I’m Not Worthy – Jesus the One & Only week 4

Is it bad to remember a SNL skit when reading the Bible?  I never was a huge watcher of the show, I wasn’t allowed to stay up that late as a kid and then I was just too tired!  But I’ve seen a few of the classic (not the new stuff) and they still crack me up.  Reading the lesson from week 4 of Jesus the One & Only reminded me of one of those skits.

we're not worthy

The focus of one day of the study was on Luke 7:1-10.  Keep in mind that the area that Jesus was teaching in was under Roman rule.  Yet a centurion…a Roman solider (and yes I had another TV flashback to Rory…those of you WHO know…know what I mean) had heard about Jesus, being concerned for his slave, he asked his Jewish associates to go to Jesus and request His help.

The Jewish elders go to Jesus and tell Him how worthy this solider is for Jesus to come to him.  The centurion loved the nation of Israel and it’s people so much that he had built a synagogue for them to worship. These Jewish elders weren’t necessarily believers.  The centurion (a commander of over 100 soldiers) came into contact with the elders through his daily responsibilities.  He had also heard of this Healer, but unlike the faith of the elders, he believed in more than just Jesus’ ability to heal.  He had faith in Jesus, in His authority, even over sickness.

As Jesus is on His way to the centurion’s home, the centurion re-thinks his request and this time, sends friends to tell Jesus that he is not worthy for Jesus to even enter his home or for him to come to Jesus himself.  His friends don’t contradict the centurion’s statements by telling Jesus that he was indeed worthy.  Surely they thought their friend was worthy.  The centurion, knowing what authority was, knew that Jesus only had to say the words, and the servant would be healed.

Jesus was amazed at his faith.  He was impressed.

And right there is where I’ve been stuck.

I feel unworthy of His love and blessings.  I feel like I’ve disappointed instead of impressed Jesus.

What does it take to amaze Jesus?

The centurion gives us some ideas:

  • don’t think too highly of yourself
  • think of other’s first – put some action to those thoughts
  • recognize the authority of Jesus
  • have faith that Jesus will do what He promised
  • humble yourself
  • recognize that we are not worthy to approach Jesus, but He made himself approachable
  • seek friends to intercede on your behalf
  • simply put….Have Faith in Jesus!

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Bible Journaling

I stumbled upon a “new world” yesterday.  Sally has done a lot of book art before, but this was art journaling in your bible.  Sally’s techniques always took an old book and changed it by adding images and using different mediums to write/paint/draw with and would change the look of the book completely.  Bible art journaling simply enhances what you are studying.

This was my first attempt using the HCSB NoteTakers Interactive Bible.  It has wide, lined margins especially for note-taking.  I’ve always underlined and made notes in my bible and have recently started using a highlighter.

KIMG0339This passage from Acts 16-18 really spoke to my heart, and the spread of the bible was perfect for doing some journaling.  My thoughts during my reading was on the impact of a woman on her family.  Each of the highlighted texts deal with women believers and their differences (mother, working women, Jewish, Greek, prominent leading women).  I then created the labels “Women who Believed”, “I have Impact”, and “Believe & be Saved” using my Word documents and taped them on the pages.

I’ll be honest…it was a little stressful.

I cherish my bibles.  I don’t like coffee cups put on top of it or for it to get wet.  But I use my bible(s), so the inside covers have all kinds of notes and taped messages.  But I’ve never taped messages on the text, always on those extra pages of the bible.  So I really considered what I was doing and what I was wanting to highlight and “women believers” was it.

I definitely studied these passages as I journaled, spending most of my lunch hour working on this.  So today, I took it a step further with actually doing some art on the text.

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Keep in mind that this is not my regular “go-to-church” bible.  It is a journal bible, a place for me to write my personal thoughts and insights and to highlight in a way that will make me remember the passages.  Once I started getting into the art of the text, I was reminded of Kay Arthur’s method of bible study, Precept Upon Precept, where you used different colored pens/pencils to mark certain words or symbols.  I started relaxing and having fun.  And believe me…the time I put into this was time spent reading and contemplating those verses. (Matthew 5)

KIMG0343This verse talks about turning the other cheek, so of course it needed a face.  I drew it first with a pencil and then went back with a pen.  Again, it took about ah hour to study these two sets of verses.

That was some good time in the bible for me!

What about you?  How do you feel about writing in your bible?  What about this “bible journaling” or “bible art”?  What do you think?  Is it defacing the Word or enhancing it?

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Check out this website for more information:  http://shannanoel.blogspot.com/2014/03/journaling-bible-allowing-god-to.html

When a Good Man Goes to War

Joseph – Forgiveness or Bitterness

Genesis 45 tells us that Joseph forgave his brothers because he came to see that God worked through what they did to him for His good. Their actions laid the plans in place for a nation to be saved.

But how did Joseph forgive? It doesn’t tell us that. It doesn’t really tell us anything about Joseph, just that God was always with him and a lot of bad stuff happened to him from childhood to adulthood.

How did he maintain his faith in God through all the bad stuff?

 Demons run when a good man goes to war

Night will fall and drown the sun

When a good man goes to war

Friendship dies and true love lies

Night will fall and the dark will rise

When a good man goes to war

Demons run, but count the cost

The battle’s won, but the child is lost

When a good man goes to war (River Song, Doctor Who)

 Joseph was a good man and all good men of God go to war (men – meaning mankind). War doesn’t always mean a fight with swords and done on a battlefield. War is in circumstances and situations, in the home and in the community and sometimes in the church. War is sometimes an internal battle between our feelings and emotions.

Joseph came from a parents that used sex as a controlling factor of who loved who more and children as that proof of who God loved more. Their actions (while used by God to create a great nation) caused bitterness and jealousy in the family which finally lead to betrayal and lies.

Because of all of this bitterness and jealousy, Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery and put into prison. He was also elevated into powerful positions while in each of these situations until finally he was only second to Pharaoh in power (Genesis 41:39-40).

How did he turn out so well coming from such a crazy family?

Jacob did teach his children about God.

Like Joseph, Daniel was taken away from his family to a foreign land to serve as a slave. He took with him the teachings of the ancestors regarding God. When asked to interpret dreams, he also gave God the credit for the wisdom and interpretation. Unlike Joseph, Daniel had friends with the same beliefs and they encouraged each other to remain faithful to God. Prayer was a key element of Daniel’s life and everyone knew that. He made time 3 times a day to meet with God in prayer. He asked his friends to pray with him before attempting something hard. He fasted and always gave thanks to God. (references found throughout the book of Daniel)

Paul and Silas were also imprisoned and while in the midst of being beaten and chained, they sang hymns and prayed. They encouraged each other and the other prisoners and by doing so, an entire family was saved. (Acts 16) When the situation got rough they didn’t complain or when an opportunity arose where they could have taken the easy road and left, they remained. They were bold and demanded an audience of their accusers to apologize publicly since they were treated badly publicly. They didn’t go home later and complain about their situations, they returned to the believers and encouraged them more.

From these examples we can see that some of the key factors of forgiving and not being bitter about what has happened are:

  • Look for the big picture of what God is doing and can do through the situation.
  • Pray.
  • Don’t give into the situation around you, continue with what you’ve always known.
  • Encourage others and let them encourage you.
  • Sing praises.
  • Give thanks to God for all things.
  • Learn from the situation.
  • Be bold.
  • Demand an apology.
  • Forgive even if you never get an apology.

I don’t know how Joseph did it on his own. Being alone in your faith is hard enough, but alone, imprisoned, surrounded by ungodly people….could sound like your workplace or your home-life, maybe school…sometimes bitterness creeps in and takes up residence in our hearts. Joseph endured through all those situations where he could have turned bitter. He bettered himself instead of allowing the situations to destroy him. He looked for opportunities to change his situation and they came.

Finally, Joseph was surrounded by his family, finally he was seen for who God had planned for him to be. Finally he was free. But he didn’t boast and say “look at me now”, he simply kept doing what God had put him there to do and loved his family and encouraged them.

When a good man goes to war….demons run.

Bible Reading Plan 2015

The best way to get into the habit of reading the bible daily so that it becomes a part of your life is to just start.

Sounds easy, right?

But how to get started so that you stick with it, especially for an entire year?

A regular reading plan is one of the best ways to get started because it gives you a plan to follow instead of just  opening the bible and reading haphazardly.  Not that God can’t use haphazard reading because He can and does.  However I’ve seen how He also uses reading plans and it’s amazing.

My plans for 2015 is to read through the bible chronologically (something I’ve never done before, while I have read through the bible several times before).  I’ve invited some friends to meet at my house every Tuesday night in 2015 to discuss and encourage each other and I’ll be posting here too.  So if there is anyone who would like to read through the bible in 2015 with me on-line, please “like” A Purple Cloth’s Facebook page for the reading plan, which will be using Read the Bible for Life plan.  I’ve listed the outline in the Notes section of the FB page.

There is a workbook with Read the Bible for Life if you are interested and bibles with the readings all put together in one setting for you, in 3 different translations.

Workbook – http://www.lifeway.com/Product/read-the-bible-for-life-P005242570

Bibles – KJV version, http://www.lifeway.com/Product/daily-chronological-bible-kjv-edition-P005670028,   NKJV, http://www.lifeway.com/Product/daily-chronological-bible-nkjv-edition-P005670057,   HCSB version, http://www.lifeway.com/Product/reading-gods-story-P005306874.

But you can also use your own bible and just follow along.  Here’s a sample of what week 46′s reading would be (which would be the week of November 10-16th).

Week 46 November 10, 2014 November 16, 2014

  1. Acts 9-11
  2. Acts 12-14
  3. James 1-5
  4. Galatians 1-3
  5. Galatians 4-6
  6. Acts 11-16

So….who wants to join me?

 

When There is No Hope

I’ve sort of followed the story of a young woman who wanted to die with dignity after being diagnosed with a terrible brain tumor.  She chose to end her life rather than suffer through the ravages of the illness.

It’s caused a lot of debate and discussion.

It makes me sad.

She had no hope.

When you have no hope of a cure or relief, it makes me sad that death was her only choice.

I’ve watched loved ones die.  I’ve been there when the decision to discontinue the life support was made.  I’ve been there when the decision to discontinue treatments was made.

It’s not easy.  I think the woman’s decision was not based on her fear of suffering, but her desire to not make her family suffer.

I’m not sure how I feel about it.  My husband, after being cancer free for over 9 years, still suffers daily…not from the cancer, but from the damage the chemo treatments did to his body.  And yet without the treatments he might not be here at all.  What would have happened if he had chosen not to fight?

What happens when the cure is worse than the disease?

I guess all this is why I support pancreatic cancer awareness.  To Wage Hope for those that have a hard time finding any.

My prayer tonight are for those fighting, those tired from fighting, and those that have stopped fighting and for those beside them.

God loves each and every one of them.  May they feel His comforting wings around them through their battle. May He give them hope that no medicine or treatment can.  May they receive the hope He offers.

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty .  I will say to the Lord , “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague.

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. 

You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you.  You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked.  Because you have made the Lord —my refuge, the Most High —your dwelling place, no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. 

For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent.  Because he is lovingly devoted to Me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows My name.

When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation.

Psalm 91 HCSB

He Fell From Heaven

It seemed so strange to be studying about the origin of Satan after passing through a neighborhood of trick-or-treaters Friday night.  Children in mostly Disney costumes crowded the side walks, entering yards with every type of blow-up figure you could imagine.  Then there were the few yards that had more satanic type of decorations…the scary stuff…just for fun of course, I’m sure.

In the study Jesus the One and Only (Beth Moore), week 3, Jesus beings His earthly ministry, first at church.  Luke 4 has Jesus reading Scripture in the synagogue and claiming to be the fulfillment of what He had just read.  At first they were amazed at His delivery and then they got mad at what He was claiming.

Beth said that she didn’t believe that Jesus was trying to pick a fight with the crowd, but that was exactly what happened.  He challenged their beliefs and if those weren’t fighin’ words, I don’t know what they were.  Jesus came to challenge us and to make us choose between what we’ve been told to believe by the prince of this world and what Jesus tells us to believe.

After “walking right through” the crowd and escaping another attempt to kill Him, Jesus heads “home” and encounters demon possessed people (in the church), and they know who He is.  This is where my mind tends to ask more questions than are answered in these verses.

There were people with evil spirits….in the church!!!!  Didn’t anyone notice them before?

Ezekiel 28 gave a warning to the king of Tyre and compares what the king was doing to “someone with an exalted position in the garden of God, but who became corrupted and lost his favor and position.”*  That “someone” had been in the garden of Eden, however because of his pride & desire to not only be like God, but to be God, God “expelled” him and threw him to earth (see Ezekiel 28:13,16-17, Revelation 12:9 NIV).  Here’s where my mind asks more questions.

When did this war in Heaven take place, when was this “someone” thrown to earth?

I’ve not studied this, so I could totally be off base….but…if Satan was thrown to earth and he was in Eden, then it had to have had happened after the creation of the earth and before the creation of man (see Genesis 1-3), sometime before day 6 of Creation.  Just a thought.  What do you think?

Day 2-4 of week 3 shows a progression of Jesus’ ministry..starting in the church, moving into the home (see Luke 4:38), then into the workplace (see Luke 5:6-8), and then into the community (with some many people following Him everywhere).  People were coming to Him, bringing their sick, coming to ask Him questions, coming to see this strange man, coming to hear Him speak.  He could have stayed right there and served the people for years doing all these good things.  But that was not why Jesus came.  He came to spread the Good News and He couldn’t do that in one place.  He had to travel, reaching as many people as He could in the time that He had.

He focused on the goal instead of the good.

I think we sometimes get lost in doing good and forget to do the goal that God has planned for us.

Day 5 shows us that we can be attending churches, spiritual events, bible study classes and still not “get it”.  The Pharisees (religious leaders) came to hear Jesus, mainly because they were curious.  This man was challenging their way of life.  Where they willing to walk away from all the rules and just follow Jesus?

No.

Are we?

When we follow Jesus, we must be willing to place Him as first priority in our lives, above family, friends, church, and work.  Most of the time we give Him any extra time we might have.  Jesus doesn’t want our leftovers, He wants our best.

If we can walk away from an encounter with Jesus and not be changed, we are like the Pharisees…sitting by Jesus, but not under His teachings.

 

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*Study notes from Ezekiel 28, from the Apologetic Study Bible, B&H Publishing Group

Wage Hope

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After my mother died, I asked God the question:

“When will I forget how she died and just remember how she lived?”

His answer came and I finally listened.

“You won’t.”

In a recent study of Jesus the One and Only, Beth Moore says, ” some illnesses may serve more eternal purpose than healing, while other healings serve more purpose than illness.”  While I know that God was able to heal my mother of pancreatic cancer, for some eternal purpose, He chose not to.

Maybe, just maybe, it was to help me be more aware of this terrible disease that took my mother and in that way, helping others to be more aware.

Awareness brings resources (physical and financial) that are needed to fight the battle for better medicines, earlier detection, and most importantly, a cure.  It is up to us to WAGE HOPE for those fighting, in honor of those that have fought, and for those who will fight.

Join me this month by sharing this post on your Facebook page or any other social media you might have.  Feel free to use any of the photos or video from this page.  Let’s make people aware!!!!

 5862424839_e83e089835_bI Wage Hope for my mother, Frances Lewis.

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