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.


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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, 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.