About Caitlin Renee

Hi there, My name is Caitlin Renee and first and foremost I am a christian who wants to make God's word known. That is mostly what you are going to find on my blog. The Idea behind this is to teach through the new testament reading from the one year Bible daily. The other aspect of this blog will be a twice a month little blurb on Sex Addict and the struggle that christian women may have. My hope is that if you are a woman struggling in this way you will get help that you need and be able to see that you are not alone. If you are not a woman struggling with this issue I pray that you will be able to share it with someone in your life that is struggling. If none of this fits you I pray that the information presented blesses you still. I think that I am honestly really unqualified to write such a blog, but it is what God has placed on my heart to do. I seek to be obedient no matter the cost. I have been a Christian since I was 9, so for 21 years now. even though I have known God and known His word for that long I still have had some major struggles and hang ups in my life. One of which was an addiction. I have since spent 2 years of my life in a residential discipleship program. I am so bless that have had that opportunity, I know that not many get such a chance in their life. I hope that by relaying some of my experiences coupled with scriptural teaching that you will all be blessed. I know my life will look like full time ministry at some point in the future, but that is not where I am at yet. Currently I babysit and volunteer my time at my church. I love anything sports related, with golf being my favorite. I also love nerdy and geeky things, like math problems. My favorite TV shows are crime dramas like Criminal Minds, NCIS, and Scorpion. I do not know how to classify these, but my other favorite shows are the Good Doctor and Big Bang Theory. That is pretty much all there really is to tell about me. I hope you guys are blessed by this blog ministry.

John 1:29-51 May 1st 2018

Focus Questions:

  1. When you discover who Jesus is were you willing to lay everything else aside to follow Him?
  2. When you started following Jesus did you want those close to you to meet Him as well?
  3. Are you willing to simply be an Andrew, or are you only wanting to follow Christ if you can be a Peter?
  4. When you hear of Jesus do you believe or doubt? If you doubt are you willing to have Jesus speak truth against those doubts?

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” 32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

Here we have John’s testimony of who Jesus is. This is clearly some time after Jesus had been baptized by John. John reminds the people, and tells this new group of people who exactly Jesus is. John did not say that Jesus was just a good example to follow, someone that we can learn some good lessons by which to live our lives. No, john tells us plainly that He is the Son of God and He has come to take away the sins of the world. Jesus comes to baptize us with the Holy Spirit, which is amazing and a needed thing, especially if you are someone who is in ministry. This is such an important thing, and something that I think we miss in alot of our churches, I know I did in the church I grew up in. therefore I am going to make a seperate post that explains what it means to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and I’ll give the part of my testimony that pertains to being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

These guys were disciples of John and they heard John’s testimony about who Jesus was and they went out to follow Jesus. They wanted to see where Jesus was staying, they wanted to see what He was really all about. Jesus’ response is simple, come and see. He invites us all to do the same thing, come and see who He is and what is all about.

40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

How awesome is that. Andrew went and found his brother to bring him along to meet Jesus.without that we may not have had Peter as a disciple. Classic Peter who often speaks when he should not, makes some awesome claims only to fall back on them and deny the Lord three times, who then becomes an awesome spokes person in the early church. That is all because Andrew thought of his brother and went to tell him that the Messiah was there.

43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Here we have another example of someone who knows who Jesus is and does not what a friend to miss out. He goes and tells Nathanael of Jesus.

46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Now Nathanael does not immediately believe what he is being told. He is stuck on the place from which Jesus came, wrongfully thinking that no one good could come from such a place. As wrong as it is we can all have those notions as well, thinking that there are placing that are just rough and wrong places to be and that nothing good can come from there. Jesus proves that all wrong. As Nathanael approached Jesus, Jesus knew the doubt that was in him and calls him by name. He then tells him that he knew where he was before Philip even found him their. Nathanael’s mind is blown and believes and follows Jesus. Jesus then informs him that he will see even crazier things than that. This is the way it always is with Jesus. In the beginning of walking with Him we see some awesome things, and they just continue to come as we continue to walk with Him.

Caitlin Renne

John 1:1-28 April 30th 2018

Focus questions:

  1. In your day to day life do you stop to consider that everything we have came from Jesus?
  2. Does the fact that Jesus was there at creation literally forming the world that He choose to come down to and be mistreated by in order to redeem us impact your daily life?
  3. Do you have a right perspective on yourself, or do you think of yourself more highly than you ought?
  4. Are you willing to be bold for Christ, even if that means leaving some comforts behind?
  5. Do you love the dark or the light? Another way of asking that is do you have a secret life that you would be ashamed if it came out, or are you an open book with nothing to hide?

 

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

God is three in one. He is one God but has three distinct persons. It can sometimes be tempting to think of things to simply and think God the Father was there from the beginning and created everything. Then Jesus showed up some 4,000 years later and walked the earth living the only perfect life and dying the death we deserve. Then sometime after Jesus ascends into heaven is when the Holy Spirit comes into play. At least that was the understanding I had from growing up in church. The truth of it hurts your head to try to understand. The truth is that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all present at creation. There was God the trinity and nothing and then God created everything through spoken word, that Word became flesh (Jesus) and dwelt amongst us. All things were made through Christ Jesus. In Jesus is the only place that we can truly have life. He is the light of the world and has come to shine in our dark world.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

I love John. This is not John the disciple that wrote this gospel we are reading, this is John the Baptist. John had an important role to play, he was the forerunner to Christ. The one who came before to make the way straight, yet he knows his place. He does not think of himself more highly than he ought, but he seems the reality of the situation. John knows he was hear to bear witness to the light. We are much the same, our lives are meant to bear witness to Christ. If that were not the case we would be saved and brought right into heaven. Our lives have meaning and purpose, especially once we know our creator. Our purpose at the core is to make Jesus known by our lives. That will play out different in each person’s life, but that is the basis of everyones calling.

9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

As many as receive Him He gives life to them. Jesus as come for the sake of all, but not all receive Him. He came to His own, meaning the Jews, but they received Him not. He came to the Jews first, but then He came to the entire world as well. Do you know Him? Have you received Him?

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Really sit in that for a moment. The Word, Jesus, who was there from the beginning, who formed and created everything, took off His majesty and put on flesh to  come and dwell among us. He left the splendor of heaven to come down here and dwell amongst us, all the while knowing the death that He would ultimately face in order to ransom our souls, so that we could one day have the hope of entering the glory of heaven and spend eternity with Him there. Sometimes we can quickly pass by verses like these, especially if we have grown up in church and it seems like the millionth time we have heard it. The reality of how awesome this fact is does not change, regardless of how many times we have heard it. As we grow in the Lord the reality of what this really means should deepen each time we hear it and we should be in awe of our God.

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Jesus is one who was before John because He was there at the beginning of creation. But in a physically sense He came after John. From other gospels we know that elizabeth was about 6 months along with John when Mary visited knowing that she was with child, that she had just began to carry Jesus. Jesus though is preferred before John, He is the one that all of Israel had been longing to see revealed. He brings grace and truth into our lives. His grace is grace upon grace, it is grace in abundance. We never see the physical form of God the Father, but we do see God revealed physically in the form of Jesus.

19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

They could tell that John had something different going on, but they could not quiet figure out what was going on. They knew that they were waiting for the Messiah and they also knew that Elijah was to come before the Messiah came. Os they set out to ask some questions. They have also spent four hundred years now in silence, no prophets. Elijah answers them all truthfully that he is none of them.  

22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

John answers rightfully about himself. He is simply one crying in the wilderness to make straight the way of the Lord. He was literally in the wilderness. The wilderness can also be a dry and weary land, spiritually speaking. I think we can all agree that we live in that place of spiritual dryness. Are we a voice calling out pointing the way to Christ? Do we follow John’s example in that?

24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Baptism was something that was already being practiced. It was an offshoot of ceremonial cleanses and was mostly used for gentiles who were wanting to become Jews. Those who were questioning him wanted to know why he thought he had the authority to do such a thing. John then goes about explaining to them what his baptism is really all about. It was a simple and humble admittance of repentance and a heart that was wanting to prepare for the coming Messiah. Even in this answer John points to Jesus the Messiah as one who is greater than he who John recognizes he is not even worthy to do even the most degrading task of taking off someone’s shoe. Do we hold Jesus in such High esteem in our lives?

Luke 20:1-26 April 20th 2018

Focus Questions as you read through today’s study.

  1. When you inquire of the Lord is it because you want to know and want to see things His way or are you trying to find a loophole to get your way with something?
  2. When an answer is required of you by the Lord or His people are you manipulating what you say to be seen in a better light and not have your heart exposed?
  3. Do you diligently seek the Lord, or just read through the section of scripture and call it good? What is your motive for seeking the Lord on a specific issue, or in general?
  4. When we know the Holy Spirit is speaking to our hearts on a subject do we get hurt by it and huff away, or do we hear Him out and allow change to take place?

 

1 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him 2 and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”

Remember that it was just in yesterday’s reading that Jesus had cleansed the temple of those that were doing wicked in there. We  have already seen many things that the Lord has spoke against the religious leaders of the day. The religious leaders really did not like Jesus much at all and it seems that after He cleansed the temple they came became set on getting rid of Him. they were hoping to trip Jesus up. They are asking what His authority was, not because they suspected He might be God and wanted to worship Him, but because they wanted Him to claim deity so that they could get Him on blaspheming. As we move through this conversation you will see it more clearly.

3 But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: 4 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”

Jesus sees that their hearts are not wanting to know, but are instead planning wickedness. Therefore He poses a question back to them, one that instead gets them trapped in their words and in their thinking.

5 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it was from.

It was in and through that baptism that He spoke of Christ coming soon, and John even baptized Jesus. If they say that John was a prophet of God then they must accept what he has spoken and john pointed at Jesus and said behold the Lamb of God. If they say from God then they will also being saying that Jesus is the Christ. If they say of men then they can deny the Christ Jesus is Lord, but at the stake of the people rising against them. They all believed John to be a prophet and to speak against that would put hat person in a bad light in the midst of the whole community and could even be reason to be stoned.

8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Because they were not coming with right motives in their asking Jesus did not answer them. James 4:3 speaks to this truth. We can ask with wrong motives and we do not receive. God is gracious and our motives are not going to be 100% pure all the time, but when we are coming at it just to bring others down we can be assured that we will not find our answers. However, the Lord loves to answer us. When we search for Him diligently He will be found by us (Hebrews 11:6). And all who seek will wil find (Matthew 7:7-11). In the context of that verse it is seek and keep on seeking.

9 Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out. 13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ 14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?

This parable is speaking directly against the religious leaders, both of that day and times past. This is speaking about what happened to some of the prophets that God sent out on His behalf. Jesus has come on the scene now and they are not listening to Him, in fact they are planning His end. God sent Jesus in hopes to gain the people, including the religious leaders of the day, back to Himself.  This is the way in which Jesus is going to die, outside the city at the hand of the religious leaders.

16 He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.”And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”

Interesting to note that the religious leaders knew this was spoken against them and were upset by it, but did not allow it to change their thinking and certainly not their actions. The truth is that all that deny Jesus will come to an end, and the vineyard is already in the hands of others, in us the gentiles who go and express God’s love for people.

17 Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’? 18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

Jesus is the chief, He is head of all and the most important one around. The truth is when we truly come to Christ there is a brokenness that takes place, broken over our sins, broken away from our pride and self-focus. If we do not choose to fall on Jesus and break we are choosing to be crushed by His righteous judgement in the end.

19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people —for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.

They did not like what Jesus was saying here because it was speaking against their pride. They wanted to kill Jesus over the words that He spoke against them? Have you ever gotten that mad at someone over something? What was your heart like at the time? Where was your focus, all on you? Let’s be people that lay our hearts open before the Lord and allow Him to direct us. Our feelings and desires may differ from time to time from what God says. We need to lay those aside and follow God, our feelings and desires will eventually catch up to us.

20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. 21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

They switch tactics here some. Instead of going after Him according to their laws and get Him into their court systems they switch the focus to the Roman empire that is governing them. The thought was if He says no the the Roman government would be after Him and they would take care of it. If He answers yes then He will lose favor with the jewish community and they may even turn to see His life as well.

23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? 24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”25 And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Jesus sees right through this one as well and His answer is quick and sly, in a good way. Rather than just a simply yes or no answer He invites them to look at things a bit closer. The money has the Roman emperors image on it. It is therefore reasonable to pay the taxes to them since it was their money system. Those things which the Lord has blessed our live with should be given back to Him and those things from the government back to the government. With that answer He both appeases the people and the Roman government.

26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

They may keep silent, but their plans have not yet come to an end, they are determined to catch Jesus somehow. They are really sitting back waiting for the ideal situation to arise in which they can get Him.

Caitlin Rene’e

March 5th 2018 Mark 12:18-37

18 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. 23 Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”

The sadducees do not believe in the resurrection. They did not come asking because they really did not know and have been wondering. We can all have some questions that once asked we realize the absurdity of them, but that was not the case here. They were asking in hopes of making the resurrection seem absurd. It is true that in the law they were commanded to marry their deceased brother’s wife in order to give him offspring and have his name live on. But the Sadducees were twisting what was meant to try and make their point. So they ask about seven brothers all having had the same wife and wanting to know whose wife she will ultimately be.

24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Jesus goes to work correcting their thinking. He is always  so faithful to do this and I love when He steps in and does this in my life. I love it because I do truthfully want to have the mind of Christ, I want to see things the way that He does. That is not so with the Sadducees, they have long ago made up their minds on where they stand in this regard. Who are we going to be like? I pray that I always remain open to what the Lord is saying to me, even if it is in correction. See I know that I am human and will get things wrong sometimes, I want God to be able to speak truth back into my life when my thoughts start to get carried off. So Jesus starts with you are mistake, you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. Can that be said of me and you as well? Do you know the scriptures? When you want to know something about a subject matter do you first look and see what the Scriptures have to say on it? Do you know the power of God? I know it in part, I know that He took me as the sinner I was an cleaned me up and did something new with my life. But I know I do not yet get it in full. The Sadducees were thinking that even if there was to be a resurrection it would just be a continuation of this life we live now, same rules and regulations apply, but that is not the reality. When we rise with Christ we are given new bodies that are fit for eternity. And things are different. The angels do not have babies and neither will we when we get to heaven. Therefore the sexual component of marriage is gone and marriage will cease to be important in Heaven. We do not know exactly what things will be like there. A few things we do know is it will be perfect, there will be constant worship of God and things will ruin differently because we will be under His control and not living in the world that is under satan’s control.

26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”

If there was no resurrection and they just died and that was the end God’s word choice would have been different here. God says I am, present tense, the God of… If they died and that was the end of it the sentence would have read I was the God of… God is the God of those who are alive. The Sadducees had it wrong.

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

This question was another trap of sorts. They were wanting to see if in Jesus answer which is the first, greatest, commandment what if anything He would leave out from the law. Another way of seeing this question is in them asking which law is it most important that I obey.  We can do that in our lives, can’t we? Where we see the whole of it and think it is to overwhelming so we want to be given just a glimpse of something small that is obtainable to do. We want the easy. Give me the greatest command, the one of most importance and that is the one I will follow.

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Jesus sums up the law rather than giving the greatest commandment. Everything that is required of us is summed up in two things. First love God with all you have. Love Him with all you heart, all your soul and all your mind. Do you love God with all that you have? The second one is similar, love your neighbor as yourself. If our relationship with God is right then loving our neighbor is easier. If our relationship with the Lord is off then loving others becomes a challenge.

32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul,and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

God is not really interested in our sacrifice as His is in our hearts and in our love. This guy sees that. He knows that the way we please God is through love and obedience, not through what we come bringing to Him.

34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him.

This guy gets it and is close to actually being part of the Kingdom of Heaven. The one thing he is missing is the one thing that matter most, that Jesus is the Messiah.

35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ 37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?” And the common people heard Him gladly.

Jesus, the Messiah was both before and after David. Wrapped in that truth was something that the scribes had yet to consider. Jesus does not take this time to trap them they way they do Him, instead He uses this opportunity to get to the heart of the matter. He is challenging them to think about who He truly is.

Caitlin Renee

March 5th 2018 Mark 12:18-37

18 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. 23 Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”

The sadducees do not believe in the resurrection. They did not come asking because they really did not know and have been wondering. We can all have some questions that once asked we realize the absurdity of them, but that was not the case here. They were asking in hopes of making the resurrection seem absurd. It is true that in the law they were commanded to marry their deceased brother’s wife in order to give him offspring and have his name live on. But the Sadducees were twisting what was meant to try and make their point. So they ask about seven brothers all having had the same wife and wanting to know whose wife she will ultimately be.

24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Jesus goes to work correcting their thinking. He is always  so faithful to do this and I love when He steps in and does this in my life. I love it because I do truthfully want to have the mind of Christ, I want to see things the way that He does. That is not so with the Sadducees, they have long ago made up their minds on where they stand in this regard. Who are we going to be like? I pray that I always remain open to what the Lord is saying to me, even if it is in correction. See I know that I am human and will get things wrong sometimes, I want God to be able to speak truth back into my life when my thoughts start to get carried off. So Jesus starts with you are mistake, you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. Can that be said of me and you as well? Do you know the scriptures? When you want to know something about a subject matter do you first look and see what the Scriptures have to say on it? Do you know the power of God? I know it in part, I know that He took me as the sinner I was an cleaned me up and did something new with my life. But I know I do not yet get it in full. The Sadducees were thinking that even if there was to be a resurrection it would just be a continuation of this life we live now, same rules and regulations apply, but that is not the reality. When we rise with Christ we are given new bodies that are fit for eternity. And things are different. The angels do not have babies and neither will we when we get to heaven. Therefore the sexual component of marriage is gone and marriage will cease to be important in Heaven. We do not know exactly what things will be like there. A few things we do know is it will be perfect, there will be constant worship of God and things will ruin differently because we will be under His control and not living in the world that is under satan’s control.

26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”

If there was no resurrection and they just died and that was the end God’s word choice would have been different here. God says I am, present tense, the God of… If they died and that was the end of it the sentence would have read I was the God of… God is the God of those who are alive. The Sadducees had it wrong.

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

This question was another trap of sorts. They were wanting to see if in Jesus answer which is the first, greatest, commandment what if anything He would leave out from the law. Another way of seeing this question is in them asking which law is it most important that I obey.  We can do that in our lives, can’t we? Where we see the whole of it and think it is to overwhelming so we want to be given just a glimpse of something small that is obtainable to do. We want the easy. Give me the greatest command, the one of most importance and that is the one I will follow.

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Jesus sums up the law rather than giving the greatest commandment. Everything that is required of us is summed up in two things. First love God with all you have. Love Him with all you heart, all your soul and all your mind. Do you love God with all that you have? The second one is similar, love your neighbor as yourself. If our relationship with God is right then loving our neighbor is easier. If our relationship with the Lord is off then loving others becomes a challenge.

32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul,and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

God is not really interested in our sacrifice as His is in our hearts and in our love. This guy sees that. He knows that the way we please God is through love and obedience, not through what we come bringing to Him.

34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him.

This guy gets it and is close to actually being part of the Kingdom of Heaven. The one thing he is missing is the one thing that matter most, that Jesus is the Messiah.

35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ 37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?” And the common people heard Him gladly.

Jesus, the Messiah was both before and after David. Wrapped in that truth was something that the scribes had yet to consider. Jesus does not take this time to trap them they way they do Him, instead He uses this opportunity to get to the heart of the matter. He is challenging them to think about who He truly is.

Caitlin Renee

March 2nd 2018 Mark 10:32-52

32 Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”

Jesus had already been telling the disciples that He was going to be murdered and rise on the third day. Jesus has already received threats to His life. But we see Jesus courageously marching forward to the destiny, no matter how hard it might be to face. He walks ahead of them. The disciples are starting to put things together and know that He is not well received in Jerusalem where they are heading. They do not yet get that this is what must happen. Jesus was not concerned with Himself on these things, but He is concerned with The disciple and their understanding. When we face hard times what is our concern? Is it will ourselves or with others. When we shift the focus off of ourselves we tend to do better.

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”

Here is proof that the disciples were not getting it yet. They are asking for positions of power in the kingdom they think Jesus is going to establish on this journey into Jerusalem. We can criticize the disciples her, but at the heart of most of us that is what we truly want and ar truly desiring, to be great and to be known for that greatness.

38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”

We can often ask for things like this as well, things that sound great, but we have no idea what it truly entails. Even when we are asked if we are ready and understand what it means we answer quickly, looking only at the pride of it and not the reality. To truly follow Jesus does mean suffering and pain and rejection in this life. Is that something we have really considered? Even though the disciples would face those things it was not for Jesus to give that position at this time. Are you willing to follow Him, even without a title or position?

41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John.

They were not displeased because they were wrong in asking, but because they sneakily went and asked. That was something that the disciples were likely all thinking. They were with Him following Him for the last three years. To them it looked like Jesus was going to go establish His kingdom. It would then make sense that Jesus would need to pick His right and left hand men. They would all want that honor. However they were not yet understanding things as thy truly were. The suffering servant messiah did not make sense to them, they were awaiting the conquering King.

42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Here Jesus redefines what it should look like to be a ruler. As of now what they have seen was someone who would lord their power and authority over them. That is not the way to power in God economy. It has always been and will always be to serve others. The way up is down. The example we follow is Jesus. He did not come to have His subjects serve Him. No, not at all. He came to serve His people in love. That is exactly what we need to do as well, serve each other in love. It brought Jesus to the point of death on the cross that He gladly took for the payment of our sins. We need to love each other and serve each other even when it hurts.  

46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Bartimaeus was a blind beggar who has great need and has heard of Jesus. As He is sitting there he hears the crowd go by and he realizes that Jesus is in the midst of the crowd. He calls out for mercy from the Lord. Mercy is what we all need from the Lord. I love that he came in this way.

48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The crowd tried to quiet him. That seems like it does happen from time to time, we ar out trying to have relationship with Jesus, crying out from the depths of our great need. But instead of being helped we are told to be quiet to head to the background. That did not stop tis guy and it should not stop us. Cry out to Jesus until He answers you, and He will answer those who call to Him in faith.

49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” 50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.

Jesus hears him and stops calling for him. Jesus never misses us, He never overlooks us, and He never walks on past us. When we hear His call our response should be like this guys, thrown off everything that holds us down and go to Him.

51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

This may seem like a silly question, but there is always purpose in Jesus’ asking. Thus far the man has asked for mercy, but has not admitted his need. The term he uses here is more than teacher, it takes on the context of master. This guy identifies who Jesus is to him and we see this to be true as he gets up and follows Him once he receives his sight. How do you identify Jesus, is He master of your life?

Caitlin Renee

March 1st 2018 Mark 10:13-31

13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

In yesterday’s reading we had Jesus talking to them about whoever receives a little child in His name receives Him, only not Him but the Father. Now today we read about people bringing their children before Jesus asking for Him to touch them and the disciples rebuking them. Time has passed between when Jesus said that and now. And there is likely a crowd and they are likely thinking there are adults that need attention and the children need not be there. Remember in the culture and time children were thought of more as property than anything else. This is another instance in which we might think we know what we are doing according to culture and the nature flow of things, but we should not be quick to think we have it all together. We should be checking to see if we have the heart of Jesus, or if we are running with our own thoughts and ideas.

14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

This was not the heart of Christ. Jesus wants the children to come. There is a proverb that says raise a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it. We want to be issuing our children, or in my case the children of our society since I do not yet have kids, into the presence of Jesus. Remember that they have a lifetime of choices ahead of them. We want them prepared to make the right ones. I know the only reason I know how to make the right choices is because I know Jesus. Let’s set our children up the same way.

17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

This seems like a good question to ask. I want eternal life so therefore I must know what it is that I must do to earn it. But therein lies the problem. We are looking at what we must do. It’s not about what we do, but about what has been done for us.

18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”

Good was a term that was only used for God, never for their teachers. Jesus is pointing out that he has just identified Him as God. He then continues to inform him of what it takes to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus starts with the list of the commandments that are between people, He leaves the ones between us and God out of the conversation though. When we look at how Jesus defines murder and the others as even the intentions of our hearts we realize that none of us can honestly say we have followed all the commandments. That becomes increasingly true when we add the other part of the commandments in and realize we all have idols.  

20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

This man was a good man. These things I could not say that I kept from my youth. I have never been in serious trouble for any of these things. By the standards of the world I have been a good person, but God sees the wickedness of my heart and not just the good behavior I present. Even though this man had been a good person and kept these commandments, he still lack one thing. The root of it was that possessions and not Christ were at the center of his life. He had an idol in his life that he cherished more than God. Jesus calls him out on this by asking him to sell his possessions and follow Him. That is not the call for every rich person, to sell all they have, but for this guy that was what was needed to get at the heart issue that was keeping Him from Christ. Jesus will deal with each one of us slightly different. For some the call is to sell all, for others it is to keep it and bless others with it. It comes down to what each heart needs and only God can tell us that. Will you ask Him what it is that keeps you from Him if there is anything.

22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

His possessions were great and that was all he could see. From the context it appears that this man went away not following Christ. We do not know if later he had a change of heart, but in this moment we know for sure he left sad thinking that the cost was to high. We can sometimes think that. I know I can, or really did. I do not think I am alone in that either. I think many of us see what we have to give up and think the cost is too high and never see the reward, or what it cost to provide the reward for us. When I think of all that Jesus gave up for me how can I choose to hold me life dear to myself? Christ gave up attributes of His deity (He never stopped being God, but He laid some of those things aside) to come and live a perfect sinless life on our behalf. The best example I have heard to describe that would be a human becoming a maggot in order to lead the other maggots to freedom. As disgusting a thought that is for us is truthfully does not come close to the reality of what God did for us in Jesus coming down to live with us. Then Jesus suffered much here for us. He was betrayed by His friend, rejected by His very own people, and murdered in the most excruciating way humanity has ever come up with. He did that all for us to be brought into relationship with Him. When I am thinking about things properly whenever Jesus asks for something to be taken from my life, or a new task picked up I should do it with a heart of gratitude in light of all He has already done for me. That was not how this guy felt. Of course Jesus had not died for our sins yet and all I just said was not disclosed yet, but He still choose his riches over relationship with God.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”

It is not that riches are bad. Back in their culture they thought of riches as God’s blessing on their life. Neither is the case. It is not that riches are inherently good or inherently bad. Riches are not a sign of our salvation. They can be a hindrance though. We like the young ruler here can trust in our riches. That is when it gets scary. Not that we have and consider ourselves rich, but that we trust in what we have, our bank accounts and possessions. This is the scary place to be. We need to trust in Jesus beyond everything else.

27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

With men and our way of looking at things it would be impossible to be saved. By God is bigger than that. With God all things are possible. Jesus made a way for salvation for not only His people the Jews, but for us gentiles as well.

28 Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”

Peter sees that the command was to sell and follow. Peter rightfully points out that they have left everything behind to follow Him. He is asking what that means for them.

29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

We receive blessings now. God loves His children and He does shower us with His love and protection. But do not miss the part where He tells us that persuctions will be here in this time as well. We often will look at all the happy promises in the Bible and neglect the ones that speak of persecution, but they are just as real as the happy go lucky ones. But we also gain eternal life. Jesus reminds us today that the first will be last and the last will be first. Let’s look at things with the eyes of Jesus and not the eyes of society. Lord give us your eyes to see things more clearly.

Caitlin Renee