Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Mark 1-2 ~ Day 15 ~ Keep going on your reading!!

Congratulations!  You finished the first book of the New Testament and today we start a new one! Before we get started on Mark, I wanted to take a moment to encourage you to ask friends to read with you, if you haven’t all ready done so.  Think of a friend who may work full time and feel they don’t have the time to be in a Bible Study.  This is the perfect way for them to do the reading on their own, but be with others in cyber space to talk about what they are reading, don’t you think?

Also I want to remind you that if you have any questions on what you are reading, but don’t have the time or desire to sift through Google for credible resources for the answer, ask your question in the comment section.  I would be happy to do the research for you and get back to you in the comment section with a Bible based answer.

OK, so, Mark….what did you get out of the reading today?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Matthew 27-28~ Day 14~ Three in One!

Hey all!  I am back in town and excited to be reading with you again!  Thank you to the guest writer who kept us all going with the daily email! I loved reading his thoughts and your comments.  This "Bible study" is fun for me!!

There is a range of readers here on the blog.  Some have read through the New Testament numerous times, others not so much.  Therefore, for those who are slightly familiar with the gospels, yet not entirely clear on why they vary, I thought I would mention something; the first four books tell the same story but with different emphasis and perspective.  For example, here in Matthew, he does not elaborate on the events between the resurrection and the giving of the 'Great Commission'.  We get more of those details in Luke's version and even more in John.  Yet, I love what each writer does emphasize!

I am thankful that Matthew included 28:19, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
The word 'trinity' does not appear in the Bible, but the concept of it can be found throughout scripture.  Here, Jesus himself affirms it.  He says to baptize in one name, but three natures of the one God.
So, if a Muslim (they are monotheistic) ever challenges you, saying the idea of Jesus causes Christians to be polytheistic (worshipping God and Jesus as separate entities), we can use this verse to help explain we are monotheistic as well!  Jesus clarified it, therefore, it's so: 3 in 1!!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Matthew 25-26~ Day 13~ Jesus Betrayed

These Chapters are leading up to the execution of Jesus. For me, the verses become more and more difficult to read. Throughout history, people have proclaimed to be god or gods. I imagine that this took quite an ego to elevate oneself to that level while mentally knowing how limited they were as a mere person. Jesus, who is actually God, did not go around self-proclaiming that he was in fact God. Rather, he would tell his Disciples in private or ask questions from them which provoked the Disciples to come to this knowledge on their own. Even when the high priests were trying to pry this info out of Jesus’ mouth, they had to spoon feed him the words.

“The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

I read these chapters and acknowledge the injustice. I also imagine that if such injustice was happening to me, I would try to argue or explain the others faults. Jesus knew this was a part of the plan and endured such injustice in silence. It is impressive and inspiring.

Lastly, after reading about Peter’s denial of Jesus, I said a quick prayer that if I am ever tested as Peter was, that Jesus would give me the strength to cling to him despite the consequences.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Matthew 23-24~ Day 12~ Deception in the Church

Chapter 23 starts off by addressing the Pharisees:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

The seven woes for the teachers of the law and the Pharisees revealed two things to me. First, Jesus hates hypocrisy. We therefore, must strive to be people that honor our words. Second, Jesus has a high expectation for religious leaders and teachers. I have recently had discussions about rebuking blatant sin in other believers lives. The argument being that 1) we need to self-reflect and make sure we do not have a log in our own eye while the other has a speck in their own, but also, 2) we have been called to encourage as well as hold other Christian brothers and sisters accountable as members of the same church body. Well, there are also times that we may hear false teachings. I think we have an obligation to notify the teacher of their inaccuracies as Jesus did here with the Pharisees. If they are proclaiming Jesus, but then associating blatantly wrong doctrine with him, I believe this should be rebuked .(if you are in a close position with the teacher, it comes from a place of love, and your actions are to better the church body.) Being verbal about truths, even within the church, will likely lead to protecting other members that are prone to being deceived.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Matthew 21-22~ Day 11~ “You have been warned“

I noticed a trend in the parables that Jesus gave in Matthew 21. In the parable of the two sons, each son was given the opportunity to obey the father. In the parable of the vineyard tenants, the tenants had several opportunities to honor the obligations that are associated with operating a business on leased land. In the parable of the wedding banquet, the initial invitees had an opportunity to come to the party but they did not attend. On the day of judgment, Jesus is going to point to the times in our lives were we had a choice to obey, honor, and accept his redeeming sacrifice. Like the characters of the parables, in hindsight it will be clear what decision should have been made. These verses make me want to be ready for these decisions and premeditate responding appropriately. Then, I will not need to reflect back and see failure but will rather here “well done good and faithful servant”!

Imagine that you are standing with a loved one and someone hurls an insult at the two of you. It catches you off guard. You don’t know what to say, and the remark makes you feel small. Suddenly, your loved one, who is standing next to you, quickly replies with the perfect response. This remark is genius. It is the kind of response that you would think of while lying in bed later that night and wish you could go back and use it. The response is crafted in such a way that it restores confidence and pride in the insulted party while simultaneously leaving the aggressor speechless. The altercation is ended upon delivery. There would be pride for the protecting love one. Similarly, Jesus telling the Pharisees to give to Caesar what is Caesars and give to God what is God’s is an example of such a remark. I was filled with pride while reading this because I worship a wise Father.