Saturday, January 28, 2012


For Sunday January 29, 2012

(Coming to know JESUS will change your life)
 Acts 9:1-22

Before we can help a person to change, we must first show that person our love for them, just as they are. In Acts chapter 9, verses 1-22, Luke gives us a vivid description, of the most famous, and perhaps, the most sweeping transformation of any human being in the annals of biblical literature. Here, Luke chronicles the story of how Saul (Paul) was converted by JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, one day on the road to Damascus, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, and also, the capital of Syria.
Scripture tells us that Saul, who was apparently an important figure to the Libertines, a group of freed slaves who had converted to Judaism, was an archenemy of the Christians, who referred to themselves as “Adherents of the way”. If you remember the Libertines were the group that was directly responsible for the death of Stephen back in Act 7. Saul embodied a deep hatred for this so-called “Sect of the Nazarenes”, who were gaining much in popularity following the death, of first, our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST at Golgotha, and then later, Stephen at Jerusalem.
The strong preaching and teaching of the original Apostles of CHRIST, and other early Church leaders such as Barnabas, Philip, and the like, had catapulted the Christian doctrine of “Good News” into a legitimate threat against the powerful Church of Judaism at Jerusalem. The Gospel of CHRIST was swiftly becoming accepted by vastly increasing numbers of Jewish converts, who were formally associated with Judaism.
Here in Acts chapter 9, we find Saul, on a rampage, eager to destroy any of the followers of CHRIST who crossed his path. He goes to the High Priest and requests letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus asking their cooperation in the arrest of anyone proclaiming to be a follower of CHRIST that he found there. He wanted to bring them back to Jerusalem in chains to, either jail, beat, or stone them to death.
However, as Saul was nearing Damascus on this mission of hate, he is overcome by a brilliant light from Heaven, beaming down to the earth and causing him to fall to his knees in helpless wonderment. Suddenly the voice of JESUS rang out saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me? When Saul asks, “who are you?” The voice replies, “I am JESUS, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men with Saul also heard this voice, but they saw no one, and they all stood speechless in utter amazement. Saul, now blind, rises to his feet, and is led by his companions, into Damascus. He abided there for three days, going without food and water.
There was a believer in Damascus, by the name of Ananias, whom the LORD spoke to, in a vision. HE instructs Ananias to go over to “Straight Street”, the main thoroughfare in Damascus in those days, to the house of Judas, where Saul was residing. A protesting Ananias, who already knew of Saul’s exploits against the Christians, is further instructed by CHRIST to pray and lay hands on Saul, so that he would be healed of his blindness. Ananias reluctantly goes and finds Saul and lays hands on him, as CHRIST instructed him, and the scales fell from Saul’s eyes. Saul is then baptized, and remains in Damascus with the believers for a few days. After being filled with the HOLY SPIRIT, Saul immediately begins to preach about JESUS in the Synagogues saying, “JESUS truly is the SON of the LIVING GOD!”.
It is a life-changing thing, getting to know, and then, becoming accustomed to practicing the word of GOD. Getting to know CHRIST transforms our lives into something wonderful and new, and then, our commitment to that change, catapults us into everlasting freedom from Fear, Self, Other People, and finally, Sin. GOD is not willing that any should perish, and so HE, in HIS wonderful grace, offers this opportunity of change, to all mankind.

(CHRIST’s followers show caring and compassion)
(Acts 9:32-43)

Acts chapter 9 closes with Luke’s account of when the Apostle Peter traveled to the town of Lydda, one of his many stops along his itinerant missions around Judea. Today this city is called Lod, and it is located just south of Israel’s international airport. Here Peter encounters a man named Aeneas who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. Peter’s miraculous healing of this man, in the name of CHRIST JESUS, caused many Jews in Lydda, and, in the nearby plains of Sharon, to convert to the Christian faith and accept CHRIST as their LORD and SAVIOR.   
While Peter was in Lydda, an endeared Christian woman by the name of Tabitha (“Dorcas” in the Greek language), who lived in the nearby city of Joppa, became ill and died. Dorcas was widely known for her ministry in working with the poor. After hearing of Peter’s miraculous healing of Aeneas in Lydda, two men were sent there to try and persuade Peter to take the eleven-mile trip to Joppa and, perhaps, perform another miracle by restoring the beloved Dorcas to life. They had faith that, through Peter, GOD, could and would, raise this beloved woman from the dead, just as CHRIST had done a few years earlier, with HIS restoration of Lazarus.
Upon his arrival in Joppa, Peter was taken to the upper room where Dorcas’ body laid in state, awaiting its burial. The room was filled with weeping widows whose lives had been touched by Dorcas’ charity, caring and compassion over the years. After entering the room, in the tradition of Elisa the prophet (2 Kings 4:33), and our LORD JESUS CHRIST (Luke 8:51), Peter sent everyone out.
He then knelt down and began to pray before turning to the deceased, commanding her to get up. Dorcas opened her eyes and Peter took her by the hand, helped her up, and then called the others back into the room to see that she was indeed alive.
Because of these miraculous events, news spread throughout the land of the goodness of GOD, and how HE can work in the lives of those who believe on CHRIST JESUS. It was events like these that, Luke tells us, catapulted Christianity from being a tiny, little-known Jewish sect, in those days, into a major religious movement, by the end of the first century. And it all began with the real-life examples of charitable, caring people like Peter, Dorcas, and originally, CHRIST JESUS, HIMSELF. 
When we show others that we care for them, we are exercising the same form of evangelism that was used to springboard and spur the growth of the Christian Church into the formidable mechanism that it is today. Miracles have never been solely for those believers who benefited from them personally, but rather, they are most often used by GOD, to help non-believers make the decision to come to CHRIST.
By showing others that we care for them, we are really showing our love for JESUS. In fact, we don’t really love JESUS unless we are willing to take on HIS task and to take up our cross. And the biggest part of performing that task lies in us learning to love and care for one another in the traditions and examples of CHRIST and the CHRIST-like people of scripture who preceded us. 


(1). After Paul (Saul) met JESUS that day on the road to Damascus, he experienced
      a complete change and turnaround in his life, from how it had been up until that
      point. JESUS can truly affect all of us that way if we give HIM a chance, by
      inviting HIM into our lives. If you really want to see a change in the way things
      have been going in your life without a commitment to CHRIST, you can start by
      praying this prayer of salvation with me, right now, directly to CHRIST JESUS;

“LORD JESUS I need you. I thank YOU for dying on the cross for my sins. I do earnestly repent for my trespasses against YOU, and I open up the door to my life, and invite YOU in, as my LORD and SAVIOR. I thank YOU for forgiving my sins, and then offering me Eternal life. I accept YOUR offer of Salvation, and I want YOU to take control of the throne of my life, and make me into the kind of person, YOU want me to be. Amen”.
(2). Show someone you care by exercising evangelism through right behavior.
(3). By showing love for others, we show our love for CHRIST.


Commit to listening for GOD’s calling on your life, and pray to GOD for discernment to correctly identify what the SPIRIT is leading you to do. Strengthen yourself through GOD’s word so that you will be better able to recognize the differences between those things that are within the will of GOD, and, those things that are not.

KEY VERSE: Acts 9:5-6

DEVOTIONAL PASSAGES: Luke 4:17-21, Luke 5:4-11, Matthew 7:24-29

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, January 20, 2012


For Sunday January 22, 2011

(The Gospel is the whole Spiritual Truth)
Acts 8:1-25

Second Kings, chapter 17 chronicles the origins of the Jews and Samaritans hatred for each other. By the first century A.D., the quarrels between the two groups were centuries old. One would have to go all the way back to the eighth century B.C., when the Assyrians, under the leadership of Shalmaneser, the son of the great Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser, conquered the northern kingdom of Israel (722 B.C), whose capital, at that time, was Samaria.
As Syrian conquerors often did in those days, Shalmaneser transported the greater portion of the Jewish population to Assyria, and then, resettled Israel with his own people. The small portion of the Jewish people who were left in Israel eventually began to intermarry with the Assyrians who were transplanted there. The progenitors from those marriages became the hated group of Samaritans, who were the “half-breed” Jews, of JESUS’ day. On the other hand, the Jews who were transported to Assyria, for the most part, stubbornly refused to lose their identity by intermarrying with the Assyrians and most were able to retain their “pure breed” status.
In the days, long before King David made Jerusalem the center of Jewish worship (2 Samuel 6), all the Jewish people went to Mount Gerizim to pay homage to the LORD (Joshua 8:33). The Samaritans continued to worship at Mount Gerizim after King David’s restructuring of Israel’s worship traditions, while the “pure breed” Jews adhered to David’s new system of worship at Jerusalem. In John chapter 4, verses 4-41, fourteen generations after King David’s death, we see JESUS finally entering into Samaria to initiate an end to this ancient hostility.
The Apostle John gives us a vivid description, through his writings, of JESUS’, now famous encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. There, we see JESUS attempting to teach HIS Disciples, and all who wish to follow HIM, that, the time had indeed come to put an end to petty disputes, that had spilled over, even into the way they were worshiping the FATHER. HE tells them that GOD is looking for anyone who can worship HIM in “spirit” and in “truth”, because HE HIMSELF is SPIRIT.
In Acts chapter 8, verses 4-17, after the scattering of the Believers from Jerusalem, by way of the Christian persecutions that followed the death of Stephen, we see Philip, one of the seven chosen servants of the early Church (Acts 6:5), fleeing Jerusalem and later finding himself preaching to the, still hated, Samaritans. It was now the appointed time of the LORD, to show all mankind that the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST would be embraced by Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles alike.
JESUS had shown HIS Disciples, during HIS three-year ministry that prayer was made for all men, and that, for the Christian, there would be no such thing as an enemy, except satan, in all the world. No one is outside of the love of CHRIST, and no one is outside of the purpose of GOD. GOD wishes all men, be they Jew, Samaritan, or Gentile, to be saved.
While in Samaria, Philip performed many miracles, and the people of that city listened to him because of those miracles. Many evil spirits were cast out of people, and many who were cripple, were healed. There was a man by the name of Simon Magus, or Simon the magician, who had become known as a great man in Samaria, because of the magic he performed. All the people of Samaria thought him to be the possessor of the great power of GOD.
Philip’s miracles and message of the good news of GOD’s kingdom, and the name of JESUS CHRIST, had won the people over from Simon. In fact, Simon himself was baptized and began following Philip everywhere he went. He was utterly amazed by the miracles and signs that Philip performed. When the news that the Samaritans had accepted GOD’s message got back to Jerusalem, Peter and John went to Samaria to pray for the new Christians, that they would receive the HOLY SPIRIT. They then laid their hands on the new believers and they did indeed receive the HOLY SPIRIT.
The miracles that accentuated the ministry of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, we can see, continued on in the early days of the Church. Those miracles were used by GOD, to authenticate those men, who were acting as HIS representatives, in carrying HIS Gospel message to the people.
The purpose of the HOLY SPIRIT was to make that connection man needed to be able to worship GOD in “spirit”. The purpose of JESUS’ first advent was to make that connection man needed, in order to worship GOD in “truth”. Therefore, it is for the purpose of GOD that the Christian is called, and it is by the work of the HOLY SPIRIT that a person’s life is hallowed towards GOD. And it is by the sprinkling of the blood of JESUS CHRIST, that past sins are forgiven, and we can look forward to a future of obedience to GOD.
It is important that a person comes to realize the purpose for which, he or she, came into the world, and that purpose has always been, to serve GOD. And unless a person is able to understand and grasp that fact, they will forever find themselves living a life, not unlike the Samaritan woman, who first met JESUS at her father Jacob’s well.
She had been meandering around for many years, looking for “physical” answers in many different men, to problems, that had always been “spiritual”. We who are created, must come to know the TRUTH of the CREATOR, and when that happens, we will be able to embody the SPIRIT that can help us stay focused on HIM, WHO’s WORD, is the whole spiritual truth.

Acts 8:26-40

In the Greek, there is a wonderful sounding word that New Testament writers use for “promise”. It is “epaggelia” (ep-ang-el-EE-ah), and it is “an announcement of divine assurance of good”. In Isaiah 56:3-5, GOD promises, through the Prophet Isaiah, to pour out HIS blessings on the Eunuchs of the world, who serve HIM and keep HIS commandments, and to reward them with a special place in HIS house. It would be a memorial that would be everlasting.
In Acts chapter 8, verses 26-40, we begin to see the first signs of GOD’s fulfillment of that promise. Acts chapter 8 depicts a very significant phase in the history of the development of the early church, as it begins to show signs of an initial shedding of its “strictly Jewish” membership doctrine and status. We see here, the Church being compelled to scatter and flee Jerusalem, as a result of the Christian persecutions that followed the tragic death of Stephen.
And so, they were now unconsciously taking one of the most important steps in the history of the early Church, and, at one and the same time, discovering that JESUS’ life was sacrificed for the entire world, not just the Jews. And when they were forced to leave Jerusalem, they also couldn’t help but take the good news of the Gospel of CHRIST with them, wherever they went.
Philip was one of chosen seven, who served in the Church at Jerusalem, alongside Stephen and five other men, who were full of the HOLY SPIRIT. After Stephen’s death, Philip fled to Samaria, where he preached to a group of people who were a natural bridge between Jews and Gentiles, because they themselves were half Jew and Half Gentile in their racial descent and makeup.
But suddenly, by divine intervention, Philip is told by an angel of the LORD to go south to Gaza. Just for general knowledge sake, it may serve development of our understanding better, to know that there were two Gazas. The original Gaza was destroyed in a war in 93 B.C., and the new Gaza was rebuilt, just south of the old desert Gaza, in 57 B.C. This new Gaza is where Philip was told to go.
Along the desert road, Philip encounters an Ethiopian eunuch, who was employed by the Candace of Ethiopia, as her nation’s treasurer. Candace is the title given to the queens who ruled Ethiopia’s governmental affairs. The king, or “Royal Son”, was thought to be above those kinds of duties, and so, the responsibilities of government were laid upon the queen. Eunuchs were used in trusted positions in the royal courts, especially those positions that involved working around the king’s wives and harems.
The Ethiopian eunuch, Luke tells us, was on his way back from worship service in Jerusalem. This particular eunuch was apparently a student of the Scriptures, and had converted over to Judaism. He was most likely a “GOD-fearer” and not necessarily a “proselyte”. A GOD-fearer was a non-Jewish person who converted to Judaism and did not accept “circumcision”, and a proselyte is a non-Jewish person who has converted to Judaism, and also, had accepted circumcision. We know that a eunuch is a person who has been castrated, or sexually mutilated, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and, if mutilation of his sex organs had occurred, then it stands to reason that he couldn’t be circumcised.
However, whatever his circumstances were, he appeared to be a man who was seeking to know GOD better, and GOD promises us that whoever is willing to seek HIM through HIS WORD, shall find HIM. And so we find this royal eunuch riding in his carriage and reading from the writings of the prophet Isaiah. He is reading from the “Septuagint”, which is the first Greek translation of the Old Testament.  He is concerned with the passage we know today as Isaiah 53:7-8 in our bibles.
Philip is told by the HOLY SPIRIT to go over and walk alongside the eunuch’s carriage. He then runs over to the carriage, and he hears the man reading from Isaiah. At this point he asks the man if he understands what he is reading. The man answers, in effect, that he doesn’t understand and invites Philip to join him in his carriage.
Philip, being very knowledgeable in GOD’s word, began to explain this passage and many others concerning CHRIST and the good news of Salvation. As they rode along, Philip was able to lead this man to CHRIST, and when they came to some water, the man requested that Philip would baptize him, and he did.
It is a life-changing thing, getting to know, and becoming accustomed to practicing the word GOD. GOD’s word has already come, in fact, it has been with us since the beginning, and it simply cannot be, and will not be disregarded. The word of GOD is synonymous with life, and therefore, the word of GOD is effective and penetrating, and it absolutely scrutinizes all of our thoughts, desires, and intentions. All things lay naked before GOD, as HE sees all, hears all, and knows all that we do. And every one of us will have to make an account for the deeds done in our lifetimes, and whether or not we believe that HE exists, therefore, becomes totally irrelevant.


(1). Make a list of beliefs, traditional or otherwise, that you may have, that may be
       inconsistent with the truth of the word of GOD, and then seek ways, through
      GOD’s word, to overcome them.
(2). Make it a daily practice to stay focused on the living truth of the Gospel, and
       also, through your studies, prayer, and worship, make yourself prepared to
       share GOD’s saving word with others.
(3). Remember that the TRUTH can never be compromised, we either hold fast to
       the things of GOD, or we will allow ourselves to be deceived by satan.


Pray to GOD and ask HIM to empower you with the life saving knowledge and understanding of “spiritual truth” so that you may be able to help yourself, and others, to overcome this world, just as CHRIST JESUS, our LORD did.

KEY VERSE: Acts 8:4

Friday, January 13, 2012


For Sunday January 15, 2011

(Be bold and stay focused on the LORD)
Acts 7

In Acts chapter 7, verses 2-53, Stephen delivers the longest recorded speech in the Book of Acts. It was an Oration that would lead to his death, and caused him to become the first Martyr, after JESUS, in the Christian Church. His speech enraged the Jewish religious leaders, and caused “hatred’s insanity” to rear its ugly head like no other time since the recent Crucifixion of CHRIST. Once again the religious leaders had lost all sense of proportion, and totally forgot about the mercy that they had, so often, preached about in the Temple.
Stephen’s long and eloquent speech refuted the three most basic things that a first century Jew revered most. First of all, he refuted their belief that their land, the “Promised Land”, was the only land good enough to be deemed holy. He reminds them that GOD’s work often took place outside of the “Promised Land” (i.e. Mount Sinai; Exodus 3:5). He also reminded them that, wherever GOD is, it is there, that is considered to be “Holy Ground” (Acts 7:2-36).
Secondly, Stephen refuted their belief in the superior power of Moses, and his hand-delivered laws. He points out to them that even Moses foretold of a coming PROPHET who would be greater than himself, and he told them that, when HE comes, HE should be the one that they listen to (Deuteronomy 18:15). He also reminds them how the Israelites even rejected Moses, and embraced idols, just as they had rejected JESUS, and killed HIM (Acts 7:37-43).
And finally, he refuted their beliefs about the Temple. The Jews saw the Temple as a symbol of GOD’s past workings with Israel, and the only place by which GOD could dwell among them in the present. They could not see GOD dwelling among them in the person of JESUS CHRIST, and neither could they recognize the work and presence of the HOLY SPIRIT among them. As a result, they had no problem, not only killing JESUS, but they had no problem killing any of GOD’s many messengers HE had sent among them over the years, who, were only armed with GOD’s eternal truth.
And so we see that, Stephen had not only knocked down the three greatest pillars of the Jewish Faith, but he had also exalted JESUS by proclaiming HIM to be the MESSIAH. And that is why JESUS, Stephen, all of the Old and New Testament Prophets, and most of the New Testament writers and thinkers who died Martyrs, had to die.
It is the opposition of both the willing, and, the unwitting components of satan, that, Christians, who are true followers of the LORD, must endure. We know that, for JESUS, the only way back to the glory of Heaven was through the Cross, and so it is with those of us who follow HIM. With open eyes, JESUS accepted the circumstances of the Cross, so that, whosoever believes in HIM will not ever perish, but rather, will always have and enjoy, “Everlasting Life”.


(1). “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. We, as Christians,
         first of all need to come to rest in this thought involving Physics, because it
         also applies spiritually, especially when we first begin our Christian walk. The
         more you act like a Christian in society, the more opposition satan is going to
         send your way. Be ready and stay strong by studying GOD’s word, by prayer,
         and, by associating and fellowshipping with other Christians.
(2). We also receive opposition from our own sin nature within, however, by
        continuing to fill ourselves with the word of GOD, by prayer, and by allowing
        the HOLY SPIRIT to work within us, soon our Christian walk will move from
        being a thing of struggle, to being a thing of peace.


Pray constantly and earnestly to GOD for wisdom, strength, and courage in facing the pressures of opposition from the forces of satan that are very busy trying to steal, kill, and destroy the lives of HIS people. Pray also for the boldness of Stephen in your application of the word of GOD in your everyday life.

KEY VERSE: Acts 7:52

DEVOTIONAL PASSAGES: Psalm 23, Psalm 34:17-19, Isaiah 54:10, Isaiah 41:13

Friday, January 6, 2012


For Sunday January 8, 2012

(Spirit-filled people will face opposition)
Acts 6

Racial hostility” and “ethnic disputes” are not problems of opposition that were born during the infant stages of our nation’s existence, but rather, they are problems that have been around since the infancy of human existence. In Acts chapter 6, verses 1-7, Luke gives us a vivid description of a case of “ethnic opposition” that led to the birth of the “Deacon concept” in the Christian Church.
Here in this particular passage, we see rumblings of discontent involving Greek speaking Jewish believers, who were being discriminated against by Hebrew speaking Jewish believers. The Hebrew speaking Jews were unfairly distributing food, showing favor to their own respective widow population. In order to resolve these disputes, the twelve Disciples of CHRIST called a meeting of all the current believers. At that meeting, they cited that they, as Apostles, need to spend their time preaching and teaching the Word of GOD, not administering a food program. They called on the believers to choose from among themselves, seven men, who were full of the HOLY SPIRIT, and wisdom, and put those men in charge of the food distribution program.
This pleased the people of both groups and they chose from among them, Stephen, a man full of faith and the HOLY SPIRIT, Philip, who later went on to preach the Gospel from Samaria to Caesarea, Procorus, Nicanor, Timmon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch, a Gentile convert, first, to the Jewish Faith, and later, to Christianity. The Apostles then ordained them and prayed for them, while laying hands on them. Afterwards, GOD’s message was preached in ever-widening circles, and the number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and also, many Jewish Priests were converted to Christianity.
With that said, let us now focus on one of those seven men, who was chosen that day to serve in the Church at Jerusalem, the one who is called, Stephen. Stephen, whose name means “wreath”, or “crown”, was a man who was full of GOD’s grace and power. He performed many amazing miracles and signs among the people of Jerusalem.
However, opposition arose against Stephen one day, in the form of a group of men from the “Synagogue of Freedmen”, which was a Temple in Jerusalem that was dedicated to Jews who were former slaves of Roman citizens. These men were also called “Libertines”, and, they had converted to “Judaism”, following their release from slavery.
Apparently, these men were not able to prevail against Stephen in a public theological debate forum, and so, they began to conjure up lies about him. They falsely accused Stephen of blaspheme against Moses, and, against GOD, an offense which, against either, was punishable by “death by stoning”.
Whenever we side with CHRIST JESUS, we automatically put ourselves in the position to be opposed by the world. JESUS HIMSELF warned of this in the Gospel of John (John 15:18-25), after HE had taken HIS twelve apostles into private teaching, shortly before HIS crucifixion. He told them that, “When the world hates you, remember it hated ME before it hated you. The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you” (John 15:18-19) - NLT).
JESUS went on to tell them, “Since they persecuted ME, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to ME, they would listen to you! The people of the world will hate you because you belong to ME, for they don’t know GOD WHO sent ME. They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. Anyone who hates ME hates MY FATHER too….This has fulfilled what the Scriptures said: “They hated ME without cause” (John 15:20b-25) (NLT).   
In the Greek, the word used for “World” is “Kosmos”, and it is from that word that we derive our English “Cosmos”. In the spiritual sense, “it is that complex intertwining of sinful desires that shape our world of “lost humanity”. When we choose the “Christian Walk”, we automatically become strangers to “worldly behavior”. We are no longer permanent residents of this earth, but rather, we become citizens of Heaven, and therefore, the Laws of GOD, just as they were to Stephen, must become paramount to us, also.

A Book to Book Bible Study by,
Larry D. Alexander  

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website