Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Jesus' Gift To You

By Mary Vee
Mark 8, Matthew 16, Luke 9



Peter


Photo by Mary Vee - Israel
I am a disciple of Jesus.

I wrote last time about a huge lesson Jesus taught me. He had told me what would happen in the days ahead. I--I didn't want Him to suffer as He said he would. Without thinking, I said I wouldn't let it happen. Jesus reminded me I don't have control over such things. I also learned His suffering would result in the best gift for all mankind.

After our conversation, Jesus called the crowd standing not far away to come to Him. He said to all of us, "If anyone would follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

What this meant was anyone who wanted to follow Jesus had to give up what they wanted for their life and live solely as His follower.

Jesus went on to say, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."

That may have sounded complicated. But Jesus explained the meaning to us. If I had a fishing business and my goal was to become wealthy and buy everything only I wanted then I would not be a follower of Jesus. If Jesus wanted me to be a fisherman and I had a business where I followed His teachings, told others about Jesus, gave to the poor, was a good husband, and followed the other teachings of Jesus, then I would be a follower of Jesus. In both cases I would have a fishing business. One I would be a follower of Jesus. The other I wouldn't. Understand?

Jesus then said, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this sinful generation that worships other gods and not Me, the Son of Man will be ashamed of the same man when he comes in the Father's glory with the holy angels.

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not die before they see the kingdom of God come with power."

It was some time later that I understood what Jesus meant by those words. The meaning was, some of us would be alive when Jesus took the punishment for our sins. He would die on the cross then rise again victorious just as Isaiah the prophet said.

Jesus spoke about the greatest gift to all mankind. Eternal life. Days ago Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son to take the punishment for our sins and whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life." 

That gift is for you.



 Come back to read the next story.

*Author of blog's note: If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will see them and will answer as best I can or direct you to a source.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Why Jesus Called Peter a Stumbling Block

By Mary Vee
Mark 8, Matthew 16, Luke 9



Peter


Photo by Mary Vee - Israel
I am a disciple of Jesus.

The eleven other disciples and I walked south from Caesarea Philippi (a city north of the Sea of Galilee) with Jesus. We weren't sure where He wanted to go next. We often didn't know the destination because where we went did not matter as much as hearing what Jesus had to say. 

It was on this journey that Jesus first explained that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law. He said He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 

The news startled me. This group of religious leaders had been picking on Jesus ever since He set out to teach men and women the truth about God. They were jealous because men and women listened to Jesus. So jealous I could see them attempting such an act. Jesus didn't need to worry. The disciples and I would protect Him.

I asked to speak to Jesus privately and said, "Never, Lord!" I would not allow the religious leaders the opportunity to kill the Son of God, the Christ. A burst of energy flowed through my veins. I would fight for Him. "This will never happen to you."

Jesus said, "Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me." 

His words shocked me. I tried to understand the meaning of His words but couldn't yet.

Jesus said, "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

I didn't. He was right. I didn't understand the things of God. It wasn't until quite sometime later that I realized I could never save Jesus from the religious leaders or anyone else who might attack Him. 

This man, the Son of God, had full control. What would happen in days to come had been in God's plan. And what Jesus would suffer was allowed by Him to save--me and everyone who would believe. Including you.



 Come back to read the next story.

*Author of blog's note: If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will see them and will answer as best I can or direct you to a source.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Jesus Asked, "Who Do You Say I Am?"

By Mary Vee
Mark 8, Matthew 16, Luke 9



Peter


Photo by Mary Vee - Israel
I am a disciple of Jesus.

The eleven other disciples and I arrived with Jesus by boat on the northeastern side of the Sea of Galilee at a city called Bethsaida.

The people recognized Jesus as we walked into the city. Some people led a blind man by the hand to see Jesus. "Please. Please help him to see," they begged.

Jesus led the man outside the village. We disciples and the man's friends followed. He spit into his hands then rubbed the spit on the man's eyes. He gently set his hands on the man and said, "Do you see anything?"

The man looked up from the ground then left and right. "I see people. They look like trees walking around."

Jesus held his hands on the man's eyes again. He pulled them away and asked again. "Do you see anything?" 

The man opened his eyes and smiled. He looked left and right. He looked at Jesus and laughed with such joy. "I see everything clearly! I can see! I can see!"

Jesus said, "Go home and rest. Don't go into the village."

I wasn't sure why Jesus didn't want the man to not go to the village. He has said this before. When those who were healed had not listened, huge crowds came searching for Jesus. Even I could see that what they wanted was to see a show, not to listen to his teachings. 

Later when we traveled north to Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked us, "Who do you say the Son of Man is?"

We said what we had heard. "Some say John the Baptist. Others say, Elijah. And still, others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"Okay. That is what they say. But what about you? Who do you say I am?"

I answered before anyone else. I had all confidence in my answer for Him. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus smiled and said, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. I tell you that you are Peter, which means rock. On this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

He turned to all the other disciples with us and said, "Do not tell anyone that I am the Christ."

I knew what he meant. He said that those words should not be spoken yet. There would be a time for that message to be delivered. 



 Come back to read the next story.

*Author of blog's note: If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will see them and will answer as best I can or direct you to a source.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Beware of Those Who Try to Persuade You

By Mary Vee
Mark 8, Matthew 16



Peter


Photo by Mary Vee
See of Galilee where they sailed in today's story
I am a disciple of Jesus.

The eleven other disciples and I arrived with Jesus by boat on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. 

When we stepped out of the vessel, a group of Pharisees and Sadducees walked up to Jesus. They said they wanted to ask Him some questions. He allowed them to ask.

"Jesus, show us a sign from heaven."

The look in their eyes, that squinty look, showed they only wanted to cause trouble. 

Jesus said, "When the evening comes, you look at the sky and sometimes see red. When you do, you say, 'It will be fair weather.' In the morning, you look at the sky and maybe see a red sky and thickening clouds. When you do, you say, 'It will be stormy.' You know how to interpret the appearances of the sky, but you can't interpret the signs of the times. Look around you. A wicked generation wants miraculous signs for entertainment. I tell you, no such sign will be given except the sign of Jonah." 

Jesus didn't wait for them to say another word. He turned and walked away. "Come," he said to us. "We are getting back in the boat. I have business on the other side."

We climbed back in our boat and set sail. While out on the water. we became hungry. We searched our stores and found only one loaf of bread. 

Jesus said, "Be careful. Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 

We didn't understand what he meant. We talked among ourselves and assumed he referred to the lack of bread. 

Jesus said, "Why are you talking about not having bread? Don't you see or understand what I say? Are your hearts so hard you can't see the meanings? Don't you remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand people how many basketfuls of pieces you picked up?"

Of course, we knew. "Twelve," we answered him. 

"And don't you remember when I broke seven loaves for four thousand people? How many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"

We said, "Seven."

Jesus said, "You saw these miracles and still you don't understand what I meant? Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

That was when we understood he wasn't telling us to watch out for real yeast in bread but to watch out for the wrong teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

I was embarrassed for not figuring that out. But the more I am with Jesus and hear Him teach, the more I understand. And for that, I am so thankful.

 Come back to read the next story.

*Author of blog's note: If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will see them and will answer as best I can or direct you to a source.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

They Needed Healing. They Needed Food. In the Land of Jordan

By Mary Vee
Mark 8, Matthew 15



Peter


Photo by Mary Vee
The country of Jordan which is the modern day country
on the eastern side of the Jordan River
where today's event takes place. 
I am a disciple of Jesus.

The eleven other disciples and I walked with Jesus along the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee and visited the villages there. This was the land of the Decapolis, the Ten Cities. 

We spent several days in the area, listening to Jesus' teachings. We met many people, some who had traveled great distances to see Him. There were men, women, and children who needed healing, sometimes physically, but all spiritually.

Jesus never walked away from them. He welcomed anyone who wanted to listen.

Each day the number of people who came to hear Jesus speak grew. One day a very large crowd had gathered. They'd listen to Him speak most of the day. Some had been there for three days. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called to us and said, "I have compassion for these people. They have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way. Some have traveled a long distance."

The other disciples and I looked around. As you can see from the photo, we stood in a remote area with no markets and no fields. "Jesus, where can anyone get enough bread to feed these people here?"

Jesus said, "How many loaves do you have?"

We quickly counted. "Seven."

Jesus turned to the crowd and asked them to sit on the ground. He asked for the seven loaves, raised his head and thanked His Father for the food. He then broke the loaves into pieces and gave them to us to serve the people. And we did.

We found a few fish in our stores as well and gave them to Jesus. He also gave thanks for the fish then asked us to distribute the meat among the people.

Everyone who was there received food! They ate and said they'd had plenty.

When my disciple brothers and all the people finished eating, we gathered up the left overs, filling seven baskets with broken pieces that hadn't been eaten. And yes, Jesus ate too.

We looked at the crowd that had gathered and estimated four thousand men were present. This did not include women and children. 

At the end of the meal, Jesus asked the people to leave. 

We boarded a boat and sailed west across the Sea of Galilee to the region of Dalmanutha which is southwest from Capernaum.

Did I ever get tire of going from place to place as Jesus' disciple? No. This is now the second year I've followed Jesus. Every day, every moment I spend with Jesus is like having my soul's hunger satisfied.



 Come back to read the next story.

*Author of blog's note: If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will see them and will answer as best I can or direct you to a source.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Their Happiness Spilled Into Praises to the God of Israel

By Mary Vee
Mark 7, Matthew 15



Peter


Photo Courtesy: Google Maps plus added notations
I am a disciple of Jesus.

The eleven other disciples and I went with Jesus to Tyre where he met a woman who had a sick child. You can read what happened in the last post. Scroll down.

The next day we walked up through Sidon then turned east and south into the area of the Ten Cities: Damascus and eight major cities to the east of the Jordan River, and one on the western bank of the Jordan River.

In one city, some men brought their dear friend to Jesus. The friend was deaf and could hardly speak. The men begged Jesus to place his hand on their friend. 

Jesus took the friend and the men who brought him a distance from the crowd. Once they were alone, He put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue. Jesus looked up to heaven. He heaved a deep sigh then said to the man, "Ephphatha," which is translated: be opened. 

Instantly, the man's eyes went wide. He touched his ears and turned his head at every sound. Even faint ones. Then--he spoke as plainly as I would. "I can hear! I can talk," he shouted. His friends hugged him. They laughed. They patted him on the back and rejoiced.

Jesus then said, "Don't tell anyone what has happened." But the more Jesus asked, the more the men and their friend told people. It wasn't out of cruelty. They were just so happy they couldn't keep the good news a secret. 

The crowds that heard their news were overwhelmed and amazed. They said, "Jesus has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

It didn't take long before masses of people came to the area bringing loved ones who were lame, blind, crippled, mute and with many other issues. They laid them at Jesus' feet.

Compassion poured out of Jesus for these people. He healed the ones brought to Him. 

Men and women stood amazed when they saw the mute speak, the crippled made well, the lame walking, and the blind clearly seeing. As they watched. Their happiness spilled into praises to the God of Israel. It was a great time of rejoicing.

And--it was a time I will never ever forget. 




 Come back to read the next story.

*Author of blog's note: If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will see them and will answer as best I can or direct you to a source.


*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.