Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Today, we continue tracing the footsteps of Jesus, as Monday morning he returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit. (Matthew 21:18-22)Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God’s judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine, living faith is more than just outward religiosity. True faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person’s life.

When Jesus arrived at the Temple he found the courts full of corrupt sales people.

He began flipping over their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46)

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Matthew 21:12-17New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]”

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’[c]?”

And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

 Read more here- Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.

What I learned today…Jesus showed us His temper when He was frustrated with the people in the temple. I love that He did that. It helps when I feel righteous anger!
AND I need to make sure my house and temple stay holy, asking God to test MY heart in all I do.

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Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to the City

On the Sunday before his death, Jesus began his trip to Jerusalem, knowing that soon he would lay down his life for the sins of the world.

He sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. The crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]

“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

Read more here –  Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.

What I learned today…I can’t possible begin to imagine what Jesus went through riding in to the town, hearing the love…knowing what was about to happen.

Holy Week is Coming!

As we head in to Holy Week preparing for Easter. Let’s take a look at what the week looked like for Jesus each day.

Take time in your day to pause and reflect as you read. If you find yourself with a few more moments, go to your Bible and look up the “Read More” verses at the bottom of each daily blog.

This is what our week will look like –

Sunday – Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to the City

Monday – Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Tuesday – Day 3: Mount of Olives

Wednesday – Day 4: The Bible is quiet about this day…was it a day of rest and anticipation for Jesus?

Thursday – Day 5: Passover, The Last Supper…if you haven’t taken part in a Passover supper, find one in your area or Click here for directions as it is a VERY moving experience.

Friday – Day 6: Trial, Crucifixion, Death, Burial

Saturday – Day 7: A day in the tomb

Sunday – Day 8: Resurrection Sunday!!!

Moving through this exercise for this week, I pray God speaks to you through the verses. I pray He prepares your heart by helping you get one step closer to Him.

I pray that as you walk through the week, you remember Jesus Christ died and rose for YOU. That you are loved and can have hope that you will be able to thank Him when you get to heaven.

I pray that you are so firm in your faith that you reach out to invite others to go to an Easter service with you. I pray those people find a connection with Jesus and give their lives to Him.

What I learned today…we need to walk through this week every year. Slowly and intentionally.

 

Old Friends, Rock’n Roll & My Big Butt

Saturday night we were invited to a party and a friend’s house and another friend’s band was playing their yearly St. Patty’s Day gig.

I would love to say I was having a hard time deciding which one to go to, but I wasn’t. My heart wanted to attend both and have fun like the “good ‘ole days”, but my mind was saying…NOOOOOOOOO! Have you seen your butt?!?!?

I have already written about my insecurity about my size. I have started the road to becoming healthier. I have NOT gotten my self-esteem on track with the issue. Did I REALLY want to go to two different parties and have a BLAST with old friends, catching up with them and their lives, hearing about their families? Of course I did. Was I going to allow myself to be stopped by my own insecurities? Of course.

That played in to the tantrum I wrote about yesterday as well.

We went to our church service, and as I walked in, I realize how much of our lives have changed. Do I miss going crazy and partying each weekend? To be honest, yes, sometimes. Do I miss hanging out watch friends get crazy and dance around? Yes, sometimes. But I realized, we were sitting in service with our best friends. They have been a constant for the last 3 years. They know the new redeemed and transformed Julie and Chad.

I sat there asking God if I would ever feel comfortable with my size. He reminded me I am working on it and with His help all things are possible. I told Him I was sad I wasn’t able to go see old friends perform…and then an old friend walked on to the stage. At church. To sing. I almost giggled out loud as my eyes welled with tears. emily b She sang a beautiful song that went straight to my heart. Even these lyrics that were on the screen as I took the picture… It reminded me, If God is with me, who can be against me?

I don’t have to worry about my big butt. Jesus loves me right where I am. He wants me to be healthy, but I shouldn’t stop going places and doing things because of how I look. I have nothing to prove. I can enjoy life knowing that I have no one to prove myself too.

What I learned today…My God loves me, unconditionally and will be with me wherever I go. I need to kick my insecurities to the curb and keep THAT fresh in my mind. No more excuses or big “buts”.

 

 

How To Read Your Bible

Okay, now that I am back in Seminary (after a short break) I’ll have to share with you a couple of the things I am learning, on occasion.

This week I learned a FANTASTIC way to read the Bible. You see, when I read it, I usually get stuck. I’ll read a couple of verses and freak out because there is so much in them to teach me. I usually will then tell the closest person around me how excited I am about those couple of verses and then move on.

What I learned this week…is I haven’t been letting God finish His thought! I haven’t been letting Him speak to me through the WHOLE chapter.

My new way of reading through the Bible will look like this –

  1. Read the whole chapter, straight through.
  2. Read the chapter again underlining the thoughts that the Holy Spirit is leading you to pay attention to.
  3. Read through it, again, reading all that you had underlined.

So far, I haven’t tried this BRILLIANT strategy. I keep just opening the Bible and asking the Lord to show me what He’d like me to read.

BUT, I will try it tomorrow. Because it sounds like a good way to really see what God has to tell me in a complete way.

Memorization Is Miserable

I don’t know about you, but I am HORRIBLE at memorization. From songs, to movie lines, to school work, my brain shuts off the second I reallllly want to memorize something.

I remember sitting in my cousin Tracey’s car, listening to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana 100 times trying to get the words correct. She would just laugh and say, “Again?!?!”

The inability to capture information and make it stick is frustrating. I absolutely love hanging out with those of you can that remember a movie line to fit any situation or hear a couple of words and start belting out a song that used the same words. It is such a great gift to be able to do that. Share it with others! We are greatly entertained by it!

When it comes to memorizing the Bible, I have gotten really good at paraphrasing. I remember the “gist” of the verse, but not the exact words. I remember the point, but not the “address” of where it is located in the Bible. This all is fine when I first started out on my journey of faith, but at this point, I need to step up my game.

Quick example – I use the verse “Jesus wept” a lot when I am talking with others. I truly want them to see that Jesus was sad, too. It is okay to mourn the loss of a loved one. It is okay to mourn, period. Well, in using that verse, I could never answer the question, “Where is that in the Bible?”. I couldn’t for the life of me remember.

Than I heard how the enemy doesn’t want you to remember verses and/or where they fall in the Bible (we talked about it on an earlier post). Now, I am determined to know “Jesus wept” is found in John 11:35. Now, we have a verse written on my whiteboard to learn each week.

Well, it’s on my whiteboard, refridge, bathroom mirror, etc… to make SURE I memorize them.

Now YOU know, “Jesus wept” can be found where? John 11:35

And this week….

“We are not trying to please men, but GOD, who tests OUR hearts”. 1 Thess 2:4b

(I put in the caps as that is what I see when I read it, TODAY).

What I learned today…Keep studying. Don’t give the enemy a foothold. Learn as much of the Bible as I can so I can recall not only the verse, but the address and context as well.

Get EXCITED About Jesus

Okay, Easter is coming. Working at a church, we are going through the process of branding, preparing, messages, projects, ministry opportunities, etc…

That does NOT negate the excitement we feel over why we celebrate Easter. We wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for Easter.

Jesus rose from the dead after three days!!!!!

I leave myself little reminders each day that point to Jesus and all He did for ME. It is mind boggling.

As you walk into making plans for your Easter, where you will celebrate, where you will go to a church service, who is bring what food, what you’ll put in Easter baskets, if you’ll take a Spring Break, etc… Let Jesus settle in to your soul.

Remember, HE is the reason you have an opportunity to make all those plans.

He came and faced even more than you will ever face. Because He chose to. He chose to because He loves you that much.

He was ridiculed, beaten, deserted, mocked, etc…for Y O U.

Make sure you say a pray of thanks, then GET EXCITED ABOUT JESUS. So excited that people ask you about it.

Today I learned…To try and be the best reminder I can, helping people see Jesus in me and remind them what Easter is about.

READ THE STORY OF EASTER HERE!

 

Seminary Starts Back Up Today

I am one who THIRSTS for knowledge. I love learning from others, hearing opinions, reading how others have made things work, or how they haven’t. I rarely feel “filled” to the brim with all I would like to know. The only time I truly feel like my brain will explode is when I read the Bible. There is so much to learn.

Each time I read it, I learn something completely new, or it reminds me of something I have forgotten. Even if it’s a verse I have read 100 times, I’ll get something new from it and once again be in awe of how I see something new, depending on the season I’m in.

All of that being said, I am not built for being educated in a traditional way. It is very frustrating for me to have to cross t’s and dot i’s as I’m built for a fast, fluid and flexible mentality. There are a LOT of you who are built for education and that is FANTASTIC. I am just not one of them.

As I jump in to this next class on the Old Testament, I hope to be able to share with you all that God is showing me. Not because I HAVE to be in the class, but because I am choosing to.

Would LOVE your prayers!

What I learned today…it is OKAY for me to not like school. Some people aren’t built to.

Do you see the light?

My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. Acts 22:9

What a strong verse. Saul was walking with his companions, who were also non-believers in Christ. All of them saw the light and yet Saul was the only one who understood the voice of Jesus that was speaking.

Sometimes that happens in life, right? We hear God speaking clearing to us, yet those around us either can’t or won’t listen to His direction. At times it’s because they are non-believers and choose not to hear Him. Or because they refuse to listen. Or because they haven’t met Him yet.

There are many reasons we can sometimes hear God clearly and other times we feel like He has left us completely. In both He is at work. Thankfully, Saul turned to Paul, because He listened…and followed direction.

Whether we are seeing the light and listening patiently to His voice. We see someone else reflecting His light and we follow the lead He has given them. We can’t see His light and we look for it in His Word. At all times He is with us. He is shining His light so bright it would burn our faces! Whether we see it or not!

Remember God giving Moses direction through the burning bush? (Exodus 3)

Moses heard God, hid his face and said, there is NO way I could do what you are asking.

 Throughout the chapter we see God saying to Him,

I am God.

I will be with you.

I am sending you.

I who have sent you.

I AM WHO I AM

I know.

I will perform.

I will make.

Boy, Moses was stubborn! (I can relate). God was giving him pretty direct directions and Moses kept pushing back.

Do you do that? I do.

Let’s remember, that in order to shine our light…we need to be firmly planted in His Word and LISTEN to His direction, than follow it.

 Look at it this way…

He is God.

He is with you.

He is sending you.

He has sent you.

He is sovereign.

He knows.

He will perform.

He will make it possible.

May your light shine BRIGHT to all around you this week whether they be a believer or “pre-Christian” (non-believer).

What I learned today…We can only reflect His light if we are looking to Him. Stay connected through the Word.

Stuck on David: Numero Uno

I am completely stuck in 1 Samuel 17. The whole thing!!

For example, in the first 2 verses –

“Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.” (vs 1-2)

Okay, something hit me. Notice the Philistines gathered their forces for war, while Saul and the Israelites assembled.

If I was a betting person, based on these two sentences, I would’ve bet on the Philistines. However, in life I don’t. When something needs to be done, I generally look for the fastest and the strongest. The ones who can get-it-done.

What these 2 verses remind me of, is that I might be trained to jump on the train of the fastest moving, shiniest, strongest looking, etc.. thing available, and I should be praying for who GOD wants me to lean on or fight for. Not necessarily who I think should be backing. God knows the story of everyone all around us. Those teams, groups, people who might not arrive to a task theand ready. They might be the ones who show up and need time to process the situation. It might even look like there is no way they could ever succeed at the deed…but if God wants them to, they will.

Who is around you that you may be overlooking? Do you consistently go to your “go-to” people rather than giving others a chance?

I am a firm believer in try. Try and succeed, woooo whoooo! Or Try and fail…and learn.

Both are okay.

What I learned today…I need to pray for God to open my eyes more to those around me that I might be overlooking.