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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The amazing book of Isaiah

I am overwhelmed with grateful praise as I start the study of this amazing book. The book of Isaiah  has been my favorite part of scripture for many years. There are so many things written in this book that have touched my life deeply. I pray that you will be able to say the same by the time we are finished with this study. 

After starting my reading with many stuffy commentators, I encountered men who had diagrammed, dissected, presented the arguments about authorship and clarified some of the original language.
 I realized that for me, this book has always been full of God. 

the lion and the lamb
It is a way to see Him as He relates to us. His care, His sweetness, the things that do not please Him and His unchanging desire to reach us.  

In this book, we will see how God's word,  has reached the human race with passages so familiar that people with no connection to the church will speak of things in this book, having no idea where the subjects came from or what they actually mean. 

 Our Decembers are full Christmas quotes from Isaiah....

"a virgin shall bear a son and she will call His name Immanuel "Isaiah 6:14

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us and the government will rest upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor , Mighty God, Everlasting father, Prince of Peace " Isaiah 9:6

This book is about more than a prophet and his prophesies. It is a record of the life of a faithful man. A man devoted to the Lord and full of the Holy Spirit, at a time when it was  sparingly bestowed on only the most faithful of his day. The commentators say that he was about 20 when he began  to speak as the Lord spoke to him. He lived with, and counseled, four kings. He faithfully spoke and recorded words from the Lord that brought about change in world history and left the record for the world to see. He tells us of what will eventually happen to our earth and he recorded an accurate account  of the death and burial of our savior 700 years before it took place. 
There are many prophecies that allow us to look into our future but, there are also incredible details in fulfilled prophecies that are already in the world's past. 

We will study through the history he recorded with 4 of the kings of Judah. These passages will remind us that he was just a man. A human being just like us. When he speaks of mans frailties and sins, he knows what he is talking about. He had a wife and 2 kids. This means that he lived a life very like  the lives our husbands live. Historians believe that his prophesies probably span as long as sixty four years. It seems his whole life was devoted to the calling that God had for him. He started his ministry at about 20 years old and finished his life at approximately 90 years when, credible tradition has it, he was sawn in half by the wicked king Manasseh. 

I am looking forward to this study. As with Matthew, I am going to try to apply the memory tools.  Read the chapters over and over again. There is no rush. The goal is to know the book of Isaiah when we are finished. I will be praying for all of you! 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Matthew Chapter 28

A day of eternal significance dawns as we start chapter 28 and finish the book of Matthew. 

This chapter has Matthews version of what transpired after Jesus was put in the grave. I think it is important to read all of the accounts of the resurrection from all of the Gospels.
The grave wasn't opened to let Jesus out. It was opened to let us in!

In Matthew it's obviously chapter 28. In Mark it is chapter 16. In Luke it's chapter 23:55-56 and chapter 24. In John it's chapter 20 with an extra bonus of Jesus by the sea to end the book in chapter 21.  

The accounts are all so different that we need  to read them with the wisdom of the Lord. By giving the people of these narratives the humanness of real people and allowing for the facts of living within the actual constraints of  the hours of the day, we can put together an interesting time line of the events that took place from the time that Jesus rose from the dead until He ascended into heaven.

The most noticeable thing about all of the accounts, is that Mary Magdelene was indisputably, the  first one to go to the tomb and discover Jesus missing, also she was the first one to see Jesus after He was risen.  
 This woman had seven demons cast from her. If there was ever a story of redemption and forgiveness it's the story of Mary Magdelene (Luke 8:2, Mark 16:9) 
                                                                                              It is widely believed that Mary Magdelene
was a prostitute. Many people think she was the immoral woman in Luke 7:36-39, but the scripture does not support this view. No where in scripture does it say that the woman in Luke 7, is Mary Magdelene.
 (more about this later)
Another thing I want to point out about this chapter is that  in verses, 28:11-15, we have the account of what happened with the soldiers that were guarding the tomb. We only get the details of this important information here in this last chapter of Matthew. 

**We are going to use the information about the soldiers to remember this chapter.** *Learn this little rhyme* **Matthew 28 has 20 verses, the soldiers lied to pad their purses* I know that this may seem a little silly, but there will be people who will tell you that Jesus's disciples stole Him in the middle of the night. At least you will know where the truth is located in scripture. Of course, you will want to be able to remember that the resurrection is here and that this is the last chapter in the book of Matthew.

We will finish this book by looking at the last 2 verses in this chapter.  There are only 2 sentences here. Many times we see the part of this where Jesus says "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt 28:20) This is a wonderful promise, but taken in context, we see that Jesus calling us to share our faith. Of course living a faithful life is a wonderful testimony to the grace and sweetness of our Lord. But, I think Jesus is calling us to more.  He says "go". He wants us moving forward with the goal of sharing Him, "make disciples" and encouraging baptism of the new disciples. "teaching them" We should be studying God's word with the goal of seeing people saved and taught His word. We should be teaching even as we share with them the grace and beauty of what the Lord has for them and their need for the Lord Jesus. It is in this context that He says "lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" Matt. 28:20. What is it that we should be teaching them? "all that I have commanded you"....The words of Jesus, the bible. 
Time to study girls! The world needs Jesus!
The Lord will bring the people who He has prepared to hear about eternal life and salvation in Jesus and you will be full of God's word and His Holy Spirit and you will be ready to speak. Ready to teach, one person at a time! 

One Last thing.... Back to Mary Magdelene. Of course we all know that it was by God's great design that it was a woman who had seven demons cast from her, who became the person who discovered our Lord's empty grave and saw Him first in His  resurrected body. She was living proof that there is no one too entrenched in evil to be saved by our Lord. There may be people that you or I may judge to be  beyond our reach as far as accepting what we have to say about Jesus. **** there is someone out there called to share Jesus with them*** PRAY FOR THAT PERSON! PRAY FOR THEIR EQUIPPING AND FAITHFULNESS****and be prepared because that person might be you. 
God Bless all of you ladies! Thank you for walking through the book of Matthew with me! I hope and pray that you are so inspired by God's word that your heart sings every time you sit before Him with your bible open. I will continue to pray for all of you. Believe it or not, the ladies at church want to work through the Book of Isaiah next. I hope you will join us. 
much love,