As I was reading Scripture this morning, I was reading in Mark chapter 1. I came across verse 9: “One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan river” (Mark 1:9, NLT). I was reading that, and I was thinking about Nazareth just a little. If you think about it, the people back then would have probably thought that their Messiah would come from Jerusalem rather than a little small village that really had no significance whatsoever. It reminds me of Jellico, here where I live. It is a small town of maybe 2,500 people if that. In the bigger cities people always say, “Nothing good ever comes out of Jellico.” That is because this little town is overrun with drugs. But I can see the people on the scene back then thinking that very same thing about Jesus and about Nazareth: “Nothing really good ever comes out of Nazareth.”
And then another thing that really smacked me across the face was Jesus being baptized. Especially in a baptism for the repentance of sins. If Jesus needs to be forgiven of sins, then we are all very much in trouble. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” Shew! Thank goodness – that was a close one! So, Jesus participated in John’s baptism not because he needed to repent of his sins, but he did it to identify with us – sinful humanity!
Wow! This is it! The time we have been waiting for is happening … Then the spirit descended on Jesus like a dove when he popped up out of that water verse 10. This verse took me all the way back to Genesis 8:10-12: “After waiting another 7 days, Noah released the dove again. This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.” God’s promise to Noah of a new world was there! And it is here in Mark that we see the Messiah coming to fulfill the promise that God made to his people!
Have you ever saw a dove? We had one hanging around the house here for a while. It was so gentle, just as Jesus the gentle servant who was coming to bring healing and restoration following a message or repentance by John. Israel was being asked to turn around. You are going the wrong way folks! Turn around from your disobedience and rebellion and start anew by turning to the Messiah – he is here!
Hope you guys have a fantastic day. I was super blessed with my Bible study and I just had to share 😊
Be Encouraged, Chris
The air was so humid she could taste the storm coming. There was an unusual darkness to the afternoon. Bizzy lay with her broad head resting on her crossed blue mottled legs. Her nostrils nuzzled the wire mesh of the framed wooden barrier that held her captive. She sucked in the auras of the unknown. Smells much more amusing out there than in here she concluded. Her childlike brown eyes clouded. Miles of dirt to turn over. Yummy tree bones. Constant treats to devour. Cats to chase. People to sniff.
The sun peaked through the wood framed storm door. It illuminated her long, athletic build and blue speckled dense coat. Bizzy took on the characteristics of her father. She had outgrown her mother by several inches. Momma strolled in the room and flopped her blackish tan thick body down next to Bizzy. She pushed her paws teasingly into Bizzy’s belly.
“Why won’t UnNi let us go out there?” Bizzy pointed her snout towards the wood framed door.
“Because love always protects” Momma replied, a meaningful look in her eyes.
Bizzy cocked her head. What’s love got to do with it? She thought. Grrr… never mind. Momma always sided with UnNi anyway. She dropped her head back down on her crossed legs.
A clap of thunder pierced through both of their eardrums. Wind unleashed seemingly out of nowhere ripping the door wide open. The doors delicate chain snapped, allowing it to crash forcefully into the house. Momma and Bizzy jumped to their paws, their eyes wide and bulging. Both barked relentlessly.
“Oh my biscuits! Where is UnNi!?” Momma panicked as the broken door thrashed wildly.
Gradually the wind weakened and tapered off. Excitement stirred in Bizzy’s stomach. She leaped through the open door eagerly browsing the outlawed expanse with her nose.
“Get your paws back in here!” Momma fretted. “It’s a ruff life out there on the streets!”
“Life here isn’t worth a snort!” Bizzy tactlessly responded. She turned her bum towards Momma. Bizzy inhaled deeply, paused, exhaled and forged ahead.
Momma tucked her tail between her legs. Her eyes fixed on Bizzy. She paced the floor anxiously panting. “She’s never been without me or UnNi.” Momma grunted.
“You have no idea what it’s like out there!” Momma yelled.
She licked her mouth nervously, glanced around uneasily searching for UnNi and swallowed hard. Reluctantly, Momma thrust herself outside the safety of UnNi and back into the streets of a world she hoped she’d never return.
Momma galloped fiercely until she caught up with her offspring. Breathlessly, she tried to convince Bizzy to turn around. They cantered along until Bizzy stopped abruptly at a schoolyard where children were playing. She clawed adamantly at the dirt under the chain-link fence.
A whistle sounded. Children scrambled. Bizzy plowed faster and harder into the dirt. Finally, able to get her body onto the schools ground, she romped her way towards the crowd. The high-pitched voices of the youngsters egged her on. She circled clock-wise around them, pushing the children forward. Lowering her head, she bumped one boy on his behind, nipped the heels of several others as she confidently paced back and forth behind them. Some children climbed the stairs of the slide to get away from her. Others hurled rocks in her direction. Children kicked dirt on her. One husky boy kicked Bizzy in her ribs. Bizzy cried out loudly. Sharp throbs of pain clenched her body. She stumbled backwards and crouched down, confused and ashamed. Momma stood at the hole urging her to come back. She ran as fast as she could and dived under the fence. In their frenzy, both mother and daughter unknowingly raced away in the opposite direction of UnNi.
The clouds darkened. The thunder rolled. A lightning bolt split the sky. Momma and Bizzy found shelter under a billowing tree.
“The world doesn’t want me, Momma!?” Bizzy questioned sheepishly.
Momma smiled graciously “There is no illusion greater than fear.” Bizzy rubbed her face with her paw. Here we go again with the riddles. She rolled her eyes.
Raindrops fell. Trees moaned and bent with the wind. Leaves cascaded around them. Bizzy’s ears stood erect. She tilted her head, wiggled her nose and sniffed deeply.
Before Momma could answer, Bizzy darted away. The wind drove the rain faster, harder and stronger. As Bizzy trudged ahead, the rainfall pricked her face like needles. She sloshed through the mud losing her balance often but remained intent on tracing that scent.
The piercing squeal of a tire, the aroma of burning rubber and several car horns rang out. Bizzy sensed something was wrong. She stopped herself. Before she could catch her breath, BAM! Something hit her. This one stung worse than the rocks. Her body flew forward, landed and tumbled before crashing into the curb. The air knocked out of her lungs. Blackness was all she could see.
Momma charged towards her. Bizzy’s eyes open but hollow. Muddy pools of water drenched them with each passing car. Momma aimlessly searched, jabbing Bizzy’s limb body with her snout. Bizzy growled threateningly, raised her upper lip and bared her teeth at Momma.
“Thank goodness, You’re alive!” Momma screeched with joy. “We have got to get you home!”
Bizzy’s leg stung horribly with each hop. Raindrops hit her like stones. The wind pushed the dogs around as if they were stuffed animals. A trail of blood followed Bizzy as she limped behind Momma. The two canines searched for shelter from the storm.
A beat up rusted old Pontiac pulled up next to them. A tall, thin man in a long black rain coat got out of the car. The man leerily approached. Momma got a good whiff. He smelled of liquor.
“I know that stench” Momma whispered. She raised her hackles and squared her back.
“A couple hundred maybe” He shouted over his shoulder towards his car.
Bizzy didn’t know that smell, but she could tell by the way Momma responded the man was dangerous. Momma’s entire body stiffened. Her tail erect and eyes wide. Momma’s ears flattened as she released a vibrating growl deep within her chest. Bizzy watched, amazed. Go Momma!
Bizzy lunged towards the man startling him. Momma sprang forward, clamping her jaws on his ankle and yanking him to the ground. The man landed in a giant mud puddle. With each attempt to stand up, he slid back down into the muck.
“Run to the park and hide!” Momma commanded.
Momma and Bizzy found refuge under the parks picnic shelter. Bizzy’s hind leg had swollen to twice its normal size. She curled into a wet lump and lay shivering in the deepest corner of the dwelling. Clouds boiled around them. Momma frantically sniffed in the air. There was no hint of UnNi -- only these obscure aromas that dangled in the humidity.
Bizzy’s breaths were shallow. Restlessly, she stood up, whirled around, laid down again only to urgently get back up, circle around, lie down and try again. Finally, she exhaustively collapsed. The dogs huddled together and fell asleep.
Bizzy’s eyes flew open with the cracking sound of the thunder. The picnic shelter rattled. This painful gnawing sensation festered in the pit of her stomach.
“It’s like an itch that I can’t reach” she explained to Momma.
“That’s hunger” Momma reckoned.
“I’d do anything for one of UnNi’s meat sticks.” Bizzy faintly grinned. “You been hungry before, Momma?” She asked naively.
“Hunger would have killed us both if UnNi had not found me.” Momma responded, slowly releasing her breath.
“Me too?” questioned Bizzy, aghast.
“Yes. You were in my belly. I was so hungry. Real skinny. I sniffed out that place where humans dump sacks of really good stuff but I was too weak. I couldn’t jump. So, I laid down next to it. I must have fallen asleep. When I awoke, I was in UnNi’s arms. UnNi was carrying me.” Momma’s eyes clouded.
“That’s the first time in my life that I ever felt safe”. Momma released a satisfying sigh.
Bizzy’s eyes burned. Guilt flooded over her. “I’m sorry I took you away from UnNi” She broke their eye contact, looked down and swallowed hard.
Momma lifted Bizzy’s face with her muzzle. “I would do it all over again for you, my child”. Momma held her face next to Bizzy’s.
The tree branches groaned. The wind howled beast-like. The thunder rolled like a hungry monster. Bizzy flinched frighteningly. She stood up. Her stance unsteady. Underneath her lay a dark stain. She circled around and dizzily fell back down.
Bizzy paused to gather her thoughts. “I don’t know why Momma. I just…. I… I just felt this pressure from my insides. It was stronger than me.” Bizzy squished her eyebrows together and shrugged.
“That’s emotion, baby girl.” Momma rolled her head and pointed her nose towards the barrage of water that encircled them. “Emotion is a lot like this water.” Momma narrowed her eyes.
“They make excellent servants but horrible masters.”
“Is this what UnNi was protecting us from?” Bizzy’s angled her eyes towards the storm.
“Yes.” Gratitude sparkled in Momma’s eyes.
“How could I be so dumb?!” Bizzy let out a shrieking wail and dropped her chin to her chest.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Momma’s eyes gleamed with hope. “Perhaps none of us know love until we’ve experienced its absence”.
“I don’t feel good, Momma” Bizzy hoped that Momma would make her agony stop.
Momma searched Bizzy’s body with an eager nose. “This isn’t smelling good Biz” Momma’s voice wavered.
“Don’t touch!” Bizzy snarled. She exposed her teeth. Her once pinkish gums had now turned white and pale. She couldn’t stop shivering even though her body felt like it was burning. Momma kept her eyes steady on Bizzy.
Momma heard the rhythm of the rain shift from a downpour to a pitter patter. A single ray of sunshine peaked through a crack in the charcoal sky.
“This is our chance, Bizzy. Get up! We have to go find help.” Momma jumped to her paws. Bizzy did not respond. Her eyes were dull. She did not have the strength to lift her head much less the strength to speak.
“I can’t sit here” Momma muttered. “I love you, Bizzy, but I got to go.” Momma licked Bizzy’s nose. Bizzy remained unresponsive.
Momma leapt into action. She ran savagely bounding over the mud puddles, slowing down only to whip her nostrils back and forth, desperate for the smallest whiff of UnNi.
Bizzy sensed that the raindrops had lessened. She felt a glimmer of warmth. Is that sunshine? I love sunshine. She wanted to open her eyes but couldn’t. Momma. You there? She wanted to speak but couldn’t open her mouth. Her mind blurry, Why won't you talk to me, Momma? Bizzy lay with her back curved, her head bowed, and her limbs bent and drawn up close to her body. She recognized the buzzing sound of horseflies circling around her. She really enjoyed chasing horseflies but this time she didn’t care. She heard the throaty hisses of turkey vultures perched on a tree near the picnic shelter. This time, she recognized hunger but she didn't care. Her mind drifted. Her body jerked. She fell limp.
Bizzy's body lifted carefully from the ground. She recognized the heavenly scent. It’s UnNi!
“Good job, Momma dog!” UnNi's voice sounded better than even the crackling of a treat bag to Bizzy's ear.
Momma wagged her tail blissfully, grinning ear to ear.
“Let’s get our baby to the doctor.” UnNi carried Bizzy as Momma followed eagerly behind them.
Bizzy relaxed into UnNi's arms. This is the first time in my life I ever felt safe. She released a satisfying sigh. I get it now, Momma.
Would it be ok if I just shared something here. This is a poem I wrote that is actually a part of my story "The Body of Chris" . It is my take on what I would call a "Beat Poem" ( think beatniks of the 60's with berets and John Lennon glasses all snapping their fingers instead of applauding ) I hope you like it.
" Who Needs Jesus "
Who needs Jesus
Jesus, who sees us
Who frees us
To be us
The we that He
Wants us to be, us
The 9 to 5 us
The dead and alive us
The hip and the jive us
The husband and wife us
The sighted and blind us
The "I'm lost please come find me " us
The " I haven't got time to make up my mind " us
The rich and the poor us
The virgin and whore us
The "Please, I want more " us
The night and the day us
The "I'll do it my way " us
The "I'll say what I want to say" us
The " I'll lay with whom I want to lay" us
The straight and the gay us
The sinner and saint us
The strong and the faint us
The "I'm not really as dark as they all want to paint " us
Who needs Jesus
Who sees us
Who frees us to be us
The we the He wants us to be , us
The me and the you, us
The Muslim and Jew us
The chosen are few us
The " Who the (bleep) are you to tell me what to do " us
It's all in His name , us
The different and same us
The " I'm living with shame" us
The "Who can I blame?" Us
The wild and tame us
The you and the I , us
Who all live and die , us
Who laugh 'til we cry, us
The "Don't say Good-bye" us
The " Why God , oh why?" Us
We need Jesus
We need Jesus to see us
We need Jesus to free us
We need Jesus to help us to be us
You and me
We need Jesus
Critique is always welcome. "Iron sharpens iron" as they say.
At the point of rebirth we are given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2Pe 1:3); and from then on the Spirit ensures that we will learn “the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1Co 2:12). This will “not be in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (v 13). The precious Holy Spirit, being the Author of the written Word of God (2Tim 3:16; 2Pe 1:21) and the Creator of our rebirth (Jhn 3:5, 6, 8), uses His Word to “teach you concerning all things” (1Jo 2:27). With the Father “working in you” (Phl 2:13), the Son being our “Advocate” (1Jo 2:1) and the Spirit ever opposing our “old man” (flesh – Gal 5:17) the genuine believer will “endure unto the end” (Mat 10:22; 24:13; Mar 13:13; 1Co 1:8; Heb 3:6, 14)—and all along safe and secure in the hands of God (Jhn 10:29)!
Open Heart Surgery
The place of the believer is in perfect acceptance before the Father, with every question of sin completely settled. Just as with Israel, they were delivered from the place they were in; God’s judgment met by the blood upon the doorpost, and themselves brought through the Red Sea to Himself. “I bear you on eagle’s wings to Myself.” That is where the believer is: the veil rent; and we are now before our Father without any at all, though it may be on our hearts through ignorance (possibly unaware due to immaturity—NC)
But if I know and go in faith, I go through the rent veil—His flesh (Heb 10:20)—into the Holiest of All with boldness, because He Who accomplished the work is there; I find Him there when I go in. I press this, because you are not on the full true ground of liberty before the Father until the thought of imputation of sin, when you stand in the presence of your Father, has completely disappeared. What then comes of our present walk? The first thing to get quite clear is, that my place before the Father is the Lord Jesus’ place every instant. “No condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” How can you condemn one who is in Him? The very thought is absurd.
Still, I am here, a poor weak creature, exposed to all sorts of snares and temptations; and we have the Word of God (the surest and quickest spiritual growth can result from rereading the NT by marking where you left off so you will not have to decide where to read when returning—NC), “sharper than any two-edged sword,” which comes and judges; it runs right through and says, “What is in your heart?” Is that in accordance with the light? No buts, nor ifs; there is no excuse. You are standing in the light! It shows me things that I never suspected before—“all things naked and opened (Heb 4:13).” The Word is God’s eye, prying into my heart, and showing me what suits the blessed Eye, judging not merely acts but “the thoughts and intents of the heart” (v 12).
But supposing all the thoughts and intents of my heart were as perfect as possible, still I am a poor weak creature. There are snares all around—the world, the Christian friends who are not spiritually-minded (i.e. not yet spiritually mature because none reborn are carnally-minded - Rom 8:6, 7—NC); and I have to go through all that—all the difficulty and trial that comes from those who do not wish the Cross to be quite what it is (one example is enduring hardness - 2Ti 2:3—NC).
We are in danger (physical but not spiritual—NC) in passing through the world; and so I have the Lord Jesus, who has met every difficulty and temptation, and understands it all, not only in the divine, but also in the experiential way (Heb 4:15). For the evil movements of my heart, I want the Cross; for the difficulties, trials, etc., I get the throne of grace, yea, God Himself, and a sufficient supply of all grace to overcome (2Co 12:9).
We never can excuse ourselves when we fail (though forgiven and taught from it—NC). There may be unwatchfulness, negligence in prayer or in using the means that our Father has given; but I never can excuse myself (maybe meaning when considering where we could be in our maturity - Eph 4:15—NC). Have your heart open before your Father. Do not leave any chambers locked up before Him, or you will not have joy and liberty (even though being redeemed—NC). You may walk outwardly apart from offending anybody; but if you have anything in your heart not open to your Father (esp. not presenting it to Him for resolution—NC), you have lost fellowship with Him (but not union—NC), and that is what inevitably weakens your whole path.