faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Welcome to the Table

“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’”

(2 Samuel 9:1, NIV)

When David had finished uniting his kingdom and defending his country, he thought again of his beloved friend, Jonathan. Longing to show kindness in his friend’s memory, he calls for a search to be done. Does Jonathan have any family that he could look after?

After interviewing a few people, David discovers that Jonathan does still have some family left, a son by the name of Mephibosheth who was crippled in a fall when he was just a small child.

So, David orders for Mephibosheth and his son to be brought to him. Typically, new kings would completely destroy the family of the previous king. 

These executions would be carried out so that no one from the family would come to assassinate the newest king. That means that when David called for Mephibosheth, the crippled man was probably anxious. 

He expected a sword to greet him. Instead, he’s given a position of favor within the kingdom. In many ways, this is a story of what happens to Christians. Jesus rescues and restores us to a right relationship with Him, allowing us to dine at the table He’s preparing in Heaven. 

God, You have invited this beggar to eat at Your table and shown me kindness I don’t deserve. Thank You for Your amazing love. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Day 9

30 days to understanding the bible day 9

Yesterday, we talked about the Judges Era–the period of time in which God’s people were governed by men (and one woman) known as judges. But, if you remember, all was not rosy. In fact, most of it was pretty stinky. The Hebrew people had it really rough, mostly because they chose to disobey God.

Here’s a look at the review of what we’ve learned so far.

kingdomreview

So, do things get better for the Israelites in their next period of history, the Kingdom Era? No, they really don’t. Check out this storyline summary.

kingdomstorylinesummary

As Anders puts it, “the Kingdom Era was a very turbulent time with many ups and downs.” When a righteous king ruled (which wasn’t very often), things went really well for the nation of Israel. When an unrighteous king ruled, things went really badly…and this eventually led to the nation being exiled.

See, the thing we need to remember is that God never wanted the Hebrew people to be ruled by a king. He wanted to be their king (and He wants to be ours too). But they saw how the other nations around them all had human kings, and they decided they needed to have one too. So, God gave into them and gave them what they wanted. We know how that turned out, right?

The first king was Saul, who seemed to start out trying to do what God wanted him to do, but he sure didn’t end that way. The next king was David who, despite his flaws, really was a man after God’s own heart (God said so), and he was a righteous king. His son Solomon started out being righteous, but, like Saul, he ended badly … and so did his kingdom. It ended in civil war.

After Solomon’s death,  Israel experienced a nasty civil war that resulted in the kingdom being divided into north (Israel – 10 tribes) and south (Judah – 2 tribes, Judah and Benjamin). I love how Anders condensed all this information in an easy-to-understand explanation. I really, really got it easily and quickly. Now I know what the Bible writers really mean when they talk about Judah. Yay!

I underlined a lot in this chapter, but I learned a lot too. Pretty cool!

Here’s a look at the end-of-chapter self test. Be sure to check out the map.

 

Tomorrow, we’ll look at what ultimately happened after Israel (and Judah) continued to disobey God. He sent judgment upon them in the form of capture and exile. So, get ready to learn more about another dark period in Israel’s history.

Yeshua Tuesday

Tuesdays with Yeshua: Jesus the Branch

I made an executive decision yesterday about this blog—Tuesdays are going to now be devoted to blog posts about Yeshua (also known by His non-Hebrew name, Jesus).

Also yesterday (about 35 days before Easter – I’m getting a late start for Lent), I decided it would be a good idea to read through the Gospels in the days leading up to the day celebrating the most important event mentioned in those books. Reading through the Bible always seems daunting to me, and I’ve started and stopped so many times I’m not sure it’s done me any good at all. But reading through four books in the Bible (all of which I’ve read before)? That seemed like a piece of cake. So much for sacrificing something for Lent, but I’m not Catholic, so I can get away with it. 😉

I did the math (no small feat for me, which you would understand if you knew me) and figured out that meant I would only have to read two chapters each day to get through all four books in time for Easter – just two chapters a day (although there will probably be some days when I have to read three). Still, totally doable, so I’m doing it.

I started off reading Matthew 1 and 2 (makes sense to read them sequentially, right?).  Matthew 1 goes through Joseph’s genealogy (which, I think, is interesting in itself, since Joseph wasn’t actually Jesus’ father), but this is a book that was written for the Jews, and the Jews apparently only count a person’s genealogy through the father, so I guess Matthew had to write his genealogy that way.

And then we read about all the traditional Christmas story stuff—Mary, Joseph, the angels, the wise men… and the power-hungry King Herod. Then something interesting happens at the end of the second chapter (at least, I thought it was interesting because it had never occurred to me before).

Matthew 2:23 (NLT): “So they went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what was spoken by the prophets concerning the Messiah: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’”

Nowhere in the Old Testament does anyone even mention Nazareth, and this exact statement: “He will be called a Nazarene” doesn’t appear anywhere in the old prophecies. So why does Matthew assert that it does? It seems that he is, in fact, referring to several different prophecies in the Book of Psalms and Isaiah, specifically. And a look at the Hebrew language can give us some decent clues as to what Matthew is referring to.

A Nazarene, of course, is someone who comes from Nazareth. The Hebrew word for Nazareth is believed to have come from the word netzer; that is, “branch” or “sprout”, as in the “branch” from the roots of the stem of Jesse (i.e., David), mentioned in Isaiah 11:1 (NASB). So Matthew is saying a lot more than just “Jesus was from Nazareth, as the foretold Messiah would be.” He’s saying Jesus IS that Messiah. He IS the branch that grew off of the stem of Jesse. It’s a clever play on words, and you should know by now that I love a good play on words. And it’s a play on words that holds an amazing truth deep within. I love that even more!
Nazareth cityscape and city emblem