Luke part 4 : With Jesus nothing is impossible.

All right, we are nearly there 🙂 The gospel of Luke will be over with this post and one more. If you’ve missed Luke part 1 : Jesus is willing., Luke part 2 : Jesus the healer.  and  Luke part 3 : Jesus the Teacher. , click on the links. A little re cap, there’s no internal evidence for the authorship of the gospel, but it is mostly and almost universally accepted to be Luke, a physician and later travelling companion of Paul. He undertook a systematic account telling of Jesus and the early church and wrote them down in 2 letters ( Luke and Acts) to a gentile named Theophilus.

In chapter 16: Jesus tells a parable of a dishonest but shrewd manger {1}. Jesus warns us that if we are not trustworthy with little things, no one will trust us with true riches. Jesus tells us that we cannot serve both God and money. Jesus tells a parable of a rich man and of Lazarus, a poor beggar{2}. This parable shows that once people are judged and go to heaven or hell that it cannot be reversed. The time is now, to accept Jesus or to reject Him and then live with the consequences.

In chapter 17: Jesus pronounces doom on those through whom sorrows and troubles come ( as they will). He tells us that forgiveness ( of our brothers and sisters who sin against us) is absolutely essential. The disciples ask for their faith to be increased. Jesus replies that faith as small as a mustard seed is enough to do mighty miracles. He further tells us that our attitude when we serve Him should be as a servant’s. We have only done our duty. Jesus heals 10 men of leprosy, only one man returns to give thanks , and he is a Samaritan, a foreigner. The (second) coming of the Son of Man will be accompanied by lightening and the whole world will know of it ( it will not be a secret), but first He must suffer many things and be rejected by that generation. It ( the culture) will be just like it was in the days of Noah and of Lot. People will be corrupt and making merry and will not be waiting for the Lord. Jesus warns us that at that time, we are not to turn back, not for our possessions , not for our family, not for anything. When the Day of the Lord comes, we are to flee. Jesus also warns that it will be happen at the same time across the Earth, ( 2 people sleeping, 2 people grinding corn, 2 people working in the fields etc ).

In chapter 18: Jesus tells His disciples a parable that shows we should always pray and not give up {3}. Jesus also mentions that when people cry out to Him day and night, He will not put them off, but make sure they receive justice quickly. Jesus tells a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector {4}. People who brought babies to Jesus to bless, were rebuked by His disciples. Jesus intervened and asked them to be brought forward. He said that unless we receive the kingdom of God like a little child ( fully trusting, never wavering), we will never enter it. Jesus when asked by a rich , young, ruler, how to enter the Kingdom of God, tells him to keep the law. The man replies he has done so. Jesus further tells him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor, that makes the man sad and he goes away. Jesus tells those around Him, that the rich find it difficult to put Him first and so struggle to enter into Heaven. When those around ask , then who can be saved, Jesus replies With God nothing is impossiblePeter tells the Lord, they have left everything for Him. Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.’ Jesus predicts His death in Jerusalem a third time but the disciples did not understand. On the way to Jericho, a blind man shouted , “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”. When Jesus asked him what he wanted, he said that he wanted to see. Jesus granted his request.  Immediately he received his sight and praised God. 

In chapter 19 : A short and corrupt tax collector, Zacchaeus, wants to see what the fuss about Jesus is all about, so he climbs up a sycamore fig tree to see.

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Sycamore- fig tree. Look how low it is to the ground.

Jesus stops at the tree and then invites Himself to Zacchaeus’ home. Zacchaeus is moved to repent and promises to give half his wealth to the poor and repay anyone he’s cheated with 4 times as much. Jesus says he’s a son of Abraham as well.  Jesus tells a parable of 10 minas ( pieces of silver){5}. Jesus enters Jerusalem and then weeps over the city. ( Click on the link and read a post detailing the triumphal procession ). Jesus cleanses the Temple ( probably for the 2nd time ) of the money changers and commercial activities taking place there.

In chapter 20: Jesus is questioned about where He gets His authority. He turns the question back on the Pharisees and asks them what they thought about John the Baptist. Jesus tells them the parable of the tenants {6}. The Pharisees try to trick Jesus with the talk of (the deeply unpopular) taxes. Jesus tells them to give to Caesar what belongs to him, and to God what belongs to Him. The Saducees try to trick Jesus with talk of marriage after resurrection. Jesus stumps them and says that God is the God of the living. Jesus warns His disciples against following the way / actions/ teachings of the Pharisees as they are false.

{1} The manager was corrupt and about to be let go by his master. When he hears of it, he calls his master’s debtors to him and cuts what they owe his master by half, go that when he’s out of a job, they’ll be indebted to him and offer him help. The master commends the dishonest manger.

{2} Lazarus begs at the rich man’s gate and his only companions are the dogs that lick his sores. They die at the same time, the rich man goes to hell, while Lazarus, a poor man during his lifetime, goes to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man ( who is never named) begs Abraham to send Lazarus with some water to quench his thirst. Abraham refuses, saying there’s a chasm between heaven and hell that cannot be bridged. The rich man then asks that Lazarus be sent to his brothers who are still living and warn them. Abraham replies that they have the law and the prophets. The rich man says that they won’t believe them, to which Abraham replies that they will not believe someone who comes back from he dead either.

{3} A widow who needed justice done , persistently asked the judge of the town for it. Finally he was worn down enough to grant her justice. The parable explicitly mentions that he neither feared God nor worried about what people said. He gave in because of her tenacity.

{4} The Pharisee ( representative of the religious leaders, those who were confident of their own righteousness ) and the tax collector ( representative of the outcasts of society, who were looked down by everyone and deemed  filthy sinners) went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee tried to exalt himself in his very public prayer but the tax collector was truly repentant and wouldn’t even look up to Heaven. Jesus said that the tax collector went home justified before God, because those who exalt themselves will be humbled but those who humble themselves will be exalted before God.

{5} The parable of the 10 minas ( pieces of silver) A man of noble birth goes to a distant land to be appointed king and return. Before leaving he distributes 10 minas between his servants. They hate him and send a delegation after him, asking that he’s not to be made a king. The man is crowned and returns and rewards the servants who put his mina to use and gained more. The one that did not ( he returned the mina as it was ) was stripped of his mina and it was given to the one who had 10 minas. This parable is a perfect parallel to Jesus. He left Heaven to come to Earth ( distant country). People hated Him and did not want Him to become a ruler, but Jesus became a King in spite of their opposition. He rewarded/s those who use His gifts / talents / abilities to bring others into the Kingdom. Those who don’t use His gifts will be stripped of all that they have been given.

{6} The parable of the tenants. A man planted a vineyard and gave it over to tenants. He sent servant after servant to them to collect some fruit at harvest, but they beat or shamed the servants and sent them away. Then the master sends his son and his heir whom the tenants kill. Then he master drove the tenants away and gave the vineyard to other tenants. This parable was said to rouse the conscience of the Israelites. Their ancestors had shamed, killed and beaten the prophets ( the servants) and they would kill the Son and Heir ( Jesus), in return the Master ( God ) will drive them away and put others ( gentiles) in their places.

One more post and Luke will be done! It’s hard to imagine that 4-5 chapters’ summaries can result in 1500-1800 words per post 🙂 But the Word of God is powerful and every chapter and verse has a nugget of wisdom for us. It would only help us to search for it .

See you next week,

Vanessa

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Jehovah Raah…the Lord is my Shepherd.

As common as it sounds, The Lord being our shepherd is actually very comforting, when we consider the cultural and social implications, when David and others wrote it.

It seems the Israelites always had someone who was a shepherd. Abel kept watch over the flocks. Abraham, Lot, Isaac and Jacob kept sheep. When Joseph went down to Eygpt as a slave, and then found favour with Pharoh, his family came down with the famine, he asked them to say that they were shepherds, ( they were), and so had Goshen assigned to them, away from the Eygptians. Moses was a prince for 40 years, a shepherd for 40 years ( where he found his wife, Zipporah and heard God from a burning bush), and a leader for the next 40 years. David was a shepherd, whom the family don’t think much of, before he killed Goliath and later became a king. Jeremiah and Ezekial warned about false shepherds, and also gave the Israelites hope about the coming of a true Shepherd, who would never abandon His sheep. When Jesus spoke to the people, He called Himself the Good Shepherd on multiple occasions. He said His sheep would recognize His voice. He had other sheep that He needed to reach, who would be part of the fold.

There’s the famous psalm, 23, that most people know and have heard. While I was reading up on this psalm, I found several commentaries, so I’m going to write down a little from the one I really liked, with bits and pieces from others.

Jehovah Raah is derived from Ro’eh ( which means Shepherd). Jehovah Raah can mean The Lord is my Shepherd or the The Lord Shepherds me. It can even mean The Lord is my friend or The Lord my companion. It means that He is near. He is very close. He watches over me. He hears me when I call. He listens to me and understands me. He is my caregiver. He provides for me. He cares for me.

Let me let you about sheep, though. They are dumb. They follow each other, with no thought, they’ve been known to jump off a cliff following the herd. They need protection, they don’t have claws, or hooves or powerful jaws to fend off predators. They are generally frightened of everything, they can’t or won’t drink from running water, shepherds have to dam up the water, to get them to drink from still, calm water. Sheep are basically helpless creatures who cannot survive long without a shepherd, upon whose care they are totally dependent.

Now , comparing ourselves to sheep, and God to the Good Shepherd, we are dumb ( we really are!), we fall into the same trap of sin and sinning , over and over again. We follow the crowd, and want to fit in ( peer pressure anyone?). We can’t defend ourselves against the powers of darkness and the evil one. We need the Lord of angel armies, His angels , and the shepherds He’s placed over us to fight for us and with us to win the war that we’re in, the war for our souls. Sometimes we (I ) are frightened over everything. The rushing waters ( our storms, our troubles, our valleys of sorrow)  that we need The Shepherd to dam up the waters for us ( give us a way out of our temptations, bring us to a mountain , fight off our accuser ). We are basically helpless, needing to be dependent completely on Him.

Him, on the other hand, is the Good Shepherd, the True Shepherd. He watches over us intently. He leads us lovingly and gently. His voice is one we can trust.  When one of us strays, He chases after us to bring us back to safety, His fold. He fights off predators, and destroys the enemy. He places shepherds over us ( pastors, preachers, teachers, mentors) who are true to Him. He gives us food to eat (His Word), and refreshes us in His Spirit. He has sheep all over the world. He gave His life for the sheep.

So I’m going to break down Psalm 23. Please go back to His Word, and discover what The Shepherd/ this Friend and Companion means to you personally. This is just a guide.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, (Relationship…. I am His daughter)  I lack nothing. (Supply…He provides for me, materially, relationally, spiritually)

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, (Rest….In the midst of a weary life, He makes me calm and peaceful)
he leads me beside quiet waters, (Refreshment…In the midst of the same things happening over and over, He makes me new and gives me new joy)

3 he refreshes my soul. (Healing…There’s nothing that affects me or my loved ones that He can’t or won’t cure, either in this world or in Heaven)
He guides me along the right paths (Guidance….He shows me what to do, when I am confused)
for his name’s sake. (Purpose…I’m called to glorify Him, I’m meant to praise Him)

4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a] (Testing….to refine me and strengthen me, to use me for His glory)
I will fear no evil, (Protection…I’m not alone, He’s always by my side)
for you are with me; (Faithfulness…He can be trusted, all His promises are true) 
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (Discipline…to bring me back to the path of life, when I stray )

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.  (Hope…He lifts me up, even with my shame, He gives me honour)
You anoint my head with oil; (Consecration…He makes me holy , like Him)
my cup overflows. (Abundance…I can’t contain or count His many blessings, I don’t mean material blessings) 

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, (Blessing…He cares for me enough to give me a personal blessing)
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord (Security…I have a place where I belong)
for ever. (Eternity… and I will never move from there or be asked to leave).

 

These are just a few verses that I found that talk about the Shepherd, and the shepherds that He has placed over us.

1 Chronicles 21:17 David said to God, ‘Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.’

Psalm 23:1  The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 78:71 from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.

Psalm 78:72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skilful hands he led them.

Psalm 80:1 [ Psalm 80 ] [ For the director of music. To the tune of ‘The Lilies of the Covenant’. Of Asaph. A psalm. ] Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth

Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 44:28 who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’”

Isaiah 61:5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

Jeremiah 17:16 I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you.

Jeremiah 23:4  I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 3:15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 31:10 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: “He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.”

Jeremiah 33:12 ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In this place, desolate and without people or animals – in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks.

Jeremiah 34:1 [ The Lord will be Israel’s shepherd ] The word of the Lord came to me:

Ezekiel 34:7 ‘“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:

Micah 5:4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

Zechariah 9:16The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

John 10:11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:14 ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me

Hebrews 13:20 [ Benediction and final greetings ] Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

Finally, the shepherd cares for the sheep because he loves them and wants to maintain his own good reputation as a faithful shepherd. As we’ve seen in Psalm 23, the analogy of the Lord as the Good Shepherd was also applied by Jesus in John chapter 10. In declaring that He is the shepherd of the sheep, Jesus is confirming that He is God. The Eternal God is our Shepherd. And we would not want it any other way.

The Mothers in the line of Jesus. 

Happy Mother’s day to the mothers who are reading this post and I hope you had a great weekend with your family .

To those of you who are not yet mothers, I’m thinking of you. I don’t know His ways and I don’t understand Him often, but He has still been Faithful.

To those of you who have had children and they are no longer here, I’m so so sorry, I will never have the words to comfort you, but He can.

To those of you who are spiritual mothers and mentors, I thank you. You make a difference in people’s lives for generations to come. We rise and call you blessed.

To those of you who are mothers, you make a difference. You are seen. You are valued. You hold your families together and you are loved.

For Mother’s day 2017, I’m going to write a little about the women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. They have been spoken on and dissected and discussed often, but I’m always grateful when women (and men)’s names are mentioned in the Bible. They were real, flawed, human and felt things. They made mistakes. They made sacrifices. They prospered and failed and loved and hated. They were known to Him and He made sure their names/ their lives were written down for us to know them as well.

In Matthew 1:1-17, the genealogy of Joseph (who was married to Mary, the mother of Jesus) is mentioned. The women mentioned by name / circumstance are Tamar , Rahab, Ruth, (Bathsheba) she isn’t mentioned by name but the Bible says “who had been Uriah’s wife”, and Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Luke 3 :21-38, the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph is mentioned as well, but the names of the women are not.

 

Tamar

Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah.

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Tamar

She was not an Israelite, but she was given in marriage to Er. He sinned against God and was struck down. She was then given in marriage to his brother Onan, who used her, but refused to give her children to carry on the name of his brother and was struck down as well. Judah in fear that his third son would be killed as well asked her to live in her father’s house. She did. Judah dealt with her falsely, and when she saw that she wasn’t given to Selah as his wife, Tamar seduced Judah by pretending to be a shrine prostitute. She conceived and was nearly stoned for adultery, but she sent out Judah’s pledges to him for him to recognize. Judah said that she had been more righteous than him,  and lets her live, but does not have sexual relations again with her for the rest of her life. Tamar gives birth to twins, one of whom would be the fore father of kings and of Jesus Himself.

 

Why Tamar? 

Tamar wasn’t part of the chosen people, was deceived and in turn was deceitful herself. But God . God chooses to give her children and take away her shame. He chooses her name to be mentioned in His family line.

No matter how often we slip up, He can turn our lowest, weakest, ugliest moments around and use us for His Glory.

 

Rahab

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Rahab

Rahab was a harlot. The few times in scripture that she is mentioned, she is known as Rahab the harlot /prostitute. She lived in Jericho. She had heard of what God had done during Moses’ time (a good 35-40 years ago) and was terrified. She chose to hide the 2 spies that Joshua sent, but she made sure to ask for a favour. She wanted to be safe when God destroyed Jericho. The two spies promised her that her family would be safe as long as they were in the house and she had tied a scarlet ribbon in her window. She believed them and did exactly as they commanded her to. Rahab was the instrument through which her family was saved. Later she was allowed to marry an Israelite and through her son, kings and later the Messiah would come.

Why Rahab? 

Rahab was not a Hebrew, she lived an immoral lifestyle. But God. God gave her the faith to believe in Him, and she and her family were saved because they had a reverent fear of Him.

What we have done is the past does not determine what God can do with us. God can and will turn your lifestyle around when you call upon Him and choose to leave everything behind for His Name’s Sake.

 

Ruth

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Ruth

Ruth was a  Moabite. She had been a wife, then became a widow. She chose  to stay with her mother-in-law in spite of being urged to go back to he father’s family. She was hard working and went to glean grain behind the workers. Ruth was obedient to Naomi and did what she asked regarding marriage customs, even if they seemed foreign to her. She was then given a husband and a child and children , and became the great grandmother of King David.

Why Ruth?

Ruth was not of the holy and set apart people. But whatever she saw and experienced in her husband’s home made her choose to stay with her mother-in-law and follow her God. She left behind everything known to her. But God. God gave her peace and acceptance in the new land and gave her a husband and children of her own.

Do you feel unseen and unknown? And aren’t sure of how to make ends meet? Are you in a new and foreign land and lonely? I can’t say that everything will be roses and peaches ever after, but I can tell you, that God sees. God knows. He takes into account everything. And this faithfulness will be credited to you.

 

Bathsheba

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Bathsheba

Bathsheba is not mentioned by name. The genealogy only mentions “who had been Uriah’s wife”. She was the grand-daughter of Ahitophel ( King David’s trusted advisor), and was an Israelite. Either she was forced by King David, seduced by him, or she did the seducing, but sexual sins lead to events that caused David to murder her husband. The child that she conceived was taken by God when he was born ( 7 days later), but she gave birth to at least 4 other sons, who were taught by the prophet Nathan. Her son Solomon/ Jedidiah would become king after his father David even though he was not the first born.

Why Bathsheba?

Either things she did or were done to her caused events to spiral out of control. But God. God renewed her womb and restored her honour. She was wife to one king and a mother of another. She is mentioned in the line of Jesus.

When God honours you, your past can and will become a clean slate. He will lift you higher than you imagined. He will give you more than you ask. He will do strange and incredible and marvelous works than you could not even dream of.

 

Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary was most likely a teenager when she

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Mary, the mother of Jesus

conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. She was asked to do something impossible and mind boggling. She did question the angel and even though her response is similar to Zechariah ( husband to Elizabeth and father to John the Baptist), “how can it be?”, apparently her heart and her attitude were very different , as evidenced by the responses given by the angel Gaberiel to the two of them. The few times Mary is mentioned later on the gospels, the accounts portray her as a considerate mother. It is also mentioned that “she pondered all the things [that happened around and to Jesus] in her heart”

 

Why Mary?

This one is interesting. By all accounts Mary seems to be the proverbial ideal wife and mother. In some accounts though, it feels like she doesn’t believe Jesus ( when she and her other sons went to Jesus when he was preaching and getting “in trouble” with the religious leaders because they thought He had lost His mind), but in other accounts, she absolutely believes in Him ( she tells the servants to do everything Jesus tells them at the wedding in Cana).

Mary’s but God. God used a simple, young, humble, possibly poor girl to bring His Son into this world. No one and nothing is beyond His control.

 

No matter who we are, we are loved by God. We are known to Him. He cares for us. He died for us. He rose again for us. He is preparing a place for us . And He will come back for us.

With joy, until next time.

Vanessa.

What would Heaven be like?

Just recently I got the opportunity to collaborate with 10 really amazing girls explaining what they think/imagine heaven will be like. And I am really satisfied with the way it has turned out. This blog post will be split into 2 different parts, In each part 5 people will be sharing their wonderful views on […]

via What will it be like? (Part 1)  — my hearts revival

This author has collaborated with 10 others and have described what they think Heaven would be like 🙂 It’s a beautiful collage of  word pictures. While I’m doing something similar with my guest posts on worship, I love this idea 🙂 Swing by Sara’s blog (link above) and be blessed by and bless her.

 

 

Welcome to part 2! In this part 4 more lovely girls and myself have written what we imagine/think heaven will be like, happy reading! 🙂 Ashley: John 14:2-4 My fathers house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if […]

via What will it be like? (Part 2)  — my hearts revival

Till we meet again,

Vanessa

Picture from VisualHunt.com

My hour has not yet come, but it will.

Featured image from St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

In John 2 , Jesus has just chosen His first disciples and had gone to His hometown in Galilee. He and His disciples and His family were invited to a wedding in Cana. The wine for the celebration has run out, so the first thing that Mary, the mother of Jesus does, is  tell Him. She tells Him, Jesus says His time has not yet come, and not to involve Him. So Mary instead goes to the servants and tells them to do whatever He tells them. Jesus, out of respect for His mother, tells the servants to fill nearby jars with water and then changes the water into wine. The wine that He makes , tastes so much better , that even the master of the banquet comments on that to the hosts.

John mentions that this was the first of the signs* that Jesus did and so revealed His glory to His disciples.

But this was nearly three years before Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. In the beginning of Jesus’ ministry He warns various people He healed not to tell others. Jesus tells Simon (when he declared that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God) not to tell others. Jesus tells the three disciples who witnessed His transfiguration not to tell the others. Jesus also told them that they should remain silent about it, until He was glorified. That happened as Jesus conquered death when He rose again  from the dead and ascended up to Heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand. When He was lifted up, He drew all people to Him.

He made a way for us to receive salvation, hope and eternal life. But it is up to us to do so. He will respect our choice. Because it is not  yet His time. When He comes back in glory, and He will, He will come as King. He will come to administer justice and judgement. He will come and accept the reverence and worship of ALL people. Whether they are willing or not. As it is written in Phillipians 2:10-11, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. At that time, it will be HIS TIME. There won’t be any time left to make a decision regarding Jesus. So do so now. Now is the time to make Him Lord and Saviour of your life since He is patient and kind and not willing for any to perish but that all should come to Him as it says in 2 Peter 3:9  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.

If you are looking for Him, if you sincerely desire Him, just ask Him. Let Jesus know , you want to make Him Lord of your life. Look for a Bible based church close to you. Google the questions you want or look up sermons on YouTube. Now it’s easier than ever to find Him. Make use of that. Hebrews 3:13  says But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

In Ecclesiastes 1:1  it says The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king of Jerusalem: ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. This book is believed to be written by Solomon in his later years. He has by now, become very rich ( God gave that to Him), he’s married several women (700 wives and 300 concubines), he’s indulged in every pleasure known to man, he’s become very well known and sought after for his wisdom (He asked God for that). Solomon’s tried everything and done all and he then discovers it is ‘meaningless, a chasing after the wind’. At the end of the book he discovers that remembering the Creator and fearing him and keeping all His commandments is the only thing that matters.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

I’ve been reading my old posts and there seems to be a common theme underlying all of them. I talk/ weave into/ write about the temporary nature of our lives. How the joy and the sorrow, the tears and laughter, the sickness and health, the life and death will all be worth it, when Christ comes to take us home. I write about the temporary versus the eternal. Temporary being our lives, and the Eternal being the life we will have with Him. And I’m reminded that our days are very short. Our time on this Earth will come to an end soon. Right now is the time to make the choice for Him.

 

*Signs- John describes the signs that Jesus did in the gospel of John. These are signs that reveal / point to the Messiah and are fulfillments of prophesies in the OT. John shows that these signs are fulfilled by Jesus and acknowledges that Jesus alone is the promised Messiah (meaning “Anointed”) who is capable of saving man from his sins and judgement and can give man eternal life.

May I encourage you if you don’t know Him, to come to Him and make Him the Lord of your life. We don’t know how long we have, but the time has come. It is now.

With awe at God’s graciousness,

Vanessa.

 

Exodus part 2: The God who dwells among us.

Edited to add: This is the ONLY post which I finished in one sitting!!!! A big shout out to my husband who watched the kids on a Saturday while I was elsewhere and finished the whole thing over several hours. 

In the previous post, I wrote about chapters 1-20. I don’t know if I was stressed, worried, under attack or just exhausted but it took me longer to finish than I thought. We’ll continue with chapters 20-40 here. I hope to instill in you a love of His Word and a joy in reading it that will take you closer to Him and deeper in your faith. I’ve mentioned before that writing is my act of worship to Christ. Usually when I write ( and especially topics from the Bible), I’m reading and re-reading the Bible/passage constantly and then I see details I’ve missed before. When I put into words , I’m focusing on Him and asking for guidance on what I should share. I need to point out as well, that what I find important is based on where I am in my personal life, my up-bringing, my church’s doctrine and theology  taught by my pastor/s. It may be different for you. The only way for you to find out what you like and what is important for you is to read the Bible yourself.

Continuing with the journey………

In chapters 21-22: God gives provisions for slaves., male and female, bought or born in service. God says He will designate cities of refuge where those who un-intentionally kill someone can go while those who plotted deliberately must die. He further gives other instances where the crimes deserve death (attacks their father/mother, kidnaps someone, curses their father/mother). God gives guidelines for personal injury, for injury/death done to slaves, for injury/death done by animals owned, for personal property, for things that have been lost/damaged when borrowed. God talks about a man’s responsibility if he seduces a virgin. God talks about being kind to the foreigner, being just with a brother/kin when they borrow, being compassionate to the widows and the fatherless for When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate. God further tells the people to abstain from worship of idols, from sorcery, from blaspheming God.

In chapter 23: Here God gives them guidelines about taking Cannan. He’ll send His angel ahead of them, the Israelites are to follow his instructions and listen to him, for God’s name is in him. God will give the Israelites Canaan little by little, while He will drive out all the inhabitants of the land, He won’t do so all at once otherwise the land will become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for them. God also gives them further instructions about being just and merciful in their laws. He gives them rules for obeying the Sabbath ( day and year- the 7th year is to be a Sabbath year where they are not to plant anything or till the ground, but to allow the land to rest). God institutes three annual festivals where all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord.

In chapter 24: God invites specific people to come up to Him on the mountain. Before going up Moses builds an altar with 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Moses sent young Israelite men who sacrificed fellowship and burnt offerings. Moses uses half the blood to consecrate the altar and the other half to consecrate the people. Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. Moses and Joshua go up further, where they see the glory of God cover the mountain ( it looked like a cloud of fire) for 6 days, on the 7th day God invites Moses into the cloud.

In chapter 25: God asks Moses to accept offerings from the people for the tabernacle (gold, silver, precious stones, dyed skins etc, remember they plundered the Egyptians when they left). He tells Moses  “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. God then gives Moses detailed instructions regarding making an ark, a table for the ark of the covenant,  gold dishes to place the bread of the Presence on and a lampstand which you can read  about here.

Do your friends see God dwelling among and in you? –Tweet this!

In chapter 26: God gives very detailed instructions about building a tabernacle which you can read here.

In chapter 27: God tells Moses to make an altar for the burnt offerings Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were *shown on the mountain and with rings attached to it and poles that slide through them to carry it. He tells him to make a courtyard for the tabernacle and gives instructions about the oil to be used in the lampstand, you can reads it here. Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamp buring continually before the Lord.

In chapter 28: God tells Moses to Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. These priestly garments will be made by the ones to whom God has given wisdom and skill. They are to make an Ephod, a Breast-piece, a gold plate which has Holy to the Lord engraved on it, a turban onto which they attach the gold plate, tunics, sashes and caps made of linen , and linen undergarments. You can read the details here.

In chapter 29: The consecration of Aaron and his sons take place. The Lord gives very detailed instructions which you can read here. He tells Moses that the priestly duties belong to Aaron’s descendants as a lasting ordinance. He tells Moses to sacrifice several offerings which include a sin offering, a burnt offering and a wave offering. The reason that God will dwell in their amidst is so that 46 They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.

In chapter 30: God gives instructions for building an altar of incense ( again with gold rings attached to allow poles to slip through for carrying it). The Lord tells Moses  “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. Those older than 20 years are to counted and the money collected used in the service of the tent/tabernacle. A bronze basin is to be used for ceremonial washing. The ingredients to be used for the anointing oil and the incense are given and are not to be used for any other purpose.

In chapter 31: Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you. God reminds Moses again to tell the people to observe the Sabbath day ( a day of doing no work, but to keep it Holy because God is Holy).

In chapter 32: Moses is long in coming down from the mountain, the people get restless and want other gods, Aaron takes their gold ear-rings and makes a golden calf and the people worship it. God’s anger burns and He tells Moses that He will destroy them all and start afresh with Moses. But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. Moses reminds God of His covenant and His promises to the people. 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. Moses goes down with the two tablets of stone which were 16 the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. We see Joshua is with Moses. Moses throws the tablets breaking them into pieces at the foot of the mountain, He burns the calf, grinds it to powder, scatters it over the water and makes the Israelites drink it. Aaron makes excuses. Moses26  stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him. They strap on a sword and go and kill nearly 3000 of their fellow men and brothers. Moses tells them You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.” The next day Moses goes back up to the mountain and pleads with the Lord to forgive their sin or blot his(Moses’) name from the book. The Lord says He’ll only blot those names who sinned against Him. He tells Moses to continue to lead the people, His angel will go before them, and He’ll punish the people later.

   Do you seek the favour of the Lord your God on behalf of those you know, like Moses did?- Tweet this!

In chapter 33: God tells the people He won’t lead them into the promised land, they mourn and take off all their jewels at Mount Horeb(Sinai). Moses had pitched a tent outside of camp where he would go to speak with God. When the Glory of God came down, a pillar of smoke would cover the tent. The Israelites stood at the entrance of their tents and watched Moses go. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Moses pleads with God to lead them and  The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Moses asks to see God’s glory And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

In chapter 34: God tells Moses to chisel 2 more tablets just like the first and come up to the mountain. And he(the Lord) passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”. In addition to the 10 commandments, God gives Moses other commandments that he is to tell the people to follow. When Moses comes down from the mountain, his face is radiant, so when speaking to the people he puts a veil over his face, and takes it off when he is in the presence of the Lord.

In chapter 35: Moses tells the people what God had commanded him regarding Sabbath regulations, materials for the tabernacle and Bezalel and Oholiab . You can read the complete list here.

In chapter 36: So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.” The people bring so much for the tabernacle that is more than enough. The workers tell Moses who in turn asks the people to stop bringing offerings for the tabernacle.

tabernacle

In chapters 37-38: At the end of the previous chapter and in these ones, we see the skilled workers making the tabernacle, the ark, the table, the lampstand and the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering, the basin for washing, the courtyard and the measurements of the materials used.

In chapter 39: The priestly garments are made. The Ephod, the Breast-plate and the other priestly garments. Moses inspects the tabernacle.

In chapter 40:  Then the Lord said to Moses: “Set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, on the first day of the first month. Place the ark of the covenant law in it and shield the ark with the curtain. Bring in the table and set out what belongs on it. Then bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. Place the gold altar of incense in front of the ark of the covenant law and put the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle.“Place the altar of burnt offering in front of the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting; place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it. Set up the courtyard around it and put the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard.“Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy. 10 Then anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils; consecrate the altar, and it will be most holy. 11 Anoint the basin and its stand and consecrate them. Then Moses consecrates Aaron and his sons and dresses them in the priestly garments. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. When the cloud lifted, the Israelites travelled, when they cloud stayed on the tabernacle, the Israelites camped.

*I love the fact that God shows Moses on the mountain what the tabernacle will look like, but still takes the time to give Moses detailed instructions.

I started writing he post with the intention of making it shorter than the previous one, but it still ended up being over 2000 words! Sorry!!! I hope you’ll take the time to read the Bible yourself. Start somewhere. Start small. Read a devotional with a verse, go up to a chapter, then a few chapters, then read commentaries and go deeper. May God who dwells among us make Himself known to you in a way you will not forget.

Love,

Vanessa.

 

 

I AM the way, the truth and the life.

Marcellino D’Ambrosio (Dr. Italy)
“As long as you believe in God and try to be a good person, your religion doesn’t matter.” “There are different paths up the same mountain, but they all lead to the peak.”

How many times have you heard people speak this way? This is the prevailing wisdom. It’s politically correct. Tolerant. Reasonable.

But it’s wrong. Jesus has the nerve to say “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”

The highway to heaven had been closed for centuries. God did not set up the road block. We did. But the barriers that we erected were immovable. At least by us. God was the only one who could open the way.

There was a problem with truth and life as well. Sure, people had some ideas about God. But the ideas were shadowy, fragmentary and mingled with distortions. Everyone in the ancient world knew there was a Creator we were obliged to worship. But some thought homage required human sacrifice. And most thought that there were many gods. A few, like Aristotle, realized that there could only be one God. But he imagined this God to be remote and aloof, unconcerned with human affairs.

Finally there was the issue of life, divine life. Even the Jews, who had the most truth about God, had a problem here. They knew what God required. But even the best among them lacked the power to do it. Take David for instance. When the chips were down, he proved defenseless against the power of lust, deceit, and even murder.

Jesus is the way. Indeed he is a two way street. In him, God comes to meet us, holding nothing back, offering everything of who he is and what he has. Through Him and Him alone, we have access to God to such a point that we can now call him Abba, Father.

Jesus is the truth. Not just some truth but the entire truth. He is God’s definitive and perfect Word expressing who God is, what He’s like, who we are, and what we need to do to be saved from misery and futility.

And Jesus is the life. He gives us not only commandments and noble ideals, but also the power to live them out, the power to become new people. That Power is the Lord and Giver of Life Himself, the Holy Spirit, who Jesus pours out on those who accept Him.

So there is only one Way, one Truth, one Life, and one Priest who offers a perfect sacrifice for sins. So how can it be that we are called a royal priesthood (I Peter 2)? How can it be that we who believe in Him are to do greater works than he? (John 14:11-12)

Simple. Once we’ve been baptized, there is no longer a separation between us, on the one hand, and Him on the other. We are baptized into him, become members of his body, so he begins to live his life and exercise his priesthood through us.

If we let him, he will use our lips to spread his truth, our lives to show the way, and our love to give others life. And the works He will accomplish through us will far surpass what he did in his three short years of public ministry. More hungry will be fed, more sick healed, more books written. Tyrannical, atheistic empires will even be brought down. The Good News will be preached not just in Galilee, but all over the world, not just in person, but touching millions at a time . . . through radio, TV, and internet.

But the greatest work that He will accomplish through us is to teach us to be priests, to offer the spiritual sacrifice of our own lives (Romans 12:2) to the Father through Him, with Him, and in Him. For the meaning of human life is to love, and the greatest gift we’ve received from Him is the power to give ourselves away.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life — What does Jesus Christ mean when he says this John 14:1-12?

This is taken from here, Crossroads Initiative bible study.