RELIEF!!!!!!!!!

THE TOOTH IS GONE!

I’ll be brief–the tooth was a lost cause. I was presented with two options–extraction or a costly melange of procedures that would have totaled in excess of $2000 AND would have had to be scheduled days or weeks out with an oral surgeon. The choice to me was simple.

So… I’m back!!

I am one tooth short of a full grin, and in some discomfort, but NOTHING like the horrible pain I have been dealing with for the past couple of weeks. I must admit–I am a huge weenie when it comes to needles, therefore, the worst part of the procedure was getting the shots to numb up my gums. After that it was gravy. The dentist showed me the ugly decayed tooth and even let me take it home to share with my son 🙂

That experience, and seeing how terrible my tooth looked (I tend to chew and swallow on that side) has further strengthened my resolve to cut back on the Pepsi, and the coffee as well. I have a beautiful smile and I like it as is. I got lucky this time that it was just a back tooth. I would hate to loose a front tooth!

The pain is gone (virtually) and I can concentrate on the important upcoming date. EASTER!!

I love all four Gospels, and it is hard for me to determine which record of the life of Jesus I like better. Four different authors with four different backgrounds, different purposes and target audiences, each masterfully written. I tend to like John for certain parts, Luke for other parts, and Matthew and Mark for still other parts. One may wonder why God had four different men write four accounts of His Son’s earthly life. Put all four accounts together and you have a very good and relatively complete picture of Jesus’ life.

The first of the gospels was written by Matthew. Matthew is a name that is very dear to me just so you will know–it is my husband’s first name and my son’s middle name–but back to the point. Matthew was the former tax collector who previously went by the name Levi.  The book of Matthew seems to be purposed to prove Jesus’ lineage and that He is the Messiah. It starts out with a very thorough genealogy that shows us clearly that Jesus is of David’s lineage. Not much is said about the circumstances surrounding His conception or birth. Matthew is very concise when he points out how specific Old Testament scriptures have been fulfilled as relating to Jesus. The first example of this is in Matthew 2:16-18:

“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more”. Next, Matthew shows in chapter 3 how a scripture from the book of Isaiah was being realized.

Matthew’s target audience was the Jews, the ones who had rejected Jesus as their king. His account of Jesus’ life was to prove to the Jews that this poor carpenter was indeed their Messiah, and had the lineage to back up His claim! This book also contains the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes (Chapter 5).

Mark’s account does not appear to be written for the Jews. This is evidenced by the fact that Mark often explains traditions practiced by Hebrews, something they would already be aware of. His record seems to emphasize the deeds executed by Jesus, reminding us that Jesus came here to be a servant, which is what all of us Christians truly are–servants. Luke, the physician, the only Gentile author within the Bible, obviously also wrote for a non-Hebrew audience–like Mark, he often explains Hebrew customs and traditions. His book is addressed to Theophilus, a Greek, and offers the most concise version of our Lord’s birth and childhood out of all four Gospels. John’s book is universal. It is designed to appeal to everyone. John is especially concerned with proving our Lord’s deity. Look no further than how it begins:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome  it”.

The book of John also consists of the 7 (there goes that number 7 again!) “I am” declarations, which I love…

“I AM…

…the bread of life…

…the light of the world…

…the gate…

….the good shepherd…

…the resurrection and the life…

…the way, the truth, and the life… (my personal favorite)

…the vine…”

The books of Mark and John deal with the nature of our Lord, with Mark taking on the human aspect of Jesus and John being more concerned with His divine nature, and Matthew and Luke are more focused on His purpose as the Savior of the Jews (Matthew) and as well the Savior of all mankind (Luke).

The story of Jesus’ birth is well known–he was not born in a fancy hospital of course, and not even in a decent house, for that matter. He was born in a manger surrounded by animals. He was trained in His earthly father’s craft of carpentry. At the age of 12, He gets separated from his parents after the Festival of the Passover, and after three days is found teaching in a temple, already appearing wiser than His years and especially knowledgeable about Scripture. This occurred when He was only twelve (Luke 2:41-51). After that, we know nothing else about His life until He was 30 and began His ministry.

(Sidebar: Did you notice how Jesus was saved from a treacherous king (Herod) who had decreed that all baby boys were to be killed, similar to how Pharaoh had decreed all Hebrew boys to be killed during Moses’s infancy?)

There are too many practical applications within these Scriptures, some in the form of parables, that we can glean from Jesus’ life in these four books to discuss in one post–Christians know that Jesus provides us with the model as to how we should go about our daily lives. Jesus is the epitome of love, hence His sacrifice of His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. Therefore, we as Christians should be loving above all other things.

Jesus was also humble. Think about it–He is the only begotten Son of God, yet He rode into Bethlehem on a donkey (Matthew 21)! There was no “red carpet” rolled out for Him. He was not trotted about in a gold-and-diamond encrusted carriage or a flashy limo. No, He rode in on a donkey. Maybe this is a reason why I have an aversion, and perhaps even a disgust, of the worship society places on the extravagance exuded by celebrities. Why should I look favorably upon someone spending thousands of dollars on stupid stuff such as facials and clothes that will just go out of style in a few weeks anyway? I much prefer the example set by Jesus–even despite His power and importance, He always remained focused and humble.

Jesus showed human emotion, and showed us how to handle them. He was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness after having fasted for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13) . (Did you notice that number 40 again)? I LOVE THIS STORY… Think about it, our mental and physical capabilities are undoubtedly tied together. When we are weak in the body, we also tend to be weak in the mind. Jesus was NOT. Satan first tempts Jesus by telling Him to turn stones into bread. Jesus is divine, but I am sure His human side was hungry after such a long fast. Yet, He responds with Scripture. For each additional temptation (He is tempted to bow down to the Devil in exchange for all kingdoms and principalities, and to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the mountain), He responds steadfastly–with Scripture. Eventually, Satan flees.

Again–God tests us to strengthen our spiritual character and resolve and bring us closer to him; Satan tempts us to bring us into separation from God through sin. Jesus did not have to do anything marvelous to cause Satan to leave Him alone–He merely quoted Scripture and stood His ground. Our best weapon against the enemy is the Word of God AND faith in God’s promises.

Jesus also got angry. When He saw that the temple had been changed into a merchant complete with money-changers, He turned tables over and drove them out. So as humans, it is understandable and acceptable for us to get angry, as long as we “sin not”. It is impossible to live this life and not get angry–my 13-month-old daughter even appears to get angry sometimes. Yet, we can handle anger without harsh or foul language or vengeful actions.

I have many favorites in these Gospels that I can outline. One of them is the story of Jesus walking on water (Matthew 1422-33). I am sure most, if not everyone, know this story-Jesus and His disciples are on a boat, and scares the wits out of them when He appears walking on the water. The disciples at first think He is a ghost. Peter wants proof that it is Jesus: “If it’s you, tell me it’s you” (paraphrased). Jesus tells Peter to come, and Peter does just that. He is fine walking on the water until he takes his eyes off Jesus–as soon as he does, he begins to sink. Tell me that is NOT good stuff there!!!

That little story there has so much application to my daily life, I do not know where to begin. As a young adult, my faith was not strong, and I was sinking fast into the depths of sin and destruction. As soon as I put my eyes back on Jesus, I have been upward bound ever since. Are things perfect? Nope. Do I have everything I want? No, as is evidenced by the fact that I did not get that job I wanted. BUT, do I believe God knows what is best for me and will give me what I need in due time? Yup. Of course I get impatient, and unfortunately, sometimes my faith wanes a little. But I never allow it to get me to where I do not pray, study, and fellowship with other believers. That is the only way I keep my faith intact. My impatience, in my opinion, IS a test I intend to pass.

During the next few days it will be my pleasure to reacquaint myself with the Gospels and examine Judas (who I find fascinating). Admittedly it has been awhile since I read them–I have been concentrating on the Old Testament in the past few months–so it will be a good refresher for me to look at the life of Jesus, whom I love, leading up to the day He provided the ultimate sacrifice so a former drinker and brawler like myself can go to Heaven!!!!!!!

 

 

 

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