Bible

Ascension Day

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Today is Ascension Day

We don’t seem to take much note of this important day each year. It seems lost between the Resurrection and Pentecost. I do wonder why we don’t put more focus on the Ascension.

What an amazing time the disciples were experiencing with Jesus after His resurrection! They must have eagerly listened as He taught them. Jesus spent time preparing them for His departure and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The time was approaching quickly when the disciples would be sent on the mission to share Jesus with all the world.

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”      – Acts 1:9-11 

In his book, Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions, Timothy Keller writes “At the ascension, Jesus leaves the space-time continuum and passes into the presence of the Father. He is still human, still our second Adam . . . and still our Advocate—yet now he has been so glorified that everything he does has a cosmic scope . . . any time-space limitation passes away.”


Today Jesus is continuously present with us through the Holy Spirit and He is also present in Heaven. He is King over all always!

Let us be included with all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing and His glorious Return! (see 2 Timothy 4:8)

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.  – 1 John 2:28

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Bible, Faith

Faith Quest

Are you on a quest for more faith?

A quest for faith often involves searching, studying and prayer to find the faith supply that seems hidden. However, this is not necessary. It is like someone leaving their home and going on a journey in search of a treasure that is waiting back at home. The answer to the faith quest is simply this   ~  God’s Word 

I prayed for faith and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” I had up to this time closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.       ~Dwight L. Moody

Let’s look at Romans 10:17 in a few different translations 

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 So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.  – KJV

So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.    – NKJV

 (Belief you see, can only come from hearing the message, and the message is the word of Christ.)      – J.B. Phillips 

 So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.    -NASB

 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).  -AMPC

So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ.   -AMP


This verse is certainly telling us that the Bible is all we need to acquire more faith. If you look at this verse in different Bible translations it becomes more noticeable that the particular part of God’s word that is needed is the gospels. It is clear that the words of Jesus are the key.

Let’s take a look at what happened in John 4:4-30 and John 4:39-43  This is the portion of scripture about the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus. However for the purpose of our topic today, I want to focus on the group of people that hear about Jesus through the Samaritan woman.

Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman and she then shared with others. John 4:39 tells us that the people believed in Jesus because of hearing what the woman said. Those people then invited Jesus to stay with them and He did. It would be great if you could get your Bible out and read this portion of scripture now, but in case that isn’t possible, I have included it below in a couple of different versions.

 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”  So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  Many more believed because of His word;  and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” After the two days He went forth from there into Galilee.  -John 4:39-43 NASB

 Now many Samaritans from that city believed in Him and trusted Him [as Savior] because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”  So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked Him to remain with them; and He stayed there two days.  Many more believed in Him [with a deep, abiding trust] because of His word [His personal message to them];  and they told the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; for [now] we have heard Him for ourselves and know [with confident assurance] that this One is truly the Savior of [all] the world.” After the two days He went on from there into Galilee.  – John 4:39-43  AMP

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We don’t believe any longer now because of what you said. We have heard him with our own ears. We know now that this must be the man who will save the world!                                            John 4:42  J.B. Phillips

The people believe after hearing the words of Jesus from the Samaritan woman. So this is an example of faith coming by hearing the word of God as Romans 10:17 says. But we also clearly see that another level of faith is reached when these people have their very own personal encounter with Jesus and hear Him for themselves.

Compare the Samaritan’s experience with your own faith experience. When you first believed you had faith to believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Later you moved to another level of faith after spending time with Jesus. I hope that you have come to know Jesus personally, yourself and not just second hand through other people’s testimonies. I pray that all who read this will have the desire to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ. The Samaritans had two special days with Jesus. We can have every day with Jesus. Open the Bible to hear Him speak to you!

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Bible study

Purpose of Bible Study

Before reading this post please take a brief pause to ask yourself one simple but extremely important question:

  • Why do I want to study the Bible?

Why is such a powerful question!

It clears the confusion and brings the truth into focus.

Bible study for me is an activity with one constant goal that doesn’t change regardless of the method used for the study. My why is to know Jesus. I don’t just want to learn and understand about Him but truly actually KNOW JESUS!


(The following is from a post I wrote 2 years ago)

As we enter the season of Fall many of us are excited to be starting new Bible studies!

So, let’s stop and think for a moment about our motivation.

What is the purpose of Bible study?

Choosing to study the Bible is obviously a wise use of your time. You might describe this activity as having eternal value and it’s worth truly priceless.

However, we must always keep in mind the true purpose of studying the scriptures. For those of us who enjoy the process of study, there is the danger of becoming consumed with the study itself. Take a look at what Jesus said in John 5:39-40.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.                -John 5:39-40      

You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me! And still you are not willing [but refuse] to come to Me, so that you might have life.       John 5:39-40 AMPC

Why do you study the Bible?

This is an important question to ask yourself.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.   – John 17:3 NKJV

And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent.   -John 17:3 AMPC

This is eternal life:
that they may know You, the only true God,
and the One You have sent – Jesus Christ.   -John 17:3 HCSB

Surround your Bible study time with prayer and make sure your motive is all about Jesus!

Surround your Bible study time with prayer and make sure your motive is all about Jesus!
everydaywiththeking.com

Love to know your thoughts about the purpose of Bible study.

Please leave a comment below or send an EMAIL

 

Bible study, Jesus

Martha and Mary Part 2

Be sure to read Martha and Mary Part 1

Part 1 ended with the following question.

What exactly bothered Martha about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus?

I hope you take some time to ponder this and other questions that come to mind in this study. Sometimes we are quick to listen to someone explain when we are actually well equipped to read and learn on our own. If you are a believer you are not alone because Jesus is present with you. The same Jesus that spoke to Martha is with you today. Pray that you will see and understand what Jesus has for you to learn as you dig into the story of Martha and Mary.

Please read the passage again and then share your answer about what was bothering Martha.


Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”     Luke 10:38-42


We already saw in Part 1 that Martha’s upset was no slight irritation but the overflow of a deeper problem. The way she spoke to Jesus suggests the possibility that she was not only disturbed by the many things and what her sister was doing but she may have even been upset with Jesus.

Martha and Mary (2)

Martha was in an agitated state when she observed her sister sitting at the feet of Jesus.


Sitting at the master’s feet was the place of a student

The fact that Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus made it absolutely clear that she was a devoted disciple.

I am well aware that it is not popular in today’s culture to say outright that Martha was wrong. But she was. I’m not sure why so many who write about Martha seem to feel compelled to defend her.

Jesus corrected Martha and heartily approved of Mary’s choice. There was nothing vague about the response that Jesus gave to Martha.

Martha must have been taken by surprise when Jesus answered her. What do you think she might have felt and thought about what Jesus said?

Let’s dive a little deeper into the upset about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus.

N. T. Wright on Mary and Martha from Women’s service in the Church: The Biblical Basis

Most of us grew up with the line that Martha was the active type and Mary the passive or contemplative type, and that Jesus is simply affirming the importance of both and even the priority of devotion to him. That devotion is undoubtedly part of the importance of the story, but far more obvious to any first-century reader, and to many readers in Turkey, the Middle East and many other parts of the world to this day would be the fact that Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet within the male part of the house rather than being kept in the back rooms with the other women. This, I am pretty sure, is what really bothered Martha; no doubt she was cross at being left to do all the work, but the real problem behind that was that Mary had cut clean across one of the most basic social conventions. It is as though, in today’s world, you were to invite me to stay in your house and, when it came to bedtime, I were to put up a camp bed in your bedroom. We have our own clear but unstated rules about whose space is which; so did they. And Mary has just flouted them. And Jesus declares that she is right to do so. She is ‘sitting at his feet’; a phrase which doesn’t mean what it would mean today, the adoring student gazing up in admiration and love at the wonderful teacher. As is clear from the use of the phrase elsewhere in the NT (for instance, Paul with Gamaliel), to sit at the teacher’s feet is a way of saying you are being a student, picking up the teacher’s wisdom and learning; and in that very practical world you wouldn’t do this just for the sake of informing your own mind and heart, but in order to be a teacher, a rabbi, yourself. Like much in the gospels, this story is left cryptic as far as we at least are concerned, but I doubt if any first-century reader would have missed the point.   – N. T. Wright

Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel (see Acts 22:3)

Jesus said “Mary has chosen”

Chosen is not difficult for us to understand. It means to choose, select, choose for oneself.

So there was a choice, an option and it was available to Martha as well as Mary.

What did Mary choose?

We have the same choice today. It does not matter what your gifts, talents, interests, personality traits are— it is a choice

This relationship is offered and available to followers of Jesus but not forced upon anyone.

Whole-hearted devotion and a life of discipleship or something less? The choice is yours.

The next time the Bible mentions the sisters is found in John 11:1-11

Don’t skip reading that important portion of scripture! I am not covering it at all in this study. But please don’t miss it!


Let’s close this study by reading another time Jesus comes to visit in John 12:1-8

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”     -John 12:1-8 NKJV

(The anointing at Bethany is a subject worthy of a separate study but we will touch on it briefly here as it is relevant to the current study of Martha and Mary)

Notice that Martha is again serving but perhaps not overwhelmed by the activity like she was before. I like to think that this time she chose to serve something simple prepared in advance allowing undistracted time with Jesus.

Jesus was again approving of Mary and defending her actions.

Mary is again quietly keeping her focus on Jesus. As a devoted disciple, she had listened, learned and believed what Jesus taught. She had followed His teaching so closely that her belief spilled over into this worshipful act of anointing Jesus.

What do you notice about Mary in this portion of scripture?

What is Jesus saying to you through these verses in Luke 10:38-42 and John 12:1-8?

Please share your comments below

Here is a blog post that contains some practical help for living daily as a devoted disciple of Jesus – Constant Prayer

You can live every day with The King!


Martha and Mary 

  • Luke 10:38-42
  • John 11:1-44
  • John 12:1-11

Martha Mary (1)

 

Bible, Bible study, Jesus

John 21:22

John 21:22

Sharing this scripture today as a follow up to the recent post – Envy

Please take a moment to read chapter 21 of the gospel of John. After reading the chapter go back to look at verses 21 and 22.

Here is a link to the chapter on the Blue Letter Bible website → John 21  If you take some time to explore the website, you will discover many tools to help you in your study of the Bible. The page I’ve linked to is the chapter in the KJV because it is the easiest place to start for accessing the tools. However, at the top of the page, you will see where you can easily choose another Bible translation.


Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.     John 21:22  KJV

Jesus said to him, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.    NKJV

Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me!    – AMPC

If I want him to remain until I come, Jesus answered, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.     -HCSB

If it is my wish, returned Jesus, for him to stay until I come, is that your business, Peter? You must follow me.   – J.B. Phillips

 

If you have read the chapter, you see that Jesus is speaking in response to Peter’s curiosity about John’s future. I don’t know about you, but I can easily follow Peter’s thinking that led him to ask about John in this chapter. I have often found myself wondering about other people’s situations and life story. This is especially likely to happen when things appear to be unfair. This is also the place where wondering and seemingly innocent questions quickly lead to comparison and envy.

John 21 contains the answer for when our focus shifts from following Jesus to wondering about what is going on with other people.

Interesting that this is the last time Jesus speaks in the gospel of John.

 

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Bible study

Purpose of Bible Study

As we enter the season of Fall many of us are excited to be starting new Bible studies!

So, let’s stop and think for a moment about our motivation.

What is the purpose of Bible study?

Choosing to study the Bible is obviously a wise use of your time. You might describe this activity as having eternal value and it’s worth truly priceless.

However, we must always keep in mind the true purpose of studying the scriptures. For those of us who enjoy the process of study, there is the danger of becoming consumed with the study itself. Take a look a what Jesus said in John 5:39-40.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.                -John 5:39-40      

You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me! And still you are not willing [but refuse] to come to Me, so that you might have life.       John 5:39-40 AMPC

Why do you study the Bible?

This is an important question to ask yourself.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.   – John 17:3 NKJV

And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent.   -John 17:3 AMPC

This is eternal life:
that they may know You, the only true God,
and the One You have sent – Jesus Christ.   -John 17:3 HCSB

Surround your study time with prayer and make sure your motive is all about Jesus!

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Bible

Don’t Leave Without Jesus

In  John 6:1-15  we read about  Jesus, the disciples, and a large crowd of hungry people. Jesus provides a meal for all the people even though the only food available was 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. There is so much in this account to study and savor. However, this post is going to be about what happened next. Jesus invited me to linger with Him recently in John 6:16-21. He gently brought to my mind some points that I hadn’t noticed before.

The disciples had finished gathering 12 baskets full of leftover bread and fish pieces. Don’t you wonder what they must have felt like as they pondered the miracle they had just witnessed? They didn’t just witness the miracle but Jesus had allowed them to actually be a part of what happened. Imagine being one of the crew cleaning up after this picnic. Well, we could easily stay here, but let’s move onto the evening and see what happens next.

We know from John 6:15 that Jesus had gone to the mountain alone. We find the disciples at the sea.

Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.  Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.  So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.   – John 6:16-21 

Do you find it perplexing that the disciples would leave without Jesus? John does not tell us but in Matthew 14 and Mark 6 we read that Jesus had instructed the disciples to leave.


Picture yourself at the scene. Would you quickly jump in the boat with the disciples or desire to stay behind with Jesus?

When I imagine myself at the scene, I am reluctant to leave Jesus. I want to stay and wait for Jesus to return or maybe He even invites me to be with Him on the mountain. I certainly don’t think I would be eager to join the group in the boat. Or would I?

What about me now, today? Do I wait or do I rush ahead? I’m sorry to say that there have been many times that I didn’t wait for Jesus.

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Back to the disciples

They ventured out onto the sea after dark, rowed for miles and the wind was blowing hard. The disciples struggled in their own strength when they had to make the trip without Jesus. So different from just a few hours earlier when they were basking in the afterglow of a miracle.

Have you had this kind of experience after proceeding without Jesus? I sure have.

But then Jesus  

At first, the disciples are fearful but then they see it is indeed Jesus. Jesus has arrived walking on the water.  As soon as Jesus entered the boat they were suddenly at their destination.  So much here in verses 19-21 to discover and I hope you will spend some time exploring.


I am so glad that Jesus will come to get me when I have gone out in my boat without Him. But I don’t want to live like that. I want to be where He is always. Jesus is my destination.

Make it your goal to be with Jesus, stay with Jesus and follow Him. It’s not about you fitting Him into your plan. It is His plan for you to follow Him step by step, moment by moment.

Don't leave without Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible, Jesus

Content and Thankful

Contentment is something everyone wants but sadly not many seem to enjoy. For believers, a contented life should not be rare.  After all, if we are serving the risen Lord and soon to return King of kings, shouldn’t we at the very least be contented and thankful?

Have you ever participated in the “one word for the year plan”?   Sorry, I don’t know the origin of the idea. The point is to select just one word that you will focus on for the year. This is supposed to be a word that has come to your mind after seeking God for the focus He desires for you. Anyway, I have done this a couple of times and one year my word was contentment. It was a learning experience and I did grow more content in my life. During that contentment year, I read some great articles, blogs and found much on the subject in my Bible. I treasured verses like Hebrews 13:5. I studied and applied Paul’s secret revealed in Philippians 4:11-13.  I had a Pinterest Board devoted to Contentment. I am glad I had that focus and still remain especially attuned to anything that falls into the category of being content.


So, I was recently surprised to sense God saying to me there was more for me to learn about contentment.

The following statement is what I believe God revealed to my heart.

Not being satisfied with what you have, is like saying God is not a good Provider.

I was instantly convicted!

Jesus loves me beyond my understanding, paid for my sins, is with me now and promises to never leave me. He is also preparing a place and will take me there. Jesus is constantly providing for me now and for the future forever with Him.  What more could I need or want to be content?

“In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”  

– John 14:2,3  NKJV

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Corrie ten Boom, prayer, Worry

Worry Part 4

Abiding in Christ
Welcome to the conclusion of the series on worry. I hope you were able to spend some time in John 15. This is the portion of scripture where Jesus explains a critical aspect of our relationship with Him. Here we find our key to victory over worry and so much more. Not striving but abiding, not trying but trusting, not you but Him. If you would like to spend time in a deeper study of the word, Abide, a good place to start would be this LINK at Bible Hub.

” Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”   -John 15:4,5   NKJV

Reading these verses in several different translations is very helpful. Below is the Holman Christian Standard which uses the word remain instead of abide.

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HCSB

We are to be attached to Jesus as the branch is connected to the vine. The vine is everything to the branch.

Abide, remain, and stay are all good, but I particularly love the word that Corrie ten Boom choose. She used the word nestle.


purple-grapes-553462_640  Remember when Jesus told the parable of the vine and the branches in John 15? He said the secret to abundant living is in staying attached to the vine. An unattached vine has something to fear. Not only can it not produce fruit, but it will be burned in the fire. But an attached branch has no fears. All it has to do is nestle close to the vine, and the vine does all the work, sending its sap through the branch and producing luscious grapes. It is not the branch that produces the grapes, it is the vine.    ~ Corrie ten Boom


So when worry comes, refuse to be carried away. Instead, immediately call on Jesus. Devote your energy and time to focus all the more on Him. Not your ability but His power. Victory is in Christ Jesus.

Corrie ten Boom sometimes quoted the following lines from a poem. The author is unknown.

Cowardly, wayward, and weak,
I change with the changing sky,
Today so eager and strong,
Tomorrow not caring to try.
But He never gives in,
And we two shall win,  Jesus and I.

Corrie ten Boom said “Prayer is the sturdy answer to worry. I urge you to find a place where you can be alone with the Lord. Let it be your own little private prayer chapel.” Corrie wrote much about the topic of worry and fear because it is such a common problem for many believers. A number of her books have chapters devoted to the subject. She wrote one book entirely about gaining freedom from worry, fear, tension, and anxiety. The title of the book is DON’T WRESTLE, JUST NESTLE.


How do you respond to worries and fear?

I have a little practical method that I’ll share with you now.  When I find myself beginning to feel stressed, or anxious …  I stop and pray.

  • Stop whatever I am doing at that moment
  • Start talking to the Lord
  • Ask Him to take over and handle it completely
  • Surrender to His control
  • Expect to have the worry replaced with peace and calm from Jesus
  • Thank Him
  • Repeat as often as needed

How do you respond to worries and fear_

Do you have a plan? Do you have certain scriptures ready for these times?

Please share in the comments below.

I am praying that each person reading this little series will nestle in close to Jesus.

Has this series been a help to you? Do you know someone that you should share this with?  Don’t forget to share your worry plan in the comments. I love to hear from you ♥