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author on April 14th, 2010

In the Family Circus comic strip, every now and then an invisible character makes his appearance. “Not me” is his name and when mom and dad come upon a broken lamp or some other little incident, the little gremlin “Not me” can be seen fleeing the scene, on to more mischief as the children proclaim their innocence one by one. Read more »

author on April 7th, 2010

In my October 28th, 2009 post “When All Else Fails, Read the Instructions“, Jesus gave some mysterious instructions to His disciples. Their complete obedience resulted in the fulfillment of a prophesy over 500 years old, proclaimed by Zechariah (Zech. 9:9Zech. 9:9
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9 Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king comes to you! He is righteous, and having salvation; Lowly, and riding on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

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author on March 31st, 2010

Last week we discussed the “beautiful thing” a woman did by anointing Jesus with perfume worth a year’s wages. The Gospel of John reveals that it was Judas Iscariot who voiced objection to her act of love (John 12:4John 12:4
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4 Then Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said,

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). In fact, the beautiful thing this woman did – and Jesus’ defense (Mark 14:6Mark 14:6
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6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me.

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) – was likely the catalyst that drove Judas to the Chief Priests to betray Jesus (Mark 14:10Mark 14:10
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10 Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went away to the chief priests, that he might deliver him to them.

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author on March 24th, 2010

“Leave her alone”, was Jesus’ strong response (Mark 14:6Mark 14:6
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6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me.

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) to critics who rebuked a woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. A brief lesson in God’s economics: doing “a beautiful thing” (Mark 14:6Mark 14:6
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6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me.

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), and “doing what you can” (Mark 14:8Mark 14:8
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8 She has done what she could. She has anointed my body beforehand for the burying.

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) to honor Jesus is more important than any amount of money. All through history, this woman’s beautiful act has been remembered, and will continue to be told (Mark 14:9Mark 14:9
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9 Most assuredly I tell you, wherever this Gospel may be preached throughout the whole world, that which this woman has done will also be spoken of for a memorial of her.”

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author on March 17th, 2010

The Chief Priests and teachers of the law of Jesus’ day thought they had a pretty good thing going: they represented their people, the Jews, before their Roman rulers, which brought with it many privileges and status. They also were the religious authorities over the Synagogue, having authority to carry out punishments – though not capital punishment – upon their people for violating any of several hundred religious traditions which they had established over the centuries. Read more »

author on March 10th, 2010

Jesus gives us one final example as He concludes His response to the question the disciples asked Him in Mark 13:4Mark 13:4
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4 “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are all about to be fulfilled?”

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. We’ve taken six weeks now to study His response and apply it to our lives. Read more »

author on March 3rd, 2010

Over the past several weeks now, we’ve read Jesus’ response  (Mark 13:5-27Mark 13:5-27
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5 Jesus, answering, began to tell them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. 6 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he! Literally, “I AM!”’ and will lead many astray. 7 “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be troubled. For those must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines and troubles. These things are the beginning of birth pains. 9 But watch yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will stand before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them. 10 The Gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 When they lead you away and deliver you up, don’t be anxious beforehand, or premeditate what you will say, but say whatever will be given you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 13 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake, but he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. 14 But when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not , then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, 15 and let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter in, to take anything out of his house. 16 Let him who is in the field not return back to take his cloak. 17 But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babies in those days! 18 Pray that your flight won’t be in the winter. 19 For in those days there will be oppression, such as there has not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be. 20 Unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved; but for the sake of the chosen ones, whom he picked out, he shortened the days. 21 Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there!’ don’t believe it. 22 For there will arise false christs and false prophets, and will show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones. 23 But you watch. “Behold, I have told you all things beforehand. 24 But in those days, after that oppression, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, 25 the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out his angels, and will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the sky.

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) to the disciple’s question in Mark 13:3-4Mark 13:3-4
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3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are all about to be fulfilled?”

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. It has been both frightening and yet encouraging, because in the end Jesus returns and His angels will gather us together to be with Him (Mark 13:27Mark 13:27
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27 Then he will send out his angels, and will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the sky.

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author on February 24th, 2010

“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” (Mark 13:26Mark 13:26
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26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

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After a frightening and terror-filled description of the signs that the disciples were to watch for, Jesus gives us hope.

“And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13:27Mark 13:27
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27 Then he will send out his angels, and will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the sky.

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author on February 17th, 2010

The news just seems to get worse. Two weeks ago we began describing the great deception and chaos as signaling the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophesies. Last week Jesus continued, this time promising His Holy Spirit and salvation for those who endure. Today, Jesus speaks of the appearance of the “abomination that causes desolation” (Mark 13:14Mark 13:14
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14 But when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not , then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains,

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; see also Dan. 9:27, 11:31Dan. 9:27, 11:31
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27 He shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate; and even to the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out on the desolate. 11 Yes, all Israel have transgressed your law, even turning aside, that they should not obey your voice: therefore has the curse been poured out on us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God; for we have sinned against him.

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and 12:11). Read more »

author on February 10th, 2010

Last week Jesus began His response to the disciples’ sincere questions, “When will these things happen?” and “What will be the sign that they are about to be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:4Mark 13:4
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4 “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are all about to be fulfilled?”

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If it wasn’t bad enough that there would be great deception and chaos, Jesus continued with more frightening revelations. But this time, they come with promises. Read more »