Do the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke contain errors in the genealogy of Jesus?
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Have you heard of the false teacher named Bert Ehrman? Honestly, he is new to me; and so far, I really have nothing pleasant to say about him. I’ve just begun delving into his heresies.
One of the first disturbing things you’d discover, is that although he appears to be a Christian, he is not.
Here is a beginning portion of “About Bart” on his website…
“is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.
A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Bart received both his Masters of Divinity and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where his 1985 doctoral dissertation was awarded magna cum laude. Since then he has published extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity, having written or edited twenty-six books, numerous scholarly articles, and dozens of book reviews.
If you were to visit his page, the boasts go on of his experience and authority of scrutinizing scripture.
False teacher is much more accurate, and said in a lot less words.
He claims to have been a born-again Christian prior. Here is part of his story from his book “God’s Problem”…
For most of my life I was a devout and committed Christian.... Early in my high school days I started attending a Youth for Christ club and had a “born-again” experience.... When I became born again it was like ratcheting my religion up a notch. I became very serious about my faith and chose to go off to a fundamentalist Bible college—Moody Bible Institute in Chicago—where I began training for ministry.
I could quote entire books of the New Testament, verse by verse, from memory.... I went off to finish my college work at Wheaton. There I learned Greek.... At Princeton I did both a master of divinity degree— training to be a minister—and, eventually, a Ph.D. in New Testament studies.
I had solid Christian credentials and knew about the Christian faith from the inside out—in the years before I lost my faith.... I served as the youth pastor of an Evangelical Covenant church.... But then... I started to lose my faith. I now have lost it altogether. I no longer go to church, no longer believe, no longer consider myself a Christian.
And troubling. Sad, that he doesn’t keep his apostasy to himself. He is currently devoting his life to refuting the Deity of Christ and attacking the veracity of scripture.
His current career position is as a “James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Theological Studies at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill”.
Ehrman (err-man) has become a divisive man of error.
Do you think I’m being especially impertinent? Especially harsh? I don’t know. One thing is for sure, if you start talking disrespectfully as an authority against the LORD (the One I love), you will see a noticeable shift in my demeanor towards you.
I pray for his eyes to open and the light to shine in his darkness, because he is treading on dangerous ground.
The LORD had some choice words for those who cause children who seek Him to stumble.
Matthew 18:6- But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
And Jude, a brother of Jesus wrote, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4.
Ehrman’s current work of denial is enticing seekers to sign up for a “Special Online Christmas Course”! It’s just $19.95! What a deal! The heresy is titled, “Was Joseph the actual father of Jesus?”
Here is part of his enticement- “This is a topic I have long thought about casually but never really dug into until recently. And when I dug, I started realizing that in fact there’s a lot buried, more than I expect. There are very good reasons for thinking that a number of the earliest sources of the New Testament (Paul, Mark, the sources of Matthew and Luke), as well as the latest (John), not only did not KNOW the tradition about Jesus being born of a virgin, but actually maintain (in some places) and suggest (in others) that he was not. Whoa.”
Yea, “whoa” is right, but not in the way he implies. Woe to those who put darkness for light and light for darkness, Isaiah 5:20.
As you've probably noticed, increasingly, we live in a culture of skeptics. I'm discovering that skeptics are prone to easily turn and base their beliefs on statements of naysayers. They will quote the writings of Ehrman because they assume they are credible. But if you start poking further, their foundation starts to crumble.
And often, the Body of Christ has little depth of knowledge or understanding on how to refute the lies, even if just to overcome and answer our own questions about scripture.
Referencing Jude again, he instructs believers to earnestly contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us, the saints of the LORD, Jude 1:3. He is not calling teachers alone to earnestly contend, but the saints, i.e. all believers.
I encourage you to press in to contend! Because honestly it is fun! When you start to see the veracity of scripture, more light enters your soul! You deepen in love with Jesus! You stand in wonder at His Word! You stand strong against the lies of Satan! You hear the Spirit more easily because you've meditated and wrestled, and the Word of God is now hidden within you!
So for Advent, I’m going to share the beauty and wonder that I’ve noticed in the genealogy of Jesus! The casual observer would say it is filled with error. But to the Spirit-filled believer, upon closer examination it is accurate. It is filled with miracles, radical faith stories, radical redemption, fulfilled prophecy, hope, and more!
Here are some of the questions I’ve been looking at-
Why are there 2 separate geneaologies recorded by Matthew and Luke?
Why does Joseph have 2 different fathers in the accounts?
Where are the miracles?
What are some stories of redemption to encourage and strengthen us?
What is the message of the Spirit to us through these names?
What can we point out to others who may have questions?
Consider forwarding this email to your small group or other Christian friends who may be curious on how to resolve the different genealogies and teach it to someone else.
Go deeper! Don’t be afraid; because contrary to the skeptics, God’s Word is faithful and true!
You’ll be encouraged to address your own doubts in this Advent series!
You’ll be encouraged to learn the truth so that you can teach it to others who are influenced by lies! They have questions! Challenge yourself to EARNESTLY defend the faith!
In the process, your faith will deepen!
Your confidence will increase!
Open up the gift of scripture this season and receive the His joy!
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#Advent2023 #bartehrman #birthofJesus #bibleerrors #searchthescriptures #faithbyreasoning
The images below go with a blog sent out today. Click on each to expand and read context. There is no political statement being made. There is however, spiritual statement being made.
Note all the nations where illegal immigration is happening. I'm not aligning myself in agreement with the personal comments of people who made each post. I am however alarmed by what is happening. The church is not ready, mentally, physically, or spiritually to engage the way Christ would expect of mature believers. We're mostly not ready to lay our lives down.
The pictures are visuals for you to see what is NOT being reported in main stream media, but what people are experiencing around the world with illegal aliens flooding into Christian nations. Nations are shifting, and so have Christians, both in the wrong direction. The full blog is about observing these spiritual shifts, and tuning our ear to what the Spirit of the LORD is saying to us. While what you read below is disturbing and negative spin, if we return to the LORD, there is opportunity for great Harvest in all nations! These pictures are not being posted to stir up hate, they are being posted for each of us to assess if our spiritual apathy has set us up for what is happening? And to return to the LORD. Many will and are already rising up in anger.
Will Christians be different?
So, if you cannot look at these pictures and not feel or spew hate, you probably should not look at them, and instead take whatever is rising up in you to God. Ask Him to heal, help, and transform you.
(Hopefully you hear the tone and message changing and sense how God is shifting me. More will come in this direction as I obey. For now, spend time with Him in prayer and challenge yourself to grow! Ask for more of the Spirit! Use our podcast episodes to process with God and be filled to the measure with the fullness of God! Blessings!) If you'd like to get the content for this blog, sign up and I'll send it to you!
Sometimes it is very easy for us to look at things through human eyes and use human reasoning. Our compassion is aroused when we see things from both sides.
We see this sentiment rising up for the recent Israel/Gaza conflict. From a world view perspective, we increasingly hear a rising up of defense for the Palestinians who live in Gaza. The media is leveraging their ability to cause foment against Israel. Those with eyes to see, discern the spiritual battle to pit people against Israel. The ruler of the kingdom of the air (Ephesians 2:2) delight in causing confusion and pitting one side against the other.
We can get caught up in that. And some of us with the Spirit of Christ can reason along with the horror we see, and make conclusions that we NOT side with Israel.
And in part, as Christians, we are NOT to take a side that Israel be allowed to exact whatever they will upon Palestinians.
Right now the IDF is asking 1m Palestinians to flee from Northern Gaza. That is a lot of people that will have to suddenly leave their homes. Where will they go?
Did you know that 120K Christian Armenians began fleeing for their lives in September? Probably not. Here is a good article on what is happening to them. Note in particular how the US is redefining persecution so that it no longer comes under US policy that they must act upon. It is now getting categorized in a way that it is now classified as an issue between governments and their citizens. In other words, the US is taking a "hands off" disengaging from defending persecuted Christians.
hese are things to take note of. As my last several blogs have been sharing, the LORD is redirecting me to world events. He is redirecting my time, energy, and focus to intercession and the great Harvest of this time.
Hamas' brutal and savage attack on Israelis just a couple of days ago is a type of confirmation I see in redirecting to the spiritual warfare ramping up worldwide. (More on that will be forthcoming.)
But related to Israel, are you praying for them? Why should you?
Because God says so. Psalm 122:8-9 as example.
We are cautioned to not to argue with God on this, Romans 11. We are to understand why He calls us to pray for Israel.
It's based upon covenant love and divine destiny. Christians are to reflect that we are under His covenant love, and that we were once wild branches who have been grafted in to the cultivated olive tree, Jesus.
He is the Root who supports us. The blindness and disobedience of Israel is nothing new to God. He's completely aware of wicked leadership and an entire nation whose hearts are astray.
And in part, we're told in Romans 11 that their blindness has happened so that the fullness of the Gentiles may come in. That is you and me. That is the Palestinians. It is all nations, tribes, and tongues. Jesus died for all.
And yes, the gift of Jesus' sacrificial death includes Israel. Jesus, the Jewish Messiah still longs for His own people, who wrongly put him to a criminal's death, on a cross of curse, to turn and receive Him! He willingly died a criminal's death when He didn't have to do so. He drank the cup of God's wrath for you and me, the world, and Israel!
Israel will be grafted back in if they turn from unbelief, Romans 11:23. So pray for Israel because God tells us to! Do not assess through human reasoning.
Surrender to His command to pray for them. It brings blessing upon you, your family, and YOUR CHURCH! . If you want to be led in a prayer for Israel, and hear some brief reflections, listen to Thursday's podcast episode.
AND A PRAYER ALERT FOR THE WORLD. A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO a Hamas founder is calling for a global mobile uprise of Muslims. Pray for peace.
"Lord the nations rage. We declare the rulers plot in vain. The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against His anointed. But the one who sits enthroned in Heaven laughs. Lord, you scoff at them. Rebuke them in your anger, bring their plans to nothing. We ask for division in their camp. For confusion and for conviction of those they are calling to stand down. We ask for the fear of the LORD to rest upon Muslims and for a great awakening. We ask for the Gospel to enter. Raise up laborers to go into the harvest and share the Good News of Christ. Release the message of the Peacemaker who changes natures, restores the soul, and renews our minds with His thoughts and ways. We confess that our thoughts are not your thoughts Jesus. Our ways are not your ways Jesus. Release a word from Heaven as you release the water and snow so that it waters the ground, causing it to bud and flourish, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater. Your word shall not return to you empty. It will not return to you void. It will accomplish the purpose for which you sent it. We bless the nations with the Good News of Jesus. We agree with you Jesus for a great harvest of souls, great advancement of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth according to the will of the Father. Awaken us to the times, to discernment, to knowledge of your will through all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. We join you with the authority you've given us to demolish arguments and destroy strongholds. Through our prayer and praise, hold thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Release a new song of childlike praise through us. Childlike praise establishes a stronghold against the enemy, it silences the foe and avenger, Psalm 8:2. Teach us to war in the weapons we've been given that are mighty in God for the destruction of strongholds. We declare victory in Jesus Name! We are on the side of the Champion, our Hero, the one who has vanquished all darkness. We await the time that all of your enemies are made as a footstool underneath your feet! Amen!"
And to followers, thank you so much for continuing to the follow the ministry while in transition. It is more critical than ever to draw near to Him, Psalm 105:4.
As this blog closes, meditate upon all of Psalm 105 which contains with a history of covenant with Israel that dates all the way back to Abraham!
1 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
5 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
7 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
12 When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
13 they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
14 He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
15 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.”
16 He called down famine on the land
and destroyed all their supplies of food;
17 and he sent a man before them--
Joseph, sold as a slave.
18 They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
19 till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the Lord proved him true.
20 The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
21 He made him master of his household,
ruler over all he possessed,
22 to instruct his princes as he pleased
and teach his elders wisdom.
23 Then Israel entered Egypt;
Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
24 The Lord made his people very fruitful;
he made them too numerous for their foes,
25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
to conspire against his servants.
26 He sent Moses his servant,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27 They performed his signs among them,
his wonders in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness and made the land dark--
for had they not rebelled against his words?
29 He turned their waters into blood,
causing their fish to die.
30 Their land teemed with frogs,
which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
and gnats throughout their country.
32 He turned their rain into hail,
with lightning throughout their land;
33 he struck down their vines and fig trees
and shattered the trees of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locusts came,
grasshoppers without number;
35 they ate up every green thing in their land,
ate up the produce of their soil.
36 Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of all their manhood.
37 He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold,
and from among their tribes no one faltered.
38 Egypt was glad when they left,
because dread of Israel had fallen on them.
39 He spread out a cloud as a covering,
and a fire to give light at night.
40 They asked, and he brought them quail;
he fed them well with the bread of heaven.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed like a river in the desert.
42 For he remembered his holy promise
given to his servant Abraham.
43 He brought out his people with rejoicing,
his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
44 he gave them the lands of the nations,
and they fell heir to what others had toiled for--
45 that they might keep his precepts
and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord. Hallelujah!!!
So all week I have been down with a sinus infection after pulling up some old rug upstairs 🙁. It's a different way the LORD "makes you lie down", Psalm 23:2a. But the lying down was necessary as He began the week telling me to "slow down". You heard that if you listened to Tuesday's podcast.
In the lying down to get better, I started reflecting on healing waters that I got to soak in at the end of June. And in that, I realized I hadn't really shared the experience with you the way I wanted to yet! So today is that post, complete with 2 videos and some pictures with captions for context....
If you've been getting the email blogs for last couple of months, you know that at the end of June, I went on a road trip that was part vacation, part ministry. I've referenced it a few times in email blogs I've sent and in some podcast episodes, but haven't shared many pictures or videos of the first part which was the "restoring my soul part". I've wanted to give the LORD public thanks for it. He was so kind to refresh me with natural beauty of His making, with quiet, still waters to restore my soul! Be encouraged as you read, that it is His nature to bless and restore His servants!
First how did this "restore my soul" trip come about? It came about as I started dreaming about "what if"...
"What if" I could go on a "healing waters" type of vacation within a reasonable budget? This made me remember that I always wanted to visit a place with natural healing springs. So I got on the internet and found a place within driving distance called Warm Springs, VA. Turns out they have a natural hot springs, one with a facility that was under renovation, but was recently opened in Spring of 2023. So I booked a bed and breakfast nearby, and hoped it would be a refreshing part of my get-a-way.
God answered big time!!!
Right below this post, is a video of one of the natural hot springs that I experienced! This is a natural stone basin whose octagonal facility recently underwent a $4M renovation. This place was established way back in 1761! It was the first spa structure in America! It was not covered by a bath house until the mid-1820s, at which point it was covered by an octagonal frame building. A second structure, the Ladies’ Bath House, was built in the mid-1870s. As you will see in my video, there are changing stations, as well as pool noodles so you can float easily and relax in the mineral rich waters! It was an amazing experience and soooooo relaxing! Float times are one hour and cost just $35.
One the day I went, it was an unusually cool and rainy summer day. Normally rain ruins a vacation, but for this experience it added to the refreshing! I was glad it was not a hot, sunny day because when your body is immersed in 99 degree water for one hour, I wouldn't want to be sweltering in sweat, sun beating down on me. It was wonderful to have a cool breeze to refresh me and living water from the sky (rain drops) gently falling. There is also a generous white noise experience from the sound of the spring waters tumbling out of the basin, and into the natural creek outside. I did a women-only soak, and it was just 8 of us ladies. And while they didn't have to do so, everyone stayed silent and simply floated in the water. It was absolute bliss for this introvert!
I was able to experience a second hot spring through a tip from the bed and breakfast owner where I stayed. He told me to make sure to visit Omni Homestead to just walk the grounds to enjoy it. He said that I wouldn't be able to use the facility since I was not a guest, but he said they let people walk the grounds.
So after the warm springs experience, I realized I had enough time to visit the Omni before sunset. I walked as much of the grounds and indoor areas as was accessible to me. It was amazing! During my wanderings, I grabbed the hotel activities brochure and noted there was a guest experience of pool and sulphur spring for hotel guests.
Initially, I was bummed that it was for hotel guests only, seeing priority first given to hotel guests also getting spa services like a massage. I saw the hotel was packed, so I figured with the number of rooms and the number of spa services, there was no chance of getting in.
But then next morning I felt stirred again to say, "What if?" "What if they don't have a lot people booked because it is cool again and forecasted to rain all day? What if they let me in? What if God steps in and gets me in?"
So I prayed and told the LORD that nothing is impossible with Him and and asked Him to help me. Then I called and told them, "I'm not a guest; and I do not have any spa services booked, but I would like to use the pool and spring facilities for the day. Will you let me do that?" The guy immediately says "Yes, what is your name? I'll reserve your spot right now." I squealed with delight upon hanging up! I knew my KING was in every part of that!
It did rain gently ALL DAY. And that was fine with me. I reveled in it. I realized because of the sprinkling, it kept people away! There WERE hardly any people enjoying the facilities! I had a blast! And typically I am not one to be in water for very long! I can't remember the last time I was in a pool for more than 30 minutes. But I spent 6.5 hours in and out of all of the water experiences! I cannot explain how truly refreshing it was to my soul!
The idea of the set up was that you are to go from hot waters to cold waters. It's a therapeutic activity called "contrast bathing". Blood rushes to your skin to help you cool down in the hot water and then blood reverses course and rushes to your organs to protect them from the cold. It strengthen your immune system and helps your parasympathetic nervous system engage for deep relaxation! It was so awesome! It makes me want to go back as I review these memories within this post!
I figured out a circuit and spent most of my time outside. I went from the hot tub to the eternal springs pool (cold water) to the natural sulphur springs (99 degrees) to the natural cold spring shower, to the dry sauna, then back to the natural sulphur spring, then the cold pool, to sauna, to pool, to sulphur spring, to natural shower, to sauna, etc. Over and over and over again. 5 hours went by in a flash! Then I finished up in the women's facilities! They have a steam room with essential oils being released and little stone cubicles that you tuck yourself into and do not have to see anyone else! It feels like you are in it by yourself. Your skin sweats out toxins. After that you are encouraged to head to the cold shower experience where you push a button to release ice into a bowl to rub on your face and body, then press another button for cool air, then another button for a cool rain shower. To warm up, you lay down in heated chairs contoured to your body and rest. Those chairs were amazing! So peaceful!!!
I didn't do the sensory shower which included a thunder storm audible experience. I finished up by taking a shower, putting on a fresh comfy robe and heading up one floor to the relaxation room and brought my bible. I read and praised Him, and ate fruit and drank herb tea. I felt so pampered by the LORD. Truly it was all more than I ever expected! The LORD was so kind to me to surprise and delight and refresh my soul in this way! So thankful!
As a servant of God, this experience was rest I truly needed! He saw. He knew. He provided and encouraged me to dream a little and think "What if..."
So consider, are you pouring yourself out in service for ministry? To others? He promises to refresh the weary! Ask! Pray! Seek Him! Pursue the rest HE promises!
He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul, Psalm 23:2b-3a.
Now take time to watch the videos and scroll through the photos! All glory to God! His handiwork! His provision! His goodness!
Believe! The LORD is your Shepherd! You lack nothing!
This video shows you the Warm Springs, VA hot springs pool. You are immersed in a natural mineral rich spring that is always at 99 degrees, as it releases from the earth! This spring is magnesium rich, while the one at Omni Homestead is sulphur rich!
This is a video from the horse stables down through a road that leads to the Omni Homestead resort. The resort dates back to 1766! There are many areas within the hotel that highlight George Washington! At the time he was a Colonel, and he gave a 300-acre land grant to Captain Thomas Bullitt to reward him for his services. Bullitt brought his militia to the hot springs in what is now Bath County, Virginia. In 1766, the Homestead hotel was constructed and named for the homesteaders who camped out in the area and built the hotel. The hotel was brought into national recognition in 1818 when Thomas Jefferson spent three weeks soaking in these pools to help alleviate his rheumatism. This area became an area known for its healing waters.
These are just a few snapshots from my travels which includes 1 night in a NY state park and then the rest are from Warm Springs/Hot Springs, VA. There are captions for each for a little context! Click to see full picture! Enjoy!
Are you stuck? Below is some personal testimony of my recent frustration with being stuck, plus 4 practical ideas (with resource links) on how to get “unstuck"!
We talked about being stuck last Friday in our private Facebook group! Myself and Cheryl Wells held a LIVE broadcast and talked about some tell-tale signs of being spiritually “stuck”, i.e. not moving forward in our faith!
We each presented 3 ways we've been stuck or seen others get stuck, and then we prayed for each area for breakthrough!
Interestingly, before the broadcast, the LORD had me add 2 more words to consider in evaluating being spiritually stuck. He added the words “stagnant” and “stubborn”. 🧐 Good additions, especially when you consider each definition.
Be willing to evaluate how you may be stuck. Consider each word. Ponder what the LORD is asking His people to observe about their spiritual state.
Stuck- unable to move, or set in a particular position, place, or way of thinking
Stagnant- not flowing or moving, and smelling unpleasant
Stubborn- unreasonably or perversely unyielding; difficult to handle, manage or treat; obstinate in a persistent manner.
God does not want us to be "stuck" in these positions! He intends this input be helpful and motivate us to turn! To pursue healing and supernatural transformation!
😬 Do you see yourself in any of them?
I took them to heart because I’ve definitely been feeling restless and stuck in routine and "sameness".
What have I realized? I’ve been missing passionate pursuit! I've been wanting something fresh and new with God! Yes, I have lots of sweet fellowship time with Him, but my routine is more about peace in His presence, more so than experiencing something new and challenging. I’ve felt a type of wall in this area that is maybe hard to explain or put into words. All I know is I’ve felt "stuck", i.e. the same.
Do you feel this way in your relationship with God? Are you longing for something fresh and new?
I decided (important phrase) that I needed to do something spontaneous in fresh pursuit of God!
As example, last Thursday night, I found a healing room service (prayer service) in Buffalo that started at 7pm. I haven't been to a healing prayer service since my early 40's! I figured it was time to open myself up to it again! But it meant several hours of driving and returning home quite late with a very early morning to prepare for Friend Friday. I pushed past the INTENSE feeling to stay home, quickly grabbed my keys and headed to Buffalo.
So....... I take the 1 hour drive. I get to the church, and there are hardly any cars in the parking lot, maybe 6. The church looks locked and dark. I’m immediately disappointed. Grasping for hope I think, "Well maybe they are in there, and I just can’t tell." So I get out of my vehicle and yank at the front doors which are locked of course. Then I'm knocking, ringing the security camera, with no answer. It starts to rain, so I head back to my Jeep. After a few minutes of feeling dumbfounded as to why I drove all the way out for nothing, I decide to double check the website. I’m there on the wrong night! Their service is Sunday night! The Thursday night service is at a different church another 20 minutes into the city! Ugghhhh!
What would you do in these circumstances?
Thunder and lightning starts, and I take that as my cue to drive back home.
As I get on the toll road, my attitude is an immediate mental and spiritual test. Should I beat myself up for making this mistake and lament for on the long drive home? Should I think God was punishing me and rejecting my efforts? Should I tell myself that God must not have been in this?
I firmly decide I will not do that to myself.
Here is something along the lines of what I said, “Lord I know you see my heart and I know you see why I did this. So, it didn’t work out. Oh well. That’s a bummer. But I’m going to enjoy this time with you anyways. I’m going to take this long drive home and loudly worship, pressing in for more of you.”
And that is what I did. And it was a joy-filled drive home! I landed on a radio station that had a great playlist happening. I sang the familiar worship loudly and passionately. In the process, I realized long drives with loud worship was something I used to do quite frequently, but haven't. It's something I desperately missed, but wasn't connecting with because I've been "stubborn" in this area.
I admit to not responding to many whispers from the LORD telling me to "sing".
In the mistake, God's mercy was redirecting me to something that I love to do. Drive and worship! It made me realize I DID NOT do it on my recent ministry road trip down to Virginia, through DC, and back home! That was a long trip not to spend time in worship while driving! I spent the drive time listening to directions and keeping the rest of the time silent!
God blessed that worship filled drive home from Buffalo. As I woke the next morning, I got fresh words from the LORD. He contributed those 2 extra words of "stagnant and stubborn" to add to the broadcast. And... normally I hate going LIVE, because it is just not a natural thing for me to enjoy being on camera, but I had a great time sharing and praying with Cheryl and pouring into the group! I felt a new sense of His life flowing through me!
Then this past Sunday I went to breakfast after church with a friend. She shared she was attending a multi-day Christian worship conference happening from July 24-26. It’s called Kingdom Bound; and is hosted by Darien Lake out towards Buffalo. So late on Monday, I considered again what I should do to break out of the norm and pursue God. I decided to spend all of Tuesday in extended worship at Kingdom Bound. Another drive out towards Buffalo!
I got up at 4:45am Tuesday morning (yesterday) to do the podcast, and to get some other ministry things done for the day. Then, I headed out, getting to the event by 11am. I returned home at 11:42 pm last night! It was a worship filled day and night!
In today’s Worship Wednesday podcast, you hear some reflections of how I was invigorated in my worship experiences while there. It was holy fellowship I didn’t know I needed to get "unstuck"!
Do you get a sense of what I am sharing? Do you see I'm taking myself out of my normal routine and finding fresh ways to pursue God? To get "unstuck"?
If you are stuck, stagnant, or stubbornly resisting spiritual growth; what can you do to stretch yourself and pursue God in fresh and perhaps spontaneous ways?
I know for a fact that some of you are wanting to know what to do! You've sent me messages and made comments on the broadcast post. On Saturday. I got an email from a podcast listener who admitted being stuck and wanting prayer. Along with praying for her, I suggested a few things.
Consider some of these things and see where the adventure may begin!
I hope some of these ideas inspire you to press in for more of God! Stir up your gifts! Fan them into flame! Seek His face! He rewards those who DILIGENTLY pursue Him!
Hebrews 11:6- And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him!
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Do you have difficult relationships and often put in a position where you have to take the blame in order for there to be resolution? If so, follow along as led in this prayer time above. Ask God for help. Ask for His intervention in your thoughts and feelings.
Also, today I sent out a blog that included this video plus 2 other reflections for meditation and prayer. Are you signed up to receive the blog? If not, sign up!
If you are a Christian, there is a groan within. It will not go away. Do you know what it is, why it is there? Let’s pray about it today.
Discontentment is a problem for humanity. We always want more. Nothing truly satisfies. Maybe momentarily and for seasons we have contentment, but for the most part it doesn’t last. This is true even for Christians. But our groaning (Christians) within is different, and is set apart from the lusty groaning for worldly things. At least it should be. If not, we need to check ourself, before we wreck ourself.
For us, the groaning within is to be revelation of holy longing. We are to know that it means we long to be set free from our flesh life, and earnestly desire to be clothed eternally with our glorified state. We long to be set free from shame, from feeling exposed and vulnerable, from feeling lonely and dissatisfied. We groan and are burdened because we eagerly await the moment when our mortality will be swallowed up by life!
How does this hit you? Does that resonate within? Can you see why you groan?
You long for the flesh-based life to be destroyed. You long for the eternity God has promised. You long for the glorified state of eternal life free from sin, sickness, sorrow. The discontentment burdens and creates the groaning within. Connect with it. This will help you turn from thinking that "if my life only looked like this..." type of thoughts. Connect it is your spirit that will not be satisfied in this sin-sick world. You long for Jesus. ❤️
Direct your thoughts into the Spirit within you longing for holiness, for being set free from your flesh and being swallowed up by the life of God.
MEDITATE- How would your life look different if you redirected the groaning away from flesh and into the Spirit life God calls us to? Does it add more rushing around, or can you sense the Spirit of God calling you to slow down... and just enjoy a walk with worship music... talking to God as friend? Can you sense Him calling you away from worldly pursuits? Getting up early and journaling your reaction to a section of scripture? Would you take time to write a letter of thanks to God for your right now season? What is He teaching you? How do you need Him? Tell Him! Turn your eyes off your own pursuits... Consider things like helping a neighbor or serving in a ministry at church. Be content in the now... You have everything you need. You have Jesus.
A time is coming to be released from the groaning, the dissatisfaction. Take heart! It is coming! In the waiting, let’s stay faithful to Him. Let’s press in and ask for His life now through us! Be content and thankful!
Follow along as I pray and respond where prompted...
Lord, thank you. Thank you so much for holy counsel in your word. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 tells us why we feel so restless. You t;ell us why we struggle with discontentment. We are groaning. Yes we agree with your word! We long to be set free from the flesh.
Open yourself up now and say,
..."Yes, Lord I long to be set free from my flesh."
Lord we are burdened within, we feel the strain. Set us free from traps and lusts and acts of disobedience. Are we substituting holiness for pursuit of worldly things?
Ask the LORD.
"Reveal to me any area I am pursuing worldly things instead of saying no to temptation."
Wait. (Does anything come to mind?)
In the Name of Jesus, I bind up acts of the flesh in this one.
Agree with that.
I declare your promise, that you Lord, are faithful to provide a way out of temptation. Agree.
"Lord I agree that you are faithful to provide a way out of temptation."
Are you willing to say to Him right now...
"Jesus, in the next moment of temptation, I will cry out and ask for you to deliver me from temptation and turn away from my flesh."
LORD satisfy this one. Fill them. Direct their time and energies and life into Spirit-filled life. Grant them joy in discovering creative talents given by the Spirit, holy purpose that brings joy and peace. Quiet their flesh to wait with you, and lose time in your presence. May this one take You on walks and talk with you as best friend, lover of their soul, the One who is preparing a mansion with a room just for them. Life that is truly life awaits, a new body, eternal life away from the strain of this sin-sick world! Strengthen them to wait in the groaning, protect them as they earnestly wait for their mortality to be swallowed up by life! Thank you Jesus!
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Do you have any confusion? Are you wondering about anything? Do you need to know the truth? In this video based prayer exercise, you'll position and say "Lord, reveal truth to me. Spirit of Truth, speak to me."
You'll ask Him. "What lies do I believe Lord? Where does my mind need to be renewed? God, speak to me. Jesus, teach me the truth. Open my eyes to see truth within Your Word."
And I come into agreement that the Spirit of the Living God will speak to you, that the Spirit of Christ will teach you, bringing refreshing, new beginnings, connecting you deeper with the love of God!
✨👉🏼 Last week I sent out an email that started like this...
Resolve these 2 scriptures from the crucifixion account:
Mark 16:1- When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
Luke 23:54-56 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Which is true? Mary, Jesus' mother, and Salome bought the spices to anoint Jesus' body AFTER Sabbath or BEFORE?
Is this an error? Have you noticed this contradiction before? Before today, I had not...
🙏 ✨ The answer to the question is that the seemingly contradictory scriptures are NOT contradictory! Mark and Luke spoke of the same day!
How is this so?
Mark describes the women's activity AFTER the special "High Sabbath" mentioned by John in 19:31-
Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
The special Sabbath here is the Sabbath that occurs the day after Passover which is to be celebrated on the SAME day every year,
That day landed on a different day every year. The week Jesus was crucified, that 14th day apparently landed on a Wednesday.
Jewish days BEGAN when the sun was setting, which is very different than our Western mindset of the day beginning when the sun rises. Both times can be known as twilight, but we know from God's instructions that the Passover meal is eaten at night, and in haste, Exodus 12:10-11.
Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples, Matthew 26:18 & Mark 26:12-15-
It was the first day of the Festival of Thin Bread, and the Passover lambs were being killed. Jesus' disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal?” Jesus said to two of the disciples, “Go into the city, where you will meet a man carrying a jar of water. Follow him, and when he goes into a house, say to the owner, ‘Our teacher wants to know if you have a room where he can eat the Passover meal with his disciples.’ The owner will take you upstairs and show you a large room furnished and ready for you to use. Prepare the meal there.”
This would have been Tuesday night to us, but the beginning of Wednesday to the Jew.
That evening Jesus is arrested in the garden.
The next morning into day (Wednesday in the day), He suffers and dies upon the cross.
The following day (Thursday), is a special Sabbath for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Leviticus 23:7.
Friday would be one day after the Special Sabbath of Feast of Unleavened bread, but ALSO one day before the regular Sabbath that would begin at sunset on Friday and go until Saturday at sunset!
Mark says the women went to get spices after the Special Sabbath, whereas Luke says they go get spices before Sabbath. Both are talking about Friday!
Jesus was already crucified!
This is how we can see Jesus' words of being in the belly of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights is true! So, when the women went to His tomb very early on the first day of the week (Sunday), Jesus had already risen!
It's so important that we see that scripture is without error! It is God-breathed, 2 Timothy 3:16! What we may perceive as inconsistency or confusing is opportunity to go deeper! The Bible is an ancient Eastern culture book written by our Hebrew Messiah, so we must approach the Word in His language!
I share this for those of you that want to have assurance of the scriptures!
✨HIS WORD IS TRUE!
✨This strengthens our conviction and deepens our dependence on His promises!
✨It affects our prayer language and blesses our time with Him!
✨When we meditate on the word of God and study it, our soul prospers and is set on success, Joshua 1:8!
(Final note- Of course there are others who have known that the timing of Jesus' death was not a Friday. If you are interested in a couple of articles, here are 2 for reference...)
❤️🔥💯 We serve a LIVING God!
Luke 24: 1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Spend time with Him using the exercises in the podcast! Find the podcast here or your phone app!! Blessings in His presence!
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Prayer is Gift!
Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!