Tuesday, July 31, 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 verse is frightening, but it’s a good one to use when I pray for my friends!  
“Lord, please, open their minds to reading scripture! Have them listen to Moses and the Prophets! Prompt them to open that dusty book on their shelf.  Let them truly listen to your word.” 
“Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
“For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

I’m going to keep praying for these friends… ‘cause I love them, and I don’t not want them to end up like Lazarus and his brothers! 

Monday, July 30, 2018

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…”
He had just got finished stating how he had every reason to have confidence in himself.  He had been circumcised, was from a faithful branch of the Jews and he was trained as a Pharisee.  Those were great credentials to boast in oneself!  
So, from Paul’s writing, I can see that Jesus is saying one must get rid of everything that one can boast about in themselves.  If we boost about our own credentials and get comfort, safety or security in those, then we are a disciple of ourselves.  

I would rather boost about Jesus and what he does for me…that is being a disciple.
So, I wrote this before I went to church yesterday.  During worship we sang, How Deep the Father’s Love For Us.  Listening to the lyrics, I was like, “Huh!  I was just writing about that this morning!!”  I love how God talks to us!!!

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Great song!!!   

Here is a link if you want to here it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKDujmtyAVk

Sunday, July 29, 2018

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 say, I got the best chills one time when I was in a large auditorium filled with Christians of every denomination and non-denomination.  The speaker asked everyone to bow in prayer and started the Lord’s Prayer.  Within seconds, he was joined by the crowd.  I looked around, every single person joined in!!  I didn’t see a mouth not moving!  I got chills because I thought of every parent, Sunday school teacher, pastor or priest who had taught these people this prayer.  I thought of the devoted past generations who took Jesus at his word when he said, “When you pray….”

Like I said, I love that Jesus gave us an outline to go by when we come before the Lord and I love that people memorize the outline so that, when words fail us, when our hearts are too heavy to know how to pray, our minds can still humbly come before the Lord with words that put God in his place and us in our place! 

Well, I better go now…I have to go find my 5 year old and teach him a prayer……πŸ˜‰

Saturday, July 28, 2018

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’ ?
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 pointed out that our actions should be demonstrations of love toward Jesus- not approval of man.  Therefore, it’s really important to check your motive on the things you say, even if it sounds pretty good.  Are you doing it for mens approval or to demonstrate your love to God?

I do want to be ‘Christ like’ and if that entails being shamed or scorned while standing for Christ, than that is what I have to be open to doing……daily.  That is how Jesus wants me to show him I love him and be like him.   

Friday, July 27, 2018

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, the pharisee demonstrated nothing because he had no faith that Jesus was who he said he was.

Did you notice Jesus asked the disciples in the boat, “Where is your faith?” (vs. 25)  They didn’t show evidence of it, yet.  They wanted something from Jesus (safety), but they weren’t concerned about Jesus.  
Isn’t it fascinating, when you think about it, that when Jesus came back after his resurrection, he went to Peter and asked, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-17)  It's like he was saying, “Show me your faith by your love for me.”

Love for God is set in motion because one’s faith is rooted in the fact that their sins have been forgiven.  Peter’s love for Christ was set in motion by the fact that he trusted that Christ forgave him and he went on to demonstrate that faith becoming the rock the church was built on.

I think we have come to another litmus test to check one’s faith!  Do I have a true faith that is exhibited as an outpouring of love for Jesus by my actions or is my faith, like the disciples in the boat, a type that is just wanting something out of Jesus to satisfy my needs.  

Thursday, July 26, 2018

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 masters themselves.  
So, these teachers of the law should have perked up when they heard the familiar phrase, “son of man”.  They had read that when they were studying the book of Daniel.

To give a quick overview of Daniel, he had already been thrown into the lions den and God saved him.  He then “prospered under the reign of Darius and Cyrus”.  During that time, he wrote down a bunch of dreams he had that were prophetic of times to come.  
Prophetic writings can be confusing because they can be talking about 2 events at the same time; one event being at hand, the other, far in the future.  Scholars feel that Daniel’s prophesies were fulfilled, in part, within the following 600 years, but the prophesies can also be referring to end times.  The four beasts he wrote about were kingdoms that rose to power and were defeated from 600BC to the peak of Rome’s power which was 70AD.  

It was after the description of the 4th beast that Daniel writes,
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like the son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven,  He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (7:13-14)

With the amount of times Jesus used the title “Son of Man”, and the knowledge the teachers of the law had of scripture,…you would think they would have caught the reference.  It was about as bold of a statement to being God that Jesus could make for those who had “ears to hear”.
It was as if he was saying, “ ‘Like a son of man’, I look like a human, but I’m God with all authority, glory and sovereign power!  Get it? Wasn’t that clever of me to give you the heads up almost 600 years ago? I’m here!  I’m the Son of Man and I’m the Son of God.” 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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,  “Well, that’s how they talked back then…times have changed.”
O-really?  The pharisees didn’t like John. (Luke 7:29-30)  John was in real danger for speaking truth, just as we are today!  John rebuked Herod and was locked up in prison for it! (3:19).  I don’t think times have changed that much!

Thankfully, today, we probably won’t be thrown into jail for calling someone out on their sin.  Though consequences aren’t as physically extreme (at least in the USA), as in John’s day, the consequences of social shunning can feel just as painful, causing one to never dream of following John’s example.

However, John is an example to us, none-the-less.  He proclaimed truth and would not compromise on that, regardless of the dangers.  I pray for us today, that we can follow his example, regardless of the consequences, to always proclaim truth.  I pray that Satan doesn't get the victory by muzzling us!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

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 God.  I could not disagree more!  
God in the Old Testament was constantly showing his love and Christ often showed judgement! 
I digress,…back to Zachariah…

In the side margin of my bible where Zach is talking about how the redeemer has come, “…..to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (1:74),  I had written, “..to rescue me from Satan and enable me to serve Jesus without fear of the “accuser”.  That’s a good side note!  I don’t know where I got that, but I like it! 
Zach was not only speaking of his fellow, devoted Israelites, but of all devoted followers of Christ!  Zach’s one desire is to serve God without fear!  That’s love!  That’s devotion!  No wonder God chose Zach and Liz to raise John!
Did you notice that baby John would “be filled with the Holy Spirit” even from birth? (1:15)  There was no “choice” for John! From the time he was born he heard about the love God had for his people and the love his parents had for God. His parents taught him well!  What a great example for us parents; start right when they are born to teach of God’s love! 
No wonder “the child grew and became strong in spirit” (1:80)

Monday, July 23, 2018

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. 

What loyalty!! How sweet of Jesus to give them the blessing of hearing the good news first, “He has risen! He is not here!” (16: 6)  I understand their “trembling and bewilderment” (16:8) though.  What an emotional roller coaster!!  I’m looking forward to getting to heaven and tracking these women down!  I would love to hear their version of the story first hand!  Women can be so much more detailed.  πŸ˜‰

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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, Jesus gave more information. He was also giving warning to a future generation, that in their lifetime, they “will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” 
This is not a new way of talking for Jesus. 
He just mentioned the other day (see day 18) that something Isaiah said to the people of his time was also a prophesy for the people of Jesus time.  Many prophesies of the Old Testament had dual application. 
It’s no different here. This prophesy spoke to both times, immediate and to his second coming. (13:26)

So when Jesus says watch out, he isn’t just talking to his disciples, the verse says, “What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ “ (13:37)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

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 accept what Jesus has done for you....believe your sins are forgiven, wouldn’t you be relieved? Wouldn’t you feel an obligation to extend that same forgiveness to others?
It reminds me of the parable we read on Day 9, about the master forgiving the servants debts, but then the servant than didn’t turn and forgive the debts of his fellow servant. Do you remember the master’s response?
“ ‘You wicked servant’, he said. ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant?’ ” (Matt. 18:32) The servant wasn’t just scolded and then off the hook...no...the passage goes on to say, “ ‘In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.’ This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
Perhaps,...if you can’t forgive your enemy...you don’t truly understand what Jesus has done for you......
I say often on this blog, and I say it again, I think we have found another litmus test to use to check whether one has saving faith. Do you have the saving faith in God to turn and forgive the one that has hurt you most?

Friday, July 20, 2018

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 realize
These problems are our own

Give a cup of water
In the name of the Lord
We need to give away
All the things we have stored
Too much time
Spent thinking of ourselves
When all around us
Are people crying out for help

Take a look around you
And tell me what do you see
Sheep without a Shepard
And their looking to you and me

We the church stood idly by
We will not share our wealth
We are the rich the Lord condemned
Think only of ourselves

Here's a link if you want to hear the tune: https://youtu.be/BjuVMCbzxbA

Powerful, right?……it was a great song for a young person like me to learn to think beyond myself.  BUT,  that is not what this verse is about!  Sticking to this song, one may fall into a mentality of ‘doing good to others’ will get you to heaven.  There is a reason Jesus says, “because you belong to me” or in Matt. 10:42, “ little ones who are my disciples”.  Anyone can do good toward their fellow man, but those acts aren’t “sanctified” unless they are “for Him” (Matthew Henry).
Jesus is saying the motive behind the ‘doing good’ should be directed as an out pouring of one’s love for Him.
I read a commentary on 9:41 that explained it well in my opinion. 

“How easy it is to be a Christian!  What is easier than to give a cup of cold water to a thirsty disciple of Jesus!  But it must be in his name- that is, because he “is” a Christian, and therefore from love “to the Savior”.  This is very different from giving it from a mere motive of common kindness.  If done from love to Christ it will be rewarded. (Barne’s Commentary)

All that being said, I see no works involved in 9:41.  It's more like Jesus is saying, "Show your love to me here and I'll see you in heaven for sure!" (my commentary πŸ˜‰)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

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 save you.’ Then will the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.  Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.” (35: 4-6)

Jesus actually pointed out his healings as a sign that he was the redeemer when John asked if he was the one the Jewish people had been waiting for. (Luke 7:22)

To some of us Gentiles, it’s pretty easy to see…. “He does miracles?!….Well, he must be something special!…Oh, God incarnate you say?….OK, that makes sense…I want part of that!”  The Greek woman understood that! (7:26-28)  But for the Jews…..this is what they had been looking forward to for 740 years!  For most, it was a hard reality to think their redeemer had finally come, even though they were witness to the miracles.

But he did come!

“Our redeemer lives!” (Job 19:25)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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 reaction when we see the creator of the universe.
The writer in Psalms said it well, “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our God our maker.” (95:6)

These are great songs, different sounds, if you have a couple of moments to worship today:

“Come Let Us Worship and Bow Down”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEK9u51ofZE

(Click “Skip Add” on the right side of screen to get straight to the music.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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 would kill me if he found out I was pregnant.”  I so wish the girl could understand the heart of her parent.  Yes, there would be disappointment, but the love the parent has for their child is still there.  

Thank you Lord for the role of being a parent, it helps me understand, a little better, the love you have for me.

Monday, July 16, 2018

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, yet Mark is strangely quite regarding the birth and childhood of Christ, and the spiritual battle in the heavenly realm.  
He starts off saying, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare the way” (1:1-2)

The gospel (the good news)is strictly for humans, the created beings that were “made in the image of God” (Gen.1:27) and the good news is here!  It’s like Mark is just getting right down to business to explain what that good news is…

So here we go with Mark…let me know what stood out to you!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

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 the powers of heaven and the people's of the earth.” 
That thought is good and right!  But, if your brain starts to think like mine, then I start to feel like people are just puppets with no responsibility for their choices.  If you are thinking like that….you have gone too far!  As we say in our family, “You swam past the buoy.  Come back!”
If you start thinking that way, then you must ask, why on earth would Christ have subjected himself to the beating, humiliation and painful death that we just read about?  Why would God pre-program some to fully embrace the idea of Christ suffering for them and others he pre-programmed to not believe?

So, I found in Scripture that God is sovereign, yet on other days I read verses like these, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own will.” (John 7:17) and  “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15)

It’s between the two concepts of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will that God created the mystery of faith and the consequences of having it or not.  

I use my faith to reconcile that these two concepts coexist since my finite brain can’t fully understand it.  And for me, that is OK, because if I had a God that I could fully understand, he would be finite.  Wouldn’t he?!  As it stands, he is so much bigger than anything anyone can figure out.  And that is why we sing His praises that he is King of kings and Lord of lords!  Yeah!!