Category Archives: Acts

Three in One

to Old Testament Verses
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them. And God said to them,“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth
Psalm 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord:..

I love that God has a history of talking to Himself!  And I love that these Old Testament verses use plural pronouns to confirm the reality that God exists in the mysterious wonder of three identities for the purpose of identifying Himself to the them that includes me.  As believers in Christ we know those three identities are a)the creator God, b)the Son Jesus and c) the Holy Spirit, the witness — but why Three?   I wonder if there’s more to that conversation God was having with Himself?  I wonder if knowing about His self-talk and that we’re created in His image means I need to pay more attention to my self-talk as a follower of Jesus because self-talk may be God’s way of speaking to me.  It does say “God said to them.”

Self-talk is an inner voice that combines our thoughts, beliefs and feelings to influence our response to life.  Sometimes it’s way below the radar of consciousness but that’s why that mysterious three are so important. The one who at creation knew He would speak life into you just as He did for Adam, at just the right time. The one who walked on earth to be the guide for your steps through the twists and turns of daily life, and the one who came after, to be the internal helper that could keep track of those steps long before anyone else even thought of step tracking.  They are the same Three in One having an important conversation with each other about your life and their intended purpose for it that spans creation to eternity.  Listen carefully, and practice their Words as part of your own self-talk.

Week 2: Acts 15:16-17


(AO) = Amos 9:11-12 and Jeremiah 12:15
(AQ) = Isaiah 43:7, Jeremiah 14:9, & Daniel 9:19 ESV

Amos 9:11-12 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom (Mount Esau) and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.
Jeremiah 12:15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.
Isaiah 43:7 …everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
Jeremiah 14:9
Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.”
Daniel 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.

This kind of study and reading is still unfamiliar, time consuming and more confusing than I imagined it would be. Amos added a surprise detail with a footnote of it’s own for Edom [Mount Esau.]  Esau is thought to have founded the kingdom of Edom.  This is the same Esau who sold his birthright swearing an unbreakable oath to satisfy a temporary need.  Esau will be restored! The Lord’s compassion has reached into a sketchy past and restored a lost heritage. It’s the picture of humanity isn’t it?   Those citations were sidebar details I would have missed without believing they could become contemporary accents that confirm the purpose God has always had in mind; to be in the midst of; to hear, forgive, pay attention and act on behalf of those who are called by His name and created for His glory.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent these last few days floundering my way through what seems like countless rabbit trails to get to the point where I could write that one paragraph.  I can tell you when I put that period after that phrase “His glory” in that last sentence I felt like I’d just come up for air.  It’s the comfort of a recorded and cited Biblical history that includes people like me in His story today.

Think About These Things

What If…
— Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5

— You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

— We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

— God’s workmanship in me began long before a specific egg and sperm met one another

— God began to justify His choice in my mother’s womb before my first breath

— That first breath began my sanctification even before my first cognitive thought

— God has created me in the likeness of His perfection to insure I could be of value and succeed at what He’s prepared beforehand

— My whole imperfect and incomplete way of life is the inspired field of operation He’s chosen to accomplish His good works

— In him we live and move and have our being…for we are indeed his offspring  Acts 17:28

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

The Third Chapter – Acts

Acts 3:18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. ESV


These Third Chapters have each provided a golden thread to be woven into the fabric of daily life.  Long before there was a New Testament there was a golden thread woven into garments for ministering in the Holy Place.  “They hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen—the work of skilled hands.a  Today’s golden thread is the Good News of repentance: “that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.”   

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?b” You are now that Holy Place!  Who could imagine the tarnish of sin could not only be blotted out through contact with Jesus, but that repentance might become the golden thread that turns daily life into your garment of ministry?  

a Exodus 39:3 NIV.
b I Cor 6:19 NLT

“Who are you, Lord?”

Acts 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.


Saul’s question, “Who are you, Lord,?” was the unexpected beginning of his identity with Christ.  We see the reality of the man God created Paul to be unfold in a large part of the New Testament.  Those words still inspire us today to discover the reality of our own identity with Christ.  

You know Paul’s story.  He walked down that Damascus road convinced he knew the unassailable truth about God.  Paul saw himself as obedient, full of moral virtue and willing to brutally ensure the future of what he believed.  God saw something more: a committed man who was not Godless, but not Godly either when He asked “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Paul’s identity with Christ began when he replied “Who are you, Lord?”  The answer would open his eyes and change his heart from the unassailable truth he knew ABOUT God to the unassailable truth OF God.  The Bible is filled with stories of flawed, but not Godless, people we can easily identify with who were changed into Godly people with a new identity.  Paul wrote about his own experience of God’s revealed truth.  That truth still has the power to change the identity of those who dare to ask “Who are you, Lord?”

Second Chance: Acts 2

√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

NIV Acts 2:2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…

Courage :
• from the prophet Joel  Acts 2:17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
• from David the king 2:28 “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”
• from Peter 2:32 “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

A big part of renewal in a life of faith is having the courage to come to grips with the Holy Spirit.  Identifying the Holy Spirit as wind is familiar but I’ve never noticed the word “violent” before [other versions use “mighty.”]  The idea that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit might not be a gentle and virtually invisible interaction at all but the surgical  removal of the sin within us that’s so violent it might even require fire to cauterize the wound.  That’s just my theory.  The truth is the moment the Holy Spirit enters into us the dramatic renewal and  healing within us begins.  ‘God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.”

The Firsts – Acts 1 and Betrayal

The disciple Peter speaks in Acts 1:17 Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us…21 “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— 22 from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”

I’m continuing my look at the first chapter of each Bible book from the perspective of my three New Years’s questions.  In some respects Acts 1 is easy: Judas made the one of the most heart wrenching bad choices on record.  Look at the credentials we can assume he had because he was a chosen disciple: he was one of the “men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus—from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us.”  Whatever Judas was committed to in those years required real sacrifice and hardship and then everything was not only wasted but destroyed.  How could that possibly be? 

These men were face to face with God “in the flesh” and even that wasn’t enough to protect Judas from himself.  Judas was a victim of his own spirit, his own mind and his own answers on the night he betrayed Jesus.  Those are the most important facts of this pitiful story that remind us to be thankful.  God has chosen to promise us protection and assurance of grace and forgiveness through the indwelling Spirit of his Son.

Judas’s story is ugly but there is beauty in this same scripture that changes the story.  It’s the backstory of the “other” betrayer, Peter.  Peter is the disciple who surrendered his own denials made that same night to the reality of Jesus and God’s promise of grace and forgiveness to become  “a witness of Jesus’ resurrection” and it’s promise  for us today.



“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’…

Acts 17:24-28

Don’t be fooled into believing any details of the birth of Jesus were God’s last ditch effort to provide a place for him because there was no room in the inn. That stable and food trough became the sacred space, the temple, where the needs of the people and the holiness of God finally came together.

“God did this so that they [we] would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him…” This is the reality of temple building and Advent; it’s not a blueprint of a grand structure that will save us.  It’s God’s intervention into our daily lives that fills a sacred space within us where our needs and his holiness can finally come together.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. I Cor 6:19

Recap October 10, 2012

We’re on the last leg of our road trip and three long days of driving have left me unprepared for today’s post so I decided to go back to the very beginning of my digital journaling, October 10, 2012. This beginning was a challenge from the pastor to spend 40 days with God to see what he might do for each of us personally and for the church.  It’s  proved to be a lasting blessing.

5:32 am. Day 1 for the body & the BODY!
How odd it feels to get up and not flick on the tv to watch my recorded home improvement shows while I knit. This is a clue that I’ve chosen rightly I guess; 30 minutes to explore what God has in mind. High time.

“How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” 2 Samuel 7:22 Biblegateway VOD

My search begins: in Christ.
Acts 2:38
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I love gifts, giving and getting. My heart is so full right now of creative giving as Christmas approaches. Dredging up the old illustrations of the Christmas Story for the card for the children at church; the wooden trees for the pastor’s girls and the Prayer Shawl ministry. You know how much these things mean to me. They’re really gifts from you that happen to pass through my hands. Thanks for that.

When I do those Spiritual gift tests I feel like I come up so short. I’m not a helper, I’m not an evangelist, I’m not a teacher but I have this one thing that you can use… creativity. It’s really my only voice and its taken so long for me to find a way to use it for you. The new thing is not the creativity itself but the people connection that has come with it [the prayer shawl ministry]. Having a way to take the words out of my heart and put them in someone else’s life is so perfect. It’s the exercise my Spiritual body has needed.

The Egg and I

Acts 1:21 …Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us….

The pastor’s idea of considering a two-word based testimony, was such a simple one. But it gets my award for the best “2 or 3 minute” class on witnessing. That was information #1. Then in Sunday School we took it a step further with a moment of silent prayer to choose our two words.  Then we had the chance to share them and to hear why they were chosen. This is a practical idea that can be used in at least two ways to develop your story…Before and After OR Cause and Effect. That was affirmation #2. And here I am this morning reading chapter 1 in Acts and there are the exact two words I chose; “IN and OUT” from v21. I call that confirmation #3  Pay Attention! So here’s my own two-word based testimony.

IN and OUT
There’s a way to protect yourself from the negative effects of life and disappointment. You just carefully build a nice little protective egg shell around yourself. If you do it well, you look just right to people around you and you can safely live IN that shell and ignore that all is not well. The only problem occurs when you realize you’re trapped IN it as well.

Thankfully Jesus can show you a way OUT. This is what He does best, moves IN and OUT among us. It’s just the same way that a baby bird begins the journey OUT of it’s shell. First there’s just a small hole IN that shell. After all you’re working IN a confined space and it’s a big shell. It doesn’t happen all at once. You work a bit, rest a bit and then repeat it all over again. The difference is now you’ve had a little glimpse of a new world –  a world OUT of that shell – a world with Jesus. The promise of a world where you’re not trapped; a world where you’re good just as you are, right now.  It’s a brand new world where Jesus promises to make you all you can be. Suddenly there’s a goal. Get OUT of that egg!  Finally the shell falls away. You may be exhausted and vulnerable but you’re safe IN the nest until it’s time to fly.

Watch this visual.