Sibi George: ABS week 2, day 7

Studying this week Ephesians 2: 11-18. Through the cross, the wall is broken, through Christ and the Spirit, I the gentile have access to God. Even though I have known this and believed this, I like the way it is explained that the Law which is my enemy now makes me a new man in Christ because of Christ.

Verse 15: By abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.

The law which is my enemy now makes me a new man. Because of Christ whose death on the cross makes the two into one new man. Our flesh and the Law is at war and are enemies. But in Christ the enmity is broken.

And since Christ lives in us, our flesh and the law are at peace.

And the resurrection power of Christ lives in us, giving us victory over sin and death, transforming us to die daily and Christ to live in us.

So Christ has come not to make SIBI to become perfect but to put death to SIBI and cause Christ to live INSTEAD.

So we pray in Jesus name, we are clothed in His righteousness, the Holy Spirit reveals Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.

So Paul boldly declares ‘It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me’.

John 12:24 says truly, truly I say to you unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone but if it dies it bears much fruit.

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Joshua Senthiappan : ABS Update - Week 2, Day 1

Transformed lives-Changed Priorities 

In Acts 1, we see a remarkable change in the behavior of the disciples.

After Jesus had resurrected and the disciples had met with him, they go back to their old lives. They go back to fishing (John 21), where they catch nothing for a whole night. However, after Jesus ascends into Heaven we see that the disciples came back and waited for the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:13).In verses 6 & 7, they were more interested in  the earthly kingdom, but here we see their focus shifting from the earthly Kingdom to the heavenly Kingdom and its purposes.

In Acts 1:14, the disciples were all with one mind, devoting themselves to prayer. Unlike earlier, when the  disciples were quarreling among themselves as to who would be the greatest, they now prayed with one mind and  one accord as they waited for the Holy Spirit

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 3, Day 1

 Genuine Conviction brings forth Godly Re-pentance 

Acts 2 :36-38

In verse 36, the Jews hear from Peter that Jesus whom they crucified  is the Messiah.

Verse 37, They re-alize how they behaved and treated Jesus and re-cognize that they are Sinners.

In Verse 38, they re-pent from their sins and re-ceive the promised Holy Spirit.

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 4, Day 1

A call to suffering

Acts 5 :41 - The Apostles rejoiced because they had been considered worthy of  suffering for His name

V. 42 : Their suffering only serves as a catalyst to continue preaching and teaching about Jesus.

Philippians 1: 28 &  29

1.We shouldn't be afraid of the opposition that we face.

2.Oppposition is a sign :

a. That those who oppose us will be destroyed.

b. Salvation From God- that we will be saved.

3 . We are called not just to believe, but to suffer for Him.

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 5, Day 1 

The preparation period

 Acts 7 : 20-44

Moses was chosen and set apart for God, right at the time of his birth.

However, it took a long time before his calling could be fulfilled.

Moses' life was a story of 3 parts.

1.For the first 40 years, he was getting educated and was learning the way of the Egyptians.

V22 : He was a man of Power in words and deeds

Moses wanted to be a leader and settle disputes, but he still had some way to go.

2.The next 40 years were spent in the  wilderness, shepherding the flocks and  unlearning what he had leant. His idea of being a leader was changing.

It was here that God prepared Moses to be the shepherd of his flock and have a shepherd's heart

3.The final 40 years of Moses life are spent leading God's people-Israel.

Moses character and behavior during this time is in complete contrast to the first 40 years.

Moses was now dependent  on God, not being impulsive or rash,but a person after God's own heart

From someone that wanted to be in control all the time  to someone who was submissive to God.

Moses though, had to wait and be patient for God's purpose to be fulfilled for his life.

We may need to wait too. Especially when we don't see  anything happening, we need to trust and believe God that he is in control and that his purposes will be fulfilled in our lives.

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 6, Day 1

 True Joy comes from God

Acts 8 : 1-13

On the day that  Stephen was stoned, the church scattered and grew due to the persecution that arose against them.

Philip goes down to Samaria and starts proclaiming the gospel with signs and wonders.

Verse 8 says that there was much rejoicing in that city.

Earlier, Simon- a magician was able to astonish the people of Samaria with his magic arts.

But, apart from the people being astonished and filled with wonder, there was no real joy in them.

There was no change in the lives of people.

However, when the people see Philip and the signs and wonders that he performs, people see that it is God who is at work and they repent and are baptized. Simon himself believes and is baptized.

The people of Samaria, though they were initially astonished and amazed at what Simon did, they were  transformed  and experienced true joy when they heard  and believed the name of Jesus.

Whatever the world throws at us - although that may give us temporary satisfaction,  our true fulfillment and joy can only come from God.

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 7, Day 1

 God's word is the plumbline

Acts 11 : 15-18

When Peter was speaking to Cornelius' house hold and friends about repenting and accepting Jesus as their personal Savior, they believe and are filled with the Holy Spirit, while Peter is still speaking.

Cornelius was the first 'gentile' to be saved.

All of those listening to Peter  were Baptized in the Holy Spirit, although they were yet to take water baptism.

Instead of going by his experience and doubting God,  Peter depends on God's word to guide him.

He is reminded of how Jesus said that they would not just be baptized with water, but baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Peter explains the same thing to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem. Although they are not initially convinced, once he uses God's word as the measuring stick and reminds them of what Jesus said, they all fall in line.

Lessons we can learn from this incident :

1.Whenever in doubt, depend on God's word. Don't go by experiences, but look at the experiences in the light of God's word.

2.God is no respector of persons. What he did for Cornelius who was a Roman soldier,  he can do for each of us.

3 .From among all the Roman Soldiers, Cornelius was the first gentile to be saved.

In the same way,  where ever God has placed us, we may be the first among all our friends to know God. God has placed us there with a purpose,  to be a divine difference.

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 8, Day 1

 Obedience at all costs

 Acts 13

It was while the disciples were fasting and praying in Antioch, that God called out Paul and Barnabas for a special work.

They didn't justify what God had called them to do, or try to delay God's plan. They were submissive and immediately set out to do what God had called them to do.

So many nations were blessed and touched by God's power, just because two people decided to obey and stand for God.

How much more we can all achieve through  God's power, if we  choose to obey God's voice and do what he has called us to do?

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 10, Day 1

 Fear of God vs. Fear of Man

 Acts 19

V. 17 - 18: When the fear of God came upon those living in Ephesus, there was genuine repentance and Conviction. The hearts of people were turned to God.

Many of those who believed, came out and openly confessed what they had done.  v. 19  People who were practicing sorcery burnt their scrolls in public.

However, when the Greeks started protesting about Paul and his companions, the whole city was in uproar(v. 29).

There was a confusion in the assembly. Some people were shouting one thing, others something else. Most of the people didn't even know why they were there(v. 32).

The fear of man caused people to panic  and join in the riot, without knowing and understanding what was actually happening.

Where the fear of God lead people to repentance, causing them to see that the way that they were walking in was wrong - bringing about  change and giving them a life of righteousness and peace , the fear of man lead people astray,  and made  them do things they knew nothing  about.

Would we rather  fear God and live in order to please him or fear man and please the Society/world  around us ?

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Joshua Senthiappan:  ABS Update - Week 11, Day 1

 Greek to a Greek & Jew to a Jew

 Acts 21

When Paul came back to Jerusalem, he could have chosen to be neutral and not listen to what the elders requested him to do - To take part in the purification rights along with 4 others.

But, as Paul said, He chose to be "a Greek to the Greek and a Jew to the Jew,.. All things to All people, so that by all means i can save some"

Choosing to obey and being submissive wasn't a sign of Paul's weakness, but one that showed his wisdom and maturity.

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 12 , Day 1

 Enduring till the end

Acts 22 & 23

Paul underwent many hardships while serving God. He counted it all joy.

Paul even said that, before& he entered any city he knew that hardships and persecution awaited him.

Paul could have chosen the easy way out and followed what others told him and not go to Jerusalem.

He, however, chose to  follow God's way. In Jerusalem, God told Paul that he would have to go to Rome. Paul didn't grumble or question God.

Paul kept on enduring till the end. Although events in Paul's life seem random and ad-hoc, God was at work even in the minute details.

Even though many times  we may feel that our lives are heading no where,  God is at work and bringing to completion what he started. Even before we were formed  in our mother's womb, God called us and set us apart.

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 13 , Day 1

 A call to witness

Acts 24, Acts 25 & 26

Acts 26 : 18 &  19 To open their eyes, to turn the people from  darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God,so that they may receive forgiveness of sins... I was obedient to the vision I received from heaven..

God has called all of us to be witnesses. Not to just be happy that we are saved and are going to Heaven.

We can fulfill our true calling only when we are obedient to the vision God has given us to be his witnesses.

In Acts 9:15,  before Paul started his ministry, God had said that Paul would be his chosen instrument who would proclaim his name to the gentiles,kings and people of Israel

Towards the end of Paul's life, God uses Paul to proclaim his name to many Kings and rulers.

The same God who used Paul will use us too. All we need to do is to obey God's call to be his Witnesses.

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Joshua Senthiappan: ABS Update - Week 13 , Day 7(completed)

Acts ABS round 2 completed.

God's ways are unique

 Acts 27 &  Acts 28

Romans 1:16  I am not ashamed of the gospel,  for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..

Paul went all out in sharing the gospel. He wasn't ashamed of what others would say or think. All that mattered to Paul was to obey God's calling on his life.

Paul always had it in his heart to visit Rome. He was planning to go there on the way to Spain. But God had different plans in store for him. Although God fulfilled Paul's Heart desire,God had to do it his way, not Paul's way.

Many times we try to do things in our own strength and in our own efforts. But,  as said in Isaiah, His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than ours.

Can we trust God and his ways like Paul did?

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