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2 Chronicles 34-35

Today after church, my family stopped by a nearby Hy-Vee to get a few groceries we needed.  At checkout, my husband noticed that the clerk’s name was Josiah.  That got us thinking about Josiah of the Bible.  Maybe he was named after the Biblical Josiah.

King Josiah was eight years old when he became king.  At the age of 16, he sought God.  He got rid of idols, smashing them into powder.  At one point in his life, the king of Egypt, Neco, came and Josiah decided to fight him even though Neco didn’t want to fight him.  Neco wanted to fight someone else.  However, Neco asked Josiah not to oppose God.  Despite the warning, Josiah fought anyway, in disguise.  Then, arrows sailed through the air and fatally wounded Josiah.

We all make mistakes in life.  If only Josiah wasn’t itching for a fight.  Jerusalem could have enjoyed their beloved king longer.

 

 

 

Matthew 24:12

In my opinion, Matthew 24:12 is one of the most fascinating verses of the Bible.  In response to His disciples about signs of His coming, Jesus let them know that since wickedness will rise, “…the love of most will grow cold…”

I witnessed a couple of situations that I think can fall within the category of love growing cold.  I was driving in construction and the road narrowed with orange cones flanking both sides.  Without construction, there is a clear left lane to turn left plus a lane to go forward.  The driver of a van tried to get as far left as he/she could.  The light for the main lane was green.  The driver of a large pickup behind the van moved in closer.  The van could only inch forward, still waiting for the opportunity to turn left.  The pickup driver managed to pull around to the right of the van, yelled something at the van driver, made a sustained angry gesture, and drove off.  Love was absent and he acted in a cold way.

Another example of cold love involves a mean girl and an autistic boy.  At our church, there’s a young boy who’s autistic.  Sometimes, he has a troubled look on his face, but a lot of the times he’s excited about something, usually music or geography.  One day though, he heard that “Chloe”, a teenager, was going to be helping in the class.  He suddenly acted in a way we hadn’t seen before.  He went to a corner of the room, facing the wall.  He was very disturbed and said, “She’s my annoyer.  She comes to annoy me.  She’s been here since 2000 and I’m allergic to her.”  It turned out to be a different Chloe, but it was evident that another Chloe hadn’t shown him love and acted in a cold way.

If Jesus said something, it’s true.  If He said that most people’s love will get cold, it will.  So, if a random yelling man makes an angry gesture, a familiar “annoyer” slings more hurtful comments, or any other near-loveless or loveless action happens, just rationally remember that Jesus called it.

Matthew 7:7-11, John 3:16

Matthew 19:14

My mom returned our book, “Heaven is for Real” this past week.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s about a boy, Colton, who claimed to visit Heaven during an appendectomy.  I believe him since his story doesn’t counter the Bible.  Chapter nineteen is entitled, “Jesus Really Loves the Children.”  One example of Jesus’ love for children is in Matthew, where Jesus talked about giving good gifts to children.

I know God loves our kids.  I have a recent example of how much God loves our daughter, Emily.  Emily and I had a Biblical conversation while driving home from an event.  As we pulled in the driveway, I felt satisfied that her questions were answered.  Five days later, I half-listened to a morning devotional, but knew that the writer had talked about losing wedding/engagement rings.  Then, one or two days after that, the kids were practicing tennis in the afternoon when I decided to sit down at a picnic table in a nearby shelter.  Before I sat down, I noticed something shiny and small on the concrete floor.  On closer inspection, I saw it was a child’s toy diamond that had become dislodged from a play ring.  I remembered the devotional about the lost rings and decided to read all of it on my phone.  It reminded me of the Biblical conversation I had with Emily almost a week before.  After the kids were done practicing tennis, as we were walking, I asked Emily if she remembered that conversation.  She did, but she had additional questions that I didn’t know about, but God did.  I listened to her and I again was able to answer her questions.  Evidently, it was important to God that Emily get answers to her extra questions.  Those answers were good gifts from God.  He showed He cared about her questions by lovingly and patiently going to great lengths to get them answered.

Colton was persistent in telling his parents how much Jesus loves kids.  Jesus’ words in the Bible revealed His love for children, and I’ve seen evidence of that love.  If you have kids, please remind them that Jesus loves them!

Luke 4:16, 7:11-17

As I was reading in Luke, I got curious about the town Nain.  This town was where Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead.  After a search in biblegateway.com, I found out Nain is mentioned just once in the Bible.  According to http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/nain/, Nain means “lovely” or “green pastures” in Hebrew.  On this ancient map, it is about ten miles from Nazareth.  Can you find Nain?  http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-first-century.html

Mark 11:1-11

When Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, they came to the Mount of Olives.  According to wikipedia, the Mount of Olives used to have olive groves all over the slopes.  I like to think that the olive groves were there when Jesus came.  Maybe He and His disciples ate olives there before the rest of the trek to Jerusalem.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_of_Olives

As I read today’s Scripture in English, I wondered what praise Jesus, who spoke Greek, would have actually heard as He rode the colt to Jerusalem.  My Bible says, “Hosanna!”  I looked up the Greek word for Hosanna, and although I don’t think this computer has the characters to type the written word for Hosanna, I can at least type a pronunciation which is very close to the English word.  In Greek, it is pronounced, “Osanna, ” without the “H” sound, and with the last syllable accented.

So, today, you can praise Jesus in English, Greek, or in whatever language you speak.  Happy Palm Sunday!

Genesis 17:5, Genesis 17:15, Revelation 2:17, Psalm 100:4

Has your name ever been changed?  The only time my name was changed was when I got married.  If someone gets a name change for another reason, that involves the Clerk of Court at a courthouse.  There can be a petition to the court, a hearing and pricey fees.  http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/CountyDivision/ChangeofNameProceedings.aspx

When God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah, it didn’t involve a Clerk of Court, petitions, hearings or pricey fees.  God changed other people’s names in the Bible too and He’s not done changing names.  In Heaven, one can receive a new name on a white stone.

Matthew 9:18-22, Matthew 14:22-33, Hebrews 11:6

If you’ve read The New Testament, then you know faith is important.  Early on in Matthew, a lady who had a bleeding condition for years touched Jesus’ cloak.  He was pleased with her faith and she was healed.  About midway through Matthew, Peter tried to walk on the water to Jesus, but he didn’t get very far before he was scared and started sinking.  Jesus seemed irritated that Peter’s faith was lacking.  He asked him why he doubted.

There are many more examples of faith in the Bible.  Faith is important but it’s more than that.  In Hebrews 11:6 we learn that without faith it’s impossible to please God.  Let’s please God by having faith.

 

Romans 1:18-32

Genesis 19:24

Matthew 19:4-6

You probably know about the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage.  There was much celebration.

Early last week, I took our kids to the new downtown library.  Upstairs, there was a gay book display which had about a dozen books.  It made me sad and I didn’t bring the kids’ attention to it.

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?  In Romans 1, words used to describe homosexuality are, “unnatural,” and “shameful.”

Even though the Supreme Court judges made their decision, God is the Supreme judge over all judges and He will have the final say.  We know that His final say for Sodom and Gomorrah was destruction.

Earlier today, I saw a comparison of Earth to the sun.  The sun dwarfs the earth in a big way.  In light of all of the recent support and celebration for gays, God is so big and powerful, that if He wanted to, He could slam dunk the earth into the sun.

The end of the earth will eventually happen in God’s way.  Make sure you or someone you know isn’t supporting and/or celebrating what He’s against when Jesus comes back.

 

1 Corinthians 13

Not long ago, I wrote about a hair stylist that was having a bad day.  She had snapped at me and I tried to figure out why she might be in a bad mood.

Recently, my son needed his hair cut and the same hair stylist stepped forward to help him.  I braced myself, but this time, she seemed like a different person.  She was kind and we had a great conversation.  If I had been unkind the first time and snapped back at her, the latest haircut might have been unpleasant.

The Bible asks Christians to be kind and to not be easily angered.  Love is supposed to hope and not give up.  This isn’t easy, but let’s try.

 

I have been reading a book called, “Why I Believe,” by Dr. D. James Kennedy.  This is such a compelling book, that I thought I’d share with you the highlights from the six chapters I’ve read so far:

1. Why I Believe the Bible – There are many prophecies in the Bible, and thousands of them have come true already.  One of the coolest fulfilled prophecies was one about the big sea city of Tyre.

Ezekiel prophesied that Tyre’s walls would be destroyed, the towers broken, dust scraped from her and become, “like the top of a rock” where nets would be spread in the sea.  In addition, stones, timber and dust would be laid in the water, and Tyre would not be built anymore.

Years after the prophecy, the king of Babylon came with his army to attack Tyre.  It took them thirteen years, but they eventually made some of the walls crumble and battled with swords.  Thousands of the people in Tyre escaped on boats to a Mediterranean island to build a new Tyre.

Time passed, and Alexander the Great came on the scene.  Cities surrended to him, and then he found the new Tyre and demanded for them to also surrender.  Whey they laughed, he planned with his top engineer, “build a causeway across the half mile of the Mediterranean Sea to the island of new Tyre.”  Alexander the Great ordered, “Tear down the walls of Tyre, take the timbers and the stones, the rubble and the logs, and cast them into the sea.”  In order to make the causeway to get to the new Tyre, they had to scrape the old Tyre.  Tyre was destroyed.

What about the nets and the rock?  Well, Dr. D. James Kennedy wrote, “A member of my church recently visited the city of Tyre and returned with pictures of new Tyre.  They showed nets spread out on the flat rock that once had been the proud city of Tyre.”

Ezekiel 26:4-5, 12-14

2. The Stones Cry Out – Critics against Joshua and the battle of Jericho thought it couldn’t be that, “the Israelites marched around the city seven times in one day.”  However, “Garstang’s investigation provided an interesting fact about Jericho-it was smaller than the sites upon which many large metropolitan churches are built.  Having been to Jericho many times, I know that I could walk around it seven times in one morning and play a set of tennis before lunch!”

Also, Sir William Ramsay, initially an atheist who studied archaeology thought he would prove the Book of Acts to be wrong.  He ended up being very impressed by Luke’s accuracy and actually became a Christian.

3. Why I Believe in God – “Pierre Simon de La Place, one of the greatest of our astronomers, said that…The evidence for God as opposed to the evidence against him as the Creator of this universe was as infinity to one.  It could not even be measured.”

“How does God provide to get the nitrogen out of the air into the soil?  He does so by lightning!  One hundred thousand lightning bolts strike this planet daily, creating a hundred million tons of usable nitrogen plant food in the soil every year.”

“How little we realize what God is continuously doing to provide for our life.  We see that we live with a tiny ozone layer protecting us from an unseen deadly bombardment that constantly comes down upon our heads.  Beneath us is a thin rock crust…Beneath that is the molten lava that forms the core of this earth.  So man lives between the burning, blackening rays above and that molten lava below, either of which would burn him to a crisp.  Yet man is totally oblivious that God has so arranged things that he can exist in such a world as this.”

4. Why I Believe in Creation – “A famous British evolutionist, Sir Arthur Keith,…says, ‘Evolution is unproved and unprovable.  We believe it because the only alternative is special creation which is unthinkable.”

“Those who are evolutionists laugh at the idea that you can put evolution and the Bible together.  Thomas Huxley, probably the most famous proponent of evolution who ever lived, stated, ‘It is clear that the doctrine of evolution is directly antagonistic to that of Creation…”

Charles Darwin said, “Geological research…does not yield the infinitely many fine gradations between past and present species required.”

“Professor Enoch, zoologist at the University of Madras, said: ‘The facts of paleontology seem to support creation and the flood rather than evolution.  For instance, all the major groups of invertebrates appear suddenly in the first fossiliferous strata (Cambrian) of the earth with their distinct specializations indicating that they were all created almost at the same time.'”

5. Why I Believe in Heaven – “Dr. Simon Greenleaf,…one of the greatest authorities on legal evidence…turned the vast searchlight of his immense knowledge of evidences upon the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and exposed every thread of that evidence to the most searching criticism.  He came to the conclusion that the evidence was so overwhelming that in any unbiased courtroom…it would be declared to be an historical fact.”

“One woman, …after she had suffered a respiratory arrest, said the doctors who were trying to resuscitate her were pounding on her body trying to get her back while she was over them, looking down, and saying, ‘Leave me alone!’  There was such peace,…joy and love as…never experienced before-an evidence which perhaps God has given in these unbelieving days to convict even the most skeptical.”

6. Why I Believe in Hell – “We are told that the sinner dwells in ‘everlasting burnings’ (Isaiah 33:14), yet ‘shall never see light” (Psalm 49:19).

“Christ, who came…to save us from pain and suffering, was the One who talked more about hell than any other person in Scripture.”

 

Have you read this book before?  If not, come back for Part 2 on Sunday.