The Parable of the Persistent Widow – Luke 18: 1-6

And today’s Biblical Word Search from the Biblical mind of my wife, Marlene,  is ‘The Parable of the Persistent Widow’ which you will find when reading Luke 18: 1-6.

To freely download this challenging word search please visit:-

http://www.christianwordsearches.net/TheParableofthePersistentWidow.html
With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Abide With Me

One of the most famous hymns in the world came out of Brixham in Devon.

In those days it was a poor obscure fishing village and the vicar was the Reverend Francis Henry Lyte (1793 – 1847).

It was a discouraging place to be a pastor, but Francis felt that God had called him to this place. Francis suffered ill health and at the age of 54 he contracted tuberculosis and his family knew he was dying.

It would have been so easy to look back on his life and feel a failure; yet Francis knew that in life it is not worldly things that matter, but how much we follow and respond to Jesus Christ.

In 1847 he went to France. The day before he left he read the Gospel of Luke about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, who met Jesus and said to him, “Abide with us for it is getting dark.”

These words struck a cord with Francis as he knew that it was getting towards evening for him in his life. He sat down and wrote the hymn as we know today as “Abide with me’; shortly after this he preached his last sermon.

A few weeks later in Nice, France, he died. Today, a hundred years later, we still sing this hymn.

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God Bless

Geoffrey

OPEN DOORS is an international ministry serving persecuted Christians and Churches throughout the World.

I have just received their November 2014 magazine and I feel drawn to quoting from the Editorial.

“Christmas is a time to celebrate, meet the family and worship the Lord. It’s a time for meals, decorations and presents.

But for some of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world, none of this is possible. I think of persecuted Christians in the Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria. What can they look forward to when there is no room for them – and no silent night?

Christmas used to be a time of big celebrations in Syria, when Christians would go out and even distribute Christian literature. But that was before the war. It won’t be like that this year. The situation is becoming worse.

It is not safe in Damascus. People don’t sleep at night. Before the war, we had the best Christmas in the world. We had freedom, but now I think no one is in the mood for singing in the streets. In most of the Christian houses there is sadness; many lost relatives”.

Syrian Christian, Hanna, says, “For sure, God is with us, all the days of this war. God hears our prayers, God is good. That doesn’t change during all the shooting and bombing. Around 25% of Syria’s Christians have left the country, but the churches are not empty.

New people are always attending church, interested in the gospel, and comforted by the message.

And the church is making room for them, doing its best to be a place of encouragement, so there will be presents for the children and something extra for those who have lost their homes.”

“Every year of this war, “says Hanna, “we said that things would change and would get better. To be honest, humanly speaking, I see no hope for 2015, but I know that God is there.

He is moving things and He holds the coming year. I trust Him.”

Hanna asks us to keep speaking up for the safety of Christians, to make room for them in our prayers.

“Pray for an end to the bloodshed, for the broken ones, for encouragement. Without prayer we would all be dead by now!”

It’s not easy for us, living in the relative security of a safe environment, to hear such words as we plan our Christmas celebrations. But that is exactly why Jesus came, ‘to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear (Luke 1:74).

Zechariah celebrated because he could see the Lord redeeming His people. He could see hope, rescue, forgiveness and mercy coming to ‘shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace‘ – which is exactly what Hanna, and all our persecuted Christian family, are praying for this Christmas.

Let’s join them – by making room for them within all our hearts.

 

 

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Soul Belongs To God

Then Jesus told them a parable:

‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “what am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.”

‘Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, and have a good time.”

‘But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?”

‘So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.’

Luke 12:16-21

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Easter Sunday

That same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which lay about 7 miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all these happenings.

As they talked and discussed it with one another, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but something held their eyes from seeing who it was.

He asked them,’ What is it you are debating as you walk?’.

They stopped, their faces full of gloom, and one, called Cleopas, answered,’ Are you the only person staying in Jerusalem not know what is happening there in the last few days?

‘ What do you mean?’ He said.

‘ All this about Jesus of Nazareth’, they replied, ‘A Prophet in powerful speech and action before God and the whole people; how our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and crucified him.

But we had been hoping that he was the man to liberate Israel.What is more, this is the third day since it happened, and now some women of our company have astounded us; they went early to the tomb but failed to find his body, and they returned with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who told him he was alive.

So some of our people went to the tomb and found things just as they said; but him they did not see.’

‘ How dull you are!’ He answered.’ How slow to believe all that the prophets said! Was the Messiah not bound to suffer thus before entering upon his glory?’

Then he began with Moses and all the prophets, and explained to them the passages which referred to himself in every part of the Scriptures.

By this time they had reached the village to which they were going, and he made as if to continue his journey, but they pressed him:
‘Stay with us, for evening draws on, and the day is almost over’.

So he went in to stay with them and when he sat down with them at table, he took bread and said the blessing; he broke the bread and offered it to them.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight.

They said to one another, ‘Did we not feel our hearts on fire as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’

Without a moments delay they set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and the rest of the company had assembled, and were saying, ‘It is true the Lord has appeared to Simon.’

Then they gave their account of their journey and told how he had been recognised by them at the breaking of the bread.

(Luke 24: 13-35)

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In a variety of ways, in different places, to different people, Jesus manifested his risen self.

One thought he was a gardener.

To others he was a travelling companion with a marvellous gift of expounding the Scriptures; and so on.

But to all of them he brought peace. They needed that above all else, the peace of forgiveness for their desertion of him, the peamicrophone offce of knowing that death had no more dominion over him and that he was there; alive, radiant.

He brought them confidence. They had been deeply shaken by men’s weakness and by their own cowardice.

Would he ever trust them again? Apparently, he asked them no questions.

He simply re-commissioned them: ‘As the Father sent me, so I send you’.

He brought them power. How could they face an unbelieving world?

‘ Receive the holy spirit. ‘

King triumphant!

Behold the man: behold your King!

 

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Holy Saturday

The women who had accompanied him from Galilee – took note of the tomb and observed how his body was laid.

Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumed, and on the Sabbath day rested in obedience to the commandment

(Luke 23:55-6)

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Next day, the morning after that Friday, the chief priests and the Pharisees came to Pilate.

‘ Your Excellency’, they said,  ‘we recall how that imposter said while he was still alive, “I am to rise after three days”.

So will you give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day? Otherwise his disciples may come, steal the body, and then tell the people that he has been raised from the dead; and the final deception will be worse than the first.’

‘ You may have your guard’, said Pilate;’ go and make it secure as best you can’.

So they went and made the grave secure; they sealed the stone and left the guard in charge.

(Matthew 27: 62-66)

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Matthew depicts men in frantic anxiety, seeking by poor human means to lock up God’s Almighty resurrection power, and eliciting from Pilate permission to make the grave secure.

Luke writes of the faithful women, perplexed and distressed no doubt, but following, taking note, observing, and preparing their last act of fragrant devotion.

That done, they rested in obedience to the commandment.

Next morning would be the time for action, and though they could not see it for the depth of their grief, the time for revelation and exultation.

Today, we look back to the glorious fact of the resurrection of the Lord; but we also wait and look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come – we look for our resurrection based on his who is the first-fruits of them that believe – wait and look in  quiet confidence.

 

Tuesday of Holy Week

Then some Sadducees came forward. They were the people who deny that there is a resurrection. Their question was this: “Master, Moses laid it down for us that if there are brothers, and one dies leaving a wife but no child, then the next should marry the widow and carry on  his brother’s family.

Now, there were seven Brothers: the first took a wife and died childless; then the second married her, then the third. In this way the seven of them died leaving no children.

Afterwards the woman also died. At the resurrection whose wife is she to be, since all seven had married her?”

Jesus said to them, “the men and women of this world marry; but those who have been judged worthy of a place in the other world and of the resurrection from the dead, do not marry, for they are not subject to death any longer. They are like angels; they are sons of God, because they share in the resurrection.

That the dead are raised to life again is shown by Moses himself in the story of the burning bush, when he calls the Lord, “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”.

God is not God of the dead but of the living; for him all are alive.”

At this some of the lawyers said, “Well spoken, master” .

For there was no further question that they ventured to put to him.

(Luke 20:27 to 40)

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Then one of the lawyers, who had been listening to these discussions and had noted how well he answered, came forward and asked him, “Which commandment is first of all?”.

Jesus answered, “The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord your God is the only Lord; love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength”.

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself”. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The lawyer said to him, “Well said, master. You’re right in saying that God is one and beside him there is no other.

And to love him with all your heart, all understanding, and all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself – that is far more than any burnt offerings or sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw how sensibly he answered, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”.

(Mark 12:28-34)

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These readings take us deep into the area of controversy that was aroused when Jesus did his teachings.

Here we can see the opposition from the chief priests, lawyers, and elders, the Pharisees and the Saducees.

Their opposition was based on much knowledge but very little wisdom.

Orthodoxy can be blind!

All the opposition was met by the piercing insight of Jesus which sees through human shortcomings and exposes us for what we truly are.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey