Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Matthew Chapter 4

 I used this picture because I want you to use the word FAST to remember the 4th chapter of Matthew. This picture does not reflect the right usage of the word FAST but still I think it's effective. 
There are 4 letters in the word fast. That is why we will use it to remember this chapter. (Chapter 4)
In verse 2, we read that Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and then became hungry. From my limited study of starvation from the internet, I learned that people who are starving are hungry in the beginning, then the sensation of hunger, and thirst, goes away until the person is actually about to starve to death . A human adult can starve to death in between 8 to 12 weeks. If Jesus had become hungry again , He was on the verge of starving to death. This is when the devil came to tempt Him . He came to tempt Him  at His weakest point of physical, and mental need. The reading I did suggested that people who are starving to death are irritable, weak,and lethargic. There is also re-feeding syndrome, a condition that occurs in people who go without food starting in as little as 5 days. This condition keeps people from eating food normally when starvation is progressing. They have to be carefully reintroduced to eating solid food or there intestines will simply reject the food  and they will die from the trauma of eating. They use milk to start the process of re-feeding people. That is why powered milk , which is largely rejected as a food source in our country, is such an important staple when we are trying to help other countries with large scale famines. They can safely give powered milk even to the most underfed of children.

Ok, so the point I'm trying to make here is that Jesus was at the point of starving. His physical body was just like ours. The devil tempted Him with more than just breaking His fast. The devil was tempting Jesus to eat when he knew that eating food or "bread" could kill Jesus's physical body. He goes on to tempt Jesus to throw Himself down which would also have killed His physical body. If there is any doubt where suicidal thoughts come from you only have to look to this chapter for the answer. These suggestions come wrapped in deception but the end result would be the same.

One of the most important things to remember about this chapter is (and I've heard a number of pastors say this) that Jesus used only the word of God and His faith in His almighty Father to defeat Satan and his temptations. It is an examplefor us. We have all that we need today to live victorious lives.
Verse  4:11, then the angels came and began to minister to Him. (probably brought Him some milk) .
 Sorry, that's a cupcake. Oh well.
In Matthew 4:12, Jesus left town. He left John sitting in prison when He heard of John's troubles, but by doing so He fulfilled a prophecy in Isaiah and began walking by the sea of Galilee.

We learn in verse 18 that he saw Peter and Andrew fishing. They had been disciples of John but probably went back to work when John became a prisoner. We read in John 1:35-42 that Peter and Andrew had met Jesus before but were not following Him full time. Now in verse 4:19 of Matthew, He calls them to become" fishers of men" He also call James and John in verses 4:21-22. This is another fact I use to remember this chapter. Jesus calls 4 disciples in this chapter. James and John, and Andrew and Peter. 2 sets of brothers.
So, we are using the word FAST that has 4 letters to remember chapter 4, and the fact that Jesus appointed 4 disciples in this chapter. And if 40 days and 40 nights will help you, you can remember that too.

To Recap all of the memory helpers we are using:

CHAPTER 1, first 17 verses are genealogy, at verse 18 if you turn the 18 on it's side it kind of looks like a SWADDLED BABY, the rest of the chapter is the story of the 1 (only) begotten son, the Christmas Story


CHAPTER 3, H2O (WATER) John the baptist baptizes Jesus, and we see the TRINITY  as Jesus leaves the water.
CHAPTER 4, The word FAST has 4 letters, Jesus fasts for 40 days and 40 nights, and Jesus appoints 4 DISCIPLES , Andrew, Peter, and James,John.

So, on to chapter 5, read it as many times as you can, but even once is awesome. Then practice your memory helpers and cues as you go to bed at night or if you can't sleep. Make your self  a cheat sheet if you have to til your brain gets ready to remember. 
 God Bless

Friday, August 19, 2011

Matthew Chapter 3

  • We are on to Chapter 3 in Matthew. In this chapter we learn that John baptizes Jesus. (That's what the H2o is for)
In Luke 1:5-25, we learn that John and Jesus were cousins. John was less than a year older than Jesus. We also learn that both of John's parents were of the priestly line, decedents of Aaron. Remember, his dad was offering a sacrifice as priest in the temple when he was told of the future birth of his son , the one chosen to herald the coming of the messiah. All of this info makes his statement to the Sadducees and Pharisees very interesting. In Matt. 3:7,  he calls them a brood of vipers. He doesn't just call them snakes. He calls them a brood of vipers, deadly venomous snakes in the process of producing other deadly, venomous snakes. I'm guessing that the Pharisees and Sadducees were shocked and angry at being called such a horrific name in front of all of the people gathered around John.
The Pharisees were considered to be the strict, the devout, the holier than everyone else group. The Sadducees  were made up of mostly wealthy priests. Pharisees and Sadducees were just sects of Judaism. Like Methodists and Baptists  are sects of Christianity .  All of this aside, both groups considered themselves far above the common Jew.
Another thing I want to mention about John is that in  John 1:31 and 33, John the baptist says that he didn't recognize Him. Him being Jesus of course. He did not mean that he didn't know who He was. He meant that he didn't know his cousin was the messiah until the Lord told him that it would be the one that the Holy Spirit would descend on and remain on. He probably thought that Jesus was there for the same reason everybody else was.  John was probably surprised when the Holy Spirit, as a dove, sat down on his cousin. John obviously didn't remember jumping in his mother's womb when Mary came in the door 30 years earlier.  I think, I digress. 
One last things about John. We know that John was thrown into prison because of what he was saying about Herod the Tetriarch  stealing his brothers wife, Herodias (Luke 7:18-23). While in prison, he sent 2 of his disciples to ask Jesus if  He was really the messiah, or, should they look for some one else. John knew without a doubt that Jesus was the messiah. What was happening to John is what happens to a lot of us . We do what we know God has told us to do and then when things don't work out the way that we have it worked out in our minds. We try to fix the situation thinking that something must be wrong. John wanted out of prison. The new kingdom age of the messiah was here. He was sure there was a mistake. He didn't belong in prison.  This shows that even John did not understand what Jesus's true ministry would be.

I read a commentary on this passage. The person writing the commentary said that John did this as a way to point these 2 disciples to Jesus . I personally don't believe this. I think some commentary writers over spiritualize  things we read in scripture. John was a real person, although he experienced God's hand in his life in a mighty way, he was still just a human with weaknesses and faults. He definitely had the ability to misunderstand  prophecy just  like everyone else of his generation. The clue we get to this is Jesus saying in Luke 7:23 " and blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over me." This statement was definitely meant for John, even though Jesus could have said this very thing to his own family. That is a whole other subject for a whole other day.
After that we all know what happened to John . You can read the story in Matthew 14:3-12 and Mark 6:17-29.
The girls name was Salome. We find that out from Josephus. He gives us her name in the family genealogy of the Herod's.

OK, so this is How we will remember Chapter 3 of Matthew.

H2O the chemical symbol for water, JESUS IS BAPTIZED BY JOHN THE BAPTIST  and
TRINITY (the 3) when Jesus come out of the water, we see JESUS THE SON, THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A DOVE and GOD THE FATHER speaking from the clouds.

So to recap all tools we are using to remember our chapters....

CHAPTER 1, first 17 verses are genealogy. After that if you turn the 18 on it's side, it kind of looks like a SWADDLED BABY. THE  (ONE) ONLY BEGOTTEN SON IS BORN. It's the Christmas story.


CHAPTER 3, H20 (water) John baptizes Jesus. THE TRINITY (3) When Jesus comes from the water we see God the Father speaking from the clouds, Jesus, God the Son, coming from the water and God the Holy Spirit, resting on Jesus as a dove.
Time to start reading Chapter 4, remember to read it as many times as you can. It will help you remember what is in each chapter and it will help you to see Matthew as a whole as we get farther into the book. Also, don't forget to practice as you go to sleep at  night. (this will help you to meditate on God's word day and night. Psalm 1:2)


Friday, August 5, 2011

Matthew chapter 2

In Chapter 2 of Matthew the bible gives us an historical time frame. It says" in the days of Herod the king", magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem. 

Herod the Great as he was called was just one of a long line of Herods who lived totally out of control lives that included being suspicious of, and killing off their own children and wives if they felt justified by their fears. Herod was the "king" of the Jews set on the throne by Rome, but he was not the rightful holder of the Jewish throne and he knew it. He was an Idumaean, a decedent of  Esau.(remember Esau Gen.25:21-34).

 So when the magi appeared saying they were there to worship the new born ,rightful Jewish king, of course Herod acted in a way that would protect his kingdom. He was prompted by the devil himself of course, but one thing that is very interesting about this story is that even Satan did not know which baby was the messiah. We should never forget that Satan is a created being who  does not know everything and can't be everywhere at once. He is not a God, just a fallen angel.

 The Jewish historian Josephus, goes into great detail about the family of Herod. There were a great deal of them, all related to each other. The information is mind boggling and very confusing but also very interesting. I could go on, but enough about Herod.

Ok, so back to the Magi. According to Ungers bible Dictionary, The term Magi was used as the name for, priests, wisemen, scientists and astrologers among the Medes, Persians, and Babylonians. I don't want to go into too much detail, but if you have read the book of Daniel you will see the connection here. In Daniel 5:11 we see that Daniel had been put in charge of all the magi. So it is safe to assume that the Magi who came from the east were originally introduced to the prophecies of the Jewish messiah  by Daniel. 
 There is one very interesting prophecy about a star in Num. 24:17

 Moving on, all of you probably know this but , the Magi were probably accompanied by a very large procession of animals , servants and who knows what else. If they were just 3 richly dressed guys carrying  large amount of gold and other riches, they probably wouldn't have made it safely to Jesus. Also, they were impressive enough when they rolled into town to get an audience with the king. So, they probably were nothing like the guys we put out with our nativity sets. Also, because of when they told Herod they first saw the star he decided that Jesus could have been born anytime within the past 2 years. We are told in Matthew 2:11, that they "came into the house" where the family was living. No more manger. So Jesus could have been 2 years old by then. Which brings us to how we are going to remember what is in Matthew chapter 2.
We are going to say
ok, so
VERSE 18 (swaddled baby) starts the Christmas story

Oh my goodness, I don't know where this picture came from or what is happening here. I do know that it is Hannah digging in a bucket. I just wanted to see what it was because of course I was going to add a picture because Betsy says I should, but once I clicked on it, just to look at it , it appeared here and I don't know how to change it. I'm terrible at this computer stuff.

Time to start reading chapter 3 !!! Read it everyday if you can. I won't be able to post again for 2 weeks. After that we should be on to an every week schedule.

God Bless you ladies, you are all in my prayers! Don't forget to practice as you go to sleep at night.
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