04/14/17

Only Through The Cross: A Completed Work

Read Matthew 27: 1-66

 

We are observing Easter of 2017.  What does Easter mean to us this year, or any year?

 

 

Is Easter now a not so major holiday? Are we focusing on the true meaning of Easter?  Mostly I see people hurrying around filling Easter baskets and creating Easter displays. Each year it seems as if the merchant’s displays are being put up earlier and earlier.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we would think to start studying the import of Christ’s sacrifice at this time?

 

 

I remember as a child participating in Easter egg hunts and looking forward to the Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies and yellow chicks–not to mention jellybeans. I still love chocolate and jellybeans–but they take a certain back seat to the true meaning behind Easter and The Cross of Christ.

 

Our Savior sacrificed his entire being for us on Calvary’s cross. There has never been or ever will be another sacrifice to match it.  That is because as Jesus said, “It is finished”.

 

He performed a completed work so that you and I could be alive this day to live in Him and to partake in Communion with Him. He performed a completed work so that we could have a right to reign with Him for eternity and the glorious indwelling of The Holy Spirit to guide us in this life. He performed a completed work so that the entire world could be ministered to and the Great Commission performed in His Name.

 

 

As it states in Matthew 27: 35-37 NKJV : “Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:

‘They divided my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.”

 

 

‘Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:  THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

 

 

They did this to make fun of our Savior, but they inadvertently furthered the plans of the Kingdom of GOD.  It is because of Jesus’ sacrifice that we can stand firm and declare that the Kingdom of  GOD is here. It is our duty and our desire to see those who need the King of Kings gather at the Easter Banquet table.  

 

Charlene

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02/27/15

Constructive vs Destructive Criticism

Revised February 27th, 2015

 

What is criticism? The base meaning of the word is critic or critique–the process of reviewing and expressing a negative, positive, or mixed opinion. Criticism has its purpose– it is designed to help people to grow, and to expose areas that need to be purged or at least improved in their lives. Positive criticism encourages the recipient to do more; to improve on what they already possess. It can be a mixed critique pointing out good and bad elements, and is the most revealing of all. When people are faced with negative criticism designed to tear down and discourage, the end result can be devastation and pain.

There is another form of criticism that may appear to be negative, yet upon close perusal will reveal itself as positive. This is a critique designed to point out things that can be changed to produce a positive result. This type of criticism is embodied in the teachings of Jesus Christ our Lord.

After many efforts to teach the disciples how to use the power given them to heal the sick, Jesus had to address their lack of faith. All through The Gospels we can see examples of times when Jesus had to admonish His disciples and to point out their lack of belief.

Was Jesus critical of His disciples? Yes, he was. Example: Matthew 17:15, 16  KJV revised.

There is a man whose son is plagued with seizures. The disciples, despite all of Jesus’ teachings, cannot heal him.

“LORD, have mercy on my son; for he is lunatic (luna-moon) and sore vexed; for oftentimes he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to Your disciples and they could not cure him.” 

Verses 17, 18, 19, and 20: Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me”. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, “Why could we not cast him out”? And Jesus said unto them, “Because of your  unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

This was an example of criticism. What was Jesus’ intention in telling them of their unbelief? To strengthen their belief. To inspire the disciples to embrace all that He was teaching them, and to recognize the power they possessed through Him. This was positive or constructive criticism. It was designed to promote growth.

Destructive criticism is designed to hurt and tear down. Pray that you can distinguish between the positive and the negative, for you do not want to discourage GOD’s people through tearing their spirits apart and leaving them in despair.

Have a criticism? Intend for it to help someone to grow, and make sure that the Voice of The LORD has uttered the words.

Likewise, try the Spirit if you have a tendency to interpret all criticism as negative. There are those lead by GOD to deliver you and me from error.

                                                             In His Name,

                                                                      Rev. Charlene

07/22/13

Matthew 16: The Demand For A Sign

New International Version (NIV)

 

 

The sign of Jonah is in reference to three days and three nights until new life and deliverance. His example was a type of Christ that foretold of the death and sacrifice of our LORD, His burial, and His rising on the third day.

 

 The phrase “sign of Jonah” was used by Jesus as a typological metaphor for His future crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus answered with this expression when asked by the Pharisees for miraculous proof the He was indeed the Messiah. The Pharisees remained unconvinced of Jesus’ claims about Himself, despite His having just cured a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute. Shortly after the Pharisees accused Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Satan, they asked Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.”

 

Retrieved from the worldwide web @www.gotquestions.org  No copyright infringement  intended.

 

 

The Demand for a Sign

 

 

16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

 

2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.[a] 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

 

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

 

5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

 

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

 

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

 

 

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

 

 

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

 

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

 

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

 

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

 

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

 

 

Jesus Predicts His Death

 

 

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

 

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

 

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

 

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

 

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

 

 

Footnotes:

 

Matthew 16:3 Some early manuscripts do not have When evening comes … of the times.
Matthew 16:18 The Greek word for Peter means rock.
Matthew 16:18 That is, the realm of the dead
Matthew 16:19 Or will have been
Matthew 16:19 Or will have been
Matthew 16:25 The Greek word means either life or soul; also in verse 26.

 

 

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

03/28/13

Psalm 2 [Easy Read Version]

Psalm 2

 

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

 

 

1 Why are the nations so angry?
Why are the people making such foolish plans?
2 Their kings and leaders join together
to fight against the Lord and his chosen king.[a]
3 They say, “Let’s rebel against them.
Let’s break free from them!”

 

 

4 But the one who rules in heaven laughs at them.
The Lord makes fun of them.
5 He speaks to them in anger,
and it fills them with fear.
6 He says, “I have chosen this man to be king,
and he will rule on Zion, my holy mountain.”

 

 

7 Let me tell you about the Lord’s agreement:
He said to me, “Today I have become your father,[b]
and you are my son.
8 If you ask, I will give you the nations.
Everyone on earth will be yours.
9 You will rule over them with great power.
You will scatter your enemies like broken pieces of pottery!”

 

 

10 So, kings and rulers, be smart
and learn this lesson.
11 Serve the Lord with fear and trembling.
12 Show that you are loyal to his son,[c]
or the Lord will be angry and destroy you.
He is almost angry enough to do that now,
but those who go to him for protection will be blessed.

 

Footnotes:

 

 

Psalm 2:2 his chosen king Or “his anointed one.”
Psalm 2:7 I have become your father Literally, “I fathered you.” Originally, this probably meant God was “adopting” the king as his son.
Psalm 2:12 Show … his son Literally, “Kiss the son.”

 

 

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

 

Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center

03/20/13

1 Peter 2 (Easy-to-Read Version)

1 Peter 2

 

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

 

The Living Stone and the Holy Nation

 

2 So then, stop doing anything to hurt others. Don’t lie anymore, and stop trying to fool people. Don’t be jealous or say bad things about others. Like newborn babies hungry for milk, you should want the pure teaching that feeds your spirit. With it you can grow up and be saved. You have already tasted the goodness of the Lord.

The Lord Jesus is the living stone.[a] The people of the world decided that they did not want this stone. But he is the one God chose as one of great value. So come to him. You also are like living stones, and God is using you to build a spiritual house.[b] You are to serve God in this house as holy priests, offering him spiritual sacrifices that he will accept because of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures say,

“Look, I have chosen a cornerstone of great value,
and I put that stone in Zion.
Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.”

So, that stone brings honor for you who believe. But for those who don’t believe he is

“the stone that the builders refused to accept,
which became the most important stone.”

For them he is also

“a stone that makes people stumble,
a rock that makes people fall.”

People stumble because they don’t obey what God says. This is what God planned to happen to those people.

But you are his chosen people, the King’s priests. You are a holy nation, people who belong to God. He chose you to tell about the wonderful things he has done. He brought you out of the darkness of sin into his wonderful light.

10 In the past you were not a special people,
but now you are God’s people.
Once you had not received mercy,
but now God has given you his mercy.[c]

 

Live for God

 

11 Dear friends, you are like visitors and strangers in this world. So I beg you to keep your lives free from the evil things you want to do, those desires that fight against your true selves. 12 People who don’t believe are living all around you. They may say that you are doing wrong. So live such good lives that they will see the good you do, and they will give glory to God on the day he comes.

 

Obey Every Human Authority

 

13 Be willing to serve the people who have authority[d] in this world. Do this for the Lord. Obey the king, the highest authority. 14 And obey the leaders who are sent by the king. They are sent to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do good. 15 When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. 16 Live like free people, but don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as those who are serving God. 17 Show respect for all people. Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. Respect God, and honor the king.

 

The Example of Christ’s Suffering

 

18 Slaves, be willing to serve your masters. Do this with all respect. You should obey the masters who are good and kind, and you should obey the masters who are bad. 19 One of you might have to suffer even when you have done nothing wrong. If you think of God and bear the pain, this pleases God. 20 But if you are punished for doing wrong, there is no reason to praise you for bearing that punishment. But if you suffer for doing good and you are patient, this pleases God. 21 This is what you were chosen to do. Christ gave you an example to follow. He suffered for you. So you should do the same as he did:

22 “He never sinned,
and he never told a lie.”

23 People insulted him, but he did not insult them back. He suffered, but he did not threaten anyone. No, he let God take care of him. God is the one who judges rightly. 24 Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you were healed. 25 You were like sheep that went the wrong way. But now you have come back to the Shepherd and Protector of your lives.

 

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Peter 2:4stone The most important stone in God’s spiritual temple or house (his people).
  2. 1 Peter 2:5house God’s house—the place where God’s people worship him. Here, it means that believers are the spiritual building where God lives.
  3. 1 Peter 2:10In the past … his mercy See Hos. 2:23.
  4. 1 Peter 2:13people … authority Literally, “every human creation,” meaning rulers, governors, presidents, or other government leaders.

Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center

11/27/12

John 14:15-28 The Promise of The Holy Spirit

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

 

 

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

 

 

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

 

 

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

 

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

 

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

 

 

“Come now; let us leave.

Footnotes:

John 14:1 Or Believe in God
John 14:7 Some manuscripts If you really knew me, you would know
John 14:17 Some early manuscripts and is

 

 

New International Version (NIV)

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07/7/12

Wandering Thoughts and Perceptions on Life

        I often think back to my childhood and young adulthood—to those times when all of my attention was totally on my own wants, needs, and desires. This was an interesting time of life, full of mistakes because I wasn’t listening to anyone around me. No advice was considered valid; no punishment was considered justifiable. This was a time of pursuit of everything that I had imagined I wanted from life. Love, money, influence–all of these were goals because I had not allowed anything to filter through my heart, just through my brain. My brain said, “You deserve all of the good things in life. Period.”  This was the time of new technologies like instant-on TV and color TV. I could not have imagined the technologies of 2012, they have long out-stripped these 1960’s innovations. The media presented life on our new-found entertainment boxes and in the movie houses as pursuit of those things mentioned above–love, influence, and money or fame. The things of the heart were lesser things, only pursued by the unrealistic people living in their self-made shells. Religion was and is still considered one of these shells. yet religion reflects the deepest places that the heart can reach.

Now understand that when I mention the term religion I am referring to the act of fervently worshipping and serving a deity.  Religion can cover any act of worship or service, but don’t assume that religion is always the same as Christianity. Christianity is religious beliefs based on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. According to James 1: 26-27 NIV, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”. We will explore this distinction later on in an article of its own. For now, it is back to things of the heart.

 Heart things involve emotions; deep emotions. Since society tends to shy away from deep emotions because it theoretically can  mean lack of control, emotions tend to get a bad rap.  Crying? Out of the question. Only babies do that!  Grieving? Aw, get over it!  Balking at being controlled by others? Learn to submit!  Anyone who protests this fine-tuned system learns quickly that every effort to break free is countered with more attempts to control. The question is, “Is it right to exert this much control over others around us? Where does this need to control originate and for what purpose?  Let’s explore a little.

The biggest prevailing factor that runs this world ship is control, thus power. On the basic human level it has always been control of resources needed to live–food, clothing, shelter, and water. In this present age, control of food crops, gas, oil, and minerals are what makes one society predominant over another because all of these resources can be converted to energy and sold to obtain money. This results in the ability to control others because the affluent society can demand favors of the less fortunate in exchange for resources, and the less fortunate may give in to these demands as a means of survival.  On the corporate level, control and justification for control can reach momentous heights. Money and what money can provide are the strength of corporate power. The more assets a corporation can claim and the larger the share of the world market it possesses can lead to credibility in the corporate sphere of influence.  This results in more opportunities to create a larger system and to absorb smaller competing companies.

Control. It is hard for those who possess wealth, thus control, to release it. As an example, the Scripture narrative of the rich young man is found in Mark 10: 17-29:

 

The Rich and the Kingdom of God 

 

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor,and you will have treasure in heaven.Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!

25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

 2The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”  NIV

 

Resources have always been used to exert  leverage and control. That is their draw. Before there were actual coins and bills to use for purchases, barter and trade were not equal across the board. Someone was taking advantage of someone else. Marketplace transactions throughout history have consisted of bargaining in some form or another.  It is an expected action in some cultures to approach a marketplace purchase as an opportunity to negotiate for a lower price.  The black or gray market, which also exists under several labels such as undisclosed income, etc. according to Columbia Encyclopedia [1], is defined as:
 
 
the selling or buying of commodities at prices above the legal ceiling or beyond the amount allotted to a customer in countries that have placed restrictions on sales and prices. Such trading was common during World War II wherever the demand and the means of payment exceeded the available supply. Most of the warring countries attempted to equalize distribution of scarce commodities by rationing and price fixing. In the United States black-market transactions were carried on extensively in meat, sugar, tires, and gasoline. In Great Britain, where clothing and liquor were rationed, these were popular black-market commodities. In the United States, rationing terminated at the end of the war, but a black market in automobiles and building materials continued while the scarcity lasted. In the decades following World War II, as the countries of Eastern Europe were trying to industrialize their economies, extensive black-market operations developed because of a scarcity of consumer goods. Black marketing is also common in exchange of foreign for domestic currency, typically in those countries that have set the official exchange value of domestic currency too high in terms of the purchasing power of foreign money. Black-market money activities also grow when holders of domestic currency are anxious to convert it into foreign currency through a fear that the former is losing its purchasing power as a result of inflation.
 See W. Rundell, Black Market Money (1964).

 

 This market is considered underground and illegal but accounts for a large percentage of revenues and jobs in the world economy. This is a thorn in the area of resource control, because it staggers the actual job and sales statistics. Not only do transactions exist, but they are underneath the radar and therefore beyond conventional scrutiny. Why is it important to know this? Many black market sales and jobs are in the areas of  drug trafficking, human trafficking, child trafficking, and other illegal pursuits. This violates human rights and is of importance to governing bodies who seek to eliminate these forms of slavery.

Never thought about drugs [as one example of] enslavement? Any time a substance alters your perceptions and your body to the extent of making you dependent upon it–this is enslavement whether vountary or involuntarily. Especially it is enslavement if you will commit illegal acts to possess and use it.  Street drugs; over-the-counter drugs; prescription drugs–they can all be addictive.  I have learned that I personally do not respond well to prescription strengths recommended by the pharmacy. The dosage is too strong.  I only need a small amount for it to be effective. But we digress…

Money and power are a strong combination, but is it necessary to possess this much power to do an effective work?  This is what brings us to the answer to the question I asked earlier in this article–“Is it right to exert this much control over others? The answer is no. Human history has proved that excess control can lead to destruction. Let’s look at Rome as an example. The Empire of Rome was, in its prime, the strongest political and military force. Romes legions conquered region after region and exerted control over vast territories. No one would have imagined that the Roman Empire would fall. There are many theories as to why Rome fell, including lead poisoning, yet out of all of these theories comes one over-riding powerful reason. Too much; too soon; too fast.  Rome became so vast that it could no longer patrol and control its conguered territories. I am providing a link here to a website that I feel addresses the Fall of Rome thoroughly. This website has various sources and references. It is http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/fallofrome/a/Dorrington.htm

Sadly, as we have pointed out, this world loves money and power. Human beings feel the need to control their circumstances and their environments–some to a greater, and some to a lesser degree. What sweetens the power pot are the benefits–access to money and influence. Money and influence are not necessarily wrong in theory; they  are wrong when these benefits are applied to controlling individuals and institutions.

to be continued

[1] Retrieved from the worlld-wide web.  ” Columbia Encyclopedia”.  Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 12 Jul. 2012

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06/4/12

Matthew 4: The Tempting In The Wilderness

New International Version (NIV)

Matthew 4

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

   “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
   and they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]

 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]

 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]

 11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Jesus Begins to Preach

 12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
   the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
   Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
   have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
   a light has dawned.”[f]

 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20At once they left their nets and followed him.

 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Heals the Sick

 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[g]Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Footnotes:
  1. Matthew 4:1 The Greek for tempted can also mean tested.
  2. Matthew 4:4 Deut. 8:3
  3. Matthew 4:6 Psalm 91:11,12
  4. Matthew 4:7 Deut. 6:16
  5. Matthew 4:10 Deut. 6:13
  6. Matthew 4:16 Isaiah 9:1,2
  7. Matthew 4:25 That is, the Ten Cities

Source: retrieved from www.Bible gateway .com on April 17, 2012.

This entry was posted in Our Studies, Rev. Charlene’s Teachings, Scripture Expounded, Scripture to Share,Women UHW Curriculum and tagged , , , , , , by admin.

02/13/12

Hebrews 3: 1-15 Part One

  Hebrews 3: 1-15

Jesus Is Greater Than Moses

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and[a] are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger[b] and High Priest. 2 For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire[c]house.

 3 But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. 4For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.

  5 Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.[d]

 7That is why the Holy Spirit says, 

   “Today when you hear his voice,
    8 don’t harden your hearts
   as Israel did when they rebelled,
      when they tested me in the wilderness.
 9 There your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
      even though they saw my miracles for forty years.
 10 So I was angry with them, and I said,
   ‘Their hearts always turn away from me.
      They refuse to do what I tell them.’
 11 So in my anger I took an oath:
      ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”[e]

 12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.[f] Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 15Remember what it says:

   “Today when you hear his voice,
      don’t harden your hearts
      as Israel did when they rebelled.”[g]

 16 And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness? 18 And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? 19So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.

 Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 3:1 Greek And so, holy brothers who.
  2. Hebrews 3:1 Greek God’s apostle.
  3. Hebrews 3:2 Some manuscripts do not include entire.
  4. Hebrews 3:6 Some manuscripts add faithful to the end.
  5. Hebrews 3:11 Ps 95:7-11.
  6. Hebrews 3:12 Greek brothers.
  7. Hebrews 3:15 Ps 95:7-8.

HEBREWS 3: 1-5

The Book of Hebrews is one of the most beautiful and inspirational books in The Bible. Historians and theologians insist that the author of Hebrews can be conjectured but not determined. Yet as we read the article below–many clues point to either the Apostle Paul or his students/companions. The Authorship  is ultimately God’s Holy Spirit. When you factor out man, Scripture points to GOD.  

The following article was retrieved on February 13, 2012 from www.gotquestions.org on the world-wide web.

Who Wrote The Book of Hebrews? Who Was The Author of Hebrews?

Question: “Who wrote the Book of Hebrews? Who was the author of Hebrews?”
Answer:
Theologically speaking, scholars generally regard the book of Hebrews to be second in importance only to Paul’s letter to the Romans in the New Testament. No other book so eloquently defines Christ as high priest of Christianity, superior to the Aaronic priesthood, and the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. This book presents Christ as the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). However, both the authorship and audience are in question.

The title, “To the Hebrews,” which appears in the earliest known copy of the epistle is not a part of the original manuscript. There is no salutation, the letter simply begins with the assertion that Jesus, the Son of God, has appeared, atoned for our sins, and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven (Hebrews 1:1-4).

The letter closes with the words “Grace be with you all” (Hebrews 13:25), which is the same closing found in each of Paul’s known letters (see Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 16:23; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 6:18; Ephesians 6:24; Philippians 4:23; Colossians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:22; Titus 3:15; and Philemon 25). However, it should be noted that Peter (1 Peter 5:14; 2 Peter 3:18) used similar—though not identical—closings. Possibly that it was simply customary to close letters like this with the words “Grace be with you all” during this time period.

Church tradition teaches that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, and until the 1800s, that issue was closed. However, though a vast majority of Christians—both and scholars and the laity—still believe Paul wrote the book, there are some tempting reasons to think otherwise.

First and foremost is the lack of a salutation. Some sort of personal salutation from Paul appears in all of his letters. So it would seem that writing anonymously is not his usual method; therefore, the reasoning goes, Hebrews cannot be one of his letters. Second, the overall composition and style is of a person who is a very sophisticated writer. Even though he was certainly a sophisticated communicator, Paul stated that he purposely did not speak with a commanding vocabulary (1 Corinthians 1:17; 2:1; 2 Corinthians 11:6).

The book of Hebrews quotes extensively from the Old Testament. Paul, as a Pharisee, would have been familiar with the Scripture in its original Hebrew language. In other letters, Paul either quotes the Masoretic Text (the original Hebrew) or paraphrases it. However, all of the quotes in this epistle are taken out of the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament), which is inconsistent with Paul’s usage. Finally, Paul was an apostle who claimed to receive his revelations directly from the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23; Galatians 1:12). The writer of Hebrews specifically says that he was taught by an apostle (Hebrews 2:3).

If Paul didn’t write the letter, who did? The most plausible suggestion is that this was actually a sermon Paul gave and it was transcribed later by Luke, a person who would have had the command of the Greek language which the writer shows. Barnabas is another likely prospect, since he was a Levite and would have been speaking on a subject that he knew much about. Martin Luther suggested Apollos, since he would have had the education the writer of this letter must have had. Priscilla and Clemet of Rome have been suggested by other scholars.

However, there is still much evidence that Paul wrote the letter. The most compelling comes from Scripture itself. Remember that Peter wrote to the Hebrews (that is, the Jews; see Galatians 2:7, 9 and 1 Peter 1:1). Peter wrote: “…just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him [emphasis added]” (2 Peter 3:15). In that last verse, Peter is confirming that Paul had also written a letter to the Hebrews!

The theology presented in Hebrews is consistent with Paul’s. Paul was a proponent of salvation by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8, 9), and that message is strongly communicated in this epistle (Hebrews 4:2, 6:12, 10:19-22, 10:37-39, and 11:1-40). Either Paul wrote the epistle, or the writer was trained by Paul. Although it is a small detail, this epistle makes mention of Timothy (Hebrews 13:23), and Paul is the only apostle known to have ever done that in any letter.

So, who actually wrote Hebrews? The letter fills a needed space in Scripture and both outlines our faith and defines faith itself in the same way that Romans defines the tenets of Christian living. It closes the chapters of faith alone and serves as a prelude to the chapters on good works built on a foundation of faith in God. In short, this book belongs in the Bible. Therefore, its human author is unimportant. What is important is to treat the book as inspired Scripture as defined in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The Holy Spirit was the divine author of Hebrews, and of all Scripture, even though we don’t know who put the physical pen to the physical paper and traced the words.

   

Authorship defined, let us examine Hebrews 3: 1-15 as a declaration of the Sovereignty of Christ. When Jesus was ministering on earth there were many occasions when the High Priests and synagogue leaders  questioned His deity based upon their concept of Abraham as their Father and Moses as the deliverer of the Jews. Mankind finds comfort in religious thoughts, religious ceremony, and rules because it makes life safe and predictable. Jesus came to question every unGodly rule that had crept it’s way, over time, into the Hebraic religious system.

While speaking in the temple Jesus declared in Luke 4: 18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them who are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord”.

The Scribes and Pharisees could not accept this from Jesus. Even though Israel had been anticipating the Messiah for many centuries they failed to see Him when He appeared because they were looking for a warrior King such as David. They were caught up in their traditions so religiously that their eyes were blinded; their ears deafened; and their  spirits barren.

To be continued…