Monday, April 29, 2013

Oh, those questions of Jesus...

Isn't it wonderful to travel through the gospel of Luke? I love it. Of course there is much more to read and learn than I am posting on this weblog... but I just enjoy zooming in on those small sentences and scenes that can raise big thoughts.

It happened more than once that the theologians in Jesus' time tried to trick or test Him. We can read this for example in the text preceding the parable of the Good Samaritan. One of the teachers of the Law approaches Jesus with a question about eternal life. Jesus answers his question, according to Jewish custom, with another question. Two questions really. Read along in Luke 10:25-26, On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” Those two questions should penetrate the heart of every believer.

WHAT is written in the Law? Do we know what is written in the Law, in the Old Testament? Do we still read the Law and do we learn from it?
HOW do you read it? Let's say you do read in the Old Testament, and you do know what the Law says (most people who have gone to church most of their lives have a good knowledge of the scriptures), then there is still the question: how do you read it?

Do we read with pre-conceived ideas? Are we skeptical, critical or are we reading without really thinking? Do we accept everything the preacher says from the pulpit, without re-reading it? Do we read with our heart or with our brains, or both? Do we read with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us and who inspired the writers of the Bible? How do you read it? Jesus'question is still ringing in our ears today.

It is written about the disciples: Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures (Lucas 24:45). That is still possible today, for you too if you desire so!

TIP: Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you when reading the Bible, so you can see the things through His eyes.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Great, greater, greatest...

Our friend Brian in the food bank in Israel
We continue our journey through the Gospel of Luke. I hope you are as curious as I am about the lessons we can learn. This time I want to stop at a familiar passage in chapter 9: the feeding of the five thousand.

When I was reading that story again, I noticed that Jesus offers His disciples a great opportunity to do something special. The disciples were worried about the large crowd of people that surrounded the Messiah. In the meantime Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom and He healed people with all kind of diseases. When evening came the disciples came to Him with their worried thinking and asked Him to send the people home. And you know what Jesus' reaction was? You give them something to eat! In other words, why ask Me to do something about it, this is your chance, test your faith, put it into practice. Do something!

Luke 9:12-13, Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” He replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” Their response to Jesus' command was a clear sign of unbelief and doubt: We have limited resources Lord. You don't seriously mean that you want us to solve this problem?

Do we recognize this response? Jesus wants us to do great things, and often all we can see is obstacles and limitations. Jesus sees opportunities; we see limitations and have excuses. In the Old Testament we can find a similar story in 2 Kings 4:42-44. The man of God (Elisha) orders his servants to feed 100 people with 20 loaves of bread. They had their doubts, they found it hard to believe in the impossible: How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked. But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

In the Old Testament we see this great miracle performed by men, in response to God's word. In the New Testament we see an even greater miracle performed by Jesus. And what about us? What does Jesus say to the people who believe in Him? Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).

What is your excuse?

PS 1: Talking about feeding the multitudes, take a peek at Brian's blog

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Moses Conspiracy blog tour

Most bloggers are writers, or... should I say: most writers are blogggers? Whatever the case, blogging is a great way to improve our writing and to be part of an online community. A community where we inspire, encourage and help one another in our writing efforts.

Today the spotlight is on fellow blogger and author Susan Reinhardt. We've been keeping an eye on each other's blogs for I don't know how long. I love Susan's Friday Roundup's and I am thrilled to hear that she has published her first novel: The Moses Conspiracy. This debut novel is now available as e-book on Amazon and I highly recommend it. When Susan sent me a copy of her thriller I started reading immediately and I must say I was pleasantly surprised! Her writing is vivid and full of suspense. It's hard to put the book down once you've started.

Her writing journey is an inspiration for every wanna-be-author. Susan shared about her writing process on Cecelia Lester's blog: "The first draft took 4 months, but then I had to learn how to write fiction. I cut my writing teeth on this book. There were multiple re-writes while I shopped it around. It took 8 years to write, get a contract, and an agent. The journey was far from easy. From 2006-2007, I wrote very little due to my husband's battle with leukemia, death, and subsequent challenges. When I came through the grief process, I knew I had to finish the book both in his memory and because I felt the Lord had directed me to write it."

Here's a quick blurb:
A trip to post-terrorized Washington, D.C. in 2025 and a buggy accident in  Bird-in-Hand, PA set in motion events that expose a diabolical plan to destroy the Christian community. Ellie and John  Zimmerman find themselves embroiled in a life-threatening investigation, fighting a shadowy enemy.

Convinced it's now safe to visit D.C., Ellie and her firstborn, 8-year-old Peter, travel to the nation's capital. Both mother and child make an effort to enjoy the sights, but they're unprepared for the challenges they face. Her nightmares come true when she and Peter are separated.

You can find Susan here:
Interview I did with her back in 2011!