Tag Archives: Love of God

Blessed is She . . . Really?

7 May

Do you notice that the times “Why God?” forms in our hearts and dances in our brains are most often the times when we are not thrilled with the path life might be taking at the moment?  If you and I were to glance back over our shoulders at the last blessing we noticed, would we find the “Why God?” poised in our souls or on the tip of our tongues?

I chose the word “noticed” in conjunction with blessing because I truly believe that His good works are our constant companions.  And I take Him at His Word when He says that He came to give us life, not a less-than, grit your teeth, hang on by your fingernail kind of life, no Sweet One our Savior blesses with life to the FULL . . .

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Whether we have eyes that desire to see the good gifts or hearts that ache to acknowledge the blessing, is a different question all together.

So, when might be the last time you, when might be the last time I, had eyes to see the blessings, the good gifts of God, and said

“Why God? . . . Why have you blessed me so?”

The Wonder of Blessing

When was the last occasion we just shook our heads in wonder that the God of the universe would stoop down from heaven specifically for us?  To show such kindness toward us?  To dote on us the way He does?  To flat out declare His heart for us in real and tangible ways?

The last post I wrote about the idea of being “forgiven much” and I asked you to consider that the concept of being forgiven much or being forgiven little—originates in the mind of man – not in the mind of God.  It’s a human perspective based on the human penchant to size things up according to our own standards.  We crawl up on the throne of our lives, look around us, measure life, and then we decide – we make ourselves the judges.

And it seems to me, that this inclination to view life from a temporal, human vantage point invades all of our thinking – including our perception of blessings.  There are songs written about the “blessings in disguise” and “the picture we can’t see” that really bring home the notion, and dare I say the truth, that blessings often don’t look the way our human minds think they should and they certainly do not feel to our hearts the way we expect them to.

Who would think that a blessing would be painful?  Who would think that good gifts would make our hearts ache?  Who would think that blessing is present when God says “No” to our prayers?  We want Him to bless a certain way, to choose only those good gifts for us that feel a certain way—

  • We want our blessings to behave!  And might it be, we want our God to behave as well?

This particular thing is a blessing because it turned out how I wanted it to turn out.  That particular thing has a beautiful red bow on it—it looks exactly like I think a blessing should look.  Everything unfolded just the way I wanted it to and it feels sweet to my soul –what a blessing!  I look.  I measure.  I judge.  Either forgetting or ignoring that my God has a view from outside space and time that I couldn’t comprehend even if I could see it.  Either forgetting or ignoring that my God, in His Sovereignty, thinks with a heart and mind that I can’t fathom.   I forget and I ignore that my God cannot be unfaithful to His nature and I fail to remember that His nature is LOVE.  And I look, I measure, I judge.

It’s been a week on Biddinger Boulevard.  Brett’s wound, the one he has been struggling with since November 2012 – yes, 2012 – has taken another step backward.  I was at the hospital this week for x-rays on the lung that collapsed because of pain and breathing issues.  Britt is still enduring the side effects of the six month course of treatment for the endometriosis and I think wondering if the cure is worse than the disease.  We watched good friends go through the agony of saying goodbye to a loved one.  We sat with folks who cried over the choices of their children.  Our souls were rocked when a family member rejected the truth of the Savior.

I bet your week was similar.  Life – messy life – was active all around you.  It pressed in on every side and maybe it just didn’t wear the face of blessing you or I expected it to wear.    Maybe the Apostle Paul was experiencing those same kind of feelings and trying to focus his eyes and his heart with some godly vision when he wrote 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 . . .

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

  • He knew what the situation looked like to his human eyes but more importantly . . . .HE KNEW HIS GOD.

He chose not to look, measure, and judge from his finite human mind.  He surrendered his heart and his vision to the Heart and the Vision of the One He knew to be LOVE.

And a few verses later that same pen, full of the Holy Spirit, –living life to the full — with the breath of God in every stroke wrote . . . 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 

Therefore we do not lose heart.

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

  • The blessing did not wear the face he expected it to, but he looked past the face and into the Heart of the Great I AM.

See the adjustment of his vision.  See the surrender of his own limited heart.  See him grab a hold of what he knows to be true, fall to his knees and declare that he trusts the One who holds eternity in His hand. And Girlfriend, the Heart of the Great I AM beats to bless you today. Lives to bless you today. Loves to bless you today.

Sweet One, the I AM IS!

The I AM IS  

2 Samuel 22:17-18 . . . . 

  • He is the One who reaches into the deep waters and rescues you.                    

Psalm 66:12 . . . .

  • He is One who brings you through fire and water to the place of abundance.

Psalm 116:7 . . . .

  • He is the One who has been good to your soul.

Hebrew 6:19 . . . .

  • He is the One who anchors you firm and secure in any storm.

1 Peter 5:7 . . . .

  • He is the One who wants your troubles because He cares for you.

Romans 8:28 . . . .

  • He is the One who works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

Oh Beloved, the I AM is just IT!

And blessed is she who believes that what the Lord has said to her – read that list again, verses from the Old and verses from the New—will be accomplished.

Romans 8:28

 

Sweet One, it is done. You believe and you cling to every true and accurate word of God.  The blessing has been given to you and He has come to make His home with you.  Resist the temptation to look, measure and judge with your own eyes.  Look past the face of your circumstance and trust the Heart that beats to bless you.  Fix your eyes on Glory, lift your heart toward heaven and KNOW the Heart of the One who knows you.

Clean Hands Not Required

26 Apr

Resurrection Sunday has come and gone. The tomb is still empty and Jesus still lives, but I wonder if it might be that some of our heightened awareness of Him may have come and gone with the date on the calendar. I pray that’s not the case – not for me and not for you. I’m praying that our worship is still filled with intense adoration and our praise for Him is fresh every day. And Sister, if we truly recognize the depth of our debt to Him, how can we live any other way?

It’s easy to slide into the “take God for granted” lifestyle, but why would we want to? What keeps us from fighting to stay in a place of God conscious living? Oh the busyness of life drowns Him out too quickly. Hectic schedules vie for our attention and our time slips away. Responsibilities mount and the moments are gone.  Chaotic careers turn our heads – especially if we work in a place where hurt and brokenness are all around us—and the fight slowly slips away. Life simply screams more loudly than that still Small Voice. But when we fail to listen, when we choose not keep our heads turned toward Him – we are the ones who suffer and become empty—empty of Life and empty of Love.

Acts 17:28So what say for this year, you and I link arms and we live, move, and exist in Him just as purposefully and as intentionally after the Easter Season as we did during? What if this year we lingered longer, fought to fuel the fire and kindled afresh the flame at every turn? What if we lived with the same mindful, responsive love the woman who anointed the feet of Christ at Bethany did?

Now one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil.  As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil.

Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” So Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then, turning toward the woman, he said to Simon,Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss of greeting, but from the time I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfumed oil.

Therefore I tell you, her sins,

which were many, are forgiven,

thus she loved much;

but the one who is forgiven little loves little.”

 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Luke 7:36-48 (NET)

She knew the depth of her need for Him. She knew the condition she longed to be free of and the wounds her heart ached to be healed from.

And she knew . . . that He knew.

And yet, He did not simply choose to allow “the sinner” to touch Him, He welcomed her in His presence. Unheard of in that dispensation of time. Unfathomable that the righteous, the clean would be tainted by the unclean. But . . .

our Jesus does not require clean hands to reach for Him.

Clean hands Not Required to Reach for Jesus.

 He welcomes the outstretched heart of the repentant who recognize their need and desperately grab hold.

I would be so bold as to say that is impossible for those who believe they have clean hands to reach for the Savior. And I think if you’ll back at the passage, that’s exactly what Jesus is saying. When He tells Simon that the one who is forgiven little loves little, He isn’t saying that Simon has little to be forgiven for. Oh no Sweet One. He’s saying that Simon hasn’t realized the enormity of his own sin yet. Unacknowledged sin, excused sin, beats within an unrepentant heart.

Simon shed no tears on the feet of Christ because he felt no godly sorrow. The woman’s sins may have looked different than the sin of self-righteousness and ritualism but both the actions of the woman and the actions of Simon required payment far beyond what either could pay. Only the priceless blood of Christ would ransom either of them.

And Beloved, I think we need to be diligent in fighting the urge to look down on Simon the Pharisee because it might be that there have been times in life when we’ve looked at another and found our hands to be quite clean in comparison. It might be that we’ve had that same haughty heart toward someone who wore their sin on their sleeve a little more plainly.

To be forgiven much or to be forgiven little

is a human perspective on sin – not a godly one.

The debt owed is more than we can comprehend. The magnitude of it is just too much for us to wrap our minds around. And when we begin to get that—to understand that we can’t comprehend the cost let alone hope to pay it on our own—then, I think,

we begin to love.

We begin to love like someone who knows what it is like to be unlovable for we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our love comes closer to mimicking the love of the One that rescued us because we know He saved us from condemnation. And we remember when we let our tears fall on the feet of Jesus, gave voice to our need and reached out with an unclean hand to our Savior and then, we begin

to love as He loved us.

Sister, let’s be purposeful and intentional in our awareness of Him and what He has done. Let’s not let the changing season turn our gaze away from Him. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the One whose heart is firmly fixed on us.

Yes, Sweet Believer . . .

Let she who has been forgiven much love much.

Let she who knows the touch of Jesus reach for unclean hands.

And let she who is loved—love in His Name.

 Love one another  John 13:34-35

 

“I give you a new commandment—to love one another.

Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—

if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 (NET)

Passion Week . . .Saturday (The High Sabbath)

19 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 27:62-66; Luke 23:56

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive,

‘After three days I will rise.’

Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

None of the disciples nor the women with spices returned to the tomb for it was the Sabbath and on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

AMEN

Passion Week . . . Good Friday

18 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18:28-19:42

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”  And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted so after he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover.” And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” Do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.

Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” Now the chief priests and the elders stirred up the crowd and persuaded them to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”  Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ? The man you call the King of the Jews?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.”” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” And they cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” And they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers.Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”  When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha.  Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour.He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him over to their will to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus away inside the palace into the governor’s headquarters,and they gathered the whole battalion before him and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they began to salute him, they mocked him,. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.  (The Gospel of John has a similar prior to Pilate turning Christ over to be crucified. I chose to include both.)

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross and as they went out, they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. There they crucified him and Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

When they had crucified him, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says

 “They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross over his head. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

So they did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying,Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel; come down now from the cross that we may see and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour while the sun’s light failed. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

.And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so one of them put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.  But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice,

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,”

and having said this he yielded up his spirit and breathed his last. 

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said,

“Truly this was the Son of God!”

And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

When it was evening, there came a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council and a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, who had not consented to their decision and action and was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead.  And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesusby night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were there, sitting opposite the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

The next day, . . . . .

AMEN

 

 

  

Passion Week . . . Maundy Thursday (Commandment Thursday: John 13:34-35)

17 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 13:1-38,18:1-28

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent Peter and John and said to them, “Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples? I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready;  prepare it there.” And the disciples set out and went to the city as Jesus had directed and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, Take this, and divide it among yourselves. Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me one who is eating with me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 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.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

And a dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.  And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.  When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’

A new commandment I give to you,

that you love one another:

just as I have loved you,

you also are to love one another.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples,

if you have love for one another.”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Even though they all fall away because of you, I will not. I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”  Jesus said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny that you know me three times.” But Peter said to him emphatically, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”   (See John 14-17)

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and James and John, he began to be greatly distressed and sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying,

“Abba, Father,

all things are possible for you.

Remove this cup from me. Y

et not what I will, but what you will.”

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, Simon, are you asleep? So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, he went away for the second time and prayed,

“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy and they did not know what to answer him.. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and said to them, Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the people. Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” When Jesussaid to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” Now Judas, who betrayed him had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard.”  And he drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Then he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”

Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And behold, Simon Peter stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Then Jesus said to him, No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. “Put your sword back into its place; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Alll this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. ” Then all the disciples left him and fled. And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews[arrested Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. Peter was following at a distance and so did another disciple.  Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in to the courtyard of the high priest. Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.   And as Peter was below in the courtyard one of the servant girls of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, came,and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus. You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean. Woman, I do not know him.” And he went out into the gatewayand the rooster crowed.

And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter again denied it with an oath and said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, your accent betrays you. He too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

The high priest {Annas} then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where all the chief priests and the scribes and the elders had gathered. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many bore false witness against him, their testimony did not agree. At last two came forward and said, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.”  Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent and made no answer. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said to him, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “What further witnesses do we need? He has uttered blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And the guards received him with blows, some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters.It was early morning.

AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

Passion Week. . . Wednesday Evening and the Decision to Betray

16 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 25-26; Mark 14; Luke 22

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lampsand went to meet the bridegroom.Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents,to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread and when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment of pure nard, and she broke the flask and she poured it on his head. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for  more than three hundred denarii, a large sum, and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, Leave her alone. Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them, but you will not always have me.  In pouring this ointment on my body, she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, one of the twelve and he went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him in the absence of a crowd.

AMEN

 

 

Passion Week . . .The Signs of the End

16 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 24Mark 13:1Luke 21:5-37

Image

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple and one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”  And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”

Then as he sat on the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and great earthquakes and pestilences in various places. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“But be on your guard. They will deliver you over to councils and you will be beaten in synagogues, and put to death, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, this will be your opportunity to bear witness before them and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. By your endurance you will gain your lives. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house nor enter his house, to take anything out, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.  And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect whom he chose, those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. But be on guard; See, I have told you beforehand.  So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,  people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with great power and great glory. And then he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

And he told them a parable:From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things taking place, you know that he is near, you know that the kingdom of God is near, at the very gates.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, Be on guard, stay awake, for you do not know when the time will come or on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows,or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake, watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

AMEN

Passion Week — Lessons and Parables

15 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 21:20-22:46; Mark 11:20-12:44; Luke 20:1-47

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

Lessons From the Withered Fig Tree (Tuesday)

 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours if you have faith. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

 The Temple Debates/Parables (Tuesday)

And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching and preaching the gospel, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death and we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

And he began to speak to them in parables. “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

“Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country for a long while. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he had told the parable against them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet. So they left him and went away.

 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave wedding feast for his son, and sent his servantsto call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.” ’But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. They sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians to trap him in his talk, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and show no partiality, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”  But Jesus, aware of their malice and knowing their hypocrisy, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Bring me a denariusand let me look at it. Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him,, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. And they left him and went away.

The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.” But Jesus answered them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sonsof the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well. And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching and they no longer dared to ask him any question.

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together and as Jesus taught in the temple, he asked them a question, saying, How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Holy Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly. And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

 And in his teaching, in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbiby others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah,[f] whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

AMEN

 

Passion Week — It Was Lived For You

14 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 21:1-13; 17-19, Mark 11:1-19, Luke 19:29-44, John 12:1-50

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

Six Days Before the Passover (The Triumphal Entry — Palm Sunday)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her on which no one has ever sat. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

 “Say to the daughter of Zion,

‘Behold, your king is coming to you,

humble, and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And its owners said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go.

They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, they took branches of palm trees and others cut leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen and the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord even the King of Israel!”

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!

Hosanna in the highest!”

And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”  

He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”  His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.

And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, as the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.  They were saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them,

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,

it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am,

there will my servant be also.

If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

“He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
    and understand with their heart, and turn,
    and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

And Jesus cried out and said,

“Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there with the twelve.

Four Days Before the Passover (Monday)

In the morning on the following day, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing  in the distance a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” His disciples heard it and the fig tree withered at once.

 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.

And when evening came they went out of the city.

 AMEN

 

 

Love Speaks . . . Do You?

6 Apr

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Urgency to learn to love

—that was the topic of the last post.  It hit home with me in big ways and whenever God draws my attention so completely, an exclamation point on His message is usually in my near future.  This post was no exception.

I write much about living love out loud, stepping out in kindness so that the world sees a difference—

Loving every chance we get. 

But, I don’t write much about giving voice, word along with deed, to the lost about their need of Jesus Christ.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

I’m certain you know the little catch phrase, “If you live a sermon, you never have to preach one.”  I’m not discounting the power of a life lived well – to glorify God and increase the Kingdom–but I am wondering, if maybe like me, you may have used this particular mindset to excuse yourself from sharing the gospel with those who need desperately to hear it.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.  Romans 10:17

Most often the people who need to hear it from us are those closest to us because they’ve seen our transformation.  They know who we were and can see who we are, but many times those are the ones we’re most afraid to speak the Truth to. There is so much to lose, they may reject Him, and what terrifies us is they may reject us as well. 

We can quote the verses all day long about blessed are those who are persecuted because of My Name  when we are at arms length from the thing but when it’s up close and personal I have to think that the hurt of separation is still going to sting.  We can talk about how the division that Christ brings in many relationships shouldn’t take us off guard because He tells us in His Word that mother and father will be split from children and brother will forsake brother on account of Him.  Well, it might not take our intellect by surprise but our hearts may be another matter altogether. But, even knowing these things, for me the time for deed alone has ended.  For me . . .

It is time to speak.

The fruit in my life, the fruit in your life, can’t authenticate a thing if I don’t give voice to the Who I believe in.  Our deeds can never match our words if there are no words.

One of my prayers for this year has been to . . . .

Fearlessly fear only God.

And He is answering by gently pulling back the veil so that I am able to see the areas I am still shrinking back in.  I too often let the fear of man set my path, choose my words, restrain my love.  Because true love . . .

Christ-like Love will risk me to reach them.

If I am desiring to observe Christ and learn a life of extravagant love, expecting nothing and offering everything  than I am going to put all of me on the line.  I won’t hold back a thing because

Our Jesus has withheld nothing of Himself.

He gave up His heavenly home, put on earthly skin, and came to walk among us.  He wasn’t concerned with His comfort.

He was concerned with us.

He lived in unbridled holiness and Love on this planet and endured hostility, rejection, and in the end, humiliation as the soldiers mocked and spit upon Him.  He was not consumed with Him.

He was consumed with us.

He died the unimaginable death, on full display while they continued to taunt Him, “if you are who you say you are . . .”, “If you really are the Son of God” .  And still, He was not focused on vengeance.

He was focused on forgiveness.

Sweet One, Christ lived love out loud – but He spoke Love as well.  His actions matched His Words.  The fruit of His life authenticated every holy utterance.

To Love Like That – I must do the same.

To Love Like That – You must do the same.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2

Live it out to be sure – but speak the Truth.  Share the gospel.  Love the ones you love enough to tell them that they NEED HIM.   I’m afraid if we allow the fear of separation and rejection to keep us quiet then we will risk the ultimate separation when our time on this planet is done.

Be strong and courageous

– love without limits—

 love without caution.

Love was offered knowing rejection would be the response.  Love was given feely.  No strings attached. No demand for love in return.   Because here’s the stunning truth, even those who have not repented in their hearts, confessed with their mouths, or professed love for God, well, they are still loved by God.  Are they saved?  Absolutely not.  But are they loved?  Absolutely.

His desire is for them to come home.  He created us for complete love fellowship with Him.  He wants us to realize the depth of our lost sin condition and accept the Gift of Grace who wore flesh to save us.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

That is Love.  He is Love.  Long-suffering, compassionate, Love.  It isn’t what He does.

Love is Who He is.

The hard question then is . . . Do I really want to Love Like That?

The answer is yes.  But I so confess that I’m not sure how.  And I am asking God to move every bit of me out of the way and fill me up with every bit of Him.

I came face-to-face with what seemed to be a life and death situation with someone I love.  I had always thought that if I just lived it out, she would see a difference.  I thought it would make her want to know why and how we do life on the Boulevard the way we do in the face of much trial.  But Sister, it was not enough

As we drove to the hospital, my heart was filled with regret because I had not spoken.  Had I lived?  Yes.  But had I loved?  NO!  Because I would not risk me for her.  I would not give love freely with no strings attached.   I chose caution over extravagance.

So I praise God that “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” but in the same breath I confess the sin of fear to Him and ask that He strengthen me of Spirit–not allowing me to continue in the footsteps of self-preservation. 

It is time to speak.

So Sweet Reader, I must ask you this, do you know Jesus as your Savior?  Have you acknowledged the sin in your life and asked for forgiveness in His Name?  If not, do it now.  Do not wait.  Today is the day of your salvation.  If you confess with your mouth and believe with your heart you will be saved.

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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  Romans 10:9-10

It is time to speak.

There are no “official words”  and you will not find the “Salvation Prayer” in any particular chapter or book of the Bible.  Beloved, just talk to Him. 

Pour your heart out to Him. 

Confess your need of Him. 

Be filled with the Love of Him.

If you’re not certain what to say, this is a prayer that can guide you, but it isn’t the words – it’s the heart giving voice to them:

Oh My Father,

I come to you in the name of Jesus, Your Son, whom You Sent for me. I am a sinner who needs you and I repent of my sinful way of life–

I need your forgiveness.

I believe that Your One and Only Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins and Father, I want to turn from my life of sin and live for Him. Your Holy Word promises, that if I confess the Lord and believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead,

I will be saved. 

I believe Your Word Lord. Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word,

right now I am saved.

Thank you for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. Grace that never leads to license, but rather always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself. Thank you Jesus for living for me, dying for me, and giving me eternal life through Your resurrection. 

In Your Blessed, Holy Name I pray.  Amen.

Sister, if you’ve spoken that prayer for the first time today, welcome to the Kingdom of Life!  Death has no hold over you and the angels of God are rejoicing.  Please find someone to tell.  Get to a Bible-based group of believers.  Study the Word of God.  Do not be the seed on rocky soil burning hot for a moment and then quickly snuffed out by the troubles of life.

And if this wasn’t your occasion to pray, I’m asking God to bring a great cloud of witnesses into your life who are not afraid of rejection, separation or the loss of you to share this message with you again.  I’m asking Him to convince the ones close to you that it is time to love you extravagantly and confirm for them that it is time to speak.

Blessings to you Sweet Sisters around the world.  May His Love give the gentle boldness we need as you and I go forth in His Name and may we speak.

2 Corinthians 4:13

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