Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thank you!

A praise report: So far, in less than a month of existence, this blog has been viewed 240 times! Some of those visits are from as far away as England and Australia. Thank you all for visiting my little corner of cyberspace, and for helping spread the word about this blog! God bless all of you and I thank the Lord for each of you! He is good!

How Much Influence Does Mary Have on Jesus?

John 2:1-11 (New International Version, ©2010)

John 2

Jesus Changes Water Into Wine
 1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”    4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]
 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
   They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


Come Holy Spirit....

People often wonder why some Christian denominations believe that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, would have much influence on Jesus, or His decisions, or even God's plans.

To that, I often refer to the above Gospel passage. But not for the reason so many do, which is to claim she must not be important, because, after all, Jesus only calls her "Woman."

However, the Greek for "woman" does not  convey any disrespect in any way. It is another word, much like "fear," that had a much different ancient connotation than it does today. It actually was a term of great respect in Christ's time.

No, the reason I refer to the Gospel passage above, when people ask about Mary, is for an entirely different reason.

Mary needs a small favor. It isn't even life threatening. The family at the wedding feast have run out of wine! OK, some people might consider that life threatening, but we know better (right?) This likely would cause the family quit a bit of embarrassment,  so it isn't beneath concern, as none of us would want somebody we cared about to suffer embarrassment. (And Mary must have been friends with them, or she wouldn't be at their wedding feast.)

So, she asks her Son, Jesus, to do her a favor and help out her friends. She obviously knows what He is capable of (which may be the subject of a future blog.) So He is the only hope in this situation.

There obviously was a divine timeline in place for Jesus to reveal Himself publicly. He said as much: "Woman, my hour has not yet come." Now, John does not say what happened between that comment, and Mary telling the servers to "do whatever he tells you." I always found that interesting. In my mind, I can see Mary giving Jesus a bit of a motherly look, you know the one I am talking about, maybe with her hands on her hips, as well. But maybe not, and she simply went to them, trusting that Jesus would take care of it. Hard to say.

But here is the thing: Despite the fact that performing a miracle would start Christ's public ministry before "his hour" was supposed to arrive, despite it not being part of whatever the divine timeline had been for Jesus to reveal Himself, Jesus does it anyways! For no other reason than His Mother asked him to. It was not Jesus Hour to reveal Himself, yet, despite this not even being a life saving crisis, Jesus did what His Mother asked Him to do, thereby starting His public ministry before it was supposed to.

If Jesus (and God, obviously) allowed their planned revelation of Jesus' Divinity to be altered for no other reason than Mary asked Him to, over something relatively minor, no less....does it not stand to reason that Jesus would listen to His Mother beyond that moment, even to this very day? God's Will takes priority over everything else, that is inarguable. But the Wedding Feast at Cana proved that if Mary asks her Son to do something, He thinks highly enough of her to sometimes change the original plan.

Now, some might say that this goes against God's omnipotence or perfection, because His Will is always right and His plans were perfect from the start. The Wedding Feast at Cana does not change that. Think of it this way, if God cannot change His mind, why would He ask us to pray to Him? Yes, we always ask for His Will to be done first and foremost, but Jesus also said, "Ask and it shall be given to you." He wants us to ask Him for things, and out of His love, He will sometimes give them to us. Praying to Him does not deny that His Divine Will is not perfect, it only shows how much He loves us by doing things for us that we ask, so long as it isn't bad for us. After all, His Will for us is good, so He will not grant us things that are bad for us.

But Mary's request being granted at Cana does indicate that Jesus will honor her requests, even if it wasn't the original plan, simply because He loves His mother that much. And that is why she has so much influence. She cannot make the final decisions, only God can do that. But Jesus has shown that He will honor her requests on our behalf out of love for His mother. And if she will ask her Son to perform a miracle to simply avoid her friends being embarrassed at a wedding feast, how much more will she ask Him on our behalf, to do miraculous things?  And we now see that He is more than willing to agree. Jesus loves his mother that much.

God bless.

Jesus as CEO


Come Holy Spirit.....

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” John 19: 26

The above conversation happened while Jesus was hanging on the cross, and the disciple whom He loved was John, himself. Throughout the gospel, it was obvious that John had a close relationship with Jesus, more-so than the other apostles. It's also worth noting that John is the only disciple who was not martyred. And, as we see in the Gospel reading above, Jesus gives John to His own mother to be like her very own son. He was truly the disciple whom Jesus loved.

Jesus' relationship with Peter was quite different. Jesus often had to rebuke Peter for one reason or another. Peter was rather brash and aggressive. He loved the Lord, no question, but sometimes that caused him to do things that were well-meaning, but not always what Jesus had in mind. And, as we all know, Peter denied knowing Jesus 3 times during Christ's Passion.

There is no question Peter loved the Lord, and everything he did was out of that love. But, his personality and his other traits were different than the other apostles. He was clearly the leader, he was the strong one, he was often the bravest (when he saw Jesus walking on the water, he was the one who immediately jumped up and asked to join him on the water) and he was usually the very first one to defend the Lord, as he did literally when Jesus was arrested and he attacked with his sword.

But, between the two, John is the one whom Jesus, according to the Gospels, loved the most, and gave to His mother, Mary.

So, by today's standards, you would expect Jesus to show favoritism and let John be the leader of Christ's Church, right? After all, for whatever reason, John had found favor with the Lord, so you'd expect the Lord to give such a prominent role to John. But He didn't.

He chose Peter.

Obviously, Jesus saw characteristics in Peter that He knew would make him the best candidate to build his church on. He was "the rock" that the church was built on, as Jesus worded it, i.e. the cornerstone. This was no small task, and it would not be easy, so Jesus needed someone who was strong enough, and fervent enough, to withstand the adversity of building His church. He knew Peter was that man.

Because of this decision, Jesus showed us how to be the ideal CEO, or manager, or boss or whatever title you choose. He gave the most important job to the best qualified person, not the one he loved the most.

If only more leaders followed that example.

God bless.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The comment section has been fixed so that everybody can leave a comment, not just registered users. I apologize for the inconvenience (I am new to this, lol.)

Pride Goeth Before The Fall

Hi My name is PRIDE:
I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny because you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment because you deserve better than this.
I cheat you of knowledge because you already know it all.
I cheat you of healing because you're too full of me to forgive.
I cheat you of holiness because you refuse to admit when you're wrong.
I cheat you of vision because you'd rather look in the mirror than out a window.
I cheat you of genuine friendship because nobody's going to know the real you.
I cheat you of love because real romance demands sacrifice.
I cheat you of greatness in heaven because you refuse to wash another's feet on earth.

Author Unknown.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The following is part of one of the prayers of the Church for the Stations of the Cross, and I felt it was relevant to yesterday's blog post:

Thou goest to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die to the world, for the love of Thee.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Greatest Commandment. Or, How Much Should We Love The Lord?

Come Holy Spirit....
The Greatest Commandment
Matthew 22:
 34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.(NIV)

Matthew 10:

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’e
37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; (NIV)

Greetings fellow Scripture students!

The above biblical verses are both simple and confounding at the same time for many people. 

The Greatest Commandment feels easy to most people. Love the Lord, easy enough, right? People say it all of the time. Even people who don't outwardly appear to be Christians will say they love God or Jesus, and the probably do. But for many people, it is mostly lip service. Or at the very least, it isn't unconditional, or it has limits. How many live it the way Scripture tells us to? (With all our soul and all our mind? And above and beyond our love of anyone or anything else?)

A friend of mine once commented, after he and his wife had a child, that when he saw his new child smile for the first time, that he discovered the meaning of life, to put a smile on his son's face. While taking care of one's children is obviously expected of us, what about putting a smile on God's face? Should that be the meaning of life? According to Scripture, the answer is YES. 

As Rick Warren so astutely concludes in his bestselling book The Purpose Drive Life, we are created specifically to serve the Lord. Not ourselves, and not our friends and family to the same extent as we are to serve and thereby love the Lord. 

Truly loving the Lord with "all of our soul and all of our mind" (emphasis mine) means putting how God and Jesus Christ feel above all else, without any exception. If we truly love Him, shouldn't that come naturally?

How many of you would sacrifice something for your children? Or your spouse? Or maybe a sibling? How many of your are careful what you say or do to that person? How many would even go so far as to risk your life for one of them? For those who said they would, why would you? Because you love them! And it makes you happy to see them happy. 

But, as we learn via Scripture, we are to love the Lord even more than that! Yes, MORE. 

If we truly love the Lord with all of our mind and soul, then we would want to do things on a daily basis that make Him happy, and we would avoid doing things that would make Him unhappy. That is true love, and that is unconditional love. The same unconditional love that many people are willing to give their children, spouses, family, or even themselves, we are to give to God and Jesus, but even moreso. Even if that causes divisions with other people, for God is to come first in our lives, without any exception. 

And when you love someone with all of your mind and soul, that person automatically takes top priority in your life. Just like a spouse or children suddenly become the center of someone's attention, out of love, God is to receive even more priority in our daily lives. And if you are sincere, then that love is manifested via action. 

Lip service alone only goes so far. 

If you told your child, spouse, etc. that you loved them, yet you neglected them, or only do the bare minimum for them, then how much do you truly love them? Not very much, I'd say. God and Jesus ask for more than "not very much." 

And why do they deserve so much love? Well, for starters, God created us. You would not be alive, because humans would not even exist, except for God. You are only here because of God. Second, you would not receive everlasting life (in Heaven) if God did not sacrifice His only child, His only son, so that, if we believe in Him, we can have our (many) sins forgiven. He not only sacrificed His only son, but Jesus submitted Himself to a torturous death, both for no other reason than God and Jesus love us that much.  God and Jesus showed their unconditional love for us by Christ's passion and death. We didn't deserve it, we certainly never earned it, but they gave it to us, anyway.  And they forgive us, when we ask, whenever we fall short of loving Them they way we should, and act in ways contrary to that love.

Think of this: If a loved one pushed you out of the way of an oncoming train, and they died as a result, instead of you, how much gratitude would you feel for that person? How much more love would you feel for that person than you did even before? Well, Jesus Christ pushed you out of way of the train of sin and eternal damnation and died in your place. Why is it so hard to feel the same appreciation for what He did than we would show had it been someone else?

Everything you do should put a smile on their divine faces, for no other reason than the fact that you truly love them, for that is the true meaning of life.  That is the Greatest Commandment.

God bless you all, and thank you, Lord. I do indeed love You. Forgive me when I don't show it with my actions.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One of the top sources of confusion in scripture


I can easily start this off by pointing out what I feel to be one of the biggest sources of misunderstanding in the Bible: The word "fear" as in "fear of the Lord."

For whatever reason, even modern translations of the Bible keep the word "fear" in it, and as a result, many people are wrongly taught, or wrongfully believe, that they are supposed to be scared of the Lord. Needless to say, many people do not understand that in the context of a loving God, and it can cause people's faith to waver, or even worse, for them to leave the faith altogether. (There is good reason to fear the wages of sin, as that is spiritual death, i.e. hell. But that is not what is meant in most of the scriptural uses of the word "fear.")

An ancient (and no longer used) definition of the word fear is "revere." In Biblical times, if you feared something or someone, you revered them, or showed reverence for them.  So when the Old and New Testaments were written, that is the definition known and used by the human authors of scripture.

Now, using the word "fear" in that context, doesn't that make far more sense than using the modern definition of the word?

We are not to be scared of God or Jesus, we are to revere them and show reverence and respect for them. The totality of scripture teaches us that that is what is expected of us, and so the "fear of the Lord" is consistent with that teaching.

It is my wish and strongly held belief that all 21st century Bibles should change the word "fear" to "revere" to reflect the ancient meaning of the word, and to make those parts of Scripture more clear to those studying it.

There is no benefit to using a word's archaic definition and, in fact, it is rather harmful and can lead to incorrect teaching and beliefs. Until this happens, our church leaders and biblical teachers must make it a point to teach the historic context of this word so that it is more clear to their members and students.

Come Holy Spirit.....

Welcome to my new blog!


Welcome to my new Blog, called Scripture Demystified! Hopefully, in the coming days, weeks, etc. I will be discussing may aspects of the teachings in the bible that I feel tend to be misunderstood or can be confusing, and, as the Holy Spirit leads, perhaps provide some food for thought on those verses. For any verses that perplex us all, maybe together we can discern the meaning behind them together.

Although I am a student of the bible and even biblical archaeology and mysticism, I am not a theologian. I rely solely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which we all should when reading scripture. This ensures that glory never goes to me, but to God, where it solely belongs. :-)

I'll also throw in other random meditations, as I feel led to do, as well as prayers of the Church and other items of interest.

Join me, now, as we put on the armor of God and march forth into a world that's full of darkness, carrying the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, as a beacon of hope to us all, with our light shining brightly before men.

Come holy spirit......