Tuesday, September 9, 2014

(52) Paul begins his ministry

Among the prophets and teachers of the church were
Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul.
One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting,
the Holy Spirit said,
"Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work
I have for them."
So after more fasting and prayer,
the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.
Sent out by the Holy Spirit, Saul, also known as Paul,
and Barnabas preached from town to town for the gentiles.

(51) Peter's Vision

Peter went up to the flat roof to pray.
It was about noon and he was hungry.
Then he saw a vision.
He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet
was let down by its four corners.
In the sheet were all sorts of animals.
Then a voice said to him, "Get up, Peter, eat them."
"No! God, I have never in my life eaten anything forbidden
by our Jewish laws."
The voice spoke again,
"If God says something is acceptable, don't say it isn't"
Peter was perplexed.
Just then the men sent by Cornelius, a Roman Officer,
found the house and stood outside at the gate.
As Peter was puzzling over the vision,
the Holy Spirit said to him,
"Go down and go with them without hesitation,
All is well for I have sent them."

(50) Saul's eyes

Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias.
God told him to go out look for Saul in town
and lay hands on him so that he can see again.
So Ananias went and found Saul.
He laid his hands on him and said,
"Brother Saul, Jesus, who appeared to you on teh road,
has sent me so that you may get your sight back
and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Instantly something like scales fell from Saul's eyes,
and he was able to see again.

(49) Saul becomes a Christian

Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath.
He was eager to destroy the Jesus' followers.
As he was nearing Damascus,
a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down upon him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice,
"Saul! Saul! why are you persecuting me?"
"Who are you, sir?" Saul asked.
"I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city,
and you will be told what you are to do"
As Saul picked himself up off the ground,
he found that he was blind.

(48) Stephen

Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power
performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.
There were some people who didn't like Stephen
for they couldn't stand against the wisdom and Spirit
by which Stephen spoke.
So they lied about Stephen and
Stephen was arrested.
Stephen became the first Christian martyr
because the Jewish leaders who sent Jesus to the cross
were enraged by his accusation of their sin.

(47) Ananias & Sapphira lie

There was a man named Ananias who sold some property.
He brought part of the money to the apostles,
but he claimed it was the full amount.
His wife had agreed to this deception.
Then Peter said,
"Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart?
You lied to the Holy Spirit,
and you kept some of the money for yourself.
How could you do a thing like this?
You weren't lying to us but to God!"
As soon as Ananias heard these words,
he fell to the floor and died.

(46) The Holy Spirit

On the day of Pentecost, 7 weeks after Jesus' resurrection,
the believers were meeting together in one place.
Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring
of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them,
and it filled the house they were staying.
Then, what looked like flames or tongeus of fire
appeared and settled on each of them.
and everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit
and began speaking in other languages,
 as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.