Silent?

I’m playing for a funeral today, and when I read today’s verse, I became concerned.

Does it mean there will be technical difficulties?

Will the soloist lose his voice?

I will just have to wait and find out.

Luke 20:26, “…they became silent.”

At some point, each of us will become silent and others will attend our funeral.

Have we said what we needed to say today?

His Elect

Luke 18:7, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?”

Ephesians 1:4, 5, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”

“The verb chose (v. 4) is the translation of the Greek word exelexato (1586), meaning “chosen out of.” In this context, it signifies that at one particular time in the past, God chose individuals for salvation. At the same time, Christ died for all (1 John 2:2). The invitation to believe in Christ and be saved is extended to all…” ESV Hebrew-Greek Study Bible Notes

 

It Takes Two to Marry, But Only One to Divorce

Matthew 19:3, “And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?'”

“Matthew 3-9. It is often assumed that these and similar verses (Matt. 5:32; Luke 16:18) teach that the one who is divorced should not remarry. In the situations that Jesus dealt with, however, he addressed divorce for reasons other than unfaithfulness, such as incompatibility or unhappiness. The person who was put away was innocent but often acquired the false stigma of being guilty of moral misconduct. Jesus apparently accepted that such a person might remarry because he stated in Matthew 5:32 that the spouse who unjustly initiated the divorce caused the innocent one to commit adultery (i.e., when they marry someone else). For this reason, Jesus insisted that the Old Testament provision (Deut. 24:1-4) be adhered to; someone who unjustly dismissed an innocent mate ought to clear that person of guilt by providing a bill of divorcement. Divorce papers issued by a judge in today’s society should not be equated with the Old Testament bill of divorcement. Jesus concerned himself only with the innocent party and not with the one who was merely able to secure a legal divorce.” ESV Hebrew-Greek Study Bible Notes

The Most Quoted Verse in the Bible

Today’s verse is the most quoted in the Bible. When children memorize Bible verses this is the favorite.

Yet, it is a powerful verse. It is full of emotion and shows Jesus was completely human. He understands the pain we face.

There is no greater pain than the grief we bear when a member of our family dies.

This week I will attend the funeral of a mother and a funeral of a father. I know I will cry because I react to the pain of others; even though we both know, we will see their loved ones again.

Jesus went to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead. When he saw the grief of Mary, Martha, and the other Jews, even though he knew Lazarus would return to life in a few minutes, he responded.

John 11:35, “Jesus wept.”

Not Hate, But Love Less

Luke 16:26, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

“In light of Matthew 10:37,  the word hate (v. 26) should be understood as loving one’s relatives less than the Lord. The phrase, “who does not renounce,” (v. 33) refers not to the total abandonment of one’s belongings but to the proper prioritization of them. The Greek word apotassetai – the middle voice of apotass (657), from “apo” (575), “from,” and tasso (5021), “to properly arrange.” It signifies that believers who are worthy of Christ know how to properly arrange their lives so that Christ is given preeminence.” ESV Hebrew-Greek Study Bible Notes.

The Peace You Can’t Understand

Luke 12:25, 26, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?”

I admit it. I’m a worry wart…especially when it concerns my kids or money. That is why these last two weeks have been miraculous.

My husband was laid off, and thanks to a computer glitch, unemployment will be delayed for another two to three weeks!

But I have peace, and that is the miracle! Each day I get up and go through my tasks the same as I did when he was working.

It doesn’t make sense. That is why God’s peace is referred to as “the peace that passes understanding.”

You can have that peace, too. Taking that step is as easy as “A, B, C”:

  1. Accept that you are a sinner.
  2. Believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for that sin.
  3. Confess to someone the decision you just made.

When you make this decision, you become born again. You will have a new spirit, God’s Spirit, living in you. That is the source of all peace.

 

Seeking a Sign

Luke 11:16, “While others, to test him, kept seeking a sign from heaven.”

They wanted to see miracles, but when they witnessed one, they would explain it away. In verse 14, when he cast out a demon, they said he used the prince of demons to do it.

Yesterday, we read of Jesus healing a blind man. Instead of praising God for the miracle, they said it was not the same man, (see John 9:9); even when the healed man kept saying, “I am the man!”, (see John 9:10).

We need to seek Jesus, instead of miracles or signs.

Hanukkah in the Bible

John 10:22, “At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem…”

“The Feast of Dedication was a ceremony of great importance to the Jewish people. Its origin stems from the dedication of the temple after it was desecrated by Antiochus IV Epiphanes…who also brought severe persecution upon the Jews. A number of years later, a priest named Mattathias led a revolt. This revolt was continued by his son Maccabeus and brought the persecution to an end. Following this victory, the temple in Jerusalem was cleansed and a ceremony was held to mark its rededication. Jewish tradition records that the oil lamps that were lit as part of this celebration had only one days supply of oil but burned for eight days. The annual feast that celebrated this event or miracle was marked by the lighting of candles and the chanting of the Hallel (Ps. 113-118), as well as the waving of palm branches.” ESV Hebrew-Greek Study Bible Notes

“Antiochus’s atrocities were aimed at the eradication of the Jewish religion. He prohibited some of the central elements of Jewish practice, (Laws were enforced banning circumcision.), attempted to destroy all copies of the Torah (the Pentateuch) and required offerings to the Greek god Zeus. His crowning outrage was the erection of a statue of Zeus and the sacrificing of a pig in the Jerusalem temple itself.” NIV Study Bible Notes, pages 1570, 1573

From My Heart

Matthew 19:35, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

This morning I remembered one who hurt me. I offered forgiveness years ago, but the pain of betrayal rears its ugly head every once in a while.

God forgives and forgets. We are human and that is not possible. It’s also not wise. Sometimes we need to cut the relationship out of our lives. Other times we need to pull back and leave space between us to protect ourselves.

But that does not mean we hold a grudge or withhold forgiveness. We are to forgive over and over again until all of the pain is removed from our heart.

Freedom comes through forgiveness, not revenge. And for those I have hurt, I ask to please forgive me.

The Kingdom of God Came

Mark 9:1, “And he said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.'”

How did the kingdom of God come?

Hebrews 2:9, “But we see him, who for a little while, was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”