“An Acts-ive Faith” (Part 7)

Acts 7: History Matters

Acts 7:51 You stiff-necked people with uncircumsised hearts and ears! You are resisting the Holy Spirit; as your ancestors did, so do you.

Stephen had just been dragged and placed in front of the council. The high priest had asked him to defend himself against the lies that were said against him. He didn’t bother defending himself. He spoke of the history of the Jewish people, a history that the high priest, council members and men who were accusing him were well aware of. He was not interested in defending himself — he was defending the Christ.

The council members were unwilling to deal with their history.

National History

History is real and the past has a part in shaping us. We live in an age of ‘cancel culture’ and the tearing down of statues of historical figures. This may not be helpful — although putting the people and activities in context and repenting of of sins of the past is necessary. May the Lord help us to repent of past evil and not ignore it as the council did!

Personal History

There is good and bad in each country’s history and there is good and bad in each person’s family history. I am blessed to have an aunt who worked on the family history on my father’s side and a cousin who worked on my family’s history on my mother’s side. These inform part of who I am. I have a physical heritage like eye color, but I also have a social and religious heritage passed down from my forefathers. My paternal great grandfather was a Methodist preacher in the 1930s, and my maternal grandfather was a Presbyterian Sunday School teacher. My parents took their family to church each Sunday, so I had early chances to hear about the Lord and to serve Him. (My mother was Sunday school superintendent, so in Grade 7 and 8, I and another girl taught the four and five year old children. I remember one coming home slightly down, because one of my students had asked me if God was real or not. My mother’s encouraged me with “while at least you got her to ask the question!” )

God is indeed very real, as real as he was when Stephen testified about him. He is real and working in the lives of the nations and the lives of individuals. May we submit to him and follow his lead.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

An Acts-ive Faith (Part 6)

Ministering Daily

Acts 6:1 In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebrew Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution.

Problems caused by quick growth started to occur in the early church. Some people and their needs were getting overlooked. Specifically, some widows were not receiving their daily distribution. This meant that these widows were to be visited daily — given what they needed for that day. The contact with the needy was constant.

This challenges me with the thought: whose need have I met today? Am I living for myself, just doing whatever I please, or am I actively seeking ways to minister to others?

Another challenge to myself from this verse is: am I daily ministering to the Lord and allowing Him to minister to me? Am I seeing all the ways the Lord is ministering to me? I recognized yesterday that the Lord had used my husband to minister to me in several ways.

My husband and I are in a season where we are taking daily communion. Am I spending enough time in communion with the Lord?

Prayer: Lord, may we all minister to you daily and allow You to minster to us. Help us think of a person to minister to each and every day.

Now, I’m off to email a friend who may need to hear from me.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

An Acts-ive Faith (Part 5)

Dieing to Impress

Acts 5:5 When he heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard.

Acts 5 details two deaths. Ananias and Sapphira sold property. They gave part of the money, but said they had given all. They could have avoided death by simply telling the truth.

Acts 434 states that there was not a needy person among the believers, because those who owned property were selling it and laying the proceeds at the apostles’ feet. It mentions one person in particular, Joseph who was a Levite and a Cypriot by birth. The apostles called him Barnabas.

Selling property and giving the proceeds to the church could have made others praise some of the rich early believers. Those in need, and maybe even the apostles themselves, would be impressed by the givers’ generosity. Ananias and Sapphira may have wanted that good name, but not wanted to pay the full cost of it. So they agreed to lie. They paid for that lie with their lives. Peter said they did not lie to men, but to God.

My prayer is “Lord, help my be honest — first with you and myself and then with others. Help me be who you made me to be. In your mercy, keep me from the need to impress others. Keep me from overstating who I am and the gifts you have given me. Help me give all glory to You. Amen.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

“An Acts-ive Faith” (Part 4)

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Acts 4:11,12 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that there were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in response.

The rulers were not used to being taught by fishermen. They had asked by what power or in what name Peter and john had healed the lame man. Peter gave them the answer: it was in the name of Jesus. The rulers then realized the men had been with Jesus. Spiritual power does not come from education level or social status. It comes from time spent with the Lord.

May I so walk in my life that people recognize that I have been with Jesus.

May I not care if they call me “uneducated and untrained “. Every job has its skill level, and Peter and John were professional fishermen — a blue collar job, but one that provided food to the population.

Another Thought: A Beggar No More:

Acts 4:14 And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in response.

The 40 year old man (his age is given in Acts 4:22) had been healed the previous day. When Peter took him by the hand and raised him up, his feet and ankle bones had received strength. Acts 3:8 tells us he jumped up , stood and started to walk. He entered the temple complex with them ‘walking, leaping and praising God’. The 40 year-old man was inside the temple. He was not just at its gates begging. He was no longer lame, he was not longer a beggar. What a life change!

Life changes happen to us all. We go from childhood to adulthood, from being in school, to having a job, from being single to being married, from working to retirement. How do we best deal with all these changes?

The lame man chose to stay with people who knew the Lord. Who we hang out with matters., especially as we rebuild our lives after a time of change.

I recently retired. How will I spend my time? I have many hobbies and there is always chores to do, so filling time is not a problem. But how do I best fill my time? I don’t want my time to be filled with activities that don’t matter. As I make these changes, I will be hanging out with Godly friends, who will help me further fulfill my calling. We are not to old to do what God would have us do or to have him heal us. Remember the man who was healed was 40 years old.

Thank you Lord that I am not to old to have a miracle performed over me.

cc: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

“An Acts-ive Faith” (Part 3)

Acts 3:16 By faith in His name, His name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So the faith that comes through Him has given him the perfect health in front of you all.,

The Contemporary English version of the Bible words the verse this way: “You see this man, and you know him. He put his faith in the name of Jesus and was made strong. Faith in Jesus made this man completely well while everyone was watching.

Peter and John had gone to the temple to pray, They prayed for a lame beggar, who became whole. He entered the temple with them, walking, jumping and praising God.

The man had been made strong because of faith in Jesus.

What areas of my body need healing? What areas of my life need to be made strong by the name of Jesus?

One of the areas of my life that needs strengthening is finishing projects. I am better at starting projects than completing them. In late December and early January, I made sure that I completed a few of my unfinished projects. They included doll clothes for my sister’s grandchildren. The effect on the grand scheme of things of me completing those items: zero. However, because of the Lord’s great love for me, I believe it is still important to Him. He wants me to grow in character, so that I am a ‘completer;, that I finish well what I start.

I am so happy that in the most important area of my life, my faith, I do not have finish alone. Scripture says that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Another Thought:

The man was strengthened in his feet and ankles. He was strengthened to walk in the presence of the Holy Spirit. He jumped for joy as he entered the temple gates.

I am an analytical introvert who tends to be serious a lot of the time. Jesus is working in my life. People who know me may be surprised as they see me beginning to leap for joy, as Jesus brings further healing into my life.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

“An Acts-ive Faith” (Part 2b)

Acts 2: We Are all Witnesses

Acts 2:32 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.

Murray and i were both part of a mission trip to Estonia and Russia in the mid-90s. Around that time we dated for awhile, but went out separate ways.

I continued to work and be active in children’s ministry.

A friend invited me to pray at a business and at one of the meetings, she said her pastor was gong to be there. She did not have to introduce us — his first name was Murray. We ended up taking a second look at each other and spending time together. We recently celebrated our twelth wedding anniversary.

As a twelve year old, one of my prayer requests was to marry a man who loved the Lord and who loved to pray. The Lord enabled me to do that. The Lord also allowed me to be a pastor in charge of children’s ministry for a short time.

Prayer is still a big part of our lives, even though my husband and I no longer have pastoral roles.

I have testimonies of God helping me breath when I was suffering a bad asthma attack, of being protected from a car accident that should have happened, of God providing friends to this introvert.

Jesus is still alive and working. Of that, I am a witness.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

“An Acts-ive Faith (Part 2a)”

Acts 2: We Are all Witnesses

Acts 2:32 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.”

This was spoken by Peter on the day of Pentecost. Standing near him were others who walked with Jesus as he ministered on earth and who had seen him alive after the crucifixion. Peter could say he was a witness of the resurrected Jesus.

Here is part of my witness of the resurrected Christ:

The snow blew toward the windshield as the car traveled toward an emergency room in the city. I was seated between my parents , struggling to breath from a severe asthma attack, as they drove me to hospital. The snow continued to swirl around the car, but we finally arrived at the hospital. I was given medication. My mother tells of the doctor thinking that I wasn’t that sick. If my asthma was not as bad as it had been at home, it was probably because of the trust I had in my parents during the car ride. I had felt safe and secure seated between my Godly parents.

I grew up on a farm and my parents took their family to church every Sunday, so I had a chance to hear about Jesus at a young age. While I was in Grade 5, the Gideons came to a small country school to give out New Testaments. My copy is falling apart now, but it still states that I received it in February of 1971. On October, 29, 1974, I signed the back of the New Testament, saying that I wanted to accept Jesus as my Savior.

I wondered if I was a successful Sunday school teacher. I was in Grade 7 or 8, teaching the four-and five-year-olds with another young lady. One of the students asked me ‘is God real?” and I felt that I had not communicated well. A wise Sunday School superintendent (who I always addressed as ‘Mom”) said that I was successful — I had succeeded in having the student ask if God was real!

In high school, I heard about Campus Life meetings. I was shy, so it took me awhile to be brave enough to join the group. In Grade 12, I made a commitment to Christ in front of the Campus Life director. (I had more understanding of what I was doing than I had had years before.) After I had made the commitment, the group was at a meeting in someone’s home and people were sharing. I prayed “I’ll testify if the lights flicker on and off.” I still do not know why those lights flickered — but my testimony of my salvation was a surprise to some. With my church background and lifestyle they thought I had been saved for years. (I probably had been saved since 1974, but again, my understanding of salvation was greater when I was older.)

God continued to bless me in my early adulthood. I moved to a larger city to attend journalism school, and for the first year was blessed to stay with a wonderful Christian couple.

“It feels like I’ve been to the dentist!” It was a weird thing to say at church — but it was exactly how I felt. I was in a prayer line at a revival meeting sponsored by the small Pentecostal church I was now a student at. I felt like I had just had a filling put in a tooth!

I had graduated from journalism school and then worked for three years at a small city newspaper. I loved reporting– and had been sent to cover revival meetings. Two or three years after I first covered a meeting, I began my training at a small Bible centre, run by a local pastor. I had felt the call of God on my life at the first meeting I attended, but it took awhile for me to decide to leave the career I had planned and trained for.

Banana trees and beautiful beaches, and even more beautiful people. Those are my memories of St. Lucia and Barbados, I was blessed to travel there as a helper to an elderly missionary.

After that experience, I returned to my home city, and attended Bible College, working my way through to earn a Bachelor of Religious Education degree. I sometimes went through hard times at my work place. “I wonder if he is an angel”, i remember thinking about one customer, whose words of encouragement were extremely appropriate. God was with me at work and at the Bible College.

At church I helped with the younger children and was active in a prayer group, It was led by a wonderful woman, who is still a friend. I got to know many, including a young man named Murray.

God has been very gracious to me. Jesus is alive and working. Of that, I am a witness.

I will continue my testimony tomorrow.

(Dear readers: I understand if you are slightly annoyed with me for spending two days on Acts 2, instead of going on to Acts 3. If you are joining me in reading the book of Acts, please feel free to reread Acts 2 or go onto Acts 3. Meditate on how they speak to your life. I would love it if you would send me part of your testimony.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

“An Acts-ive Faith” (Part 1)

Acts 1: Knowing Versus Being

Acts 1: 6, 7, 8 So when they had come together, they asked HIM, “Lord are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and in the ends of the earth.

There are so many things I’d like to know. If I make decision “A”, what will the future be? If i make decision “B”, will be future be better or worse than if I had made decision “A”. I’d also like a clear understanding of the situation in the world, and what steps to take to have things turn out in a way I would like.

But is ‘knowing’ what I am to concentrate on?

This scripture tells us that Jesus did not really answer the disciples question about when the kingdom would be restored. He said “it is not for you to know”. Clearly, the disciples would not need this information to live in faith. That means I don’t need the answers to some of my questions and getting answers should not necessarily be my focus.

One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 131:1-3

Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things too great or too difficult for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself like a little weaned child with its mother; I am like a little child. Israel, put your hope in the LORD, both now and forever.

I can choose to trust like a weaned child, instead of being concerned about things that are beyond my control. I can, like Israel is encouraged to do in the Psalm, put my hope in the Lord.

Jesus did give the disciples something to focus on: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come and you and you will be My witnesses . . .” They were to focus on being his witnesses.

That tells me I should focus on being a witness for Him, looking for opportunities to tell of His love for me and for others, of the need for repentance, of how close His second coming might be.

I could condemn myself so easily for not being a good enough witness for Christ. Yet that would not please the Lord, Drawing closer to HIm, spending time with Him in a deeply trusting relationship like a child spends time with his or her mother would please him much more.

copyright: K Carswell, 2020

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Watching and Secure

Watching over me

You’re watching over me

And I can rest secure

I can rest secure.

You extend your hand

To help me come up

You invite me higher

Invite me higher.

Come up and see

And watch with Me

I have so much to show you.

Come and see

And watch with me

I have so much to show you.

Come and sit

Fight the war, I’m at your side

The battle won is Mine

Come and sit

Fight the war, I’m at your side

Jesus you watch over me

You’re watching over me.

And I can rest secure.

And I can rest secure.

Rahab’s Life amidst the fear

(Joshua 2: 1-24; the destruction of Jericho: Joshua 6: 1-27, Matthew 1:5)

Let’s imagine Rahab’s life in Jericho.

She was a prostitute, who lived in a house that was built into the walls of the city. Jericho had very strong walls, so she should have felt safe. She lived in the same town as her father, mother, brothers and sisters. She had access to flax. She was a fairly young woman.

However, there was an atmosphere of fear. The fear was there because of 40-year old news. The fact that Israel had left Egypt and were no longer slaves had made the news in the ancient world. The fact that the Egyptians had wanted to capture the Israelites and return them to slavery, but instead had drowned in the Red Sea, made the news. Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years. But the nations of Canaan did not forget what happened to Egypt during those 40 years.

Rahab told two Israelite spies what the Canaanites knew. She said “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you had come out of Egypt and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below (Josh 2:8b – 11).

Read those verses again.

The entire land of Canaan was panicking because of the Israelites and their God.

Rahab lived in a atmosphere of fear most of her adult life.

Fear has been part of the world’s atmosphere at various times in its history: during times of war or natural disasters. Beginning in 2019, the world again started to have an atmosphere of fear. A virus is a threat. It is real. It may come to where I am, to where you are at a very personal level. How do we deal with that fear?


Rahab, along with everyone else in Jericho, knew there was a God of heaven and earth and that he fought for the Israelites. Rahab’s choice of action differed greatly from the king’s of Jericho.

Unlike the leadership of Jericho, she choose to act on that knowledge. Rahab choose, at the risk of her life, to align with the Israelites. She was a traitor to Jericho.

Joshua 6:1 says: “Now Jericho was strongly fortified because of the Israelites — no one leaving or entering.” Jericho was on lockdown. It was on lockdown because of an outside threat. The city should have been safe, as long as the threat was not allowed to enter.

There was no way into the city. God did not instruct the Israelites to enter the city — He instructed them to march around it. If the people had been afraid for 40 years, seeing an army march around their city would have been over the top terrifying.

The King of Jericho had six days to send a white flag to the Israelites and try to spare his people. That did not happen. It was time for God to judge Jericho, so the plan to submit to Israel’s God never entered the heads of the leadership of the city.

Yet, amidst a time of judgement, one woman saved herself and her family. She made the choice to fear the God of the Israelites, more than the king of Jericho. She joined herself to God’s people. Matthew 1:5 states that “Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab”. That same Boaz married Ruth, who was originally from Moab, and fathered Jesse, who then went on to father King David. Rahab’s choice to follow Israel’s God made her a fore-runner of Israel’s greatest king and a fore-runner of the world’s Messiah.

Amidst all the fear around us in society, amidst all of our own fears, let us choose to fear the Lord more. Let us chose to serve Him.

If you have never made the Lord Jesus Christ your Savior, please pray this prayer:

Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner (Romans 3:10). I have broken your holy laws. I cannot save myself. I know that you, Jesus, paid the price for my sin, for my rebellion against you, on the cross of Calvary. I know that you Jesus rose from the dead. Lord, I thank you for loving me enough to die for me. I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. Thank you God.

CC: K Carswell 2022

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.