Friday, February 24, 2017

You Might be Surprised

Matthew 9:10-13
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus loves people. It doesn't matter who they were, where they came from, or their occupation. He took the time to sit down with the folks he met, get to know them and share with them the His Story. Yes, he talked to them about salvation because he loved them. Back in his day, tax collectors we're often cheaters who stole money for themselves from the collected taxes. They were pretty much low-lifes in the eyes of the community. And you can bet, the religious leaders of the day didn't bother to even say hello. Yet Jesus sat down at the table with Matthew.

Tax collectors weren't the only ones Jesus befriended. His disciples were a bunch of regular guys who were sometimes a bit clueless and smelled like fish. But he loved them and taught them about the new kingdom, his kingdom and his sacrifice. Then there were the women. Mary Magdalene had been filled with demons. Jesus cast them out of her, and she followed him. He loved children and protected them. He loved older people, sick people, and sinners. Jesus wasn't a push-over. He was a care-taker, one who wanted the best for everyone he met. And that best is salvation. So you might be surprised who the Lord hung out with. It wasn't the kings or queens, rabbis or teachers. Oh he spoke with them, too. But he spent his precious time on earth with regular people. Like you and me. And he still wants to, through us.

He invited regular old Joes and Janes to take up the cross and follow him. He included the lame, the lepers, and the dying into his fold. He healed and loved. Knowing how Jesus cared for people, how can I do any less? It's hard for me because I'm not exactly a people person, yet God puts folks in my path and says love them. With his help I do.


How about you? Who has Jesus called you to love? Who has he asked you to share his story with?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bible Review: The Investigator's Holy Bible, NIV

Book Description:
Using a detective theme, the NIV Investigator’s Holy Bible explains Biblical text for children ages 6–10 using easy to understand, honest language. It also has many features that explain the essentials of each book and challenging concepts.

Have you ever used a magnifying glass? It makes everything bigger and easier to see, right? Detectives and scientists magnify things to understand them better. Well that’s just what this Bible does—it’s a magnifying glass to help children understand the Word of God better.

My Thoughts:
The NIV Investigator’s Holy Bible is a great Bible filled with information that helps the reader understand God's word in an easier way. The teaching tools featured include "The Evidence" an introduction given to each book, "The Breakthrough" which helps understand the meaning behind the words, "The Witnesses" that gives the meaning of names and "The Scene" which explains place. There is also "Check the Facts" and "Case Closed" that offer short quizzes and a summary. All of these handy tools help the reader to better understand the scriptures. I like this Bible and believe it would be a great tool for helping a child get into the stories of the Bible. I love that it gives the meaning of the people's names and a great explanation of the setting. My favorite tool is "The Breakthrough." These are sprinkled throughout each book and give great answers to hard questions. I recommend this Bible for children interested in learning more about God's word. I also think this concept would be great for any adult who is not familiar with the Bible and wants to begin to understand. Even as an older Christian, I want to look through each book and read the explanations. I can also see this being an integral source for family devotion time. A concordance, index, table of weights and measures, as well as maps round out the rest of the book. The format is appealing with touches of color. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Be Found Faithful!

Acts 7:55-56
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Jesus' disciple Stephen had preached without fear about his beloved Savior. He spoke with conviction and determination. The people who served in the Sanhedrin, a ruling body of the government, didn't like Stephen's message, so they stirred the crowd and had the young man stoned to death. Stephen wasn't afraid to die. He trusted God and he loved Jesus. He was called to be faithful and he was. Right up until the end.

Even in death, Stephen's faith made him a winner in life. He chose to follow the King, despite suffering. Because "a follower who suffers, doesn't lack faith." As our minister, Didi, preached those words about Stephen last Sunday, my husband passed me a note. The message he shared reflected Stephen's story. His note said, "Our life will never be lived in vain when we are a follower of Jesus. God has a plan for us & will use our life of faithfulness to touch & change the hearts of others."


That's right. No matter how much we hurt, how much difficulty life throws at us, or how much sadness a day may bring, faith will carry us through, because Jesus surrounds us, his Spirit fills us, and God sees us. "It's not about the pain-it's about seeking Jesus." (Didi Bacon) Replace fear with faith and go for the win. Stephen saw the King on his throne. He knew his destination, and his faith held fast, even as he was being destroyed. We're called to be faithful not perfect. Praise God for his glorious grace!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Children's Board Book Review: Angels in the Bible for Little Ones by Allia Zobel Nolan, Illustrated by Alida Massari

Book Description:
Angels in the Bible for Little Ones gives children a fascinating look into how powerful behind-the-scenes helpers interacted with Bible greats such as Abraham, Daniel, and Mary, acting as messengers, protectors, warriors, and more. This padded cover board book, written by bestselling author Allia Zobel Nolan and illustrated by Alisa Massari, brings eight stories from the Bible to life for little ones.


My Review:
Angels in the Bible for Little Ones is a lovely little book that introduces the Biblical concept of angels to children. I like how the author uses scriptural stories to draw word pictures of the angels who spoke to people like Abraham and the women at Jesus' tomb. She stays close to the Bible in her stories and gives the child an easy to understand message. Alida Massari's illustrations are colorful and inviting to little eyes. Even though this is a board book, it could be used in a teaching situation to tell children about God's messengers. This would be a great book to share at Easter, as well.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hope!


Artwork created with watercolor pencils and embroidery.

©PennyFrostMcGinnis