7/27/14

From Jim McGuiggan... JESUS AND ROBINSON CRUSOE


JESUS AND ROBINSON CRUSOE

Henry Ford is quoted as saying that history is just one damn thing after another. Ignoring the details of the history associated with it, Samuel Beckett, came up with a play called Breath that lasted about 28 seconds. There's a dimly lit stage littered with scattered rubbish, there's a faint brief cry and breath inhaled, the very dim light begins to increase enough to make out what’s on stage but it's never bright, then another [identical] faint cry and breath being exhaled and light dims again into complete darkness. 

28 seconds.

Play ended.

Such is life! Such is history!

So it must feel, so it must look for multiplied millions.

Surprising?

Hardly!

The message of the Hebrew—Christian scriptures includes many stories of brutality, cruelty and heartlessness that beggar description. The world it reveals has a God-denying look and there’s enough in there about God himself that tempts even believers to look away, uneasy and embarrassed.

It isn’t difficult to go to the Bible and history and choose events that we can string together and create a Beckett play or a Ford viewpoint. Something like that sits before us in the book of Ecclesiastes—“Pointless, Pointless, Everything is pointless!” [How did that book ever make it into the canon?]

But neither Ford nor Beckett could live in such a world. In your mind you can visit a world like that but you can’t live there. You can read many pieces from the Hebrew—Christian scriptures and shake your head, perplexed, but you can’t read it as a whole and see it climax in Jesus Christ and dismiss it as another record of scattered rubbish that lies between a breath taken in and another expired—end.

In the Bible you come across events that defy chaos and emptiness; events that defy gloom and pointlessness.

String those events together. Think of the Exodus and the birth of a chosen nation; think of a preacher who made his appearance in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, a preacher who heralded the arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ! String together Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension and exaltation and look at the existence of millions of his followers down the centuries. String together these and so many other events and realities—realities just as real as the shocking realities, events just as historical as any history we can tell.

Robinson Crusoe lived alone for years, seeing his world in the same solitary way until that day when he saw a single human footprint. It could never be the same for him. A single piece of truth, a solitary event, and an entire world changed. That footprint was enough. He didn’t need to have all the answers to all the questions that flooded into his mind—the central issue was settled beyond dispute. He was not alone!

Just Jesus! 

That’s enough. History changes, existence changes! Ford is wrong! Beckett is wrong!
Praise God!

What Should We Call the Church? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=3763

What Should We Call the Church?
by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

A visitor to this Web site recently wrote our offices inquiring about the name that the universal Church should wear. In a day when millions of church-goers are naming themselves after everything from angels to men to religious offices and activities (with many churches apparently feeling like the more bizarre they are, the better), this gentleman’s e-mail was refreshing to read. It was evident that he and those of the church where he worshipped had a desire to be called, not the latest trendy name or whatever denominational name their great-great-great...grandparents wore, but whatever God wants them to be called. What does God want the Church to be known as? If a congregation of the Church is going to put a sign outside of their meeting place, or put their contact information in phone books and on the Internet, or have an official name on the books at the court house, what name should the Church wear?

There is only one place to turn to find out what followers of Jesus Christ should be called: God’s Word (see Butt, 2007). God created man, saved man, and has every right to tell man what to do and how to do it. The teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles and prophets in God’s revealed Word is man’s ultimate authority and the book by which the world will be judged (Matthew 28:18; John 12:48; Colossians 3:17). If the saved want to please God in every area of their lives, including the religious name they wear, God’s Word must be consulted.

It is helpful, first of all, to understand something about the word “church.” The Greek word ekklesia, translated “church” in most English Bibles, was generally understood in the first-century Roman-ruled world simply to mean “assembly”—a gathering of people, whether for a secular or a religious purpose (Danker, et al., 2000, pp. 303-304; Thayer, 1962, pp. 195-196). Three times in Acts 19, Luke used the term ekklesia to describe a disorderly, secular assembly at Ephesus (vss. 32,39,41). The Septuagint translators used the term ekklesia more than 200 years before Christ in their Greek translation of the Old Testament to describe a group of 400,000 Israelite soldiers (Judges 20:2). In short, the word ekklesia was used before and after the time of Christ in reference to any kind of assembly. In the New Testament, however, it most often refers to obedient followers of Jesus Christ—those who have been called “out (Greek ek) of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, emp. added).

Several times in the New Testament, the term “church” is linked together with the Greek term theos (God), and thus one easily can ascertain the fact that the Church to which obedient believers belong is the Church begun and owned by God. Paul wrote “to the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1, emp. added), and later commanded the Corinthians to “[g]ive no offense...to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32-33, emp. added). He confessed to the churches of Galatia that he had “persecuted the church of God” before becoming a Christian (Galatians 1:13, emp. added). Paul also wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, reminding them how they “became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea” (1 Thessalonians 2:14, emp. added), and even boasted of them “among the churches of God” for their endurance through persecution (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, emp. added). One must not miss the point that the Church of the New Testament is God’s Church. It is of divine origin and established according to Deity’s “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11). Certainly then, the name “church of God” is a biblical name to wear. “Children of God” (John 1:12; Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1-2) are members of the “church of God.”

The Bible writers also referred to the “church of God” as the body or Church of Christ. Why would God’s Church be called Christ’s Church? Consider the following:
  • Jesus is Deity (John 1:1,3,23; 10:30,33; 20:28; cf. Isaiah 9:6).
  • Jesus said the Church was “His” (Matthew 16:18).
  • Jesus paid for the Church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
  • Jesus saved the Church from eternal destruction (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 5:23)
  • Jesus is “the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18,24; Ephesians 5:22-23).
  • Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church is His bride (Ephesians 5:22-32; Revelation 21:9; cf. Matthew 25:1-13).
  • Jesus is returning to take His faithful Church to a new home (John 14:1-3; Matthew 25:1-13; 1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Sincere, open-minded, obedient followers of Jesus Christ (i.e., Christians—Acts 11:26) who read the New Testament wondering what they should call the Church of which they are members, will come to the following conclusion: Though God did not assign one particular title for the Church, there are biblical designations that Christians can wear “by faith” (Romans 10:17), namely “Church of God” and “Church of Christ.” [NOTE: This is not to say that everyone who wears one of these names is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Sadly, many who wear both of these names dishonor God with unscriptural acts of worship, a variety of false teachings, lukewarm lives, etc.) A faithful follower of Jesus Christ must be committed to assembling with Christians who not only wear a scriptural, non-divisive name, but also who practice authorized, unadulterated, New Testament Christianity (see Miller, 2007).]

Nowhere in the New Testament was the Church called Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Catholic, Guardian Angels’, etc. In fact, the Christians in Corinth were specifically warned about wearing divisive names that bring honor to men and imply that the Church is divided (1 Corinthians 1:10-17; cf. John 17:20-21). Sadly, millions of “Christians” around the world continue to call themselves by names other than those God has authorized in Scripture.

In addition to Scripture’s numerous examples of the Church being called God’s or Christ’s, common sense demands such biblical designations. Consider two examples.
  • If Christ owns the Church, should the Church not wear His name? If a man (we’ll call him Ricky) worked 20 years, saved his money, and bought a house, whose house is it? It is Ricky’s house. If anyone ever put a sign in front of Ricky’s house that said the house was any person’s other than Ricky’s, he would be doing that which is unauthorized and displeasing to Ricky. Only he who owns the house has the right to name it. The Church is “the house of God” (1 Timothy 3:15, emp. added), no one else’s. Christians should call His “house” by no other name.
  • If my wife informed me today that she wanted to wear another man’s name, I would be terribly hurt and “jealous with godly jealousy” (2 Corinthians 11:2-4). Perhaps it wasn’t another man’s name, but simply a name that correlates with something she likes. Say, for example, instead of Jana Lyons, she wanted to be called Jana Homeschooler. Would that bother me? It most certainly would. I love homeschooling, but I am seriously opposed to my wife calling herself by any other name than Lyons. Similarly, if the Church is the bride of Christ, why would any church claiming to be in love with Jesus and married to Him spiritually ever call themselves by another name? God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) and nothing in Scripture authorizes His Church to call herself anything other than after Him.
When the Jewish Sanhedrin brought Peter and John before them not many days after the Church had been established (Acts 4) and inquired “by what name” they had been teaching, Peter exclaimed:
[B]y the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:8,10-12, emp. added).
The Bible may not give one official title for the Church, but both reason and revelation demand that Christians put off party names and simply call themselves after the One Who saved them. When Jesus comes back to receive His bride and take her home, she better be wearing His name and no one else’s.

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

Miller, Dave (2007), What the Bible Says About the Church of Christ, http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/wtbsatcoc.pdf.

Thayer, J.H. (1962), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

From Mark Copeland... Paul's Defence Before Felix (24:1-27)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                Paul's Defence Before Felix (24:1-27)

INTRODUCTION

1. Transferred from Jerusalem to Caesarea...
   a. Paul faced Ananias the high priest and elders from the council once
      again
   b. This time, before Felix the Roman governor - Ac 24:1-27

2. Antonius Felix became procurator of Judea in A. D. 52...
   a. He remained in office until A.D. 60, when recalled by Nero - HIBD
   b. Tacitus and Josephus paint Felix as a brutal, incompetent
      politician - ibid.
 
[In our text, we learn Felix had many opportunities to listen to Paul. 
But he failed to make a decision with regard to his case, and with regard
to Paul's message of the gospel.  Let's first note...]

I. THE CHARGES

   A. THE ANTAGONISTS ARRIVE... 
      1. The chief priest and elders arrive - Ac 24:1
      2. Tertullus, an orator, brought along - ibid.

   B. THEY MAKE THEIR CASE...
      1. Tertullus began with great praise to Felix - Ac 24:2-4
      2. Charges were then levied against Paul - Ac 24:5-6
         a. "A plague"
         b. "A creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the 
            world"
         c. "A ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes"
         d. "He tried to profane the temple"
      3. Tertullus gave his timeline of events - Ac 24:7-8
         a. The Jews had seized Paul
         b. They wanted to judge him according to their law
         c. The commander took Paul out of their hands "with great
            violence"
         d. He commanded them to appear before Felix to make their
            accusations
      4. The attending Jews agreed with Tertullus' accusations - Ac 24:9

[With the charges made against Paul, he is allowed to speak in his own
defense...]

II. THE DEFENSE

   A. PAUL PERMITTED TO SPEAK...
      1. With a nod, Felix motioned for Paul to speak - Ac 24:10
      2. Paul acknowledged Felix to have judged Israel for many years
         - ibid.
      3. Thus Paul was happy to speak for himself - ibid.

   B. PAUL REVIEWED THE EVENTS...
      1. It had only been twelve days since Paul went to Jerusalem to
         worship - Ac 24:11
      2. They had not found Paul in the temple disputing in the temple 
         - Ac 24:12
      3. Nor had he incited the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the
         city - ibid.
      4. His accusers could not prove the charges brought against him
         - Ac 24:13

   C. PAUL CONFESSED HIS FAITH...
      1. According to the Way, which they call a sect, he worshiped God
         - Ac 24:14
      2. Believing all things written in the Law and the Prophets - ibid.
      3. He had hope in the resurrection of the dead, as did they - Ac 24:15
      4. He strove to have a conscience without offense toward God and 
         men - Ac 24:16

   D. PAUL CONCLUDED HIS DEFENSE...
      1. After many years he came to bring alms and offerings to his
         nation - Ac 24:17
      2. Jews of Asia found him purified in the temple, with no mob or 
         tumult - Ac 24:18
      3. If said Jews had objections against him, they should be before 
         Felix - Ac 24:19
      4. Those present could only bring one charge  - Ac 24:20-21; cf. Ac 23:6
         a. That in the council standing before them he cried out with 
            one statement
         b. "Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by
            you this day."

[That statement is the only thing those present could attest.  The 
charges made by Tertullus were based on hearsay and without proof. 
Having heard both sides, Felix made his decision:  to wait...]

III. THE PROCRASTINATION

   A. FELIX ADJOURNED THE PROCEEDINGS...
      1. With a "more accurate knowledge of the Way" - Ac 24:22
      2. Delaying until Lysias the commander came down - ibid.
      3. Paul kept by a centurion, with unlimited visitation and
         provisions by friends - Ac 24:23

   B. FELIX HAD MANY MORE OPPORTUNITIES...
      1. At first with his wife Drusilla (who was Jewish) present - Ac 24:24-25
         a. Drusilla was the youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I - HIBD
            1) She had been married to King Aziz of Emesa
            2) With the aid of Atomos, a magician of Cyprus, Felix won 
               her away from her husband
            3) Her son (and possibly she herself) died in when Mt. 
               Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.
         b. They heard Paul "concerning faith in Christ"
         c. Paul reasoned about "righteousness, self-control, and the
            judgment to come"
         d. Felix was afraid, and sent Paul away until "a convenient 
            time"
      2. Then often, over a period of two years - Ac 24:26-27
         a. Felix hoped for a bribe from Paul to release him
         b. Thus he sent for Paul often and conversed with him
         c. Finally, as a favor to the Jews, he left Paul bound when
            succeeded by Festus

CONCLUSION

1. It is sad to consider the character of Felix (both immoral and
   incompetent)

2. He had ample opportunity to learn the truth and obey it, but kept
   putting it off

His procrastination led to his ultimate downfall.  Let us beware lest
we wait for "a convenient time"!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

From Gary... Bible Reading July 27


Bible Reading  

July 27

The World English Bible


July 27
2 Chronicles 13-15

2Ch 13:1 In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.
2Ch 13:2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
2Ch 13:3 Abijah joined battle with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men: and Jeroboam set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, who were mighty men of valor.
2Ch 13:4 Abijah stood up on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, Hear me, Jeroboam and all Israel:
2Ch 13:5 Ought you not to know that Yahweh, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?
2Ch 13:6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up, and rebelled against his lord.
2Ch 13:7 There were gathered to him worthless men, base fellows, who strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.
2Ch 13:8 Now you think to withstand the kingdom of Yahweh in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and there are with you the golden calves which Jeroboam made you for gods.
2Ch 13:9 Haven't you driven out the priests of Yahweh, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves after the manner of the peoples of other lands? so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams, the same may be a priest of those who are no gods.
2Ch 13:10 But as for us, Yahweh is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and we have priests ministering to Yahweh, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites in their work:
2Ch 13:11 and they burn to Yahweh every morning and every evening burnt offerings and sweet incense: the show bread also set they in order on the pure table; and the lampstand of gold with its lamps, to burn every evening: for we keep the instruction of Yahweh our God; but you have forsaken him.
2Ch 13:12 Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with the trumpets of alarm to sound an alarm against you. Children of Israel, don't you fight against Yahweh, the God of your fathers; for you shall not prosper.
2Ch 13:13 But Jeroboam caused an ambush to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambush was behind them.
2Ch 13:14 When Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind them; and they cried to Yahweh, and the priests sounded with the trumpets.
2Ch 13:15 Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened, that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
2Ch 13:16 The children of Israel fled before Judah; and God delivered them into their hand.
2Ch 13:17 Abijah and his people killed them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.
2Ch 13:18 Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on Yahweh, the God of their fathers.
2Ch 13:19 Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with its towns, and Jeshanah with its towns, and Ephron with its towns.
2Ch 13:20 Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and Yahweh struck him, and he died.
2Ch 13:21 But Abijah grew mighty, and took to himself fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters.
2Ch 13:22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the commentary of the prophet Iddo.
2Ch 14:1 So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David; and Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land was quiet ten years.
2Ch 14:2 Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of Yahweh his God:
2Ch 14:3 for he took away the foreign altars, and the high places, and broke down the pillars, and cut down the Asherim,
2Ch 14:4 and commanded Judah to seek Yahweh, the God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
2Ch 14:5 Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the sun images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.
2Ch 14:6 He built fortified cities in Judah; for the land was quiet, and he had no war in those years, because Yahweh had given him rest.
2Ch 14:7 For he said to Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars; the land is yet before us, because we have sought Yahweh our God; we have sought him, and he has given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
2Ch 14:8 Asa had an army that bore bucklers and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bore shields and drew bows, two hundred eighty thousand: all these were mighty men of valor.
2Ch 14:9 There came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an army of a million troops, and three hundred chariots; and he came to Mareshah.
2Ch 14:10 Then Asa went out to meet him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
2Ch 14:11 Asa cried to Yahweh his God, and said, Yahweh, there is none besides you to help, between the mighty and him who has no strength: help us, Yahweh our God; for we rely on you, and in your name are we come against this multitude. Yahweh, you are our God; don't let man prevail against you.
2Ch 14:12 So Yahweh struck the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.
2Ch 14:13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar: and there fell of the Ethiopians so many that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before Yahweh, and before his army; and they carried away very much booty.
2Ch 14:14 They struck all the cities around Gerar; for the fear of Yahweh came on them: and they despoiled all the cities; for there was much spoil in them.
2Ch 14:15 They struck also the tents of livestock, and carried away sheep in abundance, and camels, and returned to Jerusalem.
2Ch 15:1 The Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded:
2Ch 15:2 and he went out to meet Asa, and said to him, Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: Yahweh is with you, while you are with him; and if you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
2Ch 15:3 Now for a long season Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law:
2Ch 15:4 But when in their distress they turned to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.
2Ch 15:5 In those times there was no peace to him who went out, nor to him who came in; but great troubles were on all the inhabitants of the lands.
2Ch 15:6 They were broken in pieces, nation against nation, and city against city; for God troubled them with all adversity.
2Ch 15:7 But you be strong, and don't let your hands be slack; for your work shall be rewarded.
2Ch 15:8 When Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominations out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from the hill country of Ephraim; and he renewed the altar of Yahweh, that was before the porch of Yahweh.
2Ch 15:9 He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who sojourned with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that Yahweh his God was with him.
2Ch 15:10 So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
2Ch 15:11 They sacrificed to Yahweh in that day, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep.
2Ch 15:12 They entered into the covenant to seek Yahweh, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul;
2Ch 15:13 and that whoever would not seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
2Ch 15:14 They swore to Yahweh with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.
2Ch 15:15 All Judah rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and Yahweh gave them rest all around.
2Ch 15:16 Also Maacah, the mother of Asa the king, he removed from being queen, because she had made an abominable image for an Asherah; and Asa cut down her image, and made dust of it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.
2Ch 15:17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.
2Ch 15:18 He brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.
2Ch 15:19 There was no more war to the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.


From Gary... No more "blame game"

Today, Americans play the blame game. If something goes wrong- its somebody else's fault. If your life is falling apart because drugs or sex or excess spending; its not YOUR FAULT, blame it one someone else. The list of such things is endless and might include such things as promotions at work, losing an athletic event, problems with your children, a messy home, unpaid bills, etc.. But, sooner or later you must come to grips with the consequences of your actions. One of the best examples is the apostle Paul.  The following passages give some insight into what he had to mentally reconcile...

Galatians 1:11-24 NASB
(11)  For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
(12)  For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
(13)  For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;
(14)  and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.
(15)  But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased
(16)  to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,
(17)  nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.
(18)  Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days.
(19)  But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.
(20)  (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.)
(21)  Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
(22)  I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ;
(23)  but only, they kept hearing, "He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy."
(24)  And they were glorifying God because of me.


How could he have possibly dealt with his actions before becoming a follower of Christ?


Philippians 3:1-14 NASB
(1)  Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
(2)  Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;
(3)  for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
(4)  although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:
(5)  circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;
(6)  as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
(7)  But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
(8)  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
(9)  and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
(10)  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
(11)  in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
(12)  Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
(13)  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
(14)  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Have you made mistakes? Get over it! Does the past bother you? Make it right as best you can! Conscience bother you? Give it up to God! Don't want to? Well, soon or later you will have to!!!  Paul looked at his unconverted life and let God use him. He put the past behind him (he forgot what lies behind) and looked forward to being like Jesus and doing HIS WILL. And the result?

1 Timothy 1:15-16 NASB
(15)  It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
(16)  Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

With Jesus, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!  No matter how bad your life has been, Jesus can make it right!!!  Deal with your life, and do it now!!! Not enough for you? Well, turn to Acts, chapter 2:14ff. to see how the people who actually killed JESUS dealt with their condition.

Now, its time to start making better choices- choose wisely!!!