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In verse 57 I have experienced what you were talking about with this. However it doesn’t change my believe of love of God and it helps to have a sister who is on fire for God. Also you experience a new family - God’s family - when you become a Christian - with other Christians.

I pray for those in other countries who are hurt and killed because of their faith

Jesus certainty has brought light into your life. Praise Him. Yes God does light up your darkness. In fact I was in darkness when He called Me and I heard Him. I was depressed as a friend had been murdered several years before and I was stuck in depression over her. One night Jesus promted me to read the bible under my bed and within 15 minutes I had began to feel better. That was the start of my journey.

I agree with you Mike The Bible is the best fount of Wisdom. And yes I agree that the community of Christ is very important too. In fact I had lunch with some of my friends from church today J

Questions of the Day: Based on my comments above in Matthew, have you ever lost some "honor" with your friends or family as you've moved forward in your faith? If you did lose honor with your friends did you gain honor with God? ~ Oh yes ... I think I already talked about this a lot in my comments. "Mae is joining some weird community", "She's brainwashed", "She now thinks she knows everything better only cause she's reading the Bible" and so on and on. Sad enough most things are said behind my back. And another sad thing is that I'm on the way to loose all of my friends. However, like I said earlier this week: I am so happy to have met all these great people in my life as a reborn Christian. It's not that I will drop my 'old friends' just like that, because I truly have this great desire to spread the Word to the unsaved, hoping they will like what they hear and visit God's house some day. I don't mind losing honor with my friends, because from what I've experienced, I gain honor with God. He always gives me wise words to say when my 'friends' wanted to have a big discussion, or whenever one of my 'friends' decided to turn her back on me I got a nice email from one of my sisters, or something else really touching. If I have to loose friends or family in order to come closer to God ... well, then that's how it's suppose to be. God's plan is much bigger than we realize, I trust Him completely.

At times in your faith walk have you had to distance yourself from some old friends so that you can move forward in your faith walk? ~ Well, yes ... like I just said I have this great desire to spread the Word and I really want people to have themself saved, so they can experience what I experience. So at first I hold on to them. But with some, yes ... I had to distance myself. Which, of course, was hard. Not nececerally (sorry - spell check) because of the fact that I won't see them often like I used to. But most of all because they're not saved. That makes me sad.

The verse that stood out for me today is Psalm 18:31 "For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?".
What more can I say ... He is my solid rock ... He's the one who's always there, no matter what happens in my life. He goes beyond everything I know. That's why I let him lead me and guide me ...

v.19 of the Psalm really stood out to me today "He rescused me because he delights in me" Even after being a Christian for over 20 years, I still find it utterly amazing that our perfect God, who created the universe and put every star in it's place, delights in little me with all my flaws and imperfections. He delights in me and would move the heavens ro protect me- wow!

Matt 13:47-48

"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away."NIV

[repost from last year]

[I love the Greek language. Personally, I think Greek was chosen as the language for the New Testament because of the exactness of the words "in Greek". We have one word "love" - the Greeks have 23 words that mean "love" in varying contexts.

Some may know this, but I just found it out - the "net" in verse 47 is (GK.)"sagene" meaning dragnet, seine net, or trawling net. The size of the net was immense and the catch was all- inclusive.

"During this era in which good and evil exist together, God will tolerate evil. But there is coming a time when He will separate those who are subjects of the King from those who are not. Little by little, imperceptibly and silently, God's net is moving through the seas of time and bringing all men onto the shores of eternity for that inevitable separation. The net draws in all kinds of fish; it is indiscriminating. So, as verse 47 says, the Kingdom of heaven is like a net that moves silently through the sea of life. By the time people awaken to what God is doing, they will have already been brought to the shore to be separated." - John MacArthur

In Matt 4:19 the casting net (Gk. amphiblestron) has a positive feel as the Apostles are to use it as "fisherman of men". This dragnet in v. 47-48 is a net used to facilitate judgement.]
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Matt 13:55-56

"Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" NIV

This may prove a problem for some.

I have read a lot of the etymological arguments on the meaning of the Greek words translated here: "brothers" and "sisters", but I would rather look at this from a context standpoint.

The question was: Where did Jesus get this wisdom and power? In his hometown they claim to know his father, his mother, and his brothers and sisters. So they know the people who surrounded Jesus growing up. The conclusion was - knowing this group it did not make sense for Jesus to have wisdom and powers.

The implication is: this is the "intimate" group surrounding Jesus in his years in Nazereth. I guess it could be cousins - except there are other words to use for "cousins". Plus there is no mention of the aunts and uncles in this progression. I guess it could be step-siblings, but then you have to deal with the issue of Jesus' claim to the throne of David through Joseph (being the first-born). If there were previous children by Joseph, Jesus would not have that birthright status entitling him to the throne of David.

To me, it is easiest to just accept it in its simplest terms. These are the brothers and sisters of Jesus born to Mary after Jesus' birth. Mary was young unlike Sarah and Elizabeth, and a large family was desirable in those times.

My belief above maintains the consistency of the Bible with my "faith". For others this passage poses a problem, and I guess the best thing to do is have each resolve it in his or her own mind.


Joseph in Genesis

I also think Anka (yesterday's post)is correct regarding Joseph's hurt over the years. Joseph did miss family, homeland, and was internally wounded by his brother's selling him into slavery. God is at work not only on a macro level (preserving the seed of the nation of Israel), but on a micro level as well. God is going to bring healing and restoration not to just the family - but Joseph himself.

I never really understood all the machinations and hoops Joseph made his brothers jump through before revealing himself. I just thought Joseph was re-enacting the scene of his being sent to Egypt.

One brother missing, money in other brother's possession, brothers had to face Jacob (Israel) with what happened. Just a test to see if they would repeat their ways when Joseph was sold into slavery.

The more I read and think about it the more it resembles a picture of "restoration with God".

First there must be acknowledgement of sin, and the brothers had never been able to push the image(s) of Joseph out of their minds. Second, repentance (Reuben's statement). Third, done with the right heart - returning the silver and following instructions. Fourth, submit - when they bow down to Joseph (later).

If this formula works with Joseph - a servant of the Lord - how much more so with God - regarding our status as sinners.
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This is not only working in the brother's lives - but it is getting strong emotions from Joseph. Twice today he is weeping - as the steps are being gone through Joseph's heart is healing.

The brothers seem changed - no longer does favoritism for one son elicit jealous reactions from his brothers. (Benjamin being served five times as much).
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It would never have occured to me, if I had not been experiancing the same thing regarding my ten year separation from my family. I just pray that God is at work in the same way as I follow these same steps with my family - that there is healing and some sort of restoration.

Fellow Christians: I know that only God can really answer my questions, and I will continue to pray, but I would love your ideas. In today's readings, it points out that sometimes our faith will cause conflict with relatives. What do you do when it is a spouse? I want fellowship with other believers by offering my service to the church and attending women's bible study. My husband disagrees. His commitment to the church involves attending service once a week, that's it. So, he doesn't want me away from home to do those things that I long to do. So my question is: Do I submit to my spouse, or do I stand my ground and serve the Lord? What is the right thing to do?

As Mae mentioned, I too have lost friends. The ones I haven't lost, well, the relationships are just different now. We do not have the same things in common any more so it's hard to relate to each other. I pray all the time that God will continue to use me to be His light to my lost friends. Did I gain honor with God? - I believe so . Let's just say God has blessed me abundantly! My husband and I were just talking about this same thing over the Christmas holiday...we have more close, good friends now (more like brothers and sisters) than we ever had! God will give you new friends for the ones you lose. He knows exactly what we need!

Psalm 18:16 stood out for me today. "He reached down from on high and took hold of me, he drew me out of deep waters" - this took me back to when I got saved! I was really in a pit and didn't know how I was going to get out. Thankfully, Jesus has LONG arms! :0)

Proverbs 4:7 - Though it cost all you have, get understanding! I love that! It's what I would like to say to some of my non-believing friends! Many of them just believe what they were taught growing up - the "religion" they were born into. They have never read the bible for themselves or truly looked for the truth other than what was told them. It's sad! How could anyone just be satisified with being told something and not checking it out for themselves! I think so many people put certain pastors, preachers, preists or just religion itself on such a high pedestal, that they think it must be the truth because these people wouldn't lie to them. Well, they probably aren't intentionaly lying....but if they are blinded to the truth also...then you just fall into a trap. I'm babbling again...but I think ya'll know what I mean. A relatonship with God is personal! You have to make that decision...no one can make it for you. So search and seek...no matter what the cost! get understanding!

I have lost friends over this...but it actually wasn't that hard (for this I am very blessed), because it wasn't necessarily literally because of my faith, but because my faith dictates certain morals and convictions that I now have, which have in turn changed my relationships. What I learned though, and the reason why it was not as difficuly losing these friends, is that these were not true friends in the first place. My true friends (even if they are not a part of my faith) are still with me. I realized when I lost friends that I did not even miss them, because they were never good to have in my life.
One of the people who has stayed with me (of course) though this is my boyfriend. He doesn't think it's wierd or complain about it or anything, but he does not share my faith, which has been something I have been praying about and asking God what I should do. I share everything with him that I am learning, but he doesn't believe. God willing, someday we will be able to share faith in God and become even closer. :-)

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

“…have you ever lost some "honor" with your friends or family as you've moved forward in your faith? If you did lose honor with your friends did you gain honor with God? Do you think you sometimes base your decisions more on what other people will think? Or do you base your decisions on what God will think? At times in your faith walk have you had to distance yourself from some old friends so that you can move forward in your faith walk? Has this been hard? Has it been worth it?”

I think that in the beginning they thought it was just a phase I was going through but now after 28 years they know that isn’t the case. My family still more or less is just indifferent about it. At the time I got saved I had already distanced myself from my friends anyway because I was tired of the way I had been living and the things we had been doing together. Becoming a born again Christian just made it a permanent separation. I never gave a thought about what either my family or friends thought about me becoming a Christian. It wouldn’t have made any difference to me if they had thought less of me because of it. I have never regretted for one moment that I became a follower of Jesus Christ and I have not looked back.


GENESIS 42:18-43:34

Joseph’s brothers thought that divine retribution had come upon them because of how they treated their brother and because they thought he was dead because of it ( 42:21-28 ). Said Reuben, “ Behold, also his blood is required “ ( 42:22 ) and “ their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us? “ ( 42:28 ). They were right to be afraid because of what they had done. They must have been aware of God’s words to Noah and his family after The Flood:

“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

- Genesis 9:5-6 ( KJV )


Anti-Semitism was already beginning to take root in the world at this time ( 43:32 ). The Hebrews were a different race being the descendant’s of Noah’s son Shem while the Egyptians were descendants of Noah’s son Ham, therefore, it was an “abomination” for the Egyptians to eat with the Hebrews. These racist attitudes no doubt contributed to the oppression and eventual enslavement of the Hebrews by the Egyptians some years later. Of course, Satan was doing his part as always to stir up contempt and hatred of Israel among the nations.


MATTHEW 13:47-14:12

To me Jesus is the “pearl of great price” ( 13:46 ). The merchant in this parable who sold all he had to buy this pearl reminds me of the rich young ruler to whom Jesus said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” ( 19:23 ). The rich young ruler wasn’t willing to do that but the merchant in the parable represents those who are willing. The lesson to be learned is that we must value Jesus and the Kingdom above all else. Actually He saw value in us first and so Jesus bought us with His own blood. He now owns us ( 1 Corinthians 19:20 ) and we are His jewels ( Malachi 3:17 ).

“ For ye are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

- 1 Corinthians 6:20 ( KJV )


PSALM 18:16-36

As Christians, being obedient to the Lord’s commandments and keeping ourselves from falling into sin, apostasy and backsliding ( vv. 21-23 ) is at least partially dependent on continuing in the Word of the Lord. When we read and study the Bible we are keeping His judgments and statutes always before our eyes ( v.22 ) and we are less likely to slip because God will make our feet will as “hinds feet “ ( v.33 ).


PROVERBS 4:7-10

This passage speaking of wisdom promises “… a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee”
( v.9 ). According to 1 Peter 5:4, the “crown of glory” is a reward which seems to be especially reserved for pastors who are faithful in feeding their flocks the wisdom of God found written in His Word which they shall receive at the Lord’s appearing.

i love this part in Genisis. We see that sin haunts us forver, his brothers still remember the wrong they did over 30 yrs prior and felt the guilt and fear of penalty. Sometimes we dont think our action will come back and bite us, but we can carry things around for years.
wow! cant imagine how Joseph felt...to see his brothers, to know his father was still alive, i bet he never dreamed this could happen!
Poor Jacob has no idea whats going on, he just knows if he loses his youngest, his heart will die.,..his sons had decieved him. We see this came full circle, wasnt Jacob quite the deceiver?
Aaaaw, I'm so touched by Joseph's emotional response to seeing Benjamin. I cant wait for tomorrw's readings!
ugh..poor John. How wicked is Herod's wife and daughter!
I love Psalms, beautiful!!!
I guess I'm pretty lucky in the sense that I was a misfit my whole life and had hardly any friends, was mocked, rejected and excluded even when I wasnt walking with Christ...had nothing to do with Him. But the point is, that's pretty much all I knew, so any kind of rejection mocking, it doesnt bother me...I count it a blessing. I'm independent and dont care what others think of me, only the Lord. Of course I want to be an example and a Godly witness, bring Him honor. I have had to let friends go because our lifestyles changed so much, but its a blessing, God has rewarded me so much! Though I dont party, I'm one of the funnest people I know! ;) Christians who are walking with God and full of his joy and peace are fun and a pleasure to be around. The people into drinking, partying, drugs, sexuality immorality..I am honored to not be accepted byt them. When I am persacuted for His sake, I truely feel the arrow pass me, I have been mocked pretty bad a few times and it didnt bother me at all, I realized Jesus took the arrow for me, because He is the one they are persacuting. All this is NOTHING compared to what ppl in other countries have to go through..torture, death, prison. We have it soooo good and so easy..or at least I do! my family are all believers so when they see the change in me, they rejoice, trust me, i was NOT always a pleasant person BC. God is GOOD!!!

Matthew 13:58 "And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith."

Little Faith = Few Miracles performed by Jesus

Thus, a faithless person might say, 'I see no miracles! God does not perform miracles.' However, a faithful person witnesses many miracles (such as the miracles of salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.)
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Joseph was a slave for over 10 years, a prison inmate for 2 years, and rose to become 2nd man in charge of Egypt. This is encouraging to those of us who have been unsuccessful in worldly pursuits. Though Joseph worked hard in Potiphar's home, Joseph wsa framed by Potiphar's wife and sent to prison.

Personally, I have felt at times that God has not blessed me in my work because I am not as successful as I want to be. I felt like God blessed me abundantly through college. Then, as I began my first teaching job, I struggled and eventually lost the job. I have wondered why God let that happen. Why did He not bless my efforts more abundantly?

I think about Jesus--the people in his hometown took offense at His teachings, though they were amazed by his wisdom and miraculous power. Jesus was also crucified. If a man's life was judged by his popularity, Jesus might not be praised. In fact, the "multitude" chose to save Barabbus (the murderer), rather than save Jesus.

The Holy Spirit brought my mother and I on this path at the same time but in different states, she is in NY still and I moved to IL. However we both are walking together spiritually...I find it very hard to talk about my Christianity with my sibling b/c my sister thinks I just want her to go to church. So I am praying for a new approach BECAUSE ITS NOT ABOUT CHURCH ITS ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP. My brother well he we need to pray for.

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