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Apr 18, 2012

Ephesians Study: Who was Paul?

Who was Paul?
Before I dive into Ephesians I believe its first important to know about its author, Paul.

Saul of Tarsus
Roman Empire


The voice was clear. "Yes Lord," Ananias answered.

"Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you arrive, ask for a man from Taurus. His name is Saul. He has just had a vision in which he saw a man named Ananias come in and lay hands on him so he could see again."

"But Lord," Ananias exclaimed, " everyone's been talking about this man and the terrible things he's done to the believers in Jerusalem. And now he's shown up here in Damascus with papers from the Chief Priest, authorizing him to arrest every believer in town."

But Jesus said, "Go! I've picked Saul as my personal representative to take My message to the Gentiles, to kings, and to the people of Israel. I'm about to show him what he must suffer for My name."

Ananias obeyed Jesus and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, whom you saw on your way here, sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Instantly, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up, was baptized, and then sat down and ate a hearty meal.

Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. Then he went right to work, preaching in the meeting places, saying, "Jesus is the Son of God!" 

Everyone who heard him was amazed. "Isn't this the same man who persecuted Jesus' followers so badly in Jerusalem? Didn't he come here to drag more Christians off to jail?"

Saul preached boldly in the name of the Lord all over Jerusalem. When the Jews there attempted to kill him, the other believers got him safely out of town, took him Caesarea, and then sent him on to his hometown of Tarsus.

It was God's plan for Paul to write the Bible, not to die as a zealous new convert!

In the following years, Saul, who had changed his name to Paul, escaped death repeatedly. An angry mob in Iconium tried to stone him along with his friend Barnabas, but they were able to escape to Lystra. Another time, the Jews from Iconium who were chasing Paul and Barnabas were able to turn a murderous mob against them.  They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, leaving him for dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, Paul was miraculously able to stand and walk back into the city. The next morning Paul and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Time and again, Paul was caught, and time and again, he escaped. He was thrown into prison in Philippi, but in the night God sent and earthquake. The prison doors were opened and Paul's chains fell off. Later, he was imprisoned in Jerusalem until forty men swore to neither eat nor drink until they saw Paul dead. When the Romans found out, they moved him to Caesarea. He was in jail there for two years, then sent to Rome to be tried there before Caesar. On the way, he survived shipwreck only to be bitten by a deadly snake. Paul shook off the snake into the fire, preached the Gospel, and many were saved.

In a brief letter to the Corinth, Paul gives a brief account of all his sufferings: "I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and day adrift at sea."

"I have traveled many miles. I have faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. I have faced danger from men who claim to be Christians and are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm" (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).

Paul survived all this and finally reached Rome around 55AD. There, he was put under house arrest until his trial before Caesar. Most ancient writers agree that, although nearly all his friends left him, he defended himself before Caesar so cleverly that he was set free for a time. After more missionary journeys, he was again arrested, and by this time being a follower of Jesus carried the death penalty.

As Paul's execution drew near, God prepared his heart. He wrote his spiritual son Timothy, "Now the time has come for me to die. My life is like a drink offering being poured out on the alter. I have fought well, I have finished the race, and I have been faithful. So a crown will be given to me for pleasing the Lord" (2Timothy 4:6-8).

Finally, Paul was sentenced to death. Because he was a Roman citizen, he was not tortured like so many of the believers were during Nero's reign, but was beheaded outside the city. He was approximately 64 years old.

Grace to You,

Jesus Freaks by DC Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs
Chronology of Apostle Paul's Journey

Apr 14, 2012

S is for Snowflake Week

Building 3d snowflakes!
Even though its spring we actually got a few days of light snow coincidentally this week when going over the letter S with my Little Engineer Pre-K son. He's following the Letter of the Week Curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler. But because I've already posted many pictures of the activities I thought I'd show off some of the extra curricular activities.

Activity 1: Making 3D Snowflakes!

  • 2 different colors of construction paper
  • scissors
  • Elmer's glue
  • hole punch
  • string
Step 1:
Start by folding a 8.5x11 piece of construction paper into a square then cut off the remainder paper on fold crease.

Step 2: Fold the square piece of construction paper in 4 equal sized pieces. So out of the original 8.5x11 sheet you should have 4 small squares. Repeat steps one and two to end up with 6 small squares total. Take one piece and fold diagonally, then again along the diagonal crease.

Step 3: Cut 3 lines from bottom to top point approximately 1 cm apart. Make sure to not cut all the way through! Repeat with all 6 squares.

Step 4: Carefully unfold cut triangles then attach middle cuts with glue.

Hold down for 5 seconds .
Cuts should not go through the main center crease.
Attach the 2 center pieces with glue.
 Step 5: Flip over and glue second row together with same method then repeat gluing and flipping until all rows are glued together. This is one a six pieces needed to complete 3D snowflake.

Flip after row 1
Glue Row 3 then flip again
Glue row 2 then flip again
Junior gluing row 4
Little Engineer gluing row 2            
A large version completed

Step 6: Repeat step 5 six times to create six 3D flakes, then attach all six together by gluing then from one point.

Use hole puncture and attach string. Hang in classroom and enjoy!

Apr 13, 2012

Ephesians Study 101

His Grace is my need!

For some time now I've been feeling a strong urgency to improve my understanding of THE BIBLE. Why? Because daily I am confronted with the realities of life and know that without the knowledge of how to handle it I am going to FAIL! This begins with learning the Word! I mean not the hundreds of sermons I grew up listening to and believing that it became a part of me. Not the daily devotionals that are so easy to breeze through without saturation. NO. I mean sitting down, educating, processing, interpreting, being led by the Holy Spirit in understanding. Not head knowledge of the Bible but HEART knowledge. This difference is this. Before you could throw a popular Bible name at me and ask the story and I could probably tell you about it, the Bible, the Gospel, etc. But when I'm home with my children and I sense, I feel the urgency to explain to them grace so they might possess peace I realized I don't really understand grace and therefore do not have peace.  How do I know this, because I quote the Bible but don't know where its written. I pray with my kids but somehow confuse them. And the best example is-their behavior, they mirror what they see! Let's get real! I throw my hands up and fall to my knees-its time to make room for GOD and control freak mom needs to step aside-Amen!

Ephesians is where it begins. Why Ephesians? Because the entire book is dedicated to us. To gain understanding about the infinite riches of God. Its written directly to us, meaning everybody Jews and Gentile alike. And hey I'm a little of both.
I will be following the Ephesians Sermons of John MacArthur. I you don't know him, get to know him. Also various teaching by Piper (if I can wrap my puny head around it), the Jesus Freak books to keep the fire and humility strong, and of course my Bible and my prayers. FYI-When you are meditating and praying you might find that the things you say are from your heart...are from the Holy Spirit reviving your insides to change, move, grow, be passionate, I call it preaching to yourself-because He is in you.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want my vertical relationship with God and His Word to connect with my horizontal relationships here on Earth-you dig?

The first volume goes through the following:
  • Introduction to Ephesians
  • The Body Formed in Eternity Past, Part 1&2
  • Redemption Through His Blood
  • Divine Promises Guaranteed
  • Our Resources in Christ
  • Coming Alive in Christ
  • The Unity of the Body; Part 1,2,3
  • The Mystery Revealed
Grace to You, 

Apr 12, 2012

Boys Need to Build!

Tecno Toolbox
  I'm always on the hunt for a fun new toy for the boys that's hands on and uses imagination. My father-in-law found this toy and I must say they love it! Using tools like daddy such as a screw drivers, flat-head screw drivers and Alan wrenches really makes them feel grown up. Its made with sturdy plastic and comes with a booklet of many ideas of 3D things to build. Also for the younger boys they can use the top to practice making 2D designs such as a house. My pre-k son practices making the alphabet letters with it.

Comes with a simple manual that progresses from easy to more complex designs

The Car
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