This is a very encouraging praise song called “Higher” that I learned about this morning from our good sister in Christ at GodInspiredArt&Quotes! She is a very encouraging sister and I love her “Afro Praise Mondayz!” This song really lifted my heart today! Thank you sister! God bless you!
This is known as “Afro-Caribbean” music! The artist is Keylon Whitlock from Tobago!
I love that painting by Kenneth Wyatt! Whether that is what the Apostle Paul looked like or not, it is a masterful depiction of what Paul might have looked like. This is definitely what it would have looked like as he wrote all the letters that we have come to cherish so dearly all around the world. Today, I would like to take a peek into what Paul’s frame of mind was while he was writing his letters that became the majority of the New Testament.
He knew the kind of man he was before he received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and he was fully aware of the grace that had been poured out on him. Listen to this man’s heart as he writes about himself.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Paul felt as though he was the worst sinner that Jesus had saved! He was humble about his faith and he was so thankful for God’s love and mercy. He knew what he had come from and he knew where he was going and he gave all the glory to Jesus! Paul went by his Hebrew name Saul before he was a Christian. He persecuted Christians and killed them. He was there giving approval to the murderous mob who stoned Stephen to death (see Acts 7:54-8:1). However, God had a great plan for Saul!
In Acts 9 we read about his miraculous conversion while on the road to Damascus where he was traveling to persecute more Christians. Jesus appeared to him and it changes Saul’s life forever!
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, ” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Yeah, it’s amazing! That is why Paul was so hardcore for Jesus all the way until the end when the Romans chopped his head off! He had just murdered Stephen and he was on his way to imprisoning and killing more Christians, but Jesus stopped him, accepted him, and gave him a new mission! Paul was shown incredible grace and he knew it!
He starts using the name Paul in Acts chapter 13. It is commonly thought that Jesus gave him the name Paul, but we do not see that in the miracle on the road to Damascus. He was still called Saul from that time up until he started using his dual name Paul in chapter 13. Having dual names was common in Paul’s time.
“The custom of dual names was common in those days. Acts 13:9 describes the apostle as “Saul, who was also called Paul.” From that verse on, Saul is always referred to in Scripture as “Paul.””
“Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit…”
Here is a great explanation for the name change from GotQuestions.org:
“Paul was a Jew, born in the Roman city of Tarsus. He was proud of his Jewish heritage, as he describes in Philippians 3:5: “Circumcised on the eight day, of the race of Israel, or the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage, in observance of the law a Pharisee.” So zealous and devout was he that persecuting Christians was the natural way for him to show his devotion. He chose to use his Hebrew name, Saul, until sometime after he began to believe in and preach Christ. After that time, as “the apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), he used his Roman name, Paul. It would make sense for Paul to use his Roman name as he traveled farther and farther into the Gentile world.”
In order to find out how Paul became the Apostle to the Gentiles, we need to go back to Acts chapter 9 and find out what happened to Saul after he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus.
“The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision,
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
So you see, Jesus Himself appointed Paul to be His “chosen instrument” to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, their kings, and the people of Israel. By the way, God bless brother Ananias! He had no idea he would be healing the man who was going to spread the Gospel around the world, start a lot of the churches, and write most of the New Testament! He was worried about Saul because he knew he had been killing Christians.
Here is how Ananias responded to what Jesus told him:
“Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.”
That is how Paul got saved and that is how his ministry and calling to be Jesus’ chosen instrument started! The Christians that he had come to persecute became his brothers and sisters in Christ! He was healed, filled with the Holy Spirit, and baptized! He spent time with his new friends getting to know them, and then after being strengthened, he immediately started preaching about Jesus! Hallelujah! What an amazing testimony!
“All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.”
Paul’s letters are still proving that Jesus is the Christ to this very day! You might feel like you are the worst of sinners that Jesus has saved, but remember you are forgiven and free and you are a living testimony of the grace, love, mercy, and unlimited patience of Jesus Christ! He saved you because He has a great purpose for you! Push forward into that purpose immediately just like Paul did and never look back!
Good evening everyone! I hope you all had a blessed Saturday! It is a beautiful night tonight here in Colorado! I just took these photos about 20 minutes ago. The moon is coming up in the east and the sun has already set behind the Rockies. This will be a short post. I just wanted to say that I am praying blessing and protection over all of you tonight and over your families and your countries! God bless you all! Have a peaceful and blessed evening! Jesus loves you!
The stars are starting to come out one by one! Goodnight to everyone!
I have been having a blast playing Nerf wars with my son this afternoon! I just bought the set today for my son’s good grades. He is doing great in school and we are very thankful and very proud of him! The game is called Nerf Rival and it is awesome! They are toy guns that shoot little Nerf balls. They are very soft and it is very safe. I still bought the masks though because those little suckers come out at about 100 feet per second! My son has been wanting to do this for a long time. He was so excited leaving the store with all his gear!
It is a really cool set and it is a great game for a Dad and his son! If you have ever played paintball, then you will love this! It is just like it! The magazine holds 7 rounds, but you have to rack the charging handle after every shot. We got fast with it pretty quick though!
My son is so funny! He really goes after it and he charges at me over and over! He had his SWAT outfit on and one time when I had the door cracked and I was hiding in my office, he kicked it open like SWAT and got me! He has a lot of gusto! He even did some of his Taekwondo moves on me when he ran out of ammo! I let him take me down, then he likes to give me a little kick in the bum before he runs away. It is hilarious!
Here are the patches on my “every citizen a solider” uniform, and no, I’m not part of any group, but I also know most of those men are the good guys. The media are the ones that make them look crazy. They always try to make Christians look crazy too! I am a Christian and an American and I love my country and I am ready if my country ever does call a citizen militia together. We have the right to stand up for each other and fight back in this country! In 1 Corinthians chapter 13 one of the definitions of love is that “it always protects.” Love your family, protect them. Love your neighbors, protect them. Love your country, protect it. Feel me?
I know there are several veterans that read my blog! God bless you and thank you for your service! May the Lord protect all of our soldiers and may He give them great victory in battle and a swift and safe journey home! If we ever have a time in America where citizens need to step up to defend the country, then I will be stepping up wearing this. I could not just stand by while evil men rampage through my country! The Lord will discipline such men.
I never received the opportunity to join the military, but many of you know I once wanted to be a police officer and I did receive professional training in firearms. My instructor was an old gunny type guy who did 25 years training SWAT teams. Yes, it was rad and I learned everything I need to know to protect my family and my community. To be clear, I hate violence and fighting. I just believe the good guys need to be brave and be ready to fight evil and protect innocence. Evil men succeed when good men do nothing. I am glad I know how to protect my family, but I pray that I never have to use that training. I would much rather God just use His angels! That has worked real good for me so far! I usually only carry my .45 in the mountains when we go fishing because of the very real mountain lion and bear dangers that exist out there.
Just know that if there is some nut that starts hurting people, I am going to be the one to rush him hard and give him the discipline he deserves. Even if that means I go down in the process, so be it! That is better than a bunch of people getting killed who might not know the Lord.
I pray for peace and I hope my son never has to fight a war or encounter violence. My son loves playing army guys and he respects soldiers. I taught him that respect, but I want him to be a soldier for Jesus first and forever. I know that he will most definitely have to fight the spiritual war we are all living in! I have trained my son how to shoot a rifle and he takes Taekwondo, but the majority of training I give my son is in the Word of God.
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.”
2 Timothy 2:1-4
I teach my son that we are in an ancient spiritual war and the only way to have victory in the battles we face in that war is through Jesus Christ. He knows our enemy is the evil one, and I have taught him to watch out for the kinds of tricks and lies he likes to use. Fathers, be sure to read Proverbs to your sons too, and pray for them every day!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
When some person in society goes totally insane and starts shooting people at a church or mall or school, that is not flesh and blood we are struggling against! That is satan! That is how he fights the war! He is the thief and he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work, so that we could have life to the full!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus speaking in John 10:10
“He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
1 John 3:8
I train my son how to fight this war in righteous victory. He knows the Word of God is his sword. He also knows prayer is a righteous weapon and I teach my son that in order to engage in ground battles victoriously we need to first do battle in the air by lifting our prayers to the Lord!
He knows the battle belongs to the Lord, and he knows the Lord is with him like a mighty warrior (Jeremiah 20:11)! He knows God’s angels are with him too, and he knows to pray at all times about everything!
“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Through faith in Jesus Christ you have the power to extinguish every last one of the flaming arrows the evil one shoots at you! Armor up brothers and sisters because like my great mentor and friend Jim bro always used to say, “life is a battleground, not a playground.”
Amen brother Jim bro! Grace and peace to you all!
After we ran around the basement for almost 3 hours shooting Nerf balls at each other, my son said, “Dad, that was the best time ever!”
I had an awesome time with my son today, thank you Jesus! God bless you all!
Did you know there is historical evidence that backs up the three hours of darkness, the great earthquake, and the dead people coming back to life that all happened on the day Jesus was crucified? Yes, ancient historians Africanus, Thallus, Phlegon, and Tertullian wrote about these amazing events! It is recorded history that backs up the Bible!
The picture above is Golgotha hill in Jerusalem, Israel. That is the place where Jesus was crucified and died to forgive the sins of all mankind!
“They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).
Let’s take a look at those incredible events that happened during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ:
“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
In the next verses we read about the great earthquake and the miracle of the tombs breaking open and dead people coming back to life! Remember, Jesus is the resurrection and the life, so when He gave up His Spirit and died, a bunch of people came back to life and started walking around! We also read about the curtain of the temple being torn, which was also a supernatural event from God (that signified a new covenant where we can approach God with freedom and confidence through Jesus).
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
That is one incredible day! Total darkness over the earth for three hours, a great earthquake, and dead people coming back to life! Surely that would be recorded outside the Bible because so many people experienced it! That’s right, history records it! The historians don’t mention the curtain, but they talk about everything else that happened that day! Here is research done by ChristianEvidence.net. Listen to how these men try to explain what happened that day in history. They thought it was an eclipse, but that did not make sense because it was not the right time for that. Africanus knew it was supernatural.
Africanus wrote a five volume History of the World around A.D. 221.
“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Savior falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun?
Let opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye. Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth—manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period.”
-Julius Africanus, Extant Writings, XVIII
“Thallus wrote a history of the eastern Mediterranean world since the Trojan War. He wrote his regional history in about AD 52.6. Unfortunately his original writings have been lost, however he is specifically quoted by Julius Africanus as in the quote above, and Africanus was a renowned third century historian. Africanus stated, ‘Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun—unreasonably as it seems to me.’ Thallus attempted to give a naturalistic explanation to the darkness during the crucifixion.”
“Phlegon was a Greek historian who wrote an extensive chronology around A.D. 137. Phlegon provides powerful confirmation, identifying the year and the exact time of day. In addition, he writes of an earthquake accompanying the darkness, which is specifically recorded in Matthew 27:51.”
“In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e. AD 33) there was ‘the greatest eclipse of the sun’ and that ‘it became night in the sixth hour of the day (i.e. noon) so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.'”
“An additional possible reference to the Darkness, is related by St. Tertullian (160-220), in his Apology addressed to the “rulers of the Roman Empire”. He also writes of the Darkness at Christ’s Crucifixion:”
“And yet, nailed upon the cross, He exhibited many notable signs, by which His death was distinguished from all others. At His own free-will, He with a word dismissed from Him His spirit, anticipating the executioner’s work. In the same hour, too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world-portent still in your archives.”
The Bible is recorded history of events that actually happened, and even ancient historians back that truth up! Pretty cool if you ask me! There is plenty of evidence that God’s Word is true. The world just doesn’t want you to know that! Well, now you know!
Stand strong in your faith in Jesus Christ! Grace and peace to you all!
I love these little guys! They are everywhere here in Colorado! They dig burrows in just about every open field available here in town. They bark as we drive by their little villages. The kids like to roll down the windows and bark back. They are so cute! I love this picture, well, because sometimes we just need a hug!
My 8 year old son was having a hard time this afternoon. He just seemed down and that is not typical for him. I said, “what’s wrong buddy?”
He said, “I don’t know, I just feel sad.” I said, “well, is something wrong or do you need to talk about something?” He said, “no, I don’t know why.”
I said, “come here buddy!” as I opened my arms wide to him, “you don’t need to feel sad, you need a hug!”
My son got up and walked right into my arms for a big warm Daddy hug! He had a big smile on his face and after I hugged him I put my left hand on his back and my right hand on his chest and gave him the “feelin’ the Spirit” shuffle! I move my hands back and forth quickly and say “are you feelin’ the Spirit now?!” I also prayed for him and let him know God is with him and everything is okay.
After that my boy was all smiles! He just needed a hug ya’ll! Sometimes this world gets us down and we don’t even know why, and sometimes we just need a hug! Who could use a big hug in your life right now? Maybe it’s you! Maybe it’s your loved ones! Maybe it’s both! Go give and get a hug and have a great night resting in God’s love tonight!
God bless you all! Grace and peace to you all! In the Loving Name of Jesus!
One day Jesus was teaching in the Synagogue in Capernaum where He lived. The ruling Jews known as the Sadducees and Pharisees were always questioning Jesus because they wanted to trap Him in His words. These men were always hungry for power and they desperately wanted to stop Jesus and His ministry. On this particular day, they asked Jesus which commandment is the greatest.
“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.”
They thought they were so wise and they had come up with a question that would stop Jesus. I’m sure they thought Jesus might answer “do not murder” or one of the other ten commandments, but Jesus did not give them the answer they assumed.
I will tell you the answer Jesus gave them in a moment, but first, enjoy a trip to the Synagogue in Capernaum where this conversation took place! I want to visit this place right now! This is the area where Jesus lived and ministered from A.D. 30 until He was crucified in A.D. 33. What a beautiful land!
So, this is where Jesus was when He gave His answer to the Pharisees who questioned Him with ill intent:
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The Pharisees had nothing left to say after that, so while they were all gathered together in the Synagogue Jesus took the opportunity to ask them a question in return.
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David, ” they replied.
He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’?
For he says,
” ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.” ‘
If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”
No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
That is just awesome! His answer and question were so powerful that it left the whole group of men who were supposed to be the wisest in all the land totally speechless! After that, He didn’t have to answer any more of their sinful questions.
Do what Jesus said. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind! Love your neighbor as yourself! The entire Bible hangs on those two commandments! Remember, Jesus is Lord, and that is what He was explaining to them!
Those are three Truths that everyone needs to know!
1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind!
2. Love your neighbor as yourself!
3. Jesus is Lord!
That was quite a moment of teaching in the Synagogue that day! Powerful enough to leave a person speechless indeed! Praise the Lord!