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     19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”  Acts 26:19-23 (NIV)

     Prior to these verses, the Apostle Paul had held been in prison under trumped up charges. He was now pleading his case with King Herod Agrippa and had just finished telling about his experience on the road to Damascus where he was converted to Christianity and was called by God to take the Christian message to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). 

     Paul declared to King Agrippa that his first message was to preach to all people that they should repent and turn to God. Paul didn’t choose to gloss over this key message of the Christian faith. All people needed to repent of all their sins, and in addition, all those who did repent should prove the sincerity of their repentance by how they lived their lives. It was this message that enraged the Jews who had put Paul in prison.

     Paul further defended his confidence in his message by declaring that everything that had happened to Jesus was prophesied many years earlier by Moses and the prophets, as he re-stated the facts “that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (verse 23)

     Each of the scripture passages this week have echoed the same theme, the need for all people to repent. Let us pray with the Psalmist, “Create in me a pure heat, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NIV)

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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1 O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old–
3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
Psalms 78:1-4 (NIV)
    

     These four verses are the beginning of a Psalm written by Asaph in which he teaches the history of the Jewish people beginning with Jacob and his sons in Egypt, through the time of King David. He urges the people to listen as he tells the wondrous story of how God has performed many wonders for the Israelites and impresses upon the people the importance of teaching this to the next generation so they too will learn of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. 

     This is why I am blogging. It is my heart’s desire to pass on the truths of the Bible to the next generation. They are not getting Bible teaching on TV, radio, or in the movies. Instead they are being bombarded with one form of blasphemy after another on every front. So few are regular church attendees like their grandparents were. In the majority of schools they are being taught from a humanistic point of view–to look for the answers to their problems from within themselves, to depend on human strength and wisdom. It has become passé to believe in the Bible or to expect God to be anything more than a crutch. 

     It breaks my heart, too, to see Sunday school classes and youth activities that seem to have the philosophy that getting them in church through fun and games is paramount to teaching the children directly from the Bible. Too many leaders and teachers seem to make the assumption that the Bible is too boring to be interesting to their students, so they sugar coat it so much that the students can easily make the assumption that the characters and tales are little more than fairy tales. 

     My hope for this blog is that my readers will discover that there is sound wisdom and direction in the Bible. I pray that they will hunger and thirst to read the Bible for themselves, and that they will find the power, strength, comfort, and direction for life that can be found within its pages. 

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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