Petition for Strong Leadership

What may seem to be a negative can turn into a positive with God! In Acts 8:1-25 we are told the church was persecuted and scattered. At first, this seems like a negative but God uses this negative and turns it into a positive because it caused those who had been scattered to preach the Word wherever they went. This resulted in the Word of God growing in many more places throughout the world.

Think about the world today. Everyone is reporting about the decline in Christianity in the United States and while that may be true, let us think about the world as a whole. Christianity is expanding in Africa; in China where the government does not allow churches, we get reports that there is a growing underground church.

What may seem like a negative can be turned into a positive today if young people are told more about the days when the church in the United Sates was stronger and how this led to great success in our country. We had leaders that believed in “One Nation Under God” who stood up to groups that tried to take us in the wrong direction. The current situation can change fast with good leaders who are willing to take on the challenges and accept God’s guidance as “One Nation Under God”.

This day with You Lord, we petition for Your power in each of our lives so we step out and take on challenges with confidence. We think about the possibilities You give with Your power. We pray for the faith to overcome what competes with You in our culture and for leaders that patiently follow Your will. Your power is granted because of Jesus Christ who we have accepted. The power is the gift of the Holy Spirit and as we share with others, we pray that our culture will reflect more of Your greatness; providing a better example for nations of this world to follow.

Lord, we come to You today in prayer after reading and studying Your word. Today, we read about the early church and that it was persecuted and scattered yet You still used what seemed like a negative and turned it into a positive. Lord, we ask for opportunities to share about Your tremendous divine power so that more may come to know you and desire to receive your gift of eternal live. Amen!

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About Mark Shields

Mark volunteers as a member of the media ministry team at his church. A few years ago, he started an on-line Bible study guide called “This Day with God Devotional”. He uses this as a tool in his journey through the Bible. We live in a very busy world with busy schedules so this tool has helped him continue with daily Bible reading and study. Each of the studies are designed to help apply our faith in the work place, at school, or at home. Join him on this journey or check in every so often to read his thoughts.
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2 Responses to Petition for Strong Leadership

  1. Acts 8:3-4
    “But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

    So when they “preached the word”, were they reading Paul’s letters to the Corinthians? Were they obeying Paul’s blasphemous call to the cult of Paul worship: “I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” [1 Corinthians 4:15-16]

    ????
    No, obviously. Paul was not even a believer yet, and his letters were not written.

    Speaking to his 11 Apostles at the Last Supper, and referring to the people in Acts 8:4 who “preached the word,”, Jesus said:
    “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also tor those who will believe in me through THEIR MESSAGE.” [John 17:20]
    Whose message? The message of the 11 Apostles who were present at the Last Supper – not the message of Paul the Pharisee.

    The closing verses of the Gospel of Matthew are very familiar to us – but we tend to skip over the first sentence of the final paragraph. “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee….” [Matthew 28:16] Jesus was speaking to the 11 when He commanded them about “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded YOU.” [Matthew 28:20]

    In other words, everything that Jesus personally commanded the 11 Apostles who knew Him personally and walked with Him faithfully for His entire earthly ministry. Not “everything Paul commanded the Corinthians”. Not “The Bible”. Not “All Scripture.” Jesus preached the Law and the Prophets, and He came to fulfill them, not abolish them – Paul the Pharisee was wrong on that point.

  2. Many self-professed “Bible-believing Evangelicals” won’t listen to the words of Jesus, because they are brainwashed through reciting their “mantra” – “all scripture is God-breathed.”

    This “Evangelical Mantra” has been accepted by the collective subconscious mind of “The Evangelical Church” without thought, question, reflection, or even 2 witnesses from the Scripture itself. It’s based on a misinterpretation, out of context, of one verse in one letter written by one man, Paul the Pharisee, who was unfamiliar with the personal ministry and teaching of Jesus.

    But, “Once an idea has been accepted by your subconscious, it remains there and it governs your behavior until it is replaced or changed.” [ as a pastor named Bishop Dale C. Bronner observed in one of his sermons]

    (Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary.) Mantra (noun) (Hinduism.) A sacred formula believed to embody the divinity invoked and to possess magical power, used in prayer and incantation.

    When cult members repeat their mantra, it makes them deaf to the voice of God, unable to hear God. Instead, it puts their focus on their one “special man” above all others – his personality, words and teachings, character, life example, feelings, experience, intentions, mind, will, emotions, etc. Their cult leader is their hero – he is always right, could never be wrong about anything specific, and he must be obeyed in all things and never questioned. He will give himself a special title, write at least one special book, and claim special authority, with no need for a second witness to back him up.
    Here are 3 examples.

    .1) Fuhrer. The title of Adolf Hitler as the leader of the German Nazis, author of “Mein Kamph”. Mantra: “Heil Hitler.”

    .2) The self-appointed Prophet Muhammad, author of The Koran. Mantra: …..”and Muhammad is his prophet.”

    .3) Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed Apostle to the Gentiles, whose 13 letters comprise one third of what, today, we call the “New Testament.” (The first, original “New Testament” was composed by the second century heretic Marcion, and he coined the term “New Testament.” His new “book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. There were no other “New Testament” books, and the Hebrew Scriptures were the “Old Testament” which was irrelevant, according to the heretic Marcion.) Mantra: “All Scripture is God-breathed….”

    I got my Masters Degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. I was attracted to the school because they put Paul’s mantra of “All Scripture is God-breathed” above everything else, and I wanted to heed Paul’s command and “Preach the Word” like Paul….

    This mantra is a misinterpretation out of context of 2 Timothy 3:16. It ignores the previous verse, 2 Timothy 3:15, which clearly indicates that Paul was NOT referring to his own letters when he wrote the words “All Scripture.”

    Paul was probably making reference to some of the Hebrew Scriptures, quite likely including the Law and the Prophets. We cannot be completely certain exactly which “Scriptures” Paul meant in “All Scripture”, and what Paul meant by “God-breathed.” Why can’t we be certain?

    Because we must establish a matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses, especially something as important as “What is the Word of God.” No one else in the pages of the Bible besides Paul ever said anything like “All Scripture is God-breathed”. And Paul only said it here, one time, in the middle of a personal letter.

    The Apostle Peter made reference to “Prophecy of Scripture,” not “All Scripture,” and no it’s not the same thing at all. Jesus never said anything like that. And no one, not even Paul, ever said that all Scripture was equal.

    I remember the general approach to the Bible at Dallas being that “every word in the 66 Books is the Word of God”….. and we should interpret it based on “the intended meaning of the author in the historical grammatical context.”

    That is the basic idea of the heavy-duty seminary language we were being trained in. It sounds so right, so intelligent, so professional, so “godly”….. but it is fundamentally flawed.

    When we look at Paul’s teachings and testimony about himself, (in his letters that make up 1/3 of the New Testament,) we should NOT immediately ask ourselves; “what did Paul say, what did Paul mean, and how does this apply to my life?” The fundamental question is NOT “what was in the mind of Paul?”

    Before any of that, the FIRST question to ask is; “does Paul agree with Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?”

    Paul contradicted himself, and his teachings and testimony about himself don’t harmonize with the teachings of Jesus (or with Luke’s record of his life.) Let’s not waste our time with endless debates about “what Paul really meant” with his wacky teachings about “baptizing the dead” or “there is neither male nor female.” Paul was wrong. Jesus reminds us from The Law “at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female.” [Matthew 19:4, Genesis 1:27]

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