Monthly Archives: September, 2012

John Overview

(Quick note to get out-of-the-way, the writer John is NOT John the Baptist, some of you knew that and others didn’t…trust me I was one of them once)

John is the book for ALL.  It is written to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah to the Jews and the Son of God to the Gentiles.  The Key word in John is believe (used 98 times). 

The theme of John’s book is Jesus Deity or Holiness. In this book there is no genealogy because Jesus was In the Beginning with God at the Creation.  The author John is also called the “son of thunder” for his personality! He had been a follower of John the Baptist.  He will author 4 books including the Revelation and he will be the last of the 12 disciples to live.

This book is not like the other 3 Gospels.  The other 3 are called Synoptic, for their similarities.  Jesus talks to the people in Judea,  The other 3 portray Jesus in action miracles, parables, and speeches to the multitudes.  John captures Jesus in mediation and communion.

As many of you may have picked up in the OT, 7 is a very important number.  A number of completeness.  In the book of John there will be 7 Miracles, 7 “I Am’s” and 7 Witnesses called to prove that He is God.

A tip that might help you remember is J for John.  J for Judea, a nation most of Jews.  When Jesus is in Galilee put the G’s together.  G for Gentile. When He speaks there it is mostly a Gentile nation in Galilee.

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Luke Overview

When you think of the authors of the New Testament you probably think they are Gentiles (not Jews) ? Yes? No? Well I did since it is my “church” book.  Ummmm Luke was the only one.  No kidding.  He was from Syria, a very educated man and was also the author of Acts which actually gives him more written scripture than Paul in the NT.

Luke’s Gospel was written for the Greeks, and the Greeks knew that the Messiah would be the Son of Man, sooo the genealogy will prove that Jesus was a direct descendant from Adam ( you may say well we all are, my point is Jewish genealogy did not matter to the Greeks).   This book is written in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER (that is why it is the choice of translation for missions).  Luke is a physician so he writes in great detail!  Luke was a close friend and traveled with Paul, so he heard first accounts from the other disciples.

The Gospel of Luke is a wonderful book from the Lord for the professed sinner.  The story of Luke will touch anyone feeling not worthy of salvation.  It is a book based around tax collectors and sinful woman.  The pure meaning of Grace will flow from this book.

Malachi

Click here

This week I came across a Scripture in Matthew 12 that says:

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

We are either on His team or against His team.  There are no spectators.  Jacob He Loved.  Esau He hated.  Tomorrow we are going to embark on our Journey through the Gospel.  Are you of Jacob or Esau.

Chapter one reminds me of how sinful man is.  Bringing our blemished offerings before the Lord.  Our left over money, our left over time.  We put everything first.  And at the end of the week, IF we have time to read the WORD, IF we have time in the car to PRAY, IF we cover all our bills and extra spending, we GIVE.  Don’t read this text and say “I can’t believe they ignored God AGAIN.  Ahhhheeeemmmmm.

In Chapter 2 I almost fell over.  After reading about how we ignore God, we then (look at 2:13)

Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.

Let’s move on to Chapter 3.  If you are by chance JUST reading the blog and are going to jump in at the New Testament, Malachi 3 is a MUST read!

 Verse 1: “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.

Verse 6: “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.
”But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’

Chapter 4:5 ”See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

When we get to Revelation this will all make sense :)

See you tomorrow at the Incarnation!!

Get Prepared

By Sunday Night I want you to be ready to read the New Testament for the next 3 months.  Take tomorrow to prepare your heart as well as your schedule for this.  Here are some ways you can get ready: 

  • Have a Bible and a schedule ready and in a good place to do this.
  • More importantly,  have an app on your phone to read the bible (and a copy of the schedule).  You will find that waiting in the car, sitting in the Dr’s waiting room, sports practices, pick up lines,  kids running late, dance practice…. will actually be carved out times to read!   You will learn to love the times that usually annoy us as a waste to be our MOST productive this year.
  • Listen to the Bible in your car! (or getting dressed or putting on makeup or walking around the block)
  • It is ok to read ahead.  If God prompts you to keep moving…keep moving OR even better dig deeper with a Commentary.
  • Also, humble yourself to ask the obvious.  Do we think so much of ourselves that we can’t say “What is that?  Why?  Who?”  Be prepared to learn things you thought you knew.

Each day I want being in God’s Word to be a priority on our list.  Not the last thing on our list. Getting on the correlated blog is NOT a priority, it is just a means for us to communicate our questions.   Make sure that each morning you have an idea of “when” you might do your reading for that day.  Of course, my first choice for you would be in the morning we all have different schedules.  Try:

  • Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier each day and read before you even get out of bed
  • On your lunch time
  • While the kids read after school, you do your read
  • At night, if your kids read 30 minutes in bed…join them
  • Eliminate 30 minutes of TV each night and read instead.
  • If none of that works for you, delete your Facebook account, you will surly free up some time there!

Malachi Overview

Well, here we are.  The last Overview of the Old Testament.  We read approximately 2000 years of God’s history in just 9 months.  Amazing.  So on your mental timeline we are at around 400 BC. (Christ will be born in year 4 B.C.)

This is the last book of the Old Testament and it falls under the category of prophecy in your Bible.   The remnant returned to Jerusalem in about 100 years ago in 3 different journeys.  We had a time of revival under Ezra and Nehemiah but we read the end of History, they went back into the cycle of apostacy (falling away from the Lord).  The priests are lax and degenerate.  The temple is neglected, sacrifices are not a priority.

The Jews are waiting for a King to show up from the Line of David to restore the glory of Jerusalem.  Malachi assures them that the Messiah will come, but it will mean judgment for them rather than glory!  This is the book that will bridge the Old Testament and the New Testament.

What do I want from you?  I want to know what is in your head right now. SOme of you just read the Old Testament for the first time in your life! And for some this was the 20th time you have done it.  Please share with me what you learned, what your view of God is now, how different life is for you in 9 months….anything.  Please share with me.  If you can’t comment…email me at pszyman@comcast.net

 

Nehemiah 11-13, Psalm 126

Click to the right http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Neh%2011-13;%20Ps%20126&version=NIV1984

The Temple was scarcely populated so they cast lots to bring in 1/10 of the people.   Then we read in 13 some History and regulations (I loved remembering the talking donkey story from Numbers 22) and then my heart dropped as I am sure yours did when we read about the agreement they made is broken again.

Psalm 126 in NLT version says:

 When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
      it was like a dream!
 We were filled with laughter,
      and we sang for joy.
   And the other nations said,
      “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
      What joy!  Restore our fortunes, Lord,
      as streams renew the desert.
 Those who plant in tears
      will harvest with shouts of joy.
 They weep as they go to plant their seed,
      but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Intertestament Period

The Inter-testament time period is also called the “Silent” years.  These years are referred to as “silent” because God did not raise up a Prophet with a Message.   For 400 years the people heard NOTHING.  However, when you study this time period you will see that God may have been Silent but very present! 

The Babylonia’s captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in 586 BC.  God orchestrated the captivity and exporting of His people out of the Promise Land and into the hands of her enemies.  Babylon falls to Persia and Cyrus, the king of Persia, released the Jews from captivity (Ezra 1) and allowed them to return to their cities.  Under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra the Temple was rebuilt and a community was reestablished.  Here the Old Testament ends and the New Testament begins.

The time period in between can be divided into 3 sections

  • The Greek Period (327-167 B.C.)
  • The Maccabean Period “Jewish Independence” (167-63 B.C.)
  • The Roman Period (63 B.C.-135 A.D.)

Nehemiah 8-10

Oh My Word!  CHapter 8!  Goosebumps (I call them Glorybumps)

Click here http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=neh%208-10&version=NIV1984

Ezra the priest,  is standing on a platform reading the first 5 books OF THE VERY Bible in your hand and explaining it to them in a way they can understand it,  SO THAT they can follow God’s Ways!

Can you hear it…Reading Deuteronomy…just imagine:

“ Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

THEN reading from Leviticus 23 about the Feasts they were supposed to be celebrating and in Nehemiah 17 it says they had not done this since the days of Joshua!  The Feast called his people to live in booths to remember the protection during the Exodus.  (Lev 23:36-40)

Chapter 9.  WOW.  Please read this out loud.  Here is your  recap classes. 

Chapter 10.  An agreement of the People.  (How many times do you make an agreement to God?  How long does it last?)  Well the agreement was 6 things that they were told to obey in the Book of the Law and now 1000 years later they are going to recommit themselves to:

  1. The would not intermarry
  2. They will obey the Sabbath
  3. Observe the Sabbath Year (every seventh year)
  4. Pay their tithe to the Temple
  5. Supply wood for the offerings
  6. Give dues to the Temple

And the last verse was…….

Nehemiah 6-7

I can’t get the click here button to work (so sorry friends) so click below

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=neh%206-7&version=NIV1984

Did you skim?    I needed a light read like this.  But here is the deal, what is light to me (I am a Gentile) is a DEEP read for a Jew.  See genealogy matters to the Jewish Nation.  Jewish people MUST be able to prove that they are a descendant of Abraham. 

Now let me fast forward to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus himself will rebuke the idea that just because you were BORN into His people does not guarantee you a spot in the Kingdom of Heaven.  (Matthew 8:10-12)

SO the walls of Jerusalem are complete in 52 days!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME.  Only with God on your team can a miracle like this occur.

Nehemiah 1-5

The Overview for Nehemiah was posted this morning (under this blog)

Click here for 1-5

Let’ s look at the big picture here.  This is not about an ordinary man in a Bible Study on Wednesday night saying “We should do something…we should rebuild the walls of Jerusalem” and then every obstacle that comes his way finally gets him to say “Uggg I just don’t have the time for this, and it is totally eating into my budget and I think God is closing the door on the project anyway because if it were HIs will it would be so much easier”.  Let’s look at Nehemiah for a minute.

He is the cupbearer to the King! VERY COMFY POSITION.  I mean c’mon, his step-mother is Esther!  And when he gets word that after 100 years of people being released from captivity, Jerusalem is still in shambles.   Yes, there is a Temple but that is about all.  Moral is low.  The people are falling away from the Lord.  There is a  Famine in the Land!!  AND THIS BREAKS HIS HEART.  So much so,  that he does something about it (now there is a thought).  He MOURNS, FASTS, and PRAYS (chapter 1) and then GOES!! 

Ezra has already been there 14 years teaching them the Scriptures, but Nehemiah comes in as a civil governor with the authority of Artaxerxes, the Persian King.  There was so much controversy that much of the work was done at night, with one hand on material and one hand on a weapon. 

I used to have a map here of Jerusalem, I will try to find it for you later. (Pray at the pole today so I am running late)

If you do google a map look at it carefully. First, I am always amazed that the walls look like a footprint from God.  Look at a map in your Bible, so you see it?  Anyway, recent excavations have found:

  • The Broad Wall
  • The Valley Gate
  • The Pool of Siloam
  • The Water Gate

Cool huh.  Just thought you should know since one day God may take you to Israel to see all this in person.