In my journey through the Bible this year, I’ve discovered there is no way to put all my thoughts and discoveries into one blog a week. This is especially true now that I’m in the New Testament. So instead of writing five different blogs on the following topics, I decided to condense them for you this week and put my top five random thoughts, from week 42 of my Bible readings, into one. I promise to keep it short, but if you are running short on time at least read #4. It’s the one that hit home for me and the one I’ve lived out the most recently.
Soon afterward He was traveling from one town and village to another, preaching and telling the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary, called Magdalene (seven demons had come out of her); 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward; Susanna; and many others who were supporting them from their possessions. Luke 8:1-3
- I adore how Jesus had so many women along with Him (and the disciples) as they traveled to share the good news and heal the sick. This wasn’t just a fraternity or man’s work. I always knew that Mary Magdalen adored Jesus and that she was special to Him as well. However, reading Luke reminded me that any woman who had been possessed by seven demons and cured would surely follow the one who saved her – and we know who that was! Can you imagine it? Her faith, adoration and love had been earned in a very special way and she never forgot all Jesus did for her. Sometimes I feel like I forget the blessings God pours out on me and my family as time moves on, but Mary Magdalene didn’t and I don’t want to either!
When He had come to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met Him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 Suddenly they shouted, “What do You have to do with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Matthew 8:28-29
- The demons recognized Jesus over everyone else. This reminded me that when we are more like Pharisees (more focused on self, man-made rules and pride) we can miss the incredible presence of God that is right before us. Unlike the demons, Jesus isn’t around to torment us, but to love, cherish, forgive and adore. I don’t know about you, but I can always use a little more of that.
Jesus sent out these 12 after giving them instructions: “Don’t take the road leading to other nations, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. 6 Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Matthew 10:5-7
- “This kingdom of heaven has come near.” There have been a few times I can distinctly remember the “kingdom coming near”. They are amazing moments that I treasure and have tucked away in my heart as Mary did when Jesus was born. However, I wonder how many times the kingdom has come near to me, but I have missed it due to sin, distractions and selfishness? I desire to know each and every time the kingdom comes near to me and I pray we will all begin to recognize it over the noise of the world.
Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. [16 If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!]” Mark 7:15-16
- I (and many others) are constantly counting the grams of sugar, fat, carbs and calories of everything I put into my mouth. This verse (and words from Jesus) greatly convicted me. What if I paused, read the label (thought about what I was about to say before speaking) and considered it along with everything else I had eaten that day (looked at the long-term effects) before I opened my mouth to speak each time? If I spent as much time decoding my words and heart as I did my food labels my relationships may look very different and even healthier!
When the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t try the demon out of a man, he replied, “Because of your little faith,” He told them. “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. [21 However, this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.]” Matthew 17:20-21
- This verse is used a lot on bookmarks, stickers and pictures, but sometimes when verses are used this much I tend to overlook the significance of them. As I read it this week, I was reminded that God doesn’t require us to have faith the size of Montana. He doesn’t need more from us, He just needs us to come as we are. We don’t need to be perfect or have everything in order. The irony is that we are only made perfect through Him and He will place everything in the correct order if we seek Him with just the tiniest size of faith. That’s all He asks we seek Him with.
These five thoughts are just the tip of the iceberg. Jesus said so much that we need to consider, discover and reflect upon, but we can’t do that until we pick up His word. Although this journey of reading the Bible cover to cover is almost complete for me, this could be the year that you decide to pick it up and discover God’s Word for yourself. There is no better way to discover who God is and what His promises are. If you decide to take the challenge, please send me an e-mail. I would be honored to pray for you along the way.