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The Christmas Story like you’ve never heard it!

This came from our Women’s Bible study on the Gospel of Matthew.

The Gospel of Matthew Chapter 2

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Four AM Prayer

For the past several mornings I have woke up at 4:00 am – wide awake. When that happens, I usually pray for different folks’ needs that I know (and my kids, of course). This morning, after posting a short teaching video on “Ask, seek and knock” last night on Facebook, I prayed, “Lord, what do you want me to pray?”

I immediately began thinking about our country and I said, “Lord, what’s happening to our country? This country used to honor and serve You. There used to be a church on every corner…” Then the thought flitted through my mind, “Yeah – there are still churches on every corner – but they are empty…” and I thought, “Why is that, Lord?”

Then the image came to mind of masses of people headed to “church” in warehouses and store buildings and theaters, and I said, “Why is it Lord, that no one seems to want to worship in a church building anymore? And we ‘old foggies’ are looked at as ‘out of touch’ if we even question the music or the lights or the ‘come as you are’ way they dress…”

And I heard in my spirit – “They are fleeing from My Holiness… A church building has been consecrated and prayed over and is a Holy Place. Many say they want to worship, but few are willing to live Holy lives…”

The way is, indeed, narrow…

My Facebook post this morning:

In addition to our current Ladies’ Bible study from Matthew, I’ve also been working on putting together another series for “Hand to the Plow” (recorded at Ark Studio, Inc and currently airing Sunday nights on Comcast channel 241 iHope TV in the Knoxville, TN viewing area). This next series was to be “Running the Race with Faith” taken from Hebrews 11-13…

However, this morning God laid a “hankering” on my heart to teach through the book of Amos… I think that will take around 10-12 episodes. I have money that has been donated for about 6 lessons already. If any of this teaching has helped or encouraged you, please consider making a donation. No amount is too small – it all adds up.

You can send a check to
Betty J. Newman
P. O. Box 6675
Knoxville, TN 37914
or if you want to make a tax deductable donation, make it to
Ark Studio, Inc.
P.O. Box 6095
Knoxville, TN 37914

I promise you that every penny will go to this project. And please, feel free to message me or e-mail for more information or comments.

As I was preparing to write the Bible study for tonight, I began thinking, “Why do we do this?” Why do we study, using the methods that we do – and by that I mean – studying straight through a book instead of studying topically – studying, searching for a specific answer? Why is it important to learn the setting and the context? Why don’t we just drop in on this verse and that verse (as is so popular today) – why do we study it straight through? “You know”, I thought, “We could get a lot more people into our study if we gave it a catchy title or sought to ‘scratch a particular itch’”.

But the more I thought the more I began to realize that we do this; we study like this because we seek to understand what the Bible says as a whole. We seek to study the “real thing” so that we can spot the counterfeit.

Jesus said that in the last days many would come “In My Name claiming, ‘I am the Christ’”. The words “the Christ” are in italics in most Bibles indicating that these words were not in the original manuscripts. What Jesus said was, “Many will come in My Name claming ‘I Am’”. (And we all know the significance of the words “I Am”…)

But, as I thought of His word, the first phrase struck me – “Many will come in My Name…” Isn’t that true today? Don’t many hold to His Name while living completely unholy or unbiblical lifestyles? And if they are questioned in any way – they immediately jump into “Don’t you dare judge me” mode.

I read an article recently comparing two “Christians”. One came from a missionary home and was known for praying often (regardless of where he was) and living a lifestyle that supported abstinence and purity. This one was also known for quietly caring for others and meeting needs without fanfare.

The other was described as coming from a very poor home, being baptized as a child, but leaving that church for another, and then another. This one was known for having many religious tattoos, a party life-style and having a series of live-in girlfriends. This one gave away large amounts of money to very public endeavors.

The tone of the article ridiculed the first “Christian” and praised the second for being so “vocal” in his Christianity…

My question is – which one of these ‘Christians” lived their lives based on the Bible? Which one actually lived his life “in Jesus’ Name” and which one claimed to live his life “in Jesus’ Name”?

The only way to know that is to learn what the Bible really has to say – verse-by-verse. And that’s why we do this…

Lesson 2 of the series “Our Blessed Hope” is now available on youtube. The title is “The Marriage Feast of the Lamb” from Revelation 19. In this lesson we will explore how the traditional Jewish wedding tradition is a picture of the Church as the Bride of Christ. I pray that you enjoy it, and learn something new!

 

I hope you will subscribe to our youtube channel to receive the studies as they become available. Please “like” and “share” as well. I pray that God will lead us in our teaching of His Word.

 

“The Marriage Feast of the Lamb”

The first lesson in our video teaching series “Our Blessed Hope” based on the last four chapters of Revelation is now up on youtube. I hope you enjoy it and will share it with your friends!

The Facebook prompt said, “What’s on your mind this morning?” and my heart cried out – “So much, Lord! So much!”

I’m excited about the beginning of a new ministry journey as I will begin taping video Bible studies today – but that is tempered by so many needs lying on my heart.

One friend begins another round of chemo today, while another friend is in the midst of her third battle with the dreaded “cancer“. Many other friends have just found out about their upcoming cancer journeys  and yet others have breathed a sigh of relief that the biopsy was benign…

My heart then jumps to children – my own and my grandsons – I pray for their lives and struggles. O God how hard it is to watch your children go through their own struggles. I just want to clear the path and make their lives easy… but I can’t, can I?

School is starting soon and I pray for children making new journeys and for parents praying for “do-overs”, hoping that this school year will be easier (I’ve been there – done that!) I pray for teachers as they prepare. God grant them wisdom and patience and the gift of seeing into the very heart of the children.

But mostly this morning my heart is burdened with the text I got last night from a young friend whose baby daughter is so very ill – and the doctors do not have a clue as to the cause… God – how I pray for that young mother and her family. I pray for the siblings of this little girl as I know they are worried and scared, too.

Guide the doctors, Lord. Lay Your healing hand on this little girl – and give the family peace in the midst of their fear. Little children should be running and playing… not lying in bed crying. But, we don’t live in a perfect world, do we Lord? We live in a broken and sinful world that is groaning in travail. But someday, Lord… someday…

And – maybe someday is today, Lord. Maybe today…

And that – Facebook – is what’s on my mind this morning. Amen.

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