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.


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


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.


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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, October 25, 2018

What Great Faith Can Do

By Mary Vee
Mark 7, Matthew 15



Peter


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

Jesus said it was time to leave the Capernaum area after the issue with the Pharisees. You can read about it in the last post.

We, Jesus' disciples, followed Him northwest to the Mediterranean Shore to the area of Tyre and Sidon.

We went into a house. Jesus had chosen not to tell the people who lived there who He was at that time. But, He must have been noticed. The word spread that he was there, drawing men and women to come see Him.

A woman who lived in the area, a Canaanite, came to visit Jesus. Once she saw him she cried out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."

Jesus didn't say anything.

She continued to cry out, calling attention to herself. The other disciples and I were unsure what to do, but it seemed we needed to get this woman to leave. We went to Jesus and asked him, "Should we send her away? She keeps crying out and creating such a scene."

Jesus said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

The woman pressed closer to Jesus. She knelt before him and cried out, "Lord, help me!"

Jesus said, "It's not right to take the bread that belongs to one's own children and toss it to their dogs."

The woman said, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

Jesus smiled, "Woman, you have great faith. Your request is granted." 

The woman left and when she went home, she found her daughter had been healed and that it had happened at the same hour Jesus had spoken to her.

As Jesus disciple, I have learned that everything He says and does has importance. This woman was not an Israelite, yet her faith in Jesus as the one who could heal had given her what she asked.

Jesus once said, "Ask and you will receive." But he didn't mean it in a way that we could have whatever we wanted. We need faith like this woman, and our purpose must be to bring praise to God. That is why Jesus healed the woman's daughter.

 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.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Heart is the Key

By Mary Vee
Mark 7, Matthew 15



Peter


Photo by Mary Vee
The ruins of the synagogue in Capernaum

Jesus called to the people milling about. 

When they gathered close he said, "Please listen. Everyone. Listen closely and I will teach you. 

The people quieted.

Jesus said, "Nothing outside of a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Food and drink going into you does not make you unclean. What makes a person unclean is what comes out of that person."

I and the other disciples had heard the Pharisees in the crowd grumbling. We went to Jesus privately and said, "The Pharisees were offended when they heard what you said."

The people have always gone to the Pharisees to understand the law. The Pharisees have taught what should be eaten, what shouldn't be eaten, when to rest, when to work, and so much more. They have worked to make the law clear to the people. They have also made so many rules no one can remember all of them.

Jesus said, "If a plant grows that has not been planted by my heavenly Father, it will be pulled up by its roots. Leave the Pharisees, they are like guides who are blind. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

I wasn't exactly sure what Jesus meant by 'unclean,' so I asked, "Explain the parable to us."

"Don't you see that when food or drink goes into a man, it goes into his stomach then out of his body? The Pharisees require men not to eat certain foods as though the food itself had sinned. But these foods do not go to a man's heart, which is where sin resides. 

"It is the heart that makes a man unclean. Out of men's hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All of these evils come from inside. They come from the heart and makes a man 'unclean.'

His explanation was so clear to me. The Pharisees had added requirements to the law. We are sinners from birth, and it has infected our heart. Eating or not eating certain foods and drinking or not drinking a beverage will not make us clean. 

There is nothing we can do to rid our hearts from sin. Only Jesus the Christ can make us clean. I have so much more to learn from Jesus. To do this, I have devoted my life to listening to His teachings and learning from Him.


 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 10, 2018

Those Who Chose To Stay By Jesus' Side

By Mary Vee
John 6, Mark 7, Matthew 15



Peter


Photo by Mary Vee
The ruins of the synagogue in Capernaum

Jesus spoke to a crowd of people a few minutes ago. When he finished teaching, many of His disciples turned their backs on him and chose not to follow his teachings any longer.

After they left, Jesus turned to the twelve of us. Andrew, James, John, Thomas, Matthew, Philip, Bartholomew, James, Thaddeus, Simeon, Judas, and myself. He asked, "You don't want to leave too, do you?"

The question sliced my heart in two. How could I ever leave Jesus? I spoke out first, it's just something I did. Sometimes my words blurted out what was in my soul. I said, "Lord, who are we to go to if we leave you? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

Jesus said, "Even though I have chosen the twelve of you, one is a devil."

I didn't know which one of us He meant. Surely Jesus knew my heart and commitment to Him. What I knew was I would always follow Jesus.

The mealtime came. We disciples ate using our hands. Moving about the country as we did left us without tools to abide by the traditional hand washings. 

Some teachers and Pharisees came from Jerusalem to hear Jesus. They apparently saw us eating food with our hands. The Pharisees didn't eat unless they performed the ceremonial washing. They kept the tradition of the elders faithfully. When the Pharisees left the marketplace, they didn't eat unless they first washed. They also followed other traditions such as washing cups, pitchers, and kettles.

These Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus why He didn't require us to follow the traditions of the elders instead of allowing us to eat food with 'unclean' hands.

Jesus said, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you. He wrote: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of God's commands and are holding tight to the traditions of men.

Jesus then said, "You have a fine way of setting aside God's commands in order to observe your own traditions. Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother.' He also said, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you tell the men they don't need to do anything for their father or mother. This is when you nullify the word of God with the traditions you have handed down. I have given you only one example of the many ways your traditions do not follow the commands of God."

With those words, Jesus finished speaking for the time.

His message was so clear to me. Follow God's commands not the traditions of the elders. His words confirmed why I would continue to follow Jesus, the Holy One of God, and his teachings.



 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, October 3, 2018

Living Each Day With The Son of God

By Mary Vee
John 6



A Disciple Who Walked With Jesus


Photo by Mary Vee
The ruins of the synagogue in Capernaum
We went into the synagogue on the Sabbath in Capernaum to worship. On this day, Jesus taught, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."

Many Jews who attended the worship grumbled among themselves. They said, "How can He come down from heaven. Isn't he Jesus, the son of Joseph whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, I came down from heaven?"

Their grumblings were not so quiet. Jesus heard them and said, "Stop grumbling among yourselves. No one can follow me unless the Father who sent me draws him. Those the Father draws to me I will raise up on the last day. 

"It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' So, everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 

"No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God. Only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.

"Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert. This did not give them everlasting life, because as you know, their bodies died. 

"I am the bread of life. The bread that comes down from heaven that gives everlasting life. This is bread for your soul and gives everlasting life."

After hearing Jesus speak, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"

Jesus said, "Does this offend you? What would you say if you see the Son of Man rise up to heaven to where he was before? The Spirit gives life. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe."

Later I learned that Jesus had known from the beginning which of those men did not believe and who would betray him. 

Jesus said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."

Sadly, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 

I was one who stayed. Although I didn't understand all that Jesus taught, I knew in my heart that this man was the promised Messiah foretold by the prophets. For this reason, I couldn't leave him. I had to stay and learn all I could. Imagine... sitting, walking, living each day with the Son of God. That is what I did.



 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.