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Showing posts from January, 2019

Luke 17-18~ Day 31~ Conflict resolution summed up in a sentence!

I didn’t get far in the reading today before I was putting a lot of thought into, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them.”(17:3)
That sentence must make “conflict avoiders” feel so uncomfortable!  Maybe so much so, they move on to verse 4 without giving verse 3 much thought! Yet, that one verse is “conflict resolution” summed up in a sentence!
When my kids were little I made them say an extended apology that has now, in their older years been dubbed ,“I-for-Do”. They had to be prompted quite a bit in their apologies, so these were the words they heard coming form my mouth as I prompted them.  They knew how to fill in the blanks, but their angry little hearts needed some coaxing at times.  It would go like this:
Me: You need to apologize to your sibling.  What do you say?
Them: Sorry… (barely audible) 
Me: No….say, “I…….
Them: “I’m sorry”
Me: “…forrr…..
Them: …for hitting you.
Me: ..Dooo….
Them: Do you forgive me?
Then the injured party had to re…

Luke 15-16~ Day 30~ Friends in eternity!!

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Once again, 16:8-9 stood out to me in the reading…it’s just interesting to me that Jesus would talk this way!! “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly.  For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of they light.  (9) I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” 
I had responded to a comment on this section once before on the blog, so I thought I would post the response again, since clearly, I needed to hear it again!
I got this explanation of the scripture from the footnote in my study Bible:
“Various explanations have been suggested for the seemingly undeserved commendation. 1) In giving discounts, the manager had excluded any commission for himself.  2) The debts were hard to collect and, by reducing the amounts, the manager provided a sudden influx of cash for his master. 3) The master commended the manager for his s…

Luke 13-14~ Day 29~ Only a few will be saved. 😳

I thought it was an interesting question asked in our reading today, “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” (Luke 13:23)  Why would a Jewish person in the time of Jesus ask that question?  I would assume the Jewish person asking felt like he was one of the “in” crowd solely because he was Jewish.  After all, I am sure they felt like a special race chosen by God, to be “set apart” form everybody else in the world.
Maybe there was some controversy among the teachers of the law because of what they were reading in their scriptures.  The Old Testament is filled with scripture that points to Gentiles being a part of the promise of salvation. (Gen. 12:3, Psalm 22:27, Isaiah 42:4, 49:6, 56:3-7, Jeremiah 16:19-21, Zech 2:11, 60:1-3 and Malachi 1:11)
It seems to me that this guy was wanting clarification of Old Testament scripture.  Just as those other teachers were confused on the idea of the dead raising (Mark 12:27). Jesus clarified with a simple, “Yes, there is …

Luke 11-12~ Day 28~ "When you pray, say...."

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When I had my babies, my husband and I decided we were going to dedicate them to the Lord at our nondenominational church.  However, my parents, being Lutheran, wanted them baptized as infants.  In order to avoid anguish of heart, we returned to the church I grew up in and baptized each one.  
Listening to the words given by the pastor, it was basically a ceremony where the parents promise to raise the child to know about Christ.  That seemed like a dedication to me!!  One promise that I had to respond with “I do”, was to teach my child the Lord’s prayer.  That was one promise I knew I could keep, and I did!  It was an easy promise because I love the example Jesus gave to his disciples on how to pray! (11:2-4)
There are times that I just can’t come up with the words I want or need to say to my Lord.  It’s at those times, I think of his prayer.  This prayer has a way of putting my mind in order! 1.) Put God on his throne! 2.) Realize I am dependent on him for everything, everyday!! 3.) Reme…

Luke 9-10~ Day 27~Dwelling on His greatness!

I have heard the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 multiple times! Today, being the type to picture scenes, my mind went “off” thinking about the logistics of such a large group! I almost felt the panic the disciples must have had when Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” (9:13)
Did you know that the sanctuary at Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest seats 2900?  I’m sure Saddleback Church has several bathrooms to accommodate their attendees!  That may be a random thought for you, but it helps me visualize this crowd!  Anyway, back to the area that this crowd had gathered.  It’s a good thing it was in a remote area!  Imagine how big the field needed to be for everyone to sit down!!  Also think how captivated these people were with Jesus!  There was no sound system!  They all had to be quiet to hear his words and the words of the disciples who went out among them to get them to sit down in groups of 50!  Each disciple had to be in charge of around 9 groups of 50 (yes, I did the math!)…

Luke 7-8~ Day 26~You can learn a lot from those women!

Chapters 7 and 8 are filled with accounts of good stuff!  Jesus healing, people believing, and practical teaching.  I found three verses to be odd at first but then realized there was a lot to learn in those three verses as well! “The twelve were with him and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases.  These woman were helping support them out of their own money.” (8:1-3)
At first read through, I thought this was extra, peripheral information added because Luke is so detail oriented.  But, then I asked myself, why?  Why would Luke include this in his account of the life of Jesus?  
Well, there are two things that can be learned from these three verses.  One was very well stated in my commentary, “Jesus lifted women up from degradation and servitude to the joy of fellowship and service.  In Jewish culture, women were not supposed to learn from rabbis. By allowing these women to travel with him, Jesus was showing that all people are equal under God.” I love that!!  Anot…

Luke 5-6~ Day 25~ What's more important, being right or liked?

I was talking with a fellow believer yesterday.  I feel quite comfortable with this person and the setting was one where no one could hear us, so I was blurting out my thoughts in a candid way!  
Me: I can’t believe the law makers of New York felt good about their decision to legalize abortion up to the due date of a baby!  What a scary day it will be for them on Judgement Day!
The other: Be careful how you word that when talking with other people!  That comes across very strong!
Me: Are you kidding me?  You are more concerned with how other people take what I say than you are with what will happen to those law makers on Judgement Day?
Well, I value this person’s insight so I became introspective and wondered how much can be said out loud.  How guarded does one need to be in order to avoid conflict?  My question is, how will people know the severity of Judgement Day if no one lets them know?  Am I not to say anything out loud?  
Should I just gently say, “Why don't you read Matthew 12…

Luke 3-4~ Day 24~ Jesus is God's only Son?

I am always intrigued with the lineages listed in the Bible!  To me, it’s proof of the book being historically accurate!!  Luke writes out Joseph’ s lineage all the way back to Adam!  I love how it is worded, “…the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”   Adam was God’s son!  That is so endearing to me!  That means we are the greatest of grandkids to God! ☺️
But….wait a minute….what about what John says in the famous quote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)  Doesn’t that seem like a contradiction?  God has millions of children, but John says “only” one?  Hmmmm…well, I had to do some digging in to that!  
The answer is in the translation of course!  The Greek wording for this phrase literally translates “monogenes", which can be translated as, “only begotten”, “one and only” and “only”. We can see how different Bible translations choose different ways to translate the same G…

Luke 1-2~ Day 23~ Lots to ponder in just two chapters!

We start a new book today! 
I found the prophesy of Old Man Simeon to be profound!  I wondered why this verse isn’t read along with the Christmas verses we read each year?  We tend to focus on the angels praising God and saying to the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy for all people.” (2:10).  Yet the fact is, the good news is for “those on whom his favor rests” (2:14)  And those would be the ones Simeon is referring to who had hearts that revealed a devotion to Christ. “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” (2:34)  I think it’s interesting that this part of the Christmas story is completely left out these days, wouldn’t you agree?
On a lighter note, I also noticed how much walking Mary did during her pregnancy!! I guess this stood out to me today, because I always thought the journey to Bethlehem would have been hard for Mary, but I notice…

Mark 15-16 ~ Day 22 ~I'm all for avoiding shame and pain!

Usually at this point in the story, I get so sad, that I don’t like to pay attention to the details.  Yet, this time, “nine in the morning” stood out to me (15:25).  It was like I had never read that detail before.  I knew that Jesus was crucified early in the morning.  But I don’t remember reading the exact time.
So, these were my thoughts.  They nailed Jesus to the cross at 9 am, after hitting him on the head repeatedly with a rod (15:19), not to mention the flogging (15:15).  He dies 6 hours later at 3 pm (15:33)……. And Pilate was surprised he died so fast? 
My word!  If death by crucifixion normally took longer….what a gruesome capital punishment!!  It’s strange, when you think about it, that God chose that time in history for the Son of Man to come into the world to die for the sins of others.  He did not pick today’s age where capital punish by electric chair takes 2 to 15 minutes or by lethal injection that takes a reported total time of 7 minutes (if there is no problem placing …

Mark 13-14~ Day 21~ 2 Different Events!

So, chapter 13 can be quite confusing for those who read it as if Jesus is talking about one continuous course of events that will take place one after the other.
However, if one reads verse 5-23 as the answer to the disciples question, “When will these things happen?” (13:4), Jesus gives a clear answer. “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (13:30). The question the disciples had was in reference to the “great buildings” with not one stone being left on the other. (13:2)

But Jesus gives them more information than just the answer they were looking for.  He also  wanted them to look forward to his second coming, “following that distress.” (13:24)

I like what my commentary said about these two events.  “Jesus was not trying to encourage his disciples to speculate about exactly when he would return by sharing these prophesies with them.  Instead, he urges all his followers to be watchful and prepare for his coming.  If we …

Mark 11-12 ~ Day 20 ~ Examples of radical commitment!

I noticed that Jesus referred to several different prophets from the Old Testament in today’s reading.  First, when he told his disciples to go get the colt, he was referring (or fulfilling) Zechariah’s words, when he said to the people of Israel 500 years earlier, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!  Shout, Daughter Jerusalem.  See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech 9:9)
Second, when we read about how Jesus got mad at the money changers in the temple, he quotes Jeremiah, “Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you?” (Jer. 7:11) Lastly, he also quoted a Psalm written by a prophet when he talked about the builders rejecting the stone that becomes the capstone (Psalm 118:22). That was today’s reading, but he also quoted Isaiah back in chapter 7 and referred to the prophet Elijah in chapter 9.  
For me, as I was reading Jesus quoting and fulfilling prophecies written 500 years early, …

Mark 9-10 ~ Day 19 ~ An extreme commitment!

Yesterday I commented on the sentence where Jesus used with the word “must”.  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) 
Since that was fresh in my mind, his response to the rich, young man stood out to me in today’s reading.  “Go sell everything you have…Then come follow me.” (10:21)   The quick answer to the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life” is, you must follow Jesus!   The verses around the answer help clarify how one does that; deny oneself by not thinking so much about one’s own needs, be concerned with what concerns God (8:33-34) and don’t let money/wealth distract you from that mission. (10:23). So, what’s the mission that God is concerned with?   ……Saving souls!
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it!” (Mark 8:35)  This quote is found in Matthew and Luke as well!!  
Doesn’t a life following Jesus sound extreme?  I think I f…

Mark 7-8 ~ Day 18 ~ Are God's concerns my concerns?

You know how today’s evangelists may say, “You only need to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.”?  I have heard that over and over again.  In fact, I just heard it last week when I went “street witnessing” with a group of believers.  One of the gals said just that thing to someone who didn’t know the Lord yet.  She was referring to Romans 10:9, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” 
But, here is something to challenge one not to use “only” or “just say” in the sentence the gal used.  One needs to remember that demons believe in God (James 2:19) and they confess that belief with their mouths (Mark 1:24), yet they aren’t saved!!
In today's reading the word “must” stood out to me.  Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) Wow! Now that’s a whole different ball game…

Mark 5-6 ~ Day 17 ~ Fire and Brimstone?😬 You bet!

Yesterday it was mentioned that we Christians should be like John the Baptist, shouting out the Good News to others.  The Kingdom of God is near!  Yea!  Paradise, “Sonshine”, no more tears, happy, happy, happy! 😃 
But on the flip side of that, something else is coming! 😬
I was struck today by the fact that the other thing that is coming is so bad, even the demons don’t want to go there! “In God’s name don’t torture me! (5:7), “And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.” (vs.10)  In Luke 8:31 it says, “And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.”
I was talking to a guy this past week who grew up with Communists parents.  As a result, he had no concept of heaven or hell.  He said, “I just believe in what I can see.”  Well, it’s hard to share the good news of Jesus (which is basically sharing how one can be spared from the wrath of God), when one has no concept of hell, right?!
I am beginning to think that if one is going to share the …

Mark 3-4 ~ Day 16 ~ Miracles still happen!!

The verse that stood out to me today was,  “Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” (Mark 3:3)  I am the type of person who likes to visualize the scene.  “Shriveled hand” can also be translated, “withered”, “dried up”; one Greek translation says, “The passive particle implies that his hand had been paralyzed by an accident or illness.” 
I went to school with a guy who had nerve damage to his lower arm and hand after a waterskiing accident.  The resulting damage to his hand could be easily seen across the room.  He couldn’t move his hand, there was wasting away of the muscle and contracting of tendons. If Jesus was asking the guy to stand up in front of everyone, you can imagine they could all see the obvious deformity.  There was no debate that the guy had a problem!  
The hand was healed before their eyes, yet the Pharisees “went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus” (3:6).  Like the guest writer mentioned on Day 6 in…

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?

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 …