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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Luke 16-20...almost to Acts!

So we finished up Luke at the end of last week! So exciting! I've gotten slightly behind at the start of Acts so I'm catching up with my group on that. I always seem to fall a little behind when I get to the weekends, I think in part due to the less structured nature of the weekend. I guess I need to be more disciplined on the weekends :) While I try my hand at that, you can enjoy the following notes, covering Luke 16-20!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan



Luke 16
While verse 8 says that the master 'commended' the shrewd manager, it does not say he changed his mind about firing him. Maybe he thought it was a clever idea and admired the shrewdness of it, but I doubt he appreciated the debts owe him being decreased if it lost him money. However, based on the man's intentions (make friend's using wealth), Jesus instructs us that we should us our worldly riches to benefit the kingdom of Heaven by ministering to people on earth. He doesn't advocate using other people's money (like the manager) but your own resources that God has given you to serve others.

In his parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Jesus makes the point that the Law of Moses and the Prophets should be enough for anyone to come to belief in God and if that does not persuade them, a resurrected man would not either. In the audience, the Pharisees would have been most familiar with the Law and Prophets, but even the later resurrected Christ would not convince them of the truth.

Luke 17
It is inevitable that we will be tempted. It doesn't magically stop once we reach a certain level of "Christian-ness". We read early in Luke that even Jesus was tempted so we should expect no less. But I should try not to be the source of temptation in anyone's life. I must "watch" myself so that I don't become a stumbling block to anyone and cause them to sin. I should forgive whenever it is asked of me. My duty to my Lord is that of a servant. Only by humbling myself can I become more like him.

With the lepers, we see again how often Christ healed those who were not Jews. The man possessed by Legion in Gerasenses and the Roman centurion in Capernaum were both documented by Luke earlier. Here, the Samaritan is the one who returns to praise him. While Israel was looking for a political Messiah, some of the Gentiles were discovering faith.

The statement at the end of the chapter ("Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.") intrigued me and I was very glad my Study Bible had a note about it. Here's what it said: "To answer the disciples' question, Jesus quoted a familiar proverb. One vulture circling overhead does not mean much, but a gathering of vultures means that a dead body is nearby. Likewise, one sign of the end may not be significant, but when many signs occur [in my opinion, all signs occur], the second coming is near." (Comment inserted in [] is mine). This explanation made sense to me in my reading so I thought I would share. :) I also liked the description of Jesus' return as "like lightning which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other." This is something that we will not be able to mistake. Maranatha!

Luke 18
At the beginning of the chapter, I like how Luke identifies the audience the two parables were intended for. God being just will hear our cries for justice even more so than the unjust human judges. With the rich man, Jesus made it clear that it was still possible for the rich man to be saved ("What is impossible with man is possible with God.") but that it would be more difficult because of the life of wealth and comfort he had here on earth. Jesus didn't require that all his disciples give up all their wealth (others offered half, or to repay more than owed, and Jesus was pleased with it), but he could see this man's heart and knew that his riches were indeed what was hindering him from entering the Kingdom. I find it surprising after Christ predicting his death so plainly for a third time that the disciples didn't understand it. It truly was hidden from them! After telling his disciples to allow the children to come to him earlier (v. 15-17), Jesus again has to remind his followers that all should be allowed to come to him and that they shouldn't hinder anyone.

Luke 19
I couldn't read the story of Zacchaeus without hearing the song in my head :) Also, here is an example of a man offering half of what he owed (and repaying dishonest gains) and Jesus being pleased with the offering because he saw the man's heart, unlike the rich man from the previous chapter. In the parable, I wonder what the other seven servants did with their minas since we're only told about the 3. Did they prosper for their master? Or were they like the scared servant? I love how Jesus' lament over Jerusalem echoed his entrance to the city. He says if only they had know "what would bring you peace". A king who rode in on a donkey came in peace as opposed to one who rode in on a war horse, the kind of king they were expecting. Again we see that his identity and plan was hidden deliberately, not only from the disciples, but from everyone. How often I have fretted over the future when I know that it's in God's hand and should rightfully remain hidden from my sight!

Luke 20
I love how Jesus confounds the Pharisees and teachers by exposing their weakness. In their minds, all things of God for the people came through them and them alone so Jesus presents them with the question about John, who was indeed a prophet but one they didn't recognize as such. God works in mysterious ways, so who am I to put him in a box like the Pharisees? Immediately following this Jesus tells a parable that exposes how the prophets have been treated and that he as God's Son will be treated even worse and killed. It was the perfect follow-up since they hadn't respected John as a prophet of God and the meaning of this parable was not hidden from them: "they knew he had spoken this parable against them." In vs. 26, it says that the spies were unable to trap Jesus and vs. 40 says that no one dared to ask him any more questions, knowing that they could not trap him in that way. How much of my life is a reflection of Jesus? Would people see him in me and be unable to speak against him on account of my witness? As a fallen person, I know I'm not perfect but I hope that in my own life I can silence the spies and be above reproach as a disciple of Jesus. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

First!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a tomato!!


This has been the first little one to make himself known. :) I was so happy to see this little guy, especially after finding that part of the tomato plant had been broken off. I came out one morning to find a branch of the plant on the ground below the planter. Best I can figure is that our resident "Ninja Squirrel" tried to jump on the plant and the stem snapped. You can see the where it used to be above and behind the growing tomato in the picture below.


The stem that broke off had the next bunch of promising looking flowers. Thankfully, a few more flowers have appeared at other points on the plant since then. Looking forward to watching these ripen and eventually being able to make some yummy tomato, basil and mozzarella salads :) Yum!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Friday, June 24, 2011

Luke 13-15

So I've been able to catch up with my group after last weekend's lackluster results. :) Back to catching my fine blog readers up to what we've covered!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan


Luke 13
We've seen Jesus deal with working on the Sabbath before (Luke 6), but I think he used an especially effective analogy this time in explaining to the Pharisees their hypocrisy. He pointed out that, by their laws, they allowed even the animals to be freed from bondage and provided for on the Sabbath and that this woman's condition was exactly that, bondage of a spiritual nature. If the Pharisees considered it okay to untie an animal on the Sabbath how could they argue with freeing a human being from their bonds. I think it was effective because Christ demonstrated how their very laws showed them to be unloving and hypocritical.
In each of Jesus' examples of the Kingdom of God, the item is something small (mustard seed, yeast) that grows and becomes something much larger than how it began. God often works in ways we don't understand and here, instead of coming in magnificent glory and overthrowing Rome, he came as a carpenter from Nazareth, leading individuals to follow him and then spread the Gospel. It started small, but has come to change the world. In the same vein, the entrance to God's Kingdom is narrow. This phrase jumps out at me: "...many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." I believe there are those out there who are interested in hearing about Jesus but who, for some reason or another, cannot place their faith in him as Lord and Savior. I don't pretend to know what those reasons are (think they have to be perfect, think they're fine, etc.), but I imagine these are the people that Jesus spoke of, those who know of/about him but refuse to take that crucial step through the door and into the Kingdom. Only God knows the hearts of men. But Jesus does say that going through this door requires our effort. I have to seek him, obey him, follow him at whatever cost, and that requires diligence on my part. Salvation is through Christ alone, but I must seek and accept it and live it out.


Luke 14
The Pharisees seem to be getting smarter (or at least more devious) for now when Jesus does something they object to, they're keeping their mouths shut. Maybe they think if they don't say anything Jesus can't speak against them without giving them the ammunition they want to destroy him? For whatever reason, they are definitely trying to entrap Jesus, since this incident took place in the home of a prominent Pharisee and they most certainly planted the suffering man there to see what Jesus would do, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath or not. And he again points out their hypocrisy by giving examples of work that they would do on the Sabbath to save someone, inferring that what he is doing in healing/rescuing the people he has is no different.
I love the idea of a feast being held in the kingdom of God. Maybe it's the fact I'm a Baptist, but most celebrations involve food. :) So it totally makes sense to me that when we celebrate with God it would be around a huge banquet table. I think the parable he tells about the guests not coming is so sad though, knowing that some people will turn their backs on God for trivial reasons.
As Jesus points out, before going in to most big projects, people will sit down and plan it out to know what they are getting into. Becoming a follower of Christ is no different. He points out that to be a disciple, one must carry their cross and follow him, rejecting all others and even their own life so that Jesus is Lord alone. Following Jesus demands everything of us, even our own life. But what will it profit us to gain the world if we lose our soul in the process? How much better to give it all to Jesus and follow only him. Difficult, I know. This is something I struggle with now and feel I will continue to struggle with for the rest of my life. I am human, stubborn, strong-willed and want to be in control, yet I desire to serve a Savior who would have me lay all that aside and bring all of me humbly to him. For now, I'm a work in progress. :)


Luke 15
Right at the end of Luke 14, Jesus said "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." And then right at the beginning of Luke 15, we see the tax collectors and sinners gathering around to "hear" him. The Greek word is exactly the same in both cases. I think that Luke wanted to make sure that we knew it was these people who were actually hearing and learning from Jesus while the Pharisees muttered to themselves.
I read John MacArthur's book "A Tale of Two Sons" awhile back, written about the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It provided a lot of historical and cultural context to the parable but also speculated on what the end of the story might have been if Jesus had not stopped telling it when he did. Since the prodigal represented the sinners that were listening to Jesus and seeking him and the father represented Jesus, the older son would have represented the Pharisees. In the book, he speculates that if Jesus were to keep the story true to life, then at the end the older son would have killed the father. I thought it was a really interesting thought experiment and enjoyed some of the other insights of the book. The parable also reminds me how much God is waiting and desiring my return to him when I wander. His arms are open for me to run back into them, all I have to do is get up and go humbly like the prodigal.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

BookSneeze.com Review: Women of Faith "Rejoice" CD

First off, can I just say how gorgeous I think the packaging of this CD is! I love the purple/silver look. So pretty! :) Reminded me of my wedding invitations. But it does catch the eye and since presentation counts when trying to sell media, this CD gets high marks in my book.

As for the CD itself, I felt it was a good blend of both upbeat and slower songs. Overall, it almost reminded me of a very early Point of Grace. The harmonies were good and I found myself very often tapping my foot or my fingers as I listened to it. As I've continued to listen to it, I've even found myself singing along. It's a great CD to listen to around the house or in my car. It's uplifting and a helpful reminder sometimes of the need to rejoice and praise God in my life.

While most of the songs follow the model of more contemporary praise songs, there is a 4-part harmony version of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" that is absolutely lovely. Last on the CD, the classic hymn is a perfect conclusion to a wonderful collection of uplifting music. Now if I go to the Women of Faith conference, I feel like I'll have a head start on knowing some of the songs! I've really enjoyed listening to this CD and look forward to enjoying it for a long time to come! I'm glad I could add it to my collection.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Disclaimer of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations. If you would like to receive books for free in exchange for honest reviews, visit BookSneeze.com.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Luke 10-12 and Getting Behind...

So I got pretty behind in my readings this weekend :( I'm slowly catching up but I really want to try and stay on top of it now. It's really discouraging to have so many chapters to catch up on but I also know that the whole point of the church's challenge was to get people to read Scripture each day with minimal pressure. While we check in with our accountability group, there's no condemnation if we fall behind. The whole point is to encourage each other to keep going and reading God's Word each day. So I sent off my summary of 4 chapters earlier this evening and will now try to get you up to speed as well :) Enjoy!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Meghan


Luke 10
Both times when Jesus sends out his disciples (when he sent out the 12 and then 72) he tells them not to take anything with them but to rely on God to provide through the hospitality of those they would meet along the way. He also reminds us of what we should rejoice in and it's not the temporary "success" we may see on earth but our place in heaven.
The response of the expert in the law to Jesus' question was part of the daily prayer known as the "Sh'ma" that they Jews said morning and night. Everyone in the crowd would have been familiar with the phrasing and recognized where it came from. But at the end of the story, he can't even bring himself to say "the Samaritan", instead referring to him as "The one who had mercy on him." So many times I know in my head what the correct answer is but my actions reveal that my heart is reluctant to follow.
Ah, Mary and Martha. :) I definitely find myself being Martha too much when I should be more like Mary and desire to be in my Lord's presence. :) This Bible reading is definitely helping with some of that by forcing me to set aside time. It's especially timely advice since I have guests coming over tomorrow and my home is not quite ready for them ;)

Luke 11
Our Father gives wonderful gifts :) In the ladies' evening Bible study, we just wrapped up the Prayer of Jabez study and one of the big things for me was God has so much he wants to bless us with, if only we would just ask for it. In the first part of Luke 11, I see a common theme of asking for what God will give, whether it's in the form of daily bread, the phrase "ask and it will be given you" or in the example of the father giving a son what he asks for. In each of these cases, God is more than willing to give, but we must ask. Sometimes, I have trouble with that, thinking instead that God will bless me however he wants and that I should just accept that. But he is a loving father waiting to lavish his grace and love on his children if they would but ask. It was good for me to have that reinforced again here. :)
So often we (meaning "I") focus on how we present ourselves to everyone around us, giving much less thought to our inner life and what we are presenting to God. We are to be a light on a stand for others to see, but it should be that light they see, not us. Everything I do should reflect Christ so that when others look at me they see only him. I must decrease so that Christ may increase. Jesus spoke directly to the Pharisees and teachers, so that they could not mistake what he was saying. We should not seek the praise and recognition of others, but should strive only to be more like Jesus and lead others to him.

Luke 12

This chapter picks up so naturally from the previous one, with Jesus using what had just happened with the Pharisees and teachers of the law to instruct his own disciples. I love how Christ lays out the logic for who we should fear. Man can do nothing more than take our life, but if our life is in Christ, they can only end our life on Earth and then we stand before God. Since God judges us for eternity he is the one we should desire to please. And our worth to him is great, so much that every hair is numbered. But so often, I get caught up in the everyday, in the "need-to-do's", in the future, that I worry myself silly! If God cares for the sparrows and the lilies, how much more will he care for me! I have such a disobedient heart and mind on this point, for my Savior commands me "do not worry" and yet I fall so many times. "O you of little faith!" Thank God for his never-ending grace that allows me to move forward and grow my faith as I seek to store my treasures in heaven and forsake my earthly worries. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Luke 7-9

More Luke observations! :) This time it's chapters 7-9. I'll be finishing reading Luke next week with my group and we'll move on to Acts which will take a full month (until July 22). 

Enjoy!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan


Luke 7
So many rich stories packed into such a short chapter! :)

I love the story of the centurion and seeing Jesus' amazement at his faith, faith beyond any that had been in Israel. The story of the raising of the widow's son is the same, for it must have taken great faith on her part to allow herself to hope that Jesus could do what he was saying. I am encouraged by the section about John the Baptist sending some of his followers to Jesus. Despite his doubts and needing that confirmation, Jesus still said "among those born of women there is no one greater than John." And yet the next part of that astounds me: "...yet the one who is the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." I feel like John the Baptist would be pretty high up in the kingdom and Jesus said there was none greater, so to say that there are still others who will be greater still? Wow!

I remember reading the story of the sinful woman anointing Jesus' feet sometime in the past and my eyes being opened to the historical context of the whole thing. The fact that the Pharisee, Simon, had not offered Jesus water, oil or a welcoming kiss was a huge deal. It was basically a slap in the face since these were common courtesies that would have been provided for every guest in a Jewish home at that time. It was a huge snub but provided the perfect context for Jesus to present his parable to the man and honor the woman. "But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

Luke 8
I remember someone speaking on the parable of the soils a long time ago and it has since given me a new perspective on it. So often we concentrate on what the soils mean and who they represent, etc. But very little is usually said of the farmer that scatters the seed. The farmer didn't show discretion where he spread his seed and let it fall on all sorts of ground, fertile and not. Since the seed is the word of God, the farmer represents us and how we should be sharing the Gospel with those around us. Since we cannot tell the condition of another person's heart, we should share with as many people around us as we can, scattering our seed far and wide.

Quick side note: When Jesus healed the man of the legion of demons, he was expanding his ministry to include Gentiles. The fact that they were raising pigs in the area (and historical evidence from that region) indicates that the town was a Gentile town.

The woman with the issue of bleeding risked her very life to touch Jesus. She was considered unclean due to her bleeding and when Jesus publicly proclaimed that someone had touched him and asked who it was, admitting to the act placed the woman's life in danger. People who were unclean weren't supposed to even be allowed inside city limits. She risked everything for her faith and hope for a miracle. How much of myself do I forfeit just to reach out to Jesus in faith? Truthfully, not nearly enough.

Luke 9
There is a strange interlude in Luke 9 about Herod where, at the end, it says that Herod went to try and see Jesus. Nothing more is said of the matter as we move back to the disciples. I had a cross-reference note in my Bible to see Luke 23:8 so I *gasp* flipped ahead ;) It simply reiterates that Herod had been wanting to see Jesus for some time (I'll leave the rest for later). In the interim, I wonder how Herod made attempts to see Jesus. It's most curious (at least to me) :)

As for the disciples being sent out, I find their short-term memory glitch at the beginning to mirror my own sometimes. Here they had just reported to Jesus all they had done in preaching, healing and performing miracles everywhere and then can't seem to grasp that another miracle might be in order to feed the crowds or that they have the power to perform such a miracle. 

Several times in this chapter we are reminded of the high cost of following Jesus. He mentions taking up our cross, denying ourselves, losing our lives for/in Him, and leaving everything behind and not looking back. While following may have a high cost, the reward of knowing Christ is greater still. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Luke 4-6

Hi all! :)

Continuing to catch you up on my readings in Luke. Today I'm posting Chapters 4-6. I hope you enjoy!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Luke 4
I don't think I'd ever noticed before that Luke does not chronicle the first calling of the disciples before telling stories that involve them (e.g. Simon Peter's mother-in-law). He simply assumes you already know who they are and that they exist. Also, I noted that while the devil left Jesus after tempting him in the desert, he would not be leave Jesus alone forever. Verse 13 says he left him "until an opportune time." Since we don't really see such a vivid description of their sparring later in the Gospels, I wonder when he returned to try and tempt Jesus again. With each temptation, Jesus rebuked the devil with Scripture, even when the devil attempted to twist Scripture to his designs. I think this sets a great example for us of how we should be prepared to withstand the devil's attack. God's Word should be deeply embedded in our hearts and minds that we can recall what He desires of us in each situation.


Luke 5
Previously, we read that tax collectors were among some of John the Baptist's disciples. Part of me wonders if Levi/Matthew was one of those. His response to Christ's calling of immediately leaving his position and following Jesus suggests to me that he might have heard some of John's teaching or even been present at Jesus' baptism. I'm also reminded in this chapter of how our personal faith can affect those around us. The paralytic man that was lowered through the roof was not healed because of his own faith, but his friends' faith (vs. 20 "When Jesus saw their faith..."). How we live out our faith is a beacon to others.
Pastor Mark mentioned this in his sermon, but I'll mention it anyway :) I was reminded of the importance of prayer when I saw verse 16. "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Even with everything going on around him (and it was certainly more to deal with than my life!), Jesus still sought out times and places to pray by himself. I know I need to get better about setting aside dedicated time for this!


Luke 6
I don't know if you've ever heard of Mark Driscoll, but he's a pastor out in Seattle at Mars Hill Church. He did a sermon series entitled "Religion Saves and nine other misconceptions" and one of the sermons was on Humor (the misconception being that the Bible has none). Now, whenever I read about Jesus saying to remove the plank from your own eye before removing the speck from your brother's, I always see the picture of Mark that I've attached to the e-mail [see below]. We don't always read it as being funny, but looking at the picture, I can't help but think of it as anything but a dry sense of humor meant to get the point across. If you get the chance, the sermon series is a good one :)

I think too often people separate vs. 37 and take it out of context (i.e. proof-texting). I don't know about your Bible but mine has a header break between vs. 27-36 and vs. 37-42. I wish I could remove that break. The two sections follow each other and blend so seamlessly. You cannot judge someone if you are loving them and doing good to them. You cannot condemn them if you are following Christ's commands in the previous verses either.

We also get the list of the 12 disciples now in this chapter (since I mentioned last week that Luke didn't give us much on their call to follow Jesus). And I feel like Luke gave us the CliffNotes version of the Beatitudes since Matthew gives us 9 "Blessed" statements and Luke only gives us 4 (though Matthew does omit the "woes").

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"That you may know..."

Several months ago, our pastor announced a church-wide challenge to read a chapter from the Bible each day during the summer. Those who signed up were put into groups of 3-4 and sent a schedule for the readings. It looks something like this:

June 1-24:  Luke
June 25-July 22:  Acts
July 23-August 8:  Romans
August 9 - 24:  1st Corinthians
August 25 - 28:  Philippians
August 29 - September 1:  Colossians

Each day, when we're done reading a chapter, the members of the group are supposed to e-mail each other with our observations and comments on the reading for the day. It provides great accountability knowing that there are people waiting to hear from me about what I read. So I figured if e-mailing a couple of people was great for accountability, then why not post it on my blog for even more motivation to keep up with the reading. :) 

So, dear readers, I'm going to start posting my observations/comments here on the blog. While I e-mail them daily to my group, I will probably try to post them on the blog either every other day or a compilation at the end of the week. Since today is the 14th, we're already on Chapter 14 of Luke. So to catch you up, I'll try to post a few chapters at a time. Below, you'll find Chapters 1-3. I hope that someone learns something from this experience. I have been blessed greatly by being involved in this, reading the Scriptures each day, and by those around me that have sent me their observation. My prayer is that I can be a blessing to others as well.

Luke 1: 4 "...so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Luke 1
I can't even begin to imagine Elizabeth's relief and wonder at her pregnancy. In vs.25 she says "The Lord has done this for me...and taken away my disgrace among the people." [emphasis mine] In a culture where much of a woman's value was placed on her ability to have children (mostly sons), it must have been quite the shock for Elizabeth who had been barren her whole life to find that she was pregnant. I'm sure after years of pity and aloofness from her friends it was quite the celebration (as shown by gathering at his birth). I'm sure it compares to the joy felt by several friends I've known that have dealt with infertility and then found out that they were pregnant.

I'm also intrigued by the different responses of Gabriel. When Zechariah questions how his wife could be pregnant, he isn't able to talk until he declares what his son's name will be. When Mary questions how she could be pregnant, Gabriel simply answers the question and tells her about Elizabeth then leaves. What was in Zechariah's heart that garnered a "punishment" for his questioning that was not present in Mary's?


Luke 2
1) I had a little footnote in my Bible that cross-referenced vs. 23-24 with Exodus chapter 13 so I went to check it out. The consecration of the firstborn son to the Lord was a big deal because it was meant to remind them of the Lord's power. In Exodus 13:15, it is explained that this was done to remember that God struck down the firstborn sons in Egypt when Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites leave. So many of the gestures/requirements in Judaism are symbolic of what God has done for them that I'm surprised I hadn't been aware of the reason for the consecration of the firstborn.

2) The incident at the Temple is really the only glimpse we get into Jesus' childhood beyond his birth. At the end of the chapter we're told he was obedient to his parents and that he "grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Makes me wonder what his early life was like beyond the yearly trips to Jerusalem for Passover (vs. 41). In what ways was he like every other kid and in what ways was he completely and utterly different? What was he like with his brothers/sisters? Anyway, guess that's just my curiosity :)


3) Right from the beginning, with the very first recorded words of Christ, he demonstrates what our priorities should be in life. God first, then family (though I don't advocate not telling your parents where you're going if you're 12 :)).


Luke 3
1) Genealogies always seemed a bit dry to me until I started looking for names I recognized (though that's pretty difficult in Numbers!). There are lots of neat connections you can make with other stories in the Bible from the genealogy of Christ. Ruth and Boaz, Rahab, Judah and Tamar are all hinted at in the list of names in Luke 3, along with the more recognizable names like Adam, Abraham and so forth. Several people will actually use this and Matthew's genealogy to try and prove that the Bible is not consistent since they diverge after King David (one follows King Solomon and the other his brother Nathan). However, the different ways they are set up ('father of' versus 'son of') indicates that one (Matthew's) is Joseph's line and the other (Luke's) is Mary's genealogy.

2) I loved that John was giving work advice to those that came to him from all sorts of vocations. What impressed me was that tax collectors and soldiers were some of the most reviled jobs because the things John told them not to do were so rampant (extortion, harassment, etc.). And yet John did not tell them to quit their jobs but to reform them, to follow God no matter what their situation/occupation. Makes me think about what I'm like at my job...


3) I think in the first half of this chapter, we already see God beginning to show the people that his salvation will extend to the Gentiles and the whole world. When John calls his audience out for being proud of their heritage alone ('We have Abraham as our father.'), he states that God could make children out of stones if he wanted. It is not simply a bloodline that makes you a child of God.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.s?"

So I live in a busy suburb of a major metro area. If you've been following my blog the last couple of weeks, I still get a lot of visitors in my backyard despite being located near major roads in my area. However, most of those guests haven't surprised me much. They've mostly been birds and squirrels with the odd fox, all of which I expect to find everywhere, even my busy suburban apartment backyard (well, the fox surprised me a little). However, today's backyard sighting caught me off guard...


Your eyes do not deceive you...that is a groundhog. In my backyard.Seriously?


Yes, seriously. He ambled into view outside my patio door and I dove for the camera. Thankfully he moved slow enough that I could grab a bunch of photos.


He actually reminded me of a R.O.U.S from The Princess Bride ("Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't believe they exist."). And actually, it shouldn't surprise me too much. I've seen them alongside the interstate we frequently use, so why not in my own backyard? I guess I'm just so used to my regulars that this surprise guest threw me for a loop. :) But I'm glad he came and allowed me to give him an entry in my digital "guest" book. Maybe he'll be a return visitor? :) Only time will tell...