Acts 17:13 A Case Study in Avoiding Burnout

Acts 17:13 (KJV)
But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

We all go through seasons that are just not pleasant. Paul went through one of those in this chapter.

  • Thessalonica was so dangerous Paul only stayed three Sabbaths.
  • Berea looked like it was going to be a great work until the Jews of Thessalonica came and ran him again out of town
  • Athens wasn’t violent but it may have been the most discouraging of all because, with a few exceptions, his message had no power upon them

And all of this was after Paul’s imprisonment in Philippi.

Paul becomes a case study in avoiding burnout right here. He left Athens to go to Corinth where Paul later testified he came to town discouraged. I see these as Paul’s tools to lift himself out of despondency:

  • First he never quit witnessing or worshipping.
  • Second he got a bit of alone time
  • Third he found some friends
  • Fourth he got some diversion
  • Fifth he got some support

Corinth turned out to be a great ministry for the apostle.

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Acts 17:13 A Case Study in Avoiding Burnout

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Acts 16:1-5 Disagreement Does Not Equal Hatred

Acts 16:1-5 (KJV)
Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:
Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.
And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

We tend to think nothing good can ever come from dissension and disputation but that is not always the case. The United States of America is the result of decades of dissension that led to a revolution that forged in the minds of her founders certain principles that, though not accepted worldwide, have worldwide influence today.

The previous chapter begins with a dispute Paul and Barnabas had with certain men … From Judea and ends with a dispute Paul and Barnabas had with each other. The contention was so sharp that Barnabas and Paul parted ways never, so far as the Bible records, to come together again. However, Paul’s most notable pupil, Timothy, is discovered and recruited in the very next episode of Paul’s life.

Disputation is never pleasant but its results are not always negative.

 

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Acts 16:1-5 Disagreement Does Not Equal Hatred

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Acts 15:2 (KJV) Be Different

Acts 15:2 (KJV)
When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

The chapter begins with a dispute Paul and Barnabas had with certain men from Judea, and ends with a dispute Paul and Barnabas had with each other. Apparently having sharp dissension is not the evil modern Christians make it out to be.

I don’t want to make it sound like dissension is good or that it is preferred. Dissension certainly hurts. But I would like to suggest that it is often necessary and that it is only because of our:

  • Mamby-pamby
  • Soft societied
  • Sissy

generation that we see dissension as more evil than toleration of evil.

Come on people let’s get some backbone! Let’s:

  • Study God’s Word
  • Come to some convictions and
  • Be vocal enough about them that others of like conviction find and join us

Let’s make a difference in our world because we’re not embarrassed to be different.

 

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 15:2 (KJV) Be Different

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Acts 14:4 (KJV) Christians Causing Division

Acts 14:4 (KJV)
But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

A witness for Jesus Christ needs to settle with the fact that his message is going to bring division. He did not cause the division, nor did the Lord, but the devil who introduced the sinful notion “…ye shall be as God’s, knowing good and evil“.

That there is division is no reason to neither quit witnessing nor silence the message. It is merely reason to:

  • Pray more
  • Speak with compassion and
  • Live with a brokenness toward the lost

The truth is still true even if the multitudes disbelieve it. Heaven and hell are still realities even if the majority argues over them. Therefore the commission to go into all the world is still relevant even if we are accused of causing division.

 

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 14:4 (KJV) Christians Causing Division

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Acts 13:5 (KJV) Just Because You Can

Acts 13:5 (KJV)
And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

It was Barnabas and Saul who were called but it was not just those two who went; they had also John to their minister.

Sometimes I think we read too much into certain pieces of the Bible. I have heard people criticize someone in the ministry because they didn’t feel their “call” was sufficient. John went with them and apparently had no call. Some are far too particular about church lineage. I believe churches plant churches and that the chain of churches planting churches traces all the way back to Christ. However, to claim that a certain Baptist church is not a true church because you are not satisfied with their particular chain is egotistical, arrogant and wrong. The Bible teaches some things in principle that can be carried out in spirit but not letter.

On the other hand, Mark did turn out to be a problem:

  • He quit before the job was done
  • He no doubt hindered the work by quitting and
  • He created disunity between Paul and Barnabas

There are some things that are not expressly allowed in the Bible that are not expressly forbidden. However, to do something just because it can be done  leaves one without clear, biblical guidelines and opens the door for contention, disunity and hindrance in the work of God.

 

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 13:5 (KJV) Just Because You Can

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1 Chronicles 21:1 (KJV) Satan’s Devices

1 Chronicles 21:1 (KJV)
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

Though he has certainly been present many times previous to this, we have here the first instance of the name Satan. First mentions are always important in the Bible and we should see this as an important account.

Satan’ attack is against Israel
He did not specifically attack any one man. He attacked a nation of people.

These were the Jews. Satan’s ought against them is unique because Israel’s relationship with God is unique. Satan cannot predict the future but he is intelligent and surely knew by now that the Messiah would be from Israel.

I imagine that Satan still attacks whole nations of people more aggressively than he does individuals.

Satan’s attack was through David
His target was Israel but by tempting David he hit the nation. One of the reasons we ought to pray for those in authority is that Satan Will mostly likely hurt a whole people by hurting her leadership.

Satan’s attack was quite subtle
One would be hard pressed to find a terrible sin here. All David did was number his army. Though there must have been something more here because Joab knew it shouldn’t have been done, still this is not one of those heinous and obviously horrible sins.

The most terrible sins may be the ones we don’t think are so bad. We think they are acceptable so we excuse them. There is no such thing as an acceptable sin.

Satan’s temptation was through David’s pride
At least this is the most common understanding. The three things in the world are the lust of the flesh the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Pride was the sin that led to Lucifer’s fall. Pride prevents God’s grace being upon us.

Satan’s first mention is not as dramatic as a person might think. No one was demon possessed, no one was murdered but a tragedy happened nonetheless.

Don’t allow a seemingly small sin be the destroying sin in your life.

 

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Chronicles 21:1 (KJV) Satan’s Devices

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Acts 12:4 (KJV) After Easter?

Acts 12:4 (KJV)
And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

This is one of those places the critics of the King James Version like to attack, claiming that the word should be Passover. My intention is not to explain the use of Easter rather than Passover. Others have done so very well.[1] I want to put together some thoughts having to do with what to do when you have no explanation of what critics call a mistake in the King James Bible.

I approach the Bible as correct even when I can’t explain it
There are any number of Bible passages that are too high for man. We can’t explain them; we can only believe them. It’s called faith. Obviously the God described in the Bible is too high for finite man to fully comprehend. Should it surprise us then that we can’t fully comprehend His Word? When I see something I don’t understand I accept that I have not grasped it yet, not that the Bible is wrong.

I accept the King James Bible as without error even when I have no answer for the critics.
This is because I approach the Bible as having to be without error in order to be the Bible. My understanding is that God has in fact preserved His Word. I do not need to prove it. I accept it as fact.

The critic, as much as he would argue this, operates from the position of proving the Bible wrong. He wants to find mistakes so he can justify changing the Bible to suit his fancy.

The critic will often use the argument of intellectual honesty. He says the evidence is too strong to claim the Bible has no mistakes and that intellectual honesty demands he admit those mistakes and seek and correction for them. I claim intellectual honesty too. I am honest enough to claim my intellect will never completely understand why God did what He did and said what He said. I accept that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts .

Specifically regarding the use of the word Easter, and other passages like it, the critic will say that even the KJV translators were fallible and admitted they may have made mistakes.

My response is that Moses was fallible, David was fallible Jeremiah was fallible but God used them to do infallible work. The translators were not inspired as Moses, David and Jeremiah were but they did not have to be. They had the Bible. All they needed to be was illuminated and guided by God. They were that perfectly. Someone may ask, “Why couldn’t the same claim of perfect illumination be made for a different, more modern version?”

The plain answer is that none of them have ever made that claim and the claim has never been made of any of them. They were all translated from the premise that the Bible could never be perfect. The King James Translators never made the claim that their work was perfect. That claim was made some time after and was embraced by scores, even the majority of believers. The translators did work from the basic premise that the Bible was the infallible word of God. They believed the Bible to be without error. This was a fundamental difference between them and modern translators.

I believe the word Easter is the correct word because it is the word the translators settled upon. There are others who have explained why they settled upon it but I do not need to be satisfied by their explanations to be satisfied that the Bible is infallible. I am satisfied because I believe God’s intent was to leave us an infallible Bible.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 12:4 (KJV) After Easter?

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[1] I refer any reader to the work of Sam Gipp if interested.

1 Chronicles 19:13 (KJV) What a Man Can Do

1 Chronicles 19:13 (KJV)
Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.

I remember speaking with a young college student at Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College about discerning God’s will. He was struggling over what was God’s will in a particular area of his life. My counsel was this; the definition of a man is one who, to the best of his knowledge, steps out to please God and then lives with his decision. This does not mean that he can never correct his course or change his mind about a certain thing but it does mean that he owns up to the consequences, good and bad, for his decisions.

This is the general thrust of Joab’s counsel in this passage. A man may not always know how things will end. All he can do is:

  • Make his best decision
  • Play his part well and
  • Leave the results in the hands of the Lord

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Chronicles 19:13 (KJV) What a Man Can Do

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Acts 10:6 What We Ought To Do

Acts 10:6 (KJV)
He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

God told Cornelius that there was a man who would tell him, “..what thou oughtest to do.

  • He would not tell him what he had to do.
  • He would not tell him what others thought he should do.
  • He would not tell him what the philosophers and scholars suggested he do.

He would tell him what he ought to do.

Peter’s words would come not from books or traditions handed down from Judaism. Peter’s words would come from:

  • His three years experience with Jesus,
  • His own understanding of the Word of God and
  • His anointing with the Holy Spirit of God

Very few people like to be told what to do but everyone needs a preacher to tell them what they ought to do.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 10:6 What We Ought To Do

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Acts 9:31 (KJV) The Importance of Church

Acts 9:31 (KJV)
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

I am interested in the word “churches”.

Gill writes that the Alexandrian version, as well as those of the same family of versions, read it in the singular. Gill is quick to note that the plural is more accurate as the context reveals, speaking of churches throughout Judea Galilee and Samaria. We ought to be careful not to refer to churches in the Catholic/Protestant vernacular “the Church”. Even in the most innocent usage of the term we are promoting a universal one church ecclesiology.

What interests me is how quickly these churches were founded. In a period that would have been about three years long, the Christians in the church at Jerusalem had scattered and reorganized themselves into churches. It illustrates how essential churches were to these early believers. Though being organized into churches increased the risk of persecution they sought each other out and formed churches.

How important is membership and participation in a local New Testament Baptist Church!

 

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 9:31 (KJV) The Importance of Church

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