Saturday, December 28, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Zeruiah

Chapter 22 – Zeruiah

Zeruiah was an exceptionally strong and important woman in the Bible. Her name is mentioned 25 times and yet we know nothing about her. The conclusion that she was so influential comes from the fact that where other men are identified by their fathers, her sons are always listed as “the son of Zeruiah” and that is why she is mentioned so often.

Zeruiah was the older sister of King David and the mother of Abishai, Joab and Asahel. To draw conclusions about her we can only examine the lives of her sons. All three sons of Zeruiah held leadership positions in David’s army. Sometimes they did things that were of questionable ethics.

Abishai daringly and with great bravery went into the enemy’s camp with David. He was ready and willing to proceed with military cunning and “extreme prejudice” against King Saul, but David overruled him. 

Asahel was “fleet-footed” and chased after Abner, pursuing him even when he should have turned aside to avoid a political catastrophe. Had he not refused to give up the pursuit he would have saved his own life, since Abner grew weary of him and thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach and out his back.

David had sent Abner away in peace, but Joab went after Abner and took him aside as though to speak with him privately. Then, to avenge his brother Asahel’s death, he stabbed Abner in the stomach and killed him. Joab was also a conniver, aiding David in his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, having Bathsheba’s husband killed and then holding his knowledge of David’s actions over David in something of a crafty blackmail. Joab also took clever measures to manipulate David into bringing back Absalom from his banishment.

Studying these men I've found much to dislike in their worldly and evil ways. Since all three sons exhibited “wickedness” I’m going to give the thumbs down to Zeruiah’s parenting skills.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Advent Candles - the Christ Candle

Christ candle:

We light four candles to prepare for the coming of Christ: the candles of hope, love, joy, and peace. Today we light the Christ candle. In Christ alone is our hope; he is love; he brings us joy; and through him we know peace.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” The flame of the Christ candle represents his eternal presence.

For centuries God’s people longed for the promised redeemer. God kept his promise. The waiting and longing for a savior was fulfilled in the birth of the baby Jesus.  

O God, we praise you for the joy of his birth. Our hope of a savior is realized through him. Help us walk in love and let your peace rule in our hearts. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Tamar

Chapter 21 – Tamar

There’s more than one woman named Tamar in the Bible. I want to look at the one whose story is told in Genesis, chapter 38. Her story is scandalous by our standards but strangely lawful in Old Testament times.

She was married off to the Er, the oldest son of Judah (one of the 12 sons of Jacob), but Er was wicked in God’s sight and God slew him. According to the law, if a man died leaving a widow without a son to carry on the line then his brother was to marry her and produce an heir. This was not incest, and the relationship was only to produce an heir; thereafter the brother would no longer have sex with her or else that would indeed be considered incestuous. Therefore Tamar was given to Judah’s second son, Oman. Apparently Oman enjoyed Tamar so much that he didn't want her to get pregnant and thus lose bedroom privileges. His responsibility was to produce a child, but he practiced a certain form of birth control (see Genesis 38:9) which in this case angered the Lord. God slew him for his wickedness.

Judah had one more son. He sent Tamar back to her father’s house to stay until son number three, Shelah, was old enough.

She waited and waited. When Judah did not honor his promise to marry her to Shelah, she took matters into her own hands. According to the law she needed to have a child through Judah’s line. If there were no more sons, then the father-in-law himself should perform the “duty”. She knew this. She covered her face, sat at the side of the road (where widows and virgins wouldn't be hanging out) and waited for Judah to pass by. With her face veiled she was unrecognizable to her father-in-law. He propositioned her and she took advantage. He slept with her, but, oops, he left his wallet at home. She took his ring, bracelets, and staff as pledge against payment.

There’s more to the story (and it’s fascinating), but the end result of Tamar’s deception was that she conceived, as she was meant to, to produce a son for Judah in the line that flowed from Abraham to David to Jesus Christ.

Next Saturday – Zeruiah

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Advent Candles - the Candle of Peace

Every year we light candles as we prepare for the coming of Christ. More and more candles mean more and more light, as we watch and wait for Jesus, the Light of the World.

The first candle represents hope; the second candle signifies love; the third candle stands for joy. We light the fourth candle, the candle of peace, and rejoice in the coming of our Savior.

Romans 5: 1 says “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

God of Hope and Love and Joy, come into our restless lives, renew us and give us peace. Let us follow after the things which make for peace, the things with which we may edify one another.

O God, help us abound in hope, walk in love, experience the fullness of joy, and let your peace rule in our hearts.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Sarah

Chapter 20 – Sarah

I've known quite a few women in their nineties (relatives and ladies at church). So when I think of Sarah’s story – learning that she’s pregnant at such an impossibly advanced age – I totally get her irreverent laughter. Nevertheless, she did become pregnant and she gave birth to a healthy boy that Abraham named Isaac, meaning “he laughs”.

As a mother Sarah was happy right away and said,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent Candles - the Candle of Joy

Every year we light candles as we prepare for the coming of Christ. More and more candles mean more and more light, as we watch and wait for Jesus, the Light of the World.

The first candle represents hope; the second candle signifies love. We light the third candle, the candle of joy.

The birth of Christ gave the greatest of joy to a world lost in sin. When the Magi saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

Psalm 35: 9 says “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in his salvation.”

O God, help us abound in hope; let us walk in love; and in Your presence, O Lord, may we experience the fullness of joy.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Ruth

Chapter 19 – Ruth

We know more about Ruth as a daughter-in-law than as a mother. After her husband died she chose to go back with her mother-in-law, who was also widowed, to a strange land with strange customs and a different religion. Ruth must have seen something in her mother-in-law, Naomi, that she wanted for herself. Ruth is remembered for her pledge of total devotion and loyalty to Naomi. She clung to Naomi even at the cost of renouncing her people and her gods in favor of Naomi’s people, the Israelites, and Naomi’s God, Yahweh: "Your people will be my people and your God my God". And Ruth extended her commitment still further, beyond death itself: "Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried”. You often hear Ruth’s words of devotion repeated in wedding ceremonies.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent Candles - Candle of Love

Every year we light candles as we prepare for the coming of Christ. 

The first candle represents hope; we light the second candle, the candle of love, and rejoice in the coming of our Savior.

God’s love reaches to the heavens. How priceless is his unfailing love. John 3: 16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Our God is the God of Hope and Love. Let us love one another as He has taught us.

O God, help us abound in hope and let us walk in love.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Rebekah

Chapter 18 – Rebekah

At about the time that Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac to God, Rebekah was born. In fact news of her birth reached Abraham. Years later Isaac, when he was forty, married Rebekah. The story about their marriage reveals a lot about Rebekah. Here are a few nuggets of knowledge that I panned from various chapters in Genesis:

1)      Rebekah was a beautiful young virgin.
2)      She was generous, thoughtful, and strong, carrying water jugs and repeatedly filling them to water a stranger’s camels.
3)      She liked jewelry and happily wore the nose ring and bracelets that she received as engagement gifts.
4)      She was adventurous, eager to ride a camel off to a strange place to marry an older man.
5)      She was rich with many maids and even a personal nurse named Deborah.
6)      She tended to be curious, asking questions of the servant who had come for her.
7)      She was modest, covering herself with a veil before meeting her future husband.
8)      She was lovable: very clearly the Bible states that Isaac loved her.
9)      She was barren for the first twenty years of their marriage, but her husband prayed on her behalf and she finally conceived.
10)   She wasn’t afraid to speak direct to the Lord, and she did so, asking him why her pregnancy was so difficult.
11)   She showed favoritism, preferring her second born son, Jacob, over Esau.
12)   In the end she was deceitful, helping Jacob steal Esau’s birthright.

Next Saturday – Ruth

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Advent Candles - Candle of Hope

Every year we light candles as we prepare for the coming of Christ. More and more candles mean more and more light, as we watch and wait for Jesus, the Light of the World.

We light the first candle, the candle of hope, and rejoice in the coming of our Savior. Isaiah 7: 14 says "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.

God of Hope, come into our darkness. Renew our trust in You, for You alone are our hope.

We have hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began. When we continue in the faith and do not move away from the hope of Jesus Christ, we are filled with joy and peace.

O God, help us abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Rachel

Chapter 17 – Rachel

When Jacob first saw Rachel, a young shepherdess “lovely in form and beautiful”, he fell head over heels in love with her. He was willing to work for his uncle for seven years without pay if he could have her hand in marriage. Think about that, fellas. Multiply your salary by seven – would you pay that much to put a ring on the finger of your beloved?

How about fourteen times your yearly salary? In the story in Genesis 29 we learn that

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When I Don’t Understand What God is Doing

You know how it goes. We all have things happen in our lives that we just don’t understand. We cry out to God: Why? Can we ever find answers to why bad things happen to good people?

Here are a few of the things you might think are bad (some are, some aren't) that have happened in my family in the last two years:
       1)      Loss of job
       2)      Birth of child with Down Syndrome
       3)      Heart attack
       4)      Cancer
       5)      Sudden deaths

In Isaiah 55 we read:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Every one of the above “bad things” came with a blessing that couldn't at first be seen.

Romans 8:28  says:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I don’t need to cry out Why? anymore. I can simply trust God. Can you? 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Naomi

Chapter 16 - Naomi

We find the story of Naomi in the book of Ruth. Naomi and her husband left Israel to live in a foreign land among people of another religion. She raised her sons and they were allowed to marry non-believers. Then Naomi was widowed and both of her sons died. How devastating! She decided to go back to her homeland and told her daughters-in-laws to stay behind. One obeyed, but Ruth didn't want to leave Naomi. This was an incredible testament to Naomi. She must have been a wonderful example for Ruth to want to go back with her to a strange land with strange customs and a different religion. She must have seen something in Naomi that she wanted for herself. She clung to Naomi even at the cost of renouncing her people and her gods in favor of Naomi’s people, the Israelites, and Naomi’s God, Yahweh: "Your people will be my people and your God my God" (merely four words long in the Hebrew: ‘amekh ‘ami we’lohaikh ’elohai, which literally means "your people my people; your God my God").

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Quick Look at the Book of Job

Job lived in Uz which is a word play since Uz means “take counsel” and if you’re already familiar with the story of Job you know that he takes counsel from his friends after suffering family tragedy, financial losses and health problems. The description of Job depicts a righteous man. He was blameless and upright, feared God and shunned evil. The word shunned here is the translation of the Hebrew word “suwr” and is a verb that means to turn away, to go away, to desert, to quit, to keep far from, to stop, to take away, to remove. Job shows us how to be righteous: just shun evil.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Mary

Chapter 15 – Mary

I've written about Mary as a teen HERE , but as a mother it’s a whole other story. When she gave birth to Jesus she had Joseph by her side. They were poor, but within a couple of years they had been visited by the magi and received costly gifts which certainly helped the young family set up their household when they returned from their Egyptian exile.

There are a few scenes in the Bible which show Mary’s character as a mom. She loved her son, believed in him, and had pondered all those wonderful things for thirty years before his first recorded miracle. She played a big part in that, didn't she? There was a wedding feast and the host ran out of wine. Mary hinted about the problem to Jesus, but he said his time hadn't come yet. But mother knew best. She ignored his statement and told the servants to do whatever Jesus said. And he turned water into wine. I love that she had perfect confidence in him. Good mom.

She was concerned about her son, ready to stick up for him if needed, but even after that miracle she wasn’t exactly convinced that he deserved to be followed by the masses. Mark 3 tells us of the situation after Jesus had appointed the twelve apostles: he went into a house and such a huge crowd gathered that he and his men were not even able to eat.

When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

What an interesting translation (NIV). His own family and his mother, Mary, thought he was messed up. Immediately following this we read that the teachers of the law thought he was possessed by Beelzebub. I’ll bet Mary thought, “Well, I can say stuff about my son, but nobody else better put him down.”

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

Terrific mom – right there involved in his life, defending, encouraging.

And Mary was at the crucifixion, too. Take a moment to think about that horror.

Mary was also around to see the resurrection. What joy!

After the ascension, Acts 1 records that all the disciples joined together constantly in prayer along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Those must have been some pretty bittersweet prayers. I think Mary is our most courageous and powerful example of a mother that we have in the Bible. What do you think?

Next Saturday – Naomi

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kindle Countdown Deals

Kindle Countdown Deals

Starting Thursday, November 7, Amazon will include EDGE OF ESCAPE in its special Kindle Countdown Deals. That means that it will be downloadable for only 99 cents on November 7 (regularly $3.99). They raise the praise to $1.99 on Friday and $2.99 on Saturday so MAKE SURE you download it on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 to get the lowest price.
Please share this information on Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. THANK YOU.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Lois and Eunice

Chapter 14 – Lois and Eunice

Lois is the only woman mentioned in the Bible specifically as a grandmother. She was Eunice’s mother, Timothy’s grandmother. Lois and Eunice are mentioned in only one verse in the Bible. It’s a quick compliment and oh so important. Here’s the verse:

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Paul is the writer of this second letter to Timothy and he has shown us that even one parent, mother or grandmother, can have a profound effect on a child’s faith. Lois and her daughter and grandson lived in a Gentile nation. Timothy’s father was not of the faith and yet Lois passed her Jewish and later Christian beliefs to her daughter who made sure her son was brought up in the saving faith. It must have been hard to do so being surrounded by a nation of unbelievers and in a house where the father was of a different religious heritage. Praise to these women for making it work and raising Timothy who was a faithful companion to Paul and became one of the early ministers of the Church.

Next Saturday – Mary

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seeking Beta Readers

I have finished the final draft of my fourth young adult novel. I need some fresh eyes to check for errors and give me feedback on plot, characters, etc., and give me your opinion on the title. If you're interested in being a beta reader please email me at bigpinelodge at gmail dot com. Here's the synopsis:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Leah

Chapter 13 – Leah

Jacob loved Leah’s sister, Rachel, and served her father seven years in order to marry her. But when the time was finished and the marriage feast began the father brought a veiled Leah to Jacob’s tent instead. Put yourself in Leah’s place; she was obedient to her father, but she knew that her younger sister and Jacob were in love. She must have been conflicted, hopeful, afraid. She endured (enjoyed?) the honeymoon week and then her new husband abandoned her to quickly marry Rachel and work for his father-in-law another seven years.

The Bible tells us that Leah was hated.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Miracle of Being Forgiven

It is hard to wrap our finite brains around God’s infinite forgiveness, but give it a try. He sent His son to pay for your/my sins. All of our sins. Past. Present. Future. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Being forgiven is who I am. Because I accepted this gift I am forgiven. There is no condemnation. None. If I never do or say another wrong thing (unlikely) or if I commit the most horrendous act imaginable: I AM FORGIVEN. Already. Done deal.

When I have trouble forgiving myself I must remember that if God has forgotten my sin then so should I.

For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:34

Yet dwelling on my past mistakes has become habit. And I must remember that

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Judith and Bashemath

Chapter 12 – Judith and Bashemath

Remember Esau, Jacob’s twin? He was the older brother who sold his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage. Foolish, foolish man. He didn’t marry well either; he waited until he was forty and then took two wives.

Genesis 26: 34 says “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite.” But the next verse is a shocker: “and they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah.”
Why were his parents upset?

Monday, October 14, 2013

4th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Find a list of all the participating blogs HERE

Enter to win one of 5 digital copies of the spooky book SHELTERED
1 paperback copy (US mailing only).

Five troubled teens confront demonic forces and are compelled to deal with their problems in distinctly different ways. One by one strange and mysterious occurrences stretch the teens’ beliefs in the supernatural. How they deal with demons, real and imagined, has tragic as well as redeeming consequences. 

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Jochebed

Chapter 11 – Jochebed

This mom is more famous than you think. Do you recognize her name right off the bat? It’s very unusual and should be familiar, but if it’s not, here’ clue #1: this mom married her nephew. Yuck, you say, well I’m thinking that since child-bearing years covered many decades (and multiple wives) that Jochebed was not necessarily older than her husband, Amram. Marrying a relative was not prohibited until later.

Clue #2:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Do You Feel Sad or Unloved?

Do you feel sad or unloved?

Don’t be sad. Don’t let things get you down. Trust God. Trust Jesus. I’ll let you in on a secret: Jesus is preparing a place for those of us who believe in Him. I really love my current house, but the mansion He is building will outdo anything I can imagine.
He told us (John 14) that He is coming back for us. He will take us to meet the Father. The only way to meet the Father is through Jesus. That’s the ONLY way. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Do you doubt that God loves you? He does and there is nothing, NOTHING, that can come between you and His love for you. Not death or life or angels or demons or the present or the future or any power or any height or depth. Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. These are strong words, straight from the Bible. Read them again.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Jedidah

Chapter 10 – Jedidah

Jedidah, mother of King Josiah, is mentioned in only one verse in the Bible so a few suppositions have to be made based on the history presented in 2nd Kings. First of all, her husband, the father of Josiah, was only king for two years before his officials conspired against him and he was assassinated. The Bible tells us that he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as did his father before him.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

God’s Answers To Our Complaints, Part 2

Do you complain about these things? I do. Then I look to the Bible for the answers. Here are some complaints and God’s response:

I feel depressed and alone.
God says in Deuteronomy and Hebrews that He will never leave us or forsake us.

I worry about everything. What can I do?
Cast all your anxiety on the Lord because He cares for you (1st Peter 5:7).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Herodias

Chapter 9 – Herodias

There’s a woman in the New Testament who was about as low-class and immoral as they come, and yet she was the wife of a King. I’m talking about Herodias, who was first married to Herod Philip, her father’s half-brother, and had a daughter by him. She left her husband and had an affair with his half-brother Herod Antipas. They then married. I guess she had a thing for half-uncles. Her new husband, King Herod, was the one responsible for beheading John the Baptist. Herodias had a major part to play in that tragedy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

God’s Answers To Our Complaints, Part 1

Do you complain about these things? I do. Then I look to the Bible for the answers. Here are some complaints and God’s response:

 Life is too hard. [groan] Things are out of hand. This is impossible!
God’s answer is found in Luke 18: 27: Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

Nobody loves me, everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms.
God’s answer is

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Hannah

Chapter 8 – Hannah

There was a man, Elkanah, who had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, sons and daughters, but Hannah had none. Oh boy, I can just imagine that household in a time when child-bearing was the main worth of a woman. The husband, Elkanah, used to give double portions of meat to Hannah because he loved her and she was barren, but he may not have made things any better by doing that. The Bible tells us in 1st Samuel that her rival, Peninnah, kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday's Random Thoughts

If you can't see something, do you believe it exists? 

I believe in many things that I can't see. I've never seen the wind. I've never seen history. (I've never seen most of my blog readers.) But I see the effects of the wind, though the wind is invisible. We have historical records, but it is by 'faith'  that I (and most people) believe that certain events happened.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Hagar

Chapter 7 – Hagar

Hagar was an Egyptian maidservant to Sarah, Abraham’s wife (they were still called Sarai and Abram at that time).  Since Sarah was having no luck conceiving and since she really wanted to have children, she offered her servant up to her husband as a surrogate wife. I wonder what Hagar thought of this arrangement. Was she happy to get to be the master’s second wife? Was she angry or disgusted that she had to be his sexual partner? She probably

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Wrath of God

God’s love is more amazing because of His wrath.

There has recently been some discussion over a certain denomination’s decision to leave out a favorite hymn from their new hymnal because of a verse that reads in part "Till on that cross as Jesus died/The wrath of God was satisfied."  (See article) The committee that made the decision not to include this popular old hymn gave as its reason that

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Gomer

Chapter 6 – Gomer

We have a little saying at our house whenever one of us says something catty or judgmental about someone: “Sluts are people, too.” It gets a laugh, but it’s also a reminder not to be harsh or critical. Well, speaking of sluts, Gomer was one. She was the wife of the great prophet Hosea.
And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
Right away we get the picture, the analogy is between Israel and Hosea’s soon-to-be-adulterous wife, Gomer. There’s a lot written that will explain and interpret the book of Hosea, but let’s just look at this one point about Gomer: she played around. Her first child was Hosea’s, but then she has two more kids, a girl and a boy, and they are obviously not her husband’s. Hosea loves her anyway even after she gets herself deep into the prostitution life. He buys her back. Wow, what a great image of God’s unconditional love.
Gomer is definitely not the best picture of how to be a good mom, but one thing is in her favor – she goes back to Hosea. She may have loved her life of “whoredom”, but in the end she chose to stay with the one who loved her most.

Next Saturday – Hagar

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Hebrew Letter Quph, part 2

As I explained last week, the Hebrew letter quph matches up with three books in the Bible: Psalms, Mark, and 2nd John. Mark's gospel is unique because it emphasizes Jesus’ actions more than His teachings, moving quickly from one episode to another. Thus we get our connection to the quph word qal (swift).
Mark describes Jesus’ journeys through Galilee, the surrounding areas, and then to Judea at a rapid pace. In fact, the swiftness is revealed in the actually telling of the events. An example of this unique swiftness presents itself early on in chapter 1, verses 10 – 14 (this is from Young’s Literal Translation so you can see the fast pace exactly as it was written. Although it is divided into 5 verses, notice the punctuation - just two sentences:
 9 And it came to pass in those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John at the Jordan;
 10 and immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens dividing, and the Spirit as a dove coming down upon him;
 11 and a voice came out of the heavens, `Thou art My Son -- the Beloved, in whom I did delight.'
 12 And immediately doth the Spirit put him forth to the wilderness,  13 and he was there in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by the Adversary, and he was with the beasts, and the messengers were ministering to him.
There are nearly identical scenes recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that tell of  the healing of the demon-possessed man, the feeding of the 5000, the healings at Gennesaret, the healing of the boy with an evil spirit, and the rich young man, which all are told in Mark with the addition of the word ran to portray that “swiftness”.
Find out more in Crossing the Scriptures.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Eve

Chapter 5 – Eve

It seems that everyone has heard of Adam and Eve and has a general concept of the story of how they got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Let’s look at what happened next: Eve got pregnant, gave birth, and became the first mother. Poor Eve has gotten a bad rap for the whole serpent-apple-sin thing so she needs a second chance to redeem her reputation. And she does so with the first words out of her mouth as a mother: “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Notice how she

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Hebrew Letter Quph, part 1

The 19th Hebrew letter is quphpronounced koof. It’s a lot like our letter Q. Its symbolic meaning is the eye of a needle and in both the Hebrew and the English letters you should be able to visualize the round opening of the needle and a thread going through. In Crossing the Scriptures I show how each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet match up with the 66 books of the Bible in an amazing and phenomenal way.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Eunice

Chapter 4 – Eunice

What you possibly find out about a person who is mentioned by name in only one verse in the Bible? Quite a lot, actually. In Saint Paul’s second letter to Timothy he says: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” There she is: Eunice, Timothy’s mom. Close family, don’t you think? Grandma, mom, son – all with sincere Christian faith. In other scripture referencing Timothy we are told that he was the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Jesus in the Psalms, part 2

The New Testament illustrates virtually the whole history of salvation in the light of the Psalms. As I showed last week in part 1, various Psalms show that Jesus was the Son of God, the Shepherd, spoke in parables, calmed the storm, was rejected, was conspired against, and was betrayed.
But wait, there’s more: these Psalms show

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Elizabeth

Chapter 3 – Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist

Did you know that every male descendant of Aaron (Moses’ brother) was automatically a priest? Such was Zechariah, husband of Elizabeth. To be the wife of a priest a woman had to be of absolutely pure Jewish lineage and it was even more elite if the wife was also of Aaron’s line, which Elizabeth was. That’s the good news; the bad news was

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jesus in the Psalms, part 1

The Psalms were written by various authors spanning a time period of almost 1000 years. Among the authors were Moses, David, and Solomon, and also priests or Levites who were responsible for providing music for sanctuary worship during David's reign. Fifty of the psalms designate no specific person as author. The oldest psalm in the collection is probably Psalm 90, the prayer of Moses and the latest psalm is

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Bathsheba

Chapter 2 – Bathsheba, Raped (??) then Widowed then Mother of a King

One evening King David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his palace. He was probably pacing because his men were at battle and this was the first time he wasn't leading them. Perhaps there was a bit of guilt that he wasn't where God wanted him to be. From his rooftop he could see the rooftops of his people and he spied a beautiful woman bathing. He should not have been looking down on his neighbors’ rooftops for this was the time of day that a woman would perform the ritual bath if it was the seventh day after the start of her period.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Today is Brought to You by 2nd Chronicles

2nd Chronicles was written by Ezra. This book continues the history from 1st Chronicles, telling about the reign of King Solomon and how he built the temple. Then it records the rule of Jeroboam and Rehoboam and the growing apostasy once again of Israel. The kingdom was split into two parts as two tribes accepted Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) as their king and they became known as Judah. The other 10 tribes refused to accept him and were known as the kingdom of Israel. The information in 1st and 2nd Chronicles covers the same history as 1st and 2nd Kings, but focuses more on Solomon and the kings of Judah. The kings of Israel are only talked about when they

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Abigail

Chapter 1 – Abigail, Wife of a Fool, then Wife of a King

The happy ending of Abigail’s story is that she married King David and bore him a son named Daniel. Her first husband, however, was a fool. (Many women can relate to that.) Abigail was married to Nabal, whose name means “dolt” or “fool”. He lived up to that name when he foolishly refused to give David’s men food and supplies, hurling insults at them instead.  When David heard of this he told his men to get ready to attack. Abigail learned of her husband’s stupid response and out of fear for her family and in direct opposition to her husband she

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Should Women Submit to Men?

In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he writes a few lines that make modern women want to scream. Here’s chapter 2: 8-12:
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
 11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
Okay, ladies and gents, let’s examine these verses carefully.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Teens in the Bible - Timothy

Chapter 28 teen Timothy

Timothy was a teenager when he first met the apostle Paul. His father was Greek and a Gentile, but his mother was Jewish, an Israelite, and one of the first Christians along with Timothy’s grandmother. The apostle Paul speaks highly of them and in his second letter to Timothy he says, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (Contrast his upbringing with that of Lot’s daughters from last Saturday’s post. What a difference, huh?)

Paul took Timothy with him on his travels and trained him up in the faith. Timothy was a servant to Paul and, as time went on, he was a pastor as well.

This is my favorite teen of all the ones we've looked at throughout the Old and New Testaments. I like being a detective and figuring out all the little clues about him hidden in the Scriptures: Timothy had a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. He had followed the good teaching of Christ. He trained himself to be godly. He was a comfort to others. Much had been entrusted to his care. He wasn't afraid to show emotion – Paul remembers Timothy’s tears when they parted.

Timothy also had a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. And if he followed Paul’s instructions, and I’m sure he did, then he preached the Word; he was always prepared; he was ready to correct; rebuke and encourage; he was patient; and he gave careful instruction. He kept his head in all situations; he endured hardships; he did the work of an evangelist; and he discharged all the duties of his ministry. 
What a teen. What a man.