faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Forgiving Injustice

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

(Luke 23:34, NIV)

One of the hardest parts of forgiving someone is coming to terms with the injustice of what’s happened. 

Maybe it was a car accident that took your ability to walk while the other driver wasn’t punished at all. Maybe it was the conniving woman who destroyed your marriage, and she now has a beautiful family. Maybe it was the illness that slowly stole your beloved parent from you.

Jesus knows how injustice feels. He knows the pain and agony of watching those who hurt Him. He’s cried as the paramedics cut you free from the crumpled car, sat in that waiting room with you, and watched as someone you once loved slowly disappeared before your eyes.

He knows because He’s been there. When no one stood up for Him, when He had no defender, when evil was determined to crush Him, He was alone. He felt utterly forsaken with no one to show Him any kindness.

And in that moment, His only thought was of you. He chose the pain, the shame, the abuse, the humiliation, the torture, the mocking. He endured it all so that He could welcome you into the kingdom, dear one.

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

(Isaiah 53:4-5, NIV) 

God, in the middle of injustice, remind me again that I am not alone. That Jesus paid the ultimate price so that I could know peace and comfort, no matter what my circumstances are. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for what You’ve done for me. I will love and serve You forever. In Your matchless name, 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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Show Mercy

“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”

(Matthew 18:33, NIV)

Chris was a wealthy man who owned a lot of real estate. He was a shrewd business owner, but he was also known to be a generous giver in his community.

On one cold January morning, Chris met with his financial manager. They talked for a while, then began to review his accounts. Chris quickly discovered that there was one account where he was owed a huge sum of money.

“Why haven’t you collected this amount yet?” Chris asked.

His manager pointed to a note in the file. “When I called this man, he told me his young daughter had just been diagnosed with a severe muscle disease. I know you’ve always been kind to those less fortunate, so I told him you’d review the account in a few months and you’d make a decision then.”

So, Chris had his financial manager arrange a meeting time for later that week. When Chris met the man, he brought up the account. 

The man began crying. He begged for more time. “Two weeks after my daughter’s diagnosis, I lost my job. My wife and I took our savings and used it to fund a few months of her treatment.”

Chris forgave the debt and agreed to allow the man and his family to live in the property for an additional six months rent-free. 

But a few weeks later, Chris heard the man was suing another person in small claims court over a few dollars. 

“How could you do this?” he asked his tenant. “Shouldn’t you have had mercy when you’ve been granted so much?”

God, help me when I’m tempted to deny mercy. Let me remember all of the times You’ve shown me grace and offer that same kindness to my fellow human beings. 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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: The First Martyr

Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

(Acts 7:60, NIV)

Stephen was a Christian living shortly after the ascension of Jesus. Though little is known of his life, he first appears in Acts 6. At the time, some of the widows within the church were being neglected.

The apostles recommended that seven trustworthy men be chosen to distribute goods to the widows and care for them. Stephen was one of the seven chosen, and the writer of Acts notes that he was

“a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”

(Acts 6:5, NIV)

Stephen performed several signs and wonders among the people, most likely because of his close relationship with the Lord. Although others tried to debate his theology, Stephen was known for his wisdom.

Because he carried so much wisdom, some members of the early church were unhappy with him. They put him on trial, bringing his case before the Sanhedrin (or counsel).

Stephen eloquently defended his beliefs, but he was dragged outside. As his accusers began to throw rocks at him, Stephen looked to Heaven and called out for Jesus to receive his spirit.

Then he made a humble plea:

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” 

(Acts 7:60, NIV)

At that moment, most people would be tempted to make a different request. Perhaps, “Lord, avenge me,” or “Lord, deliver me.” But Stephen, knowing the full power of God, did not ask for vengeance or deliverance.

Instead, he accepted his death, and his final thought was not of himself but of those who were hurting him. What a beautiful testimony to his faith.

Jesus, when others are hurting me, help me not to focus on how I can get even. I long for others to come to know You, no matter what the cost is to me personally. 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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Carried to Jesus

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  

(Luke 5:20, NIV)

They called themselves The Three Musketeers as kids. Liam, Noah, and Jackson were friends since elementary school. They did everything together and were constantly playing pranks on each other. 

Instead of going their separate ways after high school graduation, they decided to rent an apartment together. But shortly after turning twenty, Liam became very ill. He had no family to look after him so Noah and Jackson took turns caring for him. 

They brought him to doctor after doctor. No one could explain why Liam had suddenly lost the ability to walk. Noah and Jackson suspected he had a neurological disease but neither knew enough to help their friend.

So, when they heard about a man named Jesus that was healing people, they decided to bring their friend. “Maybe this Jesus guy can help you, buddy,” Jackson said as he carefully loaded his friend into the back of his car.

Noah grinned. “Who knows? Maybe you’ll be running a marathon by this time tomorrow.”

But when Jackson and Noah arrived, they quickly saw the crowds were thronging Jesus. “There’s no way we’ll get close enough to get his attention,” Jackson said.

“Hold on, I have a crazy idea,” Noah said. The two men gathered a tarp from the trunk, made a makeshift gurney, and then carefully moved their sleeping friend. 

They climbed to the roof of the house where Jesus was and peeled away shingles until they had a large opening. Then they lowered their friend down until he was right in front of Jesus. Jesus not only forgave their friend, but He also healed him from his disease.

Sometimes, God sends people into our lives to help us seek His forgiveness. It might be a friend that prays for you faithfully, a parent that won’t give up on you, or a sibling who always has your back.

Thank You for the friends that carried me when I’ve been hurt, God. Let me return that kindness and carry someone else to You when they need it. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Who Is This Man?

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.”

(John 8:3, NIV)

Since her father had died, caring for her sick mother and younger siblings had fallen to Adina. She couldn’t keep her grades up while working as a waitress. So, she dropped out of school and struggled to make ends meet for her family.

Then one day, an older woman ordered a latte and stayed around to chat. She was dressed in beautiful clothes and carried herself like she was wealthy. 

Then the older woman told her about a way to earn more money. “It’s like being a girlfriend for an evening,” she explained. “You just go to dinner with wealthy men, and they pay you for your company.”

Young and innocent, Adina didn’t realize the con until it was too late. Now, she was trapped in a life as a teenage prostitute. 

When a hotel room door opened and she was dragged naked into the streets, she closed her eyes. Shame burned in her, coloring her cheeks. She hadn’t meant to find this life. 

Thrown into the middle of the town square, she heard a booming voice, “The Law commands we stone her. What do you say?”

Adina opened her eyes, wondering who the judge before her was. She held her breath and waited for his response. Instead, He just wrote on the ground, seeming to ignore the whole scene.

When he was asked again, the man turned and softly said, “Let those without sin cast their stones.” 

Adina watched as the crowd around her slowly melted away. But still, she waited. Who is this man who stood up for me? she wondered.

After a moment, he spoke, “Where are your accusers? Have they condemned you?”

“No, sir.” She whispered the words.

“Then neither do I,” the man said, “Go and leave your old life behind.”

God, thank You for Your grace. You have compassion on me always. Help me to extend that same compassion to someone else. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Facing Grief

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Matthew 26:38 (NIV)

It was a mild August day when Amelia climbed into the passenger seat of her car. She and her husband were headed to the beach to celebrate her promotion. “We’d only been married five months at that point. We were newlyweds, and I was still learning so much about him.”

But Amelia and her husband never made it to the beach that day. Instead, they were hit by a drunk driver, who crossed into their lane. He hit their car, head-on. 

Amelia’s husband was killed on impact, and she was left with life-threatening injuries. She had broken her back in two places, needed stitches in her face, and had a serious concussion.

Her body began to heal, but her spirit felt broken. “Everyone told me to just forgive the other driver. I got a lot of pressure to move on from other people. One person told me if I didn’t forgive, I was worse than the drunk driver.”

Then came the day Mary showed up in Amelia’s hospital room. She was a widow from a local church who often reaches out to other widows. 

Amelia shared her story, crying through parts of it. “How am I supposed to forgive?” she whispered.

Mary squeezed the woman’s shoulder. “Right now, your only job is to grieve. You need to process what you’re feeling. All of the sadness, rage, and pain. Let it come.” 

Sometimes, it can be tempting to tell someone going through an injustice to “just forgive,” but that advice can stunt the grieving process. 

“It only compounds loss,” Mary explains. “So, now we have someone who’s grieving, and they feel this guilt and sense of isolation added with it. Many people don’t realize this, but Jesus grieved in the Garden of Gethsemane. Grieving is an important part of the healing process.”

God, help me to grieve with those who grieve. Let me be a loyal friend who welcomes the broken into Your presence. 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!

Family Fun & Fitness, Uncategorized

30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Letting Go of What Others Think

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

(Luke 1:38, NIV)

When an angel arrived to tell Mary she would become pregnant with Jesus, the Messiah, she was quick to surrender her plans for His. She called herself the “Lord’s servant” and accepted what the angel had told her.

What makes Mary’s response so fascinating is the culture she lived in. In her time, a woman becoming pregnant out of wedlock was punishable by stoning. She was literally risking death to bear Jesus. 

But we never see her express fear or doubt about the pregnancy. In order to be at peace, Mary had to let go of what other people might think and focus on her identity as God’s beloved daughter. 

The Pondering Mother

It’s easy to get caught up in what other people think about you. You overhear someone spreading lies about you, and your first instinct is to step up and defend yourself.

You want to yell, “Hey! I’m doing what God told me to do here!” 

But there’s never a record of Mary defending herself or calling attention to her situation. She simply accepted her identity and focused on God’s plan for her life. 

God, when You ask me to trade my plans for Yours, help me to remember Mary. Let me be brave and ignore what others are saying about me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Pondering Mother

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Luke 2:19 (NIV)

When the shepherds came to visit baby Jesus, they shared the story of the Star of Bethlehem and how it had led them to find the Messiah. In hushed tones, they repeated the words of the heavenly choir and shared the awe they felt in the presence of such praise.

Mary tucked away their words in her heart to ponder them. She probably thought on them during the long nights she rocked Jesus to sleep and the day His tiny tongue formed His first word. 

Little ones require around-the-clock care and need constant supervision. Even older children sometimes require a lot of attention.

In the day-to-day work of raising children, it’s hard to find time to do more. You may not be able to read lengthy devotionals or have hours to dedicate to searching the Scriptures.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be close to God. Like Mary, you can take truth with you and reflect on it as you nurture your children. It could be as simple as singing a song of praise while you’re doing laundry or whispering a prayer for your child as you unload the dishwasher. By doing these things, you can transform ordinary moments into beautiful experiences with God.

God, we want to be close to You. Like Mary, let us ponder Your words in our hearts as we care for our children. Please meet us in these ordinary moments. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

Family Fun & Fitness

Jesus Is God AND Man…and It’s All for Our Good

Jesus Is God AND Man...and It's All for Our Good

I recently posted a Medium story on forgiveness, and a Muslim woman contacted me with some questions. I answered her as thoughtfully as I could. And I thought the answers and questions might make a good blog post. Other people might benefit from reading them.

Unfortunately, the conversation soon dissolved into abuse, with her calling my beliefs absurd.

I’m not entirely surprised. I imagined something like that would happen. Generally, people who contact you with differing beliefs only want to provoke an argument. I thought I would give her the benefit of the doubt, as she seemed to have some genuine questions. It seems that my first impression was correct. She only wanted to start an argument.

It’s a shame that people can’t be more open to opposing viewpoints.

Anyway, here are her original questions and my answers.

From my reading of the Bible and my discussions with Christians, they believe Jesus is God… i wonder how can God die?

Yes, Jesus died for the sins of all the people on earth who ever lived and who ever will live.

Jesus is God. But God didn’t die. Jesus didn’t die. His physical body did, but not his soul/spirit. That never dies. And then, on the third day after his physical body died, he raised it back up again. He has the power over life and death, because he is God.


God is the Creator; He created everything, including angels. If Jesus is God, and he created everything, why shall he need one of his creatures to strengthen him? Is the creature stronger than the Creator?

Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him

No, the creature is not stronger than the Creator. But there are different levels within the creation hierarchy.

In the form of Jesus, we have what’s called in theological circles the hypostatic union; that is, Jesus is both fully God and fully man (human). So, for a time, the Creator BECAME the creation (at least in part)… for us, without losing any of His deity. He’s an all powerful God. He can do whatever he wants, however he wants to.

In that particular passage, what we’re seeing is Jesus’ human side coming out. There are other passages that show Jesus’ human limitations (John 4:6, for example). The God side shows itself in several passages as well (John 11:43 being one example of this).

In this passage, we see God the Son crying out to God the Father. As physical death approaches, his humanness comes to the forefront. And, as Hebrews 2:9 (WEB) tells us: “…We see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone.”

God had to become human so that the perfect sacrifice could be offered for the salvation of the world, and it was God in the flesh that the angels came to minister to.

And, rather than seeing this as indicating any weakness in God (the weakness is in the human nature, not the divine, anyway), I prefer to see it as a great example and a great encouragement for us as humans. Indeed, Jesus himself says that he is our example (John 13:15).

Life is full of hard choices. Sometimes we have to choose to do things we don’t want to do, especially if we choose to obey God. But God is always there to help us. He either helps us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, which we did not actually receive until after Jesus died, was resurrected, and returned to heaven to be with God. Or he helps us through the supernatural ministering work of the angels, as he did in this passage.

God had to become human so that the perfect sacrifice could be offered for the salvation of the world, and it was God in the flesh that the angels came to minister to.

The Bible is clear on who Jesus is and how he relates to God. Of course, some won’t believe. It’s not up to us to make them believe, but it is up to us to share it.

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

Book Reviews, Yeshua Tuesday

Tuesdays with Yeshua: A Beautiful Defeat by Kevin Malarkey (Book Review)

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Kevin Malarkey, in his book, A Beautiful Defeat: Find true freedom and purpose in total surrender to God, handles a tough subject: surrender. It’s not one many people (myself included) want to even think about, let alone apply to their own personal walk with God. But it’s something that God calls us to – and something we need to be doing on a daily basis, if we truly want to live lives that are totally sold out to Him. 

beautiful defeat cover

In this book, Malarkey provides 10 actionable steps anyone can take to move toward surrendering to the One who is worthy of all our devotion, love, trust, and service. I understand that this book is going to make some people uncomfortable, but that’s just what it’s meant to do. If we’re truly surrendered to God, that’s going to make us uncomfortable. I don’t have a problem with that at all.

Yeshua said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23, NASB). 

See that? We must deny ourselves. We have to, if we’re really going to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Malarkey makes this point in a number of different ways, using scripture, his own personal experiences, and the experiences of others. The writing is engaging, and the message is powerful.  

This was another instance of God putting the exact book I needed in my hands at the exact right time. No big surprise, since God’s timing is always perfect. He’s been dealing with me for a while now about faith and surrender, and this book is just one of the many tools He has used to draw me closer to Him. It’s a fabulous, life-changing book, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to go deeper with God by getting rid of the parts of themselves that don’t honor Him.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Yeshua Tuesday

Tuesdays with Yeshua: Why I Think My Pastor Is Wrong (Part 4)

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This will be the last post in this little miniseries about the genetics of Jesus, all inspired by one off-the-cuff comment my pastor made one Sunday.  I’ve found it fascinating to delve into and write about (but maybe that’s because I’m a nerd?), and I hope you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Last week, I discussed the promise God made in Genesis 3:15 when He told Eve that her seed would be the enemy of the snake’s seed and that His heel would crush the snake’s head (this, of course, being a foreshadowing of Christ).

And, the “seed,” of course, refers to the mitochondrial DNA that make it possible for human life to sustain itself. Remember that this type of DNA is only passed down through the mother, but also remember how powerful God the Creator is. It is very likely that He intervened in the conception of His Son by restoring one sperm cell’s mitochondria to the head, instead of the tail, of the sperm. This would have given Christ a double portion of life-sustaining genes—human ones from His mother and spiritual ones from His Father.

Consider the fact that, at the time of Adam’s creation, he was perfect. He walked in constant intimate fellowship with God…until that day in the garden where it all went wrong. His mitochondrial DNA, which were not passed down by any mother but were given to Adam by God Himself, were in some way directly involved in the sustaining of his spiritual relationship with his Father. When he sinned, the mitochondrial DNA shifted position, and Adam suffered that immediate spiritual death that would separate him (and his descendants) from God until such time as God sent His Perfect Son, who was in every way just like Adam had been before he disobeyed God.

Because He had the spiritual DNA of His Father, Yeshua was especially tuned in to things of a spiritual nature. Mary and Joseph were exactly the kind of parents Yeshua needed—ones who would teach Him about the scriptures and spiritual matters (both of them knew a thing or two about amazing spiritual encounters). So, Yeshua was primed to develop an intense spiritual connection with His Father and to evidence this through a life of perfect obedience to Him, even though he still had the free will to choose NOT to follow God, just as we all do (John 5:30). Just as Adam walked and talked with God in the garden before his fall, so did Yeshua. He felt the presence of the Father in a way few ever had before, which is why He was keenly aware of the moment when God’s Spirit departed from Him (Matthew 27:46).

As my five-year-old is learning now, unlike the first Adam, Yeshua did nothing wrong, but He suffered and died for the sins of all the people who came before Him and all the people who would come after, including my little girl. But then that life-giving mitochondria placed in His body by His Heavenly Father enabled Yeshua to overcome the grave. And because He did, we who believe in Him can as well.

So, to wrap this up: Yes, I think Yeshua had his mother’s human DNA inside His body, and I don’t see how that hurts His deity at all. After all, He had His Father’s holy spiritual DNA inside Him, as well. And He made the unwavering commitment to follow God all the days of His life…even into death and back to life again. He is our Perfect Sacrifice, our Perfect Savior, and our Perfect Standard.

Acknowledgment: It would be remiss of me to not cite my inspiration for many of the ideas (and even some of the structure) for the posts in this series as Craig Buemel (now deceased) of the Bible Answer Stand Ministry. This is an amazingly informative site, and I recommend that all of you check it out. You might learn something new, just as I did!

Yeshua Tuesday

Tuesdays with Yeshua: Why I Think My Pastor Is Wrong (Part 3)

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Last time, I gave you a little science lesson about DNA, genetics, and mitochondria, and I made the point that Jesus had to get the mitochondria from his mother, Mary. That’s where we all get our mitochondria, because our fathers’ fell off with the sperm tail after the head penetrated the egg wall.

This week, I want to talk a little more about another type of DNA, the alleles. The alleles are what transmit the genetically coded personal characteristic information (i.e., skin color, eye color, etc.). We inherit alleles from both our mother and our father. But let’s consider, for a moment, who Yeshua’s Father was… none other than Yahweh Himself.

God, the Father, is Spirit (John 4:24). There is no flesh and blood to be passed down from Him. Many people assume that Yeshua, being God’s Son, had divine blood in Him…but there’s no such thing. And most people believe that Yeshua had to shed divine blood in order for His sacrifice on the cross to be worth anything at all, but I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. Yeshua was a human, just like the rest of us are (See Hebrews 2:14-18)…but He was also fully God, just not in terms of His flesh and blood. He inherited God’s Spirit and His nature, and He walked in perfect obedience in everything God commanded Him to do. His obedience, not His blood, made Him the perfect sacrifice.

Let’s take a look, for a moment, at what must have happened in Yeshua’s conception, since we know He was born a human just like all of us are. God had to implant a Y chromosome inside Mary’s ovum in order for Yeshua to be male. It wasn’t the female genetic characteristics God created out of thin air… it was the male. Remember, Romans 5:12 (NIV) says, “sin entered the world through one man.” How did it enter the entire world through that one man (Adam)? The same way Eve’s mitochondria got passed down through the generations… by heredity.

You don’t have to look far to see the harmful effects of sin (See Romans 6:23). Death, sickness, dying, decay…they’re all part of the curse. So, it’s not hard to believe that Adam’s genetic structure would somehow be affected by the curse of sin. It is very possible that we inherit very real genetic defects from our fathers because of Adam. Consider, for example, that the Y chromosome is 1/3 the size of the female X chromosome. It doesn’t even have size dominance in the human genetic structure.

Remember what God told Adam in Genesis 2:17? “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it, you will surely die” (NASB). This was before Eve had even been created. God was giving this command to Adam… and He was telling him the consequences of his disobedience – what would happen to him. When Adam sinned, his physical body underwent a mutation in the male mitochondria. The mitochondria that had been, in theory, located in the head of the sperm, where they could be passed down to the next generation, were moved to the tail, where they would break off once the sperm and egg met. This made it impossible for Adam to pass on his life-giving genes. Remember, in Genesis 3:15, God tells the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed…” (NASB). Her seed (unit of reproduction capable of developing into another such creation), not his seed, because God knew that Adam’s “seed” had already died.

But when God implanted that Y chromosome inside Mary’s ovum, He bypassed the genetic flaws that every other human on earth inherits. He created, in His only begotten Son, Yeshua, the female mitochondria needed to keep His human body alive and the untainted male alleles and the life-giving spiritual seed of His Father necessary for shaping His relationship with His Heavenly Father. Without the Adamic genetic defect in His body, Yeshua was both perfectly like His human mother, Mary, and His Heavenly Father, God. In this way, he was much more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit than anyone ever was before or ever has been since.

God knew what He was doing when He sent Yeshua to live with Joseph and Mary. They were godly people, committed to raising Yeshua in a God-honoring way. Under their earthly care, He learned obedience, and He grew in wisdom and favor with both God and man. Plus, His spiritual strength (inherited directly from His Father) increased throughout His lifetime. This prepared Him to become (at the appointed time) the perfect human sacrifice for sin, and then to be raised from the dead as the Glorious Redeemer of Mankind and the only True Mediator between God and man. Hallelujah!

Next week, we’ll look more at the spiritual makeup Yeshua inherited from His Father. 🙂

Yeshua Tuesday

Tuesdays with Yeshua: Why I Think My Pastor Is Wrong, Part 2

tuesdays with yeshua jesus

So, a couple months ago (I sincerely apologize for the delay in posting this Part 2 – life has a habit of getting in the way of blogging…), I began with a discussion of how my pastor made the statement that Jesus didn’t have any of Mary’s blood in Him – God just miraculously created a new human who was completely unrelated (genetically) to either Joseph OR Mary. And I began discussing why I don’t agree with that line of thinking, but the discussion was running long, and I thought it would be best to end with the question: “If Mary inherited the sin nature from Adam, as we all did, why wouldn’t she pass it on to her son?” 

To understand the answer to this question it is (unfortunately for me, since I’m more a writer than a scientist) necessary to understand a little more about genes and DNA.

A gene is just one section of a long DNA molecule that carries the necessary information for the production of a protein, or for part of a protein. According to these specially coded proteins, genes influence or determine characteristics like eye color, skin color, or hair color and texture. Genes even influence some personality and behavioral traits, as well as possible physical weaknesses or defects, thus causing predispositions to certain diseases, such as diabetes, glaucoma, or heart failure. Or, in Adam’s case, sin.

To create just one human, you have to assemble at least 50,000 genes. If you unraveled the DNA from a single human eukaryotic cell, you’d have a single thread about five feet long and 50-trillionths of an inch thick. So that the DNA string won’t get all tangled up, some of its sections are wrapped around proteins, like a knitter wraps a ball of yarn around itself. These wrapped DNA units are called nucleosomes, and they coil into structures called chromosomes.

The human body has 23 pairs of chromosomes – one chromosome comes from the mother and one comes from the father. Twenty-two of these pairs (autosomes) are the same for both males and females. One pair (the sex, or X and Y, chromosomes) differs, and this is what determines a baby’s gender. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome.

There is another important distinction that needs to be made here in relation to a special form of DNA called mitochondria. The mitochondria make it possible for the body to breathe aerobically. Without mitochondria, human cells would be unable to metabolize effectively. They would, literally, burn up and destroy themselves. Mitochondria are passed ONLY through the MOTHER to the next generation.

Male mitochondria are stored in the sperm tails, while the female mitochondria are safely tucked away inside the ovum. During conception, the sperm head penetrates the egg cell wall, and the tail breaks off. When this happens, the male mitochondria dies. For this reason, the resulting baby can only inherit mitochondria from the mother. It is a well-known fact in forensic science and genealogy that the genetic pathway of DNA can only be traced through the woman – not the man.

Thus, Jesus had to possess Mary’s mitochondrial DNA, or else his human body cells would not have been able to continue to metabolize and survive. It is impossible for a human to exist without female mitochondria.

I know what you’re thinking: If God created the whole universe out of nothing (as He did), then why couldn’t He create female DNA out of thin air. The answer is, of course, that He could…but why would He? He was already using Mary’s body as a conduit through which His Holy Son would come. Why wouldn’t He use her already-present DNA too? I can’t think of any good reason why not, and there’s some biblical evidence to suggest that He actually would.

God created the man (Adam), and then He created woman (Eve) out of the side of the man, and they conceived children. The name “Eve” means “life giver.” Her seed was needed in order to pass on life, and it was from her seed that the Savior of mankind would come (See Genesis 3:15). Eve is the life giver because her female seed (ova) passed on the mitochondrial DNA cells to her future offspring during conception. This is the same “seed” that found its way, through the generations, down to Mary, and this was passed on to her son, Yeshua.

Next week (or the next time I post the Tuesdays with Yeshua feature), we’ll look at another form of DNA, the alleles…and we’ll talk a little about what Jesus inherited from His Heavenly Father.

Yeshua Tuesday

Tuesdays with Yeshua: Why I Think My Pastor Is Wrong (Part 1)

Oh no. I don’t think he’s wrong about everything. If I thought that, I probably wouldn’t be a member of that church for very long. It’s just this one particular thing he said one day not too long ago in a Sunday School class that I don’t buy: “Jesus had none of Mary’s DNA inside His body.”

DNA model, with individual molecules
The structure of human DNA, complete with strands of connected molecules

 

Here’s the pastor’s theory: If Jesus’ body had contained ANY of Mary’s DNA, then He couldn’t possibly be sinless, and we know that He was (2 Corinthians 5:21). He’s saying this because Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden (Original Sin) was passed down to all humans who came after him, since he was the father of all. So, by that line of thinking, Mary was a sinful human (and I do believe she was), so sin would be passed down into Jesus’ body through her DNA.DNA in motion

But, see, here’s the problem I have with this thought that Jesus didn’t have any of Mary’s DNA at all: Jesus was fully God and fully Man – with the capability to fall, just like any other man (if He didn’t have that capability, why did Satan bother to tempt Him in Matthew 4?).  But He was God, so He had the supernatural power and capacity to withstand every temptation, which is why He never did sin, even if He did have the sin nature (via Original Sin) in Him.

But… what if He DIDN’T have Original Sin inside Him, even though He had a human (sinful) mother and even if He DID receive her very human genes? Stick with me here. I’m going to get VERY technical and a little scientific.

There are those who believe (and I’m starting to agree with them) that Original Sin is passed down from the FATHER to the son or daughter, not the mother. Consider what Paul writes in his letter to the Romans: “Therefore, just as through one MAN sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Do you see that? One MAN – Adam. Go back to the story in Genesis 3 with me for just a moment.

There’s the tree in this garden that God told Adam not to eat from back in Genesis 2:5, before Eve was created. Then we have Eve standing beside that tree (make no mistake about it, though, Adam was right there with her, as verse 6 tells us) with the snake who twists what Eve knows to be true (apparently Adam, at some point, passed God’s warning down to her), she’s tempted, and she takes the fruit that she knows she’s not supposed to have. She commits the first sin. But Paul doesn’t say that sin entered the world through her. No, sin entered the world through Adam. So what actually happened when sin entered the world through Adam? I did a Google search and came up with a theory that made an awful lot of sense – much more sense than the notion that God just used Mary’s body as a carrier for his completely supernaturally created child, with fresh DNA that was not related at all to Mary’s.

Original sin, as conceived by Irenaeus, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin

This idea is termed Federal Headship – a man (the father) represents his descendants. Consider what the writer of Hebrews said in verses 9 and 10 of chapter 7: “In addition, we might even say that Levi’s descendants, the ones who collect the tithe, paid a tithe to Melchizedek through their ancestor Abraham. For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s loins when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him.” Levi, Abraham’s great-grandson who wasn’t even born yet, paid the tithe through Abraham because his seed (the DNA, or genetic material from which he was made up) existed inside Abraham. And Abraham was Adam’s 17thGreatGrandson; thus, it could be said that the Original Sin that marred Adam’s flesh and spirit after he disobeyed God also affected Abraham (and all the rest of us) because Abraham’s seed (DNA) was already inside Adam when he sinned.

And, consider Yeshua (Jesus). His father was not Joseph (not biologically, anyway). His biological father was God Himself, impregnating Mary through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. God was Yeshua’s Federal Head; therefore, there was no Original Sin to be passed down to the very human body of the baby Yeshua.

So, you say, “That’s all well and good, but if Mary inherited the sin nature from Adam, as we all did, then why wouldn’t she pass it on to her son?” Good question. Next week, we’ll look at the process of genetics, especially as it relates to male/female chromosomes.

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