Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A young man who was in the teen group I helped lead back in the late 1970's posted this morning that someone told him he was "too religious".  It shocked me, even in today's society where religion is something that sometimes leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, I was still surprised to hear that someone felt a man "too religious"!  Especially somone like this man who always posts encouraging comments and things about his life to show how far he has come in his walk to find the abundant life he hopes for as he strives to make it to the goal set before us all as we live our lives with "eternal salvation" in mind.
I began to look in my Bible to see if I could find something that would help him feel better about the posts he makes concerning his religious attitude.  I came upon I Timothy 4 and posted verses 6-16 on his page.  I look especially to verses 8-10 which I would like to share with you today.
I Timothy 4:8-10
8:For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
9: It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
10: For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

We as believers must speak the truth to ourselves and all we come in contact with, wherever that may be.  In these times that can be in person, by phone, and now on the internet by way of facebook, twitter, google, and even here on a blog we create.
I believe that God uses us in whatever way He wills if we truly put aside ourself and let Him guide our walk through this life. He tells us that we must tell all we meet of the way to salvation and eternal hope in our God and how His Son came to earth to give us that hope.
We must be thankful that we have the opportunity to do this without the struggles and persecution the apostles faced during the early days of the church, after Jesus left them with the responsibility to spread the Word to others, in spite of the persecution He knew they would face.
Acts 4 tells us of an example during the early days of the apostles lives after Jesus left them, and it shows their fire and spirit they had for sharing His Word with the rest of the world, in spite of what those in authority had to say to them.  Those, that some of them must have known personally in their lives "before Jesus", "before salvation", "before too religious", "before eternal salvation".  Their example shows us that we too must strive to meet that example and use our lives in whatever way God has blessed us with to spread His Word so others might have that abundant life.  His coming to earth in the form of man, gave to his Apostles and by their teachings and living examples, that abundant life; we too must share with all we meet in our everyday walk as we look ahead towards that goal where we can meet Him and have eternal life with Him.

Acts 4

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Peter and John Arrested

As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming [a]in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the [b]message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priestwas there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” Then Peter, [c]filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “[d]Rulers and elders of the people, if we are [e]on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, [f]as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that[g]by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—[h]by [i]this namethis man stands here before you in good health. 11 [j]He is the stone which was rejected by you, the buildersbut which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Threat and Release

13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them [k]as having been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15 But when they had ordered them to leave the[l]Council, they began to confer with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that anoteworthy [m]miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.17 But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” 18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all [n]in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22 for the man was more than forty years old on whom this [o]miracle of healing had been performed.
23 When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O[p]Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
Why did the [q]Gentiles rage,
And the peoples devise futile things?
26 The kings of the earth [r]took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His [s]Christ.’
27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy [t]servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the [u]Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29 And [v]now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and [w]signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy [x]servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Sharing among Believers

32 And the [y]congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them [z]claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the[aa]proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of[ab]Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

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