Spiritual Training

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October 17 - Morning

"From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis.From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there."

- Acts 16:11-13

Paul Goes To Europe

In 50 AD Paul left Asia for the first time to enter Europe with the Gospel. It is likely that the message that Jesus was the resurrected Messiah had already reached places such as the city of Rome as a result of the events on the Day of Pentecost. Only seven years later, in 57 AD, Paul writes to the church in Rome seeking their support and announcing his desire to visit them for the first time, so, obviously, the church was in Rome before both Paul and Peter arrived there.
In Acts 16:11-13 (today’s devotional text) Paul was in Troas, the ancient city of Troy and the site of a famous medical school. Luke, who was a medical doctor from Antioch, was most likely trained in the medical school at Troas. It is apparent that Luke joins Paul in Troas because the written narrative in the book of Acts switches in verses 16:10, 11 from third person (“he said” or “they went”) to first person (“we heard” or “we went”). So, beginning here in Troas Dr. Luke travels with Paul and documents the adventures, sermons, conversations and events until the book of Acts closes in 62 AD with Paul in under house arrest Rome waiting for his trial date before Nero. It seems that Luke uses these years (60-62 AD) to edit his notes and write the book of Acts. (He probably used the three years before, 57-60, while Paul waited in prison in Caesarea to investigate facts and write his gospel account in the Gospel of Luke.)
In 50 AD Paul, Luke and the ministry team left Troas and crossed the north portion of the Agean Sea through the Hellenspont by first landing on the island of Samothrace. The ports are on the north side of this island still twenty-five miles south of the coast of Europe.
After spending the night on the Mediterranean isle of Samothrace, Luyk says docked at Neapolis, the main port for Macedonia. From Samothrace the Roman highway Egnatian Way (map; road marker) could be used to travel the nine miles into Philippi.
Since the Jewish religion has multiple rituals and rites that involve dipping in water it was common for them to build their synagogues near a water source such as a sea, a spring or a river. Luke says that on the Jewish Sabbath they went outside the city to the river planning on finding “a place of prayer”, which was what Jews would call a synagogue building. When Paul, Luke and the ministry team arrived at the synagogue by the river (River Gangites, or one of its streams) they sat down and began to speak with a group of woman who had gathered at the synagogue for prayer on the Sabbath Day.
Chayah (Hb) - Live (Eng) - the Hebrew live chayah means "live." In Exodus 3:14-15 God is chayah, or life, itself and God has the power to bring chayah to the dead "to revive," "to make alive," "to restore."
Do I understand that there must be truth before there is peace?
I cannot have peace if I do not have truth. Peace without truth is a dangerous and disappointing deception.
I will seek truth so I can experience peace that endures.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text


Ask God to convict
you of sin, error


Holy Spirit activity
Rwanda - recover from 1994 genocide

The Western Wall prayer plaza in Jerusalem at night.
(click on image for larger size)
The ending of the Book of Jeremiah
(click on image for larger size)

Someone to Quote

"Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace." - J.C. Ryle

Something to Ponder

The modern state of Israel is 8,500 square miles. This is smaller than the state of Hampshire or about 1/4 the size of a state like Iowa.

Here’s a Fact

There is an abundant amount of archaeological evidence and ancient inscriptions available to confirm the authenticity of the Bible. And, this evidence is a mere fraction of what was originally available or written since very little survives and very little of what survives in archaeological sites has been identified and surveyed, and very little of the sites surveyed have been excavated and very little of the excavations have been reported and published and what very little of what has been recovered and reported is fully processed. There is much more history that is still waiting to be uncovered.


"He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction."
- Proverbs 17:19

Coach’s Corner

Sustainable motivation comes from knowing, understanding and fearing the Word of God.

Malachi 3
New International Version (NIV)
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.
Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings.
You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.
Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God
13 “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord.
“Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’”
The Faithful Remnant
16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.
17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
Galatians 6
New International Version (NIV)
Doing Good to All
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Not Circumcision but the New Creation
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
Matthew 14
New International Version (NIV)
John the Baptist Beheaded
14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.
On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

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