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Blog: God-in-a-Box—Your Inbox

 

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We hope this becomes a dependency. Strange thing for a therapist to say. But we are dependent on God for life and peace and joy. Spending time with Him every day (imagining these vignettes) will enhance your life and growth as nothing else can.

 

Misinformation about God is rampant out there today. This is good stuff--agreeing with the best interpretation you can put on Scripture.

 

  Below, Love's Playbook, Arla's new series, is the first interpretive version of the Bible -- it's God's love story like you've never read it--written to keep you reading! (Images are Amazon linked )

 

By Arla, Oct 20 2020 01:00AM

After needed rest, Jesus and the twelve leave Phoenicia and sail across the lake to Decapolis between Gergesa and Gadara, where the demoniacs had been healed, and the people were afraid of him. This time, word gets out that Jesus is back, and the people come looking for him.


Jesus heals a man who can't hear or speak. Taking him aside, Jesus touches his tongue and his ears and sighs. Longing to open all ears who won't hear him, he says, "Be opened."


He climbs up a mountain to a wide level space, and the people bring their sick. He heals them all--heathen Gentiles!


For days they come and stay, eagerly taking in his words, sleeping under the stars at night. After three days their food is gone--4,000 men plus women and children. Jesus calls his disciples saying, "I can't send them home hungry. Some are far from home."


Again he hears, "Where would we get bread...? It's impossible," from his disciples. (These are Gentile pagans! Surely God won't feed them!)


But they follow Jesus' directions to bring what they have, and find seven loaves and two fish. Again, Jesus blesses it, and the disciples distribute, and everyone eats until satisfied. Again, he has them pick up the fragments so nothing is wasted--seven baskets!


But this time, the people leave, grateful; Gentiles "glorifying the God of Israel." Jesus himself is refreshed in spirit. "Pagans" have received him with gladness and faith.


Crossing the lake, he returns to those given the most, his own people, supposedly "believers" in God--and their unbelief. As he gets close a cloud of sadness settles on him.


Matthew 15:29-38, Mark 7:31-8:9



By Arla, Oct 16 2020 01:00AM

After the confrontation in Capernaum, Jesus takes his disciples to the hills bordering Phoenicia for the rest he had hoped for on the north shore.


But more importantly, he is putting himself in the path of a Greek Canaanite woman who is seeking him for her possessed daughter--creating another picture for his disciples of God's all-inclusive love. They think he is too free in healing those outside of Israel. But he wants to teach them that God hates prejudice. His love sees all men as equals, no matter their country or social standing.


This discouraged, heart-broken mother hears of the teacher who heals everything imaginable. Hope revives and she determines to take her need to Jesus.


Recognizing him on the road, she falls down, "Lord, have mercy on me, my daughter is tormented by a devil."


Jesus pretends not to hear her, giving the typical response of the religious leaders at home, for benefit of his disciples.


She continues to ask and the disciples say, "Send her away!"


Jesus stops, addressing her, "Let the children eat their fill; it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to their dogs."


Not discouraged, she sees a compassion he cannot hide, and answers, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the master's table."


Jesus' response is full of grateful joy, as if he's been holding his breath--praying for her, hoping she wouldn't give up, "O woman, great is your faith! Your daughter is well. Go home and see!"


Matthew 15:21-28 Mark 7:24-30



By Arla, Aug 20 2020 01:00AM

Rather than show John's disciples where they are wrong, Jesus chooses illustrations from their life to correct the Pharisees' insinuations that he is incorrect and dangerous. He starts with John's metaphor of a wedding and adds two more.


"No one uses new pieces of unshrunk cloth to patch an old garment, because when it's washed the patch will shrink and the hole will be back." In other words, attempting to combine the religion of the Pharisees with John's love for God will make the gap between them more evident.


"And no one pours new wine into old wineskins--the skins will split and the wine be lost." The Pharisees couldn't take in love because their hearts were shriveled with self-importance. They didn't want God to love anyone but them.


Besides, they thought they were too righteous to need saving or instruction. The belief that God changes people by love, instilling new desires and motives, found no home inside them.


False self can destroy a desire for new truth.


A legal religion is loveless and Godless. Religious fasting or praying for the purpose of looking good is worse than none, to God. True fasting is freeing others from Satan's oppression--religious or not.*


The common people, and the unchurched were Jesus' new wineskins. They hung on his words picturing God as love.


The love of Jesus makes us new, pouring new motives into us. If we are willing to face our brokenness, dismantle false self, and be taught, we will have new life.**


Matthew 9:16-17, Mark 2:21-22, Luke 5:36-39 *Isaiah 58:4-5 **Revelation 3:17-18



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If you like this series, see Arla's new series on the Bible>

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