Holy! Holy! Holy! Because of you, Lord God, thieves stop stealing and rise up to call you holy. Because of you, liars stop lying and raise their voices to call you holy. Because of you, drunks stop drinking and stand up to declare you holy. Because of you, murderers stop murdering and lift their hearts to announce you holy. Because of you, the selfish stop hoarding and release all they own to you holy. You are life in its purest form.
The deepest reaches of my soul praise you, Lord God. I would burst if I could not. When I awake, night merges into morning and I extol you for a new dawn. When I walk about through my day, I exalt you. When I lie down to sleep at the end of the day, I worship you. You are my breath, my heart beat, my reason for being.
Ah, my glorious God, you give me all things that I need and more. Above all, you gave me salvation from hell. With that I have all things. Though I grow depressed sometimes over human events and material things that do not work out, I remind myself that I still have heaven with You. That is worth ten thousand times ten thousand more than earthly concerns. At the end, I will rise up and be always at your service as you rule supreme over all worlds. And forever worship you.
The scripture for today, December 12 (12/12), is 2nd Corinthians 12:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“The things that mark an Apostle ~ signs, wonders, and miracles ~ were done among you with great perseverance.”
This is so interesting. These are not things that mark Christians in general, but the Apostles.
Jesus told his Apostles that, when they taught the world about Jesus and baptized them, miracles and signs would accompany the believers (Mark 16:17). The miracles and signs followed conversions of believers by the Apostles to whom he was speaking.
Acts 3:6f and 9:40f involved healing by the Apostle Peter, and Acts 20:9f involved healing by the Apostle Paul, which they performed to prove their words were the Words of God.
In Acts 6:5-6, the Apostles laid their hands on seven men to serve the church in a special way. Of those men, Stephen performed miracles (6:8), and Philip performed miracles (8:5-7), both to prove their words were the Words of God.
In Romans 1:1,11, the Apostle Paul said he wanted to visit the Christians in Rome so he could impart some spiritual gift. In 1st Corinthians 1:6-7, the Apostle Paul said he imparted spiritual gifts to Christians in Corinth.
We have no examples in the New Testament of anyone other than an Apostle passing on the power to perform miracles. Even the writings of the “Apostolic Fathers” in the late 1st and early 2nd century say things like “Even down to those times there were a few miracles being performed including raising the dead.”
Yes, the reason for the miracles was to prove the words of the miracle performer were the Words of God (which had not yet been written down). It was this way with Jesus, and this way with his Apostles. Now that we have the New Testament (Jesus’ and His Apostles’ teachings in written form), we no longer need the miracles.
They were “marks of an Apostle.” The miracles including, healing, renewing the maimed (making limbs grow back), and bringing people back to life. All of them.
The scripture for today, November 21 (11/21), is Acts 11:21 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”
What had just happened? Some Christians in Phoenecia (today’s Lebanon), Cyprus (the Mediterranean Island), and Cyrene (in today’s North Africa) went to Antioch, a major city in Northern Syria near the southern border of today’s Turkey. There they established a congregation.
This little congregation ended up being the home congregation of Paul and Barnabas for many years. It started small; we don’t know the size it grew to. Regardless of the size, it had foresight and Eventually, did great things.
Perhaps you live in a town full of churches, but you’ve compared them with the New Testament, and none of them follows the original pattern. Perhaps you have even given up going to church because of this problem. What is stopping you from beginning a little congregation after the New Testament pattern in your home?
New Testament churches were simple ~ not elaborate like those mega-churches out there. And those simple churches have always been dynamic in their simplicity. Who knows but that your new little congregation will someday produce a Paul or a Barnabas….