Monday, March 28, 2011


You might not know that one of the key words in the gospel of Mark is “immediately.” This seemingly unassuming adverb occurs no less than 43 times in the entire book. Adverbs play an immensely important part in the English language, and that importance can be carried into our Bible study. Where verbs tell us what was, is, or should be done, adverbs tell us HOW. Let’s take a look at Mark to see how this word applies in the text.

Jesus healed immediately. Jesus’ miracles are a huge focus of the book of Mark (particularly in the first half of the book). In the entire sixteen chapters, there are fifteen miracles, and eight of these miracles use the word “immediately” to describe the expediency with which Jesus’ healing occurred. For example, in Mark 2, Jesus heals the paralytic who was lowered through the roof in Capernaum. As soon as Jesus told the man to “pick up [his] pallet and go home”, the man “got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone” (2:11-12). Jesus didn’t say, “Alright, that should do it, you’ll be better in a few days.” It was immediate. This more than anything proves Jesus’ power and might. Not only did He fix seemingly unfixable problems, but He did so instantaneously.

Satan goes to work immediately. If you have a minute, go and read through Mark 4. In this section Jesus tells the parable of the sower, or perhaps more accurately, the parable of the soils. If you were raised in the church, you’ve probably read this a million times before and heard a hundred sermons on it, so I’ll be quick in summarizing. Basically, Jesus is talking about the different ways people can react to God’s word. Take a look at vs. 15, where Jesus starts to explain the meaning of the parable: “These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.” Satan’s not interested in waiting around until he thinks you can put up a decent fight; as soon as you hear the word, he’s after you. Once you hear the word, there’s a chance he’s going to lose you to God. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that Satan wants our souls just as much as God does. So how do we defend ourselves against him? First, we are to be aware of his pursuit (1 Peter 5:8), and being aware, to resist him (1 Peter 5:9, James 4:7). Being the right kind of soil isn’t just “luck of the draw”; it’s a choice. Satan worked just as hard on the good soil as he did on the bad, but the good soil held on to be fruitful.

Jesus wants our response immediately. At the very beginning of the book, in Chapter 1, Jesus calls his first apostles, Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. At this point Jesus has performed no miracles; He has just come into Galilee “preaching the gospel of God” (1:14). Simon and Andrew had no visual proof of Jesus’ power yet, and had to leave their livelihood to follow them, but out of what must have been incredible faith and desire to follow God, “immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (1:18). Like Simon and Andrew, we have never seen Jesus perform miracles with our own eyes. However, if we’re going to wait until He returns to see proof, we’ll have waited far too long! And if we DO believe in Jesus and his power, that belief should trigger immediate action. Jesus doesn’t want us to follow Him “when we get a minute” or “on our own time”; He wants us to follow and obey Him NOW. Immediately. Let’s shift gears for a second and take a look at Acts 16 and the account of the Philippian jailor. (If you want to read verses 22 through 34, that’d be great.) Once you’ve done that, jump down to verse 33 again: “And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, him and all his household.” The Philippian jailor wasn’t waiting around. He wasn’t going to put it off until it was convenient for him. He wasn’t going to take the time to weigh out his options. He was baptized. He was saved. He was added to the Lord’s church. He was made right with God. Immediately.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Biblical Geekout


I look at people who think it's just a boring old book and I just can't understand. It's only boring to the people who aren't going to take the time to look any deeper than the surface. The mere premise of such a book, a book that contains within its pages EVERYTHING we need to survive in this life and make it to the next one, is incredible in and of itself. That alone would be more awe-inspiring than any book man could ever contrive. But here's the thing: there's so many hidden treasures in it, too. There are tons of little connections to be made that we don't really NEED to make. We can go to heaven even if we don't realize how cool this or that aspect of Scripture is... but we get to realize how cool they are!!

This isn't going to be a really formal article for two reasons. Quite frankly, I don't know how I would organize it. More importantly, however, this isn't "for sure." It's speculation, and I think it's well founded speculation, but it's one of those things you just can't know for sure until you get to Heaven and ask God about it. If you have a different opinion on the matter, good for you. You don't have to listen to me. However, I think the way all this ties together is really super incredible. :)

Alright. We're going to flip around a lot, but bear with me. Go ahead and look at Genesis 6:1-4. (I'm just gonna post it here but if you want to have your Bible so you can mark it or something like that, cool.) This is right before the account of the flood.

"Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he is also flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.' The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, wen the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown."

So... a lot of people take the "sons of God" to be the descendants of Seth, because Christ came through Seth's lineage. Which makes sense. However, every other time the phrase translated "sons of God" is used in Scripture, it's referring to angels (see Job 1:6 for an example). So what, angels came to earth and married people? How's that work? Well... I'm not sure. But take a look at Jude 6. Jude's warning those he is writing to about the danger of false teachers, so he's calling to mind what happens to those who disobey God. Verse 6 says:

"And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day."

The "domain" and "proper abode" of the angels would be heaven, right? So it sounds like they abandoned heaven. Huh. Now look at 2 Peter 2:4-5, where Peter is ALSO talking about false prophets and using the same tactic as Jude:

"For God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly."

I don't know about you, but that for sure makes it sound to me like the angels sin ended up having something to do with the flood. (For real though, you might not think so. Which is cool. 'Cause this isn't a heaven or hell issue. Just speculating.) Couple that with Jude 6 and it sounds like their sin was leaving heaven. Now look back at Genesis 6:2: "The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose." So angels left Heaven, and then the sons of God, who could plausibly be angels, were cohabiting with people and marrying them. Which was apparently a problem. I think the fact that the very next thing Moses talks about were these super-human Nephilim is an interesting tie-in... if the dads were angels, you certainly wouldn't expect the kids to be normal, now would you?

So how does God get rid of angels on the earth? Take a look at Matthew 8:28-34, where Jesus casts out "Legion." (Go ahead and just read this whole passage for me and then I'll focus in.) Okay. Verse 32:

"And He said to them, 'Go!' And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters."

So what happened to the demons? Surely they didn't drown... right? Look at what Jesus says in Matthew 12:43.

"Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it."

Now, we know the Bible is inspired. We know there's not a single word in there that God didn't hand pick to say EXACTLY what He wanted it to say. So why would He mention "waterless"? I take it to mean that spirits have an issue with water, especially when you consider that water apparently got rid of Legion.

I realize that angels and spirits most likely aren't quite the same, but it would make a lot of sense if they were similar in a lot of ways. Especially when you consider what God did after the sons of God came down to earth and were being sinful right along with men.



Like I keep saying, I'll never know for sure if that's definitely the way things played out. But it makes some sense, doesn't it? And either way, I consider it a huge blessing that there are so many hidden mysteries in the Bible that we get to try and solve that we don't NEED to know the answer to. It's just there for us to think about and geek out about and appreciate the complexity.


"How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" -Psalm 119:103

~green eyes :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Deep Breath

Take a deep breath.

The prisoners were divided into three groups. The fit became slaves. The excessively unfortunate were kept for "medical experimentation." Most were sent to the gas chambers.

They had come packed like cattle in trains. No place to use the restroom. No place to be sick. No place to move the corpses of the people who had fallen over dead on the way. After days of wallowing in their own filth, they entered the camp.

Children were ripped from their mothers' arms. Families were separated. Best friends were separated. Husbands and wives were separated.

They were told they were going to be de-loused. They were going to get a shower.

They piled into the large concrete boxes. The doors slammed shut behind them. Zyklon B pesticide rushed through the vents.

They cried. They screamed. They clamored. The weakest died first. They became the first steps in the staircase of people.

The slaves were sent in to detangle the bodies. They always found them in a neat pyramid.

If you visit Auschwitz today, you can see fingerprints, engraved forever on the solid concrete ceiling.

They literally tried to claw their way out for that one last gasp of air. They climbed on top of each other to stay above the gas, to get that one last gasp of air.

I have bad days. I have really lousy days. I have days when I don't know how I'm going to deal with what's coming. But you know what else I have?


Take a deep breath.

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!" -Psalm 150:6