It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

Author Unknown

Friday, December 29, 2006

A NEW YEAR PRAYER



New Year Prayer

God grant us this year a wider view,
So we see others' faults through the eyes of You.
Teach us to judge not with hasty tongue,
Neither the adult ... nor the young.

Give us patience and grace to endure
And a stronger faith so we feel secure.
Instead of remembering, help us forget
The irritations that caused us to fret.

Freely forgiving for some offense
And finding each day a rich recompense.
In offering a friendly, helping hand
And trying in all ways to understand;

That all of us whoever we are ...
Are trying to reach an unreachable star.
For the great and small ... the good and bad,
The young and old ... the sad and glad

Are asking today; Is life worth living?
The answer is only in, loving and giving.
For only Love can make man kind
And Kindness of Heart brings Peace of Mind.

By giving love, we can start this year
To lift the clouds of hate and fear.

author- Helen Steiner Rice

My prayer for you all is that this is the best ever New Year!

'On Ya' - ma

A NEW YEAR PRAYER



New Year Prayer

God grant us this year a wider view,
So we see others' faults through the eyes of You.
Teach us to judge not with hasty tongue,
Neither the adult ... nor the young.

Give us patience and grace to endure
And a stronger faith so we feel secure.
Instead of remembering, help us forget
The irritations that caused us to fret.

Freely forgiving for some offense
And finding each day a rich recompense.
In offering a friendly, helping hand
And trying in all ways to understand;

That all of us whoever we are ...
Are trying to reach an unreachable star.
For the great and small ... the good and bad,
The young and old ... the sad and glad

Are asking today; Is life worth living?
The answer is only in, loving and giving.
For only Love can make man kind
And Kindness of Heart brings Peace of Mind.

By giving love, we can start this year
To lift the clouds of hate and fear.

author- Helen Steiner Rice

My prayer for you all is that this is the best ever New Year!

'On Ya' - ma

Sunday, December 24, 2006



Look For Me at Christmas


If you look for Me at Christmas,
You won't need a special star---
I'm no longer just in Bethlehem,
I'm right there where you are.

You may not be aware of Me
Amid the celebrations---
You'll have to look beyond the stores
And all the decorations.

But, if you take a moment
From your list of things to do
And listen to your heart, you'll find
I'm waiting there for you.

You're the one I want to be with.
You're the reason that I came
And you'll find Me in the stillness,
As I'm whispering your name.

Love Jesus



(Had to share this letter in my mailbox today )

'On Ya' - ma

Saturday, December 23, 2006



4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT – DECEMBER 24TH, 2006


Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for He has visited and brought redemption to His people. (Luke 1:68)


This date is the last day of Advent, Christmas Eve, and also is the first day of Christmas time.

As soon as Jesus was born, visitors began to come. First it was the shepherds. Then the wise men. Then Simeon and Anna. Then even the soldiers of Herod were sent to find Him. Together these visitors represent the people of every nation, coming by every possible path and conveyance to see Christ.

For all of us, the story behind these days can draw us in, and invite us to bring our lives to the mystery of how Jesus came into this world and why. Our best preparation for the Holy Night ahead and the Joyful Morning to follow is for us to reflect upon how he came. He came in the midst of scandal and conflict. He came in poverty. He was rejected before he was born. He was born in a feed trough. He was hunted down. And he grew up in obscurity.

He did not shun our world and its poverty and conflict. He embraced it. And he desires to embrace us today, in this day. Right where we are. Right where we are feeling most distant. Right were we are feeling least "religious" or "ready." If we let him come into our hearts to be our Savior these challenging days, we will find ourselves entering the sacred night and morning of Christmas "joyful and triumphant" as never before.

Go for a ride tonight and view all the colorful Christmas lights. See them as if you have never viewed such wonder before. Allow the lights to shine in your soul and give back to God any pain or hurt you harbor in your heart.


Come, Lord Jesus. Come and visit your people.
We await your coming. Come, O Lord.



Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel. Lord, may we rejoice that Jesus Christ is born anew in our hearts and in our home. Amen



A BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO ALL

‘On Ya’ - ma

Friday, December 22, 2006


DECEMBER 23RD

O Emmanuel, God is With Us: "O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God."


Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel".

With this last antiphon our expectation finds joy now in the certainty of fulfillment. We call Jesus by one of the most personal and intimate of his titles, Emmanuel, God-with-us. We recall that in his birth from the Virgin Mary God takes on our very flesh and human nature


O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expected of the nations and their
Savior. Come and save us, O Lord our God.


DECEMBER 22ND

O King of Nations (Gentiles) O Rex Gentium

O KING OF THE GENTILES and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth. Amen.

The earlier antiphons have already alluded to the Messiah coming not only to Israel but to convert the gentile nations and redeem them for his own. Now this sixth antiphon clearly addresses the savior as the king of the gentiles (Jer.10:7) and the Desired One of the nations.


DECEMBER 21ST


O Dawn of the East (O Oriens) (also called O Rising Dawn);

O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of light eternal, and Sun of Justice: come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen.

Today is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the longest night. Though it is the darkest day the Advent candles burn brightly. The church calls from the darkness to her Lord, the Dayspring from on high, who is the joyous light of glory.

Advent calls us out of the darkness to live in the light of Christ, to be the children of the Light that we are. If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. The night is over. The Day has dawned.

These O Antiphones beautifully describe our Advent, preparing for the Birth of Our Lord.

I'll have more Christmas coming soon !

'On Ya' - ma

Tuesday, December 19, 2006




O Adonai or O Lord and Ruler (Exod 6: 13)

December 18th

O Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with outstretched arm.

Symbol
: Burning bush, stone tablets

O come, O come, great Lord of might, Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height in ancient times once gave the law, in cloud, and majesty, and awe. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel. Amen

December 19th

O Radix Jesse


Root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the people, before whom kinds shall keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come to deliver us, and tarry not.

Symbol: flower, plant with flower, root with flowering stem

December 20th


O Clavis David

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Symbol: Key, broken chains

The key and scepter are traditional symbols of kingly power and authority. Christ, the anointed one, is the heir of David and possessor of the kingdom. Jesus himself also made use of this symbol, showing the prophetic relationship of the earthly kingdom of David to the kingdom of God. Jesus is the key of David, who opens and no one can close, who closes and no one can open. And He entrusts the keys to His church, to bind and loose from sin in His name (Matthew 16:19)

Lord Jesus, during this Advent, come to us in Your grace. Come to prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies to welcome You on Christmas Day. Come to comfort us in sadness, to cheer us in loneliness, to refresh us in weakness, to buttress us in temptation, to lead us in doubt, and to exult with us in joy. Amen.

The season of Advent is like springtime in nature, when everything is renewed and so is fresh and healthy. Advent is also meant to do this to us, to refresh us and make us healthy, to be able to receive Christ in whatever form He may come to us.


Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

More O’s coming soon !

‘On Ya’ - ma

Saturday, December 16, 2006



3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT DECEMBER 17TH, 2006

This week we light the rose candle in the Advent wreath, signifying joy. Too often we think joy means getting what we want.

Joy comes not in getting what we want, but in accepting God’s will, even when we don’t understand it.

Decorate your front door today. Let the world know that they are welcome in your house and that the birth of Christ is celebrated there

December 17th also begins the O Antiphons. the seven jewels of our liturgy, dating back to the fourth century, one for each day until Christmas Eve. These antiphons address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, based on the Old Testament prophecies and types of Christ.

O WISDOM
December 17
Symbols: All-Seeing Eye and the Lamp

Come, and teach us the way of prudence.
O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly, Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

The "all-seeing eye" represents the all-knowing and ever-present God. During the late Renaissance, the eye was pictured in a triangle with rays of light to represent the infinite holiness of the Trinity. The lamp is a symbol of wisdom taken from the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25.


Come, O divine Wisdom, teach us the way of knowledge. We are unwise; we judge and speak according to the vain standards of the world, which is foolishness in the eyes of God.

I’ll try and post each of these antiphons for you . Busy days but am trying to take time out too for the Reason for the Season.

‘On Ya’ – ma

Thursday, December 14, 2006



In the dark days of December comes the wonderful
holiday of Hanukkah, celebrated in Jewish homes.
Originally known as the "Festival of Lights,"


Hanukkah commemorates a miracle that occurred
in 165 B.C., after Judas Maccabaeus and his
followers reclaimed Jerusalem from a Greek emperor
who considered Israel a Greek province.

As part of their rededication ceremony (the word
"Hanukkah" means dedication) the Maccabees
began an eight-day purification rite, only to discover
there was barely enough sacred oil to keep the temple menorah - a candelabrum with eight branches - lit forone day.

Miraculously, the temple lamp burned continuously for eight days. Ever since that time the Jewish people have observed Hanukkah in
remembrance of their struggle for religious freedom
and the miracle of restoration, symbolized by the
abundance of oil.

Many who celebrate Christmas believe that Hanukkah
is a festival reserved solely for those who practice
Judaism. But if it weren't for Hanukkah, we wouldn't be celebrating Christmas.

Had the Maccabees not rebelled against
the Greeks, the Jewish faith would have faded into
Greek culture, never to be heard of again.

No one would have remembered the messianic
promises he claimed to fulfill. Without Hanukkah,
there would have been no Christmas.

Jesus lived his entire life as an
observant Jew. He celebrated Hanukkah as a child;
the Last Supper was a Passover seder. All the apostles
and most of those who became his early followers
were Jewish. The crowds who came to hear Jesus
preach called him "Rabbi," the Hebrew word for
teacher. Perhaps our similarities and heritage are
greater than our differences after all.

The Hanukkah miracle was the
earliest recorded demonstration of Simple Abundance.
Two thousand years ago there was only enough sacred oil for one night.
But all that these faithful, courageous,
and grateful people had was all that they needed.

Sacred oil in a temple. Loaves and fishes on a
mountainside. Miracles are of God, not of any one faith.
Miracles are for anyone who believes.

That is the heart of Hanukkah and the soul of Christmas.
The more we allow ourselves to recognize the wisdom
and truth in other spiritual paths, the closer to
Wholeness we become.

Hanukkah begins at sunset on December 15. After sundown, the first candle of the nine-branch candelabrum (menorah) is lit by a shamash, or service candle, at the center of the menorah. Prayers are said each night during the lighting until all eight candles are lit.

Families sing songs, play games and open gifts. Families eat latkes (potato pancakes) fried in oil to commemorate the "miracle," sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts, also cooked in oil) to remind them of God's sweetness, and dairy foods such as cheese and cream. They gather with family and friends in the warmth of the light shed by the menorah, just as their ancestors did long ago. Happy Hanukkah!


May every heart and every home
Continue through the year
To feel the warmth and wonder
Of this season of good cheer.


Helen Steiner Rice

‘On Ya’ - ma

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

THE GIFT THAT LASTS




Long, Long ago in a land far away
There came the dawn of the first
Christmas Day.

And each year we see that promise reborn
That God gave the world on that first
Christmas morn.

For the silent stars in the timeless skies
And the wonderment in a small child's eyes
The Christmas songs the carolers sing
The tidings of joy that the Christmas bells ring
Remind us again of that still, silent night
When the heavens shone with a wondrous light
And the angels sang of peace on earth
And told me of the Christ Child's birth
For Christmas is more than a beautiful story
It's the promise of life and eternal glory.

Helen Steiner Rice

Peace to you,

'On Ya' - ma

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Second Sunday of Advent



2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT – DECEMBER 10TH, 2006

“‘Hope' is the thing with feathers—That perches in the soul—And sings the tune without the words —And never stops—at all—.” Emily Dickinson

Hope is not blind optimism, nor arrogant certainty, nor wishful thinking. Hope, the theme of today’s Gospel, is the knowledge that God would not desert us, that we will endure difficult times to see a better day.

We light a candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark. But we light it because we are a people of hope, a people whose faith is marked by an expectation that we should always be ready for the coming of the Master.

Set aside an annual night to relish simple, old-fashioned joys. Pop some corn and snuggle with a book of sentimental short stories of Christmases past. If you have kids, plan a night of games and pizzas. Saunter through the snow-covered woods, leaving a trail of snow angels behind. Or, if you live in a warmer climate, grab a blanket, head outside, and search for the star in the East. Whatever you do, take reprieve from worries and reflect on Christ's humble birth.

The Magi have already seen the ‘star’ and have started their journey. Are you ready to start the journey of Advent? Will you be able to take time each day, even if for only 5 or 10 minutes and spend time with Jesus in prayer and remember the Reason for the Season - it is not buying gifts.


‘On Ya’ - ma

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

CHRISTMAS PRAYER




Dear Father,

It is Christmas time again. Help me this year to "season" the
celebration with "reason."

Teach me to plan with my family.
May I avoid the clutter that dims my vision and burdens my time.

Keep me mindful of my budget, and help me to remember
that a gift selected with love tugs for- ever at the heartstrings. Shame me for past extravagance.

Remind me to decorate in good taste,
treasuring all of the past blending it with the new,
but holding steadfast to "reason."

Keep me, Dear Father, from strain lest I stray from all thy
teachings. Guide me to the "light" of Christmas.
Help me keep a candle's flame of that "light"
as a constant reminder of my goal--eternity.

I pray for thy love and help,
in the name of thy beloved Son
whose birthday we are observing.



AMEN

With loving thoughts and prayers for all of you,

'On Ya' - ma

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus

In my e-mail today there was a very nice video to share with you all from the Farmer's Almanac. Thought you might enjoy it too !

'On Ya' - ma

Sunday, December 03, 2006

CHRISTMAS LOVE




Christmas is a time for Love;
a time for Joy and Peace;
A time to trim the Christmas Tree
and a time to stuff the geese.

It's a time when we can come together, however far or near;
To shed a little hope into
a world of sorrow and fear.

Yet Christmas could be all year 'round,
if only we would try
To gently wipe an old man's brow
or soothe a baby's cry.

If we could smile throughout the year
as we do on Christmas Day;
Just think what happiness we'd shed
along life's weary way.

To give a gift of Hope to one
who otherwise has none;
To be a Friend to somebody whom
everyone else has shun.

To be Forgiving of our faults,
and of our sisters and our brothers;
To Live in Peace and Harmony
with ourselves and with each other.

Ah, don't you see that Christmas is
more than opening up the gifts;
It's more than singing Christmas Carols
and rolling in big snow drifts.

It's a feeling that can stay with you
throughout each day, all year;
And all it takes is a loving heart.....
and a sensitive little tear...

Author unknown

Peace to you...
Christmas Love without end,

'On Ya' - ma

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

December 3rd, 2006 is the First Sunday of Advent



December 3rd 2006 1st Sunday of Advent

As we begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world. It symbolizes our longing, our desire, our hope

Advent is when peace becomes something visible.

All year, of course, we long for peace, but this Christians spend these four weeks preparing for the coming of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace.

Each year, the busyness of this season serves to distract us from having an Advent season that truly prepares us for the celebration of Christmas, with all its meaning.

The fact remains that we don’t know what the future holds; we know only that God is good, and that his goodness will prevail in the end. That is why we wait in hope, rather than in fear

Make a paper chain to count the days before Christmas.

Write a task on the inside of each link, for example: "Offer the birds a piece of bread or some seed," or "Send a Christmas card to a lonely person." As family members remove links, this not only marks the days but also prepares our hearts for Christmas.

Thank you, God of great promise, for your amazing way of breaking into our lives with wings to make our spirits soar, with words that still us and even chill us, with hope for the hearts of all humankind

As we enter into the Advent Season I'll be updating regularly with more things to do to prepare our hearts and our lives for Christmas.

'On Ya' - ma

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Time Out to Give Thanks!



God, our Father, have mercy on us,
with the same everlasting love that led you to make us like you.

You said that you would make all people in your image and likeness.
And this you did, so that we may share in all that you are.

You give us memory, to remember your gifts,
so that we may tell others about your wonderful deeds.

You teach us about yourself, so that we may share your good news
of Jesus Christ with others.

And you give us the power to make choices,
so that we may freely love you and share in your mercy.

Why did you so honor us?

With love so great that it cannot be imagined, you looked upon us
within your very self,
and you fell in love with us.

So, it was love that caused you to make us and give us life,
just so that we may know you.

Then, see how by our sin we lost the honor you have given us.
But you never leave us, even when we sin.

You search us out with a father's love,
wanting to bring us back to your friendship.

So you gave us your only Son, Jesus Christ,
who became a little child like us.

Any why?
For Love!
You, God, became like us,
and we have been re-made like you.

St. Catherine of Siena


I'll be taking a TIME OUT from the Bible Study and will update this journal with prayers and thoughts until after the New Year. I hope you'll keep checking back as I have lots to post, especially when Advent begins on December 3rd.

May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving !

'On Ya' - ma

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Study Notes Chapter 16 TO LIVE IS CHRIST




My Study Notes
Part IV, Chapter 16 TO LIVE IS CHRIST

Acts 15: 36-41

We will learn about the 2nd missionary journey with the Apostle Paul. We’ll see the importance of co-workers in the gospel and we will see how the Spirit of God uses flawed people like you and me.


They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Banabas took Mark and saled for Cyprus, but Paul choose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

Acts 15: 39-40


Paul loved his sojourn in Antioch and the people and his partner Barnabas, but he felt compelled to go where the Spirit led.

When the Spirit of God moves within us we must move with Him or be miserable.

Now the Spirit of God called Paul to move again.

Acts 15: 36-41 tells us how Paul and Barnabas prepared to revisit the churches from their first Missionary journey. John Mark who had bailed out on the 1st journey wanted to go again and Barnabas said John goes with us, Paul said John stays. John went with Barnabas and Paul took Silas as his replacement.

Colossians 4:10 tells us that John Mark was Barnabas’s cousin. It was a difficult separation for Paul and Barnabas. Barnabas had been the first to welcome Paul among the brothers in Jerusalem. Together they had faced peril and persecution that bonds people together for a lifetime. Paul had wanted his dear friend to be with him.

Luke says in Acts 15:39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. They each had strong emotions about John Mark and toward each other.

Disagreements often cause people to choose sides. Romans 14:1 gives a guide for such moments. “ Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment or disputable matters.”

When we tend to get involved emotionally as judge and jury when people disagree, we should ask ourselves if someone always has to be right and another wrong.

Paul and Barnabas were both Spirit filled men yet they differed on whether John Mark should join them. Both me could have been under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit and yet still differ so that God could divide and multiply. God wanted these young preachers to train many more people. Now instead of just 1 team of two, He now had 2 teams of 2.

Scripture tells us most divisions are not of God, but Acts 1 suggests that sometimes God wants to divide and multiply. This happens in many of our own churches. Differences have caused many to divide and sometimes the results are disasterous.

If we don’t call on God to come to our rescue ministries and partnerships divide and dwindle rather than divide and multiply.

We can avoid turning convictions into contentions by using this 4 step plan for dealing with conflicts between believers.

1. Identify the real source of the argument. Ask the Holy Spirit to shed light on the true source. Part of spiritual maturity is risking our position in favor of the will and glory of God. Be willing to allow Him to shed light on any selfish or worldy motives we might have.

2. Submit the issue to God. James 4:7 tells us to “ Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Ephesians 4: 26-27 tells us not to sin in our anger and thereby give the devil a foothold. When we ask God to remove all selfish, worldly motives and influence of the enemy, issues often either disappear or down size to a workable level.

3. Resist the temptation to sin in your anger. Anger in itself is not sin. It is an emotion, and sometimes a very appropriate emotion. Each of us regrets something we’ve said or don in anger. Ask God to help when you are angry so that feelings don’t turn into wrong actions.

4. Pray for the other person involved and with that person if possible. Philippians 4-5 invites us to pray about everything. If we all could get down on our knees and pray together even though we are not together on every issue, at least we are together in prayer.

None of these steps are easy, but God can keep differing convictions from becoming contentions. We should be more open to people even if they have differing opinions. God can use sharp disagreements to prove that nothing is impossible with His help.

God can do anything!

Luke 1:37


‘On Ya’ – ma

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Study Notes - Chapter 15: TO LIVE IS CHRIST



It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.

Acts 15:19


My Study Notes Chapter 15: TO LIVE IS CHRIST

ACTS 15: 1-35

Paul and Barnabas loved the church in Antioch. This was the first church they started. This was their home base. The believers there welcomed them like family and honored their testimonies. In the last verse of Acts 14 we see that ‘ They stayed there a long time with the disciples.'

Just as in our own lives about the time things seem to calm down a bit, something or someone usually comes along to throw a kink in it. Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem to settle a dispute there.

AS they traveled they told what God had done among the Gentiles and this made believers glad. However there is a dividing faction. The legalists .

When they reached Jerusalem, one of the most important meetings in history ensued.
Some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses." Acts 15:5

Two sets of legalism emerge in this portion of Scripture

1. Judean visitors to Antioch told Gentile Christains they must be circumcised to be saved.

2. The believers in Jerusalem told them they must also obey the law of Moses.

Peter argued for acceptance of the Gentile believers on an equal basis with their Jewish counterparts.

James stood and delivered the verdict. He said ‘ It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles that are turning to God” Acts 15:19

The Jerusalem Council drafted a letter to the church in Antioch and appointed Judas and Silas to accompany Paul and Barnabas in their return. The council asked the believers to avoid four practices that were particularly offensive to their Jewish brothers and the believers in Antioch were glad to receive the encouraging message.

God uses many methods to draw people to Himself. He is far more creative than we want to think. Only He can judge the heart.

James reminded the Jewish believers in Acts 15:18 that salvation coming to the Gentiles had been known for ages. They were seeing the fruition of an old plan in which God would do a new thing. He gave His Son on the cross to set the captives free, not to imprison them under the impossible laws of men.

They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of that yoke, and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them” Ezekiel 34:27

God can break any yoke, even those we don’t realize we are wearing. The message of freedom prevailed at the Jerusalem Council and Paul and Barnabas departed with a letter for the Gentiles in Antioch.

These believers were urged to abstain from several practices forbidden under Jewish law. They were free from the Law of Moses (circumcision) but not from the life giving laws of God.

These four areas offer us an important learning opportunity.

The were told to abstain from food sacrificed to idols. Old sinful lifestyles are like eating food sacrificed to idols. Sometimes they seem so harmless – old friends, old hang outs etc can weaken us and cause someone else to stumble.

They were wise to avoid anything that would place them close enough to the vacumn to be sucked back in.

Next we’ll see Paul and Barnabas reminding their flock about a few ways to stay free.

If we are to remain close to God, we must study His word, pray for His help and encourage the people around us.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Study Notes: Chapter 14 TO LIVE IS CHRIST




My Study Notes: Chapter 14, TO LIVE IS CHRIST

They retuned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them ot remain true to the faith, ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God” , they said.

Acts 14 21b-22


Acts 14: 21-28

In just a few verses in Acts 14 we see Pual and Barnabas backtrack through a number of cities on their way to Syrian Antioch where they had been commissioned.

Acts 22 tells us why they backtracked into to perilous places. They faced the risks to tell the new believers “We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God”

The key here was the word ‘MUST’ . Hardship is inevitable in the nature of things.

In II Corinthians we read “ our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

I John 4-4 reminds us “You dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Hardships are inevitable for us because:

God wants to give us eternal victory by working His glory in and through them

Satan wants to bring us defeat by causing us to struggle and fail

The glorious nature of God and the heinous nature of Satan

Their message of encouragement through the warning of hardship may seem to be a paradox to us.

We might not find a message about unavoidable troubles very strengthening. Lets see if we can discover some strength or encouragement from their message.

If we recognize the inevitable nature of hardships , we can redirect our energies. Fear of trials sometimes depletes more energy than the trial itself.

Once we accept our hardship, we often sense a heavenly strength filling our souls. If you fear having your heart broken, ask God to redirect your energies toward faithfulness instead.

Realizations also encourage us in the faith.

First Peter 1:7 tells us one more reason. It says of trials “ these have come so that your faith, a greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire, may prove genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Be encouraged to know that difficulty is not a sign of immaturity or faithlessness. The Holy Spirit will do His job and let you know if you are suffering because of sin. Otherwise, remember we must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom.

After encouraging the new believers the time came for Paul and Barnabas to leave, but they did something to ensure an ongoing strengthening and encouraging of these new disciples.

Acts 14:23 tells us they appointed elders in each church. These men were probably spiritually mature as well as old. Oder men were not the only ones charged with responsibility.

In Titus 2:3-6 Paul also charged older women, younger women and younger men to faithful service He choose people of every age whose hearts are turned to Him.

Life is difficult. We don’t have Paul and Barnabas to encourage us, but we do have lots of older people who are willing to share the faithfulness of God, if we just stop and ask them.

I know that many times my faithful love of God is looked down upon as being over zealous and maybe even silly in some of my expectations, but I can only say that when it comes to my faith in God, I’ll never back down in my beliefs. He is my reason for being.

We can never know, nor are we supposed to know just how great our God is, we can only stand in AWE of our wonderful Lord and Savior.

On Ya’ - ma

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Study Notes: Chapter 13 TO LIVE IS CHRIST



My Study notes: Chapter 13 TO LIVE IS CHRIST

Some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Acts 14: 19-20



Paul and Barnabas traveled south in the province of Galatia to the city of Iconium. Paul was about 40 years of age at this time. In spite of opposition they spent considerable time there speaking boldly for the Lord. When things took a turn for the worse they ran for their lives.

In Proverbs 22:3 it says: that “prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

Christ often chose prudence. In John 7:1 it says “ Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely straying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life” No one could mistake His prudence for cowardice. In Matthew 26:1-2 we read “When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to the disciples, ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified’

Christ did not resist His accusers this time because the time had come for him to sacrifice His life .

Christ delivered Paul and Barnabas from evil attacks by using their heads and feet, not miraculous intervention..

There are two principals regarding miraculous intervention in the New Testament

1. Miracles were used more often for authenticity than intervention
2. Miracles were used most often when natural means were not available or not conceivable.

Whether God uses natural or supernatural means to deliver us from danger, both are divine provisions.

The pair then proceeded to the city of Lystra and began to preach the good news. There they healed a man who had been crippled from birth.

Because of their miracle the crowds declared ‘the gods have come down to us in human form.’ This wasn’t what Paul and Barnabas had hoped to convey. They wasted no time in setting the record straight. One minute the crowd was singing there praises , the next minute they were stoning Paul and dragging him out of the city.

Many years later Paul would write in 2 Timothy 3: 10-11
You , however, know about…what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecution I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.

The word rescue in the original Greek was rhuomai which means ‘to draw or snatch from danger, rescue , deliver. This is more with the meaning of drawing to oneself than mere rescuing from someone or something. God wasn’t only interested in drawing Paul out of difficulty, or danger. He wanted to draw Paul closer to Himself.

Every time God delivers us, the point is ultimately to draw us closer to Himself. Whether we get to avoid pain or suffering or we must persevere in the midst of it, our deliverance comes when were are dragged from the enemy of our souls to the heart of God.

So many times I’ve been helped by God and now I understand why, He wanted me to come closer to Him. I believe I have slowly but surely done that. I’ve always believed, but I’ve not always been as close as I am now.

Every time I hear or see hatred, jealousy, irate anger, selfishness, or lies, it makes my heart break. Every time I catch myself in one of these sins, I wonder where did that come from? I am only human, but a human trying hard to get closer and closer to the heart of my God.

Each day I get another chance to do it right, I guess that’s what life is all about.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My Study Notes: Chapter 12 TO LIVE IS CHIRIST




My Study Notes: Chapter 12 TO LIVE IS CHRIST

Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you
Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything
you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

Acts 13:38-39


ACTS 13:13-52

Paul and Barnabas continued on in their first missionary journey, departing Cyprus and entering the large Roman province of Galatia. They sailed from Paphos to Perga on the coast of Asia Minor. John Mark left them and returned home to Jerusalem.

They traveled on to Pisidain Antioch, which is not the Antioch in Syria.

On the Sabbath they attended the synagogue worship and received an invitation . In the synagogue Paul addressed those who believed in the God of Israel. He presented Christ to the Jews through their own history. Paul urged them to see how perfectly Christ knit the past with the present. They didn’t have to forsake their history, they only needed to accept the rest of the story.

He charged the Jews with the death of the Messiah, yet he extended the invitation to receive forgiveness through Christ. We see in verse 43 that ‘Many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism met with them after the message and received their encouragement. ‘

The Jewish leaders , however, were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying (vs 45)

Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly ‘ We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worth of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles’ (vs 46.

Acts 13:48 tells us:All who were appointed for eternal life believed’

Luke was employing a Greek military term somewhat foreign to us. Tatto, the orginal word for appointed, is used figuratively in the New Testament and means ‘to set in a certain order.’

Paul wrote that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile – Romans 1:16

In verse 50 we read that the Jews incited the God-fearing woman of high standing and the leading men of the city against Paul and Barnabas.

To some degree we all have exerted our power of influence over others. We influence our spouses , our children, those we work with.

Influence is a trust and we must be careful how we use it.


Paul and Barnabas were thrownout of the city, but not before the word of Jesus Christ got around. In verse 49 we see that ‘the word of the Lord spread throughout the whole region.

The truth had been told, the seeds were planted.

They shook the dust from their feet, laced their sandals and headed for Iconium.

Like Paul and Barnabas we all have had rejection but like them we should also refuse to give up. Don’t try to judge your own effectiveness. Shake the dust from your feet and move on. Joy lies ahead!

We’ll continue the journey with Paul and Barnabasin the next chapter

‘On Ya’ - ma

Saturday, September 23, 2006

My Study Notes: Chapter 11, TO LIVE IS CHRIST





My study notes: Chapter 11, TO LIVE IS CHRIST


While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’.

Acts 13:21


The church in Antioch gave generously to the believers in Judea as they faced impending famine. Barnabas and Saul headed for Jerusalem as ambassadors of famine relief.

A family of kings, all named Herod ruled Palestine. The Herod at this particular time was Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great who ruled at the time of Jesus’ birth and built the temple that stood in Paul’s day.

When they returned from their mission they brought back a young man named John Mark.

Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul were prophets and teachers in the church. These five each had a personal passion for God. The leaders of the church in Antioch were constantly ready to hear from God, and when He spoke they listened.


‘So after they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 13:3


Here we meet the first international missionaries-- Saul and Barnabas.

God gave more than wisdom and experience to aid
them in their journeys, He gave then a helper. John Mark who would later write the second Gospel, the Book of Mark.

Paul made three missionary journeys as well as a final trip to Rome.

They started at Antioch in Syria. From there they sailed to Cyprus and on to Salamis and Paphos.

On his second trip he med Bar-Jesus who was the attendant to Sergius Paulus, the Proconsul or governor of Cyprus. Bar Jesus did everything he could to oppose them and keep the proconsul from believing what they had to say. The apostle rebuked him and God struck him blind.

Here we read that Saul was also called Paul. The scriptures call him Paul from this point on.

Acts 13:11 records the first miracle we see God perform through the Apostle Paul. He struck Bar-Jesus blind.

God wants to amaze us with the wisdom of His Word. He wants to show us how relevant He is.

In the next chapter, we’ll continue with the journeys of Paul and Barnabas ‘A Light for the Gentiles’.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My study Notes: Chapter 10, TO LIVE IS CHRIST





For a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Acts 11:26


My study notes – Chapter 10 TO LIVE IS CHRIST

ACTS 11

After the Grecian Jews tried to kill Saul in Jerusalem, he boarded a boat for Tarsus, his homeland. In Galatians 1:21 we see that he also went to Syria and Cilicia.

We have no idea how long he stayed inTarsus, but Scripture suggests those interim years were difficult.

2 Corinthians 11:23-27 says:

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely and been exposed to death again and again.... …

This interim time is not recorded in the book of Acts.

Persecution scattered the early Christians as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. In Antioch they began to share with Gentiles and as a result of their testimony
‘a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.' Acts 11:21

In Acts 11:22 we read : News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem and Barnabas was dispatched immediately.

According to verse 23 Barnabas ‘encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.'

He taught these new believers the kind of resolve that would hold up even against the threat of death.

Barnabus brought Saul back to Antioch and they met together with the church for a whole year. Saul – the teacher, Barnabas - the encourager. One taught the principals of godly life --the other assured them they could do it with God’s help.

The greek word the believers were called was Christianos. The name given was first adoped at Antioch.

Peter said ‘If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name .

I Peter 4:16


God is still scattering the seeds a few righteous people planted in a city called Antioch. The early believers had no idea what they had started.

In Part 3 we will join Paul on his first missionary journey. He had many experiences that prove that living and and moving in the center of God’s will doesn’t mean we avoid opposition.

His key to victory was knowing the One in charge intimately. God will use the apostle Paul to help us clear up a few popular misconceptions in many Christian circles today.

Stay alert and Open – minded. His Word is alive. Hebrews 4:12

Since that time , in one generation after another and progressively in all parts of the world, men women and children who have heard the story of Jesus have recognized in it something completely suited to their condition and have welcomed Jesus as their all sufficient Lord and deliverer. (From Jesus Lord and Savior by F.F.Bruce.)

We are all a part of God’s family – Jews , Gentiles, Greek or Roman.

‘On Ya’ - ma

,.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Study Notes: Chapter 9 TO LIVE IS CHRIST




For God who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an Apostle to the Gentiles

Galatians 2:8


MY STUDY NOTES
CHAPTER 9 TO LIVE IS CHRIST


ACTS CHAPTER 10

Scripture tells us that Saul went to Jerusalem to become better acquainted with Peter. Saul didn’t go just to make a new friend, but to learn more.

Peter would also learn lots from Saul

One of their foremost differences was the contrast in their callings. Peter was entrusted with the Jews and Saul was entrusted with the Gentiles.

Acts 10 tells the story of Peter and Cornelius. Peter says in Acts 10:34-35 “ I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.”

Many otherwise strong God-serving, Bible believing Christians are steeped in prejudice. Like most of us prejudices are handed down through the generations. Peter was one of those.

WE are challenged to overcome prejudice, just as Peter did. Differences will always exist, but the division doesn’t always have to result.

Everything we are and anything we possess as believers is a gift of grace.

While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit came donw on all those who were listening. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been given even to those wo were not Jews.

Acts 10: 44-45


In the next we’ll see a new church begin!


‘On Ya’ - ma

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My Study Notes: Chapter 8, TO LIVE IS CHRIST





My Study Notes: CHAPTER 8 TO LIVE IS CHRIST

So Saul headed toward Damascus. As he came near the city, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘ Saul, Saul Why are you persecuting me?'

Acts 9:3-4



The Transformation of Saul Acts 9:11-43

Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 9:22

Saul was born again on a dusty road to Damascus. A light came on that no one was able to turn off although many tried.

After Saul’s conversion he left for Arabia, apparently to come to grips with what had happened.

When his quiet exile was over, he once again approached Damascus. This time he returned to preach the word of Christ. People would remember that he first came to take prisoners of the followers of the Way. Now he would be staying in their homes.

In physical appearance there was very little intimidating about him, but when the Spirit of God fell on him, he became more powerful. He brought together the teachings of the Old Testament Law and Prophets with their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Luke tells us that Christ appeared to the men on the road, but they did not recognize him. The proof was there. All they needed was to believe. The Jews knew Scripture, they just hadn’t recognized the One about whom the Scriptures were written.

In Galatains 1:18 we see that Saul wanted to become acquainted with Peter and left for Jerusalem. He probably assumed his place was with the other apostles. But when he tried to join them, the disciples were all afraid of him.

In Acts 9: 27 we are told that Barnabas took Saul and ‘brought him to the apostles’. Barnabas reached out a helping hand to a discouraged man. Saul took that hand and two lives bonded in that movement.

Barnabas offers us an example we don’t want to miss. His name was Joseph, but the disciples renamed him ‘son of encouragement ‘ . God used Barnabas over and over to give others the courage to be the people He had called them to be. Now he encouraged them to accept a new brother
He persuaded the apostles to accept the new convert and the most powerful preacher in all Christendom.

In Acts 9:30 we see the brothers push Saul on a boat to Tarsus to keep him from being killed.

Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria was strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit and grew in numbers

Acts 9:31


We should all try to be a Barnabas in another’s life. Take every opportunity to encourage fellow believers.

Next we’ll be taking a look at the meeting between Paul and Peter.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My Study Notes:Chapter 6&7 TO LIVE IS CHRIST



My Bible Study Notes Chapters 6 and 7 TO LIVE IS CHRIST

Acts 5 7:59-8:1

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this , he fell asleep And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.


Saul had arrived in Jerusalem just in time to hear this speech from Stephen.

Acts 6:8 says Stephen was a man full of God’s grace and peace and did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.

Only a person full of the Holy Spirit can possess the kind of power Stephen had and yet remained full of God’s grace. Pride never accompanies power in the fully yielded life. His witness infuriated Saul’s fellow Jews.

Stephen stood accused, but instead of defending himself, he preached a sermon. Saul stood in the crowd and listened. The Bible mentions Saul in Acts 7:58. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.


Stephen prayed for forgiveness of his persecutors. When we have trouble forgiving we should remember that forgiveness provides a powerful witness for Christ. Stephen’s words were to have a powerful impact on Saul.

Lukes account of Saul’s conversion is recorded in Acts 9:1-19. A blind and chastened Saul was led into Damascus where he would meet Ananias.

Saul had thought he had all the answers. In Acts 26:11 we are shown what his mental state was like during this time.

Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

Jesus would send Saul to open the eyes of many , No one can teach us more about forgiveness than the forgiven.

We too can believe in something whole heartedly and still be wrong
Our sincerity means nothing if we are misdirected.

The next chapter will be on the transformation of Saul to Paul – from Persecutor to Preacher.

‘On Ya’ – ma

Saturday, August 12, 2006

My Study Notes: Chapter 5 TO LIVE IS CHRIST




The next day…the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. Sir, they said, we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, After three days I will rise again. So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day.

Matthew 27:62-64


There were three groups within the Judism during the time of Paul

Herodians were influential Jews who supported the dynasty of Herod. Scholars think that Herodians were pro-Hellenistic and endorsed Herod’s promotion of Greek thought and customs in Palestine.

The Sadducees were a small group of very wealthy Jewish leaders.

The Pharisees were the largest and most important of the Jewish groups.
As leaders of the synagogues, they exercised great control over the populace. They were religiously conservative, believing in angels and the Resurrection, unlike the Sadducees.

John the Baptist caused the Pharisees a lot of unease. They didn’t like him from the start.

Luke 7:30 says;
But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.

Many of the Pharisees disliked Jesus too. He exposed their self-righteous hearts by eating with sinners, and healing on the Sabbath.

When they confronted Jesus with endless debates of Scripture he left them looking foolish.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council, He came to Jesus obviously representing a number of Pharisees, because John 3 :2 says, “ we know you are a teacher who has come from God.



John 12:42 tells us that many even among the leaders believed in Jesus. They refused to acknowledge that fact because they were afraid they would be put of out the temple.

We all have had an occasion to remain silent when it comes to our belief in Christ, because we are afraid of the disapproval of others. The silent believers were driven by fear.

John 11 tells how the Sanhedrin, the chief judicial council of the Jews, finally concluded that Jesus must die.

The High Priest Caiaphas mouthed one of Scriptures clearest statements of why Christ came to earth. He said it s better ‘that one man die for the people than that the whole nations perish.’ John 11:50

These men were the teachers and classmates of Saul of Tarsus. There were so blinded by self interest that they became willing to betray and murder Jesus, simply because he represented a threat to their power.

To understand the Jewish Pharisee Saul that would one day be the Apostle to the Gentiles, we must realize that evil lived in his heart. The Pharisees did everything in their power to make sure that the life of Jesus was finished.

It was finished except for the one thing that Luke 24:1-6 tells us

On the first day of the week , very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen’

The work of Calvary is finished. No more payment for sin is necessary. Jesus did it, we can’t earn it or add to it. It is finished, yet we try to add our good works to His salvation.

Philippians 1:6 promises – He who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion until they day of Christ Jesus.

Sometimes , we just need to cooperate with the work He seeks to finish in us.

Next well be taking a look at the journey Saul makes from enemy of the cross to servant of the Lord. We’ll see the power of God change him from inside out.

With God all things are possible. We just have to believe.

Let us continue to offer Him a teachable heart, and let the transformation begin.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My Study Notes - Chapter 4 TO LIVE IS CHRIST




Bible Study Notes
Chapter 4 TO LIVE IS CHIRST

If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people Israel, of the ribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, in regard to the Law a Pharisee…as for legalistic righteousness, faultless

PhiL. 3:4-6


The teachers young Saul encountered are described in Matthew 23

They made demands of others that they themselves did not keep

They made their religious actions into show to impress others

They loved to be the center of attention

And they not only wouldn’t enter the kingdom of God,

they prevented others from entering.

A terrible description

Matthew 23 also describes others

Godly people are valiant people They are people with the courage to ask God to spotlight areas of weakness, sin, and failure. Then God can strengthen, heal, and complete what is lacking

Inspite of their wrong actions we see the mercy of God

Matthew 23:37

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.


Yes, Jesus loved them –even in the depthof their wrong doings.

Will we ever be able “ to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” – Eph. 3:18

Saul himself was a Pharisee and probably returned to Tarsus to serve as a teacher of the Law. Imagine how his thinking was was influenced by his own teachers.

Negative influences outweighed the positive . the law became his god. When you take the love out of obedience the result is law. Without love for God and His Word, we’re just trying to be good. Nothing can wear us out faster.

Identity boundaries are walls we put up to separate our groups from other groups. Just as gangs wear certain colors to show who is in their group, Churches and denominations develop distinctive teachings to accomplish the same goal

In Philippians 3:6 Paul says…his zeal was so great that he persecuted the church and his legalistic righteousness was ‘faultless’

He sought to live by the letter of the law. Daily rituals determined the first words out of Saul’s mouth in the morning, and every other aspect of his day.

His entire day was filled with ritual and he was strangled by the Law.

In Isaiah 29:13 we see what could be a model of the life of Saul

These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips.but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.

We pray that God will forgive us when we act like Pharisees and that we will have hearts of devotion, not hearts full of laws.

Too many times we are caught up in laws and rules for living. May our hearts be open to the love of Christ and may we share that love with all we meet.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My Study Notes - Chapter 3 TO LIVE IS CHRIST

I am a Jew, born in Tarsas of Cilcia, but brought up in this city
Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today

Acts 22:3


Saul’s father probably considered the best place for the continued education for his gifted son and set his sights on Jerusalem, the homeland – the fountain of Jewish learning.

Just decades before Saul’s visit, Herod the Great sought the favor of the Jews by rebuilding the temple and the entire city of Jerusalem. Inside the gates of the city were a large theater, a palace, an amphitheater, a hippodrome for horse and chariot races, and imposing fortified towers.

Herod’s temple was huge, and richly ornamented. Young Saul witnessed one of the most magnificent buildings in the entire world.

From a prison cell in Ephesus, Paul wrote that Christ had broken down the wall that separates Jew and Gentile. He was not just referring to any wall but the imposing structure he had faced on the temple grounds many years before.

He read Greek and Latin and had no trouble reading the notices on the middle wall that forbade any heathen to enter the sanctuaries of the house of God

In later years he wrote:

For he is our peace, who hath made both Jew and Gentile one, and had broken down the middle wall of partition between us.

Ephesians 2:14


He had a seat in the most important classroom in the Jewish world. Gamaliel , his teacher continues to be highly respected and the Jews called him ‘the beauty of the Law’

All of Saul’s religious training would be parts of God’s ornate plan. God would use what Saul learned at the feet of Gamaliel. In Acts 5:27-42 we see a sample of Gamaliel’s teaching.

The Jewish officials wanted to put the Apostles to death, but Gamaliel said:
Leave these men alone, let the go.For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men. You will only find yourselves fighting against God.


Saul spent 5 of the most critical years of his life in Jerusalem. He became a teacher. The son of a Pharisee became a Pharisee.

Just as Paul was educated, we too need to read and study the Word of God. The Word should increase our love for God.


Next we’ll take a look at more of Saul’s travels .


‘On Ya’ - ma

Monday, July 31, 2006

My Study Notes : To Live is Christ - Chapter 2




Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6




To the ancient Hebrews
this passage represented one of the sternest commands of God.

Paul wrote in Phillipians 3:5 that he was “ circumcised on the 8th day of the people Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews”

The words ‘Hebrew of Hebrew ‘ meant that nothing but Jewish influence touched him in his early childhood.

The father of the household was primarily in charge of a child’s training. As a Pharisee, Saul’s father would have assumed this duty. The Pharisee represented some of the noblest traditions of the Jewish people.

They stood for strict religious life. Just as there are sometime bad ‘Christians’ there were some bad ‘Pharisees’ . Saul’s father would probably have been one of the ‘strict’ ones, not one of the bad ones.

Jewish parents considered children one of God’s blessings, and cherished them.

Saul would have learned prayers – saying them morning noon and night A child of normal intelligence would have been able to read scriptures by the age of 5. His mind would have been steeped in memorization of the Jewish laws.

At the age of 13 Jewish boys were considered men. The law of the Lord would have been his life.

This was a brief look at what it might have been like as Paul (Saul) was growing up. Next we’ll take a look at more of his education and life as a young man .

‘On Ya’ - ma

Sunday, July 30, 2006

TO LIVE IS CHRIST



To Live Is Christ..


A study of the life of the apostle Paul, one of Christ’s most passionate followers.

I am doing this Bible Study from the book ‘To Live is Christ’ by Beth Moore.

The apostle Paul was a remarkable man. His persistence and undying passion should convince us that he truly encountered the risen Christ.

His words should be a personal challenge to all

I want to know Christ – should be our plea
To live is Christ and to die is gain – should be our hope

He loved and served the Lord with every breath and drop of blood he had. His passion for Christ was indomitable. For these reasons the study of his life will challenge us.


God who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles.

Galatians 1:15-16


The First Footprints

When Saul was born and raised in a Jewish neighborhood in Tarsus, he had no idea that someday he would have the call to work for God.

We can only imagine what his childhood and upbringing might have been like. The Bibles gives us only a few pieces of information about his upbringing.

We know that Paul was reared as closely to the letter of the Jewish law as possible. Therefore based on Scripture and the traditional Jewish code of law, we can find many details of his young life.

From the circumstances and practices of those times, we can draw conclusions of what his young life may have been like.

The rules and precepts of the Code of Jewish Law has been and continues to be the cornerstone of Jewish custom and tradition and an eternal light guiding Jewish moral, social and religions behavior.

His father. a Pharisee and Roman citizen, would have been an impressive man and one of the few the community who would command a certain amount of respect from both Jew and Gentile.

Paul would have been named and circumcised in a ceremony with words like …Just as he has been initiated into the covenant, so may he be initiated into the study of the Torah, to his nuptial canopy, and to the performance of good deeds.

In a society where a child could be discarded as rubbish, nothing was more important to the Jew than offspring. The child was a tangible piece of evidence that God was faithful and would do as He promised.

Custom would demand that the father would host a feast to the limits of his wealth. A man who offered less than he could afford was entirely improper. . They would gather with those who feared God and worshiped Him only.

The eight day old infant was circumcised and named Saul

In Galatians 1:15-16 Paul spoke of being ‘set apart from birth’. Genesis 17:1-11 describes circumcision as ‘ the sign of the covenant’ between God and the descendants of Abraham.

The importance of Paul’s Jewish identity can not be understated. It powerfully affected his lifestyle.

As we continue on in the study we’ll be leaving our ‘footprints’ all over the pages of Acts and Paul’s epistles

Next we’ll be taking a look at the childhood of a Pharisee’s son.

As you can see, I finally found my book and it looks like it will be an interesting and informative study. I hope you’ll join me in the days to come as I strive to learn more from the Wonderful Words found in the Bible.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Sunday, July 23, 2006

R & R - REFRESHED AND RENEWED



REFRESHED AND RENEWED FOR ANOTHER WEEK

SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for You are at my side." —Psalm 23:4

Psalm 23 begins with a soothing picture of comfort. The Lord, the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11), refreshes the psalmist.

I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble.” (Jer. 23:4)


Images from the world of shepherds characterize today’s readings. The Gospel recounts the return of the disciples from their missionary journey (Mk. 6:7-13), and Jesus invites them to come away to a “deserted” place for rest, which ends up being short-lived as crowds stream out and arrive before them.

As with us, so too did the apostles need a quiet time and place to renew their spirits and their relationship with Jesus.

The opportunity to eat and rest also meant more than renewing one's needs. The meal was an event that renewed fellowship and social bonds. The gospels imply Jesus had many meals with his inner circle to develop leadership and pass along the message of the Kingdom.

Just like his followers, we, too, are invited to find a quiet place to spend time with the Lord.

All times and all places invite us to prayer. But, there are quiet times and places to "come and rest" in the Lord

If you worry – you didn’t pray
If you pray – don’t worry


When we are over come with worry, we miss the moment we miss the now

All of us sheep also have a role to play in the shepherding of the flock. It's never safe to say, “I'm just a plain sheep - whatever happens to all the other sheep isn't my concern.” Each of us by our actions either helps to scatter, or helps to gather the flock. We're bound to get lost ourselves if we do nothing but sit around complaining

So everyone called upon to guide other sheep (and remember, that includes all of us to some extent) must never forget that there is only one Good Shepherd. We must never egotistically say, “Follow me!” Rather, we should always humbly point to the One greater than ourselves and say, “Follow Him!”

Jesus our Good Shepherd provides us with courage and direction. As we pass through various valleys of darkness and confront moments of loneliness and the trials of our lives, even our greatest fears can't drown out the comforting voice of this Shepherd, Who searches out all lost sheep, and calls us by name.

Happy, blessed are we who are part of His flock. Happy, blessed are we whom the Shepherd leads

Mark 6:34
His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd


In order to do what is required of each of us, we need to take time to be with the Lord in order to be refreshed and renewed for the journey.

COME AWAY AND REST AWHILE

‘On Ya’ - ma

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time




Sometimes, like an old door in need of mending,
I hang askew Ñ stuck,
unable to move. I am afraid

I cry out my loss. Your spirit challenges
me both to cherish the memories and to let go,

trusting You will open a
new window. I sit and wait.

Doorways to Holiness

I’ve been lagging behind in my Bible study so far this summer. I got a new book so I could begin a new study and I can’t find it. I will sooner or later, in the meanwhile I’ll share some of my daily devotional thoughts with you.

Fifteen Sunday in Ordinary Time

MARK 6:7-13

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits" (v 7)

They did not go on their own volition, but under the power and authority of Jesus. Strengthened by one another, they must imitate Jesus by trusting in God's providence. Empowered by the Lord, the new missionaries went forth to announce God's reign, expel demons and heal the sick by anointing them with oil

Today’s liturgy reminds us once again that we must not permit ourselves to become so deeply involved with our means as to forget our ends

How many of us have had the opportunity to travel for the good of others? To heal broken relationships? To announce good news? Jesus gave his chosen Twelve that opportunity, the possibility to go out for people's ultimate good.

In the time of Jesus, hospitality was highly prized. And a host family claimed the honor of the guests. Meal time for stranger became a social event for the neighborhood, since their news could be heard by all.

In serving others, the missionary would depend on the goodwill of others and, ultimately, on the benevolence of God

Jesus asked us to be his witnesses. He wants all of us to be his light to the world, bringing more and more people into the light of his love.

Jesus did a lot of simple things. He hugged the children, had time for the blind begger, visited friends, went fishing with Peter. He enjoyed a drink of water at the well on a hot muggy afternoon, or a meal with His friends, and listened when he was asked a favor. None of it was costly or lavish, but it all made life good and hearts happy.

He taught us that we have within us all that we need to bring joy to this world of our.

May the Joy of the Lord be on YOU!

‘On Ya’- ma

Saturday, July 01, 2006

4TH OF JULY - A PRAYER




Almighty God, giver of all good things: We thank you for the natural majesty and beauty of this land. They restore us, though we often destroy them.
Heal us.

We thank you for the great resources of this nation. They make us rich, though we often exploit them.
Forgive us.

We thank you for the men and women who have made this country strong. They are models for us, though we often fall short of them.
Inspire us.

We thank you for the torch of liberty which has been lit in this land. It has drawn people from every nation, though we have often hidden from its light.
Enlighten us.

We thank you for the faith we have inherited in all its rich variety. It sustains our life, though we have been faithless again and again.
Renew us.

Help us, O Lord, to finish the good work here begun. Strengthen our efforts to blot out ignorance and prejudice, and to abolish poverty and crime. And hasten the day when all our people, with many voices in one united chorus, will glorify your holy Name. Amen.

May you all have a safe and happy Holiday weekend !

'On Ya' - ma

Sunday, June 25, 2006

12th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - My Devotions for Today




Job 38: 1, 8-11

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said:
Who shut within doors the sea,
when it burst forth from the womb;
when I made the clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling bands?

When I set limits for it
and fastened the bar of its door,
and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stilled!



Jesus is always with us, especially during the storms of life in this world. In his cross and resurrection, he not only triumphed over the powers of darkness in this world: He defeated death itself, our ultimate enemy. Now risen in glory, he offers us countless opportunities to cast our cares on him. Through challenge after challenge, he seeks to deepen our trust in his love and provision. In hope, let us surrender our lives to him

How can we fight fear with faith?

Do you recognize the Lord's presence with you, especially when you meet the storms of adversity, sorrow, and temptation? Whenever we encounter trouble, the Lord is there with the same reassuring message: "It is I, do not be afraid."

Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. Believing is only possible by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and who opens the eyes of the mind to understand and accept the truth which God has revealed to us. Faith enables us to relate to God rightly and confidently, with trust and reliance, by believing and adhering to his word, because he is utterly reliable and trustworthy.

If we want to live, grow, and persevere in faith, then it must be nourished with the word of God. Fear does not need to cripple us from taking right action or rob us of our trust and reliance on God. Courage working with faith enables us to embrace God's word of truth and love with confidence and to act on it with firm hope in God's promises. The love of God strengthens us in our faith and trust in him and enables us to act with justice and kindness towards our neighbor even in the face of opposition or harm.

Lord, increase my faith in your redeeming love and power that I may always recognize your abiding presence with me. And give me courage to do your will in all circumstances

Psalm 107:23-31
Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress;
he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to the sons of men!


If you have storm clouds in your heart
today, run into the waiting Arms of Jesus.
He will kiss away your tears, hold you in
His Loving Arms, and protect you from
the hurts of this life. Jesus is our Umbrella
from the storms of our hearts


When I do not know which way to turn…
When I do not know the answer…
When I am surrounded by the enemy…
When I face sure defeat…
When my pain and adversity are too much…

I shall place my life in God's hands because
in His hands He will mold me and shape
me according to His sweet will.

All these things I humbly pray in the name
of my most Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, my
Mighty God, and my Ever-present
Holy Spirit upon whom I can rely.
Amen


‘On Ya’ -ma