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Showing posts from July, 2018

Luke 15 & 16~ Help them to listen to your word! ~ Day 30

If you have looked at the tabs on this blog you will see one labeled, “Faithful in Prayer” (If you use your phone, you gotta switch to the “web version” to see the tabs).  The tab got it’s name from the theme verse of the blog, where Paul tells the Romans to be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”
So, if you click that tab you will see that I use a shopping list pad of paper to write down names of people I am praying for. I created two columns; people who need physical healing are on the left, people I know who have outright rejected Jesus, are on the right.  Surprisingly, at this time, my column on the right is longer! 😳 When I pray for those people, I often feel like the naggy lady Jesus describes going to the judge repeatedly (Luke 18:1-8).  I feel a little less naggy when I use God’s own words in my prayers.  Today, I read, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” ( Luke 16:31)😨
That…

Luke 13 & 14~ I will give up everything! ~ Day 29

There were a lot of things that stood out to me in the reading.  How about you?  Do you want to share?
What are your thoughts on considering the cost of following Jesus (14:25-35)?  I was taken a’back when I read, “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”  (14:33)
That's radical!  Jesus wants radical disciples!.......Give up everything?……I’m wondering…what am I supposed to give up….food, clothing, shelter?…….
Paul shed a little bit more light on the subject for me so that I can practically apply what Jesus is asking of me.   He wrote in his letter to the Philippians,  “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…” (3:7-8) He had just got finished stating how he had every reason to have confidence in himself.  He had b…

Luke 11 & 12~ Thy Will be Done ~ Day 28

Crazy!  This morning before I started to read, I was thinking, “The Lord will do what he wants.   …Your will be done, Lord”…which led me to think of the song….which led me to sing the only line I know…which led me to google the rest of the lyrics to Thy Will, by Hillary Scott.  It’s a great song!  (I’ll link you to it below.)
…and then…I opened my Bible to today's reading and …..Boom!  “He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:  Father, hollowed be your name, your kingdom come’…” (Luke 11: 2).  It’s actually Matthew who expanded on the words of Jesus, saying, “…your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (6:10)
Wasn’t that a crazy, fun coincidence?!  I thought so!
I love that Jesus gave us a format to use when we pray to God! He wants us to pray this way!!  In our contemporary world of Christianity, people may be leery of any memorized prayer in fear of sounding like a Pharisee with repetitive prayer that is done with lips only and not with their heart (Matt. 15:18).
But, I’ve gotta s…

Luke 9 & 10~ Sounding holy?~ Day 27

So, I might ruffle some feathers with my observation of today’s reading.  Tell me what you think…..
Have you ever said or have you heard a fellow Christian say, “I just want to be more “Christ like”.  I often wonder what they actually mean by that……It sounds super holy, doesn’t it? But what are they really saying? Could it mean that some who say that, want to be more ‘loving’ and ‘kind’ so that people will like them?  Could it be, for some, a license to ‘sit with sinners’ ? Or  Are they referring to Luke 9:23? “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” What does taking up a cross mean?  A cross was a tool to execute, which included shame, and suffering. And a Christian is supposed to endure that daily???  Whoa, wait a minute….do you think that is what people mean when they say they want to be more Christ like…they would be open to being ridiculed, shamed and suffer, all for Jesus’s sake?  Wow!  That does sound super holy!!
Yesterday’s post…

Luke 7 & 8~ Faith and love go hand in hand~ Day 26

I like this quote, “Faith is put in motion by love.”  
The buzz word, I noticed, repeated several times in our reading today, was “faith”.  The story of the ‘sinful woman’, in particular, really got me to ponder the connection between the love she demonstrated toward Jesus and her faith. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-for she loved much……Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (7:47-50)
My foot note made a clarifying point. “Her love was evidence of her forgiveness, but not the basis for it. Verse 50 clearly states that she was saved by faith.”
So if it were a question like, what came first, the chicken or the egg; faith or love.  There is an answer,…the faith. Faith to accept Christ’s forgiveness.  Clearly, God went into action before we came to realize what he did for us. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
The parable of the sinful woman says the love we have for God is evidence of the faith we have in God.  The woman showed evidence of her faith…

Luke 5-6~ "Son of Man"~ Day 25

I keep forgetting why Jesus liked to call himself, “The Son of Man”.  In today’s reading he uses the title 3 times!  (5:24, 6:5 and 6:22) I decided , if I keep forgetting why he uses that name, you might as well.  So, I looked it up for us all to have an understanding of the term.
Well, it looks like Jesus didn’t just make up the term when he got here.  Jesus knew every word of the Old Testament!  He knew all the hidden meanings, analogies, foreshadowing and prophesies (So, well, it’s like he wrote them! πŸ˜‰).   It reminds me of the time when he was a child. His parents freaked out when they thought they lost him.  The whole time they were freaked, he was “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2:46-47)
As he grew, he knew that the teachers of the law “should “ know scripture, as he did.  After all, they spent their lives learning from masters and then turning around becoming master…

Luke 3-4~ John is a good example for us~ Day 24

We live in a world right now where one must be “politically correct”.   This present climate of watching what one says in order to not offend, has succeeded in one huge victory for Satan….it has muzzled Christians!  Christians are afraid to speak truth for fear of being rejected, threatened, shamed, etc.
Well…that can not be said of John the Baptist! I think that the climate may have been similar back then.  Everyone knew that the ruler (who was Jewish by decent) did something that was forbidden in the Jewish culture.  Yet, no one called him out on it. Then along came John…
John didn’t fear what the public thought.  He had no fear saying to the crowd, “You brood of vipers!”   Did you cringe when you read that? I bet you did!!!  We don’t call other people names! You may have even thought, “He could have said the same thing without being so offensive!”  Yet, look at the results he had by calling people out on their sins! “Crowds” came out to be baptized. (3:7) You might also have thought,  “W…

Luke 1-2~ Great parenting!~ Day 23

I’ve read about Zachariah and Elisabeth before, always with the thought that they are minor, side characters in the great story.  At times, I would just scan through their part, to get to the meat of the story.  This time through, though, I found myself growing in admiration for these two.  I appreciate that Luke gave us more insight to this remarkable couple.  “Both of them were upright in the sight of the God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” (1:6) From the things Zach said, I can tell the couple did these things out of their love for God, not out of a religious duty that was forced upon them by the Pharisees. What is impressive to me is that Zach understood God and his character from what he read and found in the Old Testament.  He knew God was full of mercy and that he had a plan for salvation (1:78).  
So many times today, I hear people say that the God of the Old Testament is full of wrath but Christ in the New Testament shows the loving side of …

Mark 15-16~Grief to Joy~ Day 22

Many years ago, I was an ICU nurse.  I saw a lot of death.  I have seen codes “called” and the EKG wave form go flat.  I have prepared bodies to be presentable for the families last view and I have wrapped bodies for transfer to the morgue.  Even with all that experience, I have never done any of that for someone I know or loved.  
I was really touched by the actions of those who dealt with the body of Jesus after he died.  Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.  These are very specific names….these were real people who were experiencing real grief because they loved Jesus.  I get choked up thinking about their disbelief, shock and grief they must have been feeling.  After all, the women had been with Jesus way back in Galilee and had followed him and cared for his needs (15:40-41).  And now, they were still caring for his needs.  They were going to head to the tomb and do the finally task of anointing the body with spices. 

W…

Mark 13-14~ Watch!~ Day 21

I was reading a website the other day that was trying to prove that Jesus was not who he said he was. The writer was using scripture to prove his point.  He used 13:30 from our reading today, “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.“(Mark 13:30)
The writer concluded that since all the disciples have “passed away”, Jesus was wrong. I found it strange that the writer of the blog would believe in the text of scripture enough to use it to prove his point. I was thinking, since he used scripture, why didn’t he take the time to learn more scripture in order to get a better understanding of God and how He speaks?  One really should read the Old Testament once in awhile to get a look at how God operates.  If this writer had done some research he would have found some interesting facts that help shed light on what Jesus was saying. 
Indeed the temple was destroyed 40 years after Christ. That did happen in “this generation”, yet, Jesu…

Mark 11-12~Faith/Forgive~Day 20

“Have faith in God. (11:22) I was intently reading as Jesus tells Peter, “..whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Yea baby! That’s what I’m talking about! The power of Jesus! I want that!...
....Then...I read, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (11:25).....Wait.....what?....why did he jump from faith to forgiving?
Well, I think it goes without saying that Jesus is implying you can’t use faith to call lightening down from heaven to strike your enemy. We can’t have a bunch of shriveled up people (like the fig tree) because we had faith enough to destroy them! I think he is saying more here.
I asked myself during the reading...are the two related?Does holding a grudge affect one’s faith? Or does forgiveness demonstrate one’s faith? I am going to go out on a limb here and say, “yes!”
Think about it....if you truly had the faith to acce…

Mark 9-10~Cup of Water~ Day 19

“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” (9:41)
That’s the verse that stood out to me today.  At first read through that verse, sounds to me, like one can earn rewards by being charitable.  In fact, it reminded me of a song that I listened to a lot when I was a high school kid listening to “Christian Rock” (which was a new thing at the time). The band was Servant and the song was, Cup of Water, apparently derived from this verse.  The lyrics were powerful and they formed my way of thinking as a young person moving into adulthood.  
Poverty surrounds us And we know it’s here to stay After all what can we do They live so far away
Hungry little children They have their hands outstretched Begging for a piece of bread When will their needs be meet
All around our enemies To whom we shift the blame For the problems on the streets And the youth we cannot tame
In our own families There hatin goin on When will we real…

Mark 7-8~The Redeemer came!!~ Day 18

It is so helpful to keep Isaiah 35 in mind when reading that Jesus healed the deaf and mute man (7:33-35) and the blind man at Bethsaida (8:25)!
Isaiah was a prophet to the Jewish people 740 years before Christ.  He was alive during the reign of four kings whom had control over the Kingdom of Judah;  King Uzziah (good king), Ahaz (bad king), Hezekiah (good king) and probably killed by Manasseh (bad king).  Why would Manasseh want to kill Isaiah?  Because Isaiah spent his life preaching that God would judge his rebellious people, but afterward redeem them.  Apparently, Manasseh didn’t like the condemnation or the call to repentance.  However, the Jewish people came to think Isaiah was one of the “greatest of the writing prophets”.  They hold his prophecies in high regard, especially the scriptures that predicted a redeemer. (14:1-2 & 41:14-16)
So, back to Isaiah 35, “ ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to sav…

Mark 5-6~ What ever happened to kneeling? ~ Day 17

Did you notice how many times people dropped to the feet of Jesus in our reading today?
“When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.” (5:16)“….Jarius, came there, seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded…” (5:22)“Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.” (5:33)
In an age where no one kneels anymore (and if so, it’s out of defiance at a football game), it’s no wonder a Christian musician would ask,  🎀 “Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall?” One can’t imagine falling to their knees…..because we just don’t do that in our culture these days! However, though I love the song by Mercy Me, I know what we will all be doing when we see God in his glory,  “ ‘As surely as I live’, says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ “ (Romans 14:11) 
It won’t feel awkward, it won’t feel forced.  It will be our automatic reactio…

Mark 3-4~ God has emotions ~ Day 16

I was touched by the emotions Jesus exhibited in our reading today.  “‘He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”’(3:5)
Jesus is God incarnate, so here we get a glimpse of emotions our heavenly father has toward us.  I think everybody can picture God having anger.  We read about those righteous emotions in the Old Testament.  But to see him deeply distressed…..that wasn’t scary…that was heartbreaking! Doesn’t that sound like a parent?  A parent can be angry over the actions of their disobedient child, but can be devastated by their waywardness.  A parent would be distressed knowing the consequences are heavier when a child goes “off the rails”.
And just like a parent, even when the child makes bad choices, God’s love doesn’t change.  It reminds me of a verse in Jeremiah, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness…” (31:3)
Where I work, it’s quite often we hear, “My dad …

Mark 1-2~ Who was the first to proclaim Jesus? ~ Day 15

A friend of mine made an interesting observation that I hadn’t noticed before.  Do you know who was the first to proclaim to know who Jesus was?……
Technically, you can say it was the angel who announced Jesus to the shepherds (Luke 2:11).  Here in Mark we read, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  I know who you are- the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24)….it was the Demons that first proclaimed who Christ was!  Isn’t that a weird thought! This demon knew that Jesus was from Nazareth even though this event took place in Capernaum.  He knew Jesus had the power to destroy him and he knew Jesus was part of the Holy Trinity.  We also read that it wasn’t just this one demon who had this special knowledge, it was all demons! (1:34)
Imagine the fear the demons had when Jesus was born!  I bet they had a hand in influencing Herod to kill all the baby boys (Matt. 2:13).  Get rid of Jesus, get rid of their problem….yet their problems have just begun!
Here I am thinking about the spiritual realm…

Matt. 27-28~ God is bigger than anything I can figure out! ~ Day 14

I'm going a little deep today... My mind has a hard time reconciling man’s free will and God’s severity.  But the fact is, the Bible speaks of both throughout it’s pages.  Therefore, it’s a concept I have to take by faith; the two co-exist. 
Today's reading about Judas is a case in point.  When Judas tried to return the betrayal money the response was, “What is that to us?  they replied.  “That’s your responsibility.” (27:4) Judas was responsible for his sin even though the whole event was predicted over 500 years before, in the book of Zechariah (11:1-3).  If you are new to Christianity or Bible reading, this may throw you for a loop, like it did me.  Did Judas really have a choice?  I have gone on hunts through the Bible to try to figure out that question.
Reading scripture on some days had me leaning towards God’s sovereign control over all things at all times.  Daniel 4:35 would back that up!  “All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.  He does as he pleases with t…