Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Day 58~ Luke 18

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (18:17)

That is a heavy statement!  ..”shall not enter it”…..😳

This verse seems to have reached through the ages to speak directly to our culture today.  Here is where I think Satan has used his clever tactics to make us think being childlike is having a “blind faith”.  In our culture where knowledge is power and education is the key to everything, “blind faith” is just plain ridiculous! 

Yet, it is not “blind faith” that Jesus is wanting (1 Peter 3:15 proves that!).  He wants us to be “like a child”.   I like how my footnote described a child.  It “consists of childlike trust, vulnerability, and the inability to advance his or her own cause apart from the help, direction and resources of a parent.”   That definition has nothing to do with “blind faith”, believing without knowing any facts.

The above definition reminds me of when my kids wanted to do a lemonade stand one hot day.  They ran to get the cups, the pitcher and the lemonade powered (all of which I bought).  They also asked if I had poster board and if I could write/draw the sign for them.  I did that as well.  Then, off they ran to the end of the street to sell “their” lemonade, while yelling over their shoulder, “Thanks, Mommy!”  The whole time they were there, I kept glancing over to make sure they were safe.

Doesn't that sound like us with God?  He provides everything and keeps a watchful eye on us the whole time.  Yet, we actually think we are doing things all on our own and everything we have, we earned on our own. 🙄

Everybody, Christians and non Christians alike have an “inability to advance their own cause apart from God’s help”.  Christians, however, acknowledge everything comes from the Lord, including their salvation.  Non Christians think everything is from their own effort.   Yet, here in Luke, Jesus says, all need to be like a child and say, “Thank you, Daddy!”, or else you shall not enter!! 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Day 57~again~ Luke 17

Oh dear!  I blew my numbering sequence on the reading plan.  So, it looks like you will actually be doing 182 days of reading. 😬  The question is….am I a perfectionist that will go back to the reading plan and fix it or will I just let it go and stay with the number sequence….?

Regardless, today we look at chapter 17.  Verses 7-10 titled the “Unworthy servant” stood out to me today. “Will anyone of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’……” I don’t think so! 

I often think each new paragraph is a new thought because of the pre-set subtitles that are placed in the Bible.  However, as I looked to some commentaries to dive deeper into verses 7-10 I saw that one commentator pointed out that these verses were still in response to the disciples asking Jesus to increase their faith.  

So, you might be asking, how does doing your duty as a servant increase your faith?

Elliott’s commentary had an interesting take on the matter.  He felt that Jesus was saying that the Apostles “are not all at once invited to sit down at the feast. He (the apostle) must first minister to his master’s wants, to see that His soul is satisfied and then, in due course, his own turn will come.  In other words, the ‘increase our faith’ for which the Apostles prayed was to come through obedience, outward and inward obedience, to their Master’s will.  Faith was to show itself in virtue and virtue would bring knowledge, and knowledge would strengthen faith.”

Well, that sounds familiar!  I’ve read something very similar in 2 Peter 1:5-7!

“For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”

So it sounds like: start with faith—> obey—> learn more—> your faith increases. 

The disciples say, “increase our faith”, Jesus responds, “Do what your supposed to do and your faith will increase as a result.”

Well, that’s an interesting take on the “Unworthy Servant”!🤔

Monday, February 26, 2018

Day 57~ Luke 16

Wow!  Chapter 16….just wow!  There is a lot there to chew on!  What caught your attention?

So, I have some adult children right now that don’t have two pennies to rub together.  Yet, since they were small, my husband and I have been very diligent to teach them to tithe from the meager amount they have. It’s been so cute to see them do just that!  I was reminded today why we have been teaching them this.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (16:9)

One can not have the attitude that they will wait with tithing for the day they have more money, thinking, “then it will be easier to tithe.” Tithing is never easy!  No one likes to part with their money.  Because tithing is counter cultural, my husband and I felt it had to be taught.  It does not come intuitively.  And just like everything, it’s easier to teach a young person something new than an older person.  

It is our hope that when our kids do start making more money, it will be natural for them to “serve the right master”.  They will know, “You cannot serve God and money.” (16:13)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Day 56~ Luke 15

After I read chapter 15, I found it really helpful that I happened to go back and read the first 2 sentences of the chapter again.  “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.  And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’ ” (15:1-2)

Reading that again, right after reading how the older son was “angry and refused to go in” to celebrate the return of his brother, was remarkable!  Clearly, the parable of the two brothers were in relation to the Jewish Pharisee and his brother the Jewish tax collector. 

Jesus’ interaction, this time with the Pharisees actually seemed loving! (Don’t you think he is usually quite harsh with them?)  In this case, however, I thought he was actually sweet toward them with the use of the prodigal son parable!  
Using the voice of the father to his older son, Jesus is in essence saying to the scribes and Pharisees, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” (15:31)

My footnote said this was an “affectionate appeal by the father, showing that he still loved the older son and wanted him to join in the celebration.  By implication, Jesus is still inviting the Pharisees to repent and accept the good news.” 

No matter how sweet the father in the parable or Jesus is, the son and the Pharisees still have to make a decision.  Either humble their pride and go into the feast or stew in their pride and never go in……the choice is theirs (and ours)…..

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day 55~ Luke 14

Let me first say, the simplicity of Billy Graham’s preaching was great!  He often would just focus on John 3:16, “God so loved the world that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  It brought many to a sincere faith in Christ.  However, others may have not gone farther in their study of what “believe” means and got stuck thinking it was a one time event, not a continuous action.

In our reading today, Jesus lays out 3 aspects of “believing”.  Believing, I am finding, is a radical way of thinking!  
First, if you are a believer, you are a disciple.  These “conditions” (as my footnote calls them) to discipleship is not just for the radical believers.  It is for every believer.
1.) Love your family less than you love Christ (14:26)
2.) Bear persecution while following Christ. (vs. 27)
3.) Renounce all that you have! (vs. 33)

That type of belief is radical!!  It’s probably a good thing John didn’t write, “..whoever has the radical belief in God that is required, should not perish but have eternal life.”  Hearing that, people would get too nervous about the “radical belief” part and miss the part about how much God loves them.
Realizing and experiencing God’s radical love gives us the humility and appreciation to then turn around to express the radical faith required to be a disciple.

I was thinking of God’s radical love as I finished writing thus.  We know his radical love was to send his son for us, but we shouldn’t forget that his radical love also includes setting up the entire universe to get ready for us, the creation he made in his image.  Everything we see around us was made for us.  That’s radical!  It makes me think of a song that I grew up singing in church.  
I can’t help sing the song now!  Join me if you want! (Skip the ad in the bottom corner after 4 seconds)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day 54~ Luke 13

With my nurse background, it’s hard for me to read about the lady bent over for 18 years and not think of a medical condition like scoliosis or an extreme case of Kyphosis.  My initial thought is that her condition was hereditary or caused by osteoporosis.  I would not be thinking it was caused by a demon (for 18 years)!  

Today’s treatment would include surgery or braces and physical therapy.  Sadly, the last thing I would think of is prayer to expel a demon!  Jesus knew it was demonic. “And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for 18 years be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” (13:16)

What does that say about us today? Have we come so far in our medical knowledge that we utterly ignore the spiritual.  Who do you think loves that?!   In fact, if a Christian were to attribute symptoms or behavior to demonic influence, he/she would be ridiculed by the non-believing medical community.

This is where I pray for the Lord to increase my faith!  I have been trained to think “science” in my education, so it is a battle for me to think other wise.  Yet, I pray that my first response would be to pray for healing from the Lord, instead of my first response of seeking medical attention.  And, if that means to pray for demons to depart, may I know when to do that as well! 

What a wonderful thing if we Christians, me included, prayed, with faith, for healing.  We too would see as those saw with Jesus, “all his adversaries were put to shame and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.” (13:17).

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Day 53~ Luke 12

“And why do you not judge for yourself what is right?” (12:57)

I have read the verses in Luke, about settling with your accuser, before and have thought they were unrelated to the verses before that talk about “interpreting the present time.” (vs. 54-56)  To me, Jesus went on to a different teaching point…..or so I thought….after taking a closer look…..maybe he didn’t. 

Jesus did, in fact, talk at length about settling disputes among brothers quickly (Matt. 5:24), as did Paul in 1 Cor. 6:1-8.  So, yes, it is good practice among Christians not to bring fellow Christians to court.  Because of those verse, I have read Luke 57- 59 in that context.  
However, this time through, I read it in the context that it is in, which is entirely different!  The illustration may be familiar, but in this context it has a different meaning.  The illustration about settling with your accuser follows the verses were Jesus is calling the crowd hypocrites for being able to interpret the weather but not being able to interpret what is happening right in front of them.  He just got finished saying, “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.  Yes, I tell you fear him!” (12:5)  
Obviously it is God who has the authority to cast into hell, so it is him that we should fear.  That is why Jesus is warning to settle matters BEFORE you get to the judge.

It is as if Jesus is saying, “You better get in right standing with God now!  Settle your salvation before you get to God’s judgement seat so that you aren’t sent to hell (prison)!”
In context, Jesus did not switch subjects at all…the entire chapter is cohesive to the this point:   

“And why do you not judge for yourself what is right?”  

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Day 52~ Luke 11~ RIP Billy

Do you know someone who called out to Jesus in a time of need, but after the crisis passed they went on with their life never giving Jesus the time of day?

Or have you ever heard someone say, “I’m glad that “it” works for you.” (meaning Christianity) or “Cool for you, that you’re into that.” 

It’s like they admire your faith, but they don’t want to commit to believing themselves.  They may have an attitude of, “I will get to that later after I have sowed my wild oats. For now, I’m going to stay neutral on the subject.”  Or, because they have a slight belief, they call themselves Christian, but they don’t live like one.

Jesus addresses those people right here in our reading today!

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (11:23) 😳 
I think one who thinks like the above examples, would think, “Well, that’s not ME! I’m not against Jesus! 
However, my foot note made a good comment, “Neutrality with respect to Jesus is not possible.”  
It seems like we come to a new thought when we read about the demon going out from a person and then coming back worse than before. Yet this illustration goes hand in hand with “whoever is not for me is against me”.  
Again my footnote had a good commentary on the subject.  “Cleansing from sin must be followed by obedience to God’s word, not complacency.” 

Neutrality, complacency, a hands off approach to Jesus doesn’t work.  He wants all of you.  
It’s hard not to think of the greatest commandment here, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…” (Luke 10:27)
If you don’t give him your whole self.……..”the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:26) 😬

Christians can't take a "casual" approach to their faith in God, the Rev. Billy Graham said in a post 3 years ago. (What a good example he was for us! He has now gone to the Lord at age 99!)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Day 51~ Luke 10

Reading different versions of the Bible really helps to bring new insights into my reading.  I’ve read the story of Martha and Mary many times.  Today, I got something different out of it when I read, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,…..” (vs. 41).  I always thought she was just distracted by all the prep work for the meal.  This time, the way it was worded, “many things”, I felt Jesus was referring to a whole lot more.  Remember how Jesus knew the heart of the rich young man in Matt. 19:16?  I think the same happened here.  Martha was worried about a whole lot more than the meal. 

It’s interesting to remember what Jesus said about worry earlier in chapter 8. “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are chocked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” (8:14)

I never thought about it this way, but it is as if Jesus was giving Martha a stern warning.
Watch out Martha!  Watch what you choose!

My footnote says, it was like Jesus was saying, “Mary has chosen this, and it will not be taken away from her neither now to help in the kitchen, nor for all eternity.” 

Watch out for your eternity, Martha! 
Worry can literally get in your way of eternity according to 8:14.  We will see Jesus gives the same type of warning when we get to 21:34! 

Warning! Warning! Worry Can Effect Your Eternity!😳

Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 50~ Luke 9

Boy, a lot happens in chapter 9! Jesus fed 5000+, he warned of his death two times, he was transfigured, he heals a boy from a demon, he was rejected by an entire village and he explains the cost of following him.That is a lot to think about, but once again, my attention was caught by one of the first verses of our reading.
“...and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” (9:2)

I like how one commentary equated the preaching and healing to “truth and love“. The commentary was referring to the consequences of rejecting truth and love. “When truth and love go together, and yet the message of God is rejected and despised, it leaves men without excuse, and turns to a testimony against them.“ (Matthew Henry) He made a great point! 

I focused more on the method Jesus taught before he sent them out. It Involved both preaching and love; two components to their mission. 
I was making my way down the walking street of Santa Monica the other week, when I saw a man standing on a box, preaching the gospel to all the passerby’s. I listened for a moment. Everything he was saying was spot on correct! But he wasn’t using “love“ in conjunction with his preaching. People passed by him without hesitating or giving him the time of day. 😣
On the other hand I have a friend who is helping with an organization that feeds,clothes, houses and educates young children in another country. However the gospel is not preached to them. Those kids are getting the love part but not the “proclaiming the kingdom“ part. Some of those kids have now grown and moved on from the school but they are not believers in Christ. 😞
It seems that in that one simple verse, one can find the best template to spread the gospel. The two components must go together; to proclaim the kingdom of God (truth) and heal (love).
I loved verse 8! “And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” They had a lot of success with their two part method.
I can just imagine their excitement when they came back together and shared their stories (vs.10). I bet Jesus had the biggest smile on his face when he was listening to them!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day 49~ Luke 8

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.“(8:21)

That verse really stood out to me today, so I looked it up in the other Gospels.
This is how it is worded elsewhere:
“For whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother”(Matt 12:50).
“Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.“ (Mark 3:35). 

There seems to be a whole lot of “doing” here. 
I found it interesting that the commentaries I looked into made more mention of the sisters and brothers than the “doing” part. In fact it was odd to me that of the four commentaries I looked at, none of them mentioned the “doing” part.......why do you think that is?  

One commentary mentioned what doing the will of God entailed. They happened to mention the theme verse of this blog, Romans 12:12. 

I’m just going to throw that question out to you all and see if anyone has any comment on it. 😁

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Day 48~ Luke 7

When I first scanned over the story about the centurion I was a little irritated at the attitude of the Jewish elders. 
 “He is worthy to have you do this for him.“ (7:4)
 They were saying he had “earned it“ or “he deserved it“. Jesus could have used this moment to teach that there is nothing we can do to earn his love and mercy. We deserve nothing! But he didn’t do that. Instead, “Jesus went with them” (vs 6). What?! You missed a golden opportunity Jesus! What are you trying to teach here? 
Fortunately, I took a closer look and saw something else.  The centurion loved their nation. The good acts he did were the bi-product of the love he had for the God of the Jewish people. 
I’m reminded of what Jesus said to the Jews in John 8:42, “If God were your father, you would love me for I came from God and I am here.”
The centurion lived out this verse. He did his “works” out of true devotion to God, his Heavenly Father. Therefore it was easy for him to believe where Jesus came from & who he got His authority from. 
It was his faith, a devotion to God first that allowed him to see the truth of who Jesus was. That faith is what Jesus commended. 
I didn’t need to be surprised Jesus went with the elders. I’m glad he showed me a positive example of pure faith. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Day 47~ Luke 6

 If you read verses 27- 31, you might get lost in the aspect of being loving and kind; doing to others as you would have them do to you....
But here is a question, if you are being so loving and kind, why would you have enemies? (vs 27) Why would someone be so mad at you that they would want to hit you in the face? (vs. 29)
I think the answer lies in the verse immediately before the “Love your enemy” section. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (6:26) When you speak truth, people are going to get mad!!!!
True prophets in the Bible were hated, tortured, mocked, flogged, imprisoned, stoned
and killed! 😳 (See Hebrews 1:35-38) If that is what these disciples had to look forward to, it was good that Jesus was teaching them ahead of time to “love their enemies”.
I think we have gone way off topic when we focus on being loving at the expense of speaking truth.
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s better to be liked than right.”? I have had that phrase thrown at me by a loved one. On the one hand, this person is reminding me to settle down. I get that. The right approach is very important to the hearer. On the other hand it wouldn’t be good to always have an attitude of “being liked is more important than being right.” Jesus says it himself in verse 26! Woe to you if that is your attitude.
Boy, that is contrary teaching in our politically correct world today, isn’t it??🤔

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Day 46~ Luke 5

What a short reading today! What am I going to do with all my extra time?! 😉

Jesus said something that stood out to me today.  “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (5:32)

Jesus came to call us to repentance…..That’s why he came…..I find that interesting…..

If I was to say why he came, I would say it was to die on the cross for our sins.  But he says it was to call us to repentance.
I guess it’s a matter of first things first.

Just like what was said on Day 44 about John telling us to “Prepare the way of the Lord”, one needs to come to a point of knowing they are a sinner first.  Once you have that frame of mind, you are ready to receive the gift Jesus gave us from the cross.  So….thinking about it that way, I can see why Jesus answered the Pharisees the way he did.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Day 45~ Luke 4 & Ecc. 12

The first sentence stood out to me today!  Jesus “was led by theSpirit into the wilderness.” (4:1)…Would you ever have thought that the times you have felt you were in a “wilderness”, the Holy Spirit led you there?

Can you imagine if Jesus, on day 15 or 28 of his 40 day fast, was thinking, “I hope I heard the Spirit correctly!  This seems extreme!  I’m hungry and I am going through some heavy temptations….this can’t be the Lords will!  What am I doing here? Father, God, get me out of this mess!”  I think that is how I would be thinking if I went in a direction I thought the Spirit was leading but then things didn’t go so great.

However, Jesus knew how God operates.  I like what my footnote says, “While God clearly never tempts anyone to do evil, (James 1:13), he does use circumstances to test a persons character.” (Heb. 11:17)

God was not testing Jesus to catch him in a sin. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (James 1:13)  Rather, God was testing the character of Jesus. And boy, did it shine!

Man!!!  If I could just remember during my hard times that these too are God’s plan, I could have a completely different attitude!  Instead of moaning, “Why me?!”, I would love if my first response was, “OK Jesus, you brought me here, let my character shine!!” 

What stood out to you in your reading??

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Day 44~ Luke 3 & Ecc 11

I don’t think I’ve ever paid much attention to the words of Isaiah that Luke quotes in regards to John.  As I was reading 3:4-6, I kind’a blew past it without really comprehending what the words were saying.  I just filed the words away with a, “Yup, John fulfilled another prophesy.”  But why did Luke feel Isaiah’s words applied to John?  I decided to take a closer look at vs.4-6…..

Imagine a terrain that had no roads (kind’a hard to do in our concrete jungle).  But try….If you were pushing a cart, you would try to pick a path with the least amount of ruts and bumps so you wouldn’t lose your load of….let’s say…oranges.
Most likely, since you’re not on a cleared path, the process would be slow and you may struggle to keep your cart and load up right.

Now picture some servants pushing a king on that rough terrain.  The  last thing they would want is to topple their king!  So, they go out ahead of time and fill in the ruts and clear the rocks so that they can navigate the way easily when they have the king in the cart.

I liken this to what I said on Day 42.  God prepares the soil (hearts) for Jesus.  When you are getting ready to receive Christ as your Lord, you:
1.) Humble yourself (your pride= “mountains and hills” will be made low).  
2.) Your selfish ways (crooked paths) will start to straighten out. 
God is going to use all sorts of methods to make you realize you have some ruts, hills and rocks in your path.

The people of John’s time didn’t realize they needed saving.  They thought they already had it in the bag since they were the “chosen ones”, the special race that had the truth of the one true God.  But…they did need saving! They had become “crooked”.  John was used by God to point some things out to them.  It’s the same today.  People don’t know that they sin. They think, ‘I’m a good person.  I will go to heaven because I am a whole lot better than that person over there!”  God uses his Word, people and circumstances to get people to see their need to clear and prepare the road.

It’s when you have prepared “your road”, realizing you are a sinner, that you are ready to receive your Savior.  That’s when the King, Jesus, comes down the prepared road into your heart.
Doesn’t that make Isaiah easy to understand?!

“Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight. 
Every valley shall be filled,
    and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
    and the rough places shall become level ways,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:4-6)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Day 43~ Luke 2 & Ecc. 10

Recall the verse, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for the good..” (Romans 8:28)….I saw an example of that verse in today’s reading.

I would imagine that leaving Nazareth to go to Bethlehem would be the last thing Mary would want to do late in her pregnancy!  I’m speaking from the perspective of how I get in my 3rd trimester.  My legs feel like lead because the weight of the baby blocks blood from flowing easily.  However, this was Mary’s first baby and she was supposedly very young so maybe she felt up to the challenge.  Who knows?!  The reality is Nazareth is 80 miles from Bethlehem.  That’s a long walk!  I read on line that, depending how fast you walked, it can take 3-5 days to make the journey.

So, they make the journey and now they are in Bethlehem.  Joe and Mary have a newborn and what do they need to do now?  Walk to Jerusalem!  “And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord…” (Luke 2:22) 
On this walk, Mary has a 5 week old baby in tow.  Fortunately for her, the walk is only 2 hours from Bethlehem to Jerusalem.  

God worked out that census for the good of Joseph and Mary!  They were so much closer to Jerusalem because of that census!  They didn’t have to do the 5 day journey with a newborn (yea!!). Can you imagine how much longer it would have taken with a newborn?  Mary would need to nurse every two to three hours and change a boat load of diapers!  How would she have cleaned and dried cloth diapers on the dusty road?  
I can actually see how sweet God was to arrange the census!  What else, except a government mandate, would have forced Joseph to leave the comfort of home with a pregnant gal?  

God, in his foresight, knew that in the long run, it would work out for the good for Joe and Mary (not to mention it also fulfilled prophesy).  What a brilliant God we have!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Day 42~ Luke 1 & Ecc 9

We start a new Gospel today!   This one is written (according to an early historian, Eusebius) by a Gentile!  I’m glad one of the books is written by a Gentile!  Where Matthew has the goal of convincing Jews that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, Luke writes for us Gentiles letting us know that salvation is for us too!  I can see that Luke is a Gentile or at least he is writing to Gentiles by his choice of details.  For example, in todays reading he explains how Zechariah served as priest when his division was on duty.  If this book was written to Jews, that information wouldn’t need to be given because the audience would already know how the priest rotation worked.

Anyway, on to a different topic. A few verses stood out today, and they brought some clarity to me on a hard theological concept that I grapple with.  Follow me for a bit here…..

Have you ever read Romans 9:14-18 and felt, “Well, people really have no say as to whether they believe or not.  God chooses, period.”  I have heard some Calvinists speak that way. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:14)

When I read those verse by themselves I could agree with them.  However, we are to read everything in the Bible and interpret scripture with the use of other scripture.
Today’s reading helped me understand Romans a little better!

We are soil.  We are always being prepared for seed. (Jesus liked this analogy too- See Mt. 13, Mk 4 or Lk 8)  What we see here in Luke 1 is that God prepares the soil.  We get to see how He chose to prep the soil (the hearts of the Jewish people) to hear the gospel (the Good News of Jesus).  He raised up John.  John’s whole job was to prep the Jewish soil.  “…make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:17)

God uses other methods today to prep the soil of hearts to hear the gospel.  A parent, teacher, friend, a book, a sermon….something got your heart ready for Jesus.  Yet, even though God reaches all to prepare them, people still can choose not to accept the prep work.

Mary points that out in her song, 
“And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.”  (Luke 1:50)
Fear= reverent, humble obedience that seeks to please God (according to my footnote).

A “prepared heart” is one that knows to fear the Lord. When your soil is ready for the seed, God’s mercy is for you.  The analogy with soil stops at the different conditions of soil.  You cannot take it to the point of saying soil can’t decide how it will respond to the conditioning because it is inanimate.  You went too far with the analogy if you do that.  God sent John to prepare the Jews for Jesus.  Some received that “prep work” and some choose to reject it.  The same prep work went out to all.  To those who accepted it, “God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy”,  and according to Mary, that is to all who choose to fear Him.

I don’t know if you followed me on that tangent…but writing it out helped bring clarity of the Roman scripture to me! 🤓

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Day 41~Mark 16 & Ecc. 8

Since I got into the singing mood due to a comment made on yesterday’s blog…I’m still singing!  I love it when songs help you remember scripture!

All I can think of while doing today’s reading, was a song by Keith Green that I listened to a TON in the 80’s.  It’s timeless (to me).  I thought I would share it with you!

I hope you have a moment to enjoy it! (4 min.)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Day 40~ Mark 15 & Ecc. 6

Ugg! This chapter!  It’s so sad!  Each time I read it, I try to pick out something to focus on other than the pain Jesus was feeling.  But, being a nurse, I am always inclined to think about the pain, the time involved and the last breath. 😰

So, when I tried to focus on something else, my attention was drawn to the chief priests who “accused him of many things.”  (vs.3)  I found that interesting since we just read yesterday, “Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none.” (14:55)

They really only had one charge against him.  When they asked “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”  Jesus answered “Yes”.

So they had one thing against him, yet they made up “many things”…..

I was reminded of our Proverbs readings we recently finished.  The chief priests had the book of Proverbs at the time as well.  They knew what God liked and didn’t like.  Beside the fact that they knew the 10 commandments, one being “Do not bare false witness”, they also had what we just finished reading.  Do you remember how many times the writer of Proverbs talked about how much God hated false witnesses?
Take a look:
Proverbs 6:19, 12:17, 14:5, 18:5, 19:5, 19:28, 21:28, 24:28, 25:18

Maybe God hates it so much because this is ultimately how His Son was put to death….

I wonder if any of those chief priest, who knew the law so well, remembered, “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.” (Prov. 19:5) 😱

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Day 39~ Mark 14 & Ecc 6

Did anyone else see a similarity in todays reading of Ecclesiastes and Mark?

“if a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things and he also has no burial, I say that a still born child is better off than he.” (Ecc. 6:3)

Doesn’t that sound like it would be better for that father of hundreds to have never been born?
Well, those are the words Jesus used in regards to Judas in our Mark reading today!

“For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Mk 14:21)

What an interesting thing to say!  It really makes me ponder.  Obviously, we have no choice as to whether we are born or not (I guess parents have that choice, about our existence here on earth, but we don’t.)  
We are born and grow….then our choices begin.  In the case of the man with 100’s of children in Ecc., he chose not to be “satisfied with life good things” (Ecc 6:3).

Just like that man, Judas had a choice as well! 

The verse in Mark is an excellent verse that shows both God’s “sovereign ordering of events and also human responsibility for those events” (my footnote’s wording).

This concept is hard to wrap my head around. Yet, though it is hard to understand, it still is so.  This is one of those areas that I just say, “It is so!”  God is sovereign and we are responsible for our choices.

One verse I love in regards to God’s sovereignty……

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) 😊

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Day 38~ Mark 13 & Eccl. 5

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.  But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.” (13:23)

Regardless as to whether you believe in “pretrib.”, “midtrib.” or “posttrib.”, we are in the “last hour”. John expands on Jesus’ words when he writes in 1 John 2:18, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.  Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” 😳

So what are we supposed to do with that info?  Jesus says to “be on guard” and “stay awake” (13:37)

Well than, we better not get deceived by signs and wonders!  Right?!……umm…..that might be easier said than done…..If I saw something miraculous, I would be pretty captivated, wouldn’t you?!  
How then, can I keep from being deceived?  John tells how to do that!

Disciples must “test the spirits” (1 John 2:22).  
How do I do that?
“By this you know the Spirit Of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” (4:2-3)
In other words, if the  “prophet” or “sign and wonder” person is truly from God, he will be “confessing” Jesus in all he does! Everything he does will point to Jesus and bring glory to Him.
So here is a simple question to ask in order to “test the spirits”, 
Does the miracle point people to Jesus?

If it doesn’t…..then you know who is doing the work….😮 Stay awake! Stay away!