Bible Study

Who were the Apostles

Let’s take a look at the follower’s of Jesus. How were his closest confidants?

  1. Peter
    1. son of Jonas, was a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum. He did evangelistic and missionary work among the Jews, going as far as Babylon. He was a member of the Inner Circle and authored the two New Testament epistles which bear his name. Tradition says he was crucified, head downward, in Rome.
  2. James
    1. son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of John the Apostle; a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem. He preached in Jerusalem and Judea and was beheaded by Herod, AD 44 (Acts 12:1,2).
  3. John
    1. son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James, the Apostle. He was known as the Beloved Disciple. A fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem, he was a member of the Inner Circle. He wrote the Gospel of John, I John, II John, III John and Revelation. It is said that an attempt was made on his life by giving him a chalice of poison from which God spared him. He died of natural causes. A chalice with a snake in it is his symbol.
  4. Andrew
    1. the brother of Peter, and a son of Jonas. He lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum and was a fisherman before Jesus called him. Originally he was a disciple of John the Baptist (Mark 1:16-18)
  5. Bartholomew or Nathaniel
    1. son of Talmai, lived in Cana of Galilee. His apostolic symbol is three parallel knives. Tradition says he was a missionary in Armenia. A number of scholars believe that he was the only one of the 12 disciples who came from royal blood
  6. James, the Lessor or Younger
    1. son of Alpheus, or Cleophas and Mary, lived in Galilee. He was the brother of the Apostle Jude. According to tradition he wrote the Epistle of James, preached in Palestine and Egypt and was crucified in Egypt. James was one of the little-known disciples. Some scholars believe he was the brother of Matthew, the tax collector. James was a man of strong character and one of the most fiery type. Still another tradition says that he died as a martyr and his body was sawed in pieces. The saw became his apostolic symbol.
  7. Judas
    1. the traitor, was the son of Simon who lived in Kerioth of Judah. He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and afterwards hanged himself (Matthew 26:14,16).
  8. Jude or Thaddeus
    1. son of Alpheus or Cleophas and Mary. He was a brother of James the Younger. He was one of the very little-known Apostles and lived in Galilee. Tradition says he preached in Assyria and Persia and died a martyr in Persia. He was killed with arrows at Ararat.
  9. Matthew or Levi
    1. son of Alpheus, lived in Capernaum. He was a publican or tax collector. He wrote the Gospel that bears his name. He died a martyr in Ethiopia. Matthew became the first man to write down the teachings of Jesus. He was a missionary of the Gospel, who laid down his life for the faith of his Master.
  10. Philip
    1. preached in Phrygia and died a martyr at Hierapolis. Philip came from Bethsaida, the town from which Peter and Andrew came (John 1:44). The likelihood is that he, too, was a fisherman. Although the first three Gospels record his name (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13), it is in the Gospel of John that Philip becomes a living personality. It is said that he died by hanging. While he was dying, he requested that his body be wrapped not in linen but in papyrus for he was not worthy that even his dead body should be treated as the body of Jesus had been treated.
  11. Simon the Zealot
    1. one of the little-known followers called the Canaanite or Zelotes, lived in Galilee. Tradition says he was crucified.
  12. Thomas
    1. Tradition says he labored in Parthia, Persia, and India, suffering martyrdom near Madras, at Mt. St. Thomas, India. Thomas appeared in the raising of Lazarus (John 11:2-16), in the Upper Room (John 14:1-6) where he wanted to know how to know the way where Jesus was going. In John 20:25, we see him saying unless he sees the nail prints in Jesus’ hand and the gash of the spear in His side he will not believe. That’s why Thomas became known as Doubting Thomas. It is said that he was commissioned to build a palace for the king of India, and he was killed with a spear as a martyr for his Lord.

I completed this list and after looking over it, I came up with two questions? After Judas betrayed Jesus and hung himself was he replaced and two where is Paul? In Acts 1: 16-20 it tells us that the remaining disciples did discuss replacing Judas. The requirements were that the man had to have been with them the entire time of Jesus’ ministry, and to have been a witness of the resurrection and ascension. Joseph aka as Barsabbas and Mathias. Some proposed that Paul should be the replacement. What was the Lord’s choice? Paul wouldn’t have qualified based on the criteria. Little is really known who was actually chosen except that choice seems to have gone to Mathias. Not much is said about most of the Apostles and many ended up as you saw above being killed. Paul did seem to rise as a top figure of the church for sure.

I found all of this interesting….Hopefully you learned a little more like I did on who Jesus chose as his disciples. – Jodie

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Bible Study

Confidence in Prayer

I had mentioned before that I was always afraid to pray out loud. I loved hearing my Aunts and Uncles pray at our family reunions. My Great Uncles Charlie or Ray were the ones normally to pray and give Grace before the meal. Now a lot of times it’s my second cousin who commences the prayer. Uncle Ray his father has passed away and Uncle Charlie is getting older.

I was at recent family functions and anytime Grace is brought up you’d think it was a relative no one wanted to discuss rather than a heart felt discussion with our Heavenly Father. I’m not bashing anyone, believe me. I used to be afraid too. But why? Why are we afraid? 1 John 5:14 tells us “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” Also: Ephesians 3:12, NLT Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

I finally learned, personally that I needed to start small. Myself and one maybe two other people. I mean if you want to march into a stadium and offer pray out loud for the first time, like kids say now-you go on with your bad self! Lol. I could not have done that. I believe too that studying God’s word, listening to my Pastor pray, others pray helped me a lot. I also try to keep it straight and to the point. I’ve also not been afraid of telling God what I need, but I don’t always pray for myself.

I’ll be honest, I’ve already prayed while driving with my eyes open of course because we can talk to God anytime, anywhere. I can’t help but recall the movie with John Carey playing God and all these prayers come in all at once. He had to organize them lol… I believe God is a lot more organized.

I can only suggest doing Bible studies and getting to know God’s word. When people come to you and ask questions you’ll be ready. When this happened to me, I felt the tug in my heart to then pray with this person. It was then, I knew what I said felt right. It was from the heart and I honestly knew the other person needed my prayer.

Long story short is, you’ll know. It feels right. Once I started doing it then I felt much better about it. Do you have any tips on how you offer prayer? I’d love to hear from you.- Jodie

Photo credit goes to: http://newharvestcville.com/event-items/prayer-group-wednesdays

Bible Study

Elizabeth

I decided to pick a woman of the Bible that I personally don’t recall learning a lot about. Elizabeth was the Mother of John the Baptist.

Incase you didn’t know, Elizabeth was the cousin of Mary the Mother of Jesus. You can find her story in Luke 1:5-80.

Elizabeth, like many women fought infertility which in those times was looked at as a disgrace. Elizabeth was very faithful to God. God doesn’t forget those who are faithful to him. Elizabeth was married to Zachariah, the angel Gabriel told him they would conceive a child. He didn’t believe so he became mute. It wasn’t until after Elizabeth had a boy and named him John as the Angel told Zachariah that his speech was restored.

It was like God chose Elizabeth and Zachariah, coming from the lineage of Aaron and Levi. Zachariah was a priest in the tabernacle. These were wonderful parents to teach a boy the scriptures who would support Jesus and prophesies would teach of the coming messiah.

Being patience isn’t always easy. I think especially in today’s world where everything seems to come as instant gratification. We rarely have to wait for much anymore. Everything is in God’s time. God will honor those who honor him.

All of us today who believe and endure faithfully will receive the end of our faith—the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9).

Father, I pray for patience. I know that I can fully trust that by honoring you, you will always be with me. I pray for my continued patience and the lessons I learn. Amen

Bible Study

Where was the Garden if Eden?

Phew, it’s been a few crazy busy days. It’s also given me a chance to think about my next blog. Over the last several years a lot of attention has been placed in the Middle East, a lot of people only think of Jerusalem when referring to the Bible. I wanted to talk about areas mentioned that are now known under other names.

This one area is The Garden of Eden. I love the History Channel and other shows that just teach us so much. “Always learning”. Sometimes you can catch programs where they’ll discuss the Bible or locations mentioned in the Bible. I remembered one I saw years ago on Eden.

The location of Eden is described in the Book of Genesis as the source of four tributaries. Some Scholars feel it’s a place of myth. Those who consider it to be real believe it was located in the Persian Gulf in Mesopotamia now known as Iraq. Specifically where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers connect.

There’s also reason to believe it’s not there, The Bible states 4 rivers and the location in Iraq would only be 2. Also one of the four rivers mentioned named Gihon (Genesis 2:13) says this river runs down into Ethiopia. Ummm that’s about 1,000 miles away from Iraq.

Regardless, any remains of Eden would have been wiped out by Noah’s Flood. Something comical I found on yahoo answers, “Is the Garden of Eden in Wisconsin? A funny bit of history……..

“In 1886 the Rev. D.O. Van Slyke published a small pamphlet that expounded his belief that Eden was the area stretching from the Allegheny Mountains to the Rocky Mountains and that the Garden of Eden was located on the east bank of the Mississippi River between La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Winona, Minnesota. When the Deluge began, Noah was living in present-day Wisconsin, and the flood carried his ark eastward until it landed on Mt. Ararat.”

Gotta love a good theory! Guess we won’t find out until we can ask for ourselves 🥰

Fun and Just Because

Two Chicks and a Challenger

I’ve mentioned before that GREAT friends are a rare commodity. I’m extremely blessed to have a few in my life. Some I consider like family.

Yesterday was a much needed day after the “feeling sorry for myself” hissy fit. Nothing that a day of retail therapy and a cool car couldn’t fix. I’ve mentioned my friend Lynn before. We met under stressful circumstances, however God puts people in our lives for a reason. When I think of her friendship I’m reminded of Philippians 1;3 “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.”

Jesus felt the same way about his Disciples. They were like family to him. These are the people he went to even in his time of trouble when he was hunted down in the Garden of Gethsemane. Even then Jesus loved them all to the end.

I’m by no means comparing myself to Jesus nor my friends to his disciples. However, I think with anyone it’s important in life to surround yourself with people who love you and support you through thick and thin. They become extended family.

So what does this have to do with a cool car? Yes my BFF treated herself to her dream car and like any good friend I enjoyed being the Thelma to her Louise yesterday. We drove around Pennsylvania Amish country and even grabbed some lunch. I assure however no crimes were committed! Lol 😂

Many people have hundreds if not thousands of “friends” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I can assure most of them are NOT your friends. They are acquaintances. People there merely because you bumped into them at some point in your life. The Bible tells us that he “chose” his 12. John 15:16-“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

With that, I leave you with this thought:

“An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.” E.A. Bucchianeri

Heavenly Father I praise you every day for the blessings you have given me. I pray that everyone comes to know you and love you, and take you as their own personal friend. Amen

Journey of Faith

Bloom where you are planted

Not all plants can grow in flourish in poor soil. It normally helps if you add nutrients to the soil, water and lot’s of TLC. I think the same can go for people.

Sometimes God places us in a not so comfortable situation. We can either dwell on the negative and be miserable or “Bloom where we are planted”. Another words, “make the best of a bad situation”. Did you know that the Bible tells us 365 times to “fear not”? That’s one for every day of the year to remind us to trust in him. People have asked me how I stay so positive and I guess you can say that I’ve received a lot of rich soil around my roots as I grew up and as adult that I know that God is always with me no matter what. In times when I should have been bawling my eyes out, I remember feeling guilty because I wasn’t. You can either laugh or cry. I chose joy and making other’s feel joy.

I’ve listened to many Pastor’s in person and on YouTube and one story that stuck with me was Pastor Rick Warren and his Wife discussing the death of their son. For years that tried everything in their power to save him from himself. Unfortunately, he ended up taking his own life. If you haven’t watched it, I strongly suggest it. “How to get through what you’re going through”. I mean wow!! To briefly summarize deep pain can either make you bitter or make you better. He chose to use his pain to help other’s enduring the same loss. This doesn’t take that pain away, but it becomes part of your story. A way for you to grow and learn from it.

As a Mother, I help my children with their school work, life problems and being there in general to help shape them into better people. As their Mother, it’s my responsibility to show them how important it is to accept God’s grace and mercy as often as we can. I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes I regret. It’s how you move on from those mistakes that makes a teachable moment. I could be bitter but instead I became better. It touched me so deeply when my oldest son said to me, “Mom, there’s a lot of people who in your situation would have just given up, but you didn’t! You did what you had to do by learning and teaching yourself new skills to find a new job and work so hard to make sure we have what’s needed”. He said a lot of people just don’t take that initiative.

I think the flip side of all of this is the Bible verse: Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The basic definition is, “The personal consequences of one’s actions are in proportion to the good or bad intentions towards others.

So, I leave you with this simple thought, “Be kinder that necessary as you never know what battle another person may be fighting”. Be kind to one other, love one another as Christ loves us.

Father, thank you for a wonderful Mother’s Day and a blessed day with family and friends. Thank you for reminding us what is important in life and to be thankful for what we have. Thankful for those we have in our life. I pray that if someone reading this has a problem, concern or going through something that you please wrap your arms around them. Please give them strength to get through what they are going through. Amen.

Fun and Just Because

When you feel sorry for yourself!

Happy Mother’s Day again everyone! Over all today was a very nice day. I got to see my Mom, Grandma, along with two of my sisters and Aunts and Uncle. My morning didn’t start the greatest because I decided to feel sorry for myself.

As a Mom, we do a lot. We cook, clean, make sure everyone else is where they need to go and make sure they have what they need. I’m not perfect by any means. Sometimes my house looks like tornado hit it, depending on what irons I have in the fire. I work from home now doing various consulting services, which is feast or famine. Currently it’s famine unfortunately, but I keep on keeping on. I don’t sleep well at night because my mind is constantly churning. I have a lot on my mind. We also decided mid year to take our youngest son out of public school and put him in a Charter School. This was for various reasons, but it’s been stressful. I’m constantly harassing him to do homework or sign in for class. Somedays I feel like another job was added to my resume that I didn’t anticipate. As a Mom, I’ll do what it takes to make sure he succeeds. My reward? He sent the sweetest text today telling me how much he appreciates what I do. (SCORE!!!)

Why did I feel sorry for myself? The devil decided to come visit and poke around inside my head. Taunting me to think negatively. To the point I snapped out and ended up going alone to visit my family. I had a headache by the time I arrived and to top it off, I needed gas and stopped at a local convenience store. I grabbed a soda can out of the car to throw it away and instead splashed it all over my top. 😡. Par for the course right!

I got in the car and started to cry. Do you ever feel like you just need to cry? This probably exasperated my headache. I tried playing some music and it helped a little. Instead I prayed. I asked the Lord to please help me clear my head and help me with my negativity. I enjoyed my visit with my family and had to rush out because I was summoned home for a cooked meal waiting for me. WHAT???

I decided to play some of my favorite Christian Rock songs on the way home. This included Casting Crowns, Ryan Stevenson, Chris Tomlin. Zach Willams. By the time I got home I was singing along like a crazy lady. Not caring who was watching. I even played some songs that made me tear up. I felt good!!!! It was what I needed.

I am truly blessed to have my life and family that I have. It’s completely stressful at times and I guess I’m allowed to have my moments at times. We all have them. Maybe today I just needed that “me” time. Even if it was a short time to and from my destination.

Happy Mother’s Day and I hope all of enjoyed the day in your own way.

Jodie

Fun and Just Because

What is a Mother?

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Whether you are one or have one, tomorrow is a day to celebrate the most important woman in our life.

Celebrations of Mothers can be traced back to Greeks and Roman’s who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”. This was more a tradition in the United Kingdom when people would return to their mother church, then around the 30’s and 40’s it turned more secular with children giving their mothers flowers and gifts.

According to http://www.history.com “. The origins of Mother’s Day as celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.” and, “Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.”

According to the Bible there are 8 blessed Mothers: Eve, Sarah wife of Abraham, Rebekah wife of Isaac, Jochebed, mother of Moses, Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel, Bathsheba wife of David, Elizabeth mother of John the Baptist, Mary Mother of Jesus. We’ll have to do a Bible study on the ladies we haven’t done already.

My Mom is the oldest of six children. I’m the second oldest child of 4 girls. I found my oldest sister by ancestry dna. Unfortunately my Dad didn’t know he had a daughter before he died. My Mom is an amazing woman who loves our new sister as we do. (No cheating was involved fyi-lol). Mom made sure my sisters and I knew and loved the Lord. We attended Sunday School and church services. I loved vacation Bible school, which I think Mom did too because she had some quiet time while we were gone lol. She is a breast cancer survivor and now is fighting COPD. I pray daily that the Lord puts his healing hands on her to make it better. Recently a study has started where STEM cells are being used to reverse some of the damage. Unfortunately the treatments are $7,000 😳. I continue to look into more research, trials and information. I know we will find something with God’s help.

I hope that you have amazing memories of the important women in your life. Happy Mother’s Day!

Proverbs 31:28–29: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.'”

Bible Study

Spiritual Warfare

Do you ever feel like no matter what you do or no matter how hard you pray, you feel like you’re running an uphill battle? Have you heard the expression “The battle is God’s and not mine”? This my friend is spiritual warfare.

The devil loves to be that nagging voice inside your head, “you’re worthless”, “you can do just one more”, “you’d be better off dead”. He can drag us into a dark pit so deep that we feel like we can’t get out. It seems like the more we ask for God’s help, the more you become the Devils playground. So how do we fight a battle that’s not on this realm but a spiritual one? Ephesians 6:10-18 (written by Paul), gives us our instructions.

The Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

So what does this mean?? Let’s take a look at our Battle Armor:

Belt of Truth: a belt holds everything else together. When we live a life of truth and integrity, it becomes a place holder for all of our other tools in our arsenal. A life of integrity isn’t easily torn.

Breast plate of Righteousness: a breastplate covers your heart and other vital organs. The righteousness that guards our heart is our belief in Christ.

Footwear of readiness for the gospel: we will flee temptation. However, I also like to think this refers to us sharing God’s word with others. Using our feet to spread the word.

Shield of Faith: When Satan attacks us, our faith in Christ lessens the blow. We are able to withstand the attack because we know whom we have believed. 2 Timothy 1:12

Helmet of Salvation: A helmet protects our brain, specifically our minds. It also signifies that we belong to Christ.

Sword of the Spirit: The sword is our Bible. I like an acronym I heard before that the Bible stands for: BASIC INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE LEAVING EARTH.

Prayer: We often forget to pray. This is what activates our armor. We need to remember to take our cares and worries to God. Psalms 55:22 tells us: Cast your cares on the lord and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.

So the next time you feel like you can no longer stand, kneel!

Bible Study

Apostle Paul

One of the greatest Apostles of the Bible is the Apostle Paul. There are 27 books of the New Testament. Paul is responsible for 13 of them. He’s is also responsible for almost half of the Book of Acts.

Paul wasn’t Born Paul. He was born around 5 BC in Tarsus Turkey. If you read my blog about Stephen, you may remember Saul of Tarsus being present and encouraging the stoning of Stephen.

Paul’s name is thought to change from Saul to Paul on the road to Damascus. It’s also believed that by changing to Paul he wasn’t identify himself anymore as a person who believes in persecuting Christians.

One of Paul’s most famous letters was Philippians. This is about joy and hope in the face of persecution and imprisonment. One of the infamous verses is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

There’s so much to acknowledge Paul for, including dealing with spiritual warfare. I’m looking forward to that being my next subject. He’s a very important figure that I’d rather do individual blogs on his accomplishments.

The one lesson we can learn from Paul is that our past doesn’t define us. In Philippians 3:13, Paul writes, “…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Amen!!