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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, Nov 19 2020 02:00AM

The Pharisees have again attempted to discredit Jesus to the people by bringing up his questionable birth. saying, "God is our father."


Jesus doesn't give their insinuation any attention. "If God were your father you would love me because I came from Him. You act like your father, the devil--a liar and a murderer--and father to them. If I said I didn't know God, I would be a liar like you."

They won't admit they are wrong. For nearly three years they've been looking to destroy him because he didn't come in power and glory as they thought Messiah should. They don't love the truth, won't even investigate it, but close their minds to it, close their ears to Ruach's voice. Jesus says this proves they have no connection with God.


"You can't hear me because you don't know God. Abraham asked to see my day; he saw it, and was glad." (Abraham was the only man God asked to give his son as Abba was going to. He saw and completely understood God's suffering in giving us Adonai.)


"What! You aren't 50 years old, and you've seen Abraham?" they scoff.


"Seriously, before Abraham was, I AM."


Gasps escape many, then shocked silence. He used the name given Moses to identify himself as the Self-existent One! This poor, unassuming Galilean rabbi has just announced himself to be the Eternal Presence!


Now many of the people side with the rabbis, and being led by them, pick up stones to stone Him.


But Jesus, hidden from their sight, passes on.


John 8:36-59

By Arla, Oct 21 2020 01:00AM

Jesus and company cross the lake to Magdala. Back in Galilee, where his greatest miracles were done, he is met by a deputation of Pharisees and Sadducees who have joined forces against him.


Typically, these groups hate each other: the Pharisees foster hatred for Romans; the wealthy Sadducees "kiss-up" to their Roman rulers. But as often happens, a common enemy unifies them.


"Master," one speaks for them, "show us a sign in the heavens."


The disciples are excited. Maybe this will convince them. But Jesus reads them, and knows that no sign will make any difference to their scripture-filled minds. Their hearts need makeovers.


So he answers, "If the sky is red at evening you say, 'Tomorrow will be fair weather.' If it's red in the morning, you say, 'Bad weather today'. You pretenders! You can read the weather. Why can't you read the signs of your times? No sign will be given this perverse generation but the sign of Jonah."


There is only one more sign for them--crucifixion and resurrection. An Assyrian king and people, known for their violence, repented for Jonah who had spent parts of three days inside a whale to bring them God's message. Jesus is on a parallel mission.


At that, Jesus, and his, get back in the boat and leave for the north shore. The disciples are silent--disappointed. Finally Jesus says, "Beware of Pharisee yeast." (Yeast symbolized sin and evil.)


The disciples worry--they think he's upset they didn't bring bread.


"Really?" says Jesus, "You don't know yet that I can provide bread? I'm talking about their arrogant attitudes. Their closed minds. Their influence."


Matthew 15:39-16:12 Mark 8:10-21



By Arla, Jan 21 2020 02:00AM

When King Solomon's temple was being built, the stones were prepared for building at the quarry. No tools were to be heard on site. The stones were brought and fit seamlessly together in their places.


One unusually large stone was brought to the site that didn't seem to fit anywhere. It became annoying to the builders. It seemed always in the way, and they stumbled over it. It lay in the baking sun, the contracting frost, and the beating rain.


Then when the builders were looking for the stone to use as the cornerstone, to hold the weight of the entire building, they tried many stones that broke apart when they were put through various tests of atmospheric pressure and weight.


Finally someone noticed the huge rejected stone that had been laying around so long. The builders put it through one last test--severe pressure. It passed, was put in, and found to fit perfectly!


This story had become part of Jewish tradition, a prophecy of Messiah; and now Jesus refers to it, applying it to himself. He didn't fit their concept, wasn't what they wanted in a Messiah, and yet his suffering passed the test of extreme pressure, enough to redeem Adam's guilt and that of the whole broken world--conquering evil and the whole dark side.


Jesus is the Cornerstone for those wanting new life. Anyone who builds a future on him will never be disappointed. Just think of that! Never disappointed!


Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10-11, Luke 25:17-18, Psalm 118:22-23, Isaiah 28:16, 1Peter 2:6-7


By Arla, Jan 19 2020 02:00PM

Jesus has the Pharisees' attention, They're angry. But knowing his death is a few days away, he speaks boldly, trying with everything he has to open the eyes and hearts of the leaders of his nation. This is for them.


A few Pharisees were baptized by John, but for the most part, the leaders rejected that he had come from God.* (However, the tax collectors and prostitutes responded and received John's baptism.)


"Listen to another parable," says Jesus, "A vineyard owner sends servants to collect his share of the harvest. But the tenants beat and kill messenger after messenger. The owner can't imagine that they would harm his son, so finally, sure they will reverence him, he sends him. Somehow the tenants reason that if they kill the heir, they will get the vineyard, so they kill him too."


Then Jesus asks, "What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do when he comes?"


Jesus is addressing everyone, but the Pharisees, drawn-in, answer, "He will destroy those terrible men and rent out his vineyard to responsible tenants!" They don't realize until too late that he is talking about them, and they have just condemned themselves. Unwittingly, hearts crack open.


Now with tenderness Jesus faces them, "Haven't you read, 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?' I know you have."**


He is referring to a metaphor of Messiah that they know well; the cornerstone prophecy in Psalms and Isaiah that became an actual occurrence in the history of building Solomon's temple. Any honest heart had to get it.


Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19 *Luke 7:30 **Psalm 118:22-23, Isaiah 28:16



By Arla, Jan 17 2020 02:00AM

Tuesday morning, after spending the night on Olivet again, Jesus and the disciples walk to the temple passing through the orchard and see the withered fig tree. Amazed, they comment, and Jesus gets to explain his "strange act." Giving up on the Jews, accepting their rejection, is extremely hard for him whose nature is to bless and heal.*


In refusing to give, they have become incapable of giving--or truly receiving. Pretentious self-focus is destroying them--creating closed systems.**


The Sanhedrin plots to draw Jesus into declaring oneness with God. By their law this is blasphemy and carries a death sentence.


They find him teaching in the temple and ask, "What gives you the right to act as you do?"


Jesus, knowing their intent, asks them a question, "Did John's authority to baptize come from God or men?"


After talking among themselves, they know they would condemn themselves with either answer, so they opt for, "We don't know."


"Then I won't tell you about my authority either." Jesus doesn't take their bait. He knows they want to get him for claiming oneness with God. So he asks them why they hadn't accepted John, and follows with a question on obedience.


"A man had two sons and he told both of them to go work in the field. The first said 'No,' but changed his mind and went. The second said, 'I will, sir' but didn't go. Which one honored his father?"


"The first," they answer quickly.


Jesus shocks them, "Your righteous pretense is like the second son's. The tax collectors and prostitutes are recognizing and entering God's kingdom ahead of you."


Matthew 21:23-32, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8 *Isaiah 28:21, Micah 7:18, Ezekiel 33:11 **Hosea 13:5,6,9, Jeremiah 6:27-30



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

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