Getting Started

We’re at the point where Jesus starts preaching! **Excitement**

Today we read Matthew 4:12-17 and Mark 1:14-15. Jesus heads out to Galilee (Fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 9:1-2) and what’s the first thing He does?

He says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

I don’t really think that this is insignificant. The very first thing Jesus preaches about, proclaims, is repentance.

Hm. Maybe it’s important…..?

So, the definition of repentance: Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and to dishonor to God, a violation of His holy law.

Just think about it for a minute, really. The VERY first thing Jesus talks about is repentance.

One other thing is that Jesus proclaimed, not just preached. He said things boldly, without worrying whether or not people agreed with Him. He knew the important thing was speaking about what God wanted Him to speak about.

So, did I put enough emphasis on repentance?

Get Behind Me

The Temptation of Jesus (Mark 1:12-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13)

This is pretty well known story. Jesus fasts for forty days and nights and the devil tempts Him three times.

There’s a few important things to note with this passage. The first thing that jumped out at me was that the devil used scripture too. He used scripture against Jesus.

Let that sink in.

I think that relates to today a lot. People misquote the Bible, use verses out of context (which ALWAYS bad) or just misuse it. And that’s dangerous. I try to be careful about doing that myself.

The devil is smart, unfortunately for us. He will use what we trust against us.

So, what Jesus did was counter him with more scripture. Jesus knew the Word and that is how he stayed away from temptation.

Also, Jesus was not passive. He did not shy away from the challenge that Satan presented. He was authoritative in His use of scripture.

We need to use the Bible more, guys. That should always be our first  resort, not the last. I need to get better about that.

Any thoughts on the Temptation?

Dunked

The Baptism of Jesus ( Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34)

So, as a rule I won’t be copying large portions of scripture in my blog because I want you to get out your Bible if you’re concerned at all with following along. Plus, different translations have different perspectives, and I would love to hear from you guys.

So, basically, John the Baptist is being his outlandish self and baptizing people at the Jordan River and Jesus walks up and is like “Hey, you wanna baptize me too?”

John, however, knew a thing or two and was all weirded out that the Son of God was asking him to get baptized. He said “Whoa, you’re like, the Son of God, YOU should be baptizing ME.”

(I’m paraphrasing a little)

Jesus probably smiled (I totally picture Him giving John this knowing smile) and said “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

So John baptized Jesus and then Heaven opened on Him and God descended upon Him “like a dove”

(Whether that means His presence physically resembled a dove, or it had a calming, graceful vibe to it, I have no clue.)

And that’s the story of how Jesus got baptized.

Now, the question on many people’s minds is why did Jesus get baptized? Wasn’t He God, meaning he was already clean and sinless?

Because of the line “To fulfill righteousness” I’m inclined to believe that Jesus got baptized to keep with the cultural practice of being cleansed in order to get closer to righteousness, even though he was already righteous. He got baptized to fulfill the law.

By doing so the prophecy in Isaiah 42:1 came true.

He did what was pleasing to God before he started in his ministry.

Psalm 40:7-8

Another question that popped up was why baptism was necessary, when we as modern Christians see it as being born again. My mom and I didn’t know if it was just symbolic, a social practice, or whether it was actually required by God, through the law.

If anyone has answers on this, I’m listening.

Our closest guess was that, since Jesus hadn’t died yet, it was a symbolic cleansing.. We drew this conclusion from the passage in Exodus 30:18-21.

So, there’s the Baptism installment. I would love to read your comments and discussion. Look forward to the next one on the Temptation of Jesus.

Being “More Like Jesus”

My mother has good ideas. She decided we ought to start a Bible study on what being “like Jesus” really is. And I am going to blog about it.

Apparently, I don’t act like Jesus one bit, according to some of my readers. I would like to prove to the blogging society and the rest of my readers that this matters to me and I am honestly trying very hard to act like Jesus did.

We started out with Jesus’ first independent act; when he was in the temple when he was 12. This is found in Luke 2:41-52 and Luke was the only gospel to record it.

I’m not going to write it all out because I want you to read it. If you don’t have a Bible, it can be found online.

I drew a few things from this passage. The first thing was that Jesus  listened first and asked questions second. Even though he was God himself, he respected the rabbi’s enough to listen to their teaching and then had a discussion with them.

Another thing is that he went in with a certain level of understanding first. He didn’t talk to any rabbi until he understood what he was talking about.

I try to do that in my blog. I don’t post about anything that I haven’t read into and feel ready for a discussion on.

One other thing that I picked out was that God came before even His family. His parents were all worried about him, and Jesus was just like “I’m where I’m supposed to be. With my Father.”

So that’s what I’ve covered so far. Opinions? Comments? Stay tuned for more.

Are Christians Hateful?

Before I start, I will admit that there are some Christians who are very mean and hateful towards people they think are in the wrong. We are not perfect. Christians make mistakes too.

Now, people have been accusing me as being hateful by saying things like homosexuality are a sin. There is apparently something unacceptable about confronting people and telling them what they are doing is wrong. It is hateful to tell them they are sinning.

Is it hateful to tell a murderer he killed someone and it’s wrong?

Is it being hateful to tell a kleptomaniac to stop stealing things for his own good?

No.

Why is it wrong to tell a homosexual that he or she is sinning?

Think about it. If someone you love is doing something that will hurt them down the road, what do you do? Do you tell them that thing is ok as long as they’re happy even though you are perfectly aware that it will hurt them later? Or do you tell them they need to stop and repent?

The second option seems more loving to me. If you love someone you want them to happy, safe, and healthy. Forever.

I believe it is much more hateful to not share God’s Word with people.

Yes, we have to be careful about how we word things, but it is love that compels me to talk about these things. I want people to turn to God.

There is no hate for people in my heart when I am writing my posts. Only hate for sin.

I hope you understand my reasons for defending that I am doing this in love.

What Makes it Worthwhile

Sometimes I wonder if I’m supposed to be blogging. Honestly, it makes some people very angry.

My posts on feminism and homosexuality got lots of hateful comments or people arguing with me in a way meant to make me feel bad, stooping to name-calling at times even.

My series of posts on dating damaged a friendship for a while, which hurt.

Why do I persist?

Well, it honestly doesn’t matter how many people I offend. It doesn’t matter how many times I get cussed at or called stupid.

It matters how many people I touch. How many people I reach.

I believe I am doing the right thing. I pray about my posts and comments and firmly believe that Christians are meant to be outspoken about issues like these.

As long as I get one person who says “Thank you for that” or just one person who saw a new, good perspective, then all the persecution is worth it. Every word that hurt me, every uncomfortable situation is worth one person saying that my post helped them consider what God has to say.

I am not completely selfless or else I would say I am doing this entirely to bring people to God. Sometimes I blog for me. Yes, I like the popularity. I’m human.

But at the core of it all I want to bring God glory. I want to show people what I have seen  in the truth of the Bible. I do not think I am self-righteous. I do not believe I am better than anyone else and I hope I do not come across that way. I just want people to see God in the issues we’re dealing with today.

That is why I blog.

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve is tomorrow.

Christmas Eve already.

This time of year brings about celebrations of the birth of Christ, of family, friends, and food.

Every family has their traditions no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. They are what make this time of year rise above any other.

For my family it starts on Christmas Eve with our Christmas dinner. Afterwards we attend our church’s Candlelight Service, a lovely time of singing Christmas hymns, which I adore.

We come home to dessert and possibly a Christmas movie. Before bed we read three stories, starting with the original Christmas story, the birth of Jesus Christ. That is followed by ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and then our family favorite; How the Grinch Stole Christmas, complete with facial expressions and voices from my mother.

grinchie

My little brother and I head to bed, but I’m usually the only one sleeping for a while. Christmas starts with Josh waking me up around 4. We aren’t allowed to our parents up before 5,  so he tries to get me to play games and such.

Amidst going through stockings and opening presents, we eat lil’ smokies and homemade cinnamon rolls. Afterwards my mother makes her absolutely divine biscuits and gravy.

presents

The rest of our lazy Christmas Day is spent talking to family over the phone, figuring out our presents and watching old movies, my favorite being Elvis movies.

Christmas is a great time of year to spend time with your family and remember what all God has given to us.

nativity

What are some of your Christmas traditions? Or do you celebrate Hanukkah? I’d love to hear some stories!