Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Will Of The Father Was More Important Than...

By Mary Vee
John 7 



Peter



Jerusalem
Photo by Mary Vee
My name is Peter, I am a disciple of Jesus.

The time of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles neared. Men from all over Israel travel to Jerusalem for this annual feast that remembered our ancestor's days of wandering in the desert and worshiping God in the tabernacle. 

The other disciples and I were in Galilee with Jesus.

Some men who considered themselves Jesus' brothers came to him and said, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your followers may see the miracles you do."

They assumed he wanted to become popular. To raise up a large group of followers. 

They then said, No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are talking to large groups of people, performing miracles and gaining attention, show yourself to the world."

Their words showed how much they did not believe in him as the Son of God. Jesus had no desire to become a public figure. To rise in power. He came to do the will of his Father who is in heaven.

Jesus said, "The right time for me has not yet come."

Every minute of Jesus' life and a specific purpose. He had other tasks that had to be completed first, but this was not for these unbelievers to know. 

Jesus said, "For you, any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going because for me, the right time has not yet come."

They assumed he wouldn't go to this feast. So they went ahead to Jerusalem.

While they traveled, Jesus met with seventy-two followers. He gave them instructions on how to go and tell others the message: The kingdom of God is near you. 

When he finished with this task, we traveled with Jesus in private to the Feast. He didn't call attention to himself. He walked among the people and heard them whisper, "Where is the man who performs miracles and is a great teacher?" Others whispered, "He is a good man." And others said, "He deceives the people." But no one went about speaking publicly about Jesus because they feared the Jews.

This story will continue next time. Come back and see what happened next.


 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.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Seventieth Sin

By Mary Vee
Matthew 18, Luke 17



Peter



View from the top of Masada
down at where the Romans camped.
Photo by Mary Vee, Masada, Israel
My name is Peter, I am a disciple of Jesus.

Jesus ended a time of teaching for the other disciples and me a moment ago. He'd taught what we should do if we have a disagreement with someone.

I couldn't help but wonder what he meant by forgive the person. Say I went to a person the first time he offended me and explained how I was offended, and if he then apologized, Jesus said I should forgive him. But what if the person commited the offense a second time. A third time. Or more?

So I asked Jesus, "Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Jesus said, "No, not just seven times, but seventy times seven.

"If your brother offends or sins against you, do as I have already said. Go to him in private. Talk about what happened. If he apologizes again, forgive him."

Even if it happened on the same day?

Jesus said, "If he offends or sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I am sorry, please forgive me,' then you should forgive him.

"Let me explain it this way to help you understand. The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since the man was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt."

This is the custom that we observed. So far Jesus' story made sense to me.

Jesus continued, "The servant fell on his knees before his master and begged. 'Be patient with me and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt, and let the man go free."

I thought this was very kind of the man. Not many masters would do that.

Jesus then said, "But when the servant left his master's house, he searched for one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed the fellow servant and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

Wait a minute. This did not seem fair. 

Jesus said, "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

"But the man refused. Instead, he had the man thrown into debtor's prison until he could repay the money. 

"It so happened that some other servants saw what the man did. His cruelty upset them sorely. They went to the master and reported everything that had happened.

"The master called for the man. In anger, he said, 'You wicked servant, I canceled all your debt because you begged me to do so. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' So the master called for the guards to take the man to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay back all he owed."

Jesus said, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."


I hadn't realized the truth in forgiving someone so many times until he told me the story. While it may be difficult to forgive a person for what they do against me, I certainly don't want to anger my heavenly father. I will work to forgive every time.


 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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

How to Settle A Disagreement

By Mary Vee
Matthew 18



Peter



View from the top of Masada
down at where the Romans camped.
Photo by Mary Vee, Masada, Israel
My name is Peter, I am a disciple of Jesus.

The other disciples and I walked with Jesus in the countryside and listened to him teach. The topic for this teaching is how to settle a disagreement.

Jesus said, "If your brother or someone you know hurts you in word or deed, go to him privately. Show him what he did wrong. Keep it just between you and him and work it out.

"If he listens to what you say and apologizes, you have regained the friendship bond between you. 

"If he doesn't listen and he refuses to apologize or own up to what he did wrong, then walk away. Go and find two or three others who will help resolve the problem. The two or three will listen and serve as witnesses to keep the discussion honest. Maybe then your brother will agree to apologize and restore your friendship.

"If your brother still refuses to listen to the witnesses who have seen and heard the proof, take the matter before the church. Present both sides of the problem to the people so they too can be witnesses and give your brother yet another opportunity to apologize and restore the friendship.

"If your brother then refuses to listen to what the church says, treat him as a person who has not learned about God. Explain to him the need to go to God, turn from his sinful ways, and accept the gift of God's love.

"This is a very serious matter. What is a yes on earth is a yes in heaven and a no on earth is a no in heaven. 

"Whatever you say will last for all eternity. 

"Did you know it only takes two of you to come together and agree on a need, then ask my Father in heaven and it will happen? And when two or more of you come together because of me, know this, I will be there."

I have learned so much by walking with Jesus. And yet I have so many questions. I understand now what to do for a disagreement and the importance of sharing my needs with others so they can pray to God with me. Next time, I will have a chance to ask my question: How many times do I have to forgive my brother for doing the same thing wrong?

 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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Difficult Times

By Mary Vee
Mark 9, Matthew 18, Luke 17



Peter



View from the top of Masada
down at where the Romans camped.
Photo by Mary Vee, Masada, Israel
I am a disciple of Jesus.

The other disciples and I had been listening to Jesus teach. Last week I wrote to you about children. Jesus had invited children to listen. Afterward, He told us not to shoo the children away when they came to hear him speak.

Jesus thanked the children for visiting and sent them on their way, then continued with His teachings.

He said, "Difficult times are going to happen to everyone, but we don't have to make the situation worse. If we do, terrible things will happen.

"If your hand or foot gets in the way of God, get rid of it. You are better off maimed or lame and alive than to have your hands and feet and end up in a furnace for all eternity.

"If your eye distracts you from God, get rid of it. You are better off with one eye and alive than to see with both eyes in a furnace for all eternity.

"Watch that you don't treat a person who is new to following the Scriptures with an arrogant behavior. Keep in mind that their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in heaven.

"Every person goes through a refining fire soon or later. It is how learning takes place. But you and everyone who obeys the Scriptures will be preserved and protected from the eternal flames. You should be an example to others by being at peace with each other.

John, one of the other disciples asked Jesus, "Teacher, we saw a man driving out demons in your name. We told him to stop because he wasn't one of your twelve disciples."

Jesus said, "Don't stop anyone who does a miracle in my name. They can't say anything bad about me. What I am saying is, anyone who is not against us is for us. For example, if someone gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ, they won't lose their reward. This is good of them to do."

John's question was a good one. So often we think that because Jesus invited us to listen to him that we are special. More important than others who want to follow Him. It took me a while to realize that we were acting like the Pharisees in those moments. Anyone can be a follower of Jesus the Christ. Anyone can have eternal life.




 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.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Bring the Children To Me

By Mary Vee
Mark 9, Matthew 18, Luke 17



Peter



Photo by Mary Vee,
Jerusalem, Israel

I am a disciple of Jesus.

The other disciples and I had been listening to Jesus teach. There were some children who edged close to where we stood. We told them to go away. Our reasoning was we didn't want them to bother Jesus.

Apparently, we were wrong.






Jesus invited the children to come closer. He turned to us and said, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me. When you welcome me you are welcoming the one who sent me. Do you understand?"

I guess we did.


Photo by Mary Vee
Olive wood carving at a Palestinian Christian
Woodshop, Jerusalem
Jesus then said, "If anyone causes these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea."

Jesus looked at the children standing by him and continued speaking to us, "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. Their angels who are in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven."

Jesus must have seen the confusion on our face because he then said, "If a man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, wouldn't you agree he would be happier about having the one sheep back than about the ninety-nine safe in the fold?

He smiled at the children, "In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any one of these little ones should be lost.


 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.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Greatest In the Kingdom

By Mary Vee
Mark 9, Matthew 18, Luke 9



Peter


Sea of Galilee shore at
Capernaum. Photo by Mary Vee
I am a disciple of Jesus.

The other disciples and I walked through Capernaum with Jesus toward a house he had planned to stop at for the evening.

We walked in small groups instead of a close together, because Jesus wasn't teaching at the time. One of the disciples near me started a discussion about which of the disciples was the greatest among us.  

I'm not even sure what brought the idea to mind. Soon the discussion turned into an argument about who the most important disciple was to Jesus. This person is. No, that person is because-- We argued the whole way until we reached the house.

After we walked inside, Jesus asked us, "What were you arguing about on the road?"

We looked at each other, all too embarrassed to answer the question.

Jesus sat and called us to his side. He said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Jesus called a small child. He had the child sit with us. "Whoever accepts a little child in My name accepts Me. Whoever accepts Me, accepts not me but the One who has sent me.

Before I met Jesus I would have thought, how did he know what we fought about? I don't wonder anymore because I know He is the Son of God. 

Jesus said to all of us, "I will explain in another way. Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or tending the sheep. The servant returns from the field after working the day. Would you say to the servant, 'Come at once and sit down to eat?' Wouldn't you say, 'Prepare something for my supper, and serve me. When I am finished eating, you may have your supper.' Do you thank the servant for obeying your instructions? I think not. 

"In the same way, when you have done all the things you have been commanded to do, you should say, "We are unworthy servants. We have only done our duty. Unless you change your minds about who is the greatest and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 

"And so I say, whoever humbles himself like the child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."


 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.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Coin In the Fish's Mouth

By Mary Vee
Mark 9, Matthew 17, Luke 9



Peter


Sea of Galilee shore at
Capernaum. Photo by Mary Vee
I am a disciple of Jesus.

We walked with Jesus through Galilee. He led us on a route that kept us away from where the crowds typically gathered. He said He wanted to spend time teaching only us.

He stopped in a place where we could all face Him and sat on the ground. 

Jesus said, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise."

He'd said a similar message to us before. We didn't understand it then. I'm sad to say that even with the time we've spent under his training, we still didn't understand the message. 

He was a leader who could save us. 

I think we all were afraid to ask him about it. Not that he would be cruel, but that he would be disappointed in us.

We walked farther, on to Capernaum where my home is, which explains why the tax collectors of the two-drachma tax came to me and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

"Yes," I answered. "He does. It will be taken care of."

When I walked into the house, Jesus spoke before I had a chance to tell him what had happened. 

"What do you think, Simon?" Jesus sometimes called me Simon. "Who do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes? From their own sons or from others?"

"From others," I answered.

"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said. "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch. Open its mouth. There you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

I did as Jesus said. I went down to the lake and threw in my line. It didn't take more than a breath before the line jiggled. I opened the mouth of the first fish. My surprise at finding a four-drachma coin was not that I doubted Jesus' words, but because it was amazing to see God's provision. I took the coin and delivered it to the tax collectors as Jesus said.

I don't think I will ever not be amazed at miracles that Jesus does. It stirs a happy sensation that makes me want to praise Him all the more. 




 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.