a believer named Justus.

One night while Paul was in Corinth, the Lord spoke to him in a dream, saying, "Do not be afraid, but speak boldly for I am with you and no man shall hurt you here. I have many people in this city who will believe on me when they hear your words."

After this vision Paul stayed in Corinth a long time, faithfully preaching the gospel to all who would listen. And many believers were added to the church in this city.

When Paul had been there many months, some wicked Jews who hated the believers planned to make trouble for them. They caught Paul and took him before the ruler of the city, accusing him of wrong-doing. But the ruler paid no heed to their words, and Paul was set at liberty. After this the Greeks caught one of the Jews, a ruler of a synagog, and beat him cruelly; but the Greek ruler did not help the Jew.
Paul decided to return again to Jerusalem. Taking with him Aquila and Priscilla, he sailed from Greece to Asia Minor. Here he left his friends in the city of Ephesus and continued his journey to Jerusalem, to attend the Feast of the Passover. And from Jerusalem he went once more to visit the saints in Antioch.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

5default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:07 am

Pamela

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How Ephesus Received the Gospel
Acts 18:24 to Acts 19:20

EPHESUS WAS A large city in Asia Minor, not far from the sea. In this city were many people who worshiped an idol, or goddess, called Diana. A great temple had been built in this city for the worship of this goddess, and many heathen people in other parts of the world had sent money to help build it. When the temple was finished it was called one of the seven wonders of the world, because of its rare beauty.

Not every one who lived in Ephesus worshiped the goddess Diana. Some Jews lived there, and they had built a synagog. Here they met on Sabbath-days to study the Old Testament scriptures.
One day a man came to Ephesus from Alexandria, a city of Egypt. This man, whose name was Apollos, was a Jew. He had heard about the preaching of John the Baptist; and believing that John was a prophet sent from God, he taught the Jews in Ephesus John's words. And some of these Jews also believed, so he baptized them with the baptism of John, to show they had repented of their sins. But neither Apollos nor these other Jews had ever known Jesus.
Aquila and Priscilla, the friends of Paul who stopped in Ephesus when he journeyed on to Jerusalem, heard Apollos preach. They saw how earnestly he taught the people and they believed he would become a great preacher of the gospel if only he knew all about Christ. So they invited him to their home and told him more fully about Jesus. And Apollos believed their words. Then he bade his new friends goodbye and sailed to Corinth, where he found the Christians who had believed through the teachings of Paul.
Shortly after Apollos went away from Ephesus, Paul arrived on his third missionary journey to heathen lands. He met the Jews who had believed the teachings of John the Baptist, and he preached more about Christ to them. They believed Paul, and were also baptized in the name of Jesus. Afterwards Paul told them about the Holy Spirit whom God sent to believers, and when Paul laid his hands on these men and prayed, they, too, received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For three months Paul taught in the synagog at Ephesus, proving by the Scriptures that Jesus in the Christ. But many who heard him were unwilling to believe in Jesus. They spoke unkindly about Paul and about the Christ whom he preached. Then Paul took his believing friends and departed from the synagog, going to a school near by. In this school he taught every day for two years, until his teaching was known all through the city and the country around. And many believed in Jesus and were baptized.
While Paul was teaching in this city he worked special miracles in the name of Jesus. He healed many who were sick, and cast out evil spirits from many who were possessed of them. When he could not visit each needy one who wished to be healed, their friends would carry handkerchiefs or aprons from him and lay these upon the bodies of the afflicted, and the sickness and evil spirits would depart.
Many people were filled with wonder when they saw the great power of God as shown by this man. But here were seven wicked Jews who were brothers. These brothers used to cast out demons by spells and charms. They had seen Paul cast out evil spirits in Jesus' name, and not knowing the power of God that was in Paul, they supposed they could cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus just as Paul did.
So when they found a man in whom an evil spirit dwelt they said to the evil spirit, "We command you to come out, in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches."
But the evil spirit answered, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?"
Then the spirit caused the man in whom he dwelt to leap on these wicked brothers and beat them terribly, until they fled from the house in shame.
Other people soon heard what had happened to these brothers, and they feared the great power of this mighty Jesus. They praised God by speaking respectfully and reverently of the name of Jesus. And many who believed were also afraid when they saw what had happened to these seven wicked Jews. Before Paul had preached to them they were superstitious, believing in signs and in dreams. Many had practiced works of magic, trying to perform great things by these works; but not they confessed their wrong-doing and forsook those evil practices.
Books in those days were very rare and expensive. A single book would cost a sum of money that poor people could not afford. But many people in Ephesus had books that taught how to work wonders by magic. When they saw the great power of God they no longer cared for these books, and they believed they should not keep them.
So they brought them together in the street and built a hug bonfire with them, even though the books had cost much money. A large crowd gathered round to watch these expensive books burn to ashes. They knew the people who owned these books now believed in Jesus, and would no longer try to practice the wicked works which magic books teach.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

6default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:38 am

Pamela

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The Uproar Demetrius Caused in Ephesus
Acts 19:21 to Acts 20:4

NOT ALL PEOPLE in Ephesus believed in Jesus when they heard Paul's preaching and when they saw the miracles he performed in Jesus' name. Many still went to the great temple of Diana to worship the image of that heathen goddess, which they believed that had fallen from the sky.
Those who could not go to the temple of Diana everyday wished to have an image of the idol in their homes. And heathen worshipers who came from other lands wished also to carry away with them a likeness of the huge idol which stood in the beautiful temple of Ephesus. Not because this idol was pretty, for Diana was not at all pleasing to look upon, but because they worshiped her they wished to have her likeness in their home.
There were men in that city who knew how to make small idols like Diana with silver. These men were called silversmiths, and they grew rich selling idols to those who wished to buy. One of these silversmiths was named Demetrius. When he heard about the preaching of Paul and about the great miracles Paul performed in the name of Jesus, he became uneasy. Every day he listened to hear more news about this new teaching. And every day he grew more restless; for he feared that soon all the worshipers of Diana would begin to worship Jesus.
Demetrius was not so greatly disturbed in his mind because he loved the goddess Diana--not that! But he loved the money he received from those who bought images of the goddess. He feared that soon the people would no longer care to buy the images he made, and then he would receive no more money from them. He could not make images of Jesus to sell, for Paul taught that his God was not to be worshiped as an idol, of silver and gold, or other material.
After Demetrius heard that many people had burned their expensive magic-books because they believed in the Jesus whom Paul taught, he became much excited. Calling together his friends who also were silversmiths, he told them about his fears. He warned them about the danger their work was in Paul's preaching.
"Not only here in our city," said Demetrius, "but in almost all Asia Minor this Paul has been turning away people from the worship of the goddess, by declaring they are no gods which are made with hands. Not only is our work in danger of falling to nothingness," he continued, "but the beautiful temple of our goddess will soon be no longer visited and admired by people from other lands."
Now all the silversmiths became excited, and they began to cry out, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" Through the streets they ran, crying these words, and other people followed.
Soon the whole city was stirred by the excitement, and some caught two of Paul's companions, and dragged them into the theater. Paul heard what had happened, and he wished to go to the rescue of these faithful companions, but his friends refused to let him do this. They feared the people might tear him in piece if they found him.
For two hours the excitement raged; many people did not even know what it was all about, and yet they joined in the cry, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!"
Finally the clerk of the city stepped up before the people and motioned for them to be quiet. He then reproved them for their foolish conduct, and told them they were in danger of being punished for the uproar they had made. He said that Demetrius and his fellow workmen should not use this means to bring charges against Paul and his friends, for they should handle such matters according to the law of the land.
Concerning Paul's two companions who had been dragged before the mob, he said, "These two men had not robbed churches, nor spoken evil of our goddess." He then dismissed the assembly, and sent them all home.
Paul had been intending to leave Ephesus even before the uproar was made, as he wished to visit the churches in Macedonia and Greece and then return again to Jerusalem. Now he bade the Christians good-by and sailed for Macedonia.
Here he visited the saints in Philippi, where he and Silas had been treated so shamefully and imprisoned, and where God had caused an earthquake to open the prison doors and loosen their bands, setting them free. No doubt the jailer and his household were glad to see this brave preacher of Jesus Christ once more.
Passing though Thessalonica and Berea, where he had preached the gospel before, he went on to Greece. For three months he stayed with the Christians in this country, then he prepared to return for the last time to Jerusalem.
Before starting he learned that his enemies, the Jews, were planning to catch him and take his life so instead of taking ship and sailing directly to Syria he returned by the way he had come. And thus he escaped once more from the hatred of his foes.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

7default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:29 am

Pamela

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Paul, The Faithful Missionary and His Last Farewell
Acts 20:5 to Acts 21:17

FROM MACEDONIA, PAUL sailed across the sea to Troas, the city where he had seen a vision of a man of Macedonia calling for help. In this city he stayed for some days, then he made ready to start again toward Jerusalem.


On the night before leaving Troas, Paul preached a farewell sermon to the believers who lived in that city. They met together in a large room on the third floor, and here they broke bread in memory of the special supper that Jesus ate with his disciples before he was crucified. Then Paul talked to them until midnight; for he knew he should never see them again and he had many things to say before he should go away forever.

While Paul was talking, a young man named Eutychus sat in an open window listening. After some time he grew sleepy and began to nod. Then he fell into a deep sleep and sank down on the window-sill. Losing his balance soon afterwards, he dropped from the window to the ground below.

Friends rushed down the stairs and found that the fall had killed him. Then Paul went down to them and saw them weeping. He fell on the lifeless body, embraced it, and said to those who stood near, "Do not be troubled, for his life is yet in him."

After this had happened Paul returned to the company of believers upstairs and took food with them. He then continued his talk until break of day, when he bade them farewell and departed. They brought again into the assembly the young man who had fallen from the window. And the believers rejoiced to see him alive.
Paul's next farewell-meeting was with the men who had come from Ephesus to the seacoast to meet him. These men were the one who had taken the leadership in the church at Ephesus when Paul left them. They were men whom he loved, and whom he counted faithful. They were called the "elders" of the church.
Paul talked earnestly to these Ephesian brethren, reminding them of his work among them, and of his desire to teach them the whole word of God. He told them that now he was journeying toward Jerusalem and that they should never see his face again.


He said he did not know what would befall him in that city, only the Holy Spirit was warning him of danger ahead. But he said, "None of these things make me afraid; for I do not count my life dear to myself. I am determined to finish with joy the work I have received of the Lord Jesus, to tell the gospel story to all men."

Paul reminded them also of his work among them, how he had coveted no man's riches but had worked with his own hands to earn money for his food and clothes while he preached the gospel in their city. And he urged them to remember the words Jesus had spoken, that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

When Paul had finished speaking he knelt down with the men and prayed earnestly to God, then he bade them good-by. These men wept aloud, and embraced their beloved teacher who would never more return to them. Then they went with him to the ship, on which he and his companions sailed away toward the homeland of the Jews.

At the seacoast town of Tyre the ship stopped several days, and here Paul and his companions met some more Christians and worshiped with them. When the time came for the ship to leave port, the Christians went with Paul to the seaside, and they knelt down on the shore to pray. Even the children of these Christian fathers and mothers went with Paul and his friends to the ship. The Holy Spirit had caused these Christians to understand that troubles would befall Paul in Jerusalem, and they urged him not to continue his journey; but he believed it would please God for him to go on.

While Paul and his fellow travelers were visiting the church in Caesarea, an old man named Agabus came from Jerusalem. This old man was a prophet, for God caused him to know things that were to happen after a while. When he saw Paul he took off Paul's girdle and tied it about his own hands and feet. Then he said, So shall the wicked Jews at Jerusalem do to the man who owns this girdle, binding him and giving him over to the Gentiles.

Paul's friends were greatly troubled when they heard this. They gathered round him, weeping, and pleaded with him to stay away from Jerusalem. But he answered, "Why do you weep and break my heart? I am ready, not only to be bound at Jerusalem, but also to die there for the name of the Lord Jesus." When they saw they could not prevent him from going, they said, "The will of God be done."
Not many days afterwards Paul and his companions went over the mountains to the great city of the Jews. Other Christians from Caesarea joined their company, and when they came to Jerusalem the elders in the church there welcomed them with joy.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

8default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:54 am

Pamela

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Paul is Seized by the Mob, then Arrested
Acts 21:18 to Acts 23:10

YEARS HAD PASSED since the wicked Herod had tried to kill Peter, and during those years the church in Jerusalem had grown into a multitude. Some of the enemies who had killed Jesus were yet alive, and they hated the Christians. But they had ceased persecuting them as bitterly as in the first days of the early church.
Paul had met with multitudes of believers in the churches of other lands. But these in Jerusalem were all Jews, and many of them looked with displeasure upon the people of other nations.
They had not yet learned how God's love reaches out to all men. And because they had heard much about Paul's missionary labors among the Gentiles they felt unwilling to approved of his work.
The leaders in the church at Jerusalem understood how God had chosen Paul to be a missionary to the Gentiles. They rejoiced to know that even the Gentiles might be saved by faith in Jesus. But they understood also the feelings of many who worshiped in their services, so they warned Paul about these Jewish believers.
They said, "These men have heard that you do not keep the law of Moses, but that you teach the Gentiles to forsake the law." And they urged Paul to show these believers that he did not despise Moses' teachings, as they supposed.
To please these men Paul visited the temple and performed the ceremony of cleansing, according to Moses' law. Almost a week passed by, then one day while he was in the temple some Jews from Asia Minor came to worship there.
Seeing Paul, they recognized him at once, for he had taught in their synagog concerning Christ. And they had not accepted his teaching. They hated him because he taught that Gentiles as well as Jews might become the people of God. They became excited when they saw him worshiping in the Jewish temple, and they cried out against him.
Soon the old enemies of Jesus heard about the excitement, and they rushed in to seize Paul. A crowd quickly gathered, and they pulled Paul out of the temple and shut the doors. Not waiting to drag him outside the city, they began beating him at once, and would have killed him had not the Roman captain arrived with soldiers to investigate the trouble.
Supposing Paul must be a desperate fellow, the captain commanded that he should be bound with two heavy chains. Then he asked what Paul had done. But some cried one thing and some another, and he could not hear in the noise of the angry mob what offenses Paul was guilty of committing. So he led Paul away to the castle where prisoners were kept.
The mob followed, crying, "Away with him!" And the soldiers, fearing the people would tear Paul in pieces, picked him up and carried him on their shoulders to the castle stairs. As they went Paul asked to speak to the captain. At this, the Roman captain was surprised, for he did not know Paul could speak his language. He gave Paul permission to speak to the mob when they reached the stairs.
Then, standing on the stairs above the heads of the excited followers, Paul beckoned to them with his hand, and they grew quiet. He began at once to talk to them in the Hebrew language, which the Romans could not understand. This language the Jews love, and they listened attentively to him while he told them about his early life and training.
He reminded them of his student-life in their city, where he became a Pharisee. He reminded them also of his former hatred toward the believers in Jesus, and of his bitter persecutions against them. Many who stood in the crowd below had not forgotten the Saul who tried to break up the early church in Jerusalem.
Paul then told about his journey to Damascus, where he intended to persecute the Christians. He told about the vision that came to him on the way, and about the voice that spoke to him from heaven. He even told how he had been baptized in the name of Jesus, and how when he had come to Jerusalem to worship God showed him in a vision in the temple that he must go to Gentile countries and there preach the gospel.
But when Paul began speaking about preaching to the Gentiles, then no longer would the people listen to his speech. Their hatred of Gentiles stirred their hearts to cry out once more against Paul, and now they even cast off their cloaks and threw dust into the air, shouting aloud, "Away with such a fellow from the earth! He is not fit to live!"
The Roman captain and his soldiers did not understand what Paul had spoken to the angry people, and they supposed he must be a dangerous fellow. They therefore brought him into the castle and determined to learn the nature of his crime.
Bringing out cruel instruments of torture, they began to bind Paul. But Paul knew the law of the Romans, that it did not permit a Roman citizen to be punished in this manner, so he spoke to a soldier who stood near by and told him he was a Roman.
This soldier hurried away to tell the chief captain, who came quickly and asked, "Tell me, are you a Roman?"
Paul answered, "I am."
This frightened the men who were preparing to torture Paul. Even the chief captain was frightened, for he had given the command that Paul should be bound and punished.
Still the Romans were puzzled about their prisoner. They could not understand what terrible thing he had done. On the next day they called the chief rulers of the Jews to assemble together, and brought Paul before them. While Paul spoke the chief captain saw that even these Jewish rulers were not agreed what to do with him. Some wished to set him free, while others insisted on putting him to death.
Then the captain sent his soldiers to take Paul away from their midst, fearing they might kill him.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

9default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:51 am

Pamela

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Paul is Shipwrecked
Acts 27

A SHIP WAS leaving port of Caesarea, and among the passengers on board was Paul, the prisoner. As the shore faded away in the distance, Paul saw his last glimpse of the land that is dear to the heart of every Jew, for never again would he return to this country.


Paul was not the only prisoner on board that vessel. Before leaving Caesarea he and several others had been given into the keeping of a Roman centurion whose name was Julius. Festus had commanded this centurion and his soldiers to bring the prisoners safely to Rome and deliver them to Caesar.

No doubt the Christians who lived in Caesarea gathered at the seashore to watch their beloved friend sail away toward far-off Rome. And no doubt they wept when they realized that Paul would not return to them again.

But Paul was not the only Christian among the passengers. Two of his friends, Luke, the doctor, and Aristarchus, who had been with him. So they all boarded the vessel and sailed away to Italy.

The next day after leaving port at Caesarea the ship stopped at Sidon, a seacoast town of Phoenicia, which is north of the homeland of the Jews. In this city Paul had some friends, and by this time he had won the respect of the Roman officer, who kindly allowed him to go ashore with Luke and Aristarchus and a soldier. There they visited for a short time with the Christians who lived in Sidon, and then returned to the ship.

Their next stopping-place was at Myra, a city on the southern coast of Asia Minor. Here the centurion found another ship ready to sail for Italy, and because their first vessel would not take them all the way he and his soldiers transferred their prisoners to this ship.

From Myra the ship left the shore and pushed out once again into the great Mediterranean Sea. But it made little progress, for the winds blew against it. Finally, after sailing many days, the passengers were gladdened to see the Island of Crete. Here they stopped in a harbor called the Fair Havens.

After resting for some the captain of the vessel thought about putting out to sea once more. But Paul protested, saying, "This voyage will bring much trouble upon us, for sailing at this time of the year is very dangerous." He urged them to remain in that port for the winter. But the centurion believed they could reach another port not far away. And because the port at the Fair Havens was not a desirable place, the captain and many of the passengers were eager to go farther before they should stop for the winter. On the first fair day the ship glided out of the harbor and entered the broad sea.

But they had not gone far when suddenly a tempestuous wind swept down upon them. They could not turn back, neither could they sail on to the port for which they were bound. All they could do was to toss about on the angry waves, not knowing how soon the ship might be torn to pieces.

Now, when all too late, the captain and the centurion saw that Paul had spoken wisely when he urged them to remain in the harbor at the Fair Havens. At once they set about trying to save the ship. They threw out everything that might be spared to lighten the weight of the vessel, and waited anxiously for the storm to pass. But the storm raged on. Day after day passed by and still the sky frowned down upon them with dark clouds and cold rains, and night after night came and went without one bit of light from the moon or stars.

One morning Paul, the prisoner, stood up on the deck and shouted to the sailors and passengers, trying to make his voice heard above the roar of the storm. They listened, and heard him say, "Sirs, if you had believed me when I warned you at Crete you would not have suffered the harm of this storm. But now be of good cheer, for there shall be no loss of life among us, only of the ship. This I know because an angel of God, to whom I belong, and whom I serve, stood by me last night and said, 'Fear not, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar. And lo, the lives of all these who sail with you God has given to you.' Therefore I urge you to be of good cheer, for we shall all be saved alive, although we shall be cast upon an island and the ship lost."

While the sailors had been struggling against the storm, Paul had been praying, and God had sent an angel to cheer him with this message. For Paul longed to see Rome, even though he must be taken there with chains on his hands.

But the storm did not cease when Paul spoke to the men, and still they feared they might all be drowned in the sea. When two weeks had passed by, one night the sailors found they were nearing some land. They had no way of telling where they were, for they had drifted on the waves for many days, and they could not see the moon and stars. They could not tell whether they were nearing a rocky coast or a sandy beach, and not wishing to drift any nearer they threw the anchors overboard and waited anxiously for the morning light.

The sailors knew the dangerous condition of the ship. They saw how helpless it was before the storm. They doubted whether they could bring it to shore. So now they planned to escape, leaving the passengers and prisoners on board the sinking vessel. They prepared to lower a boat, as if to cast more anchors into the sea. But Paul knew what they were planning to do, and he said to the centurion, "Unless these sailors stay in the ship, we can not be saved."

Now the Roman officer believed Paul's words, so he hastily cut the ropes that held the boat, allowing it to drift away into the darkness.

When the daylight was coming on Paul urged those on board to take food. For many days they had not eaten a proper meal, being too worried to feel their hunger. Now they were weak, and Paul knew their bodies needed food to strengthen them. He reminded them of the angel's words, that not one hair of their heads should perish; and when he had spoken thus he took bread and gave thanks to God before them all.

Then he ate of it, and the others took courage and also ate. After all had eaten, they threw overboard the wheat their ship was carrying to Italy. And everything else that added weight to the ship and might be spared they threw into the sea.

Now the daylight shone clearly enough for them to see the land near by. The sailors did not recognize it; but they saw a place where there was a sandy shore, and lifting the anchors, they tried to steer the ship into this place. As they went the swirling waters caught the ship in a narrow place, where it struck a hidden rock and stuck tight. Then the rear of the ship was broken by the violent sea.

The soldiers on board knew they must give their own lives if their prisoners should escape, and not wishing to do that, they urged the centurion to allow them to kill all the prisoners at once. But because the centurion loved Paul, he refused to let them do this. He commanded every one who could swim to jump overboard and swim to land, and those who could not swim he commanded to take broken pieces of the ship and float upon them toward the shore.
No time was lost, and every one, wishing to save his life, struggled through the water toward the sandy beach. And not one of all the two hundred and seventy-six on board the sinking vessel was drowned.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

10default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:49 am

Pamela

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Paul on the Island of Melita, and Bitten by a Viper
Acts 28:1-10
ON THE WOODED shore of the island where Paul's ship was stranded stood a group of excited men anxiously watching those who were escaping from the wrecked vessel near by. These men were natives of the island, and they felt sorry for the strangers who had suffered shipwreck. They hurried out to meet them and to help them reach the land. Then they built a fire, for it was still raining, and it was cold.


Around this fire the drenched strangers gathered eagerly, for the sea had chilled them through. They were glad for the kindness these natives showed. And they learned from them the name of the island where they had landed. This island, called Melita, was south of Italy.

As the strangers from the wrecked vessel stood warming round the fire, the natives saw that many of them were soldiers and prisoners. But they treated every one kindly. Paul wished to be helpful, so he gathered a bundle sticks to keep the fire burning. As he laid them on the fire the heat from the flames aroused to action a very poisonous snake which was hidden among the sticks. At once the snake sprang at Paul, seizing his hand with its deadly fangs.

The natives knew Paul was a prisoner. When they saw the snake hanging from his hand they whispered to each other. "This must be a very wicked man, whom the gods will not allow to live even though he has escaped from the stormy sea." But while they waited, expecting to see Paul's arm swell with poison and then to see him drop over dead, they were surprised; for Paul shook off the snake, and no harm came to him. They looked in wonder, and then said, "This must be a god instead of a man, whom a deadly snake can not destroy."

Not far from this place lived a man named Publius, who was the ruler of the Island. He, too, received the shipwrecked strangers kindly, and after Paul had not been harmed by the bite of the poisonous snake he invited Paul and his friends into his home. For three days he entertained them there.

The father of Publius was lying very ill with fever and a disease which often causes death. When Paul heard of this he visited the man, and he prayed for him and healed him.

The news of this healing quickly spread over the Island, and others who were suffering from diseases came to Paul, asking to be healed. In this way many people became interested in the prisoner who had escaped from the sea, and were happy because of him.

And so it was that Paul published the good news of Jesus wherever he went, even though he was bound by a heavy chain. And everywhere he went those who received the good news were made happy. Now the islanders as well as those who had been with Paul on the ship saw that God's power was with this good man, and they respected him.
For three months Paul and his companions stayed on this island; then when the spring days returned they took another ship and continued their journey to Rome.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

11default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:29 pm

Pamela

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Things We Learn from the Epistles
The Epistles
NOT ALL THE letters, or epistles, that we find in the New Testament were written by Paul. Two were written by Peter, three by John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, one by James, and one by Jude.


In these epistles we learn about the teachings of the preachers in the early church. We learn how they depended on God to help them teach rightly. And we learn that their letters were intended to be read, not only by those to whom they were written, but by all who hear the word of God even today.

Many parts of the gospel which are not explained in the stories of Jesus are told clearly in these letters. Here we learn that all people are sinners who have been born into the world since Adam and Even sinned against God. We learn that every one deserves to be punished for his sins, but because God loves sinners he planned a way to save them from punishment. He gave his only Son, Jesus, to be punished in their stead, that every guilty sinner might go free from punishment.

But we learn also that every sinner will be saved from punishment. Only those who believe that Jesus died for their sins will be saved. Those who refuse to believe in Jesus will die in their sins. For it is by believing in Jesus that his blood washes away the stains which sin has made on the souls of men and women. And those who do not believe can not have the stains of their sins washed away.

Another thing these epistles, or letter, teach us is how Christians live. We learn in them that Christians are honest, good to the poor, willing to suffer for Jesus' sake, kind to those who treat them wrongly, always ready to forgive their enemies, and that they love one another, and try to lead others to Christ. We learn that Christians are a happy people; for God gives them joy that sinners know nothing about. This joy comes into their hearts when they believe that Jesus washes away their sins with his blood. Sinners do not believe this, and they can not understand the Christian's joy. Always they fell guilty before God and afraid to die.

We learn in these epistles that some day Jesus is coming again. When he comes he will take with him all those who believe in him, and they shall dwell with him forever. In that day all who are lying in their graves asleep in death will waken, for a great trumpet will blow which will be heard in every part of the world. And those who died believing in Jesus will rise to meet him in the clouds of the sky. Those who did not believe in Jesus will cry out in fear when they rise from their graves. They will try to hide from the Lord, but nowhere shall they find a place.

These epistle tell us that no one shall know when the last day will come, for it will come like a thief comes in the night. Just as Jesus warned his disciples to watch and be ready, so the epistles tell us to look for the coming of the Lord.

Although many years have passed since these letters were written, we know their words are true. They tell us about things that are happening now. They say that men in the last days will not believe Jesus is coming again, and that they will scoff at those who try to please God. And we find many people in the world today who do not believe in Jesus, and who make fun of the true religion. Such people do not believe that God will destroy this world with fire, just as the people who lived before the great flood did not believe Noah's words when he warned them about the rain that would come on the earth. But God sent the rain, and God will send the fire, which will destroy this world and everything in it. No wicked person will be able to hide from God, for every hiding-place will be burned up.

The epistles also tell us much about God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are not three different Gods, but they are all one God. We can not understand how this is true, yet it is true. If we worship God the Father we must believe in God the Son and also in God the Holy Spirit. It is God the Holy Spirit who causes the sinner to feel that he should quit his wrong-doing and ask Jesus to forgive his sins.
It is God the Holy Spirit who comes into the Christian's heart to dwell. And when we pray, whether we call on the name of the Father or on the name of his Son or on the name of the Holy Spirit, we are praying to the same God, and the same God will hear and answer our prayers.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

12default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:04 am

Pamela

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Cain and Abel - The First Children
Genesis 4

AFTER SIN CAUSED God to shut Adam and Eve out of the beautiful home that he had made for them, they built a home for themselves somewhere outside the garden gate. Here they began to feel more and more the punishment which their sin had brought upon them. Adam had to toil hard and long to secure food for himself and for Eve. No doubt his hands and feet were sometimes bruised and torn by thistles and thorns. Eve too learned the sad meaning of pain and sorrow. Her home was not so happy as it had been before she listened to the tempter's voice, and chose to disobey God.


But all the while God loved Adam and Eve. We can not know how great was his grief when they sinned. No longer could he walk and talk with them as he had done before. Now sin, like a great, black monster, had stepped in and spoiled their friendship, and where sin dwells God will not go. No doubt Adam and Eve were sorry, too. No longer could they have God's presence in their home because sin had fastened itself in their hearts.

But because God loved them still, he gave Adam and Eve a promise of a Savior. And because they believed the promise, hope came into their hearts again. Although they could not talk to God as they had done in their garden-home, now they confessed their sins to him, and it appears certain that they brought gifts which they offered upon altars. These altars they built by piling up either stones or earth, making a flat top, and placing on the top some wood, all cut and ready to be burned. Next they laid their offering upon the wood, then set fire to the wood, and that burned up the offering.
We are sure that Adam and Eve must have felt lonely, with no friends in all the big, wide world. But God planned that there should be more people, and so one day he gave Adam and Eve a little child-a baby boy. This baby they named Cain. How they must have loved him! After a while God gave them another little boy, and they named him Abel.

When Cain and his little brother Abel grew old enough to understand, Adam and Eve told them about the great God, and how they themselves had disobeyed him before Cain and Abel were born. They wanted their sons to love this God and try to please him. But alas! sin, like a tiny seed, was already buried in the hearts of these little boys, causing them to think naughty thoughts, or say unkind words, or do wrong deeds, just as little boys and girls are tempted to do today. Abel wanted to please God and he was sorry because he sinned; but Cain allowed the tiny sin-seed to grow and grow until his heart became very wicked.


By and by Cain and Abel became men, like Adam, and Cain worked in the fields raising grain and fruits, while Abel took care of a flock of sheep. These brothers built altars, upon which they offered their gifts to God, as their parents did. Cain brought for his offering fruit from the field where he had labored, and Abel brought a fat lamb. But Cain's offering did not please God. When he saw that God was displeased, he became very angry. God talked to him. He warned him of the harm that might come if he should continue to be angry instead of becoming sorry for his sins. But Cain was not willing to listen; he was not sorry for his sins.

Abel believed the promise which God had given to his parents, and when he offered his gift he prayed and asked God to forgive his sins. God was pleased with Abel's offering.

One day while the brothers were together in the field, Cain quarreled with Abel. Now, we are sure that nothing good can come of quarrels, because they are so wrong. This quarrel ended dreadfully. Cain grew so angry with Abel that he killed him. What an awful deed!

God spoke again to Cain, and asked, "Where is Abel, your brother?"

Cain replied, "I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?"

Wicked Cain did not know that God had seen all he did. And now for a punishment God told Cain that he must leave his old home forever.

Now at last Cain felt sorry, but he was sorry only because he was to be punished for his sin. He thought God was punishing him more than he could bear. Then God placed a mark upon him that all could see, and by that mark they would know that God did not want them to kill Cain.

After this Cain wandered far away into a land called Nod. There he lived for many long years.
Adam and Eve lived a long time, and God gave them other children besides Cain and Abel. Then the time came at last when their bodies grew feeble with age and they died, as God had said they should when they ate the forbidden fruit.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

13default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:49 am

Pamela

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Noah's Ark - And Why It Was Built
Genesis 5:1 - Genesis 9:17

THE CHILDREN OF Adam and Eve lived to be very old. Their children also lived for several hundreds of years. And so it was that grandsons became grandfathers before their own grandfathers died. Thus several generations lived and worked together. After a while there were many people living in the world.
We do not know very much about those people of long ago except the fact that many of them were very wicked. Among them was one man, however, who, like Abel, tried to please God. This man's name was Enoch. The Bible tells us that Enoch walked with God. We understand that he loved God better than he loved anything else, and talked to God and listened when God talked to him. Finally Enoch became an old man. At last, when he was three hundred and sixty-five years old, one day God took him away from earth to heaven, and he did not die. Enoch had a son whom he named Methuselah. This man lived for nine hundred and sixty-nine years, until he was older than any other man had ever been. Then he died, like all other people had done except his father Enoch.
By this time there were many, many people living in the world. And their hearts were so full of sin that their thoughts and words and deeds were all very wicked. They did not try to please God at all. They did not love him. They did not thank him for the blessings of food and shelter and sunshine which he gave to them. They did not teach their children to love good, pure things, but allowed them to grow up and become evil men and women like themselves. What a sad world this was! for sin was everywhere.
Finally God planned to destroy all the people because they were no longer fit to live. He felt sorry that he ever had made man. He thought he would destroy everything-people, animals, and every other creature that lived on the earth. He would cause a great flood of water to cover the earth.
Then God remembered Noah. Here was a man who had tried to do right regardless of all his wicked surroundings. And he had taught his sons to do right also. God was pleased with Noah and with his sons. Sometimes he talked to Noah. Now he told him about his plan to destroy the world. But because Noah and his family had been trying to do right and trust in the Lord, God promised that they should not be destroyed with the wicked people.
"Get ready to build an ark," God told Noah, "and then when it is finished you and your wife, your sons and their wives may go into this ark and live there until the flood is ended."
Now that God decided to save a few people he also arranged to save a pair of each kind of animal and of bird and of every living thing on the earth that breathed. These creatures were to be housed in the ark, too, while the flood should last.
Noah believed God and made ready to build the ark. God had told him how it should be built. For a long time, while others went their wicked way, he and his sons worked, sawing boards and hammering nails, and making every part of the ark just exactly as God had said it should be made. Then by and by every nail was driven securely into its place, the inside walls were finished, and every part was ready for the purpose it should serve. What a queer-looking building now stood before them-a very large boat-like house three stories high, away out on dry land! Doubtless the people laughed much at faithful old Noah and his three sons. Perhaps they thought that only feeble-minded folk could believe that there ever would be such a thing as a flood. Still Noah continued to warn them that they should repent of their sins lest God destroy them.
One day, when the ark was completed and everything else was in readiness, God called Noah and told him to bring his wife, his three sons and their wives, and come into the ark. And the animals and birds and creeping things God caused to come also, two and two of every kind; and of those animals which man should need after the flood, and birds, seven pairs of each kind came. When they were all inside the ark God himself shut the door.
After a few days the rain began to fall. And such a rain! Great sheets of water poured down from the clouds as if windows in the sky had been opened and water was flowing through them. Soon the tiny streamlets were raging torrents and the rivers were overflowing their banks. People began to forsake their homes and rush to the hills for safety. Animals, too, ran pell-mell everywhere, trying to find a place of refuge and shelter from the storm. But still it rained, and higher and higher the waters rose until every one believed at last that Noah had told the truth. But now it was too late to repent and seek refuge in the ark, for God had shut the door. And so when the waters crept up to the tops of the hills and mountains and finally buried them out of sight, every living creature on the face of the earth was drowned. Those in the ark were the only ones left alive.
For forty days and nights the downpour of rain continued; but Noah and his family were safe. When the waters rose high enough they lifted the ark off the ground, and it began to float about like a great ship on the top of the flood. For six months and more it floated high above the water-covered earth. Then one day it came to a standstill. God had caused a wind to blow over the waters to dry them up, and as the flood-tide became gradually lower, the ark had found a lodging-place on the top of a mountain. Here it rested for two months, and all the while the water-mark continued to drop lower down the mountainsides.
After waiting for some time, Noah opened a window, which must have been very high up, near the roof. He allowed a bird called a raven to fly out of the window. Now, the raven has strong wings, and this bird flew to and fro until the waters had gone down. After some days, Noah sent out a dove; but this bird could not find a place to build her nest, so she soon returned again to the ark. Another week of waiting passed, and Noah sent the dove out once more. She stayed longer this time; and when evening came she flew back to Noah, bringing a green olive-leaf in her mouth. At this Noah and his family knew that the waters were returning to the rivers and the seas, and that the land again was becoming green and beautiful. One more week they waited, and now when Noah sent out the dove she flew away and never returned.
Now Noah believed that the time had come when he might uncover the roof and look out upon the earth. How glad he must have been to see dry land again; for more than a year had passed since God had shut them inside the ark. And God said to him, "Come out of the ark, with your wife and your sons and their wives, and every living thing that is with you in the ark." So Noah opened the great door, and he and his family stepped out upon the dry ground. All the animals and the birds and the creeping things came out also, and began to live upon the earth as they had done before the flood.
Noah was thankful to God because his life and the lives of his family had been saved when all other people had perished from off the earth. He built an altar as soon as he came out of the ark, and brought his offering to God. Because Noah had been obedient, God accepted his offering and was pleased with his household.
God then promised that never again would he send another flood to destroy every living creature, and that as long as the earth should remain there would be summer and winter, springtime and autumn, and day and night. And because God wanted mankind to remember always the promise that he would never again destroy the earth with a flood, he placed in the sky a sign of his promise. That sign was a beautiful rainbow. Have you ever seen that rainbow-sign? It is God's promise to all mankind-to you and to me as well as to Noah and his children.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

14default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:50 am

Pamela

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The Tower of Babel - And Why It Was Never Finished
Genesis 9:18 - Genesis 11:9

A CLEAN, NEW world lay before Noah and his three sons when they stepped out of the ark. Now there were no wicked neighbors to mock at them when they built altars to worship God. Even the wicked works of those wicked people had been swept away out of sight. Everything was ready for a new beginning.


Noah and his sons set to work and made new homes. Noah's sons were named Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After a while God gave them children. These children grew up and made homes for themselves. Then there were other children; and so it came about that the number of people grew and grew until the earth became as full of people as it was before the flood.

From the mountain of Ararat, where the ark lodged when the waters went down, the human family went into the south country. Later they moved east, into the valley of Mesopotamia, and there they lived on a plain in the land of Shinar.

"Let us build for ourselves a city," said the people some time after they reached Shinar, "and let us make a tower so great and high that its top will reach up to the sky. Then we shall not be scattered over the face of the earth, and separated from one another." And so the people set to work.

In this land of Shinar the soil is such that bricks can be made of it, and soon many bricks were made and ready for use. What a busy people! Some were making brick, others were mixing mortar, and still others were carrying brick and mortar to the workmen who were building the city and the tower. Everything was moving fast and everybody was thinking that some day their city and their wonderful tower would be finished.

Then something happened that the people had not expected to happen at all. God came to see the city and the tower. He did not talk to the builders, and very likely they did not know he had been there to look upon their work. But God was not pleased with what he saw. He knew that men would become more sinful if they should finish that great tower. Already they were thinking more and more about their own work and less and less about the God who gave them strength with which to labor. Soon they might forget God entirely and worship the work their own hands had made. So God planned to stop their building.

Until this time all the people in the world spoke one language. Now God caused them to speak different languages. The people of one family could not understand what their neighbors were talking about. Neither could their neighbors understand what they were saying. Such a great change caused the people to become restless, and all those who spoke one language moved into neighbor-hoods by themselves. They could no longer go on with their great building, either, because the workmen could not understand one another's language; and so at last they quit trying to finish the tower whose top they had planned should reach the sky. And the name of the city was called Babel.
Soon the people of one language gathered together their possessions and moved away from Babel. Others did the same. Across the plains they journeyed and over the mountains into strange lands where men's feet had never walked before. They built cities and planted fields and vineyards, and their number grew until they became strong nations.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

15default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:40 am

Pamela

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Abraham - A Man Who Heard And Obeyed God's Call
Genesis 11:27 - Genesis 12:20

THE PEOPLE WHO moved away from Babel into different parts of the world did not pray to God. Their hearts were sinful, and they shrank away from the purity of God, as Adam and Eve did when they tried to hide from God's presence in the Garden of Eden. But we find that the people prayed to something. In every country where they went they had some kind of worship. Many of them worshiped things that God had made, such as the sun, the moon, and the stars. Afterward they also worshiped rivers and mountains and hills. They made images of wood and of stone to these things which they worshiped, and called the images gods.


Not far from the city of Babel, where the tower was left unfinished, another city was built. This city was called Ur of the Chaldees, because it was built in the home country of the Chaldean people. These people worshiped the moon-god, Ur, and when they built their great city they named it in honor of their god.

On the plains near Ur lived an old man who was a shepherd. He tilled the soil and also raised large flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. His name was Terah. He had three grown sons named Abram, Nahor, and Haran. They were also shepherd-farmers. Haran did not live to be very old. When he died he left a son named Lot.

Now, Abram the son of Terah was a good man. He did not worship the moon-god as did his neighbors. He believed in the true God. He built altars and worshiped God just as Abel and Noah had done long years before. His offerings pleased God, and his prayers were heard.

One day Abraham heard the voice of God calling to him. He listened. God told him to gather together his family and his flocks and herds, bid farewell to his neighbors and friends, and start out on a long journey. God promised to lead him to a land far away, where he would bless him and make his name great. Through his family God promised to give a blessing to all families in the world.

Perhaps Abram did not understand the meaning of all God's promise. He did not know that in the years to come a Savior should be born among the people of his own family, who would then be called the Jews. This Savior, we know, is the blessing which God promised to give to all families in the world, if Abram would obey his voice.

Although Abram did not know these things, nor even the country to which God wished to lead him, he was not afraid to go. So he took all his family-his wife, whose name was Sarai, his aged father, Terah, his brother Nahor and his wife, and the young son of his dead brother Haran. They and their servants Abram urged to start out with him on his journey. And they took all their possessions too-the tents in which they lived, and the large flocks of sheep and herds of cattle.

Day after day they journeyed up the great River Euphrates until they came to a place called Haran. Here they stopped to rest, and here Abram's aged father died and was buried. Even before that God spoke to Abram and urged him to continue his journey. But Nahor, Abram's brother, was unwilling to go farther, so he remained at Haran and made his home at that place.

After this Abram made a second start. Now he took only his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and their servants. Driving their flocks and herds before them, they turned away from the great river and journeyed southwest, toward the land of Canaan. On one side of them the mountains rose wild and high, while on the other side, as far as they could see, the barren desert stretched away toward the south. On and on they traveled-across rivers, through valleys, over hills-each day farther from their homeland and nearer to the land which God had promised. We do not know how many days and weeks and months passed by before they came to the plain of Moreh, where God spoke again to Abram. "This is the land," God told him, "that I will give to you and to your children." And Abram built an altar there and worshiped God.

Now, this land of promise was called Canaan, because the Canaanite people lived in it. These people had been there for a long time and had built some towns and cities. Abram did not live among the Canaanite people, but pitched his tents out on the hills or plains, wherever. he could find grass for his cattle and sheep to eat and water for them to drink. All the while his flocks and herds grew larger, until finally Abram became very rich.
Then there came a famine in the land. The grass failed and the waters of the brooks dried up. Nowhere could Abram find pasture, go he moved away from Canaan into the country called Egypt. Here he saw the great River Nile, and possibly even the pyramids and the sphinx. But he did not remain long in Egypt, because God did not want him to dwell there. When the famine ended in Canaan, he returned again to that country.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

16default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:21 am

Pamela

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Abraham Gets Strange Visitors
Genesis 18

IT WAS NOONDAY, and everywhere the sun shone hot upon the plains. But Abraham sat in the cool shade of his tent door, beneath a tree. Presently three strange men drew near. They did not look like other men, and Abraham knew they were from a far country. He hurried to meet them, and, bowing low toward the ground just as he always when greeting a friend or a visitor, he urged them to rest for a while in the cool shade. This they were quite ready to do.


Now we shall see how Abraham entertained his guests. First he merit for water to wash their feet. This was not unusual because people wore sandals in that long-ago time and it was customary for them to remove their sandals and wash their feet whenever they sat down to rest and visit. Next, Abraham told his wife to make ready and bake some barley cakes upon the hearth, while he should prepare some meat, for his guests. Then he ran out to his herd and selected a young calf, which he gave to a servant to dress and cook. When all was ready, he brought the food to his guests, and they ate while he stood under a tree near by. Abraham was glad to serve these strangers because he was kind to every one.

When the meal was ended, the men arose to continue their journey. Abraham walked with them for a little way. By this time he knew they were not like other men, but they were heavenly beings. Two of them were angels. The other one was the Lord. And Abraham felt that he was unworthy to entertain such wonderful visitors. But because he was a good man the Lord loved him.

"Shall I hide from Abraham this thing which I do"? the Lord asked his companions. "I know that he will teach his children to keep my ways and to do right."

Then, turning toward Abraham the Lord said, "I am going to visit Sodom and Gomorrah to see if these cities are as wicked as they seem, for the cry of their sins has reached me."

The two men hurried on; but Abraham detained the Lord a while longer, because he wanted to talk to him. He knew the Lord would destroy the cities if he found them to be as wicked as they seemed, and he thought of Lot. Now, we remember that Lot had gone back to live again in Sodom after Abraham and his servants had rescued him and his family from the enemy's camp. Abraham knew that Lot too might perish if the cities should be destroyed. And he loved Lot. He wished once more to try to save him, so he said, "Will you destroy the righteous persons in the city, will you not spare the lives of all for their sake'?" And the Lord promised to spare Sodom if he could find fifty righteous persons in it.

Abraham feared that there might be less than fifty. And he was troubled for Lot's safety. So he spoke again. "I know that I am but a common man, made of dust," said he, "yet I speak to the Lord. If there should be only forty-five righteous persons living in Sodom, will you spare the city ?" And the Lord said he would spare the city for the sake of only forty-five righteous persons.

Still Abraham felt troubled. He feared there might not be even forty-five. So he asked if the city might be spared for the sake of forty. The Lord knew it was Abraham's love for the people which to plead so earnestly for Sodom, and he promised to spare the city for the sake of forty.
"What," thought poor, distressed Abraham, "if there should not be even forty righteous persons found in Sodom?" And once more he spoke. "0 Lord, be not angry with me," he said, "but if there are only thirty righteous persons, will you spare the city for their sakes. And the Lord promised to spare the entire city if only thirty people could be found in it. Abraham continued to plead until he had asked the Lord if he would spare the city if only ten righteous persons were found, and the Lord promised to spare Sodom if he could find only ten. Then the Lord passed on, and Abraham returned to his tent.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

17default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:07 am

Pamela

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Sodom And Gomorrah, And What Happened to Them
Genesis 19

THE LONG SHADOWS of evening-time were stealing over the through the valleys, and everywhere people were hurrying home. Soon the city gates would be closed, and the wise men who sat there during the daytime to judge the people would be turning homeward, too.


Among the wise men who sat in Sodom's gate was Lot. On this evening he saw two strangers approaching, and he greeted them with a low bow, just as Abraham had greeted these same men earlier in day. For they were no other than the angels who had dined with the Lord at Abraham's tent. Lot invited them to his home to spend the night, but they said they would stay out in the streets. Now, Lot knew the wicked men of Sodom would try to harm them if they remained in the streets, so he urged them to come with him. Finally they consented.

Here again the angels were entertained with hospitality, which may have reminded them of Abraham's kindness, for Lot brought water to wash their dusty feet and prepared good things for them to eat. Possibly Lot did not yet know that they were heavenly beings; but he thought they were strangers unlike the wicked men who lived in that city.

Soon the news spread all over Sodom that Lot had two strange-looking visitors at his home, and men came hurrying from every part of the city to see them. They planned to hurt them. But when Lot refused to let them see his guests, they pushed him aside and tried to break open the door. At this the angels drew Lot quickly inside, and then smote the men with blindness.

Now Lot knew that his visitors were angels, and that they had come to destroy Sodom because it was such a wicked place. He went out to the homes of his sons-in-law, two men of Sodom, and told them that the Lord was going to destroy their city. But they would not believe his words. And they would not listen when he told them to hurry and escape for their lives. So the night passed by.

When the early morning came, before the sun lightened the earth, the angels urged Lot and his wife and their two daughters to make haste and flee out of the city lest they also be destroyed. How hard it seemed for Lot to leave his home and his riches to be destroyed! God was merciful to him, and the angels seized him and his family and dragged them outside the city. Then they bade them flee to the mountains for their lives, and not even pause long enough to take a backward glance toward their old home, because God would soon destroy the cities of that rich valley, and unless they hurried away they too should perish. But Lot's wife did not obey the angel's words. She looked back, and her body became changed into a pillar of salt.

Poor, unhappy Lot! fear now tormented him from every direction. He thought his life would not be safe even in the mountains, for wild animals might devour him there. So he prayed to God to spare a small city near by and allow him and his daughters to enter that place. God heard his prayer and granted his request, so they fled into that city. That place was called Zoar, which means little.
Just as the sun rose, Lot and his daughters entered the gate of. Zoar, and at that time God sent a great rain of fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah and all the neighboring cities. So terrible was the fire that it completely destroyed the cities and all the wicked people near by. Lot and his daughters feared that their lives were not safe in Zoar, so they hurried to the mountains, where God had first told them to go. There they lived in a cave-home, far away from other people. After this time we hear no more about Lot, the man whose home and riches were destroyed because he chose to live among wicked people who hated God.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

18default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:59 am

Pamela

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How Abraham Gave Isaac Back to God
Genesis 22:1-20

IT IS GOD'S will that people show their love for him by what they do. You remember how God wished to have the first man and woman show their love for him. He planted in their garden-home a test-tree, the fruit of which he commanded them not to eat. And you remember also how they failed to obey his command, and so failed to show their love.


Abraham always listened to God's voice and obeyed. He left his own people and his homeland to journey into a country that he did not know, because God called him. And in our last story he sent Ishmael and Hagar away because God told him to do as Sarah had said. Even when it did not seem easy to obey, Abraham was always ready to do God's bidding.

After the baby Isaac came into Abraham's life, God saw that Abraham's love for the little boy was very strong. And the passing years increased this love, because Abraham knew that Isaac was the child God had promised, and he loved Isaac as a gift from God. He looked forward to the time when Isaac should become a man and should have children also, and he knew that these children should grow up and become the fathers of more people, because God had told him these things. And so whenever he looked upon Isaac and thought about these things, he knew that in this child were bound up all the promises of God for the coming years.

By and by the time came when Isaac grew far away from baby-hood into youth. Abraham had taught him to know about God and to worship him. Perhaps he had taken Isaac with him when he offered gifts upon the altar, and he had told Isaac that God would accept the gifts and hear his prayers if he would try to do right. And Isaac loved his father Abraham, and was obedient to. him.

When God saw how dearly Abraham loved his son, and how obedient and loving Isaac was toward his father, he thought, "I must prove Abraham this once more, and see whether he loves me better than he loves the gift-child I have given." So he called to Abraham one day, and Abraham answered, "Behold, here am I." Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go into the land of Moriah. There give him back to me as an offering upon an altar, which you must build at the place I will show."

Abraham did not know the reason why God should ask him to give Isaac back as an offering. He could not understand how the promises concerning Isaac would be fulfilled if now he must offer Isaac upon an altar, just like the lambs which he had given to God at other times. But Abraham believed that God understood why, and so he was not afraid to obey.

The land of Moriah was some distance from Abraham's tent, and the journey there would require a few days' time. Abraham knew this, and he prepared to start at once. He called two young men servants and Isaac, then saddled his donkey, and they started away. They took wood and fire with which to burn the offering, and traveled on and on for two days, sleeping at night under the trees. On the third day Abraham saw the mountain where God wanted him to build the altar and offer his gift. He left the servants with the donkey to wait by the roadside, while he and Isaac should go on alone. Isaac carried the wood upon his shoulder, and Abraham took the vessel containing the fire.

As they climbed the mountain-side together, Isaac began to wonder why his father had forgotten to bring a lamb for an offering. He did not know what God had asked Abraham to give. He did not understand why they were going so far from home to build the altar. So he said, "My father, see, here is wood and fire for the altar, but where is the lamb for an offering?" Abraham replied, "God will provide himself a lamb."

When they reached the place God had appointed, Abraham built an altar, laid the wood upon it, and then bound Isaac's hands and feet and placed him upon the wood. Next he took his knife, and was about to kill Isaac when a loud voice called to him out of the sky, "Abraham! Abraham!" The old man stopped to listen, and the angel of God said to him, "Do not harm Isaac. Now I know that you love God even better than you love your child. Untie his hands and his feet, and let him go." At this Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket near by. He took this animal and offered it instead of his son Isaac.

Afterward the angel called to Abraham from the sky again, and said, "Because you have not withheld your dearly loved child from me, I will surely bless you and will cause your descendants to be as many as the stars in the heavens and as the sands upon the seashore. And I will bless all the nations of the earth through your descendants, because you have obeyed my voice."
No doubt it was a happy father and son who walked down the mountain-side together; for now Abraham knew that he had surely pleased God, and Isaac knew that his life was precious in God's sight. Abraham called the name of the place where he built the altar, Jehovah Jireh, which means in his language, "The Lord will provide." Then they returned to the young men servants who were wait-ing by the roadside, and then journeyed on to their home at Beersheba., where Abraham had planted trees and digged a well some time before this story. Here Abraham lived for many years.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

19default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:35 am

Pamela

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How Abraham Found a Wife For Isaac
Genesis 23:1 - Genesis 25:18

WHEN SARAH, ISAAC'S mother, was one hundred and twenty-seven years old, she died. Abraham had no place to bury her, so he bought a field containing a cave,, and Abraham buried Sarah in this cave. The field and the cave were called by the name of Machpelah.


After Sarah's death, Abraham and Isaac felt lonely. Isaac was now grown to manhood, and Abraham thought he was old enough to be married. The parents usually choose wives for their sons, and husbands for their daughters, in those countries, and Abraham wished to choose a good wife for Isaac. He knew that the women who lived in Canaan were idol-worshipers, and that they would not teach their children to love the true God. Because he wanted Isaac's children to serve God, he would not choose a woman of Canaan to be Isaac's wife.

Then Abraham remembered the news that had come to him from his brother Nahor, who lived at Haran, the place in the country of Mesopotamia where his aged father had died. Nahor was now the father of twelve sons. "Perhaps I can send back to my own people at Haran," thought Abraham, "and find a wife for Isaac." So he called his trusted servant,Eliezer, and asked him to journey back to Haran and try to find a God-fearing wife for Isaac.

Eliezer knew that such a journey would require many days' time and would be attended by many dangers along the way. He knew, too, that Abraham's people might not be willing to send a daughter so far from home to become the wife of a man whom they had never met. But because he was a faithful servant Eliezer said, "I will go."

Then the long journey began. Eliezer took with him ten camels, several attendant servants, and many valuable presents. For days and days they traveled, crossing valleys, hills, and rivers, and edging alongside the great, lonely desert. By and by they came to the northern part of Mesopotamia, and then at last their tired camels stopped outside the city of Haran and knelt down near a well.

It was evening time, and the women of the city were coming to this well to fill their pitchers with water. Eliezer had learned to trust in Abraham's God, and now he lifted up his heart and prayed that God would send out to this well the young woman who would be suitable for Isaac's wife. "Let it come to pass, 0 Lord," he prayed, "that the young woman of whom I shall ask a drink may offer to draw water for my camels also. By this sign I shall know that she is the one whom you have chosen, for Abraham's sake, to he the wife of Isaac."

While Eliezer was praying, a beautiful young woman approached, with an earthen pitcher upon her shoulder. Eliezer waited until she had filled the pitcher with water, then he asked for a drink. Although he was a stranger, she spoke kindly to him and said she would draw water for his camels also. Again and again she filled her pitcher and poured its contents into the trough that the thirsty animals might drink. When she had done this, Eliezer gave her some of the beautiful presents that he had brought, and asked whose daughter she was and whether her people could supply lodging for him and for his camels. At her reply that she was the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham's brother, Eliezer knew that his prayer had been answered, and he bowed his head and worshiped God. Then Rebekah-for this was the young woman's name -told Eliezer that there was plenty of room in her father's house to lodge them all, and she hurried to tell what had happened at the well and to show the beautiful presents that Eliezer had given her.

When her brother Laban heard her story and saw the costly ornaments which Eliezer had given to Rebekah, he ran eagerly to meet the strangers at the well and to invite them to come in. "We have room for you and for your camels," he told them, and they went with him into the city. Laban now showed the same kindness to his guests that Abraham and Lot had shown to their angel visitors. He first brought water to wash their feet and then set food before them.

But Eliezer could not eat. "First let me tell why I have come," he said. "I am Abraham's servant, and God has blessed my master greatly, giving him flocks and herds, silver and gold, and many servants, besides camels and asses. God also gave to him and Sarah a son in their old age, and now Abraham has given all his great riches to his son. But as yet this son, Isaac, has no wife, and Abraham will not take a wife for him from the daughters of Canaan, because they worship idols. He has sent me, therefore, to you, to find a wife for Isaac." Eliezer told also how Rebekah, in answer to his prayer, had offered drink to him and to his thirsty animals.

Rebekah's father and brother Laban were willing to let her go back with Eliezer because they believed that God had sent him. And Rebekah, too, was willing to go. Eliezer was grateful to know of their willingness, and he bowed his head once more to worship the great God who had helped him on his journey. Afterward he enjoyed the feast which Rebekah's people had prepared for them. That same night he gave other presents of silver and gold and beautiful clothing to Rebekah, and to her mother and brother.

The next morning Eliezer said, "Now let me return to my master." Laban and his mother did not want to let Rebekah leave them so soon. "Can you not stay for a few more days?", they asked. But when Eliezer insisted that he must go at once, they called Rebekah, and she said, "I will go." So they bade her good-by and sent her away with her nurse and other attending maids.

On the homeward journey Rebekah and her maids rode the camels, and Eliezer led the way to Canaan. Very likely they traveled the same road that Abraham had traveled many years before, when he went with Sarah and Lot to the land that God had promised. At last they drew near to the place where Abraham and Isaac now lived. The evening shadows were stealing through the trees, and Isaac was out in the fields alone, thinking about God, when he saw the camels coming. He hurried to meet them, and Rebekah, seeing him, asked who he was. "This is my master, Isaac," Eliezer replied, and Rebekah alighted from her camel and covered her face with a veil.

When Isaac met them, Eliezer told how God had answered his prayers and had sent Rebekah to him. Isaac took her to his mother's tent, and she became his wife. He loved her, and did not grieve any more because of his mother's death.
The time passed on, and finally Abraham died, too. He had reached the age of one hundred and seventy-five. Ishmael heard of his death and came to help Isaac bury his father. They placed his body in the cave where Sarah had been buried.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
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20default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:08 am

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Jacob and Rachel
Genesis 29:1-30

JACOB CONTINUED ON his way, getting ever farther away from his brother Esau's wrath. At last he reached Haran, the place where his uncle Laban dwelt. He saw a green field, and in the field a well. Three flocks of sheep were lying there, resting, and waiting to be watered.


As Jacob drew near he greeted the shepherds and asked them whether they knew a man named Laban.

They replied, "We know Laban, and here, behold, Rachel, his daughter, cometh with the sheep."

As Rachel approached, looking sweet and beautiful, Jacob was deeply touched. He rolled away the stone which covered the well and watered the flock of Laban. Then he embraced his young cousin and lifted up his voice and wept.

When Rachel learned who Jacob was, she hastened to tell her father, Laban, and he greeted Jacob joyfully, and made him welcome in his home.

Jacob remained in Laban's home for a month, tending the flocks and herds. When Laban asked him what wages he wanted to receive, Jacob rescued any money, but said, "I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter."

Jacob wished to have Rachel for his bride, for he had already begun to love her dearly. Laban thought this was a very good bargain, and readily agreed.

Jacob toiled for seven years in his uncle's service, and the time seemed to pass very quickly, for he knew that at the end of that time he would win the hand of A great wedding feast was prepared, and the wedding day came at last. Jacob was full of happiness, but, alas Laban deceived Jacob, and forced him to marry Leah, the older daughter instead. Jacob was very angry at this, but Laban explained that a younger daughter cannot marry first, but would have to wait until the older daughter was married, so that Jacob would have to work for him seven more years if he also wanted to wed Rachel.

So Jacob, who had cheated his brother, was now cheated in turn.

Jacob worked for seven more weary years, always remembering, however, that at the end of this time he would win the hand of his beloved Rachel.
Finally, after seven more years had passed, Jacob also married Rachel, and now he was happy at last.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

21default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:07 am

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Jacob and Esau
Genesis 32 to Genesis 33

JACOB REMAINED TWENTY years with Laban, whose daughter Rachel he had married.


In those days men's chief riches consisted in flocks and herds; and Jacob had the care of those belonging to Laban. His uncle tried to deprive him of the wages which he had promised to give him; but, notwithstanding this, Jacob himself grew rich in cattle, and beasts of burden, and numerous servants.

At the end of the twenty years that Jacob had been with Laban, God bade him return to his own land; so he gathered together all his possessions, and set out on his way thither.

As Jacob still feared the anger of his brother Esau, whom he had cruelly treated, he sent messengers before him into Edom, where Esau lived, to say that he, and all his family with him, were coming, and that he hoped his brother would be friendly with him. But when his messengers returned, bringing word that Esau, with four hundred men, was advancing to meet him, he was much afraid, thinking now his brother was going to kill him.

So he divided his people and his flocks into two companies, that if the one were attacked, the other might escape away; and when he had done all that he could for self-defense, he prayed to God that Esau might not kill him, with his children and servants.

Then he took a great number of his cattle, his sheep and camels, and sent them on before him in separate droves, bidding the men who were with them tell Esau, when they met him, that they were a present from his servant Jacob.

It was not long before Esau and his four hundred men came in sight; and then Jacob, putting his children in a place of safety, went forward to meet him, bowing himself down to the ground to do honor to his brother.

But Esau, who had forgiven his brother's ill deeds, ran to him in the most loving manner, kissing him, and weeping for joy that they had at last met. And he asked him kindly about all the people with him and what was the meaning of the droves of cattle he had seen on the road.

Jacob told him that the people were his family, and that the cattle were for a present to himself. And when Esau refused to take it, he urged him, that he might be sure his brother had forgiven him.
Then Esau returned to his own country, and Jacob, in time, came back to the land of Canaan, as God had promised that he should do.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

22default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:37 am

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Pharaoh's Dream
Genesis 39 to Genesis 41

THE MERCHANTS WHO bought Joseph sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who treated him very favorably, and put all his affairs under Joseph's care. But after he had served his master faithfully for some time, Joseph was falsely accused of some wrong doing; and his master, without inquiring into the matter, shut him up in prison.


But God was with him in the prison, as He had been while Joseph was ruling over Potiphar's household; and He caused the keeper of the prison to put trust in him, so that he had the whole care of the other prisoners, and of all that was done there.

Two of these prisoners, chief servants of Pharaoh, dreamed strange dreams, and God gave Joseph wisdom to interpret them. He told one of them that his dream signified that in three days he should be taken out of prison and hanged; the other prisoner's dream signified that in three days he should be released and restored to favor. And he begged this one, after he should be set at liberty, to try to get him also out of prison. But when the man got out of prison, he thought no more about Joseph for two whole years.

At the end of that time, Pharaoh, to whose service he was restored, had two dreams that made him unhappy, and whose meaning none of his wise men could tell him.

He dreamed that seven fat cattle were feeding in a meadow, and that seven lean ones came and ate them up. Again he dreamed of seven ears of good corn on one stalk, and that seven blighted ones sprang up and devoured them. And when no one could tell him what these dreams meant, the chief butler remembered how Joseph had explained to him his dream in the prison.

So he told the king, who immediately sent for Joseph out of prison, related his dreams to him, and asked him what they signified. Joseph answered the king that in these dreams God had showed him what He was about to do: that He was going to give Egypt seven years of plenty, and after them seven years of famine. And he advised Pharaoh to seek out some discreet person whom he might set over the land of Egypt, with officers under him, to store up, during the years of plenty, corn enough to supply them in the years of famine.
Pharaoh thought the advice was good, and that no one was so fit as Joseph to do all this; so he made him ruler. And Joseph stored up the corn, so that, when the famine came, other countries sent to Egypt to buy food.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

23default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:22 am

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Moses in the Bulrushes
Exodus 1 to Exodus 2:10
JOSEPH DIED IN Egypt when he was a hundred and ten years old; and all the people mourned for him. Some time after this, when the descendants of Jacob had become very numerous, there was a king of Egypt who treated them in a harsh manner. He tried to make slaves of them, setting them to all kinds of hard labor. But, the more he oppressed them, the more they increased in number; and the Egyptians were afraid lest, in time of war, the Israelites might turn against them, and make their escape out of the land.


So the king commanded that all the sons of the children of Israel, or Hebrews as they are also called, should be put to death as soon as they were born. But the Hebrews to whom he gave this wicked command did not obey him; at which the king was so angry that he ordered his own people to throw all these poor little children into the river.

At this time a Hebrew named Amram had a son born: he was a beautiful child, and for three months his mother, Jochebed, succeeded in saving him from the Egyptians.

But at last she found she could no longer conceal him. So she made an ark, that is, a sort of cradle, of bulrushes coated over with pitch, laid him in it, and then placed the ark among the reeds that grew by the riverside, while his sister stood watching in the distance to see what would become of him.

Presently the king's daughter, attended by her women, came down to the river, and, perceiving the ark among the reeds, she sent one of her servants to bring it to her.

It was accordingly brought; and when she saw the poor little child crying, she was sorry for it, for she knew it must be one of the Hebrew children whom the king had commanded to be killed, and whose mother had laid it there, hoping that some one would have compassion on it.

The child's sister, seeing how the princess pitied him, then came forward, and asked whether she should fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse it for her. The princess bade her do so. So she fetched his own mother, and the king's daughter told her to take the child away and nurse it for her. Then his mother joyfully carried her little one home again.
When he was old enough to be taken to Pharaoh's daughter, she called him her son, named him Moses, which means "drawn out of the water," and had him taught all that was known to the Egyptians, who were a very learned people.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

24default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:45 am

Pamela

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Pharaoh's Overthrow
Exodus 7 to Exodus 14

AFTER THIS, BY God's command, Moses and Aaron went many times to Pharaoh to bid him let the people go. But Pharaoh would not, though God sent strange and terrible plagues upon him and his people to punish them for their wickedness, and make them obey Him.


At length, as Pharaoh had commanded all the sons of the Hebrews to be slain, God in one night destroyed all the first-born in Egypt; and then, fearing for their own lives, the Egyptians hastily drove out the Israelites, men, women, children, and cattle, with their household goods, hurriedly gathered together.

There were six hundred thousand men, besides women and children. God caused a pillar of cloud to go before them in the daytime, to show them the way they were to take, and at night He led them by a pillar of fire.

After the children of Israel had left Egypt, Pharaoh, though his kingdom had been nearly destroyed for his disobedience to God, was angry with himself for having let them go. So he gathered together a great army, and pursued them to where they were encamped, in the wilderness by the Red Sea.

When the people saw they were pursued, they were much afraid, and reproached Moses for bringing them there; for they thought it would have been better to be slaves in Egypt, than to be killed in the wilderness. But Moses bade them not fear; God would deliver them.

Then the pillar of cloud and of fire, that had gone before to guide them, removed, and went behind the camp, so that it stood between the Egyptians and the children of Israel. To the Egyptians it was cloud and darkness, so that they could not continue their pursuit; but to the Israelites it gave light.

Then Moses, as God had commanded him, stretched out his rod, or staff, over the sea; and the waters divided, standing like a wall on the right hand and on the left, leaving dry land between them, so that the whole multitude passed through the very middle of the sea to the opposite shore. The Egyptians, seeing this, hastened to follow; but God sent a violent storm upon them, which threw them all into confusion.

When they were in the middle of the sea, where the Israelites had gone safely, God bade Moses again stretch out his hand over it; and when he did so, the waters came back again to their place, and drowned Pharaoh, and all the Egyptians: there was not one of them left alive.
So God delivered the children of Israel, as He had said.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

25default Re: This Mornings Meditation on Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:30 am

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Moses Smites the Rock
Exodus 17:1-7



AFTER THE EGYPTIANS had been all destroyed, the Israelites went forward into the wilderness; and when they had been traveling three days, they were in distress for want of water.


They did indeed find some at a place called Marah, but it was so bitter they could not drink it. So again they reproached Moses, as they had done when the Egyptians pursued them to the Red Sea, asking him what they were to do for drink.

Then God bade him throw into the water a certain tree which He showed to him; and when Moses had done this, it became quite good to drink.

In a few days after, the people were in want of food; and again they were angry with Moses and his brother Aaron, who was with him taking care of the Israelites.

They said they wished they had stayed in Egypt, where they had enough to eat, for they had been brought into the wilderness only that they might die of hunger. Then Moses asked them why they murmured against him and Aaron, when it was God Himself who had brought them out of Egypt; their murmuring was really against God.

And yet, though He was displeased at their conduct, He would supply them with food, that they might know that he was indeed their God. So, in the evening, great flocks of quail came about the camp for the Israelites to eat; and in the morning, when the dew was dried up from the ground, there lay upon it a small round thing, like coriander seeds.

The people did not know what it was; but Moses told them that was bread that God had sent them. There it was, fresh every morning, except on the seventh day, which God had in the beginning made a day of rest. On that day He would not have them gather it, giving them twice as much on the sixth day, that they might have enough for the seventh.

This was called "manna"; and when it was ground, like grain, they made bread of it. God gave it them for forty years, till they came to the land of Canaan.

But, though God had done so much for them, the children of Israel were a most ungrateful people. The very next time they wanted water, they were so angry with Moses that they were ready to kill him.
Then Moses prayed to God to tell him what to do. And God bade him take some of the chiefs of the people, and go to a certain rock in Horeb, and strike it with his rod, and water should come out of it. So he took the men with him, and struck the rock, and water flowed abundantly.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

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