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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Five Minute Friday: People



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 "people."


People are the only thing you can take to Heaven with you.


When my brother died, it completely changed my world permanently.  Heaven became a whole lot more real.  


But, did Scott go to Heaven some might ask?  Well, I feel like God talked to me a lot that week, so I believe he did.


His life was not on par with what you would have expected a Christian life to look like.  He drank a lot.  And was in some serious emotional pain.


I have never told this story publicly, but at his funeral, my Uncle Mike was preaching.  And he said “When Scott was 8 years old, he made a profession of faith at Cricket Baptist Church.”  I remember that moment just being sealed in time. I looked at my mom, and she looked at me, both with expressions like, “what???” on our faces.


Later I asked my uncle where he got that information from, and he said, “well, you.” I did not tell him that. I had completely forgotten.

So, I know it was the Lord trying to bring comfort to our family.

Is the Lord interested in our comfort? Is he interested in comforting the grieving? Yes, I believe He is.

Another thing, and the most important thing to take away from this, is the blood of Jesus efficacious enough to seal us for all time?

There are many scriptures that would support this.

Hebrews 9:12 says,

He did not enter by the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus securing eternal redemption.

I believe I will see my brother again one day. Because I trust Jesus, and what He did.

Ever since that day, I have become completely more aware of people. And of heaven.

People are the only thing you can to Heaven with you.

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

Women in the Genealogy of Jesus



Did you know that there are only 5 women listed in the genealogy of Jesus? Don't you think that is interesting? I mean, men cannot have babies, right? So, why did God choose those five women to include?

The first woman tricked a man named Judah into sleeping with her, and God gave her two babies out of the union. Her name was Tamar. When one of the babies is born, the midwife ties a scarlet thread on his wrist, and is the first time we see the scarlet thread in the Bible.

The second woman was a prostitute named Rahab in the city of Jericho. She hid two spies, and helped the people of God. Her household was saved through the process. We also see the scarlet cord in her story.

The third woman was an outsider named Ruth. She was a Moabite. They were wicked people, but she followed her mother-in-law to be with the people of God. God gave her a husband who was, amazingly, the son of Rahab. I wonder if Rahab and Ruth ever met??

There has been much controversy surrounding the fourth woman. She was married to an outsider. He was a Hittite, but he was part of David's army, and mighty men. My personal belief is it wasn't her fault. (The prophet Nathan backs me up.)  David took something that wasn't his, and thus an adulterous situation ensued. Bathsheba's name isn't even mentioned in many translations in Matthew's genealogy. It just says the wife of Uriah the Hittite. But God took their story, and redeemed it, and out of the union of David and Bathsheba came Solomon, who was also called Jedidiah, or loved by God.

The fifth woman was his mother Mary. Her name means bitter. She was a wonderful girl, out of whom came our Savior. But she was still in need of Him too. Grace comes along and redeems the bitterness.

So, back to my original question, why did Matthew, and the Holy Spirit choose to include just those women?

Wouldn't it be better to choose women who seemed upright, and didn't have any blemish on their record?

In reality those women just don't exist. I don't care how good you think you are, or how good other people think you are. We are all like these women.

These women are a picture of the church. They are in need of a savior. And when Jesus steps in, they are redeemed. We also need a Savior. Jesus redeems our stories too.


Many blessings ad you grow in grace and the knowledge of Him,
Beth