Monthly Archives: March 2015

You Choose How You Want to Walk — A Quote by Neil T. Anderson in “Victory Over the Darkness”

“God won’t make you walk in the Spirit, and the devil can’t make you walk in the flesh, although he will certainly try to draw you in that direction… How can you know if you’re being led by the Spirit or the flesh? Very simple: Look at your behavior. If you respond to a given situation by exercising love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, you are following the Spirit’s lead (Gal. 5:22-23).”

— Neil T. Anderson, “Victory Over the Darkness”, p. 104

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Life of Jesus 2

The Genealogy of Jesus

Matthew 1:1-17

Parallel verses: Luke 3:23-38.

Questions

1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?

Summary of reading

This section focuses on Jesus’ ancestors. The main reading is Jesus’ lineage through his father Joseph. The parallel passage is very different, first of all because it traces Jesus’ lineage through his mother Mary. But there are other differences. Luke goes all the way back to Adam, while Matthew starts at Abraham. But even considering just Abraham onward, Luke has many more generations listed, suggesting that Matthew intentionally skipped some. We also see that in Matthew, the lineage is traced through the kings.

Reading a listing of ancestors can be totally boring, but what I found most interesting is that Matthew went out of his way to include four notable women in Jesus’ lineage, of which two were not Jewish, and the circumstances for three of them were exceptional for the things in their lives that represent blatant sin that many people would think would be kept omitted because it could be seen as embarrassing.

Devotions based on reading

Matthew 1:3-6 (Finding the Unexpected in Jesus’ Ancestry).

This is part of a devotional on the Life of Jesus, based on a study using the Harmony of the Gospels. The full listing can be found under the menu 90 Days with Jesus.

Next in the Life of Jesus study.
Previous in the Life of Jesus study.

Life of Jesus 1

John 1:1-18

No parallel verses.

Pre-Existence of Jesus

Questions

1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?

Summary of reading

This passage packs a lot of significant revelation into a very small passage about the nature of Jesus and his purpose! It talks about Jesus being God, being involved in Creation of the universe, and sitting next to God the Father in heaven. Jesus is described as being the light which overpowers darkness, one who came into the world as a human, yet was rejected by the people he primarily came to save, though some believed and received him. We also learn that John the Baptist came to witness to who Jesus was.

Devotions based on reading

Omae-Zaki Light House at Sunrise
John 1:1-3 (The Word was God).

John 1:5,10-11 (The World Did Not Receive Him).

John 1:12 (It’s Easy to Become a Child of God).

John 1:14 (Full of Grace and Truth).

John 1:16 (Grace Upon Grace).

John 1:17 (Jesus Brings Grace and Truth).

This is part of a devotional on the Life of Jesus, based on a study using the Harmony of the Gospels. The full listing can be found under the menu 90 Days with Jesus.

Next in the Life of Jesus study.

Luke Tells it to Us Straight (Luke 1:1,3-4)

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us… it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” — Luke 1:1,3-4 (ESV)

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When I first came to believe in Jesus, it came mostly through talking and listening to God. Because it came that way, for a few short months I came to believe that I discovered something no one else had. And it scared me to death! What a responsibility it was to have such an important message, and to think that the burden was on me alone to try to communicate it to the rest of the world! Fortunately for me, I discovered that other people believed similarly to me, so I didn’t have to bear the burden alone.

What I was soon to discover was that even more important than having others who believed similarly to me, there was an even stronger foundation I would want to lean on. That foundation is that those beliefs that we carry are recorded in a book called The Bible. And within the Bible, perhaps the most important part of all is the four Gospels which focus on the life of Jesus. Can you imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t rely on the accuracy of anything you heard about Jesus?

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You are Not a Disappointment to God — A Quote by Stasi Eldredge in “Becoming Myself”

“You are loved. Deeply. Profoundly. Unimaginably loved. And you are a wondrous creature… You have never been a disappointment to him. You are not disappointing him now. You may be disappointed, but he is not. Jesus knew what he was in for when he came ‘to seek and to save what was lost’ (Luke 19:10). He came to seek and to save all that was lost — in our loving and living and dreaming and longing. He has saved us, and he is saving us still. We are being transformed into the very image of Christ. Whether we feel like it or not.”

— Stasi Eldredge, “Becoming Myself”, Kindle location 162-166

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Finding the Unexpected in Jesus’ Ancestry (Matthew 1:3-6)

“Judah [was] the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.” — Matthew 1:3-6 (NIV)

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I generally find genealogies boring. I don’t like reading long lists of anything, actually. But in this genealogy of Jesus, and in particular focusing on these four verses, I see things that just grab my attention. I see memories of scandal, ethnic diversity mixed in with the Jewish identity, and women being highlighted in what is typically a male-oriented affair of bloodlines, with the mention of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (Solomon’s mother).

Why did Matthew, who was writing primarily to Jewish people, include these? It’s not clear. Maybe he wanted to remind them that in the midst of all the promises of the Messiah coming to the Jewish people as a descendant of David, there were reasons to both be humble and to extend this gift from God beyond the confines of the people of Israel.

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Good Point as to Why the Women Keep Silent Verse Doesn’t Mean What You Think — A Quote by Kris Vallotton in “Fashioned to Reign”

“We can see from these verses that the Corinthian congregation was obviously made up of many women who had unsaved husbands. Therefore, if Paul’s solution for wives is to keep silent in the church and get their questions about the Kingdom answered by their husbands at home, then women with unsaved husbands would be relegated to a life of ignorance.”

— Kris Vallotton, “Fashioned to Reign”, Kindle location 2154

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Hell is Real, and That’s a Good Reason to Speak Up

by Timothy S. Thomas

Not too many years ago, hell was a hot topic. Evangelicals were big on telling people that unless they repented, they were going straight to hell when they died. And for a while, that approach to proclaiming the Gospel led to a reasonable amount of success in terms of the evangelical objective: many people realized they didn’t want to go to hell, so they listened to what the evangelizer had to say was the way to avoid going there.

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But in the last decade or two, people have mostly stopped listening to what sounds like a bad news message concerning salvation. American (and Western) culture has shifted, so that truth is seen more and more as relative — whatever someone believes is true for them. As a result, the Bible has become less of an objective standard generally respected by the majority as it once was.

Partly in response to these changes, and partly because the message of hell seemed like a secondary issue from God’s perspective, many of us began proclaiming a Gospel that sounds more like Good News. This message is based on telling people about the great love God has for us, along with the message about God’s desire for relationship with us. This alternative approach leads naturally into talking about Jesus, explaining that Jesus died for us because he loves us so much, and that reconciliation with God comes through faith in Jesus.

But here’s the problem: somehow by reformulating the message, it seems that some of the urgency to tell people about Jesus has diminished. Since we put hell on the backburner, so to speak, many of us don’t seem to have the same sense of urgency for people to hear and embrace the Good News.

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Two Steps to Victory over Flesh — A Quote by Neil T. Anderson in “Victory Over the Darkness”

“There are two major elements to your victory over the flesh. First, you must learn to condition your behavior after your new skipper… ‘Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh’ (Gal. 5:16)…. Second, your old pattern for thinking and responding to your sin-trained flesh must be ‘transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Rom. 12:2).”

— Neil T. Anderson, “Victory Over the Darkness”, p. 81

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God Loves You through the Bumpy Journey — A Quote by Stasi Eldredge in “Becoming Myself”

“When we have a change of heart on the inside, it manifests itself on the outside. But you and I both know by now that most of our healing and changing doesn’t happen at the moment of our conversion. We walk it out. God invites us into a process. Our journey to get there takes place in the day in and day out of the dusty and gritty here and now. And it is to the dusty, gritty here and now that Jesus comes… Jesus’s love for me, my Father’s love for me, never changes. Yeah, okay, fellowship may be strained at times, but his heart toward me does not change. He is passionately in love with me. Even better, I think he likes me. And by the way, he’s got a pretty huge thing for you, too. Yes, you.”

— Stasi Eldredge, “Becoming Myself”, Kindle locations 144-149

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