Bible Journey: Unworthy

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25 Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, 26 and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter. Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, 27 Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” 28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.” 29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.                      Mark 7:25-30 NLT

 

Although the woman was a Gentile, she knew Jesus could be the answer to her problems. She took a chance and it paid off. In life, we may not qualify for some things, but with faith in God we can have all things. 

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Bible Journey: The Heart

samantha-sophia-34200One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles. So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”

Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother, and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death. ’But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you. ‘In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)

And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”  Mark 7:1-21 NLT

The above scriptures are a great example of how we can allow traditions to overshadow the true purpose of God’s desires for us. Jesus gives us great examples of this. My favorite excerpt within this scripture is the example of food vs. the heart. This excerpt helped me to understand while avoiding certain foods may have health benefits, it does not have spiritual ones. Our hearts have the power to defile us. Therefore, we should make sure our hearts are in the right place. Hint: Our heart should always be with God first.

 

Bible Journey

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1 NLTbible-1867195_1920

What we wear, no matter how appropriate, is not the only way to display ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice to God. God wants all of us, mind, body, and soul. Although visually we are covered, physically and spiritually there maybe things hindering our complete devotion to God. While it is important to carry ourselves in a respectable manner, doing things that are detrimental to our body, physically effects our ability to share our gifts and devote ourselves to things to uplift the kingdom. What better way to worship than to embody (mentally, physically, and spiritually) the lifestyle God desires.

Bible Journey

About two years ago, I decided I would choose a bible plan to read annually. I figured each year I may interpret things differently based on what was going on in my life. I begin highlighting scriptures that stood out to me, and now I am sharing these scriptures and my interpretation of them with you. I am by no means an expert in bible interpretation, blogging, or even writing. I am just simply sharing my thoughts. Below are the scriptures in the order I highlighted them. Feel free to comments your interpretations or thoughts of these scriptures.

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27 NLT

Everything is centered around our relationship with God. Just like with any relationship, we strive to the be the best person we can be. Jesus gave us the example of the best us we can be. The feeling of obligation is replaced with the feeling of necessity by the desire to strengthen your relationship with God. We want to get to know God, we want to be in his presence, we want to minister, and we want to be ministered to. Knowing this, helped me to understand the Sabbath is not a day of obligation. The Sabbath is really to meet my need. My need to worship, my need to minister, and my need to replenish spiritually. It is a day of rest and focus. A day of resting in and focusing on God.