Category Archives: Bible Study Series

Listening for the Voice in Your Head

Read it! John 12

The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

(vs29)

Think it through

In church, we’re often reminded about the words God spoke at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew and Mark both share their accounts of that holy moment with us.

But I’ve rarely, if ever, heard sermons on John’s account of another moment when God spoke aloud to the people in Jesus’ presence. How I would love to have been there, to have heard Jesus call out, “Father, glorify your name!” and to have heard the voice from heaven say, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Amen, Amen! my heart cries. Glorify your name!

But would I have heard the voice of an angel, or just thunder?

Would we have had the right perspective?

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Why DID Jesus Cry?

Read it! John 11

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

(vs33)

Think it through

At least that’s the version I’ve always read. As an old-school NIV girl, I’ve read over and over that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” and assumed it meant he was incredibly sad, grieved. The NKJV reads similarly: “…he groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”

But I was surprised to find that two of the other versions in my side-by-side Bible (the NLT and The Message) used different words: “a deep anger welled up within him.” Both versions describe him as angry when he arrived at Lazarus’s tomb, as well.

Angry.

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Throwing Off Our Chains

Read it! John 8

“…and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

(vs32&33)

Think it through

Viewing ourselves through the lens of truth is difficult.

Jesus told the Jews that his teachings, the truth, would set them free, but they just looked at one another and shrugged. They were living in a land where they were officially free—free to live and love and work and marry and worship their God. (Sound familiar?)

But Jesus explained that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Not free, but bound by the habit of repeating our mistakes and the consequences of each choice. And we often miss this crucial perspective altogether.

Here’s some truth I frequently fail to see:

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The Inside Scoop!

Read it! John 4 

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could he be the Messiah?”

(vs29)

Think it through

John tells us that the woman at the well was there at noon. No one else was getting water when the day was at its hottest. John might as well have said, “This woman was a social outcast, shunned by her town.” And we find out in verse 18 that Jesus knew exactly why. He knew everything she ever did.

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Because Your Momma Said So!

Read it! John 2

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

(vs4&5)

Think it through

I’ve always been a fascinated by this little exchange.

In modern times, for Jesus to start with “Woman!” seems a bit funny. And then Mary totally ignores his protests and assumes he’ll do it anyway, because she said so.

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Will You Seek Jesus?

Read it! John 1

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying and stayed the day with him.

(vs39)

Think it through

Sometimes I think the Gospel of John is hard to read.

When people first come to know Christ, Christian leaders often recommend that they start their Bible reading with the book of John. And I think, Why? John is hard.

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Holy Urgency—It’s an Emergency!

Read it! Matthew 28

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

(vs 19)

Think it through

Jesus is the Key to Everything.

He is our happiness and our security. He is our day-to-day life and our future in Heaven. He is our sweet life.

One recent Sunday in church, we watched on the video screen as a new sister in Christ told her redemption story and was baptized into the faith. We all clapped, some of us wiping away a tear. Then our pastor started his sermon with something to this effect:

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Will Heaven be…Boring? (Hint: the answer is no!)

Read it! Revelation 22

And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.

And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—

for the Lord God will shine on them.

And they will reign forever and ever.

(vs 4&5)

Think it through

I’m excited about Heaven—like, really excited. Sometimes I can’t wait to be with Jesus and see what it’s like there.

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God’s Circle of Protection—Get on in

Read it! James 1:19-27

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

(vs 22-24)

Think it through

How could I make a scripture scrapbook for the kids without including the Ten Commandments?

And how could I write a blog post about it without realizing how hard it can be to keep some of them? It’s hard to tell the truth all the time. Not coveting is a challenge. It’s even hard to rest on the Sabbath.

 

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