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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!

Psalm 51:7

Earlier this week, I decided to organize a bathroom drawer.  I threw out some ponytail holders that our daughter wore years ago.  When I got to the back of the dark drawer, I discovered an unused Q-tip, with unkempt fuzzy ends.  It didn’t surprise me it could fuzz-out like that.  What did surprise me was that it had yellowed.  I hadn’t seen a yellowed Q-tip before.  We’ve lived in this house over a decade, so it looks like it got shoved to the back of the drawer and left for years.

Let’s pretend the old, yellowed Q-tip represents an unrepentant sinner that has run away from God.  Are you an old, yellowed Q-tip?  Is someone you know an old, yellowed Q-tip?  If so, you, or someone you know, can be a new, whitened Q-tip.  Jesus can make anyone whiter than snow.

Luke 9:28-33

Whenever I read Luke 9:33, it makes me smile.  While Moses and Elijah are leaving Jesus, Peter proposes making shelters for each of them.  This verse says, “…(He did not know what he was saying.)”  So, maybe later, Peter thought, “Why did I say that?”

I went to two sources for insight on Luke 9:33.  Liberty Bible Commentary says, “The three disciples were fast asleep while all this was transpiring, and were surprised by what they saw when they awoke.”

The Reformation Study Bible  by R. C. Sproul says, “Peter suggests building structures of some kind, perhaps to enable the experience to be prolonged.”

Peter probably didn’t know that people in the future would be analyzing his words.  Poor Peter.  His heart was in the right place.

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

Luke 2:8-20, 6:12, 9:10-17, 13:10-17

On Good Friday night, my family watched the movie, Jesus (1979).  We had watched it several times before, but this time I took notes.  This movie is based on the book of Luke and is careful to adhere to Scripture.  Still, I wanted to analyze how the movie helped enrich our understanding of what Jesus and others might have experienced.

In Luke 2:8-20, at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, shepherds reside in fields at night, guarding flocks from whatever lurked in the dark.  They would surely have been prepared for any predators.  What they didn’t expect was an angel.  The Bible lets us know that the shepherds were frightened.  The movie did well showing shepherds initially doing their job with one shepherd even playing a flute-like instrument.  But when the angel arrived, the flute playing stopped and you see one shepherd stop petting a lamb, get up, stagger, and stare.  It felt realistic.

In Luke 6:12, it’s mentioned that Jesus spent the whole night praying.  There was a convincing scene for that.  Imagine staying up the entire night praying!  That’s amazing!

In Luke 9:10-17, Jesus miraculously fed more than 5,000 people with a small amount of bread and fish.  Everyone ate until they were full.  The movie added cheering people when the food was being distributed, which I thought was a nice touch.  It could have happened-Who doesn’t want a free all you can eat buffet?

In Luke 13:10-17, A woman who must have had kyphosis, praised God after Jesus healed her.  In the movie, the elderly actress spoke heartfelt dialogue as she moved to frame Jesus’ face with her hands saying, “Praise to the Lord!  God keep you Rabbi.”  I got teary with her believable lines.

Jesus is a good movie.  It prepared our hearts for Easter Sunday.   The movie makes me think of a framed quote in my dentist’s office that says, “It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross but rather his love for us.”

 

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!

Luke 9:1, 10-11

As you may know, Jesus gave His disciples power to cure diseases.  Later, at Bethsaida, He, “healed those who needed healing.”

Late last year, I presented with hoarseness to a local doctor and was soon diagnosed with silent reflux.  Prior to that diagnosis, I was very healthy.  But, evidently, over time, my esophagus had been damaged by stomach acid getting past the damaged “doors”(Sorry if you’re eating right now) and eating acidic food.  I’m on a strict diet now where I can’t eat anything lower than pH5 (so no oranges, salsa, etc.).  Before my diagnosis, I drank orange juice and enjoyed lots of salsa.  Also, stress is pH3, so I have been trying to manage stress.

The last time I saw my ENT doctor, he said my vocal cords were red and swollen.  But a little time has passed and my voice is getting stronger, which I’m grateful for since my family sings/plays for Children’s Church.  I’m hopeful for healing on the horizon.

Luke 6:17-19

Jesus certainly had enemies on earth, but he also had a lot of fans.  At one point in Luke, a massive crowd traveled to hear Jesus.  Many came hoping for healing.  The people were rewarded for seeking Jesus.  As many people as there were, ALL of them attempted to touch Jesus since power was emanating from Him.  Do you know what happened?  They were ALL healed!

Can you imagine that scene?  I picture Jesus with His arms out, with too many pleading people pushing and desperately trying to reach out and touch Him.  I searched online to see any art inspired from this Scripture.  However, I was disappointed to see lame art.  What I saw was a still, sparse group of people looking rather relaxed and definitely not trying to get to Him.  Nevertheless, we can still try to visualize that great event.

Do you need healing?  Seek our Super Savior!

John 8:12

I found out this past week that our nearby, elderly neighbor passed away.  She was an outgoing Christian and we’ll miss her.  Her address is no longer on our street.  Her house is dark inside.  But we take comfort in knowing that where she lives now, there is no darkness.  What’s her address?  She lives in Heaven in light with the light of this world, Jesus.

Acts 16:16-40, James 1:2-4 John 15:13

Last night, my family and I watched the 1987 movie classic, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  The character, Uncle Tom, displayed exemplary Christian behavior.  At one point, Tom was on a large steamboat and became quick friends with a young girl, Eva.  While talking, Eva sat on a ledge against a weak railing and tumbled down into the water.  Tom’s foot was chained to the boat, but, he managed to break free and dove into the water.  He was able to save her by risking his life.  Much later, Tom was sold to Simon Legree.  One day, Tom was walking with others that had been picking cotton.  He had picked the most.  Then, he noticed a woman wasn’t well.  She told him what would happen to her since she didn’t pick very much cotton.  He then stuffed a lot of his own cotton into her bag to help her.  Simon Legree was informed about what Tom had done.  Mr. Legree then asked Tom to whip the woman.  Tom said he couldn’t do a sin like that.  Mr. Legree took great offense and had Tom whipped.  Afterward, Tom was alone and singing about Jesus.  A fellow slave came to take care of his wounds.  She couldn’t believe he was singing about Jesus.  Tom smiled at her surprise, stopped to exclaim that of course he’d sing about Jesus, and then continued to sing.

James 1:2-4 says that we should be joyful when we’re up against trials because it needs to lead to perseverance in order to become complete.  In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were cruelly whipped, forced into prison, and their feet were put in stocks.  What happened next?  They sang hymns.  So, despite whatever may be going on in your life, sing to Jesus.