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26 October - 2 Chronicles 23; Daniel 4; Acts 2


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Posted 26 October 2007 - 10:00 AM

First Portion

2 Chronicles 23


23:1 In the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him. 23:2 They went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the heads of fathers’ households of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. 23:3 All the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. He said to them, “Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as Yahweh has spoken concerning the sons of David. 23:4 This is the thing that you shall do. A third part of you, who come in on the Sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the thresholds. 23:5 A third part shall be at the king’s house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation. All the people shall be in the courts of Yahweh’s house. 23:6 But let no one come into the house of Yahweh, except the priests, and those who minister of the Levites. They shall come in, for they are holy, but all the people shall follow Yahweh’s instructions. 23:7 The Levites shall surround the king, every man with his weapons in his hand. Whoever comes into the house, let him be slain. Be with the king when he comes in, and when he goes out.”

23:8 So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men, those who were to come in on the Sabbath; with those who were to go out on the Sabbath; for Jehoiada the priest didn’t dismiss the shift. 23:9 Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds the spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David’s, which were in the house of God. 23:10 He set all the people, every man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, around the king. 23:11 Then they brought out the king’s son, and put the crown on him, and gave him the testimony, and made him king: and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him; and they said, “Long live the king!”

23:12 When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of Yahweh: 23:13 and she looked, and, behold, the king stood by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpets by the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew trumpets; the singers also played musical instruments, and led the singing of praise. Then Athaliah tore her clothes, and said, “Treason! treason!”

23:14 Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, “Bring her out between the ranks; and whoever follows her, let him be slain with the sword.” For the priest said, “Don’t kill her in the Yahweh’s house.” 23:15 So they made way for her. She went to the entrance of the horse gate to the king’s house; and they killed her there. 23:16 Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, and all the people, and the king, that they should be Yahweh’s people. 23:17 All the people went to the house of Baal, and broke it down, and broke his altars and his images in pieces, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. 23:18 Jehoiada appointed the officers of the house of Yahweh under the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of Yahweh, to offer the burnt offerings of Yahweh, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David. 23:19 He set the porters at the gates of the house of Yahweh, that no one who was unclean in anything should enter in. 23:20 He took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of Yahweh: and they came through the upper gate to the king’s house, and set the king on the throne of the kingdom. 23:21 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. Athaliah they had slain with the sword.

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 10:00 AM

Second Portion

Daniel 4


4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all the peoples, nations, and languages, who dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 4:2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked toward me. 4:3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. 4:4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 4:5 I saw a dream which made me afraid; and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 4:6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 4:7 Then came in the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers; and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. 4:8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and I told the dream before him, saying, 4:9 Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation. 4:10 Thus were the visions of my head on my bed: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth; and its height was great. 4:11 The tree grew, and was strong, and its height reached to the sky, and its sight to the end of all the earth. 4:12 The leaves of it were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all: the animals of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the sky lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. 4:13 I saw in the visions of my head on my bed, and behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from the sky. 4:14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Cut down the tree, and cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit: let the animals get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches. 4:15 Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals in the grass of the earth: 4:16 let his heart be changed from man’s, and let an animal’s heart be given to him; and let seven times pass over him. 4:17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will, and sets up over it the lowest of men. 4:18 This dream I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have seen; and you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in you. 4:19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken mute for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered, Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream, or the interpretation, trouble you. Belteshazzar answered, My lord, the dream be to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries. 4:20 The tree that you saw, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached to the sky, and its sight to all the earth; 4:21 whose leaves were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all; under which the animals of the field lived, and on whose branches the birds of the sky had their habitation: 4:22 it is you, O king, that are grown and become strong; for your greatness is grown, and reaches to the sky, and your dominion to the end of the earth. 4:23 Whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from the sky, and saying, Cut down the tree, and destroy it; nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field, and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him; 4:24 this is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which has come on my lord the king: 4:25 that you shall be driven from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass as oxen, and shall be wet with the dew of the sky, and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will. 4:26 Whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree; your kingdom shall be sure to you, after that you shall have known that the heavens do rule. 4:27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if there may be a lengthening of your tranquility. 4:28 All this came on the king Nebuchadnezzar. 4:29 At the end of twelve months he was walking in the royal palace of Babylon. 4:30 The king spoke and said, Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty? 4:31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from the sky, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you: 4:32 and you shall be driven from men; and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field; you shall be made to eat grass as oxen; and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will. 4:33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the sky, until his hair was grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. 4:34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation. 4:35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or ask him, What are you doing? 4:36 At the same time my understanding returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and brightness returned to me; and my counselors and my lords sought to me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent greatness was added to me. 4:37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase.

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 10:02 AM

Third Portion

Acts 2


2:1 Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2:2 Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 2:3 Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them. 2:4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak. 2:5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky. 2:6 When this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language. 2:7 They were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Behold, aren’t all these who speak Galileans? 2:8 How do we hear, everyone in our own native language? 2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 2:10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 2:11 Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the mighty works of God!” 2:12 They were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, “What does this mean?” 2:13 Others, mocking, said, “They are filled with new wine.”

2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words. 2:15 For these aren’t drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day. 2:16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel:

2:17 ‘It will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions.
Your old men will dream dreams.
2:18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days,
I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy.
2:19 I will show wonders in the sky above,
and signs on the earth beneath;
blood, and fire, and billows of smoke.
2:20 The sun will be turned into darkness,
and the moon into blood,
before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
2:21 It will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know, 2:23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; 2:24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it. 2:25 For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before my face,
For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.
2:26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope;
2:27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay.
2:28 You made known to me the ways of life.
You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

2:29 “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 2:30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 2:31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay. 2:32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses. 2:33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear. 2:34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself,

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand,
2:35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’

2:36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” 2:40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls. 2:42 They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer. 2:43 Fear came on every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 2:44 All who believed were together, and had all things in common. 2:45 They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need. 2:46 Day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, 2:47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to the assembly day by day those who were being saved.

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 10:33 AM

26 October 2008

2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 10:31 AM

26 October 2009

2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:30 PM

26 October 2010

2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2

"THOSE WHO RECEIVED HIS WORD"

Today we read the dramatic account of the events that followed after the disciples were empowered by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Led by Peter, they preached in such a way about Jesus, who he was and what he had done, and the terrible events to come that the hearers “were cut to the heart” [Acts 2:37].

The words which had pierced their conscience were, “Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” [Acts 2:36]. What can you know for certain today? More and more have convinced themselves that there is no God and they can live their lives just as they feel because they have no belief or faith: sadly Australia’s present Prime Minister is an example of this.

We have been reading of a similar state of affairs in Chronicles where Kings in Jerusalem followed Baal worship with all its immoral behaviour – and chaos followed. Peter in his address to the people at Pentecost quoted extensively from Joel in a passage which has an application to both the end of the Jewish age in AD70 and our Gentile age, events which are today soon to happen as God makes his power known in an awesome way.

How literal are we to understand the words Peter quotes? We must not explain them away. “I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And … everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” [Acts 2:19-21]

Our final and most telling thought is the words used to describe the response to Peter’s challenge, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation” [Acts 2:40] We partly quoted them in our heading – “so those who received his word were baptised.” Note the word “received”! It is one thing to read, to hear and to listen, but the only thing that really matters is when the words are “received” Have you “received” them?
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- DC

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 04:13 AM

26 October 2011

2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2

"SO THOSE WHO RECEIVED HIS WORD WERE BAPTISED"

What is it to receive God’s word? Countless millions have read God’s word. Go back into ancient history; the world before Noah, his wife and family, turned right away from God. Soon the descendants of Noah were turning away again, resulting in God confounding human languages at Babel, a word which is significantly translated into Greek as Babylon.

Then God saw in the man Abraham, a man of true faith. God had many dealings with him and we read 2 days ago in 2 Chronicles 20 the prayer of King Jehoshaphat as he stood before the assembly and made an impassioned prayer to the LORD saying they were “the descendents of Abraham your friend.” [2 Chronicles 20:7] But the quite common Hebrew word here is almost always translated elsewhere as love and loves! In God’s message through Isaiah he is addressed “the offspring of Abraham, my friend” [Isaiah 41:8], it is the same Hebrew word.

In a few days we will read Daniel’s desperate “prayer and pleas for mercy … O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him …” [Daniel 9:3,4] “Love” is the same Hebrew word!

As we read John’s Gospel earlier this month we saw Jesus’ response to those who proudly said, “Abraham is our father” – meriting the response, “If you were Abraham’s children you would be doing what Abraham did’ ” [John 8 :39] It maybe that some of these were hearing Peter’s speech which we read today in Acts 2. The affect of the Spirit inspired preaching of Peter caused many to be “cut to the heart” [Acts 2:37] and “with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation’ so those who received his word were baptised” [Acts 2:40-41] What a crooked generation it is today!

Back to our opening question; “What is it to RECEIVE God’s word?” It is one thing to hear (or to read), it is something else to “receive.” The ‘receiving’ means that God’s word becomes part of your thinking – and therefore of your doing. And “those who received his word and were baptised and “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” [Acts 2:42]. Before Christ returns may more receive God’s word and do this.
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Posted 26 October 2012 - 03:33 AM

26 October 2012

2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2

"GOD HAS MADE HIM BOTH LORD AND CHRIST"

Today we read the dramatic account of the events that followed after the disciples were empowered by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Led by Peter, they preached in such a way about Jesus, who he was and what he had done, and the terrible events to come that the hearers “were cut to the heart” [Acts 2:37].

The words which had pierced their conscience were, “Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” [Acts 2:36]. What can you know for certain today? More and more have convinced themselves that there is no God and they can live their lives just as they feel because they have no belief or faith.

We have been reading of a similar state of affairs in Chronicles where Kings in Jerusalem followed Baal worship with all its immoral behaviour – and chaos followed. Peter in his address to the people at Pentecost quoted extensively from Joel in a passage which has an application to both the end of the Jewish age in AD70 and our Gentile age, events which are today soon to happen as God makes his power known in an awesome way.

How literal are we to understand the words Peter quotes? We must not explain them away. “I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And … everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” [Acts 2:19-21]

Our final and most telling thought is the words used to describe the response to Peter’s challenge, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation” [Acts 2:40] We partly quoted them in our heading – “so those who received his word were baptised.” Note the word “received”! It is one thing to read, to hear and to listen, but the only thing that really matters is when the words are “received” Have you “received” them?
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- DC

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:25 AM

26 October 2013

2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2

“I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS …”

We have valuable thoughts in all our readings today.. In Chronicles we read how the priest “Jehoiada took courage and entered into a covenant with the commanders …” [2 Chronicles 23:1] so that the kingship was restored and the evil queen mother – Ahab’s daughter – was destroyed.

In Daniel we read chapter 4 and saw how parts of it were written by King Nebuchadnezzar himself who is humbled to bring him down from his excessive pride in saying, “Is not this great Babylon which I have built by my mighty power” [Daniel 4:30]. He is humbled for seven years and then, he himself writes, “my reason returned to me and I blessed the most high and I praised and honoured him who lives forever” [Daniel 4:34] He now has a true personal perception, born of experience, of the one and only real God. Can we fully share his perception?

He writes,” … all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing and he (God) does according to his will … all his works are right and his ways are just …” [Daniel 4:35,37]

In Acts 2 we read how the Holy Spirit came upon the 12 apostles on the Day of Pentecost. As a result Peter is inspired to speak out a message that cuts the hearers to the heart leading to thousands being converted and baptised.

What is really challenging for us to think about - is Peter’s quotation from a Psalm of David [Acts 2:25] applying it first to Jesus, then to all the believers, “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad … my flesh always will dwell in hope … you have made known to me the paths of life.” [Acts 2:25,26,28]

The more we read God’s word, may we more clearly see our Lord always before us so that we may not be shaken as our world disintegrates into chaos in these last days – as so many prophecies reveal it will.
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- DC



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Posted 25 October 2014 - 01:29 PM

25 October 2014
 
2 Chronicles 21; 22
Daniel 3
Acts 1  
 
“A BURNING FIERY FURNACE”
            
In Daniel today we have the account of the faithfulness of Daniel’s 3 companions, those we read about in Daniel 1 who, together with him, refused to eat the king’s rich food and wine. Now we read how these 3 refused to bow down to the king’s tall golden image.  The king warns,” if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?" [Daniel 3:15]  They refuse, saying, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." [Daniel 3:17-18]
            
This is an example of commitment to God, come what may!  A dramatic deliverance follows: there is no other incident like it in the Bible!  Well, there are no more kings who had "a burning fiery furnace" - but there are many accounts of deliverance occurring to those who faithfully follow their God.  We will read of several in the book of Acts which we started reading today.   
            
Are their deliverances today?  We have heard of answered prayers this year - and previous years - but there is an ultimate act of deliverance promised when Jesus, in returning, "will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect ..." [Matthew 24:31]   The elect will be saved out from a time of trouble. 
 
 We are going to read in Daniel of a  "time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book." [Daniel 12:1]  Clearly this is “the book of life”! Paul refers to it in Philippians 4:3, praising those “who have laboured side by side with me in the gospel …  whose names are in the book of life”  May we labour together in spreading the true gospel so that, by the grace of our saviour, our names will be in the book too; indeed, are already there. It is the most important “book” in the world.. 
            
The extent to which there will be a "fire" at this ‘time of the end’ is not clear, we rather think that some Scriptures, such as 2 Peter 3:10-12 are symbolic, but we cannot be sure, but we long for the time Peter describes in the next verse,  "according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”   
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- DC


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Posted 26 October 2014 - 12:18 PM

26 October 2014
 
2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2  
 
"SO THOSE WHO RECEIVED HIS WORD WERE BAPTISED"   
 
What is it to receive God’s word? Countless millions have read God’s word.  Go back into ancient history; the world before Noah, his wife and family, turned right away from God.  Soon the descendants of Noah were turning away again, resulting in God confounding human languages at Babel, a word which is significantly translated into Greek as Babylon. 
 
Then God saw in the man Abraham, a man of true faith.  God had many dealings with him and we read 2 days ago in 2 Chronicles 20 the prayer of King Jehoshaphat as he stood before the assembly and made an impassioned prayer to the LORD saying they were “the descendents of Abraham your friend.” [2 Chronicles 20:7]  But the quite common Hebrew word here is almost always translated elsewhere as love and loves!  In God’s message through Isaiah he is addressed “the offspring of Abraham, my friend” [Isaiah 41:8], it is the same Hebrew word. 
            
In a few days we will read Daniel’s desperate “prayer and pleas for mercy … O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him …” [Daniel 9:3-4]  “Love” is the same Hebrew word!   
             
As we read John’s Gospel earlier this month we saw Jesus’ response to those who proudly said, “Abraham is our father” – meriting the response, “If you were Abraham’s children you would be doing what Abraham did’ ” [John 8:39]   It maybe that some of these were hearing Peter’s speech which we read today in Acts 2.  The effect of the Spirit inspired preaching of Peter caused many to be “cut to the heart” [Acts 2:37] and “with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation’ so those who received his word were baptised” [Acts 2:40-41]  What a crooked generation it is today!
            
Back to our opening question; “What is it to RECEIVE God’s word?” It is one thing to hear (or to read), it is something else to “receive.”  The ‘receiving’ means that God’s word becomes part of your thinking – and therefore of your doing.  And “those who received his word and were baptised and “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” [Acts 2:42]. Before Christ returns may more receive God’s word and do this. 
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- DC


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Posted 26 October 2015 - 12:11 PM

26 October 2015
 
2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2  
 
"SO THOSE WHO RECEIVED HIS WORD WERE BAPTISED"                                                                 
            
What is it to receive God’s word?   Countless millions have read God’s word.  Go back into ancient history; the world before Noah, his wife and family, that world turned right away from God.  Soon the descendants of Noah were turning away again, resulting in God confounding human languages at Babel, a word which is significantly translates into Greek as Babylon. 
            
Then God saw in the man Abraham, a man of true faith.  God had many dealings with him and we read 2 days ago in 2 Chronicles 20 the prayer of King Jehoshaphat as he stood before the assembly and made an impassioned prayer to the LORD saying they were “the descendants of Abraham your friend.” [2 Chronicles 20:7]  But the quite common Hebrew word here is almost always translated elsewhere as love and lover!  In God’s message through Isaiah he addresses the people as “the offspring of Abraham, my friend” [Isaiah 41:8], it is the same Hebrew word. 
            
In a few days we will read Daniel’s desperate “prayer and pleas for mercy … O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him …” [Daniel 9:3-4]  “Love” is the same Hebrew word!   Let us meditate on the quality of our love for him – and his Son!
            
As we read John’s Gospel earlier this month we saw Jesus’ response to those who proudly said, “Abraham is our father” – meriting the retort, “If you were Abraham’s children you would be doing what Abraham did” [John 8:39]   It maybe that some of these were hearing Peter’s speech which we read today in Acts 2.  The effect of the Spirit-inspired preaching of Peter caused many to be “cut to the heart” [Acts 2:37] and – after that – “with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation’ so those who received his word were baptised” [Acts 2:40-41]  What an even more crooked generation surrounds us today!
             
Back to our opening question; “What is it to RECEIVE God’s word?”  It is one thing to hear (or to read) it, it is something else to “receive” it!   ‘Receiving’ means that God’s word becomes part of (y)our thinking – and, as a result, of your doing.  
            
And so “those who received his word and were baptised …devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” [Acts 2:42]. Before Christ returns may this be our devotion more than ever – and may more receive God’s word and also do this. May we do our part in bringing this about.
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- DC


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Posted 26 October 2016 - 11:08 AM

26 October 2016
 
2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2  
 
“YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS”
 
What a fascinating set of readings we have today! First in 2 Chronicles 23 we have the account of how “Jehoiada” the priest “took courage and entered into a covenant with the commanders” [2 Chronicles 23:1] to protect the very young king, the surviving son of Ahaziah. He ultimately placed him on the throne when the wicked Athaliah was executed. [2 Chronicles 23:14,21]. How soon now before the wicked ungodliness of our world is “executed” to be replaced by God’s kingdom.
 
It is most interesting how, Nebuchadnezzar, when restored to health is inspired to say (in today’s second portion of the readings,  Daniel 4) - “I blessed the Most High, and praised and honoured him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will …” [Daniel 4:34-35] 
 
Yes, we are “as nothing” unless we take on the name of his Son in baptism, and then truly follow and serve him, which is the challenge Peter makes as we read today in Acts 2. 
 
Our chapter starts by describing the remarkable events that occurred on the day of Pentecost when the 12 disciples, now called apostles [Acts 2:42] were able to speak in other languages [Acts 2:6-7] which are recognised by the many visitors from distant lands who are in Jerusalem for the feast. 
 
The Apostle Peter is inspired, first to quote from the prophet Joel [Acts 2:16], that the pouring out of the Spirit is a fulfilment of his prophecy. But then the prophecy leaps forward to dramatically describe events (surely our days) “the last days” [Acts 2:17] before our Lord returns - when God will “show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below… the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.” [Acts 2:19-20]
 
Peter brings his speech a climax by quoting “the patriarch David” [Acts 2:29] how he, “being … a prophet … foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ.” [Acts 2:30-31]. We will end by contemplating the state of mind David achieved – “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.' [Acts 2:28]: that wonderful state will be in the “presence” of Christ – when he returns! How soon now? We know not, but it could be very soon – may we all live so that, by his grace, we will all be “full of gladness.”
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- DC


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Posted 29 October 2017 - 01:47 AM

26 October 2017
 
2 Chronicles 23
Daniel 4
Acts 2  
 
"THOSE WHO RECEIVED HIS WORD"
 
Today we read the dramatic account of the events that followed after the disciples were empowered by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Led by Peter, they preached in such a way about Jesus, who he was and what he had done, and the terrible events to come that the hearers "were cut to the heart" [Acts 2:37].  
 
The words which had pierced their conscience were, "Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified" [Acts 2:36]. What can you know for certain today? More and more have convinced themselves that there is no God and they can live their lives just as they feel because they have no belief or faith: Australia has had Prime Ministers who have been an example of this. 
 
We have been reading of a similar state of affairs in Chronicles where Kings in Jerusalem followed Baal worship with all its immoral behaviour – and chaos followed. Peter in his address to the people at Pentecost quoted extensively from the prophet Joel in a passage which has an application to both the end of the Jewish age in AD70 and our Gentile age, events which are today soon to happen as God makes his power known in an awesome way.
 
How literal are we to understand the words Peter quotes? We must not explain them away. God declares, "I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And … everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." [Acts 2:19-21] 
 
Our final and most telling thought is the words Peter uses in responding to their reaction to his challenge, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation" [Acts 2:40] We partly quoted them in our heading – "so those who received his word were baptised." Note the word "received"! 
 
It is one thing to read, to hear and to listen, but the only thing that really matters is when the words are "received." Have you "received" them? If so, your life has been transformed and you have new – eternally significant objectives as a result.
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- DC





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