Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Can Salt Be Made Salty Again?

By Mary Vee
Luke 14



Peter



A road north of Nazareth, Israel
Photo by Mary Vee
My name is Peter. 

I am here to tell you some stories recently told by Jesus. 

I and the other disciples walked with Jesus from village to village. Most of the time, curious crowds came and followed Jesus with us. 

Jesus often stopped and let the people gather near while he spoke. Jesus frequently explained new teachings with stories. 

Here is one of the stories told by Jesus. This one is called the Parable of Salt.

"Salt is good, right?" Jesus asked those listening.

The people in the crowd quickly agreed. Salt preserves, enhances flavors, and much more. True.

"If the salt loses saltiness, how can it be made salty again?" He asked.

This was a difficult question. One no one from the crowd seemed to have considered in the past. If the salt loses saltiness, we simply get rid of it. But Jesus asked how can it be made salty again. This, the people in the crowd didn't know. And in truth, neither did I.

"The bad salt can't be used for the soil or the manure pile. It has to be thrown out."

Jesus told each story for a reason. So the people would understand, He often ended the parable with "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

I remember Jesus saying His disciples are the salt of the earth. From this, I think He meant we are to teach others what we've learned from Him. If we don't study His word, or follow His ways we can lose our salt. 

Well, I can figure out what this parable of the salt means from this. 




Come back to read the next story.

*Note from Mary Vee: 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.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Jesus, The Master Storyteller, Infusing Truth into Story




Jesus spent much of His three-year ministry walking from one city/village to another, teaching and preaching. The truths He taught were at times complicated to understand.

He spoke with many men, women, and children who met Him for the first time. People from all economical stations, genders, ages, and cultures.

Today, when we meet someone for the first time, the person who tends to intrigue us the most and earns our listening ear is the person who tells us about themself through a story. A telling of something that happened to them. This opening to the real person invites us to listen and want to know more about the person.

Jesus told parables to those who came to meet Him. A parable is a special type of story. It is a short story using a setting that is meaningful to the listeners. Characters in the story are people the listeners could relate to. For example, if several in the crowd were farmers, Jesus put a farmer in the story.

Typical stories that we find in the library or bookstore focus on one main character, a single problem, and their journey to find the answer.

In Jesus' parables, though, the story illustrated a heavenly teaching. A concept God the Father directed Him to present. The story was always timely, exactly what the listeners needed to hear. The story was always told plainly. I imagine Jesus sitting comfortably or unfolding the story while walking. 

Jesus the master storyteller knew how to convey His message. He explained truths in such a way the crowds came back to hear more. Sometimes the men, women, and children walked for days then sat at Jesus' feet listening to Him teach.

The last post shared a few of Jesus' parables. You can scroll down to read them.

The next parable told by Jesus is a lengthy one, but a wonderful one. Come back next week to read the Parable of the Lost Son.


Photo taken by Mary Vee in Samaria, Israel

Mary Vee is a Bible College graduate majoring in Biblical Studies and Christian Education. She has also traveled to Israel. Mary has served as a missionary in Honduras, Mexico, and the Crow Indian Tribe in Montana.

Friday, October 25, 2019

In God's Eyes, We Are All Important

By Mary Vee
Luke 14



Peter



Sun setting in Israel
Photo by Mary Vee
My name is Peter. 

Large crowds traveled with Jesus today. When it came time to rest He turned and spoke with the people. "If anyone comes to me and does not place his devotion to me above his father, mother, wife, and children, even his brothers and sisters, and yes, his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

"I will explain. If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn't you first sit down and figure the cost to see if you had enough money to complete the project?

"If you laid the foundation and could not finish the work you would be ridiculed by everyone who walks by. They'd laugh and say, 'Look, this fellow began to build and was not able to finish.

"Now consider a king who is about to go to war against another king. Wouldn't he sit down and determine if the ten thousand men in his army could conquer the twenty thousand coming against him? If his answer is no, he might send a delegation asking for peace while the other army is still far away. In the same way, you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciple."

Jesus broke from his rest. While He walked farther, He told those who still walked with him several parables. 

The Parable of the Salt:
Jesus said, "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, it can't be made salty again. It becomes useless and is thrown out. He who has ears, let him hear.

The Parable of the Lost Coin:
Jesus sat at a table for a meal with tax collectors and sinners. There also happened to be Pharisees and teachers there. The Pharisees grumbled saying "This man is terrible. He welcomes sinners and eats with them. He should know better." In response Jesus said:

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until you find it? And when you find it, you joyfully put it on your shoulders and go home. Once there you will call your neighbors and friends and tell them,'Rejoice with me. I have found my lost sheep.' In the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

Sometimes we think we are the most important. But in God's eyes, we are all important.

Come back to read the next story.

*Note from Mary Vee: 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.

Monday, October 7, 2019

If You Were Invited to a Grand Banquet, Would You Go?

By Mary Vee
Luke 14



Peter



Sun setting in Israel
Photo by Mary Vee
My name is Peter. 

For the last few posts, I've written about a grand Sabbath dinner. At this meal, a pharisee invited Jesus and His disciples. There were many others who happened to attend as well.

Jesus has been teaching those who came while they waited for the meal. As it turns out he has started another story. This is what he is saying:

There was a man who prepared a great banquet. He sent out many guest invitations.

When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant out with this announcement, "Come. The banquet is ready."

Sadly, each invited guest gave an excuse for why he couldn't attend. The first said, "I can't come right now. I've bought a field and must stay here to care for it."

Another said, "I have bought five oxen. I must see if they can do the work I need."

Another said, "I am sorry, but I have just been married. I can't come at this time."

So the servant returned to his master's house with his report. "I am sorry, master, but everyone had a reason why they couldn't attend the banquet."

The owner was offended. In his anger, he said, "Go out to the streets and alleys and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and lame. Let them freely come to my banquet. Go now."

So the servant invited all the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame then said, "I have invited all the people you have requested. See, they are at the table, and there is room for more." 

The master said, "Then go out to the streets, the country roads, anywhere you find people. Invite them all. I want my house to be full. Mark my word, not one person from the original invitation list will get a bite of food from my table.

What would you have said to your invitation?




Come back to read the next story.

*Note from Mary Vee: 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.


Friday, September 20, 2019

How a Humble Man and Woman Can Be Honored

By Mary Vee
Luke 14



Peter



Sun setting in Israel
Photo by Mary Vee
My name is Peter. 

I am with Jesus and the other disciples at the home of an important Pharisee. We have been served a Sabbath meal.

Before we sat down, the guests rushed to sit at the seats closest to the host. These are considered the seats of honor.

Jesus stood watching them. Once they sat he told them this story: 

"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, don't immediately rush to one of the seats of honor. A person who is more distinguished than you may also have been invited.

"When the host sees you in the seat of honor, he will come to you and say, 'Give this man your seat.'

"You will feel humiliated by this and forced to give up the seat to the more honored gentleman. You will look at the remaining seats and find only one open in the place for the least honored person.

"Instead, when you are invited to such a feast, sit at the least favored seat. Then the host will come to you saying, 'Friend, move up to a better place." You will then become the honored person in the sight of your fellow guests. See, every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Jesus then turned to the host and said, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner and invite your friends, relatives, and neighbors, they will gladly come then invite you to their home for a meal. Back and forth you invite each other. 

"Instead invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind to your banquets. When you do, you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you like your family, friends, and neighbors, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

One guest said, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God."

This person understood what Jesus said.


Come back to read the next story.

*Note from Mary Vee: 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, September 11, 2019

The Sabbath Debate

By Mary Vee
Luke 14



Peter



Sun setting in Israel
Photo by Mary Vee
My name is Peter. 

I am with Jesus and the other disciples at the home of an important Pharisee. We have been served a Sabbath meal.

Other Pharisees and people walking by the home have been welcomed to this meal also.

It seemed to me that the Pharisees arranged this meeting with plenty of witnesses for a reason. Like they planned to catch Jesus in a mistake.

There was a man who sat near Jesus. He had a painful physical problem. His joints had become swollen which made moving extremely painful. 

Jesus turned to the important Pharisees, and said to them, "Is it permitted to heal on the Sabbath?"

The religious scholars didn't answer, but they watched what Jesus would do about the situation.

Jesus called the sick man to him and healed him. "Go home. You are healed."

Jesus looked at those in the room. "If a child or animal suddenly fell into a well, is there anyone in this room who wouldn't stop what they were doing and run to help him out, no matter the day? Even a Sabbath?"

Again the religious scholars and Pharisees said nothing. From the look on their face, they did not know the right answer to give.



Come back to read the next story.

*Note from Mary Vee: 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, September 6, 2019

I Will Complete My Work...Jesus

By Mary Vee
Luke 13



Peter



Eastern Gate in Jerusalem
Photo by Mary Vee
My name is Peter. 

I am with Jesus and the other disciples visiting cities and villages. 

Some Pharisees came to Jesus sent with a message. They said, leave. "Go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you."

Even I could tell the Pharisees did not bring the message because they cared for Jesus' welfare. 

Herod considered Jesus a mischief-maker like John the Baptizer. He had made it clear on more than one occasion that he wanted Jesus out of his dominion. Like John the Baptizer, Herod didn't seem to want to kill Jesus, just frighten him enough to leave the area.

Jesus said to the Pharisee messengers, "Go tell Herod, that cunning fox, I have work to do. I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day, I will reach my goal. You and Herod can try to stop me. It won't work. I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day. You may threaten me, but we both know, no prophet can die outside of Jerusalem."

Herod didn't have the power to put Jesus to death on his own. A trial would have to be held by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. So their threat didn't work.

While I am thinking of this,  I am reminded of these words from Jesus when we stood outside the city: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to help you. How often have I longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. 

"But you were not willing.

"Look, the Temple is left to you desolate. You wanted me to leave so I will. You won't see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

Jesus wanted to help. He wanted to gather those who believed in the one true God. I didn't know it at this time, but I later learned he was telling us they would put him to death. Jesus told us he would return one day. At that time he would gather all those who believe in the one true God. Until then, I will continue teaching Jesus' message.


Author's note: It seemed fitting to include the photo of the Eastern Gate as it currently stands, sealed. An attempt to keep Jesus out. But Jesus, God's son will return one day. Through the Eastern Gate.


Come back to read the next story.

*Note from Mary Vee: 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.