A Gift from God

Soon after Jesus appointed His twelve apostles, He appeared before a large crowd and delivered His first recorded sermon known as the Sermon on the Mount.  Many people were aware of the miracles Jesus was performing and were eager to hear Him teach.  The message Jesus delivered was centered on the understanding that righteousness was needed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Jewish religious leaders known as the Pharisees also taught that righteousness was needed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; however, they believed righteousness was attained by observing rituals and traditions.  Jesus came to deliver righteousness as a gift from God to those who placed their faith in Him.

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:20 (NIV)

The Sermon on the Mount begins with a list of statements that begin with the phrase “Blessed are the,” which are commonly referred to as the Beatitudes.  Jesus uses this starting point to identify the characteristics of a righteous person and the blessings that follow.

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3 (NIV)

Jesus begins with the foundation from which all righteousness flows.  Those who are “poor in spirit” have come to realize they have no righteousness and therefore need to depend on God to supply their need.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

Unlike the Pharisees who believed they were without sin, a truly righteous person will “mourn” the presence of sin and therefore find comfort in God.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”  Matthew 5:5 (NIV)

The unrighteous believe they can do everything on their own.  The righteous are the “meek” that are willing to submit to the authority of God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

If you have an appetite for a deeper understanding and relationship with God, you are on your way to righteousness.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”  Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

The Pharisees did not believe they had a responsibility to help the less fortunate because they believed their troubles were punishment from God.  Jesus taught the exact opposite.  True righteousness is exemplified by genuine concern for others.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

Entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven requires conformity to the holiness of God, which is unattainable through human effort.  God’s unchangeable, unalterable, absolute holiness can only be attained as a gift from God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

The first step in becoming a “peacemaker” is to find peace with God.  Those who have trusted the message of Jesus are those who have found peace with God and are therefore “called children of God.”

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:10 (NIV)

Finally, Jesus made the point that following Him would mean that the unrighteous would turn against you.  Jesus taught that those who were willing to stand with Him and therefore stand against unrighteousness, would find their way into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Pharisees believed they could work their way into the Kingdom of Heaven through their own power and observance of religious rituals and traditions.  Jesus came to let us know that righteousness can only be attained through the absolute, unalterable holiness of God and is delivered as a gift to those who put their faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”  Matthew 5:12 (NIV)

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Jesus is Lord

Jesus often healed people on the Sabbath which enraged the Jewish leaders.  In His own defense, Jesus told the Jewish leaders that God is always working.

In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”  John 5:17 (NIV)

Of course, when he referred to God as His very own Father, this only made things worse.  The Jewish leaders believed this to be blasphemy – punishable by death.  Indeed, Jesus claimed to be equal with God.

“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.”  John 5:21 (NIV)

In addition, Jesus claimed to have been given authority by God to judge all men.  He also made it clear to the Jewish leaders that rejection of Him was a rejection of God.

“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.”  John 5:22-23 (NIV)

To prove the truth of his statements, Jesus provided the Jewish leaders with five witnesses to His claim.  John the Baptist testified concerning Christ (John 5:33-35).  The miracles Christ performed were witness to His power (John 5:36).  The Father Himself was a witness at the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:11).  The Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah were a witness (John 5:39).  And finally, Jesus said that Moses was a witness (Deuteronomy 18:15).

Jesus made a substantial case for his deity to the Jewish leaders and the remainder of the New Testament provides us with an overwhelming revelation of the truth – Jesus is Lord (Romans 6:23).

 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”  John 5:24 (NIV)

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Living Water

During His ministry, Jesus had to work through some long standing prejudice.  For various reasons Jews did not associate with Samaritans.  In addition, Jews believed men should avoid social contact with women to avoid ceremonial defilement.  Nevertheless, when Jesus found himself alone with a Samaritan woman, He engaged her in a conversation and asked her for help getting a drink from the well.  The woman was shocked and couldn’t believe a Jewish man was speaking with her.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  John 4:10 (NIV)

Jesus was essentially calling Himself a “gift of God” while making reference to His supernatural powers.  The woman realized Jesus was making supernatural claims and was skeptical.  Jesus went on to give her a more complete picture of what He had to offer.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14 (NIV)

Of course this woman wanted to be relieved of the burden of traveling to the well for water every day and she let Jesus know she was ready to receive His living water.  In order for the woman to better understand exactly what He was offering, Jesus revealed some information about her personal life that would have been impossible for Him to know.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”  John 4:17-18 (NIV)

Now the supernatural powers of Jesus were on full display and the woman believed Jesus was sent by God.  She was now concerned about her place of worship. The Samaritans worshiped God in the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim.  The Jews worshiped God in the temple in Jerusalem.  Jesus made it clear there is no specific place needed to worship God.  God is everywhere.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”  John 4:23 (NIV)

This caused the woman to recall she had heard the Messiah was supposed to come and explain everything regarding God, and Jesus made it clear the Messiah had come.

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”  John 4:26 (NIV)

Leaving her water jar behind, the woman went into town to share this amazing news.  Before long, Jesus had a crowd of Samaritans to speak to and He stayed with them two days.  Christ proclaimed His message of salvation and many Samaritans came to believe.

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”  John 4:42 (NIV)

Jesus had offered Himself as Messiah-Savior to the Samaritans and many were eager to drink from the well of living water.

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Truth and Light

Jesus made it clear from the beginning of His ministry what His mission was and how He expected people to respond.  Jesus was brought into the world by God and is the crowning achievement in His enormously complex plan to save mankind.  God is working every moment of every day to bring about the kingdom of God.  His intentions are revealed in the pages of the Bible and were brought to life through Jesus Christ.

God loves the world so much He sent His Son to die for the sins of the world so that we might all have eternal life.  Jesus came to save us.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:17 (NIV)

We were all condemned to die way back in the book of Genesis (Genesis 2:17).  Before that death sentence, we were all scheduled to have eternal life.  Jesus came to restore that benefit.  His simple message is to believe in Him – to trust his path to salvation.

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”  John 3:18 (NIV)

The problem many people have is their obsession with sin.  Jesus is a bright light.  Some people avoid Jesus because they do not want that bright light to expose their sin.

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”  John 3:20 (NIV)

Conversely, those who believe in truth cherish light.  Entrance into the kingdom of God is illuminated by the light of truth.  Jesus Christ is a lighthouse beacon directing willing souls into the kingdom of God.

“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”  John 3:21 (NIV)

Light or darkness; it’s a choice we all have to make.  For some, this is an easy and obvious choice.  For others, selfish pride bolstered by the devil makes the decision difficult, or simply keeps them going in the wrong direction.  There’s a battle going on here and we all need to stand on our own two feet when choosing sides.  There is no coercion on the part of our Lord – He’s made the offer and it’s up to us to move toward the light.

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Born Again

One of the Jewish leaders, a man named Nicodemus, came to visit with Jesus one evening.  It’s not clear if he came in the night so no one else would see him, or if this just happened to be the time when Jesus was available.  What is clear is he was curious to know more about the teachings of Jesus.  Jesus had been performing many miracles and Nicodemus was convinced these were supernatural acts empowered by God.

“He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”  John 3:2 (NIV)

Most of the Jewish leaders were intimidated by Jesus and felt threatened by his growing popularity.  They feared they would be robbed of their power and their control.  Nicodemus was different, he had an open mind.  He was ready to learn from Jesus.  His primary concern was how to get into the coming kingdom of God.  The answer Jesus provided was surprising.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”  John 3:3 (NIV)

The concept of being born again was lost on Nicodemus.  As a Jew, Nicodemus believed he was entitled to enter the kingdom of God because of his genealogy and his constant adherence to the Jewish law. Trusting the intellectual prowess of Nicodemus, Jesus attempted to fill in the gaps in his understanding.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”  John 3:5-6 (NIV)

Jesus was essentially telling Nicodemus his earthly birth; that of his “flesh,” was not enough to carry him into the kingdom of God; he would also need a spiritual birth.  Jesus was telling Nicodemus that you must be sinless to enter the kingdom of God, and no human father can transmit a sinless genealogy.  Only Jesus, the Son of God, can transmit a sinless nature to His children.

“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.”  John 3:13 (NIV)

Nicodemus was sitting with the one and only person who could provide him with the key to the kingdom of God.

“So the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”  John 3:14-15 (NIV)

Jesus was giving Nicodemus the simple message that he only needed to believe – he only needed to confess his sins and trust Jesus to be born again.

And so we are brought to this very familiar verse known throughout the world.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 (NIV)

Nicodemus came to Jesus because he could not deny the spirit of God was working through Him as he performed His miracles.  It was now time for Nicodemus to trust that same spirit to provide his salvation and be born again.

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Temptation

Before Jesus began His ministry here in this world, He spent time in the desert fasting and praying.  During this time, Satan came to tempt Jesus with three weaknesses of mankind.

“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”  1 John 2:16 (NIV)

These are three tools the devil uses to manipulate all of us – the lust of the flesh – the lust of the eyes – the pride of life.  Of course, Jesus could not be tempted by the devil, and the way he responded to Satan is a profound lesson we all need to consider.

Satan began his assault on Jesus by appealing to His hunger – the lust of the flesh.  Having fasted for many days, Jesus would have had a strong desire to satisfy the need for food.  Standing firm against the devil’s attack, Jesus quoted scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

We all have our own cravings to fulfill the desires of our bodies that we must deal with on a daily basis.  Jesus is teaching us that we are not only sustained by food, we are completely sustained by God.  First and foremost in our life is our duty to God.

Satan’s second assault on Jesus was a test of his pride of life.  The devil challenged Jesus to demonstrate the power of God.  Again, Jesus answered the devil with a quote from the Bible (Deuteronomy 6:16).

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  Matthew 4:7 (NIV)

We all have talents and skills that we depend on to help us get through life.  The devil often uses those abilities against us by stimulating our pride.  It feels good to be the best at something and the devil knows how to use that weakness to push us away from God.

Jesus had no reason to prove the power of God – that power is an absolute certainty and in no need of proof.  If we are likewise certain of our own abilities, there will be no need to show off or seek ungodly attention to prove our superiority.  We are not to trust in our own abilities – we are to trust in God.

Satan’s final assault on Jesus targeted the lust of the eyes.  Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would only worship the devil.  Of course, Jesus responded by quoting scripture (Deuteronomy 6:13).

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”  Matthew 4:10 (NIV)

We all have cravings to attain greater material wealth.  Who doesn’t want a bigger house, a new car, or a larger bank account?  These things are not in any way evil unless you have made a decision to use the devil’s assistance to acquire them.  The devil is clever and will make following him seem like an honest way to get ahead in life; be careful, seek first God’s direction and plan your life based on that instruction.

Jesus stood His ground against Satan by depending on the Word of God.  We need to follow that precise plan of action as we encounter the devil in our own lives.  Submission to the Word of God is how we stay connected to the will of God.  Once Satan realized he had no useful avenue of attack against Jesus, he walked away.

“Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”  Matthew 4:11 (NIV)

Jesus demonstrated for us the best way to keep the devil at bay is to stand firmly on the Word of God.  If we consider carefully what God wants from us, it is unlikely the devil will have any room to squeeze his way into our life.  Stay in the Word and the Word will stay in you, protecting you from the schemes of the devil.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Stand Up for Jesus!

“Your kingdom come; your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:10 (NASB)

If we truly want Jesus to return and His kingdom to come, we need to be much more focused on following His instructions.  We need to let Jesus know we are busy preparing for His arrival.  Honestly, we should be way beyond preparation by now – we should be prepared – but we are not.  This is not entirely our fault.  We have an extraordinarily crafty and capable enemy who is doing everything possible to keep us busy elsewhere.  Jesus simplified our mission when he commanded us to love God and love our neighbor  (Matthew 22:36-40).  Most Christians do a good job loving God, but when it comes to loving our neighbor – unfortunately, we still have a long way to go in preparation for the return of Jesus.  We need to do a much better job pushing the devil aside in order to serve those in need.

Be Shrewd as Serpents

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”  Matthew 10:16 (NASB)

We need to share the love of God in every encounter we have throughout the day; but at the same time, we have to avoid the devil taking advantage of our willingness to serve.  For instance, if a large group of Christians puts their resources together to feed the local homeless population, much more can be accomplished than if each person is trying to feed the homeless on their own.  This is one way the devil uses misdirection to weaken our power.  Feeding the homeless individually is a good thing – but a large group of Christians working together is likely far more effective.  Don’t let the devil send you off on your own and thereby weaken the Body of Christ.

One on One

There are times when working on our own is absolutely called for; however, the devil wants us to believe we are too busy to slow down and respond to the individuals we encounter with sincere love.  The devil puts people in our lives specifically designated to distract and drain our capacity to love.  As a result, we end up giving less to those most deserving.  We have to prioritize our efforts.  We each need to focus our time on those God has placed closest to our heart and do our best to direct others to another resource.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:15-16 (NASB)

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Team Effort

As pointed out above, when we work together we expand our capabilities exponentially.  When we stand together as a team for Jesus, our ability to block the efforts of the enemy is also greatly enhanced. Christians working together as a team deepens relationships and builds coalitions that can be called upon again and again to serve God efficiently.  In preparation for the return of Jesus, we should be maximizing our efforts by building effective teams whenever possible.

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NASB)

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The Whole Body

Ultimately, our greatest team effort will be our entire church congregation focused and dedicated to serving God by serving others.  Most churches have ongoing outreach programs, mission programs, and community service projects.  Too often, these ministries are only a small part of any overall church focus.  Our best preparation for the return of Jesus will include churches that are 100% dedicated to serving God by serving others every single day of the year.  Churches should be facilitating team efforts, one-on-one efforts, and whole congregation efforts to stand up for Jesus in service to those in need.

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”  Matthew 25:40 (NASB)

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You Must Do Your Part

None of us should be sitting around waiting for someone else to get the ball rolling.  Each and every one of us needs to be on mission twenty-four-seven.  The devil and his minions never sleep.  They are constantly looking for ways to distract and divide the Body of Christ.  When we are all passionately dedicated to serving God by serving others, we are an unstoppable force.  Take this moment to evaluate your own role in God’s plan.  Use the resources provided here combined with your own talents and resources to move forward one-on-one, as a team, and along with the whole body.  Serve God by serving others.  Stand up for Jesus by following his teaching and demonstrating to those around you the value of knowing our Savior Jesus Christ.

“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  Romans 13:11-12 (NASB)

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Change

And Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

Adults tend to be set in their ways and resistant to change.  Children are open to new ideas and are ready to trust and follow respected mentors.  Jesus Christ is our mentor and His instruction is clear and unambiguous.  We are to turn away from the misdirection of the devil and follow His example to serve God by serving others.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2 (NASB)  

The world we live in likes to push us into negative patterns of destruction.  Frustration and anxiety often keep us from productive change.  We have to fight the urge to respond to others while distracted by our fears and open our hearts in a way that allows us to respond with love.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

Responding with love in all situations is our ultimate goal.  We can all do a better job in that regard.  Rather than finding reasons to say no, we need to start looking for reasons to say yes.  Rather than being frozen in fear by our own burdens, we need to trust God and focus on the burdens of others.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”  Ephesians 5:1-2 (NASB)

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been given an enormous undeserved gift.  Our guaranteed eternal life with Jesus should be our constant focus.  How can we have a negative attitude when we have been so greatly blessed?  We need to approach every day with the clear understanding that we are going forward filled with the Holy Spirit and our strength comes from the Lord.  The path we take needs to be His path and not our own.  Our mission is to love God and to serve Him by serving others with the love He provides.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  Galatians 2:20 (NASB)

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

The Words and Works of Jesus Christ: A Study of the Life of Christ

Dwight Pentecost was a distinguished professor emeritus of Bible exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary. He was a well-respected Biblical scholar who wrote many books, mostly for the average Christian reader. The Words and Works of Jesus Christ is a master-work filled with the kind of detail that brings the events to life.  Along with his own careful analysis, Pentecost includes many long passages written by other Biblical scholars that serve as corroboration and add texture to the overall narrative.

Working chronologically, Pentecost takes the reader from the announcement of the conception of Jesus to his final days after the resurrection.  Absolutely no stone is left unturned in this deeply thoughtful examination of the life of Jesus.  I have never read anything as complete as The Words and Works of Jesus Christ.  Understand that this kind of meticulous attention to detail makes for a density of words and concepts that will require careful reading.  Regardless of the need to slow down, there is never a boring moment.  After all, the topic being considered is of the uttermost importance to each and every one of us.  I was not bothered at all by the density of this material, in fact, I was thrilled to be given so much to consider and digest.

There is a companion work that goes along with this book that I would highly recommend:  A Harmony of the Words and Works of Jesus Christ: From the New International Version.  This is simply the NIV text composed in the same chronological order, and following the same topic outline as Words and Works of Jesus Christ.  If you are not already completely familiar with the four gospels, I would suggest reading this harmony volume first before you dig into Pentecost’s analysis.  On the other hand, if you are already completely familiar with the four gospels, I would recommend you read the analysis volume first followed by the NIV harmony which will be a quick and enjoyable read after being filled with all of the background and theological detail from the analysis.

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Indivisible

When soldiers go off to war and come face-to-face with life and death situations on a daily basis, their lives are changed forever.  What often gets overlooked is the emotional toll their service takes on the lives of family members left behind.  The film Indivisible is the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner.  Fresh out of seminary, Turner is sent off to the war in Iraq, leaving his wife Heather and three young kids behind.  Turner is assigned a 15 month deployment that will test his ability to adapt to the tragedies of war while trying to remain close to his family thousands of miles away.

As an Army Chaplain, Turner has to regularly confront death and the fragile emotions left behind in the hearts of the soldiers he is assigned to serve. At the same time, his wife Heather has volunteered to take on the task of ministering to the needs of the wives of soldiers left behind.  The distance and difficult emotions they both endure begin to wedge apart their relationship.  When Turner comes home, he is a different man, suffering from PTSD that makes it almost impossible for him to reconnect with Heather.

“Indivisible” weaves the story of the Turner’s struggle together with the stories of other soldiers and wives who they come into contact with.  Together, these stories paint a powerful image of the tragedy of war and how it plays out in the lives of those who serve on the battle field and those who wait for them to return home after the war.

This is a well-produced film with great acting, directing, and a good musical score.  There are many inspiring moments of faith played out in the lives of the men and women serving in Iraq, as well as the lives of the family members left behind.  Indivisible is a sobering look at the cost of war and the awesome sacrifice made by those who choose to serve.