Saturday, August 25, 2018

Who is Jesus? Chapter 19 Jesus meets a Religious Leader.

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Even So Must the Son of Man be Lifted Up

Who is Jesus? Chapter 19  Jesus meets a Religious Leader.

Late one evening Jesus had a visitor, Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a leader of the Jews; who stated, I know you are a teacher sent from God, because no one can do these miracles, unless God is with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  These words puzzled Nicodemus, and he asked, how can a man be born again when he is old; how can he enter again into his mother's womb and be born?

Jesus answered Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  The wind blows and you hear the sound, but you can't know where it comes and goes.

Nicodemus answered, "How can these things be?"

Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You being a teacher of the law should understand about "Being Born Again." 

(Jesus was referring to the prophesy of Ezekiel 36:25-28.)  Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, I will cleanse you.  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.  And I will be your God.

Jesus continued speaking: If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 

Jesus predicted his death by reminding Nicodemus of when God told Moses to lift up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Son of man be lifted upThat whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

Jesus continued with a verse it would be good to memorize if you haven't already done so:  John 3:16  "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

Nicodemus left Jesus that night with much to think about.  It is good for us also to contemplate what Jesus said: 

Have you considered these words of Jesus?  "God so loved the World, (and that includes YOU;) that whosoever (and that also includes you;) will believe on Jesus, you should not perish but have everlasting life."  

All it takes is a choice to believe and receive Jesus into your life and you will be "born again."  Today is a good day to do make that decision.

Listen, the wind is blowing - - - it is speaking to you now.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Who is Jesus? Chapter 18 "Jesus had Righteous Indignation"

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Jesus Loves Little Children

Who is Jesus? Chapter 18 "Jesus had Righteous Indignation"

The Passover celebration was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen, sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there, and He became very angry. Making a whip of cords, Jesus drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a place of business for you have made it a den of thieves when it should be a house of prayer.”  His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Why would Jesus do all this damage?  Was He concerned that God's house was being occupied with confusion of buying and selling animals instead of prayer and worship?  Was it the fact that unfair business practices were taking advantage of those who came to sacrifice their animals?  Or was it to reveal another truth that soon the entire temple would be destroyed by an enemy nation?

Almost in the same breath, Jesus announced "Destroy this temple and in three days I will rise it up again."  He was not speaking of the Synagogue building, but of his body being the temple and rising again after being dead for three days.

On another occasion Jesus became angry and displeased with those who refused to allow children to come to Him.   Mark 10:13 tells us:  People were bringing little children and even their babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Absolutely I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Jesus is a protector of children and on another occasion he declared with much aggravation and displeasure;  Surely I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Who ever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And who ever  receives one such little child in my name receives me.  But who ever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it would be better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 

WOW,  Jesus; you really do not like child abusers in any way, shape or form!!

Paul reminds us that we all do get angry at times, but we can learn to control our emotions and stop the furious rage in time before it does permanent damage. Make things right with the person you are angry with, before the sun goes down.  

The New Living Translation edited says Ephesians 4:26, 31 this way: And "don't sin by allowing anger to control you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting, rudeness and slander be removed from you, along with all spite and meanness."

Yes, we do get angry at times, but be reminded to cool down and forgive those who offend you;  letting your aggravation expire as the sun goes down.  Remember God says, vengeance is mine and I will repay them, so it is best to allow God to fight for you.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Who is Jesus? Chapter 17 Jesus the Creator

John begins his gospel in chapter one by referring to Jesus as the "Word;"  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.   John also calls Jesus the creator who made all things and without him not anything was made.  In Jesus was life who brings light to men.  

John continues to speak about Jesus as the Word saying "and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

John is giving testimony that he and others had been witnesses of Jesus and the mighty works that He had done.  As we go on, it is important for us to remember that John in his Gospel called Jesus; God and that He is "the creator of all things."

As Jesus ministered and healed many people, there were multitudes that surrounded him, pressing and pushing.  I am reminded that Jesus would often retreat to a desert place or a mountain, to rest and pray to His Father God.

One day by the sea as the crowd circled Jesus, he spied two ships as the fishermen were washing their nets.  Jesus asked if he might sit in one of the boats and they gave permission. This would give him relief from being poked and pressed upon, but yet he was able to minister from a safe place.

After teaching for several hours, Jesus requested Peter to launch out into the deep and cast out his net.  Peter replied, we have toiled all night and caught nothing nevertheless at your word we will do this."  The men probably thought how ridiculous this was, but again they decided, "Why not?" So they threw their nets over the side and suddenly their nets were full of fishes, so full they had to call others to help them bring the nets in lest they break.  

Peter, with James and John the sons of Zebedee and the others with them were astonished, and Peter fell down at Jesus feet saying, Lord I am a sinful man.  Jesus was all knowing and he was able to see something great in Peter and the others, so Jesus told them, Don't be afraid, because from now on you shall become fisher's of men.  And they forsook all and followed Jesus.

As we consider what just happened and ask how did those fish get into that net?  let me remind you that Jesus is the Creator.  Two things could be what happened.  Either Jesus was like a "Fish Whisperer" and called all the fish to come jump into the net, or I prefer to believe Jesus created fish from nothing to be placed into the net.

Now the King had put John the Baptist in prison because John told the king it was wrong to take his brother's wife for himself.  As things happened, the wife and her daughter schemed to have John the Baptist executed, and when it was accomplished the sad message came to Jesus about the death of his cousin.  This was terrible news, and Jesus needed to get away from the enveloping crowds, so he said to his disciples, let us take a boat and go to the other side of the lake to a desert place and rest. 

The people were quick to see Jesus shipping out, so they decided to go on foot and perhaps get there soon after Jesus arrived.   Sure enough they found Jesus, and he had compassion on them and began to teach them many things until it was late.  

His disciples came to him saying, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late.  Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”  But Jesus answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy four thousand dollars[ worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”  

Then Jesus commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.  And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and the fish giving them to the disciples to set before the people. And they all ate and were satisfied.  And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces of bread and fish.  And those who ate the loaves and fish were five thousand men.  Notice the five thousand did not include women and children.  Also notice there were 12 baskets full of left over food.

Where did all of this food come from?  Again we are reminded that Jesus is the creator, and as he broke the bread and fish into pieces, it was multiplied and was enough to feed a multitude of people.

 Immediately he commanded his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.  And when darkness fully came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.  Jesus could see that they were painfully making little headway, for the wind was against them. And about three o'clock in the morning  Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. 

He meant to pass by them,  but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out,  for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Fear not; it is I; Do not be afraid.”  And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,  for they were still puzzled about the loaves, because their hearts were hardened.

You might say; "How could Jesus walk on water?"  As I consider this; I wonder if since he is the creator, did Jesus form a firm pathway so he could reach their boat?  

These and many other questions will need to wait until we see Jesus in heaven.  

In the meantime, I chose to believe as John told us that Jesus God and He is the creator of all things.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Who is Jesus? Chapter 16 (Jesus casts out devils, heals and raises the dead.)

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Today's message is taken from Mark chapter 6 English Standard Version.  Notice in  these three stories for today that each person acknowledged that Jesus was and IS the Son of God and the Messiah.  With words, with worship and with Faith in action.

The storm was now quiet and Jesus and his disciples in the boat had crossed to the other side, arriving at the country of the Gerasenes.  And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.

And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces.  And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him.  

And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”  For Jesus was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”  And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”  And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 

Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside,  and the unclean spirits begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.”  So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.  When the herdsmen saw this they were frightened because their business was hurt by this miracle.  They pleaded with Jesus to leave and not bother them.  

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might go with him.  And Jesus did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim through out the cities of Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea.   Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet worshiping him  and implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And Jesus went with him. 
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him pushing and shoving.  

Now there was a woman with a discharge of blood who for twelve years had suffered much under many physicians, having spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.  She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.  For she said, “If I touch even  the hem of his garment, I will be made well.”  And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.  

And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?”  And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’  

Jesus looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”  But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”  And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.  They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus  saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.  

And when Jesus had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.”  And the mourners laughed at him. 

But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  

Immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.  And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. 

Today do not fear to come to Jesus with your problems large or small.  Reach out and touch Jesus for He is able to do for you the impossible - - regardless what others say or believe.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Who is Jesus? Chapter 15 Jesus quiets the storms in our Lives.

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Peace Be Still

Who is Jesus? Chapter 15   Jesus quiets the storms in our Lives.

Jesus had been teaching parables and stories while sitting in a boat.  At the end of the day he ended his teaching by likening a small mustard seed as to the Kingdom of God.  For us God's kingdom for us becomes a place where we can find comfort, peace, safety and rest.

Reading from Matthew 13:31-32 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that The Birds of the air come and find safety in It's Branches."

Jesus had been teaching for a long while, and he was tired.  The crowds were not going home, so the best solution was to ask the boat owners to take him to a quiet place across the sea to the other side.  Jesus words, were "Let us Go Over to the Other Side."  Jesus knew ahead of time that they would safely reach their destination. 

As a side thought here let me insert what I do when I fly on an airplane.  As I approach the plane, I reach out to touch the door and I softly say, "Let us Go Over to The Other Side."  I enter the airplane with NO fear, because I know that I shall reach my place of intention.  It might be a good thing for us to also practice saying this each time as we enter our automobile or other vehicle of travel.

The small boat was now out on the water, but a violent wind threw huge waves into the boat and it was in danger of sinking.  Was Jesus worried?  No he was asleep because He had just experienced a full day and a nap was in order.  The disciples however were terribly afraid, and woke Jesus up saying, "Master, don't you care that we are perishing?"  

Jesus stood up and said these words, "Peace be Still," and immediately the wind calmed down and all was well.  The disciples were however puzzled and said to each other; "What manner of man is this that ever the wind and the sea obey him?"

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where there seems to be only turmoil, and no way to bring a quiet solution?  First We need to take time to pray in our quiet place. Then we will be able to softly say "Peace be Still?"  Understand that our words have more power than we can ever imagine. 

Jesus prayed in private and received instruction from his Father God, then he went out with Words of Power.  As He spoke miracles happened.  

I am reminded of Proverbs 18:21 that says, "Life and Death are in the power of the tongue."  and Deuteronomy 30:19 - I call heaven and earth to record this day against you,  I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: The best answer is to chose Life.

The Lord spoke to Joshua in chapter 1 saying:  This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make thy way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.

Are you desiring prosperity and success in your life?  

Finding and writing down the scriptures that encourage you is a good practice.  Reading these inspiring words out loud is a way to hear yourself say God's word.  Faith comes by HEARING and hearing by the Word. 

Say with your mouth, and listen with your ears and the mustard seed faith in you will grow in your heart into a giant tree, where others may come and find shelter.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Who is Jesus? chapter 14 Jesus Heals Diseases and Teaches from a Boat

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Jesus Heals Man with Leprosy

Who is Jesus? chapter 14 

Today's message is from the English Standard Version of Matthew chapter 8.   I am reminded that Jesus had been teaching on the mountain, and when he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 

And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean."  And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  And Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them that you are now healed."

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly."  And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him."  

But the centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."   

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; let it be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.

That evening they brought to Jesus many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "He took our sickness and bore our diseases."

The next day as the crowds surrounded Jesus, he requested to use one of the boats by the sea.  He sat in the boat while the people on the shore could watch and hear him.  He taught them with illustrated stories about good seed being sown on various types of ground. Some of the seeds did well but others not so good.  

And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.

And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables.  And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?  

The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 

And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.  And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.  

And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word,  but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  

But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty fold and sixty fold and a hundredfold.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.  He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.   If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.  For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” 

Today as we read or hear God's Word, we must also come with a willing heart and mind to learn what is truth and have a teachable spirit to welcome all that Jesus is into our life.  Jesus is real and He is alive and His desire is to become your Personal friend and savior.  

Jesus loves you and he is waiting for your invitation to receive Him into your life.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Who is Jesus? Chapter 13 The Sermon on the Mount

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The Sermon on the Mount

Who is Jesus? Chapter 13  

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.  And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatics, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan

The crowds pressed upon Him, and as it was often necessary for Jesus to get away to a quiet place; so he went up onto a mountain and his disciples and some of the people followed him.

Matthew's gospel recounts in chapters 5, 6 and 7 what is known as the "Sermon on the Mount."  There Jesus began to teach by saying;

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are the meek, and humble persons, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 

Blessed are you when you are persecuted for righteousness sake, and people will say all manner of evil about you falsely.  Simply rejoice for great is your reward in heaven. 

Jesus went on to speak of similarities; you are the salt of the earth, but take heed not to lose your flavor or then salt is good for nothing.  He likened believers to a city set on a hill where all could view the light coming from it and urged believer to let their light shine.

Jesus warned of undue anger and holding grudges against others.  Rather to make things right and forgive.

Jesus said to be sensible of what you look at, for the eye gate is entry into the soul. 

To be cautious when you give your word and not to swear using God's name.

Jesus taught to love your enemies and that a kindness of giving a cup of water will heap coals of fire on your enemies head.

He spoke about charitable giving; not to make a show openly, but rather to give in secret.

Jesus was also against making a display when you pray, but instead find a quiet place even if it is your closet.

Jesus gave us an example of how to pray to "Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name." 

The most important thing is - - when you pray, to come with a clean heart free from bitterness, hard feelings and unforgiveness.  Jesus said, forgive first - - then pray, because your prayers will not even be heard if you harbor unforgiveness in your heart.

Jesus reminded that we cannot serve two masters.  We must serve God only and obey Him.

Jesus spoke about fasting, but again do this in secret - - to become close to God, not to display your righteous and holy look. 

Investments on earth are good, but true treasure is stored up in heaven, as God keeps records.

Jesus spoke about fear and said;  Be not anxious and do not worry, because your Father God knows what you need even before you ask. 
The important thing is to seek God and His kingdom first and then all these other things you fret about will be added to you.  Jesus said Ask, Seek and knock and God shall give it to you, because God is a "Good Father."

Lastly, Jesus ended his sermon by saying, to listen carefully and to heed his teachings, for doing so is like a man who built his house on a rock and when the storms come, his house will stand.  The foolish do not pay attention and build on the sand, and when the storms come their house is washed away and lost. 

Matthew 7:28  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 

Today, each of us must realize we are to become good listeners, and then doers of the Word.  Hear what is being taught, and put it into practice so that your foundation is built on the Rock, Christ Jesus and not on the sand.  😍