Understanding what we read

“Do you understand what you are reading?”

(April 30)

Rubens apostel philippus.jpg

Philip the Apostle and Evangelist – by Peter Paul Rubens, from his Twelve Apostles series (c. 1611), at the Museo del Prado, Madrid

This was the question the Ethiopian Eunuch asked Philip; he was one of the seven appointed to assist the 12 disciples (Acts 6:2,4); Stephen who was killed was also one of them.

“An angel of the Lord” (8:26) caused Philip to go up and meet with this Ethiopian as he was returning from worshipping in Jerusalem” (verse 28) which shows he was a genuine God fearing man – and as he travelled, he was reading God’s word and puzzling over a person he was reading about in the book of Isaiah who was “like a lamb before its shearer is silent … in his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth” (verses 32,33).

He asks Philip,

“Does the prophet say this about himself or about someone else?” (verse 34).

Philip explains,

beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus”.

The whole world has now been given the whole of the word of God – all 66 books of it, in just about every language. Remember what Jesus said:

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).

People in the ancient world were challenged by the faith of Noah in the huge ark he and his sons built over many years! Does the word of God really challenge us? It did when it was first printed! Let us read some of it every day – and our understanding will grow and – like the Eunuch, we will start to think and to ask,

“What prevents me from being baptised?” (verse 37).

And if we are already baptised and have experienced the feeling he did after his baptism in “going on his way rejoicing” (verse 39) we will find less and less to rejoice about in much of what we do in this world.

We will relate to words in Peter’s 1st letter. He said that genuine believers

“by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last to time. In this you rejoice, though now, for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith … may be found to result in praise and honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:5-7).

The baptism of the eunuch by Rembrandt, 1626, ...

The baptism of the eunuch by Rembrandt, 1626, depicting Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. the only way of a true baptism is by full immersion, which is not shown on this portrait.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Find additionally:

  1. Faith
  2. Belief of the things that God has promised
  3. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  4. June’s Survey – Baptism by immersion: Necessary for salvation?
  5. Why baptism really matters – e-book
  6. United people under Christ

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  • God Wants to Use You! Are You Ready? (todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com)
    Do you believe God wants to use you? Do you believe the Holy Spirit would prompt you to help someone know Jesus?
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    This Ethiopian was a very influential man. He experienced this personal touch from God and it changed the entire course of his life. Because of this man’s influence as treasurer under the queen, his life most likely then touched the lives of countless others. This story is the demonstration of the power and intimate effort on God’s part to use someone who knows Him (like you or I) to help another get to know Him. God loved this man so much that He spoke to Philip to go out to this desert place. Would God help you be used like this in some way?
  • The Commemoration of Philip, Deacon and Evangelist, 11 October (concordiakoinonia.com)
     Philip, also called the evangelist (Acts 21:8), was one of the seven men appointed to assist in the work of the twelve apostles and of the rapidly growing early Church by overseeing the distribution of food to the poor (Acts 6:1-6). Following the martyrdom of Stephen, Philip proclaimed the Gospel in Samaria and led Simon the sorcerer to become a believer in Christ (Acts 8:4-13). He was also instrumental in bringing about the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39), through whom Philip became indirectly responsible for bringing the Good News of Jesus to the people on the continent of Africa. In the town of Caesarea, he was host for several days to the apostle Paul, who stopped there on his last journey to Jerusalem (Acts 21:8-15). (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, cph.org)
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     Word, then Sacrament, specifically the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. The court official asks what is to prevent Baptism. Indeed!  The Greek verb for “prevent”  or “hinder”  is the same one Jesus used when the disciples rebuked the parents from bringing their children to Him for a blessing, (Mark 10:14).  This high court official of Queen Candace received the kingdom, freely given, in Baptism as a child.  Indeed, all baptisms are baptisms of children and infants, even for an adult. The man went away “rejoicing”. This old song illustrates the eunuch’s rejoicing:   “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak and He is strong. Yes!  Jesus loves me. Yes! Jesus loves me! Yes!  Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.
  • The Ethiopian Eunuch – Philip Preaches to a Stranger on a Lonely Road (brakeman1.com)
    The story of Jesus was new to the Ethiopian.  He listened eagerly, and believed every word of this strange preacher who rode beside him in the chariot.  He knew now that his long journey to Jerusalem had not been made in vain, for he was learning the very thing he had longed to understand.
  • A Eunuch’s Legacy (gobeyondblog.com)
    There are over sixty references to this East African nation in the Bible. Christianity there dates back to the days of Philip in Acts 8. The stoning of Stephen, the first martyr, ignited the expansion of the church beyond Jerusalem. A believer named Philip, later known as Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8), ventured to Samaria and unwittingly became the first missionary in Acts — the first to carry the good news to unreached peoples.
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    If we will listen carefully, like Philip, we too will hear the sound of chariot wheels that signal an approaching opportunity to talk with others about Jesus. Don’t let those chariots pass you by. Take the initiative to share Jesus with someone seeking the right path. You never know how many generations you might impact by sharing the good news with one person.
  • What Barriers? Reflections on Acts 8:26-40 (bobcornwall.com)
    I appreciate a word given by Barbara Brown Taylor found in today’s reading found in the Daily Feast: Meditations from Feasting on the Word, Year B(WJK Press, 2011).
    She writes:

    This story is think with the presence of the Holy Spirit, which raises interesting questions about how that Spirit works.  If God is the Law-maker, then God is also the Law-bender, or at least the Law-transcender, who both places limits on the faithful and inspires them to challenge those limits when right relationships with God and neighbor are at state.  This dynamic shows up in both testaments, not just one.  When Philip follows the Spirit’s leading to go to the Ethiopian eunuch, he follows in the footsteps of his ancestor Elijah, who was led by the Lord to a widow of Zarephath (1 kings. 17:9).  When Philip comes up with nothing that might prevent the Ethiopian from being baptized, he acts on the eschatalogical prophecy of of Isaiah 56:4-5.

    As Barbara Brown Taylor notes, it’s not that there aren’t limits, but God can and will transcend them, when it is appropriate and fruitful for the furtherance of our relationships with God and neighbor.

     

  • Reading in Ethiopia …Acts 8 (inmyanguish.wordpress.com)
  • We Will Not Walk on the Same Road Twice (levelupgeneration.wordpress.com)
    Philip was called by The Lord to go South and preach the gospel to the Ethiopian Eunuch but after he baptized him, he was snatched away by the Spirit of The Lord to the North then he start walking until he reached Caesarea. But two things I learned from this passage, first when God called to do something we must do it immediately without procrastination. Because we only have one shot, one opportunity, on the timing that is set by the Lord for us to do what He has called to do. Remember in Ecclesiastes it says that there is right time for everything? Secondly, we will pass by in this road of life only once, so take every opportunity to do our best to give glory to God and serve our purpose in this life that God has appointed us.
  • Religious gatekeepers would not like Philip the evangelist (patheos.com)
    Philip was an affirmative-action hire by the early church in Jerusalem — before that word “church” had even begun to be used. The early Christians shared all their possessions — “everything they owned was held in common” and “there was not a needy person among them.” Part of what that meant was a kind of Meals on Wheels program that took care of widows. But the community was growing fast and, “the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.”
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Remember the day

We are convinced that after the Winter season we shall be able to look at Spring. After the darker days some Sunshine may lighten more the day. People with Winter depression find new hope. Others do think it is getting time to get rid of the old stories and older things still in the house.

Winter

Winter (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

In Wintertime we did have lots of time to think about matters from the past. It sometimes even did look like our memories did not want us alone. They, for some people did follow them, as in a nightmare. The good memories going with us would not be to bad, but having bad memories trying to haunt us every day is not so nice.

We all have memories; bad things we try to shut out of our memory, good things we try to retain and bring to the fore.

In today’s reading of the Bible we read how Moses told the people to look back on

“all the days of your life (that) you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 16:3).

Second Seder at 92YTribeca, 4/19/11

Second Seder at 92YTribeca, 4/19/11 (Photo credit: 92YTribeca)

The Passover Feast was set up to aid that memory, to cement it into their consciousness. Most of the generation that had experienced the miraculous deliverance had failed to do that and had died in the wilderness because of their faithlessness. Now Moses is delivering the message to the next generation; whose leaders had been teenagers and children at that time.

Today’s chapter details the feasts they are to keep when they start living in the promised land. As well as remembering the actual deliverance, through the Passover feast, there are 3 other feasts associated with farming the land and the reward of harvesting. This they would experience for the first time in their lives. The key lesson is they are not to “appear before the LORD empty handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD” (verses 16,17).

Deuteronomy 16:15-17 The Scriptures 1998+  (15)  “For seven days you shall observe a festival to  יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim in the place which יהוה {Jehovah} chooses, because  יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim does bless you in all your increase and in all the work of your hands, and you shall be only rejoicing!  (16)  “Three times a year all your males appear before  יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim in the place which He chooses: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and at the Festival of Weeks, and at the Festival of Booths. And none should appear before  יהוה {Jehovah} empty-handed,  (17)  but each one with the gift of his hand, according to the blessing of  יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim which He has given you.

Verse 20 has another blunt ‘punch line’ message,

Deuteronomy 16:20 The Scriptures 1998+  (20)  “Follow righteousness, righteousness alone, so that you live and inherit the land which יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim is giving you.

In this world, when we look around us we see a lot of injustice. In the Wintertime many people stay more in their own home and do not so much go out to see and meet people, except for the Christmas and New Year period. Facing the New Religious Year many may make new promises and look forward to see more “Justice, and only justice,” others to follow and they wanting to follow. For Christians this is much important because they too want to belong to the people which may live and inherit the land that the Most High God is giving the world.

Now we consider our own journey in life, how close are we to the climax of all that God has prepared for all those who truly believe in and love Him? Is the crossing of the Jordan close at hand for us?

Passover, 1724, from Juedisches Ceremoniel

Passover, 1724, from Juedisches Ceremoniel (Photo credit: Center for Jewish History, NYC)

We must face up to today’s challenges and make sure we “escape all the things that are going to take place” (Luke 21:36) as the Almighty prepares to cleanse the earth of its’ evil. Let us “remember the day” when we made the commitment to join the Lord’s side and accepted his “deliverance” by being baptised. If you have not yet experienced such a day – ask yourself – very seriously – why? Don’t let “that day come upon you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34) so that you fail to enter a far greater “promised land”.

Several people may have celebrated the end of the Winter with the Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread), remembered how the People of God was liberated, and remember how those who were not looking for God also did get salvation onto them, by the Ransom offer of the Nazarene Jeshua, Jesus Christ, who died at the wooden stake. Several people all over the world looked at the amazing thing which happened some two thousand years ago. The world had been for a long time in darkness, and now a man had brought light into the world.

John 9:29-41 The Scriptures 1998+  (29)  “We know that Elohim has spoken to Mosheh, but this One, we do not know where He is from.”  (30)  The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a wonder! You do not know where He is from, yet He opened my eyes!  (31)  “And we know that Elohim does not hear sinners. But if anyone fears Elohim and does His desire, He hears him.  (32)  “From of old it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.  (33)  “If this One were not from Elohim, He could have done none at all.”  (34)  They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins – and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.  (35)  יהושע {Jeshua} heard that they had cast him out, and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of Elohim?”  (36)  He answered and said, “Who is He, Master, that I might believe in Him?”  (37)  And יהושע {Jeshua} said to him, “You have both seen Him and He who speaks with you is He.”  (38)  And he said, “Master, I believe,” and bowed before Him.  (39)  And יהושע {Jeshua} said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those not seeing might see, and those seeing might become blind.”  (40)  And those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind, too?”  (41)  יהושע {Jeshua} said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin, but now you say, ‘We see,’ therefore your sin remains.

From old times we should remember this Jeshua who asked the blind man “Believest thou on the Son of Alaha?” (Murdock; John 9:35)  The blind man who was healed believed. He listened to the preacher who told him that he had come for the judgement of this world, “that they who see not, might see; and that they who see, might become blind.”

Many do know things, have learned a lot of things, have enough brains to think, and should know certain things. The Pharisees who were with Jesus and the blind man, heard the things Jesus said. It did not keep them for asking questions, like many people ask similar questions to Christians. Those asking questions should not worry when they would not know better and if they were really (figuratively?) blind. Many of them are not blind, and do as if they can not see certain matters. Their brains present them with a lot of ideas, but to many they do not want to adhere. In such a way it comes to what is called sin in the Holy Scriptures, which becomes established.

It is never too late to put away sin, to get rid of old, wrong and adverse ideas. Like many start Spring-cleaning, now it is a time we all can do some Spring cleaning in our mind. when we take the brush and soap, scrubbing the deck of our habitat, we should muse or contemplate on those last days of that Nazarene man, who celebrated the Passover and presented himself as a new Passover Lamb.

When we remember how God helped His Chosen People and guided them to their new country, we shall come to understand that He has given the world a fresh new guide to replace, or better, to follow up, Moses, to become a guide for all of the world, not only for Israel. This guide also assures us that al that his (heavenly) Father has given him, will come to him; and him, that cometh to him, Jesus will not cast out.

John 6:37-40 The Scriptures 1998+  (37)  “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out.  (38)  “Because I have come down out of the heaven, not to do My own desire, but the desire of Him who sent Me.  (39)  “This is the desire of the Father who sent Me, that all He has given Me I should not lose of it, but should raise it in the last day.  (40)  “And this is the desire of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him should possess everlasting life. And I shall raise him up in the last day.”

Jesus has come figuratively, as bread, the manna of life, and all people are invited to come and eat of it. They may ignore Jesus or they take him for any other man or for the one who is sent by God, his Holy Father. He never wanted to do his own will, though mostly that is one of the characteristics of most people. He was a man who managed to keep faithful to the Will and to the Law of God.

We should remember the day God had given His People, Israel, the opportunity to get out of slavery, but later how he gave all people the opportunity to liberate themselves from the curse of death, by accepting Jesus Christ his Ransom offering.

By God taking His son out of death a New Time had started, a New Spring had come into the world. That Spring of the New Creation we should never forget.

Are you also now and then look back on the days when you came out of the darkness and did find the light? Are you sharing that experience with others?

Did you express your hope that you might maybe liberate yourself this Passover? Where you depressed this Winter or did you feel fine. You should be feeling fine and you should be pleased you have something positive to look forward to. How many people do not see the light which can bring them better times? Those who can see that light should also show it to others, and should bring the Good Tidings also to other people around them and far in the world.

Those having ‘Faith‘ should know there is an ocean because you have seen a brook and be encouragers bringing Good News to the world and showing to others it is worthwile to do everything by this hope. They should know they can help to move mountains. All those who have the hope in the return of Christ, should tell others which good things could come over the world and how we shall be able to live together in peace. We all should work to come to that world of peace, sharing the same hope.

Lets work on it, always remembering the works God has done in the past and the works He still shall accomplish!

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Preceding articles:

Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2

Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2

3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters

Springtime!

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Read also:

  1. Hope
  2. Hope for the future
  3. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  4. Commemorating the escape from slavery
  5. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  6. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  7. Seven days of Passover
  8. Passover and Liberation Theology
  9. High Holidays not only for Israel
  10. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  11. Easter: Origins in a pagan Christ
  12. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  13. Being sure of their deliverance
  14. Deliverance and establishment of a theocracy
  15. A Single Seder, and Around the World
  16. Observance of a day to Remember
  17. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  18. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  19. About a man who changed history of humankind
  20. Jesus memorial
  21. A Messiah to die
  22. On the first day for matzah
  23. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  24. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  25. Servant of his Father
  26. Servant for the truth of God
  27. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  28. Bread and Wine
  29. This Passover maybe we can liberate ourselves
  30. Heed of the Saviour
  31. Faithful to the listening ear
  32. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  33. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  34. Not making a runner
  35. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  36. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  37. God’s Light
  38. Not all Christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  39. From Winterdarkness into light of Spring
  40. Darkness, light, burning fire, Truth and people in it
  41. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  42. Not holding back and getting out of darkness
  43. Words in the world
  44. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  45. We should use the Bible every day
  46. Written to recognise the Promised One
  47. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  48. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  49. What is life?
  50. The business of this life
  51. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  52. A Living Faith #8 Change
  53. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  54. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  55. Power in the life of certain
  56. Created to live in relation with God
  57. Life and attitude of a Christian
  58. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  59. The high calling of God in Christ Jesus
  60. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope

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  • Why I Don’t Celebrate Easter (and still love God… and still believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah) (christinachronicles.com)
    Often, talking about the origins of anything can be a very touchy subject …
    but it is one that should not be so easily avoided, ignored, rationalized or even spiritualized…
    particularly, when it pertains to worshiping and having a relationship with The One True God.
  • Our Plans for Passover 5850 (2014) (segulah.wordpress.com)
    The people who are walking in covenant with Yahuah Elohim (the LORD God) are awaiting the declaration of the New Year still, as it is Yahuah and Yahuah alone who declares the days, weeks, months, and years.
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    The main important thing is to prove to Yahuah that we listen to Him and follow Him – regardless of what everyone else is doing.
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    last Passover, some things began to become a little clearer as we listened to God’s counsel and had removed many of the confusing voices coming from all the different directions. That is when it occurred to me what was going on in the unseen realm concerning these matters. By removing all the “voices” I began wondering if perhaps “the voices” were the leaven. Hmmm, perhaps God was doing for us what we were unable at the time to understand to do for ourselves. He does know the deep desires of our hearts and even knows what we need before we ask.
  • His name… (mylife4yah.wordpress.com)
    I went through life comfortable calling Yahweh the titles that replace His name in the Bible. I found out that His name is Yahweh through the dictionary in the back of my Bible. Once I knew His name I decided to use it and I have been blessed ever since. The choice is yours but I feel closer to Him when I use His name. Here are some scriptures that prove His name is: …
  • The Atonement and the Passover: Exodus 12 by Matt Capps (christianitytoday.com)
    The Pharaoh-god refused to let Israel go free from slavery despite the Living God’s demands through Moses. Pharaoh wanted to keep Israel under his power. God’s response to Pharaoh’s obstinate defiance in Exodus 7-10 is breathtaking. The one true God of the universe unleashes His power in acts of un-doing creation throughout Pharaoh’s land. Order turns into chaos. Light is consumed by darkness. The water becomes a source of death rather than life. The beasts swarm the people and their crops rather than serve them. Finally, just as Pharaoh attempted to destroy God’s firstborn son (Ex. 4:22), God now destroys Egypt’s with a final plague.
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    The movement of the Israelites from slaves of Pharaoh to servants of the Lord involves divine redemption; it also involves the obedient response of God’s people to His word. The Passover is both bloody and beautiful. God’s judgment and salvation are clearly displayed in God’s actions and in the symbolism of the Passover ritual.
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    The Passover is an event both meaningful to the Israelites in its immediate context and for Christians in its canonical context. The New Testament writers make the connection between Jesus’ crucifixion and the Passover explicit in order to highlight the redemptive nature of His atonement. In the New Testament we see that Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29,36; 1 Cor. 5:7) whose ‘once for all’ sacrifice sanctifies God’s people (Heb. 10:12-14). Jesus’ death atones for the sins of the people (1 John 2:2), His blood purifies and cleanses (Rev. 7:14), and partaking of His body sanctifies (John 6:53-56). Because the Last Supper is overtly linked to the Passover (Matt. 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20), we understand that Christ’s death and resurrection inaugurate a new exodus.
  • Mark 14: Maundy Thursday (t2pneuma.net)
    Holy Week as we know it is often celebrated at the same time as the Jewish Feast of Unleavened Bread (Festival of Matzos) often called Passover.  Dates differ because of differences in the calendar rules.  In Jesus’ time, Passover was one of three festivals that required the faithful to travel to Jerusalem.  The other festival familiar to Christians is the Feast of Weeks commonly known as Pentecost.  The Feast of Booths is a harvest festival in the fall.
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    The word, covenant, found in v. 24 appears nowhere else in Mark’s Gospel and alludes to the covenant meal that Moses and the Elders of Israel shared with God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:9-11).  The grim symbolism of the wine as the blood of Christ is an allusion to the blood of the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:7) which alerted the angel of death to pass over households displaying the blood.  In this sense, as Christians we are (like the door posts) covered by the blood of Christ.  By Jesus’ blood our sins are forgiven (Hebrews 9:11-28).
  • Interpretations of Passover: Judaism and Christianity (russiarobinson.wordpress.com)
    Although Jesus himself celebrated Passover, he encouraged his followers to observe this holiday through the bread that represents his body and the wine that represents his blood. By feasting on these things, Jesus lives within the person making them whole and remembrance of his life and his death. Aside from Jesus, Apostle Paul also encouraged others to observe Passover through Christ. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (Corinthians 11:26). Jesus and Paul encourage Christians to celebrate the Passover in his remembrance. By celebrating his resurrection, they are also celebrating the life, belief, and teachings of Jesus Christ. They believe that he was the living Son of God. By believing this, they believe in his life. It brings us to John and also Luke where it tells us that Jesus is to represent the Passover, passing over the sins of the people for their faith and belief in him. Passover is a symbol of this as he and the disciples eat the bread of his body and wine of his blood at the specific hour that has come (Luke 22:14; John 13:1-2).
  • Passover Blessings – April 15th through 22nd, 2014 (jscotthusted.wordpress.com)
    At this season God promises in His word to pour out seven specific and very powerful blessings. When we honor and observe God’s ways, we also reap God’s blessings. This specifically applies in scripture to the observance of God’s calendar. We don’t follow God or His ways out of blind obedience, or religious devotion to a set of regulations. We follow the ways of God as New Creatures out of love for Jesus, and joyful devotion to “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” — the words that God has given us for our benefit!
    +
    Jesus lived and died as God’s perfect Passover sacrifice: as the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world once and for all! But did you know that Jesus observed the Passover? Did you know that the Apostles observed it year by year, and taught every Christian to observe it? Paul encourages it in his letters, and God commands it. God commands His people to live in His ways because He wants His people to live in abundant blessings! In Exodus 23 God promises seven blessings that we are to be heir to as His people through the observance of Passover:1.  God will assign an angel to prepare the way for you.  “Behold I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared” (v. 20) and “For My Angel will go before you” (v. 23). — the Blessing of Divine guidance!
  • Lord’s Feasts # 3 Passover (cfcspn.com)
    The feasts are to be proclaimed in their seasons, the clue to their importance, because in each season God has planned to fulfill his word, and to bring completeness to his work. The Passover was the first feasts to be declared representing salvation, it was also the mark of the first day of the year.As commanded by God, these feasts are to be a memorial, the Passover is a look back at what God had done for us in Egypt. But although it seems as if it was an accomplish mission, it was not complete, for the first mission of the Passover was to deliver the flesh creating a symbol of its purpose. The second mission; however, was to give it power delivering the soul.
    +A close look at the death of the lamb and that of Jesus Christ, has revealed he was the fulfillment of the Passover. A look back at the Passover ritual and its symbolism should have strike a chord with the nation. But because of stubbornness, the nation crucify Christ, and rejecting him they are left with the rituals of the Passover, yet lost in the forest of sin.Jesus came not to destroy the law or the prophets, his mission was and is to fulfill the law and the prophets, and according to the stories of scripture, he has and will yet fulfill those to be accomplished. “
    +
    Now that Christ has died according to the law, and according to the instructions of God revealed through the rituals of the Passover, we can clearly see that he came not to do away with the law, but to fulfill the law.
  • 4 Things to Get Liberated From This Passover (pjmedia.com)
    Passover coincides this year with a dramatic political event—the crisis and possible demise of yet another Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” this one shepherded earnestly, passionately, and futilely by U.S. secretary of state John Kerry. We are now at a juncture that offers two options: to remain enslaved to the same flawed assumptions that lead again and again to failure; or to finally get liberated from them and reach a Promised Land of understanding and rational policy.
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    It is important to note that Jesus Himself observed and kept the Passover. Whenever we partake in Holy Communion, we are acknowledging Jesus’ blood sacrifice – in fact, communion is an act of ‘remembrance’ requested by Jesus of His disciples during the Passover feast that we now call the Last Supper
  • Passover: Why We Should Be Celebrating It As Christians (worldeventsandthebible.com)
    Many Christians are not aware, but the Highest Holy Day in Christianity is Passover. Not the pagan festival of Easter. The word Passover comes from the time of Moses and the last plague that consumed Egypt. When Christ died on the cross He became our Passover. In order to reveal this fact, we must search the scriptures where we can find light and remove the darkness that has clouded this topic for so man.

Is your mind thirsty?

Jesus , being a man of flesh and blood was thirsty like any other human being can be thirsty.

‘Is my mind thirsty?’ Remember what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the mount?

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

The Sermon of Jesus on the mount. Fresco by Fr...

The Sermon of Jesus on the mount. Fresco by Franz Xaver Kirchebner in the Parish church of St. Ulrich in Gröden-Ortisei build in the late 18th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To do that you have to recognise you have a hunger and a thirst of that nature. How do you recognise that? Are you satisfied with the way you think, the things that occupy your mind? Do you go to bed at night thinking, that it had been a worthwhile day – spiritually?

Remember, in the Bible’s last message we have God on the throne saying,

“To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, I will be his God and he will be my son …” (Revelation 21:6-8).

How beyond imagining to have this as your heritage! Are you making progress in conquering (or overcoming) the polluted waters of this life? Are you thirsting for righteousness?

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Additional reading:

  1. Fixing our attention
  2. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  3. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  4. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  5. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  6. True riches
  7. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  8. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  9. If you have integrity
  10. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation

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Bible's Big Story - Bible & Coffee - Mar06

Bible’s Big Story – Bible & Coffee – Mar06 (Photo credit: crunklygill)

  • All Who Are Thirsty (erinnwegner.wordpress.com)
    Thirsty for grace? Thirsty for forgiveness? Thirsty for healing? Thirsty for love? Thirsty for comfort? Thirsty for _______? You fill in the blank. You know what you are thirsty for. And do you know who is enough to satisfy that thirst? That’s right! Jesus. Go to him, all who are thirsty And Drink!
  • Hungering and Thirsting after Righteousness Matthew 5:6 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    Satisfaction is available, but only through Christ.
    +
    We as humans hunger and thirst not only for food but for satisfaction in life. We search in all kinds of different areas to be filled, to be satisfied, but we always end up falling short.
    +
    We are spending our money on things that do not satisfy; we are drinking from cisterns that can hold no water. Our satisfaction is not being met in the things of this world. We try to satisfy ourselves with money and power, education, sex, pornography, boyfriends and girlfriends, toys and earthly possessions that allow us fun and entertainment for a time, but yet all these things lead to a deeper sense of need, a deeper longing for satisfaction, because they do not fill that need.
  • Deep Well, No Bucket (sherreesblog.wordpress.com)
    I couldn’t stop thinking about the millions of children who are thirsty for clean water, and the well is deep – or non-existent – and they have no bucket, or only a Gerry Can with which to collect muddy water from a stagnant pond.   Like Jesus, those children are simply asking for a drink of clean water.  And like the woman at the well, we are thirsty, too. We have clean water, but a deeper thirst.
  • Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness (georgedowdell.org)
    I have never known true physical hunger, but I am well aware that millions of children go to bed every night desperately hungry. My life has never been threatened by thirst, but I can well imagine that thirst becomes the overriding priority of a man crossing a desert.

    • What is this righteousness, that we should so desperately want to know it in our own lives?
    • What are the results of righteousness in our lives?
    • How can our desperate need be satisfied?
  • “I am thirsty.” (everydayawe.com)
    Jesus declares, “I am thirsty.”Did His thirst begin in the garden the night before?
    When His heart broke into tears
    And His mouth filled with the bitter taste of betrayal.
    When the kiss of a friend
    Was used to stab Him in the back.
  • Come Thirsty (revjosuelopez.com)
    Today’s society is filled with much in the way of entertainment. There are places to go, things to do and people to see. This has been since the beginning of time, but what about our spiritual thirst? What has quenched our thirst? We may have forgotten to quench it and are still seeking something more deeper than an entertainment system. This spiritual thirst can’t be quenched by the imagination of  man or by the sins that are present in our lives. We can’t quench it by going to the movies, surfing the internet or allowing for our sins to grow beyond a point of control. Still lurking inside the hearts of man is a thirst, even a hunger for something deeper and more profound than life itself. Because that thirst is never quenched by the material possessions or things we find in entertainment we must seek something that is beyond us, that being God.
  • When Jesus doesn’t know his doctrine. (theartofuncertainty.wordpress.com)
    We’re funny because most of the time, we’re keen to just take the Bible at face-value, and let the most obvious interpretation stand as the right one. We don’t want to do much of this interpretation stuff at all, we just want to know what the words on the page say.But then occasionally we throw that rule out of the window. For no very obvious reason but that the words that are right there on the page are pretty inconvenient.
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    What if the righteous, who inherit eternal life, really are those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirst, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned? What if, even without any desire to serve Jesus or even without knowing of him at all, people who do those things for other people, are really showing love for Jesus?
  • Be Thirsty (heavenlyraindrops.wordpress.com)
    Remember each day to thirst,
    For Me.
    Think of how you feel when thirsty-
    Really thirsty.
    And how a drink of cool
    Clear water tastes.
    Be that way for Me.
  • When You Thirst – Drink! (stlukeumc.wordpress.com)
    Think back on the last time that Jesus had been able to quench His thirst. It was hours before in the Upper Room, gathered there with the disciples. He offered them the wine of His new covenant. They drank together and then Jesus had said something most peculiar. “I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until God’s Kingdom comes.”“I thirst.”
  • Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness (girlfriendscoffeehour.com)
    If you recall from the Gospels, Jesus’ disciples—and many others—believed the Messiah would be a warrior-figure who would lead His people against the Romans and tear down those oppressors.   He would establish a new kingdom  where the ancient theocracy would be re-established.  You can certainly sense this behind the disciples’ rebuke of Jesus when he would speak of his forthcoming execution at the hands of the Jewish leaders (e.g., Matthew 16:21-23), or their question about the establishment of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). But we know that is not the kind of Messiahship Jesus had in mind, nor was the kingdom He spoke of one of physical dominion.
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Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go

“Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go”

 

These words should be familiar to all Bible readers: they are the words of the “two men … in white robes” (a common way of describing angels) – it is what they said to the disciples as their astonished eyes watched their Lord ascend upwards “and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9-11). We suspect it was no ordinary cloud, but like the cloud that Moses climbed up into on the mountain (Exodus 24:16).

“9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they were looking stedfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11 ASV)

“And the glory of Jehovah abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.” (Exodus 24:16 ASV)

English: Israel location Judea and Samaria.

Israel location Judea and Samaria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Countless generations of Bible believers have looked for their Lord to descend from heaven in their lifetime. The disciples had asked,

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (verse 6)

and were told by their Lord they were to be “my witnesses in Jerusalem” – but ultimately that the witnessing was to be “to the end of the earth” (verse 8). He had said this earlier, also on the mount of Olives,

“this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

The other sign which Jesus gave, which Luke also recorded, was that

“Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (21:24).

 

Today, Jerusalem is constantly a centre of world attention – and the returned Jews have made it the capital of their resurrected country. The evidence is plain that the climax of the ages is near. But we know, and must emphasize that it was not for his disciples, then or now, to know exactly when. Notice again the answer of Jesus when the disciples asked him,

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (verse 6).

They were commissioned to be “my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria” (verse 8). It is for true believers today to complete that commission “… and to the end of the earth”.

Are you his disciple? Are you helping this commission to be carried out? If you are, you will be really looking for his return “in the same way (as the disciples) saw him go into heaven”.

As his disciple you will be following the examples given in the book of Acts, which we have now started reading. Notice the way in which the Old Testament is often quoted as an essential part of that message. It tells us many details of the Kingdom Jesus will set up, also giving us examples of faithful service (and failures) as we are reading in the book of Deuteronomy.

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Additional reads:

  1. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  2. Angels (“Our world” article)
  3. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  5. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  6. Jeruzalem Gods city
  7. Jerusalem God’s City for ever
  8. Presentation: Crisis in the Middle East – Bible Expectations
  9. Isaiah prophet and messenger of God
  10. What Jesus Did – Misleading around the Messiah and the final assessment
  11. How do we know the coming of Jesus is very near?
  12. Armageddon, har and megiddo, an action or a place
  13. The Song of The Lamb #3 Daniel and Revelation
  14. The Song of The Lamb #8 Revelation 15 Lessons for us today
  15. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  16. Certainty in a troubled world
  17. The day is near studyweekend
  18. End Times
  19. The Conclusion of the System of Things
  20. Signs of the Last Days
  21. 14 Nisan a day to remember #2 Time of Jesus
  22. Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v14-20 Pentecostal Sermon
  23. Because men choose to go their own way
  24. The famine of the word
  25. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  26. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  27. Do we have to be an anarchist to react
  28. Zion, Flames, Terror, Signs and Games of Peace
  29. Babylon is fallen
  30. Gaza in Bible Prophecy
  31. Hamas the modern Philistines
  32. Turkey and Pictures for the times coming
  33. Syrian capital facing total destruction in the coming months
  34. Crimea votes overwhelmingly to join Russia
  35. Swallowing up Crimea, who is next
  36. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  37. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  38. Breathing to teach
  39. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  40. Together tasting a great promise
  41. Witnessing Glad Tidings
  42. Zionism comments and the place of Jerusalem in the world
  43. Will Jesus ever return to the earth?
  44. Articles on the Belgian Biblestudents about the Return of Christ
  45. The Return of Christ seen through the eyes of the Brethren of Christ
  46. The Ecclesia of the Belgian Christadelphians looking at the Return of Christ
  47. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?
  48. Looking forward to the return of Jesus
  49. Secret or public return of Jesus

 

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  • Friday (April 25): “It is the Lord.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
    Skeptics who disbelieve the resurrection say the disciples only saw a vision of Jesus. The Gospels, however, give us a vivid picture of the reality of the resurrection. Jesus went out of his way to offer his disciples various proofs of his resurrection – that he is real and true flesh, not just a spirit or ghost. In his third appearance to the apostles, after Jesus performed the miraculous catch of fish, he prepared a breakfast and ate with them. Peter’s prompt recognition of the Master – It is the Lord! – stands in sharp contrast to his previous denial of his Master during the night of Jesus’ arrest. The Lord Jesus reveals himself to each of  us as we open our hearts to hear his word. Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life and do you receive his word with faith?
  • The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven (viviansielaff.wordpress.com)
    After Jesus resurrection He was with the disciples for forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:2-3). And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; “for John truly baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which they Father has put in His own authority. “But you shall receive power when they Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:4-8
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    This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
  • Luke 9:28-36 (arietta18.wordpress.com)
    at the transfiguration, Peter, John, and James would, in a sense, get to see the kingdom of God.
    +
    This appearance was the same or similar to the appearance that Jesus would have after his resurrection when hewas exalted to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father.Later, in Acts, when Stephen, the first recorded Christian martyr, was being stoned to death, he “looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55b NIV).  A few chapters later, the Apostle Paul saw Jesus appear to him
    +
    In the transfiguration, we get a glimpse of heaven, where all the dead in Christ will rise and be glorified with him.
  • Mystery – What causes a Christian to be set apart part 2? (lhwm1.wordpress.com)
    There is a mystery that surrounds the cross of Christ. Jesus the Son of God, Savior of mankind, Lord of Lords and King of Kings beaten until He no longer looks like a human being. Unbelievers see Jesus as weak and unable to stop His horrible death. (Luke 23:35, 39)
    +
    The death of the coming Messiah was told to the prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah 53) and was planned before the beginning of time. The mystery was not death itself; it was the method and purpose of His death on the cross.  How could the Messiah die and reign forever. There was certainly no seeing the cross for the unity of Gentiles and Jews (Ephesians 3:3-6). All this was kept hidden until Jesus Christ came to the earth. He would tell his disciples in detail of His death and resurrection.
  • Lift Up Your Heads – a take on the ‘Olivet Discourse’ (Luke 21:5-38) (newjerusalem.net.au)
    Jesus says that they will see the Son of Man ‘from now on’ – ie. from that moment. It seems that on these two occasions Jesus is not speaking of an event, as much as a position of power and authority. In fact, He is making an unveiled reference here (and every time he calls himself ‘the Son of Man’) to Daniel 7
  • The True Easter Story (findingmywayinfo.wordpress.com)
  • Happy Resurrection Day! Christ IS Risen! (wrightlexi83.wordpress.com)
  • FFOZ TV Review: The Restoring the Kingdom (mymorningmeditations.com)
  • Jesus Is in Every Book of the Bible! (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
  • Morning Prayer 4.23.14, Wednesday in Easter Week (dailyoffice.org)
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MegaChurch

Please do fin also to read:

  1. Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?
  2. Problems attracting and maintaining worshippers
  3. Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches

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  • Think About It – Why People Should Leave Mega Church Pastors Alone (justanotherdaysjourney.wordpress.com)
    I follow a few so-called mega churches and their pastors. Usually if the pastor posts something there are always a few people on their timeline who are speaking against their ministries due to the size. I find it quite comical that these same people actually use the bible to justify their statements. If they really understood the bible it does not dictate the size of a congregation as we know them today but the bible has examples that prove that modern-day large churches are not new.
    +
    I wish that they would focus on sharing the gospel with non-believers so that God’s “mega church” can grow for His glory.
  • Atheist ‘mega-churches’ undermine what atheism’s supposed to be about (theguardian.com)
    A so-called godless church wants to establish more US congregations. These ‘places of worship’ come across as a joke
    mega church

    Around 12,000 people in the Christian Fraternity of Guatemala evangelic mega-church near Guatemala City. Photograph: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

    It’s not easy being an atheist. In a world that for centuries has been dominated (and divided by) religious affiliations, it’s sort of inevitable that the minority group who can’t get down with the God thing or who don’t subscribe to any particular belief system would find themselves marginalized. As children of no God, it seems that atheists are somehow seen as lesser – less charitable, that is, and more selfish, nihilistic, closed minded, negative and just generally unworthy. Now, however, a group of atheists are fighting back.
    +
    The godless church concept is the brainchild of Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones, two British comedians, who identified a gap in the faith market that so far non-believers are flocking to fill. The first Sunday Assembly (as the gatherings are being called) took place in a dilapidated church in London on a cold morning this past January. It went down a treat, apparently, and the movement has gained enough momentum in Britain that the comic duo have since embarked on a “40 dates, 40 nights” tour of the United States raising money to build US congregations so godless Americans can become churchgoers too.

  • Atheist Mega-Churches (New Fad) (leeduigon.com)
    The “news media” this weekend–Fox, CBS, NBC– all featured reports of what they were calling “atheist mega-churches.” These are large gatherings, on a Sunday morning, of people who want all the church stuff but without belief in God.It was started by two British comedians. It’s awash in money. They get together and sing “Here Comes the Sun” and “Lean on Me.” I’m sure they sing “Imagine,” too, although that wasn’t mentioned in any of the news articles. Like, right there is ample reason to stay away.

    The services feature music, sermons without God, and assorted feel-good-about-yourself activities.

    I’m confused. How do you tell the difference between one of these “atheist mega-churches” and a regular mega-church? If it’s that hard for us to tell, will God trouble Himself to make a distinction?

  • Holiness and the Mega-Church (chosenrebel.me)
    I once met a man who collected the names of former pastors who had destroyed their own ministry and marriages by sexual or financial misconduct or relational abuse of power. The inside cover of his Bible was nearly black with ink and he was about to start a new list on the back-inside cover.Recently, the news of a number of mega-church pastors stumbling into gross abuse of power, infidelity, and pornography has made national news. Some have taken this turn of events with hand-rubbing glee, as a chance to dump more scorn and abuse on the mega-church phenomenon or the pastors of all mega-churches, or the Church in general, or pastors as a group. Critics multiply like cockroaches.

    Multiplying cockroaches may mean that there is a food source to feed on but it doesn’t mean cockroaches are paragons of virtue and wisdom.

  • The Problem With Mega Churches (brandonlorick.wordpress.com)
    Since their inception, churches have served three main purposes, to Inform people of the Message of God, to offer a place of fellowship, and to help those in need. However as we look around today, we can tell that the church has not succeeded, as a whole, at these three tasks. Personally I do not believe that it is mere coincidence that the potentness of churches has weakened as satellite and mega churches have grown. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not hate satellite and mega churches, I know of ones who succeeded, greatly, at every one of those three tasks, I do however believe that satellite and mega churches are more susceptible to challenges facing todays churches.
  • Atheist Mega-Churches (socialworkingal.net)
    In California, 400 atheists attend church in Los Angeles every Sunday. The theme of the assemblies are “Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More”, which are structured as spiritual meetings instead of religious ceremonies.There are so many unanswered questions and personal opinions about Atheism, but as Americans, we are allowed to congregate and worship whatever and whenever we want. Fundamentally, spirituality can be effective when facing or dealing with life circumstances, just as religion calls on a monolithic or in some cases, a pluralistic higher power.
    +
    Do Atheist “Mega-Churches” create the same effect as Christian ones?
  • Mega-Churches: A Parable (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
    The kingdoms of the mega-churches can be likened to obese men sitting at table.  They  look around at all the bounty spread before them and they say to themselves: I know what’s best for me and what I desire, so I will fill my belly to the full and luxuriate in my immenseness.  Meanwhile, around them at the table are the small and underfed and yet because their interest is only in themselves, they don’t see them nor consider them.’
  • We aren’t losing people because of worship. We’re losing them because we’re hypocrites. (kathleenbasi.com)
    There’s a blog post making the rounds right now about the dismal record of churches, both mega- and traditional, to retain their youth into adulthood. The author and all the commenters have their pet theories about why this is–the age-old argument between “worship isn’t relevant” (i.e. it’s too traditional) and “the worship is too contemporary” (i.e. it’s too contemporary) seem to be the focus of discussion.Although I’m a liturgist, and I have impassioned opinions on the question of musical style in worship, I actually don’t believe the style of worship has all that much to do with this question at all.

    We are losing the youth–and everyone else who’s leaving organized religion–because they think it’s a bunch of B.S. A conspiracy made to pacify the ignorant and keep the masses in line. And why do they think this?

    Because we call ourselves Christians, and we don’t act like Christ.

  • Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster to become recognized religion, in Poland (newsfixnow.com)
    Just when you think you’ve heard it all; you find out that somewhere in the world you can actually worship…pasta.Believe it or not, in Poland, a court ruled that the “Pastafarians” can now apply to register as an official religion.They’re known as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
  • Three Reasons Why America’s Protestant Mega-Churches Will Turn Contemplative (or Go Extinct by 2017) (contemplativechristians.com)

    In 2017 the Protestant Reformation will be “officially” 500 years old, and what do we show for it? Behold, the American Mega Church! A bloated pimple rising up from the greasy adolescent face of American frontier religion.

    Since then, much of American Protestant Christianity has morphed into a corporate conglomerate of consumer-capitalistic religion – a multi-faceted industry of books, movies, music, conferences and seminars. Looking back at the sweep of Christianity’s twists and turns, it appears  that whatever good may have sprung out of the Reformation’s Pandora’s Box, that good now seems smothered over.

    In short, it’s time for the next octave of Christianity to emerge into its full resonance.
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    Unfortunately, the mega church culture has adopted the cultural values of distraction, activity, entertainment, busyness and noise. High energy religious entertainment with multi-media, richly produced worship events will reach a saturation point as the law of diminishing returns runs straight into the demand for more intense adrenaline worship-highs. There is a ceiling to the seduction and hitting it will come at a significant price. Case in point: observe the buildings. We build our buildings and our buildings build us. And what kind of buildings do the mega churches build – they build entertainment temples, stadiums to the electric Spirit with lights, screens and shopping mall amenities – all to keep the masses engaged. Seduction by the senses is the oldest game in the book. Soon, though, mega churches won’t be able to seduce the masses by the senses because the senses will be numbed by over stimulation, withering on the inside from malnutrition, craving the one thing the big box multi site entertainment temples can’t and won’t provide yet – silence and solitude. But they will. They will have to. Silence and solitude are the “next big thing” for humankind.

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Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches

Big churches with many dreams but also with anxiety

In the church world many say because they are the biggest church they must be the church closest to the truth and the right church.

In the United States of America you may find lots of Mega Churches and Holland is not doing bas getting also more people in churches where all sorts of happenings attire lots of people with entertaining services. In those mega churches we also often find preachers who seem to be obsessed with religious rules and legalism and who try to make their flock afraid of what they do. Everywhere seems to be the devil looking around the corner. They preach about the Satan going to destroy them if they do not turn away from him and come to Jesus.

Those preachers are more obsessed with the sins and shortcomings of others and make it their obsession to point out their faults.

Preachers like Perry Noble, are known more for what he attacked rather than what he built up! But by Noble some change took place after he had taken a sabbatical year.

Perry Noble

To his mega church where he ministered for 12 years for a congregation which drew around 16,000 people every weekend, in 2012 he made it clear to them that he was committed to NewSpring, which he founded, and that he wasn’t leaving to figure out if he’s supposed to stay. His goal was to lead the church for another 20 years until age 60. That is when he wants to pass the baton to the next generation.

“In order for me to lead this church well for the next 20 years, there’s got to be some changes in me,”

he told his congregation in 2012 when he preached his final message before his break.

Layers to be peeled

“I noticed the closer you get to Jesus, he just peels back another layer on your life of something that you’ve got to work on.”

Noble has not shied away from admitting his weaknesses and how “screwed up” he was to his church. He was open about having battled depression just a few years ago.

“I’m not the perfect person but I am trying my best to pursue Jesus,”

he said.

Men of God and Burn out

That pastor may have been very passionate in what he was doing and had to face a burn out. A few thousand years ago, the prophet Jeremiah also suffered burnout. Decades of pronouncing judgement on an unrepentant Israel wore him down. In the book named after him, he begs for release from this horrible work, but God forbids him to leave it. Jeremiah’s battle against burnout reveals who he really is as a leader – a mixture of character traits and weaknesses we can all appreciate.

The man in the old times we can imagine, got very frustrated, having to speak about the bad things people do and having to pronounces only destruction.  Other prophets get to speak of magnificent future events but Jeremiah is confronted with a stubborn people (the Israelites) who could see what God had done already for them, but where not appreciative for it, and were not interested to change their way of living, so that the prophet also could not change his message.

Losing sight and falling in a pit

"The Prophet Jeremiah" (1968)

“The Prophet Jeremiah” (1968) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The great prophet demands to know why God has allowed him to fall into this pit. Years of throwing himself into his work without any results or reward has left him burned out and resentful. The problem, God tells him, is that he has forgotten his calling. Jeremiah must return to the original vision that launched his ministry.

Today, in the churches all over the world we also can find lots of people who have lost sight of the reason why they were called. Many when they were young were really looking for God, but found a stable home, were they could feel at ease by a certain church denomination. In that church they were comforted they could have a living and do not have to worry about their income, nor have to make steps themselves on their own to build places where they could preach and worship God.

To stay fresh and focused, many like to make sure that they have certain getaway rituals. By many ministers the attraction of a growing church, having lots of people coming to listen to them, brings them to put on shows or to present some sort of entertainment which can attract more people. They start losing track of their real purpose and do think it is best for church to have many people joining in. Most of them do prefer to control everything themselves; They forget that the body of Christ is one of many people doing different jobs in that body, the church. they themselves start thinking they have to do it all. They count on themselves (instead of on God) to do everything what is needed to make a big church, to solve the many problems, build products with too many features, and often they can not say ‘no’ to lots of thing of which they should be able to say “no” or “I can not”.

They forget that if they include every decent idea that comes along, they’ll just wind up with a half-[baked] version of their product.

Outside world

Prophet Jeremiah, Russian icon from first quar...

Prophet Jeremiah and the Scriptures – Russian icon from first quarter of 18th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we say yes to all outside influences, including everyone else’s expectations, opinions, and criticisms, we shall end up with a half-baked, burned-out version of ourself.

Perry Noble made it his goal to catch people doing something wrong and condemn them and perhaps forgot to see the person he himself really was.  Instead of reaching out to them with compassion and a genuine concern he became judging them.

We also have to be careful not to judge others, and we certainly can damn them or threaten them with places of torture for indefinitely. According to the Scriptures no such place exist. The hell being spoken off is just the grave where we all shall end up. Even Jesus, who never sinned landed up in hell for three days.

Faith, Correctness and discussions

Today we may find many who do not like to associate with anyone or any group that does not acknowledge that he or she is completely correct in his or her view and for religious people this concerns also their interpretation of the Scriptures. On the internet but also in real life we see can  hear heavy discussions going on … and, if the other person does not want to think or see just like him he would attack and malign them as often as possible. (Kind of goes against what Jesus said in John 13:34-35)

Perry Noble admits he fell also in such a trap. He also remembers the very first time he ever had to deal with someone who told him they were struggling with anxiety and depression. He did not understand and could not relate-so, he told them what he thought was the typical “Christian” answer to all problems … they should pray more, read their Bible more and memorize more Scripture.

Instead of lessening the load he was unintentionally adding to it.

The person mentioned, their doctor had told them about going on a certain type of anti-depressant, to help out with their struggle, and so they asked his opinion.

He says now:

In a completely illiterate and uneducated manner I told them that people with “weak faith” are the ones that needed such meds, that godly people did not struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression and that taking such medication would essentially be screaming to God, “I don’t trust you.”

Coming through the storm by learning

He himself also got into a terrible state of not seeing any more where he could go. Through a series of situations in his life that needed to be changed, along with some intense and excellent Biblical counselling he was able to come through the storm that had dominated him for so long. From what he learned at his time of depression, many others can also learn. Today he is willing to share his experiences so that others can learn from it and avoid coming into such a mess he came into. For today’s believers it is not made easy either, because they are tossed about by every wind of “doctrine” because so few preachers seem to be preaching absolute Truth and sound doctrine. They also see what lots of those ministers or priest do in their daily life, not according to what they are preaching or demanding that their churchgoers would have to do.
So many people have become so frightened by other people, instead of knowing that human beings can not totally destroy an other person. He might kill him or her, but that will not solve the problem for the killer. For the one killed he might not have pain any more so the worldly problems would be solved.  A Satisfied Spirit does not have to fear. Most people also want to have the right in their hand and want to believe they are right in everything. In case they would be more humble and come to see that not one person can be right in everything, life would be easier. We should give each other much more “the right to be wrong about everything” and allow ourselves also to have mistakes and getting to learn form our mistakes.

> Please do continue reading about Depression and Anxiety, in:

  1. Searching for fulfillment and meaning through own efforts, facing unsatisfaction and depression
  2. Depression Is and When
  3. Anxiety’s Hold
  4. Believe What You Will
  5. When feeling sad, not sure of there being a Divine Creator
  6. Be an encourager
  7. Duty of encouragement

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Additional reading:

  1. When discouraged facing opposition
  2. Words to push and pull
  3. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  4. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  5. Satan the evil within
  6. Does God exist?
  7. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  8. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  9. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  10. Jesus three days in hell
  11. Parts of the body of Christ
  12. The task given to us to love each other
  13. Reasons to come to gether
  14. Testify of the things heard
  15. How should we preach?
  16. Good or bad preacher
  17. Who are you going to reach out to today
  18. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  19. Many churches
  20. Who are the honest ones?
  21. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  22. Greatest single cause of atheism
  23. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  24. Knowing where to go to
  25. Democratic principles for the church of today
  26. Church is a Hospital for sinners
  27. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  28. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  29. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  30. Love for each other attracting others
  31. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  32. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  33. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  34. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  35. Be humble like Christ
  36. Faith and trial
  37. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  38. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  39. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  40. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  41. If you want to go far in life
  42. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  43. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  44. Abhor evil. Adhere to goodness
  45. Kill the messenger
  46. Work with joy and pray with love
  47. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  48. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  49. You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind
  50. No good thing will he withhold
  51. Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?
  52. Problems attracting and maintaining worshippers

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  1. Should Christians Take Medication for Mental Illness?
  2. 5 Practical Things to Consider Before Taking an Antidepressant
  3. One of the Most Powerful Leadership Principles I’ve Ever Learned
  4. The One Thing That Holds Most Leaders Back
  5. Why Are So Many Churches Hearing So Little of the Bible from Their Preachers?
  6. Preachers of L.A. Dressed to Impress, But Is Jesus Pleased?
  7. #PreachersofLA: As Real as It Gets
  8. Preachers Of LA’s Bishop McClendon Says He Was Set Up
  9. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  10. A Plea for Sharp and Polished Preachers…
  11. In Have You Seen the Viral Videos of the ‘Pint-Sized Preachers’ Yet? (theblaze.com) you can see how children can be exploited and which impression some people have about “teaching” and “preaching” and what certain people do call a “sermon”.
  12. TD Jakes Disses Preachers Of LA
  13. Strange Fire Conference: Preachers or Witch Doctors?
  14. church oh church1
  15. Debating with theologians and preachers and their somewhat constricted views….
  16. Can Faith Ever Be Rational?
  17. Political Correctness and “Bashing”
  18. The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest
  19. Word Power
  20. The Right To Be Wrong About Everything
  21. A Satisfied Spirit Fears Not

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  • Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism? (blackchristiannews.com)
    The emergence of the megachurch as a model of metropolitan ministry is one of the defining marks of evangelical Christianity in the United States. Megachurches — huge congregations that attract thousands of worshipers — arrived on the scene in the 1970s and quickly became engines of ministry development and energy.
    Over the last 40 years, the megachurch has made its presence known, often dominating the Christian landscape within the nation’s metropolitan regions. The megachurch came into dominance at the same time that massive shopping malls became the landmarks of suburban consumer life. Sociologists can easily trace the rise of megachurches within the context of America’s suburban explosion and the development of the technologies and transportation systems that made both the mall and the megachurch possible.
  • Joel Osteen’s message of hope connects faithful, churches (ocregister.com)
    Osteen, senior pastor of the 50,000-strong Lakewood Church in Houston and nicknamed “the Smiling Preacher” for his toothy grin, travels with a crew of 30. Many in the audience Friday seemed to connect with the preacher’s observations, delivered in a lyrical Texan drawl, his interpretation of Scriptures and most of all, his positive energy.During his sermon, Osteen drew quite a bit from personal experience in his message about “redeeming time,” or making the most of our time in this world. He broke down as he talked about his mother’s valiant and victorious fight against liver cancer. He reminisced about the first time he met Victoria, his wife of 27 years, at a jewelry store while shopping for a watch battery.He told how the tragic death of his father, John Osteen, who founded the church at the back of an old feed store with 90 members, pushed a behind-the scenes guy into the limelight – as a preacher. In the last 15 years, Osteen has grown a congregation of 6,000 to the nation’s largest megachurch.
  • Has the Megachurch Lost Its Luster? (juicyecumenism.com)
    In the future, the 1990s and early 2000s may well be called the “Megachurch Era” by ecclesiastical historians. Suburban commuter culture, television broadcasting, the Internet, the book publishing industry, the rise of self-help gurus, digital media technology, and the contemporary sounds of Jesus People music all provided essential ingredients for enormous churches with a plethora of programs. All that the ingredients needed were men with the vision, initiative, and charisma to muster together like-minded individuals for a common purpose: planting, building, and increasing a congregation (well beyond the previous conceptions of a “large congregation”).
  • Huge Money Stolen From MegaChurch, But That’s Not The OMG Moment (crooksandliars.com)
    The Young Turk’s Cenk Uygur discusses the recent robbery at Joel Osteen’s megachurch, and the incredible amount of money they’re raking in there every single week.
  • How to Run a Megachurch: T.D. Jakes, Marvin Winans, and Others Provide an Inside Look (blackchristiannews.com)
    On just about any Sunday, as many as 10,000 people may fill the pews of Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Dallas-area megachurch. Some believers say he has an uncanny way of connecting with his audience anyway.

    “It doesn’t matter about the size,” says Faith Johnson, a 13-year member. “It’s almost like nobody else is in that church, but me.”
    It takes some help for leaders of the largest megachurches and national ministries to make believers reject the idea that a smaller church is more intimate and personable. A big staff of associate pastors and elders is indispensable.
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    Pastor Matthew Cork knew he’d have to rely more on his leadership when his nearly 6,000-member Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Calif., committed to building 200 schools in India over the next 10 years for dalit children, who are part of the country’s lowest caste. He’s also promoting a book and movie about the number of dalits who end up being trafficked as sex slaves.
    “We have a teaching team, so I’m not teaching every week, which gives me freedom to do some of the other things that I do,” said Cork, who speaks about twice a month at his church. “It’s worked great for me and my schedule.”
  • Fort Lauderdale Megachurch Pastor Resigns Over ‘Moral Failing’ (miami.cbslocal.com)
    “Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life…Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and his family. The governing board of the church is providing counselors and ministers who will help guide him through the process of full repentance, cleansing and restoration.”+
    “There should have been more accountability at Calvary Chapel,” he says.  “Pastor Bob shouldn’t have been put on such a high pedestal and he should have never had so much power. Whenever there is that, it’s a formula for disaster.”The popular church boasts over 20,000 members, has 10 campuses, and 1,000 employees.“You know he did a lot of good,” said Mitch Guertler a church member. “He helped out a lot of people and I’m just really sad but like he always said up on stage—don’t follow him, follow Christ. So, you know, he’s a sinner like the rest of us and it’s just too bad.”
  • Arguing over trifles while the world burns: Megachurch pays millions to leave nation’s biggest Presbyterian denomination – major rift over ‘Who Jesus is’ (sott.net)
    A California megachurch has voted to officially leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a Christian denomination that is the largest in the nation.Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Calif., one of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s largest congregations, made the choice despite facing a $8.89 million cost for the church’s property and membership fees, Religion News Service reported.With 4,000 members, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Menlo Park’s decision is a major development in the lifecycle of a denomination that continues to experience ideological infighting over its more liberal stances on controversial issues.
    +
    In a document published by Menlo Park last year, leaders described their reasons for seeking a split with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), noting that the church’s “evangelical identity around who Jesus is and our understanding of the authority of scripture are increasingly out of alignment” with the denomination as a whole.

    Specifically, the church expressed concern that many Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders do not believe in the deity of Jesus, nor do they embrace salvation through Christ. These are central tenets of most mainstream Christian churches, leading to a difficult ideological splintering.

  • Amazingly Elaborate Hoax Targets Megachurch Pastor (newser.com)
    Somebody has put a massive amount of work into a hoax claiming that pastor Joel Osteen has renounced his faith and is resigning from the Texas megachurch his father founded, the Houston Chronicle reports. The hoax includes a fake Twitter feed, a YouTube video from “ChristianityNews” containing mockups of news websites trumpeting Osteen’s loss of faith, and a fake website that looks similar to the pastor’s own site.
  • Dallas Megachurch To Encourage ‘Tweeting’ For Jesus During Sermons (dfw.cbslocal.com)
    You could call it “facebooking” for Jesus. One North Texas mega-church could soon be encouraging its congregants to keep their cell-phones on instead of turning them off during Sunday service.
    +
    “We have a pretty young congregation — the median age is 33 — and so many of them I deal with them on social media as much as I do in presence of them,” says Liberatore. “I just think this is a different way for people to connect with each other, to share their faith — and I think Jesus would make use of it.”
  • Study: Megachurches can trigger false spiritual highs (alanrudnick.org)
    worshipers at megachurches experience a greater release of oxytocin, thought to add to a sense of euphoria. That would lead us to believe that these types of megachurch worship experiences can trigger a false sense of a spiritual high.
    +
    like a rock concert, there is a degree of psychological multiplication that can be added with a shared emotional experience with light shows, loud music, and a celebrity presence. Perhaps megachurches can add this additional element to worship that causes this “spiritual high”.
    +
    So, is the spiritual high that Christians experience in worship just a chemical response or is it a part of the worship of God? Does worship in a megachurch lend more to a shared emotional or perceived than other types of Christian styled worship?
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This is an amazing thing

Today’s chapters in John’s Gospel very graphically illustrate the impact Jesus was having on the people and the jealousy this caused among their religious leaders. He heals a man who had been born blind, who had never been able to see – utterly remarkable. The religious leaders tell this man to

“give glory to God, saying, ‘we know this man (Jesus) is a sinner’” (9:24).

They cannot deny that an amazing miracle has occurred, but say,

“We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from”.

The healed man answers them,

“Why this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes” (verses 29,30).

Their anger boils over against the man as he persists in reasoning with them and telling them,

“If this man were not from God, he could do nothing”.

They end up telling him,

“’You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?’ And they cast him out” (verses 33,34).

This made us think of the increasing blindness of so many today who keep on saying at every opportunity, indeed making opportunities, to declare there is No god, there never was a Creator, everything that exists is the result of countless happens of pure chance!

This is an amazing thing”  => “herein is the marvel

especially that people persist in this way of thinking!

Yet in one way we can understand why this is so – it is because the established church are so hypocritical – in some ways they are parallel to the religious people who surrounded Jesus.

Those who are willing to read God’s word for themselves – and to keep reading so that they get its full flavour and meaning – are conscious of the amazing message that unfolds and that becomes clearer the more they read. But sadly, as we read in John’s next chapter there are others that hinder the message – Jesus says,

“He who is a hired hand, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees and the wolf snatches them and scatters them” (verse 12).

Sadly this happened!

sheep

sheep (Photo credit: amcunningham72)

But scattered sheep can listen and, even today, hear “the good shepherd” through reading the words which he inspired his followers to remember and write down (see 14:25-27) so that true sheep, even in the 21st Century, can “hear” his voice by reading his words and those of his disciples and other of God’s prophets. If they feed on them every day they find the only true pasture in the wilderness of this world – and will come into the promised land.

Joh 14:25-27 The Scriptures 1998+  (25)  “These Words I have spoken to you while still with you.  (26)  “But the Helper, the Set-apart Spirit, whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you all, and remind you of all that I said to you.  (27)  “Peace I leave with you – My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

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Additional reading:

  1. Jesus Messiah
  2. Seeing Jesus
  3. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  4. Jesus’s answers about God’s silence
  5. Knowing Rabboni
  6. On the Nature of Christ
  7. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  8. Servant of his Father
  9. Servant for the truth of God
  10. Blinkered minds
  11. Working of the hope
  12. A fact of History or just a fancy Story

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  • Not Alone: Maundy Thursday and the Building of Intimacy (drewdowns.net)
    This year, it was helpful for me to remember that we have developed a different way of marking days from Jesus’s time and place. Then, the day began at dusk. So this, Jesus’s final day, has begun. He gathers His friends for dinner, for a final teaching. Small. Subtle.
  • John 16:25-33: He has Overcome the World (disciplesforlife.wordpress.com)
    When we are trying to communicate a complex idea to our children, we often resort to more simple analogies to help them understand what we are saying.  The goal is so that no matter the age, they will understand what we are saying because we have adapted it to their way of understanding.
    +
    Remember Jesus was always concluding parables by saying “those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”  Well there are many theories on this, but I believe that just as His righteousness light unto the world, a light that had a necessarily judging or dividing affect so also His teaching (think Matthew 10:34).  He was the light and the darkness necessarily was scattered from Him.
  • John 9-10 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man which was blind from [his] birth.
    +
    As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
    +
    But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.
    +
    The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and [yet] he hath opened mine eyes.
  • To Sheep or not to Sheep…. (cooksvillechurch.wordpress.com)
    Blind man healed, Religious leaders not happy, kick out blind man…
    Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”

    And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
    +
    Sectarianism is not our goal, it is Christ Jesus that unites His body by the power of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, men have different views and agendas for the Church. These clash with the Scriptures. This is not cause for war but for fruitful discussion and diligent study of the Word of God bringing us closer to, and conforming us to Christ Jesus’ image. This takes much time and is a work of the Holy Spirit. Scripture reminds us that it is Christ Jesus that is perfecting His Church.

  • The Abundant life? Or Life Abundantly – > Understanding John 10:10 (testifyingtograce.wordpress.com)
    What follows is a big debate between the man who was healed from his blindness and the scribes and Pharisees who want to discredit Jesus. The debate ends when the healed man says, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing” and then the Pharisees threw him out of the synagogue. Then Jesus finds the man, who had been healed, and the man confesses faith and worships Jesus. Now we begin to look at what happens after this man worships Jesus.
    +
    What is the difference between being faithful to the text or causing deception? It is the difference between a noun and an adjective. Let’s take a look at the two words that tend to get confused… “life” and “abundantly”…
    +
    Jesus, when He talks about giving us an abundant life, isn’t referring to wealth, happiness, or earthly success. Jesus is promising to give us so much life that it will last all of eternity. He promises us that He will give us Himself for He Is Life. He gives us the Words of Life that give us life here on this earth and ultimately point us to Christ (John 5:39). This is what John 10:10 is talking about and it is far more glorious when you do not twist its meaning.
  • Numbers 27-28, John 5 (vesselsofclay.org)
    Sheep are not the brightest of animals. In fact, they are quite dumb, requiring someone to lead them and protect them. Sheep are herd animals with no built-in protection mechanism, other than flight. They are driven by their appetites. There are stories about flocks of sheep so intent on grazing that they literally walked off the side of a cliff one by one, so focused on feeding that they were oblivious to the danger. Sheep are easily led astray. Sheep are easy prey to predators. They spook easily and are prone to both disease and injury. And even a cursory reading of the Scriptures will reveal that so many of the characteristics of sheep really do apply to the people of God, including those in Moses’ day all the way to the Christians living during the days of Paul’s ministry.
    +
    God was not happy. His sheep were being neglected and even abused. He expected those men who had been given the responsibility of leading His people to take their role seriously and to lead according to His terms, not their own. God cared for His sheep and He expected those whom He had appointed as shepherds to act as His undershepherds, providing the same level of care and concern as He would.
  • Unity (jesusworshipper.wordpress.com)
    The Pharisees stole the chance of eternal life away from the people by telling them that they must follow six hundred laws in order to be saved. They divided the people, telling them that Jesus is not the right way.
    +
    Jesus loves the sheep so much that He laid down His life for them. He was mangled by the wolves of all the sheep’s sin, so that they wouldn’t have to be. He united the sheep by laying down His own life for them.
    Lastly Jesus says that He knows the sheep. He knows and loves them even as God the Father knows and loves Him. Jesus is saying that He loves the sheep with the same love that His Father gives Him. How amazing it must be to be a sheep in that flock. But we are sheep in that flock! We have been loved and nurtured by our Good Shepherd, who loves us as much as the Father loves Him. Jesus has united us under one Shepherd, in one Flock.
  • 14 Prophecies fulfilled on Good Friday (wheelsms.wordpress.com)
    When trying to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” one has to consider the prophecies of the Old Testament. The New Testament explains that the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah found their fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Here are 14 prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled on Good Friday. Click on the link if you want to download a pdf copy of the chart.
  • What Easter Means To Me (theonlywai.com)
    Easter is a time of sacrifice and rejoicing. A time to reflect on all that Jesus Christ did for us to put us right with our Father. When you don’t recognise the crucifixion as the chance for you to get right with God, the cross becomes a mere ornament of religion or a fashion item for the lost. For some Easter is no longer the greatest religious festival in the Christian calendar but chance to over indulge in chocolate eggs. For some, it is no longer an opportunity to celebrate death defeated and all illnesses healed, but a time to wonder where the Easter Bunny left his stash or just a welcome break from daily drudgery.
    +
    Few people who deny Jesus can realize more than 365 prophesies written in the Old Testament about the Messiah were fulfilled that first Easter, when Jesus died and rose again. Psalm 22 verse 18 foretells of the soldiers casting lots for the Lord’s tunic, for example.
    +
    ‘This is how God showed His love for us: God sent His only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about – not that we once upon a time loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.’ 1John 4:7 from The Message bible.
  • Harshness to darkness. Darkness to hatred (andronicusthescribe.com)
    The John passage of scripture covers in some detail various encounters that Jesus has with the Pharisees, the religious group that laid heavy burdens of ‘legalistic compliance’ upon the Jewish people of the time.

    So, the chain of ideas expressed in the two cryptic phrases is as follows: Religious legalism leads to spiritual darkness – a state of blindness to truth that is plainly “seen” by those who are not spiritually blind – and is subsequently followed by hatred. That hatred is directed towards those who truly follow the Lord Jesus.

    Blind people live in a world of spiritual darkness. They can’t “see” or fully understand what is going on around them in the spiritual realms.

 

 

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