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Genesis 1

When I read the first chapter of Genesis recently, I tried to visualize God creating, but my imagination was interrupted as I remembered that my NIV Bible is in English, and the language of the Old Testament was written in Biblical Hebrew.  And since I’m reading the Bible for the third time, I want my reading to be beefed up with details to deepen my relationship with God.  An online search lead me to biblehub.com where I found English to Biblical Hebrew translations.  I found that day=yom, night=layil (lah’-yil), sky=shamayim (shaw-mah’yim), earth/land=erets (eh’-rets), and sea=yam (yawm).  After I write in the Biblical Hebrew translations to my Bible and re-read Genesis 1:1-10, it’ll probably give me chills with the added effect.  Maybe I’ll even read it aloud to my family with ocean wave sounds in the background.  Yeah.

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Genesis 2:9, 3:22-24, Revelation 22:12-16

Last Wednesday, I finished reading the Bible.  It was just the second time I’ve read it.  Since Revelation is the last book of the Bible, it was fresh in my mind when I read the news about Billy Graham passing on to Heaven.  There are wonderful details about Heaven in Revelation, but as I read this time, I found the tree of life to be particularly fascinating.  As I read, this time I was reminded that the tree of life is also mentioned in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

In Genesis 2:9, I read that God created beautiful trees that were “good for food.”  God is perfect, so just know that if He says the food is good, it’s perfectly tasty.  Also, the tree of life was in the middle of the Garden of Eden.  In Genesis 3:22-24, I read that if they (Adam and Eve) would have taken and eaten from the tree of life they would have lived forever.  Because of that, God guarded the tree of life with a flaming sword and cherubim.

In Revelation, Jesus spoke the words,”…right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”  Putting all of the verses together, it sounds to me like those that are saved get to enter the city gates and take and eat from the tree of life leading to eternal life.  I like to picture Billy Graham and loved ones that have gone to Heaven, walking awestruck through the city gates, picking fruit from the lovely tree of life, eating the delicious fruit and then living happily ever after.

Luke 22:39-46

Revelation 21:4

When Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, He was distressed.  He hoped that He wouldn’t have to become a sacrifice, but He was willing to be obedient to God’s will.  The Bible reads like He was in such anguish, that He sweat blood that fell on the Mount of Olives.

If you do an online search for sweating blood, one link that pulls up is from Wikipedia. “Hematidrosis is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress…The episodes may be preceded by intense headache and abdominal pain…(and the) effect on the body is… mild to moderate dehydration from…both blood and sweat loss.[9]

The New Testament indicates that Jesus underwent hematidrosis before the Crucifixion, during the Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:44).[5][12] These claims are plausible, given that the modern day dermatological research notes the presence of hematidrosis in people awaiting execution…[5] Leonardo da Vinci described a soldier who sweated blood before battle. [13]”

We don’t know if Jesus had a massive headache with abdominal pain before sweating blood, or if He had any dehydration from the loss of the blood/sweat combination.  We do know that even before Jesus was arrested, cruelly beaten and killed, He was already suffering.

Since Jesus was in Heaven before coming to Earth, He was in a perfect place with no pain.  We’re the reason why Jesus felt immense pain.  We are all sinners and our sin is why Jesus became the sacrifice for sin for all time. Whatever sin you may be holding onto, give it up!  Show Jesus respect for what He did.  Jesus didn’t die for nothing.

Matthew 2:1-12

One morning earlier this month, sunlight came through our kitchen window and shined like a spotlight on our Nativity scene.  That light reminded me of the star we associate with Jesus’ birth.

What do we know about the star?  In Matthew 2:1-2 we read that Eastern Magi saw “his star” and they desired “to worship him.”  Also, the star “went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.”

The NIV Study Bible says about the star, “Probably not an ordinary star, planet or comet, though some scholars have identified it with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.”  And R. C. Sproul, who is now with our Lord, had said in The Reformation Study Bible about the star, “This may have been a planetary conjunction, a supernova, or something purely supernatural.”

It really sounds like the Magi got a show.  The star was like a spotlight on Jesus, the real star.

 

Ephesians 6:20, Philippians 1:13, Colossians 4:3, Philemon 1:13, 2 Timothy 1:16

Do you find it a chore to write a letter?  Paul wrote 13 letters and five of them were from prison.  He wrote even though he was in chains.  I think that the weight of the chains would have made writing difficult for Paul.

If you do a quick online search regarding letters Paul wrote from prison, you’ll soon see that only Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon are mentioned, not 2 Timothy.  But according to my NIV Bible under, “Title and Background,” when 2 Timothy was written, “…he was again imprisoned in Rome under Emperor Nero about 66-67.  He was languishing in a cold dungeon, chained like a common criminal.  Paul knew that his work was done and that his life was nearly at an end.”

Chances are you’re not in chains.  Is there some Christian good you can do by sending off some handwritten snail mail to someone soon?

 

Acts 27:1-26

I have been following news on Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas.  My Aunt Alice lives in Houston, so I became concerned when I got an update on my phone today.  I called my mom who let me know that the flooding is about a mile away from Aunt Alice and that her area is also in a tornado warning.

There is one mention of a hurricane in my NIV Bible.  It’s the account in Acts of Paul sailing to Rome.  In that adventure, there was, “a wind of hurricane force, called the ‘northeaster.'”

God knew about that hurricane long ago in Paul’s time and he knows about Hurricane Harvey.  God is in control.

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

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