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Archive for the ‘answers’ Category

Get real.

God does not want you to lose sight of the good things that He has for you.  You can expect God to deliver just as He says.

He offers you a way to understand how He works.  He provides us with a way to see Him at work.  He works on our behalf.  He works things out without our help at all.

Trust Him today.  He can be trusted.

Call on Him today.  He will surely answer.

God is still in charge.

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14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

-Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)


God is available to us.  We do not have to await a mediator in the form of a priest or anyone else.  Jesus serves as our “great high priest” who “did not sin.” He is our mediator, seated at the right hand of the throne of God and advocating for us before God.  

Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 
– Mark 15:38 (NKJV)


He makes our access to God available to us.  The work of Jesus upon the cross brought about the torn veil that led to the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the temple where access to God was limited to those of the priestly order.  That was destroyed and torn in two by the sacrifice of Jesus.  We, as believers through His shed blood, now have access to God.

Take some time and spend it with God, meditating on the sacrifice of Jesus.

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Mark is an intriguing account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.  Even the world outside of Christendom has a point of view and perspective on the Gospels due to the fact that Jesus is such an intriguing character.  Look at what PBS says about the Gospel of Mark.

Our last class spent the bulk of its time period with a focus on the transfiguration of Jesus in Mark chapter 9.  The online reference site www.about.com has the following “analysis” of these sections of the Scriptures:

The Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 9 – Analysis and Commentary

The ninth chapter of Mark starts out with one of the most important pre-passion events: Jesus’ transfiguration, which reveals something about his true nature to a select inner group of apostles. After this, Jesus continues to work miracles but includes further predictions about his coming death as well as warnings about the dangers inherent in giving in to temptations to sin.

Transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:1-8) – Analysis and Commentary

Jesus appears here with two figures: Moses, representing Jewish law and Elijah, representing Jewish prophecy. Moses is important because he was the figure believed to have given the Jews their basic laws and to have written the five books of the Torah – the basis of Judaism itself. Connecting Jesus to Moses thus connects Jesus to the very origins of Judaism, establishing a divinely authorized continuity between the ancient laws and Jesus’ teachings.

Reactions to Jesus’ Transfiguration (Mark 9:9-13) – Analysis and Commentary

As Jesus returns from the mountaintop with the three apostles, the connection between Jews and Elijah is made more explicit. It is interesting that this is the relationship focused upon most of all and not the relationship with Moses, even though both Moses and Elijah appeared on the mountain with Jesus. It is also interesting that Jesus refers to himself here as ‘Son of man’ again – twice, in fact.

 
I posted this as “analysis” because you have to consider the source.  Don’t get caught up in what the world has to say about Jesus or His Word.  When you see Newsweek and National Geographic, even Time Magazine, making references to Jesus and His ministry on earth, keep in mind the perspective from which they view Christianity and its followers.

What does the Word itself say about Jesus?

Use biblical references such as sites and software for analysis and commentary to assist you in your research once you have read and studied the Word itself.  These do not replace a thorough study of the Scriptures.  Include a view of a chain reference such as Thompson Chain Reference Bible available as a smart phone app and with some Bible software.

At some point, Christians like us will need to have a perspective on the importance of our belief in the accounts of the life of Jesus provided to us through the Gospels.  If we profess and confess Him to be Lord and Savior, the Son of God, then we should be able to point to what confirms our belief in the Scriptures.  IDK (I Don’t Know) just will not do for us if we are trying to win souls for Christ.

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And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. – Mark 11:25 (ESV)

Problems come up when we have to deal with each other.  Jesus addressed it.  He stated it plainly.  He didn’t sugar-coat the truth.  He offered a solution that many of us just won’t get into at all.

He said for us to forgive.  If you have something against somebody, forgive that person.  If you still hold a grudge, paraphrasing Jesus, don’t just pray to God.  Forgive that person.  Free yourself of the emotional baggage and bondage, then pray to the Father who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Harbor ill feelings about somebody and you won’t get far.  That’s not good.  You will end up at odds with others and out of order with God.  God has forgiven you for your trespasses.  That should help you forgive others, too.

There’s a solution in the Scriptures for the problems in the pews.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matthew 6:12 (NIV)

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“Accept God’s will in every situation.” – Andrew Murray
Things happen.  If you read it on a bumper sticker, you would probably get another version of what happens.  We just have to come to grips with the reality and fact of the matter.  Things just happen.
Things happen that are out of our control.  Things happen that are caused by our bad decisions.  Things happen because of what do or don’t do, what we say or fail to say.  Things happen.
We have to learn to accept God’s will.  We cannot simply toss around the notion that Satan is out to get us every time that we come across an uneasy situation.  We have to realize that God’s will is perfect.  He allows things to happen, even to us as his children, so that He may get the glory in the outcome.  He is always at work.  He may be working on us before He ever works it out in our favor.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trialsJames 1:2 (NASB)
God is able to work everything out.  He has a plan that is carried out through His will.  Both are perfect.  His will is perfect and so is His plan.  How He works it out will work together for our good and His glory.
 

Read God’s Plans for You by Andrew Murray and discover some of the unique things that God desires you to through your life and your ministry for His glory.

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Heard and Helped

“The state of the church calls for unceasing prayer.” – Andrew Murray

I cry out loud to God.  I call to God, and he will hear me. –Psalm 77:1 (NCV)

The believer seeks to be helped.  He cries out to God, seeking God’s help for him.  The believer wants God’s help.  He needs God’s help.  The believer cries out in prayer, seeking the help of God.

In order to get God’s help, the believer needs to be heard by God.  The believer’s desire to be helped is a high priority, but his desire to be heard ranks right up there with being helped.  The believer has to believe in God’s ability to help him as well as God’s ability to hear him.  The believer needs to be heard by God to be helped by God.

This psalm of Asaph expresses the distress of a man in need.  He appears at the end of his wits.  He seems to be on edge, on the verge of losing it all.  He was in a desperate place.  He was in a place where he knew that he needed God to intervene on his behalf.  Just look at his approach.  He cried “out loud” to God.  He called to God.  

Verses 3 through 12 of the psalm show the process of consideration and contemplation that the man went through, meditating, thinking, recalling, remembering, and more.  He ends up recognizing God’s miraculous ways and His mighty works.  He ends up thinking on God’s care for His own flock, the tribe of Israel, and how He cared for them, leading them like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron (v. 20, NIV).

God is willing to hear you.  God has all of the help that you need at his disposal.  He can help you.  Will you cry out to Him? Will you submit your will to His will? Will you share your prayers with God? He will hear you.  He can help you.

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Christmas Crime

Christmas With the Kranks

After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.
-Judges 2:10 (NLT)
This holiday season has disturbed me a bit.  No, it’s not because me artificial tree looks like it needs a stimulus package or recovery funds.  I can deal with that.  It’s not even because we have Christmas on a tight budget this year (and every year).  It certainly isn’t due to the fact that my Christmas savings account was empty before I had purchased a single gift for anyone.  None of that is a big deal to me.

The Ice Harvest


These holiday criminals have me puzzled.  They prey upon households that tend to be the people who really don’t deserve to be robbed blind if there ever such a list existed.  For instance, a woman from our church and a family friend spent much of early December helping prepare for our church’s Angel Tree celebration for the children of the incarcerated through Prison Fellowship.  Yet, her house was robbed and ransacked just days before Christmas.  My neighbor who never fails to speak or wave and who always seems to be ready to offer a cheery smile was robbed the day before Christmas as I grumbled about losing a gift card for one of my family members.  Here I was complaining about the $30 card I had lost, but this man and his family were wiped out in an instant.

Trapped in Paradise
It is some sad commentary on us when we think that we are immune to Christmas crimeLook at the world today.  Crime may be on an upswing due to hard times and other factors.  It’s unreal out here with the economy and the job market.  However, if we do not see the reality that is before our eyes, we may end up wondering the worst and missing our own miracles.
Home Alone
Imagine the worst and expect the worst.  It comes out like that.  It is like Murphy’s Law or a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We tend to live up to the expectations of others and we live out our own expectations of ourselves. Don’t let bad things run around in your mind to the point that you embrace cynicism and negativity as part of your outlook on daily living, even the holidays.  Embrace the miracle of what you have been given today and in this moment.  The miracle is that God allowed you to see or hear about it.  Do something about it.  Do something special for the people who had to deal with it.  Take full advantage of today.  Make the most of every God-given opportunity today.
What kept it from being your house? Grace.  Why wasn’t it you? Goodness (His, not mine).  Who could have prevented it from happening to them? No one but God.  Then, after all of that line of questioning, you still have to ask: Why did He allow it to happen to them?
I suspect it was done so the Lord could  use you somehow in some special way for someone else.

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