John The Baptizer

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I must admit posting a video of Handel’s Messiah on the cusp of June feels a bit like walking into a store in October with Christmas decorations. Bear with me.

When our President comes to town, roads close, traffic comes to a halt. Here’s an example from a recent trip to Chicago:

The town prepares. I don’t even know what the Secret Service and government does. I’m not going to even try to research that.

When Mark introduces us to the Beautiful, he tells us about His messenger first. And He starts by reminding us about a prophecy in Isaiah.

This passage in Isaiah is a comfort passage. The Messiah is coming, beloved. Your God has not forgotten about you. Your God has not abandoned you. Make the roads ready. In the Old Testament times, when the people knew that their king was coming they would prepare the roads, fill in the holes, make the kingdom ready! They wanted to be ready for their king.

Well, John is the messenger. According to David Guzik,

John the Baptist’s was the one crying in the wilderness, and through his message of repentance, he worked to prepare the way of the LORD. We often fail to appreciate how important the preparing work of the LORD is. Any great work of God begins with great preparation. John wonderfully fulfilled this important ministry. “John was God’s bulldozer to build that highway.” (Steadman)

Who is John the Baptist?

The Prophecies

Malachi Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger or Angel of the covenant, Whom you desire, behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness.


We’ve looked at his parents in my earlier blog. John comes from a priestly heritage on both sides. Zacharias came from the division of Abijah. There were 24 divisions of priesthood according to 1 Chronicles 24. Elizabeth was a daughter of Aaron.


Matthew 3:This same John’s garments were made of camel’s hair, and he wore a leather girdle about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Jesus described John best. 🙂

Matthew 11

Then as these men went their way, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: What did you go out in the wilderness (desert) to see? A reed swayed by the wind?

What did you go out to see then? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in the houses of kings.

But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [[b]out of the common, more eminent, more remarkable, and] [c]superior to a prophet.

10 This is the one of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You.

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a [d]share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].

13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied up until John.

14 And if you are willing to receive and accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come [before the kingdom].

His work

  • Temporary…Matthew 3 In those days there appeared John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness (Desert) of Judea

And saying, Repent ([a]think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

This is he who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness (shouting in the desert), Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, [b]direct).

28 You yourselves are my witnesses [you personally bear me out] that I stated, I am not the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), but I have [only] been sent before Him [in advance of Him, to be His appointed forerunner, His messenger, His announcer].

29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the groomsman who stands by and listens to him rejoices greatly and heartily on account of the bridegroom’s voice. This then is my pleasure and joy, and it is now complete.

30 He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]

33 You yourselves have sent [an inquiry] to John and he has been a witness to the truth.

34 But I do not receive [a mere] human witness [the evidence which I accept on My behalf is not from man]; but I simply mention all these things in order that you may be saved (made and kept safe and sound).

35 John was the lamp that kept on burning and shining [to show you the way], and you were willing for a while to delight (sun) yourselves in his light.

The fame

Matthew 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the country round about the Jordan went out to him;

And they were baptized in the Jordan by him, confessing their sins.

Jesus heard. Jesus came. And just as quickly as John’s flame burst on to scene? It was swept away…

Luke 3:

19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been [repeatedly] told about his fault and reproved with rebuke [h]producing conviction by [John] for [having] Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the wicked things that Herod had done,

20 Added this to them all—that he shut up John in prison.

John then spends eleven chapters of Matthew in prison and we hear nothing of John the baptizer. Then, we hear. John is having doubts. The man who pointed Jesus out to all of his followers in the beginning? He isn’t sure.

Matthew 11

When Jesus had finished His charge to His twelve disciples, He left there to teach and to preach in their [Galilean] cities.

Now when John in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent a message by his disciples

And asked Him, Are You the One Who was to come, or should we keep on expecting a different one?

And then…

Matthew 14

And he said to his attendants, This is John the Baptist; He has been raised from the dead, and that is why the powers [a]of performing miracles are at work in Him.

For Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison [to [b]stow him out of the way] on account and for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,

For John had said to him, It is not lawful or right for you to have her.

Although he wished to have him put to death, he was afraid of the people, for they regarded John as a prophet.

But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst [before the company] and pleased and fascinated Herod,

And so he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.

And she, being put forward and prompted by her mother, said, Give me the head of John the Baptist right here on a [c]platter.

And the king was distressed and sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests, he ordered it to be given her;

10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.

11 And his head was brought in on a [d]platter and given [e]to the little maid, and she brought it to her mother.

Whoosh. That was a ton of reading. Hope you learned a little about John. All in one place.

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Brown bears at Brooks Falls Katmai National Park. Photograped by Brocken Inaglory in July of 1998

Good morning, beloved,

Sunday, the Lord”s day, a day of rest, a day of peace, or supposedly such, we forget what God‘s original design. We forget He designed us to work for six days and on the seventh, we rest. I am grateful, grateful for God’s design. It is flawless, it is beautiful and to this daughter, necessary.

However, can I just get some agreement here? Even if I cut out everything outside of our home on Sunday afternoons, things still creep in. Even if our goal is rest, the house still needs to be picked up. Dishes still need to be done. We have to start packing, as our floors will be torn up soon. We are painting a bathroom. Time to spend with the family that can be fun. So my quiet is now, before I open my email, read my messages on Facebook, and today, remember, Your will be done, Lord, on earth as it is in heaven.

Your will- from Blue Letter Bible’s Lexicon:

1) what one wishes or has determined shall be done

a) of the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ

b) of what God wishes to be done by us

1) commands, precepts

2) will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

Oh, we must see this word, thelēma, in action in other parts of the Word. Come with me, and let’s dive in. 😉

Matthew 7: 21 “Not all those who say [L to me] ·‘You are our Lord’ [L ‘Lord! Lord!’] will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do ·what my Father in heaven wants [the will of my Father in heaven].

So, the first thing to remember about God’s will, those who do what the Father wants will enter the kingdom. That word only interests me but as my family likes to call it..this becomes a rabbit trail.

Matthew 12: 50 My true brother and sister and mother are those who do ·what my Father in heaven wants [the will of my Father in heaven].”

Jesus calls His family those who do the will of His Father in heaven. We are His family! What a blessed thought.

Matthew 26:42 Then Jesus went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for ·this painful thing [L this thing; C the cup of suffering; v. 39] to be taken from me, and if I must ·do [drink] it, ·I pray that what you want [L may your] will be done.”

Jesus, twice asked the Father, to be taken from the cup of suffering, and yet, Jesus, of course, did take the cup, asking the Father for His will be done. Whatever we face today, we face it with the knowledge, that  the One who drank from this horrible cup, can give us the strength to cope with it .

Psalm 40:8 My God, I ·want [delight; take pleasure] to do ·what you want [your pleasure].

    Your ·teachings [instructions; laws] are in my heart.”

I will tell ·about your goodness [the good news] in the great ·meeting of your people[assembly].
Lord, you know ·my lips are not silent [L I have not restrained my lips].

May this be our prayer today. Our desire to take delight in doing His pleasure. To hold to His teachings in our hearts and proclaim the good news.

Romans 12:2 Do not be ·shaped by [conformed to; pressed into a mold by] this ·world [age]; instead be ·changed within [transformed] by ·a new way of thinking [orchanging the way you think; L the renewing of your mind]. Then you will be able to ·decide [discern; test and approve] what ·God wants for you [is God’s will]; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

This culture, this world we live in has a powerful hold and strength. As Paul says, this mold of this age kills. The world holds nothing but death. Instead, let us be changed, transformed into a new way to think. Asking the Lord, with Your teachings, instructions in my heart; with the example of Christ; with knowing we are family then please, change us. Transform us. We want to know Your will. We want transformation. Lord, we seek You to know what is good, what is pleasing and what is perfect.

Oh, I could go on with this one. Join me again tomorrow, when I work through more of the Word of God with this one phrase: Will of God.

My thankfuls today:

257. Laughter, what a precious gift, to laugh.

258. A new day, provisions, hope.

259. Watching our son play basketball with a smile on his face.

Pray on. Pray on.


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Good morning, beloved,

A Winter Landscape by George Smith (1714 – 1776)

We haven’t seen the sun around here for a long time. I look, I gaze, I wait and long for the beautiful sunrises, beautiful sunsets. I know that behind the blanket of clouds, the sun shines. It will come back. I will see it again. You will see it again.

Sunrise from Pine Springs Campground in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. by Fredlyfish4

I love my Father in heaven. I love how He uses word pictures to aid His sheep in understanding. (See? 😉 ) You and I can look at the cloudy skies and remember the sun shines behind it. We can link that truth with our understanding of the Word.

Malachi 4: For behold, the day comes that shall burn like an oven, and all the proud and arrogant, yes, and all that do wickedly and are lawless, shall be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

He has come. He is coming. We have hope, we have comfort in knowing, expecting Jesus’ return…I think what means the most to me is the healing that is coming. Healing from the inside out. Do you long for healing? From physical or emotional pain? I do, friends. I hope and long for the touch of Jesus on this body.

Hearing the heartaches of dear friends yesterday, I long for their burdens to be lifted. This morning I woke thinking and praying for the burdens and I opened and saw these verses:

Matthew 11:

27 All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows andaccurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows andaccurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known.

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

When I have looked at these verses in years past, I have always focused on the yoke. I have always focused on who is encouraged to come. I’ve never really focused on this phrase: Learn of Me…

The word learn:

(a) “to learn” (akin to mathetes, “a disciple”), “to increase one’s knowledge,” or “be increased in knowledge,” frequently “to learn by inquiry, or observation,” e.g., Mat 9:13; 11:29; 24:32; Mar 13:28; Jhn 7:15; Rom 16:17; 1Cr 4:6; 14:35; Phl 4:9; 2Ti 3:14; Rev 14:3; said of “learning” Christ, Eph 4:20, not simply the doctrine of Christ, but Christ Himself, a process not merely of getting to know the person but of so applying the knowledge as to walk differently from the rest of the Gentiles;

Hey, doctrines are great. We need to know the doctrines of our faith. This passage suggests that understanding Jesus more, discovering Him results in rest, refreshment, blessed quiet. (I think that is my favorite, the concept of blessed quiet). What is He asking us to understand?

Gentle (praus) : denotes “gentle, mild, meek;” for its significance see the corresponding noun, below, B. Christ uses it of His own disposition, Mat 11:29; He gives it in the third of His Beatitudes, Mat 5:5; it is said of Him as the King Messiah, Mat 21:5, from Zec 9:9; it is an adornment of the Christian profession, 1Pe 3:4. Cp. epios, “gentle, of a soothing disposition,” 1Th 2:7; 2Ti 2:24.

Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isa 41:17, Luk 18:1-8). Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23).
Humble (tapeinos): primarily signifies “low-lying.” It is used always in a good sense in the NT, metaphorically, to denote humble in spirit, Mat 11:29
 The more we understand who He is, the more we can find blessed rest. Peace. In Jeremiah 6, we find the verse Jesus was quoting when He said, you will find rest for your souls. Look with me:
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
Friends, may this be an encouragement for you!! God be praised. We can know Him, we can ask for the hope of Jesus which by His death and His resurrection we have the hope of eternal paths. We can know the good, old way! We can walk in the truth and find rest for our souls. Our weary, tired, sad souls…
I have to include some more verses about our Jesus. Please read them out loud with me.

Isaiah 42: Behold my [a]Servant, Whom I uphold, My elect in Whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice and right and reveal truth to the nations.He will not cry or shout aloud or cause His voice to be heard in the street.

A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will bring forth justice in truth.

He will not fail or become weak or be crushed and discouraged till He has established justice in the earth; and the islands and coastal regions shall wait hopefully for Him and expect His direction and law.

Thus says God the Lord—He Who created the heavens and stretched them forth, He Who spread abroad the earth and that which comes out of it, He Who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:

I the Lord have called You [the Messiah] for a righteous purpose and in righteousness; I will take You by the hand and will keep You; I will give You for a covenant to the people [Israel], for a light to the nations [Gentiles],

To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness from the prison.

I am the Lord; that is My name! And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Take a moment and just dwell in His plan. His wonderful, beautiful plan for our freedom…we are those Gentiles. He is our light. He has set us free. The God who created the heavens and the earth, oh my, has given us breath. Given us spirit!

Who is this Jesus? He is the Servant. He is our justice. When life has struck hard blows, when it seems like we have no options, we can remember He will prevail. He will have the victory.

I needed to remember this today. I needed to remember who my Jesus is today.

That’s my King. Inhale. Exhale.

My thankfuls today:

75. I’m so thankful for friends who understand.

76. I’m so thankful that this is not the best.

77. I’m so incredibly thankful for Jesus today.

78. I’m thankful for the audio Bible.

79. I’m thankful for snow that has come. Not much, but it put a smile on my kiddos faces.

Pray on. Pray on.


Bickering and resolution…

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Panoramic image of Santa Severina village, Calabria, Italy. by Ggia

Good morning, beloved,

Labor day..history, there ya go,  interesting to me that we celebrate work by taking a day off. Yet, the Blue Better Bible has a terrific post on rest…read on!

I wanted to share the verses of the day…then dive in.

Isaiah 48:

16 Come near to me and listen to this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it happened, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent His Spirit in andwith me.

17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way that you should go.

18 Oh, that you had hearkened to My commandments! Then your peace and prosperity would have been like a flowing river, and your righteousness [the holiness and purity of the nation] like the [abundant] waves of the sea.

We have been struggling with bickering siblings in our household lately. Ok, not lately, always. And I have always had different techniques for coping with the fighting. Trying different ways to deal with the little sinners saved by grace..ahem. Well, last night I walked each of my kids separately (except for the eldest) through Matthew 18..after reading another book, this time, though, I kinda felt this family had an edge on the advice market. The Duggars. I have been very blessed by reading these two books they have authored.

One thing has been how they teach their children to do chores. It has helped my stress level tremendously. The other has been this teaching. Matthew 18 was memorized by their whole family with hand signs and repetition and as they meet sibling “controversy” they walk through the verses.

So I began this last night, and realized something very profound to me. It is one thing for me to teach the children not to bicker because it is the wrong thing to do, it is quite another when we are speaking Jesus’ words to one another and He is doing the teaching. Aha.

Matthew 18:

15 If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.

16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (then a bunch about bringing in the church…ahem.)

19 Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and [g]everything] they may ask, it will come to passand be done for them by My Father in heaven.

20 For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I Am in the midst of them.

So we went phrase by phrase together, how does this look?

If your brother wrongs you, go show him his fault, between you and him privately. 

So your brother wrongs you, in our family it’s not an “if”, it’s a “when”. Jesus finishes Matthew 18 with 35 So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses. Brothers, sisters wrongs you. Offense. Our first response has to be..yep, I’ve been wronged. What does God expect? A free forgiveness…no chains. However, it is our responsibility to go show him his fault. For as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:12 And when you sin against your brethren in this way, wounding and damaging their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Sin against Christ? I think it is so critical we remember who our sin is actually against. The Lord Jesus. A bit of perspective, wouldn’t you say? Colossians 3:13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. We are a forgiven people. The Lord has freely forgiven us! We can do NO better.

And how do we show our brother his fault? Ah, yes, the critical part in our family…you did this, you are wrong, you! you! you! The pointed index finger also is a big help over here. Leviticus 19: 17 You shall not hate your brother in your heart; but you shall surely rebuke your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. The sin is on us if we do not rebuke our neighbor, if we harbor hatred.  Psalm 141: 5 Let the righteous man smite and correct me—it is a kindness. Oil so choice let not my head refuse or discourage; for even in their evils or calamities shall my prayer continue. We are righteous when we correct one another with kindness…that of course can be misconstrued. Please don’t…at this point, a discussion of how wrongly the church can interpret is not my focus. We are to treat one another with kindness.

What do we gain when we obey this? Our brother!! Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the [uncompromisingly] righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise captures human lives [for God, as a fisher of men—he gathers and receives them for eternity]. By allowing forgiveness, kindness and hope to flow through our speech, we are wise, righteous, life flows through us. And we gain unity with our brothers and sisters! What hope! Not to give in to the whispers of the evil one, but to say yes to life. Romans 12: 21 Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good. James 5:1[My] brethren, if anyone among you strays from the Truth and falls into error and another [person] brings him back [to God],20 Let the [latter] one be sure that whoever turns a sinner from his evil course will save [that one’s] soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins [[a]procure the pardon of the many sins committed by the convert].

This is Jesus’ cry to us! We have a responsibility to live our life overcoming evil. How? Mastering it with good! We turn our brother or sister towards life instead of death.

So, part one. I’m going to watch the Odd Couple now. LOL. Have a wonderful day…of rest. 🙂 Pray on, pray on.






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A sunrise in Zwickau (Saxony, Germany) by André Karwath

Good morning, beloved!

My girl is walking around! No brace! I am So thankful for this gift from God. It still twinges when she turns or twists..but it is so much better! Praise God. He raises us up. He lifts us on high. The only downside I see is now she is a dedicated Barbie fan. 😉 Noah did get his stitches out and he is in good shape. The doctor was thrilled with his leg’s healing.  Yet, she did say he is unable to run or jump for two months since the surgery. This should be interesting. Ahem. He received his gift from his grandparents last night as well. My dad made him an amplifier for his guitar. Very, very fun stuff. 🙂

Let’s begin our study for the day! Matthew 7

Keep on asking and it will be given you;  keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.

For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone?

10 Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent?

11 If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and ]advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him!

Zeroing in on verse seven, Jesus has some specific instructions:

  • Keep on asking
  • Keep on seeking
  • Keep on knocking

Why? You will receive, you will find and the door will be opened! (He repeats these phrases twice in two verses! Remember repetition means the Lord wants you to get it!) It would be unimaginable to me as a parent to give my child a stone or a serpent when he/she asks for food. Unthinkable! That is, of course, Jesus’ point here. We give good gifts to our children but I’m not perfect. I don’t see as my God sees. He is in heaven, perfect, willing to give good gifts to those who keep on asking. 🙂

I will admit to you what comes first to my mind is asking for things like a car for Joshua, or financial security enough to cover our med bills  or a Vitamix with all the smoothies we are eating…yet, this chapter is the culmination of a Sermon and if we look back through the chapters, Jesus is teaching us to trust Him above all else and everything we need will be provided. Walking in the Spirit, fleeing evil, holding tight to the will of God in our lives…so even if i don’t “get” these things, I trust in Him, I hold tight to Him and He will provide. He will care for us. Are we making it just as He promised? In the palm of His hand, we have joy and peace. No matter if we stay at one car, live paycheck to paycheck and have no Vitamix :)!

Matthew 7:12 So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets.

Our example in life is our Father in how we treat others. Knowing we are not perfect, Jesus commands us to treat those around us as we desire to be treated. We cannot give those who God has placed in our lives stones or serpents. Jesus tells us this sums up the law and prophets..let’s look into this deeper.

Romans 3: 

20 For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law. For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [[a]not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character].

21 But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets,

22 Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believingwith personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction,

Matthew 5: 

17 Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them.20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus has begun to summarize what He began in Chapter 5. Do you see?

Matthew 22: 

35 And one of their number, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him.

36 Teacher, which [e]kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?]

37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).

38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.

39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

40 These two commandments [f]sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Well, I need to get moving. Love Him totally and completely and love those God has put in your life. Pray on, pray on.


Dogs and swine ?

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No dogs allowed; Pigs guard houses on Aitutaki by Ciell

Good morning, beloved,

This is a first. Choosing a picture of pigs, it has to be a first. Matthew 7:6 records a verse that “…at first glance seems totally unrelated to the Sermon on the Mount. ” (SOTM, pg. 109) I hear people quote this verse and I am always stuck on the swine and can’t ever seem to get to what Jesus is teaching us here. So let’s look together.

“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation and adorn the wretched with victory.” Psalm 149:4 AMP

I do have a praise to share first. I took off Ella’s knee immobilizer yesterday. She swam in the lake yesterday and requested we not put the brace back on. She isn’t willing to bend it all the way, she says it hurts too much yet she isn’t walking a little better and bending it a bit. Huge. So thankful for that! I think we may head to the lake again today to see if we can continue to loosen it up. Thank you for your prayers. Noah gets his stitches out this afternoon and hopefully he will be able to take the boot off.  Yesterday I heard Kay Arthur’s message on chapter 6 of Matthew. And I want to share that with you, it was as if Kay was speaking just to me. God is good. 🙂

I’m also reading a wonderful book right now that I got on my Kindle.  This man hiked the Appalachian Trail soon after he lost his wife to cancer. This is the story of how God revealed Himself to the author. Powerful book…if you need a reminder that God is always in the business of rehabilitating hearts. Hiking Through by Paul V. Stutzman..

Here we go! Matthew 7:6 Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces.

Let’s look through the Scriptures and get some clues to this verse!

Philippians 3:2 Look out for those dogs [Judaizers, legalists], look out for those mischief-makers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.

Well, this verse contains a warning, isn’t it?

The dogs as we can see are those who: kyōn of those whose moral impurity will exclude them from the New Jerusalem. The Jews used the term of Gentiles, under the idea of ceremonial impurity. Among the Greeks it was an epithet of impudence. Lat., canis, and Eng., “hound” are etymologically akin to it.

Moral impurity…what’s a Judaizer, tho? One who conforms to the religion of the Jews. So one who follows the customs and laws of the Jews that were no longer required under the New Covenant. There was a religion formed that combined the faith of Jesus but held people to the laws of Jews. Unnecessary!

2 Peter 2:22 There has befallen them the thing spoken of in the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and, The sow is washed only to wallow again in the mire.

Chapter 2 of 2 peter talks about the ungodly, the unrighteous. So this ending verse repeats a proverb. All of the desires of the wicked and their fate are listed. I have to tell you it makes me so sad to see our country falling to this in so many ways.  Ugh. Such sadness. Their eyes have become dark  and the Spirit of God is nowhere to be found as our country continues to deny the Lord.

Revelation 22: 

14 Blessed (happy and to be envied) are those who cleanse their garments, that they may have the authority and right to [approach] the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the city.

15 [But] without are the dogs and those who practice sorceries (magic arts) and impurity [the lewd, adulterers] and the murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and deals in falsehood (untruth, error, deception, cheating).

Dogs: those who practice sorceries, the lewd, the adulterers, murders, idolaters, and the liars.  Friends, it seems pretty clear who are the dogs. Yet how is this principle lived out?

Matthew 10: 

11 And into whatever town or village you go, inquire who in it is deserving, and stay there [at his house] until you leave [that vicinity].

12 As you go into the house, give your greetings and wish it well.

13 Then if indeed that house is deserving, let come upon it your peace [that is, freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]. But if it is not deserving, let your peace return to you.

14 And whoever will not receive and accept and welcome you nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or town, shake the dust [of it] from your feet.

15 Truly I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Freedom from all the distressed that are experienced as the result of  sin: peace. You. Free. Unchained.

If you are not accepted, welcome and finally do not listen to your message, shake the dust off your feet. Interesting. There is not a time frame given. Or a patience…for the ungodly. Hmmm..let’s look further with Paul..

Acts 18:

After this [Paul] departed from Athens and went to Corinth.

There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently arrived from Italy with Priscilla his wife, due to the fact that Claudius had issued an edict that all the Jews were to leave Rome. And [Paul] went to see them,

And because he was of the same occupation, he stayed with them; and they worked [together], for they were tentmakers by trade.

But he discoursed and argued in the synagogue every Sabbath and won over [both] Jews and Greeks.

By the time Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was completely engrossed with preaching, earnestly arguing and testifying to the Jews that Jesus [is] the Christ.

But since they kept opposing and abusing and reviling him, he shook out his clothing [against them] and said to them, Your blood be upon your [own] heads! I am innocent [of it]. From now on I will go to the Gentiles (the heathen).

Now, here is some more guidance. This looks like weeks and weeks of Paul discoursing and arguing in the synagogue.  He was preaching, testifying BUT they kept opposing, abusing and reviling him. So, he did exactly what Jesus instructed and shook the dust off. Now, here’s one more:

Titus 3: 

10 [As for] a man who is factious [a heretical sectarian and cause of divisions], after admonishing him a first and second time, reject [him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him],

11 Well aware that such a person has utterly changed (is perverted and corrupted); he goes on sinning [though he] is convicted of guilt and self-condemned.

Here is another layer: men who are:

  • factious
  • heretical sectarian
  • cause of divisions

Admonishing at least twice, right? Reject him then. When you see that the person is perverted and corrupted, yet he continues to sin. Well, he is convicted. Let me add one more quote, now this is from Chuck Smith, pastor and commentator:

Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and they turn again and rend you (Mat 7:6).

There are some people with which you just cannot share the things of God. You just shouldn’t even try to share the things of God with them. They will not respect them. They’ll just make fun of them. They will just trample them under their feet and then they’ll return to tear you. Now, how am I to know then who I can share and who I should not be sharing the truths of God with unless I make some kind of a judgement?

Now Peter was there listening to the Lord and it is interesting that he picks this up in his epistle, in his second epistle of Peter, he talks about as it has happened according, he’s talking about the false teachers and the wicked people and the false prophets and all. And he said, “And it is happen to them according to the true proverb, The dog has returned to his vomit; and the pig to his wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22) They’ve turned back to their old natures and he uses the same dog and pig kind of a concept.

There are some people that just mock and ridicule the things of the spirit. And for me to take the precious things of God, those beautiful things that God’s done to my life and start relating them to him it’s, it’s just — you’re just taking pearls and casting them before swine. You are not to do that. Oh, but how in the world can I know? How can I walk that narrow without judging and yet not being a fool in taking the pearls and giving them to the swine? How in the world can I walk that? Well, the good Lord tells us in the next verse.

Ask, and it shall be given you (Mat 7:7);

I’m sorry this hasn’t gotten posted yet today. I’ve actually had a day at home and am getting back on track with my cleaning schedule. My life has not given me many chances to stay put. 🙂 God bless you and keep you and may His beautiful face shine upon you this day!



To judge or not to judge…

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Heartleaf Iceplant (Aptenia cordifolia) by Jj Harrison

Good morning, beloved!

It is so good to be in His presence this morning, surrounded by my boys and hubby. We are looking through the paper, shocked at more violence and mayhem in Wisconsin yesterday.  We are enjoying the quiet of a beautiful morning. The sun streaming through the windows. Starburst trying to find bones and balls to throw in our laps. She has a ball (she’s really not supposed to have) so it’s close to her mouth and she’s trying to sneaky by touching the ball lightly with her front paw to bring it to her mouth. We are all having a good laugh. It feels good to laugh.

Our hope does not rest in our circumstances. Our hope is not in what society can offer. Our hope can only be found in Him. Proclaim it this morning. God has blessed you. He has blessed me, my family. No matter our circumstances we look to faithful God to supply all our needs. When people ask how I doing, it’s hard for me to answer. Our circumstances overwhelm me and I don’t know how to start the conversation. Yet, I don’t lose hope and I know people care. My faith is buoyed by people’s care.  So as I turn to our study this morning, I thank you, once again, for reading these words, praying for us and if I can ever pray for you, please share.

Matthew 7: 

Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged andcriticized and condemned yourselves.

For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticizedand condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.

Why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye?

Or how can you say to your brother, Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye, when there is the beam of timber in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first get the beam of timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye.

Let’s remember Jesus’ audience here.  Matthew 5: 1

Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him.

Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

Jesus is speaking to the multitudes. This message is for all who hear.  So is he calling us a hypocrite? We have to be careful when we are speaking not to judge a situation, give our opinion and think that our words helped another. Ahem. Rather, in our conversation, should it not always start with the Spirit‘s guidance and prayer for words that glorify the King?

Hypocrite (hypokritēs); corresponding to the above, primarily denotes “one who answers;” then, “a stage-actor;” it was a custom for Greek and Roman actors to speak in large masks with mechanical devices for augmenting the force of the voice; hence the word became used metaphorically of “a dissembler, a hypocrite.

When we wear our masks, pretending everything is okay and pronounce judgement on others, we are in sin. Plain and simple.

Judge(krino): primarily denotes “to separate, select, choose;” hence, “to determine,” and so “to judge, pronounce judgment.” “The uses of this verb in the NT may be analyzed as follows: (a) to assume the office of a judge

Goodness, what qualifies me to judge? Nothing. Nothing at all. When I get to the end of my life and I meet my maker, my desire, my goal is to walk through my life with Him and we see together that through the power of His Spirit, I fought the urge to judge or condemn others. It has never been my place. Lord, forgive me!

Jesus knows our timbers. He knows the logs. Our eyes are not pure without the Spirit’s guidance and influence. The Word should be our guide in our conversations.

Alright, beloved, my day calls to me. Think, pray on. Pray on.