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.

(45) The ascension of Jesus

When the disciples were with Jesus,
they kept asking Jesus,
"Lord, are you going to free Israel now
and restore our kingdom?"
"They are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit
has come upon you, you will receive power and
will tell people about me everywhere."
It was not long after he said this
that he was taken up into the sky
and he disappeared into a cloud.

(44) The resurrection

Early on sunday morning, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb
and found that the stone had been rolled away.
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying,
She glanced over her shoulder and saw someone
standing behind her.
It was Jesus, but she did not recognize him.
"Why are you crying? who are you looking for?" Jesus asked her.
She thought he was the gardener,
"if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him."
"Mary!" Jesus said.
She turned toward him and shouted, "Teacher!"
"Go find my brothers and tell them
that I am ascending to my Father and
your Father, my God and your God."
Mary found the disciples and told them,
"I have seen the Lord!"

(43) The death of Jesus

Jesus was crucified.
and 2 criminals were crucified with him,
their crosses were either side of his.
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until 3 o'clock.
Jesus shouted out, and he gave up his spirit.
At that moment, the curtain in the Temple was torn in two,
from top to bottom.
As evening approached,
Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea went to take
Jesus' body and wrapped it in a long linen cloth.
He placed the body in his new tomb.

(42) Peter denies Jesus

Meanwhile, as Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard
where Jesus was being held,
a servant girl came over and said to him
"You were one of those with Jesus!"
But Peter denied it in front of everyone,
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Later, another servant girl noticed him and said,
"This man was with Jesus."
Again Peter denied it,
"I don't even know the man."
A little later, some other bystanders came over and said,
"You must be one of them!"
"I dont know the man!"
Peter said to them.
And immediately the rooster crowed.
Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind
"Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."
And Peter went away, crying bitterly.

(41) Jesus is arrested

Judas, one of the 12 disciples, arrived with a mob
that was armed with swords and clubs.
They had been sent out by the leading priests and
other leaders of the people.
Then they grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.

(40) Jesus prays in Gethsemane

Jesus brought his disciples to an olive grove called Gethsemane.
and he told them to sit there while he prays.
Jesus went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground,
praying, "Father, If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken
away from me. Yet I want you will, not mine."
Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep.
"Couldn't you stay awake and watch with me even one hour?"

(39) The last supper

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened bread,
the disciples came to Jesus and asked,
"Where do you want us to prepare the Passover supper?"
"Go into the city and you will see a certian man,
Tell him, The teacher says, my time has come,
I will eat the Passover meal at your house."
So they did as Jesus told them and prepared the supper.
As they were eating,
Jesus took a loaf of bread and told them,
"Take it and eat it, for this is my body."
And he took a cup of wine and told them,
"Each of you drink from it,
for this is my blood."
Then they sang a hymn a and went out to the Mount of Olives.

(38) Judas agrees to betray Jesus

Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples,
went to the leading priests and asked,
"How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?"
And they gave him 30 pieces of silver.
From that time on,
Judas began looking for the right time and place to betray Jesus.

(37) The 3 servants

Later, Jesus sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives.
Jesus told his disciples,
"Again, the kingdom of heaven can be illustrated
by the story of a man goin on a trip
to be crowned king and then return.
Before he left,
He called his servants and gave them money to invest
while he was gone.
The servant who received the 5 bags of gold
invested right away and doubled it.
The servant who received 2 bags of gold also
went right to work and doubled it.
But the servant who received the 1 bag of gold
dug a hole in the ground and hid the master's money
for safekeeping.
After a long time their master returnd from his trip
and summoned his servants.
The master was full of praise
when he heard his first 2 servants had doubled the money.
But he threw the last servant away
and gave what he had
to the one with the 5 bags of gold."

(36) Caesar's & God's

One day the Pharisees met together to trap Jesus into saying
something for which they could accuse him.
So they asked Jesus this question,
"We know how honest you are.
Now tell us what you think about his:
Is it right to pay taxes to the Roman government or not?"
But Jesus knew their evil motives.
"Show me the Roman coin used for the tax."
When they handed him the coin,
Jesus asked,
"Whose picture and title are stamped on it?"
"Caesar's" They replied.
"Well, then, give to Caesar what belongs to him.
and give to God what belongs to God."
People were amazed at his word and went away.

(35) The wedding feast

Jesus told several others stories to illustrate the Kingdom of heaven.
"The kingdom of heaven can be illustrated by the story
of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son.
Many guests were invited
But the guests he had invited ignored them and
wentn about their business.
Then the king ordered to go out to the street corners
and invite everyone
So the servants brought in everyone they could find,
good and bad alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he noticed a man who wasn't wearing the proper clothes
for a wedding.
So the king threw the man out from the feast."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

(34) Jesus clears the Temple

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out
the merchants and their customers.
He knocked over the tables of the money changers
and the stalls of those selling doves.
and stopped everyone from bringing in merchandise.
Jesus taught them,
"The Scriptures say,
'My Temple will be called a place of prayer,
but you have turned it into a den of thieves!"
When the leading priests and teachers of law heard
what Jesus had done,
they began planning how to kill him.

(33) Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey

As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem,
Jesus sent 2 disciples on ahead.
"Go into the village and you will see a donkey tied there,
Untie them and bring them here.
If anyone asks what you are doing,
just tell them,
'The Lord needs them'
and he will immediately send them.
Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus,
and others cut branches from the trees and spread them
on the road.
and the crowds all around him were shouting,
"Hosanna! Hosanna!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
The entire city of Jerusalem was stirred as he entered.

Friday, September 5, 2014

(32) Jesus talks about serving others

One day the mother of James and John came to Jesus.
"What is your request?"
Jesus asked.
She replied,
"In your kingdom, will you let my 2 sons sit in places of honor
next to you, one at your right and the other at your left?"
Jesus told her,
"You don't know what you are asking,
Can you drink from the bitter cup of sorrow I am about to drink?
My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen."
When the 10 other disciples heard what James and John had asked,
They were angry.
Then Jesus called them together and said,
"Whoever wants to be a leader among you
must be your servant, and
whoever wants to be first must become
your slave.
Even I came here not to be served but to serve others,
and to give my life as a ransom for many."

(31) Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had
already been in his grave for 4 days.
Martha said to Jesus,
"If you had been here, my brother Lazarus would not have died."
Jesus told her,
"Your brother will rise again."
Then they came to the grave.
It was a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance.
"Roll the stone aside." Jesus told them.
So they rolled the stone aside.
Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said,
"Father, thank you for hearing me.
You always hear me, but I said it out loud
for the sake of all these people standing here,
so they will believe you sent me."
Then Jesus shouted,
"Lazarus! come out!"
And Lazarus came out, bound in graveclothes,
his face wrapped in a headcloth.
Jesus told them,
"Unwrap him and let him go!"

(30) Zacchaeus sees Jesus

There was a man named Zacchaeus.
He was one of the most influential Jews in the
Roman tax-collecting business, and he was very rich.
He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short.
So he climbed a sycamore tree beside the road.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and
called him by name,
"Quick, come down, I will be a guest in your home today."
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and
took Jesus to his house in great joy.
Zacchaeus said to Jesus,
"I will give half my wealth to the poor,
and if I have overcharged people on their taxes,
I will give them back 4 times as much."
Jesus responded,
"Salvation has come to this home today."

(29) Vineyard workers

Jesus continued with his teaching,
"The kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of an estate
who went out in morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
At 9 o'clock in the morning,
he was passing through the marketplace and
saw some people standing around.
So he hired them, and agreed to pay the normal daily wage.
At noon and again at 3 o'clock he hired more people.
At 5 o'clock he saw some people standing around,
'Why haven't you been working today?"
They replied,
"No one hired us."
The owner told them to join the others in the vineyard.
That evening, the owner paid everyone a full daily's wage.
But those hired earlier protested,
'Those people worked only 1 hour, and yet
you have paid them just as much as you paid us
who worked all day!'
The owner answered,
'Friend, I have not been unfair,
Didn't you agree to work all day for the normal wage?
You're angry because I am kind?'

Thursday, September 4, 2014

(28) The rich young man

"Teacher, what good things must I do to have eternal life?"
Someone came to Jesus with this question.
"Only God is good. you can receive eternal life
if you keep the commandments."
Jesus replied.
"I've obeyed all the commandments,
what else must I do?"
The man asked.
"If you want to be perfect,
go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."
But when the young man heard this,
he went sadly away because he had many possessions.

(27) Jesus blessed the children

Some children were brought to Jesus
so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them.
The disciples told them not to bother him.
But Jesus said,
"Let the children come to me.
Don't stop them
for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these,"
And he put his hands on their heads and blessed them.

(26) The unforgiving debtor

Jesus continued with his teaching,
"The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king
who decided to bring his accounts up to date with
servant who had borrowed millions of dollars from him.
But the man fell down before the king and begged him.,
Then the king felt pity for him, and
released him and forgave his debt.
But when the man left the king,
he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars.
He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
When the other servants saw this, they were very upset.
So they went to see the king and informed him what had happened.
Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said,
"You evil servant! I forgave your debt.
Shouldn't you have mercy on your servant,
just as I had mercy on you?
Then the king sent the man to prison
until he had paid every penny."

Monday, August 18, 2014

(25) The lost sheep

Jesus continued with his teaching,
"If a shepherd has 100 sheep, and 1 wanders away and is lost,
What will he do?
Won't he leave the 99 others and go out into the hills
to search for the lost one?
And if he finds it, he will surely rejoice over it
more than over the 99 that didn't wander away.
In the same way, it is not my heavely Father's will that
even one of these little ones should perish."

Friday, August 15, 2014

(24) The neighbor

One day a man asked Jesus,
"Who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied with an illustration,
"A Jewish man was traveling on a trip and he was attacked by bandits.
They stripped him, beat him up, and left him half dead on the road.
Some time later,
A Jewish priest came along but passed the man,
A temple assistant walked over and looked at him
but he also passed by on the other side.
Then a disliked Samaritan came along and when he saw the man,
he felt deep pity.
the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine.
Then he took to an inn, where he took care of him.
Now which of these 3 would you say
was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?
Jesus asked.
The man replied,
"The one who took care of the man."
Then Jesus told him,
"Yes, now go and do the same."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

(23) Jesus' glory

Jesus took Peter, James, and James and led them up a high mountain.
As the disciples watched, Jesus' appearance changed
so that his face shone like the sun,
and his clothing became white.
Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.
Peter shouted out,
"This is wonderful! Jesus, If you want me to,
I will make 3 shrines, for you and for Moses and Elijah."
Then a bright cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said,
"This is my beloved Son, Listen to him."
The disciples were scared so they fell down on the ground.
Jesus came over and touched them,
"Get up, don't be afraid."
When they looked up, they saw only Jesus with them.
And Jesus told them not to tell anyone about what they have seen
until he's raised from the dead."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

(22) Peter says Jesus is the Messiah

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea,
he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say I am?"
"Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah,, and
others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets"
They replied.
Then Jesus asked them again,
"Who do you say I am?"
Peter answered,
"You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied,
"You are blessed, because my Father in Heaven
has revealed this to you.
You did not learn this from any human being.
Now I say to you that you are Peter, and
upon this very rock I will build my church,
and all the powers of evil will not conquer it."
Then Jesus warned them not to tell anyone
that he was the Messiah.

Monday, August 11, 2014

(21) Jesus walks on water

Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and
cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home.
and then Jesus went up into the hills by himself to pray.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land,
for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.
About 3 o'clock in the morning,
Jesus came to them, walking on the water.
The disciples thought he was a ghost when they saw Jesus.
But Jesus spoke to them,
"It's alright, I am here! Don't be afraid."
Then Peter called to him,
"If its really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water"
"All right, come." Jesus said to Peter.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on water toward Jesus.
But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified
and began to sink.
Instantly, Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him.
"You don't have much faith.
Why did you doubt me?"
Jesus said to Peter.
And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

(20) Jesus feeds 5,000 people

Jesus went off to a remote area to be alone.
But the people heard where he was going and
followed from many villages.
When Jesus saw the large crowd,
and he had compassion n them and healed their sick.
That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said,
"It is getting late, we should send the crowd away
so they can go to the villages and
buy food for themselves."
But Jesus told them'
"That's not necessary, you feed them."
"We can't." they replied.
"We have only 5 loaves and 2 fish!"
"Bring them to me." Jesus said.
Then Jesus took the 5 loaves and 2 fish, looked up heaven,
and asked God's blessing on the food.
Jesus broke the loaves into pieces, and
gave some bread and fish to each disciple,
and the disciples gave them to the people.
They all ate as much as they wanted,
and there were 12 baskets of leftovers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

(19) The 12 disciples

Jesus called his 12 disicples together and sent them out
with authority to cast out evil spirits.
He told them to take nothing with them except a walking stick,
no food, no money, no bag.
Sothe disicples went out,
telling all they met to turn from their sins.
They cast out many evil spirits,
and healed many sick people,
anonting them with olive oil.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

(18) Nazareth rejects Jesus

When Jesus was done telling these parables,
he then left that part of the country.
He returned to Nazareth, his hometown.
As Jesus was teaching to the crowd in the synagogue,
the people were amazed and said,
"Where does he get his wisdom and his miracles?
He's just a carpenter's son,
and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers.
What makes him so special and great?"
The people were offended and rejected Jesus and his teachings.
Then Jesus told them,
"A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown
and among his own family."
Jesus did only a few miracles there
because of their unbelief.

(17) The parable of the sower

Jesus went down to the shore,
and a large crowd soon gathered to listen to his teachings.
He told many stories such as this one:
"A farmer went out to plant some see.
Some fell on a footpath,
and birds came and ate them.
Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock.
The plants sprang up quickly,
but they soon wilted under the hot sun
and died because the roots had no nourishment.
Other seeds fell among thorns
that shot up and choked out the tender blades.
However, some seeds fell on fertile soil
and produced a crop that was 30, 60, 100 times.

(16) The true family of Jesus

As Jesus was speaking to the people,
his mother and brothers were outside,
wanting to talk with him.
Someone came to Jesus and told him,
"Your mother and your brothers are outside,
and they want to talk to you."
Jesus then asked,
"Who is my mother? who are my brothers?"
Jesus pointed to his disciples and said,
"These are my mother and brothers,
anyone who does the will of my Father in Heaven
is my brother and sister and mother!"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

(15) Jesus heals a lame man by the pool

There was a pool of Bethesda in the city of Jerusalem.
Crowds of sick people - blind,lame, or paralyzed - were there near the pool.
One of the men lying there had been sick for 38 years.
When Jesus saw him, and knew how long he had been ill,
he asked him,
"Would you lke to get well?"
"I can't, sir.
I have no one who can help me into the pool
when the water is stirred up.
Someone else always gets in ahead of me."
the sick man said to Jesus.
"Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!"
Jesus told him.
Instantly, the man was healed.
Jesus also told him,
"Now you are well, so stop sinning, or
something even worse may happen to you."

(14) A woman at the well

Jesus and his disciples came to the Samaritan village.
They were on their way back to Galilee.
Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.
Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water,
and Jesus said to her,
"Please, give me a drink."
Jesus was alone at the time because his disciples
had gone into the village to buy some food.
The woman was surprised,
for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.
"Why are you asking me for a drink? I am a Samaritan woman."
She said to Jesus.
"If you knew who I am, you would ask me,
and I would give you living water."
Jesus replied.
"But, you don't even have a bucket or rope,
How would you get this living water?"
She asked him.
"The water I give will takeaway thirst altogeher.
It becomes a spring within them,
giving them eternal life."
Jesus replied.
"Please! give me some of that water!"

(13) Nicodemus visits Jesus by night

A Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus, a Pharisee,
came to speak with Jesus at night.
"Teacher, we know that God has sent you to teach us.
Your micraculous signs are proof that God sent you to us."
Nicodemus said to Jesus.
"I assure you, unless you are born again,
you can never see the Kingdom of God."
Jesus replied.
"What do you mean?
How can an old man like me be born again?"
Nicodemus asked Jesus.
"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God
without being born of water and the Spirit."