Monday, December 31, 2012

Luke 3:1-37

v. 2 "God chose to speak through a loner John the Baptist.  How often people judge others by the superficial standards of power, wealth, and beauty, and miss the truly great people through whom God works.  Greatness is not measured by what you have, but by your faith in God." NIV Notes 

v. 3 John went into all areas around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sin.  "We can't just say we believe and then live any way we choose.  Neither can we simply live a morally correct live without a personal relationship with God because that can not bring forgiveness of sin." NIV Notes  I believe that when you come to God broken and feeling worthless He takes us with gentle hands and He does not expect us to change overnight.  He is patient and kind.  You start to desire to change and you want to do it to get to know Him more. 

v. 6 Jesus came for ALL people.  The banquet is open to all, no one is excluded.  Some feel like outsiders and that they would never fit in to the party by the way they look or what they think.  Our fellow men and women are the ones who choose to exclude but thankfully Jesus did not appoint us to be His judges.   

v. 7-14 The people came to be baptized by John and he responded to them "You brood of vipers..."  Things sometimes seem harsh but due to the seriousness of the situation, taking things lightly just won't due.  v. 9 "The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." They seemed to rely on the fact that their salvation was due to being Abraham's descendants.  You can not rely on your family history or your good works.  God has to have your heart and for you to truly know Him.  The religious leaders were probably boiling over when they heard what John had to say.  They probably would not have given any hope to those they deemed unworthy.

Several people asked John what they needed to do.   
John told the following people what to do:
the well off - share what you have to those in need
tax collector - whatever your job, do it well and with fairness
roman soldier - do not hold your power over the people, be content with what you earn

Tax collectors were hated during that time period.  Many took extra off the top of what they collected to live well for themselves and the people did not trust them.  The roman soldiers were there to keep order for Rome and I bet many took advantage of whatever they wanted. 

v. 15-16 Many thought that John was the Christ.  John made sure to point out that he would not be worthy of untying Jesus's shoes.  So many people put church leaders or entertainers up higher than they should go so that when they fail they come crashing down.  We are not supposed to elevate God's messengers or the worldly powerful, just God Himself. 

v. 21 Jesus being baptized might confuse some since He was without sin.  Jesus was here for us and to show us what to do, how to act, and what it is to give up a life for others. 

What changes can you make in sharing your wealth, doing your work with integrity, and being content in your life?

Do you ask for forgiveness yet still repeat the behavior that you know is not good for you?  God values reformation above ritual.  "Turning from sin must be tied to action" NIV Notes

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Luke 2:36-52

v. 36 Anna was a prophetess, unusually close to God.  You do not hear that much about women in the bible having a non-traditional role.  There are some and I really like to read about them.  Seniors were highly valued in Jewish culture.  Today it seems that we value youth and beauty.  Listen carefully to the older people around you, they have such wisdom to share if we only would choose to listen. 

v. 37b Anna never left the temple, she worshiped night and day, praying and fasting.  There are days when I don't do my bible study for whatever reason.  I don't beat myself up I just move on to the next day.  I am in awe if this woman.  She is someone that I would have just loved to watch and learn from.  This woman was all in, she had an incredible heart for God.  It is quite sad that over the years men have thought such absurd things about women, that there wasn't much we could do except for taking care of family and home.  I wonder if it bothered the men who wrote the books in the bible to have to add such women.  Don't get me wrong, I know that God put exactly what He wanted in His book.  I think God knew that one day societies would be different and He wanted to show us that there are incredible role models in the bible to learn from that are just like us.

v. 44-45 Joseph and Mary couldn't find Jesus for three days.  Anyone who has lost their child for even a few minutes knows the panic that follows that discovery.  Three days sounds like an eternity. 

v. 47 "Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers."  Do not think youth equals ignorance.  God uses what the world thinks foolish to confound the "wise", how many have been overlooked when they should have been listened to?

v. 49 Jesus responded to his parents that He was in His Father's house.  We have to let our children go so that they can be who God made them to be.  Whether we like it or not.  The longer you put it off the harder it will be when they eventually go off on their own. 

v. 52 Jesus had to continue to grow at home.  It is vitally important that we are to train up our children to know God.  It takes a lot of time and energy but I believe it will all pay off and we can rest assured that we did a good job.  It might not even be during our lifetime but I want to get to heaven and God say, good job my child.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Luke 2:21-35

Simeon was waiting to see Jesus before he died.  When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple Simeon was there to see Him.  v. 29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace."  What a beautiful expression that at the end of your life when you are finished and have left nothing undone on earth, you can be at peace.  v. 33 They marveled at what Simeon told them.  How many times are we amazed at what God has done for us over and over again?  If we are not and it all fades into a distant memory, then we should set memory "stones" like the Jewish people did at certain locations where God showed His love and power.

v. 34-35 Simeon told them that Jesus would cause the falling (unbelievers) and the rising (believers) of many in Israel.  Also that Jesus would be spoken against and that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  Jesus was not what the people were expecting and many hated Him for that.  Sometimes our prayers are answered in ways that we would never expect.  What is hidden in our hearts can never be concealed from God.  v.35b "And a sword will pierce your own soul too."  No mother wants their child to be picked on or hurt.  Just hearing that from Simeon must of sent chills down Mary's spine.  What an intense description of such heartache she would be going through.  Since His own hometown would reject Him just imagine when Jesus was preaching what the other women would say around Mary not to mention the comments from the religious leaders. 

With Jesus there is no neutral ground.  People either accept Him or reject Him.  Rev. 3:16 "Because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth"  It is easy to follow God when everything is going great.  It's when you are going through a trial that you show your true colors.  Many fail miserable (I'm thinking of myself here) time and time again.  It is when we continue on our journey and do not let defeat keep us down that we are making progress.  You are either going into, going through or coming out of a trial.  How will you handle it? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Luke 2:1-20

v. 2 Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem for the census.  The census was used for either aiding the military or collecting taxes.  Since Rome was in charge it was probably against his better judgment to go on the trip, although he complied.  There are many things we don't want to do because we think it is against our beliefs.  If we give it to God, He can take care of it.  The trip would have been slow and difficult for Mary who was pregnant.  There is no mention of her complaining on the journey.  I can guarantee that I would have been complaining daily!  I let my circumstances dictate my emotions, which is one of my many areas that I need to work on.  Just because we are being obedient doesn't mean that we won't go through some tough days.  We are not guaranteed comfort or convenience.   But we are promised that everything, even discomfort and inconvenience has meaning in God's plan.  I think the Jews thought that Jesus would be born of a noble family.  Don't limit God by our expectations. 

v. 8 Shepherds were the low end of society yet an angel came to them to share the good news.  Over and over in the bible God used what the world would see as useless or common to do great things.   It seems that we haven't learned much when we look at someone and deem them less than us by what they look like or what they say.  The greatest news in history and it came to the humble.  Jesus comes to all those with a humble heart.  He accepts you as you are.  Which that took me a long time to really understand.  v. 19 Maybe it really sunk in when strangers came to confirm what the angel had stated.  What a wonderful experience it is to have a child so I can not imagine what Mary was feeling after giving birth to the King. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Luke 1:39-80

After Mary heard the amazing news from Gabriel she went to spend time with her cousin Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary's voice her baby jumped and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  It had to be a comfort for Mary when Elizabeth said "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!"  I wonder how Mary felt during the journey to Elizabeth's house.  When she got a heart felt confirmation from someone she probably looked up to, it must have calmed her soul. 

Elizabeth could have been jealous of Mary for giving birth to Jesus.  She was given a miracle of having a baby in her old age that was significant in the history of the world.  Although it might have been overshadowed by Mary giving birth to Jesus.  Are we really happy for others when something good happens to them?  Even if it's something that we really want?  Elizabeth was truly happy for Mary.  Elizabeth responded to Mary's confusion "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" 

Mary starts singing, she was joyful.  Do we sing praises back to God?  v. 48 looks like Mary is being prideful when she sings "From now on all generations will call me blessed".  I think she knew the significance of what would happen and she accepted God's gift.  Don't deny, belittle, or ignore your gifts.  Thank God for them and use them for His glory.

v. 80 says that John the Baptist lived in the desert until he appeared in Israel.  NIV study notes says that prophets used to isolate themselves in the desert to enhance their spiritual growth and focus on the message of God.  John also remained away from all of the political and economic powers and hypocritical religious leaders so he could aim his message at them. 

Do we have to go to the desert?  No, but it wouldn't hurt to make it a priority to spend time with God daily and even get away for a day or two just by yourself to dive into the word with no distractions.  Being in this incredibly busy world can make it nearly impossible to spend even a few minutes in the Word.  If I'm not in the word daily I start to notice that my fuse gets shorter and I just don't feel grounded.  I write it on my calendar every day.  Some times I miss a day.  I don't beat myself up, I just continue on.  There is no room for guilt here.  You don't get gold stars for how many days you read your bible.  This is a relationship not a race.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quote - Mother Teresa

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I am no bible expert.  I just have a love for Jesus and the Word.  Please feel free to comment on any posts even if you don't agree.  I am wanting to learn more and I believe sharing our thoughts is a great way to increase our knowledge.  I am using the NIV Life Application Study Bible with notes.  I also love using Spurgeon's Sermon Notes & Matthew Henry's Commentary.

Luke 1:26-38

Gabriel came to Mary with a message that she would give birth to Jesus.  God used a young girl to bring Jesus into the world.  God could have just brought a grown Jesus here in the blink of an eye.  Instead He decided to use what the world thought ordinary. 

Women back then had no significant role other than wife & bearing children.  If their husband died they couldn't just be a single mom.  They usually had to move back with their family or get remarried.  They had no rights, no status in their communities.  Very few women in the bible had a visit from an angel, when they did it was for an extraordinary reason.  So God bringing Jesus into the world this way is pretty amazing to me. 

Gabriel told Mary that Elizabeth her cousin is also having a child even though she is past childbearing age.  He told Mary that nothing is impossible with God.

v. 38 (NIV) Mary responds "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said".  She first of all stated her place in God's Kingdom which we should also do.  It keeps you humble and keep pride at a distance.  Then she accepted her task without complaint.  Her only question was "How can this be?"  There is a difference between Zechariah's and Mary's responses.  They both stated facts to support their confusion.  I believe Zechariah questioned God and Mary honestly didn't know how it was possible.  Since Zechariah was without speech and Mary had no such consequence. 

What if we said the same thing as Mary any time God asks something from us?  God, I am your servant.  May it be to me as you have said.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quote - C.S. Lewis

"Don't let your happiness depend on something you might lose"
C.S. Lewis

I love this quote.  A good thing to remember during this Christmas season.  The best present is something we can't see or touch.  If you open your heart to the Presence then there is nothing better to receive in all the world.  It's nice to think it's the one thing that can never be taken away from you.  It will last forever and remain beautiful for all time.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Luke 1:1-25

I'm starting Luke, what a great time to read this with Christmas right around the corner.  I must confess I had planned to read the gospels two summers ago and only finished Matthew & Mark.

The bible called Zechariah & his wife "upright in the sight of God".  Ok, first of all what a great intro!  What do you think God says about you? 

The angel Gabriel came to Zechariah and told him that his wife would have a child.  Zechariah doubted what the angel said.  Sometimes we think, how could he have replied to an angel that way?  Think about a time God told you something that might have been out of your comfort zone and you really thought that might have been some crazy part of your brain just rambling on.  Ok, I have been in his shoes many times before and hopefully the more I go through it the more I will improve my understanding that I don't understand anything at all.  Zechariah was thinking just as any of us would, when you are too old you don't have children.  Our facts are only options to God.  We can make a huge list of why things couldn't happen the way God says it will, yet He doesn't feel the need to consult us in the slightest.  God's proper time is beyond our grasp. 

Since Zechariah doubted what Gabriel said he lost the ability to speak for a time.  Maybe that is a grown up time out?  What should we be saying that we are not sharing?  What should we be keeping quiet that we are not?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reclaiming the Season - TPC gals rock!

Last night I went to Reclaiming the Season at our church.  It was a wonderful night with amazing decorated tables, a great speaker and fantastic food.  In the non-writing creativity I am seriously lacking, those tables were so beautiful.  I tend to stare at a blank room or table and can't think of anything to do with it. 

The topic for the night was getting back to the real reason for the season.  I really need that reinforced in my life, probably daily.  I get so mad at the small stuff that I tend to miss out on some great moments.  I have to say that the ladies in my church seriously rock.  You all are the best group of girls ever!  I keep thinking maybe I'm in some sort of Christian Stepford town were all the Christians are nice, sincere and would do just about anything to help you out.  Instead of the gossip, hating, angry ones.  You are kind of wondering where the weeds are among the flowers. I think that the flowers are actually choking out the weeds!

Book - The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

I just got done reading "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis.  I'm not sure what to think of this book.  It kept bothering me and I can see why it would have been hard to write.  I thought it was well written.  It was strange to see a glimpse of how the other side operates.  It made a lot of sense, just bothered me to read it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day One

I wanted to start a blog to share what is on my heart with other women.  Sometimes bible verses for the day and other times daily ramblings.  I love poetry, quotes and just good words thrown together to make something extraordinary.