Friday, August 28, 2020

Five Minute Friday: Loud




Today I am participating in Five Minute Friday, where a group of writers get together and free write about a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today's word is "loud."


"But Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed His last." -Mark 15:37 (Berean Study Bible)

Have you ever read this line by itself before in Scripture? I am sure I have, but just glossed over it.

Today, I searched the word loud in Biblehub.com to find something to write about for this Five Minute Friday word prompt. The verse in Mark 15:37 was the first verse to come up in the search.

The word loud in the Greek is actually the word “megas” and is often translated as “great.” So the passage could say, “But Jesus let out a great cry and breathed His last.”

I wonder what that sounded like. I wonder if it shook the heavens. The Bible says at the moment He died, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth shook, and rocks split apart in Matthew’s Gospel.

I just wonder how loud it was. The events caused the centurion and guards standing by to proclaim he was the Son of God.

After the great cry, He released His spirit. That is the moment His death took place.

How loud could or would he cry right before death?

Did that cry ring in the ears of the people looking on? The Bible says the women were there. Did it stop ringing when they realized He was raised from the dead?

Loud.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Five Minute Friday: Mercy




Today I am participating in Five Minute Friday, where a group of writers get together and free write about a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today's word is "mercy."

Mercy seems to be a childhood/childlike quality. When we are children, and our friend hurts our feelings, usually all if forgiven by the end of the day. If not then, then shortly.

I looked up the definition for mercy in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary and biblehub.com, and both have compassion as the definition.

So mercy equals compassion. Compassion relates to forgiveness. They are all swirling around each other, and are all part of our emotions.

We can say forgiveness is a choice. All. Day. Long. But your emotions are involved.

This morning I was talking to my husband about a situation in my own life. I could rationally think about the situation all day long. But when he said something that caused my emotions to relax, I felt loved again.

That’s what mercy will do for you.

In the story of the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8, we see mercy at play with Jesus and the woman.

The men accusing her wanted the full extent of the law given to her. That was their goal. No compassion. No mercy. So, she stood there feeling ashamed.

But then the Lord steps in, and he extends forgiveness, compassion, mercy to this woman, because that’s who he is. And then all is right in her world. She relaxes, and then...she puts her faith in him. We know this because she calls him Lord.

Mercy is a wonderful thing. It brings things back into the right. It makes things new. It restores hearts and emotions and gives us a sense of peace.

Mercy.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Armor of God: The Belt of Truth



Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition
.-Ephesians 6:10-18 (Berean Study Bible)



When we put on the armor, we need to be aware that we don’t create it. God did. He gave us the armor with which we fight.

Ephesians 6:10 says to "be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power."  This is not our strength. We take His power, and I believe that power comes from the verses describing the armor we put on.

We are not fighting a battle that can be seen, but one that is unseen, everyday, all around us. We are not fighting against people, but against forces we cannot see. And the armor of God is not a physical armor that we can see either. It is something that has already been paid for with the blood of Jesus.

The first piece of armor is the belt of truth. What does that piece of armor do? What is truth?

In John 1:17, and John 14:6, Jesus is called the truth. During Jesus' trial, he told Pilate that he had come to testify to the truth.

The Greek word for truth is alétheia.

Strong's Concordance defines truth as "truth, but not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness."*

Helps Word Studies says this about truth:

[In ancient Greek culture, 225 (alḗtheia) was synonymous for "reality" as the opposite of illusion, i.e. fact.]*

Jesus is reality. He is the truth.

Let’s look at some scriptures that talk about truth.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.-John 1:17

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.-John 14:6

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.-John 14:16-17

However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come.- John 16:13

“You say that I am a king,” Jesus answered. “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.”-John 18:37

So, Jesus is the truth. He also said that we who are Believers, who are a part of His body, would have the Spirit of truth, which is the Holy Spirit, who lives in us.

The belt of truth we find in Jesus is what holds it all together. It is the first piece of armor in the armor of God. Everything else hangs upon that piece.



*Strong’s Concordance. “225. Alétheia.” Bible Hub, https://biblehub.com/greek/225.htm, June 18 2020.


*HELPS Word Studies. “225. Alétheia.” Bible Hub, https://biblehub.com/greek/225.htm, June 18 2020.


*All scripture quotations are from the Berean Study Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Bold Women in the Bible



When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they marveled and took note that these men had been with Jesus.

-Acts 4:13 (Berean Study Bible)


Boldness. The word in the Greek is “parresia.” It means freedom of speech or confidence. So, the word has to do with confidence in what we say.

There were many bold women in the Bible. I put together a short list that I thought would encourage some of us when we speak. Some of these women were bold in their actions as well. If her name is highlighted, you can click on it and go read where I have written more about her story in another post.

Tamar -Genesis 38


Tamar's story is found in the book of Genesis. While we might not agree with her actions, nevertheless she was bold in securing her rights that were actually set in place by the law. She is also the first woman listed in the genealogy of Jesus. (See the Gospel of Matthew chapter 1.)

Deborah-Judges 4

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.-Judges 4:4

Deborah led men in the book of Judges. She was the only female judge in Israel that is listed. To lead an army and be a judge would require some boldness.

Rahab-Joshua 2Rahab was a prostitute that hid the two spies when they came to spy out Jericho. She helped them escape and her family were the only ones who were saved when Jericho was destroyed.

Jael-Judges 4
Jael was also included in the same story of Deborah. She risked her life and is the heroine of the story. When the enemy invaded her house, she used a hammer and tent peg to end his reign as an adversary.

Naaman’s servant girl-2 Kings 5


Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.


-2 Kings 5:1-4


Phoebe-Romans 16Phoebe is one of the women listed in Romans chapter 16. Paul said she was a deacon at the church of Cenchrea. It is widely held by many scholars that Phoebe was the one who delivered the epistle to the Romans to the Church at Rome. Not only would that have been a dangerous journey during the time, but it was a very important letter!

Mary of BethanyMary is found in all four Gospels, always sitting at Jesus’ feet. She was ridiculed on multiple occasions, first by her sister and then by other disciples for her actions. She was brave and set a precedent for what women in the Church should be like now.

Martha-Luke 10, John 11
Martha was brave in her outspokenness in her conversations with the Lord. In Luke 10, she refers to him as Lord, but in an extremely exasperated and sassy way. Jesus answers her statement but does not rebuke her boldness. In John 11, we see her have a monumental theological conversation with Jesus that is pivotal in our understanding of Jesus and who He is.

Women in Luke 8
There is a list of women in Luke 8 that supported the ministry of Jesus out of their own financial means.

Priscilla -Acts 18
Priscilla and her husband were both companions of Paul. She is said to have “risked her life for the church” and on one occaision corrected another male believer in his theology, albeit privately.

Lydia-Acts 16
Lydia was the first European convert in the book of Acts that we know about. After her conversion, she boldy invites Paul and his team to come and stay at her house, if they consider her a Believer in the Lord.

In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul writes to Timothy,


For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

That is the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, who lives inside all Believers. He gives us boldness, just like he did Peter and John.


The book of Acts is still being written. The Holy Spirit wants us to continue to proclaim Jesus with boldness, as women, as men, as the Church.



May you continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus,

Beth