Tag Archives: Genesis

Genesis 9,10; Matthew 9; Ezra 9; Acts 9

Not everyone goes to a doctor when they’re sick. Sometimes, they wait for illness to pass on its own. Sometimes they mask symptoms with temporary remedies just so they can get through the day or night. Sometimes they become so accustomed to the pain and discomfort that it becomes the new normal, and they don’t realize how bad off they are.

Jesus performs a lot of miracles in Matthew 9. He first forgives a paralyzed man for his sins–for which the watching teachers scoff. So Jesus tells the man to stand, take his mat and go (he does). Another man asks Jesus to come to his house because his daughter just died. On the way, a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years reaches out to be healed, and is healed. (The dead daughter is raised again.) Two blind men encounter Jesus and their sight is restored. Jesus heals the sick.

10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:10-13, NLT)

Sick people go to a doctor to get well, not to stay sick. These examples are of sick people (paralyzed, bleeding, dead, blind) who are healed. An encounter with Jesus is life changing.

16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:16-17, NLT)

I sit at this table this morning with these words. They are rich and full. Readings from four different books covering sin, legacy, life change, faith, prayer, transformation.

If he wanted me to stay just as I was, he need not have come. I might have waited for my affliction to pass, or continued to treat it myself, or worst of all–lived life oblivious of my infirmity and just accepted it as part of me.

Thank you, Lord, for all your miracles, not only to heal physically, but to transform spiritually. You love us so much. This wine in new wineskins so that both are preserved. You are so good.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 28-29; Mark 11

A dead fig tree, the desecrated Temple and a lesson on prayer. Jesus intentionally weaves metaphorical, physical and spiritual realities together. At the heart of his message is our relationship with God rooted in prayer.

Jesus carefully inspects the Temple. The next morning, in full view of the disciples he curses the fruitless fig tree. Later that day:

When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, The Scriptures declare, “My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,  but you have turned it to a den of thieves.”  Mark 11:15-17

And back to the cursed fig tree the next morning. The disciples take note that it is withered from the roots up. Then Jesus launches into a lesson on prayer:

I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.  Mark 11:24-26

The fig tree can’t survive with dead roots. Neither can the Temple. The people of Israel were once grounded in prayer, but their hearts turned from God. Prayer has been replaced by self service, power grabbing and stealing from God. The people of God, created in his very image no longer reflected his glory.

What does all this mean for me?  I am made for prayer. God designed me to be rooted in his love. To seek nourishment from anything, anyone other than God is to be rooted in poison. The very God who forgave my sin, the ultimate betrayal, wants me to come into his Presence, but to do that I must be rooted in his grace and love, not in grudge holding, self pity and unforgiveness. What is true for me, is true for everyone. When I pray, God listens; when I believe in him, the miraculous happens.

Father, forgive me for when I fail to extend grace to others as you have done for me. Show me when I hold onto grudges, self pity and pride.  Keep me from seeking nourishment from any source other than you, for you alone are God. Thank you that you hear my prayers. Hold me close when my wandering heart starts to drift from your side. 

Klueh

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Genesis 24-25; Psalm 4; Mark 9

All things are possible for those who believe…

To believe is to have confidence in the truth and the reliability of something, without necessarily having proof that belief is correct. It is a form of faith.

That belief in God’s dependability is demonstrated throughout the whole Bible.

…a servant sent out for a bride…

12The servant said, “Lord, you are the God of my master Abraham. Allow me to find a wife for his son today. Please show this kindness to my master Abraham. 13Here I am, standing by the spring of water. The girls from the city are coming out to get water. 14I will say to one of the girls, ‘Please put your jar down so I can drink.’ Then let her say, ‘Drink, and I will also give water to your camels.’ If that happens, I will know she is the right one for your servant Isaac. And I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” Genesis 24:12-14

…a couple’s desire for a child…

21Isaac’s wife could not have children. So Isaac prayed to the Lord for her. The Lord heard Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant. Genesis 25:21

…and even a father desperate for his son’s restoration to health.

23Jesus said to the father, “You said, ‘If you can!’ All things are possible for him who believes.”

24Immediately the father cried out, “I do believe! Help me to believe more!” Mark 9:23-24

David also believed in God’s steadfastness as a young man and continued in that faith until his death.

1Answer me when I pray to you,

my God who does what is right.

Lift the load that I carry.

Be kind to me and hear my prayer…

7But you have made me very happy.

I am happier than they are,

even with all their grain and wine.

8I go to bed and sleep in peace.

Lord, only you keep me safe.

Ps 4:1; 7-8

The common denominator of each of these snippets of belief is prayer. Each man, in his own way, demonstrated their belief with a faith prayer, trusting that God would not let them down – and true to His character, He didn’t forsake them. God provided a wife for Isaac. Rebekah bore twins. The boy was set free of the demons that were destroying him. David’s load was lifted and he was made happy and given peace and safety.

Sometimes it takes me longer than I’d like to admit to take time to pray when I’m experiencing troubles. When I don’t pray, I slowly start looking away from God’s trustworthiness to my own strength. But when I put my focus back on Him, position myself before Him in supplication and gratitude, my belief, my faith in God opens up myriads of possibilities and His Glory shines through my life.

Yesappa, strengthen my belief in You. Help me walk out my trust through prayer, casting my cares at Your feet, trusting You to provide exactly what I need, when I need it, and being grateful for the peace that comes with knowing You are my Good, Good Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

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Genesis 3-5 and Mark 2

God created them Adam and Eve, not nincompoops!  It occurred to me while reading Genesis that when God walked in the cool of the garden with Adam and Eve, He talked with them probably about life to come, about love for one another, about creation, and so many other things spiritual, natural, and supernatural. In other words, Adam and Eve didn’t just shuffle along behind Him in stupefied silence – they talked, listened, questioned, and learned. They hung on His every word.

Likewise, when Jesus began His ministry He also walked with the people and preached to them spiritual truths, how to live rightly, and how to believe even in things to come. Like the description in Genesis concerning God’s presence with Adam and Eve, the second chapter in Mark relates the personable, human side of Christ who ate and drank with His disciples, sharing in their hospitality, showing the heart of His Father toward them. Though the religious leaders could not bear to hear His words, the multitude jostled each other to get close to Jesus. Those that persevered with belief in Christ came to understand how God relates to us and us to Him. Jesus said, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him,” (John 14:7).

Reading about God and His Son walking among men and talking with them makes me envy those intimate moments that people shared with them. I long to be physically close to Jesus my Savior so that I could reach my arm around His shoulder or accidentally bump into Him as we walked side by side.

I have a similar longing when I’m talking with my friend on the phone. She lives too far from me to visit; and when I hear her voice, I just wish we were sitting in a coffee shop sharing dessert and patting each other’s hand as we talk, cry, and laugh together – sometimes all in the same conversation!

There is more, however, to satisfy thirst when in Christ’s presence than what is gained from phileo love or a meeting of the minds. This deeper and more intense relationship with Christ is perhaps the same desire of Adam and Eve after the garden tragedy – what was lost intensified the expectation that all things would be set right with the coming of the Messiah. That is what I long for this year from reading God’s Word, meditating on His truths, and wrestling my needs and wants to the holy ground at God’s feet. I expect that all things will be set right…and how else can I hope to touch Him or to be known by His all-consuming love even now?

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Genesis 49, 50; Galatians 4

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:19-20

I can think of many times in my life when the enemy, working through other people, has tried to harm me in some way or another, whether physically or emotionally. In the midst of the experience it is hurtful and frustrating. It often leads to feelings of hopelessness and a total loss of control. In my flesh, the aggravation distracts me and I tend take my focus off of God, putting it instead on the circumstances that surround me.

When I realize that I have stopped looking to God, which sad to say sometimes takes longer than I’d like to admit, I know something has to change. I must put my eyes on Jesus. When I refocus on what matters I am more able to look objectively at what is really happening, and more often than not I can see God working through the difficulties. I can feel His hand on me guiding and comforting. I experience His grace and mercy and peace. He gives me wisdom for the situation and encouragement in the trial.

But sometimes it takes longer for me to see. Sometimes I fail to look to God until the situation has passed and I only see the truth through hindsight. I am grateful that hindsight is 20/20. It allows me to see the whole picture, the big picture. It allows me to see exactly where God was using the state of affairs to teach and grow me and it allows me see where He was carrying me through when I felt like I was all alone. It allows me to see the good that God produced from something horrible in my life and made it turn out for the best.

I truly believe that everything that I go through, even the bad experiences, are going to be used by God in moments of my future for the good of myself and/or someone else. I know that every challenge I survive gives me experiential knowledge that I can pass on; it gives me authority over an area of struggle and allows me to stand in the gap for others.

The enemy wants to kill and destroy me, but God redeems and restores everything in my life, using the enemy’s plans to harm me and brings something wonderful out of the ashes of my life.

Yesappa, Thank You.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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