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Happy Easter, my precious friend. May His Peace be upon your family and you, and may His Glory Shine through you always.

Happy Easter everyone. Festivities or family gatherings aside,it's a good day to remember the greatest fact of our faith, Resurrection!

And yes, that widow's story is one of my favourite ones too! :-) It also reminds me of Jacob's wrestling with God (or God's angel) in Genesis. In many religions there is no persistence or intimacy in the faith. The deity is remembered or invited on few festive occasions and is sent back to heavens to be remembered on some other occasion.

Compare this to our personal relationship with the Trinity that is recorded from Genesis to Revelation. Our very perosnal and only true God who cares for us and is with us every moment. The God who is the Almighty and yet He came on this planet in flesh to love, teach and suffer, be ridiculed, tortured, crucified. Such is our loving God, who never forsakes us if we hold onto Him. This is our sweetest comfort and biggest security... that God is with us.

And surely, God looks at the heart. He does not care how intellectually we have come to understand Him :-). David's deep love for God, his remarkable humility and heart cries before the Lord in times of suffering is what true faith is.

Honestly, reading about the division of the land to the tribes of Israel puts me to sleep. Is the detail of the land's division that important that it has survived thousands of years to be read by someone as far removed from Israel as myself? I'm sure it must have some significance if God allowed it to come this far. Any thoughts from anyone?
The persistant widow is a great story. It is very similar to how we here in Massaschusetts have to be with our local politicians to get them to represent us. I do understand that we need to be this way in our prayer life as well. It serves to increase our relationship and our faith with the Lord.
Hope you all have a Happy Easter. I do like the term 'Ressurection Sunday' better.
Jim

Let's all enjoy the glory of the Resurection, Christ's power over death and sin!!!

Twow things stood out for me today from the readings.
First, the image of the tax collector. This is a great reminder of our complete humility in prayer and our total faith in God's mercy and loving forgiveness.

Second, "...anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Oftentimes we get caught up with our own intellectualizations about faith and spirituality that we forget being like little children----filled with awe and wonder, curious and spontaneous, simple and with so much love and warmth to give, innocent and so easy to forgive...
Until we become like little children, we'll never hear God's true message.

Joshua 13:1-14:15


When Joshua had reached a venerable age, GOD said to him, "You've had a good, long life, but there is a lot of land still to be taken. This is the land that remains: …"I myself will drive them out before the People of Israel. All you have to do is allot this land to Israel as an inheritance, as I have instructed you. Do it now: Allot this land as an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh." (Joshua 13:1-7 MSG)

I just loving reading the Bible because even when the reading seems dry and non-essential, like nuggets of gold buried in a mountain, something always pops up if you continue in diligence. Let us be as smart as cows, eat the hay and leave the sticks. Who knows when you will develop your palate so that you realize that inside the sticks something wonderful is waiting to be tasted?

Yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, If you seek [Wisdom] as for silver and search for skillful and godly Wisdom as for hidden treasures, Then you will understand the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of [our omniscient] God. [Prov. 1:7.] (Proverbs 2:3-5 AMP)

What I have gleaned from today’s Old Testament Reading is this: Age, old age, is not the time to become unproductive, God has given, and so you must continue to “take” as long as you have breath to breathe upon the earth. God is listing, though Joshua, all the land He has given them and the boundaries Moses gave to carve up the land. We, have been given, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, New Life. Jesus gave and we accept that gift when we receive Him as our Savior, as well as Lord.

With our acceptance, we become a New Creation [Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)]. However, within that “new creation” we must get out those things that are not of God and fill them with newness of life. [So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)]

Again, the Old Testament was written to be an example for us, both in things to do as well as what not to do. (I Corinthians 10)

God is AWESOME,

Grace and peace, and Happy Resurrection Sunday
Ramona

Happy Easter for everyone who's celebrating easter...we celebrated palm sunday today in church.A friend(non christian)asked me when I celebrate Easter..I answered,every day.
Everyone loves the persistent widow I see...so do I.Sometimes I feel silly asking God over and over cos to me it feels like I am telling God...I'm gonna keep bugging you till you give me an answer:))...then what about the faith issue.He says when you ask,believe you have received it...so if you believe that..why do you keep asking and asking...Well there's something this season that I really really want so maybe I'll just keep asking like the widow:)
God bless you all

Little Children

I used to think the teachings on "little children" here and parallel verses in Matthew and Mark was all about being as "humble" as a child. Having worked with large groups of children in the past - I would include and concur with some of roslyn's observations regarding little children.

Matthew and Mark used the Greek word "paidion" for children. This could mean infants or little children. Luke leaves no doubt - he uses "brephos" MEANING babies.

Babies are too young to have faith. Babies certainly are not humble, as most parents will attest. They want what they want - NOW.

So if the illustration involves babies, what characteristics are we looking to resemble?

One of the great things about this blog is it hooked me up with reading the commentaries of Bob Deffinbaugh. I very rarely disagree with him, and it is usually over a minor point. He brings up analysis that runs counter some other commentators, but he presents it in an affable, logical, consistent style. He has made me rethink several of my pre-existing understandings of the Bible - and that is good.

I will let Bob take over here with some excerpts from his "little children" analysis.
======================================================

"Unlike the other two gospel writers, Luke emphasized the fact that these children which were brought to Jesus were infants—babes. The parallel accounts of Matthew (19:13-15) and Mark (10:13-16) make it clear that these babes were being brought to Jesus to bless by placing His hands on them (Mark 10:16) and praying for them (Matthew 19:13).

We are told that Jewish children were brought to the rabbi for a blessing on their first birthday."


"I believe that Jesus was using the coming of the children to Him to be blessed as an illustration of the way in which all men must come to Him for a blessing. That is, if we would come to Jesus for a blessing, we must not come in our own strength (the babes were carried), we must not come through our own understanding, our own wisdom, our own good works. We can only come to Christ in our helpless state, looking to Him and to His grace alone. We must come out of our weakness and helpless state, not out of our own righteousness. Here is the difference between all of those who came to Jesus and were “saved” and those who were “healthy” and thus never were saved, because they were too healthy, too good, too pious to need grace. The thing which commends children to Christ is their helplessness, not their goodness. And this is precisely what must characterize every person who comes into the kingdom—they come as those who are helpless and undeserving, entering into His blessings because of God’s goodness and grace, not due to their own merits. Here is the child-like quality which must characterize all who would enter into His kingdom."

http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=1125
======================================================

I have stated before that it took me quite some time to become "born again". I said the prayer - and to me - it did not work. Perhaps I was in the process as my pastor said - I believe because I came to God intellectually but with not the right heart - I was not indwelt with the Holy Spirit. It was not until I was in the second week of praying, that I fell into that helpless (like a baby) broken state that salvation occurred. The reason I know - because that was the night I was cured of two illnresses and relieved of an addiction. (Funny how God works in threes :)

That is why Bob's analysis rings true to me. Perhaps my case was extreme because of the 48 years of having a "hardened" heart. Maybe others "helpless state" is just the sincere acknowledgement that they are sinners and helpless to solve the eternal life dilema on their own. Regardless - Bob's anlaysis still rings true to me.

"Perhaps I was in the process as my pastor said - I believe because I came to God intellectually but with not the right heart - I was not indwelt with the Holy Spirit."John
The question I'll be asking might have nothing to do with today's reading but I feel this is the right place for me to get an answer. I'll be happy for the answer to be emailed if not wanting to post here. John...I pasted a bit of your post above because I know that's exactly where my husband is at at the moment. I gave my heart to the lord in October last year but he hasn't. He's puzzled but he's not wanting to be led by emotions. He asks me questions that I have no answers for. I just know how I feel about walking this path with the Lord. Well..he had a question yesterday that I hope someone can answer as I am fairly new at bible reading. He seems to think that Adam and Eve existed 6,000 years ago which according to him does not agree with the history of the prehistoric man who existed million of years ago. Does it mention anywhere in the bible when Adam and Eve were created? Was it the first books of the OT that might date 6,000 years ago? I hope someone can answer my question or direct me to where I can get this information.As I said I'd be happy for the answer to be emailed to me. Thanks.

Hey Oriane, I've had this discussion countless times with countless people. I really think creation dating is a secondary issue. But if you go to http://www.girs.com/library/theology/syllabus/pcacreation.html you'll see a well thought out explanation of the 7 day creation story (which brings you to about 6,000 years) and the "epic" creation theory, which would be more in line with carbon dating and such. The linked to article is by the PCA denomination, where they tried to come to unity on the issue. They could not, which I suppose is unfortunate for them, but is really good for us because we can see the well reasoned views of both sides.

FYI, before I read the article I was a literal 7 days, 6,000 years guy. Now I lean more toward the epic view.

But where they get the 6,000 years is by doing the geneologies from Adam to Christ.

Hasta,
sm

Thank you for that, Shane. I'll have a read of this link.

Creation dating is such a tricky subject. Actually, I wasnt even aware of it until I started hearing about it on Christian TV and Christian websites few months back.

I have always been very interested in varied space missions, outer space discoveries, history of our planet, ancient civilizations. It is a matter of extremee interest to me what sort of relationship-if any- God has had with the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Native Americans and those remote races living in the Arctic circle.

Someone just gave me a book written by a Chinese missionary that shows many characters of Chinese script tell biblical stories like Noah's Ark!! :-) I am not that sure. Secret things surely belong to God and the rest is human speculation. I remember reading bits from Chariots of God by Eric Von Daniken. It's funny that Christianity is a great source of making money for the Atheists and non Christians. (Think about Dan Brown's ''codes''!)

And I think Biblical dating of earth is more of a knee-jerk reaction by some evangelists to shut up science worshippers. But it's a slippery slope. Bible has lots of metaphors. Purpose of Genesis was to tell the Creation account and inform us that God is the Creator! But trying to decipher Genesis to tell how old earth maybe is as tricky as decihering Revelation and exactly predicting when the Apocalypse takes place.

But still, it is not totally unfair to probe the scriptures to see that they are not detatched from science, reality and the Universe as many sceptics may suggest. Someone who might be interested in probing, here is a good website to surf, www.godandscience.org

"hardened hearts"...if I have to think about that in my parents case then I'd simply give up...the older the harder your heart gets...my dad has been exposed to christians(left him thinking they're all hypocrites)now he's really close to 60...and well I'm still praying...God makes all things beautiful in His own time...
God bless you all

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