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May 2020

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Books for the Journey:

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I also had the words "...he worshipped the the LORD, bowing himself to the earth".
Hit me strongly. Is there some value in bowing before God prostrate? I look at that picture of all those people just laying on their faces before God, and feel like I should do that!!! We all should be bowing (throwing) ourselves before the LORD.

I know just because you bow on the outside doesn't me your bowing on the inside and vise a versa, BUT I believe often what we do with our bodies is a sign and a humbling before the LORD.

I mean seriously I love to read and pray in my big round soft pillow chair.
But do I really want to lay down and get sore knees, or eat the rug in prayer (I mean how clean is the rug?). You know during those times when I have bowed before the LORD they were special times and also at the moment I didn't care about pains, or a dirty rug, or anything for that matter accept my LORD. I'm praying for myself that I will start praying more that way and also for my church people. WORSHIP is so important in our lives.

I cry out to God, I don't want to be phony (EVER), but I want to be a TRUE worshipper!

I pray daily, quietly and without showing what I am doing. Only God knows what I am doing. I find it very hard to go in front of a crowd and fall flat on my face; I wonder sometimes if these people are doing it for show or are they not aware of what they are doing because they're fully in worship with God??????? Don't get me wrong here, I am not making fun or judging, I personally couldn't do it. I believe I am fully and totally following God and trying very hard to flow His plan for me; whatever it maybe. Would I die for my Faith????? Yes, I would if the situation ever arose. I figure if it comes to the point to acknowledge God or deny God, things would have to be bad, I would acknowledge God and die for my faith because it is going to get worse if I deny God. I pray that I never get to that situation in my life.

I reflect on Jesus' encounter with the demon possessed men. After Jesus heals the men, the people of the town saw Jesus, and 'begged him to leave their region.' Wow. I am astonished that the people rejected Jesus so quickly and easily. Do you know people like this, who don't want Jesus anywhere near them?

On a personal level, I also wonder how often I hold out some region of my life, and keep Jesus from having full reign over all areas of my life. Am I willing to die for Christ? Am I willing to give up that special part of my life that I enjoy controlling? Until I cede control of all areas of my life, my answer to these questions may not be what I hope.

I also am surprised by Jesus' response to the disciples during the great storm. "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith." I am too much like the disciples, fearing the outcome at each storm, little and great. Yet we live in light of Jesus revealed as the Christ, the full revelation of scripture, the church as the body of Christ, and the Holy Spirit living in us, the hope of glory. In light of all of these great gifts, Lord, teach me to trust in you in all circumstances.

THANK YOU for this blog! I look forward to it everyday. The YouTube always makes my day. You are doing an excellent thing!


Matthew 8:18-22

Mankind loves a show, we love the sensational - the more spectacular the better. Think about a magician's act (if he is good)- don't you just want him to keep doing tricks with the next being better than the last.

Miracles (signs and wonders) were not meant to save, but to affirm the authority of the one who spoke (Jesus). However, with all of Jesus' healings and casting outs it was turning into a spectacle (a show). So Jesus having made his point at the time in that area ended it.

The result, well Matthew places two incidents of men - one wanting to be a disciple; the other already a disciple (out of order chronologically) next in Ch. 8 to show something of the type of person who attended the show and wanted to be a part of the show.

1) The scribe - this man knew the law (equivalent of a priestly lawyer in the temple), and he called Jesus - "Master" - the scribe must have considered Jesus a "great" teacher. He was willing to leave his profession and association with the temple to follow. Why? He had probably heard or heard about the sermon on the mount. He had just seen countless miracles and rightly connected this with being from God. BUT he wasn't searching with his heart. He wanted to be a part of the "show". Part of something glamorous.

Jesus knows the scribe's heart and and doesn't say yeah or nay - just lets him know the kind of physical life He leads.

Unlike Rebekah in yesterday's readings who said "I will go". We hear nothing from this man. The implication is: 'oh, I had no idea, I'll get back to you...'. He was attracted by the show - not what went into the show or what was the sunstance behind the show.

2)His disciple - this is more troubling. This man was already a student of Jesus'. He had access to Jesus. However so far everything had happened in Galilee. Jesus was now going to the other side (Gentile land) - and this was apparently out of this man's comfort zone.

"The son's request was a colloquial phrase that appears in the Middle East even in contemporary times....The implication of the phrase "to bury one's father" can mean that a person would prefer to wait until his father passes away so that he can receive his inheritance. That seems to be what the son in Matthew 8 had in mind. In his indecision about whether to follow or not, maybe he was thinking, "When I get my inheritance, think of how I can be used in the movement." The distraction of money took the courage and commitment out of his discipleship." - John MacArthur

Maybe. Regardless, the man was at least looking for a delay. Maybe (at best) thinking I will hook back up with Jesus when He comes back to this side.

The disciple wnated to have both worlds. [Remember Lot in Sodom.] Jesus simply says "follow me" let the world take care of the world.

Again there is silence. Nothing like Rebekah's "I will go". The implication was the man remained - if he did - it was because he did not have a searching heart. The disciple loved the group, loved the show, but did not want to leave "the world" and its comforts behind.

Matthew 8:23-34

Matthew recounts two more miracles (signs and wonders) - and you may have noticed Matthew's recounts are sparser and not the same as the same events in other Gospels. Why?

Each Gospel had an intended audience. The Gospels were written so that that audience would "get it". Matthew's gospel was for the Jewish people. His recounts here are sparse because the point he is trying to get across is: Miracles happened, sign of authority from God for the one performing said miracles (Jesus), the same as with prophets in Old Testament. Other Gospel writers were making different points. This would be the same as a group of people going out on the town. The next day the stories of night before may be different because they are told from one of the group's members from his/her perspective and to emphasize the point they are making to their audience. All the stories can be different, and yet all be true. Same with the Gospels.
The Storm

Two points:

1) Rebuked the winds and the sea really in the Greek connotation is "restrained". The same thing happens in our life as a believer - when Jesus is in a personal relationship with you and you Him the events of the world are restrained. They are still there, but what you experiance is a great calm and peace.

2) The disciples still did not get who Jesus really was, but they had "trust" in Him. They may be likened to baby Christians (I am still one) who do not have a complete grasp of all the implications of being a Christian. OYBB is helping me in this area.

A few things here:
1) Demons had head knowledge of God, and they believed His power and in the ultimate conflict (Demons - fallen angels - had experianced heaven first hand, and I am sure they knew every bit of the OT.) - head knowledge, and acknowledgement do not make one a believer. Turning back to God, repenting, and receiving (submitting to) Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior do make one a believer.

2) I don't know if demons split themselves to go into all pigs, or flitted from pig to pig, or just went into two pigs. Regardless, here is a perfect symbolic picture of how two demon spirits can lead 2,000 headlong off a steep cliff (should have been a warning) into perishing. Think just a couple of demons can affect your town or city????

3) Lastly - this was a Gentile area. When they heard the "whole" story - both casting out and about swine herd. The "WHOLE" city came out. Their reaction: Go home, leave us. They were not interested that this may be one of their gods come to town, or that this may be the man from Galilee they had heard about, etc. All they knew is that their lives and perhaps livelihood had been disrupted. Please just go and leave us alone.

Ever happened to you when you shared the gospel. Nothing that drastic perhaps - but complete and utter rejection from your entire audience. Did you fight it - try to say or do more? What did Jesus do? He left - but He had planted a seed and would be back. We will see that later on.

Gen 24

When the family of Rebekah sought for just a "little" delay, and the servant objected - It was left up to Rebekah. She answered: "I will go".

How many times when the world - family, job, friends,etc. seek a "little" delay in your following God's Will (something you are convicted about) - do you say: 'No, I will go'????

[It is a big problem with me at times.]
Gen 25

Why the lists of names? Important historically, but it points to God's soverignty and He keeps His word. God promised Abraham to be the Father of multitudes and here is the list of Abraham's lines other than Isaac and Ishmael. God promised Abraham and Hagar that Ishmael would prosper and become a great nation. Here are his lines.

Abraham died "full of years" - the saying means "satisfied with life". He could ask no more than what God had given him here on earth. What a wonderful way to depart our temporary home.
Jacob and Esau

Hebrews 12:16 calls Esau a profane (godless) person. He had blessings - born into a believing family. Abraham was still around for his first 15 years or so. Yet, my guess is Esau was in the habit from an early age to go his own way, rely on his cunning (not just as a hunter, but in life). Esau had probably established a pattern of impulsiveness revolving around his needs.

My guess is Jacob knew Esau and his nature very well and he took advantage of it here with the stew. Jacob wanted the right thing but went about it in the wrong way. Both would suffer.

The result: Esau sold his birthright and,
"So Esau despised his birthright."

Despised or "was in contempt of" not just his first-born rights, but his spirtual blessings also. Huh?

Hebrews 12:17 says Esau regretted his decision and felt so bad he sought it with tears, but he was rejected because he could not change hsi mind (come to repentance). What was Esau stubborn about - he was godless, and wanted no part of God. He wanted the physical birth-right, but did not want God in his life. Small choices made continually in life can have lasting effects.

Gen 26

Isaac was an ordinary man. He was sandwiched between Abraham and Jacob/Joseph all men who did a lot. Isaac was ordinary in comparison. God uses ordinary people. Even when as a beleiver they are in sin. God is soveriegn and knows believers will sin. He is not going to take a time out in his plan to wait for one to come back to him. Of course physical and spiritual blessings may be curtailed, or not - again - God uses ordinary people. That is encouraging to me.

Another famine and what does Isaac do - he goes down to Gerar. Actually the Lord, knows his heart and knows Isaac is heading for Egypt. Just like his father did before him - no consultation with God as times were tough - 'let's go to Egypt (the world).

God stops Isaac and says stay - I will bless you, because Abraham obeyed. Well, Abraham had his moments, but God knew his heart, and as Abraham grew he obeyed. God can speak in absolutes like this because he sees Abraham (and believers) as the finished product - 'the pearl from the parables'.

And Isaac obeyed and dwelt in Gerar. But then he told the same lie Abraham told in Egypt. (Christian parents should take note of this).

found out and chewed out by a pagan king - must have been humiliating. Yet, the king gave him riches and Isaac prospered. God blessed Isaac because He is God - it is not our right to question God. Yet, with the blessings came envy and strife with the Philistines.

I wonder if the envy and strife could have been averted if Isaac had simply consulted God and not told the lie.

Thank you for your daily encouragement, this is my 4th year of reading and every day it is fresh as God speaks.
I'm so thrilled that there are so many of us on this path through the scriptures. May God bless you as you read and you too, Mike, as you write the notes.
If you've not tried the One Year Audio Bible yet, I recommend it to you - it's great hearing the scriptures being read, and the reader has such a lovely voice!
God bless you all

Would I die for my faith?

You know its very interesting that each and every day we as Christians are commanded to die in order that we might live. As Jesus said, no one can follow me unless he takes up his cross daily and follows me. We are die to our own desires and sacrifice our will for His. This is where life, the abundant life truly lies. And yet I find myself struggling with my prayer life, as I would like to pray more, and more effectively as well as other earthly things that perhaps take my mind off of following Jesus completely and yet I strive to be more life Him and to follow the Apostle Paul's example of dying daily. I know that the question that you are purposing is one of would I die physically for my faith. In the face of death would I be willing to die. You know what, I'm not so sure that I would. I don't want to be like the Apostle Peter and tell the Lord that I'm willing to die for Him, when in fact, I don't know what my heart would do in the situation. I pray that one day I may be so consumed in my relationship with him, that I would gladly lay down my life in order to be with Him forever. Thanks for writing and maintaining this blog. It has helped me to stay on track reading the Bible and has been a blessing.

Matt, thank you for your honest answer about dying for him. I've asked myself that many times too, and like you, I hope I would be willing to, but I'm scared that I won't be.

I am really enjoying these readings and everyone's comments too.

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