Hebrews

What is the Book of Hebrews about?  The Book of Hebrews is the book of great connections.   It is addressed to the Jewish people and explains how Jesus fulfilled their Law.  Who could better understand Christ’s sacrifice as the Lamb of God than those who for generations had sacrificed lambs for their sins?  Who could better understand Jesus’ role as High Priest than those who depended on high priests for centuries to represent God?

Chapter 1-3 explain how Jesus fit into the scheme of things.  Here, it is made clear that Jesus was God Himself, not an angel or a prophet or anything else.

Chapters 4-10 talk about how Jesus was the complete fulfillment of the Jewish system of worship.  He was the ultimate High Priest.  He was the final sacrifice.  He made a new and better covenant with all people.  He established his sanctuary in the hearts of people.

Chapters 11-13 proved that it was never the Law that made people right with God.  The Law did not save Noah, Moses or any other OT heroes.  What made them right with God was always their faith.

So, now that you have an introduction to Hebrews and an idea of what it is about, where does that leave you?  The fact that you are reading this blog and reading the Book of Hebrews says that God has something in there that He wants you to hear.  I don’t know what that is, but he does and you will.  Is your heart ready to receive what God wants to tell you?  Is your heart open to this or is your heart hardened by life?

The Book of Hebrews pleads for us to not be fooled by the trickery of evil.  Evil will trick us into thinking crazy and wrong ways and lead us away from God, while hardening our hearts.  Think about it, if you do something that you know if wrong, the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you that you messed up.  So, you avoid it so you don’t have to hear it.  You don’t want to feel guilty.

We need to listen to God’s voice and act on what we hear.  Here are some things you can do to open your heart to listening to God.

  • Read your Bible.
  • Listen to your conscience, don’t ignore it.
  • Make a positive change.

Who is ready to begin opening up their heart to God?

Wednesday – Hebrews 7
Thursday – Chapter 8
Friday – Chapter 9
Saturday – Chapter 10
Sunday – Chapter 11
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Reflection

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Break my heart…. The conclusion of Acts

I have to apologize to all of you.  While I have been keeping up with my reading in Acts, I have not been posting.  Life gets hard sometimes.  I’m not talking about tragedies or pull the carpet out from under you hard, I am talking about day to day, busy, I don’t have time to use the bathroom hard!  I know you can all relate.  The past couple of weeks have been tough in our family.  I have felt like we were all running in separate directions with a resistance band connecting us to each other in the center.  Kind of like a wheel with spokes going out in all directions.  The problem was that with a resistance band, one person can give a little more when the other takes a little more, but in this case, we were all pulling until it snapped.  And that snap is what brought us all back together!  As difficult and emotional as a snap can be, because of over-stress, too busy, not seeing enough of your family, etc, sometimes it’s just what you need to wake you up and get you back on track.  Well, that’s where I was the past few weeks, friends.  Trying to get back to sanity!

Last night, my family went to the Big Daddy Weave concert.  It was a fantastic event, a first concert for both of my girls, too.  Big Daddy Weave is a Christian rock band and they were amazing with both their music and their stories and connections. One thing really stuck out for me and that is what I would like to share with you today as we conclude Acts.  It was Big Daddy’s first song of the evening.  We had already listened to Tim Timmons and Group 1 Crew.  Big Daddy opened with Love Come to Life.  I have heard this song many times and I like.  However, last night, I heard a line I never paid attention to before.

Why don’t You break my heart ’til it moves my hands and feet 

WOW!  Break my heart ’til it moves my hands and feet.  Yes, I needed to repeat that for you.  I can’t get it out of my head.  God uses our tragedies, our turmoil, life’s most agonizing moments to move us into His Word.  To move us into His mission.  To move us into Him.  Did you get that?

When tragedy strikes, we have two choices.  We can move toward God and seek comfort or we can move away from God and find anger and bitterness.  It is our choice.

My heart was broken almost 8 years ago when my baby boy died of cancer.  He was diagnosed just 1 month before he died.  We didn’t know he was sick and we didn’t have time to prepare ourselves for this upheaval of our life.  Broken heart?  As I write this that doesn’t even seem to do it justice.  It felt more like a broken, bleeding heart with a rusty knife sticking out.  And every so often, someone would come and twist it just enough to pour out my emotions all over again.  Yes, this was my low part of life and this is the cross I carry everyday.

God used this awful, terrible, heart-wrenching situation to move my hands and feet.  He used this to open my eyes to Him and to show me how to reach out to others.  And since I have started listening to God, really listening to Him, I have not stopped reading, learning, sharing and reaching out to others in His name.

Big Daddy Weave – Love Comes to Life

Paul and the other followers of Christ in those early days of the church experiences much of the same heart break and boy did it move their hands and feet!  They experienced persecution, blindness, murder among their friends, fear, and more. Did this scare them from their mission?  Did it stop them from “moving their hands and feet”?  No!  It encouraged them even more and it showed them how to share God’s Word with more and more people, including the Gentiles.  Paul and the other believers did not break under their tragedy and turmoil.  No, they leaned on God when they were not strong enough, they looked to God when they didn’t have answers, they relied on God in all situations.

So, as I was pondering all of this last night and into this morning, I couldn’t help thinking, why would God want to use our heart break instead of our glorious days to move us?  Well, it seemed pretty clear to me when I really was honest with myself in my thoughts.  Think of the last really nice day you had.  I’m not talking about  something big, like a wedding or child birth or something like that, I’m talking about a normal, nice day.

Ok, got it in your head?

Did you remember God this day?  Did you get down on your knees to  praise  Him and worship Him and thank Him for this day?  Did this day make you feel like you needed to go out and do something?  Did it move your hands and feet for the Lord?  Now, think of a big day, like a wedding or child birth.  I bet you remembered to thank God!  I know I did.  But what about the next day?  Did it move you to go out and do His work?  I can’t say that it did for me.  I was so wrapped up in my perfect, little world that I wasn’t thinking about anything else.

Do you see why God uses our heart break?  We are vulnerable.  We are crying out to him for help.  We are desperate.  Our “normal” way of life is not cutting it for us right now and we don’t know what to do.  That’s when God can step in and move us!  And if we let him… WOW!  What a changed life we will experience!

I’d love to hear about a heart break in your life, whether you let it move you or fought against it.  Are you ready to embrace God through your heart break today?  Surrender to it and see what happens.

God bless you all!  It’s good to be back!

Schedule
Tomorrow we begin the Book of Hebrews.
Saturday – Acts 28
Sunday – Hebrews 1
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises and Petitions
Wednesday – Hebrews 2
Thursday – Hebrews 3
Friday – Hebrews 4

Acts 13-14 – What About You?

What about you?  Were you part of God’s plan from the beginning of time?  Did God have you in mind in The Garden of Eden?

God created our world and He had the plan of salvation for it long before Jesus walked the earth.  Long before sin entered the world.  God knew Adam and Eve would fall and He knew that humanity would need a plan of salvation.  A plan that wouldn’t fail.  A plan that could save anyone who wanted to be saved.

Adam and Eve did what God told them not to. Because of that first sinful act, God told the serpent, the devil, that one day a child of Eve would destroy him.  All of humanity are included in Eve’s descendants.  Centuries later, a faithful man named Abraham was blessed by God.  Hi descendants were as many as the stars and those descendants were the Jews.  Jesus was one of those descendants.  He promised salvation to ALL who believed in him, not just the Jews.  He told his followers to make disciples of all nations.

The Christian Church started in Jerusalem with a small group of ethnically similar believers.  Through Jesus’ witnesses, this small group of believers, Christianity has spread like wildfire and now is seen all over the world!

There are no prerequisites for becoming a Christian.  You do not first need to have been a Jew.  You do not need to follow ethnic laws before you are accepted.  Jesus accepts all of us!  We just need to believe that He was sent to earth for us, for our sins, for our salvation!  Because of this ultimate sacrifice, we must do our best to follow in Jesus’ example and stay away from evil.  We must try to be a light to others and to show them how to be a follower of Jesus.

We must be like Paul and Barnabas and spread the Good News to all corners of the world.   How can you do this in your family?  How can you do this in your community?  How can reach beyond your community and spread the Good News?

Saturday – Chapter 13
Sunday – Chapter 14
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions

Acts – Chapters 10-12

So, after Jesus ascended into heaven, who exactly were his disciples preaching to?  They were preaching to Jews.  That made sense, right?  I mean, they weren’t technically allowed to visit with, eat with or enter the house of any Gentiles.  Well, God had other plans.  And we all know, God’s plans are the best plans!

God sent a vision to two different people at the same time.  One vision to Simon Peter, using images to let him know that it was ok to speak with and eat with Gentiles.  It was also ok to eat the food that Jews previously were not allowed to eat.  “If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.”  (Acts 10:15)

The second vision was to a man named Cornelius, a Roman officer.  He was told in his vision to go find Simon Peter in Joppa so that Simon Peter could share the Good News of Jesus with him.  Cornelius, a gentile, sent immediately for Simon Peter.

Cornelius was baptized and received the Holy Spirit.  Many Jews were upset about this.  However, Peter told them this:  “God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to argue?”  (Acts 11:17)

These are great words to live by today.  God wants us all to be brothers and sisters in Christ.  He doesn’t want us to think of ourselves as better than any other individual or any other group of people.  We must remember this always.  We are all his children and we all have the same promises from him.

How can you take this text and bring it to life this week?  Who can you share the Gospel with outside of your “Believer’s Circle”?  I challenge you to reach out to even just one person and embrace them with the love of Jesus.

Wednesday – Acts 10
Thursday – Acts 11
Friday – Acts 12
Saturday – Acts 13
Sunday – Acts 14
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions

Acts – Chapters 8-9

Well friends, I am one day late with my post.  I hope you have all read chapter 8 already and will read 9 today.  Yesterday, our house got a little crazy!  You see, we adopted two kittens!  They are just 8 weeks old and as cute as buttons!  We have not yet named them, but will hopefully find the right names soon.  One is an orange kitty and the other is black and brown.  Our girls are thrilled to peaches!

As I settle into this Sunday morning, I think about the two chapters that are the focus for today.  They both talk about Saul, who is to become Paul.  What a story!  Saul was one of the officials of the high council.  He was determined to persecute, arrest and torture any Christians.  He was mean!  He was ruthless and he was a tyrant.  His sole purpose was to travel around and gather up Christians to jail them.  And then one day, he believed!

So, what happened to change this monster?  Jesus happened!  Jesus loves all of us, even sinners, especially sinners!  He knew that by using Paul, he would be able to reach a whole new population of people.  But how do you get a tyrant to change completely his views?  Well, you and I can’t.  But, with God, all things are possible!  So, Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus.  He literally blinds him with a bright light from heaven and speaks to him.  He says, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?  I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!  Now, get up and go into the city,and you will be told what to do.” (Acts 9:4-5)

Saul obeyed.  He became blind from this encounter and was startled to say the least.  The men with him heard Jesus’ voice, but they did not see him or the light.  However, they led Paul to Damascus where he waited patiently and prayed to God.  He did not understand what was happening.

Would you understand this?  You were sent to a city to arrest people and now, the very one you are against is changing your plans.

After 3 days, Saul received a vision that a man would come and lay hands on him.  When this happened, he would receive the Holy Spirit and use the power to preach to the Gentiles.  At the same time, Ananias received a vision telling him to go to Saul and lay hands on him.  Ananias knew of Saul and was afraid.  He had killed, arrested and tortured Christians.  Now, God wanted Ananias to just walk right into the room where he was?  Wow!  Talk about faith and courage!

Well, Ananias did as the Lord requested and sure enough, Saul became baptized, regained his sight and went out to preach the Good News of Jesus!  He was now called Paul and was a significant instrument for connecting the Gentiles to the Jesus.

Isn’t it amazing how God works?  He rarely uses the righteous.  He seeks out the lowly, poor, sinners and needy.  He transforms them and uses them for His work.

How can God use you?  He can only use you if you allow Him to.  You need to be still and listen to His plan.  Are you ready?  Are you willing?

Sunday – Acts Chapter 9
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions

Acts Chapters 5-7

Well, things are beginning to happen.  The apostles have a lot to take care of now.  The number of believers is growing rapidly, needs are arising in the community and there are not enough leaders to handle the teachings, preaching and all of the needs.  Stress is building.

Crowds of people are flocking the apostles and carrying the sick to just be near to them with the hopes of being healed.  It sounds like mayhem!  The Sadducees and the High Priest were angry and jealous of all the attention the apostles were getting.  They decided to arrest them and put them in jail.  However, God had a different plan.  While the apostles were locked up in jail, He sent an angel to free them.  The jail guards never even knew they were gone!  God told them to return to the temple and continue preaching!  To the very place where they had gotten in trouble for preaching!

The next day, the the high priest called for the apostles.  The guards went to unlock them and realized they were gone!  They were perplexed to say the least.  Someone told them they were back in the temple preaching, so they once again went and arrested them.  They wanted to kill them.  Here is where it gets really interesting.  One member of the council names Gamaliel, who happened to be an expert on religious law, addressed the council.  He basically said to leave them be.  “If they are teaching and doing things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.  But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them.  You may even find yourselves fighting against God.”  (Acts 5:38-39)

I can’t help but wonder if this highly esteemed, very popular member of the council was beginning to believe!  He stopped the Sadducees from killing the apostles and gave more opportunities to spread the news of Jesus.  Did he realize what he was doing?  Did he think it would fizzle out like some false prophets in the past or was he recognizing the real deal and was afraid to mess with God?  Makes you wonder a bit, doesn’t it?

Chapter Six shares with us how the apostles decided to appoint 7 men to serve the immediate needs of the group of followers.  This would give them the opportunity to focus more on praying, teaching and preaching.  The people chose the 7 men and they were prayed over by the apostles.

One of these men, Stephen, was full of God’s grace and power.  He performed miracles and signs among the people he served.  He was soon arrested for all of this.  As they started questioning Stephen, accusing him of blasphemy and such, he face became bright like that of an angel.  He had complete peace over him despite what was going on.  He was accused of speaking against the temple and speaking against Moses.

Stephen replied with a long narration of the Old Testament.  He proved to them he was a man of God and knew the law.  He knew the ancestry and he understood the chain of events that had taken place in the past to bring him to this very point in time.  At the end of his narration and retelling, he told them that they are doing the exact same as their ancestors did to every other prophet before, persecuting those following God’s Word.  He told them they were deliberately disobeying God’s law.

Needless to say, the leaders of the church were furious.  As they raged, Stephen looked up and saw Jesus standing at God’s right hand!  He announced his vision which only made things worse for him.  They dragged him outside and stoned him to death.  The official witness of this stoning was a man named Saul.

Stephen was the first martyr to die for Jesus Christ.  He wasn’t afraid.  He even declared in his last breath, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!”  (Acts 7:60)

I wonder if I am that faithful.  Can I be that strong in the face of adversity and persecution.  We live in a country where we are blessed with the freedom to worship and pray.  We do not need to hide or fear for our lives.  There are many in this world that do suffer persecution for being Christians still today.

I’d like to ask you to say a prayer of Thanksgiving.  Don’t take for granted the freedom you have to worship and pray.  Thank God for it and dig deep.  Share your feelings with him and also pray for those in the world who face torture and death because they love Jesus.

God bless you all.  Have a wonderful week.

Wednesday – Acts 5
Thursday – Acts 6
Friday – Acts 7
Saturday – Acts 8
Sunday – Acts 9
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions

Praises & Petitions Week 4

Can you believe we are finishing up week 4 of our New Testament study together?  I can’t!  January is almost over and it has surely been a whirlwind of a month.  I live in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  The past few weeks we have had temperatures close to zero and wind chills about 15 below.  This is not typical for our area, so it’s been quite a frenzy of how to handle it all.  I’m not sure what the fuss is, really.  It’s cold, really cold.  So, bundle up in layers and continue on with your activities.  However, city and county schools have been closed, or delayed for just about the entire month.  (Not my school, thankfully!)  I feel bad for the students and teachers.  There is no way to teach or plan when you don’t know when you will be in school or for how long.  The thing that really gets me is if you delay one or two hours for cold weather, it only bring the temps up about 4 degrees if you are lucky.  From zero to 4, (or sub 12 to sub 8), does that really help that much?  I can’t figure it out!

My class is celebrating the 100th day of school Thursday.  100 days of kindergarten!  This is something I am thankful for.  I am truly thankful to God for leading me to this position as the first kindergarten teacher in this school.  It has been such a blessing in so many ways.  We are busy this week doing everything in hundreds!  For example, drawing pictures with 100 things in them,  doing 100 warm up stretches in PE, making paper chains with 100 links, writing about “I could eat 100…”, bringing in 100 of something, etc.  We are having so much fun this week, I really hope we don’t have any closings in our school before our big day.  The children are so excited and so am I!

I am also thankful for a new opportunity that I am embarking on.  I think I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago.  My husband and I are starting up a Youth Ministry Group in our church with a few other members.  We met last night and everything is falling nicely into place.  Our kickoff event is scheduled for mid-February.  Please keep this very new ministry in your prayers as we take baby steps forward!

Finally, I would like to know what you need prayers for.  I pray for  you all daily, however, if you have any specific needs, please let me know.

I hope you have a wonderful week and are able to stay warm!

Blessings, my friends!
Erin

Acts – Chapters 3-4

How are you all doing?  I hope you are finding some connections in the readings we are sharing.  Monday is a reflection day.  At the end of today’s post, you will find a couple of questions to ponder on Monday.  Don’t forget to be still and listen to God every so often.  We can get so busy, even studying the bible, that we forget to sit back and listen and see how God would like us to apply all that we are learning.

Chapters 3 & 4 show us the very beginnings of what the apostles and believers were facing.  Peter performs a miracle at the temple gate.  He heals a lame man who sat at the gate for 40 years begging.  He tells this man that he has no money for him, but in the name of Jesus Christ, he tells him to get up an walk.  The crowds were astonished!  Peter seizes this opportunity to preach in the temple about Jesus.  He reminds the people that they chose to crucify Jesus, yet he rose and fulfilled the Scriptures!  He tells them to repent and turn toward God right now!  Do they listen to him?  Many do listen.  They are drawn in by the miraculous healing they witnessed and the words of Peter.

Now, there were those who were taken in and there were others who were not too thrilled with the appearance of Peter and John in the temple.  The leading priests did not like Peter claiming a resurrection after death, on the authority of Jesus Christ.  Peter and John were arrested and held overnight.  When the council brought them in for questioning, they were filled with words of the Holy Spirit.  They spoke of Jesus and his crucifixion and resurrection.  They spoke of the Scriptures being fulfilled.  In Chapter 4, verse 11, Peter says, “The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.  There is salvation in no one else!”

The leading priests and the council were disturbed to say the least.  They did not like to feel threatened by commoners and they certainly did not like anyone to tell them they were wrong.  However, many people believed Peter and John and they believed in the resurrection.  If the council acted harshly, there could be a riot.  If they did not act harshly, the news of Jesus would continue to spread.  They were perplexed.  After some time, they let Peter and John go.

Peter and John recognized the severity of the situation and they realized that this was just the beginning of a long and difficult journey.  They gathered all of the believers together and prayed to God.  They prayed for boldness in preaching, healing powers, miraculous signs, and wonders all to be done in Jesus’ name.  As they concluded their prayer, the building shook where they were meeting and the Holy Spirit filled all of the believers.

So, now I want you to take a few moments and think.  Imagine you were one of those first believers.  Do you think you would have the courage to go and preach in the temple? Preach things that you knew could get you arrested or killed?  Do you think you would be able to stand up to the council in the name of Jesus?  Or, do you think you might be scared and cave under pressure?  Might you run and hide or tell them what they want to hear to save yourself for the moment?

See, if I am just thinking about this in the moment I am in right now, I think I would be scared.  I think I would want to stand up and be strong, but I’m not sure if I would be brave enough.  However, with the Holy Spirit,  I know I could!  And that is what we all need to remember.  We are not in this alone!  We are only as strong as our faith in Jesus!

Monday, take some reflection time and think about the questions above.  How would you react if you were Peter or John? If you were a new believer?  Share with us if you would like in the comments section.

Saturday – Chapter 3
Sunday – Chapter 4
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions

Blessings my friends!
Erin

Acts – Chapters 1-2

The Book of Acts or Acts of the Apostles is a fascinating book.  It could be turned into a blockbuster movie, really.  There is so much happening in this book; action, drama, killing, sacrifice, persecution, unity, fellowship, miracles, and more.  Who wouldn’t want to see a movie filled with all of that?  It would surely be a hit!

Acts was written by Luke, the doctor.  It is sort of a continuation of his Gospel.  It is the story of the people who continued Jesus’ mission.  In the early church, the very first Christians needed to first develop their own sense of community for their new church.  They needed to set up a structure, choose leaders and spend time together worshiping God.  Once that was established, they  moved onto evangelism.  The biggest obstacle for them was how to get the Good News out.

There was no email, social  media, newspapers, telephones, text messages, faxes, mail, Fed Ex, UPS, or any other ways to communicate that we know and use today.  The only way to spread a message was to go on foot and share the message by mouth.  These early Christians had their work cut out for them.  Not only did they preach the Good News, they set up churches wherever they traveled.  They gave instructions on how to structure the churches and they wrote letters to check in and see how things were going.  They helped these churches grow.

The early Christian Church withstood growing persecution from the Jewish community as well as from the Roman government.  They also faced inner turmoil as they learned to form their own identity after breaking off from Judiasm and also accepting Gentiles into the church as well.

Jesus had left them with a task almost too large to imagine.  These people we will read about are the people who passed the legacy of Jesus onto us, so that we can share it with our children and grandchildren.

Here is an outline of The Book of Acts:

Chapters 1-7 – Jerusalem – This is the beginning of the church.  These chapters are stories that take place at the time immediately following Jesus’ ascension to heaven.  Everything is new and they are working together to build a community.

Chapters 8-12 – Judea and Samaria – Persecution ensues, leaders step up and meet needs in Judea and other areas.  Philip went to Samaria, Paul converted to Christianity, Peter learned that Gentiles and Jews could be saved, Stephen and James become martyrs.

Chapters 12-28 – The World – Paul led 3 journeys to spread the Word of Jesus.  Paul faced persecution, 3 trials, yet he managed to plant churches all over the known world.

We haven’t even started the chapters and that is already a lot of information to digest!  I hope you are as excited as I am about digging into Acts!  Here we go with chapters 1 & 2.

Shortly before Jesus’ Ascension, he instructed the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes upon them.  He tells them that “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere- in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)  So, the disciples waited in hiding for this to happen.  While they were waiting, they met with other followers and began to form the structure of the new church.  The first order of business was to fulfill the prediction from the book of Psalms in finding a replacement for Judas the traitor.  After discussion and prayer, the disciples chose Matthias, a man who had traveled with them from the baptism of Jesus to his ascension to heaven.

Seven weeks after the Resurrection, Jesus’ followers were in a meeting place together.  Sounds from heaven were heard and flames of tongues appeared on them. The Holy Spirit had arrived!  Were they scared?  Were they excited?  Did they realize what was happening even though this was the day they were waiting for?  The Holy Spirit filled them with power that would enable them to perform miraculous tasks as well as speak in many different languages.

Outsiders came to see what the commotion was all about.  Some were astonished while others thought they were drunk.  Peter stepped up and explained that they were not drunk, but were fulfilling the prophecy of Joel, predicted centuries before.  The prophecy explains that the Holy Spirit will come upon all.  These followers will see visions, dream dreams and prophesy as well.  He explains that they are living in a time when the Scriptures are being fulfilled.  He talks about King David and how he prophesied of the Holy One not staying among the dead and not rotting in a grave.  He explains that David was speaking of Jesus.

The people are shaken up!  Wouldn’t you be?  They are scared and ask what they should do.  Remember, these are the people who several weeks earlier nailed Jesus to a cross and watched him die.  Peter tells them to repent.  “Turn from your sins, turn to God and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”  (v. 38)He goes on to tell them that this promise is not just for them but for their children, grandchildren and generations to come.  (Yay!)

That means this promise is for us!

Thank you God for your forgiveness, you son and your love!  How amazing it is to read about how you began the Christian church through ordinary people like us.  Show us God how to be like your first apostles.  Lead us to share the Good News with others.
Amen

Thursday – Acts 1
Friday – Acts 2
Saturday – Acts 3
Sunday – Acts 4
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions

Mark 16 – The Resurrection

Such a short chapter, yet filled with the promises of eternal life.  I can’t help trying to imagine what I would be thinking if I were one of the 3 women who journeyed to Jesus’ tomb in order to rub burial spices on his body.  Thinking back into the chapters we have read over the past few weeks, Jesus does speak of his resurrection, however he speaks of it in ways that are difficult to understand before it happens.  So, his closest friends are not expecting this at all.

Did they believe the angel? Did they think he was removed by someone?  Were they frightened?  I am sure all of these thoughts ran through their mind.  I’m not sure what I would have done.  I feel like I would have wanted to plant myself right inside the tomb on a big rock and have a cup of tea with the angel so he could explain it all to me in detail!  Probably not practical, but that is what is in my head!

As a mom who has lost a son, oh I would celebrate this day!  I am sure Mary, Jesus’ mother was dancing and crying happy tears!  It is what I think every mother who has lost a child prays for.  The miracle of one more day, another chance.  Maybe somewhere in her heart she knew.  Maybe Jesus shared some private moments with his mom before he was crucified.  We don’t really know.  I like to imagine he said to her before his betrayal, “Mom, they are going to do awful and horrible things to me.  They are going to hang me on a cross and kill me.  But don’t worry mom.  Remember how I was conceived.  I am of the Holy Spirit.  I will be back by Sunday, you can count on it!  Oh, and can you make my favorite supper Sunday?”  (Then a big hug!)  Those private moments aren’t written in the Gospels, but we have to remember that Jesus did have private moments.  We read mostly about his public moments, miraculous moments, mission and ministry moments.  There are so many moments that we don’t know about.

If you were a follower and believer in Jesus during this time, after Jesus was crucified you would probably go into hiding, like the disciples did.  I mean, you followed the very person that they just killed!  And they killed him for what he was preaching, which is what you are also preaching.  Laying low is a good move I would say.  So, in hiding, all of a sudden, Jesus appears to you.  And he is ALIVE!  Would that re-energize you?  Would it take away your fears?  Would it make you want to run outside and share the GOOD NEWS?  I think it would feel like that for me!  I think I would lost my fear of death and gain confidence to do exactly what Jesus trained me for.

So, what did you think of The Book of Mark?  Did you look at anything differently this time through?  Tomorrow we begin Acts of the Apostles.  I will post a separate, new post tomorrow introducing Acts with a little background information for you.

Wednesday – Mark 16
Thursday – Acts 1
Friday – Acts 2
Saturday – Acts 3
Sunday – Acts 4
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions