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."