Monday, November 10, 2014

New Mercies

While Jeremiah is recounting Israel's affliction and feeling that the Lord has forsaken them, he says this:

"This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord."

-Lamentations 3:21-26 (NASB)

No matter what we are going through, no matter how far away God seems or how crazy His plans seem, the Lord is good to those who wait for Him. How amazing and comforting is that? This semester, I have found comfort in the fact that the Lord's love constantly surrounds me and that His mercies are new every day, no matter what yesterday looked like.

In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, for the Lord has overcome the world. -John 16:33


Monday, May 19, 2014

Open The Eyes Of Your Heart

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance of the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might, which He brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at the right hand in the heavenly places.

While this was originally Paul's prayer to the Church at Ephesus (Ephesians 1:18-20), it is my prayer for myself and for anyone reading this. This passage is just one example of many in the New Testament that describe how we can pray for one another.

This morning, I was reminded of just how short life is when a young woman who started college with me finished her battle with Leukemia. So, through the hurt we face in this world, I urge you to allow God to open the eyes of your heart so that you can see Him. Life is too short to live in the now; we must focus on forever with Him. Forever starts when you accept Christ- allow your heart to be open to see the hope that God's calling provides. Once we see this hope, we are able to see the riches His love provides and His amazing power.

Let His love mold and shape you so that you are truly His handiwork and used for His glory. Life is too short to live otherwise.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

How To Treat Others

Our world today seems to teach us that if we are Christians, we must hate everyone who does not do as the Bible instructs.

This view is ironic, because Christians are to love their enemies (Matthew 5:44); our enemies would be anyone who we hate, right?

2 Thessalonians 3:14,15 (NASB): "If anyone does not obey our instruction in their letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him....Yet, do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."

According to this passage, Christians are to not be best friends with those who are not Christ followers, but we are not to treat them as our enemies. That, I believe, is where the Christians are getting a negative reputation. We have accepted the world's view that if we do not agree with someone's choices, we must speak out negatively against them and then not associate with them at all.

We are to love everyone, especially our enemies and even more so those we do not agree with.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Doubting Peter, 2 Blind Guys, and Jesus' Passion Predictions

Today in New Testament Literature and Life, my professor had some great points about the text of Mark 8:22-10:52 and I wanted to share them, along with my thoughts. If you are not familiar with these passages, I will highlight them below.

Mark 8:22-26 -Jesus healing a blind man at Bethsaida.

Jesus found a blind man, spit on his eyes and asked "Do you see anything?"The man saw what he described as trees walking around, because he could not see clearly. Jesus then laid His hands on the man's eyes again and he began to see everything clearly.

Mark 8:27-31- Peter confesses Jesus as Christ.

Jesus and the disciples were on the way to Caesarea Phillippi (pictured below). On the way, He asked them who people say that He is. The disciples answered "John the Baptist; and others say Elijah, but others one of the prophets." Then Jesus asked, "But who do you say that I am". Peter then answered "You are the Christ".

Mark 8:31-33: First Passion Prediction.
Directly after this, Jesus began teaching about how he must suffer and die, then be raised after three days. Peter then began to rebuke Him for saying this (remember just a few short verses ago, he had proclaimed that Jesus was Christ, and thus knew what He was doing). Jesus responded to Peter saying, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind of God's interests, but man's."

Mark 9:30-32- Second Passion Prediction.
Jesus again began teaching his disciples that once again he would be killed and raised after three days; yet the disciples, of all people, still did not understand. 

Mark 10:32-45 Third Passion Prediction.
Jesus began to tell the disciples that they were going to Jerusalem so that Jesus could be condemned and handed over to the Gentiles to be killed and He would rise in three days. James and John responded to this by asking if they could be at Jesus' right and left hand in Heaven; Jesus answered by telling them first that they do not know that they are asking, then telling them that they must come as servants if they want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Mark 10:46-52: Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho and found a blind man named Bartimaeus sitting by the road. The first thing I noticed is that Bartimaeus called Jesus "Son of David", meaning that He recognized that Jesus was fulfilling prophecy. Secondly, even though Bartimaeus was blind, he recognized Jesus. He begged Jesus to have mercy on Him, so the disciples called him to Jesus and Bartimaeus asked Jesus to grant him his sight. Jesus responded, "Your faith has made you well." Then, he immediately regained his sight and began following Jesus. 

Now that we have read the highlights of these passages, you can begin to understand how they fit together. My professor said that the blind man at Bethsaida did not see the full picture right away; in the same way, Peter confessed that Jesus was Lord, but still did not understand that Jesus was going to be crucified until after Jesus told him three times! Then, Bartimaeus represents Peter at the end of the passage, by proclaiming that he knows who Jesus is and has the faith to believe that Jesus can heal him, or raise Himself up in three days. 

I completely agree with my professor's view, but I also began to think about a different interpretation while studying this passage. The blind man at the beginning of the passage did not have the faith and trust necessary to believe that Jesus could heal him at first, and therefore he did not get to see the whole picture, or understand the truth of the Bible. Then, when Jesus begins to reveal Himself, if you have faith that Jesus is who He says He is, your faith will open your eyes to great things- both in the Bible and in your every day life.