Monday, October 16, 2017

Marc 1:21-39 (daily bread of 16/10/17)

key verse: 25
JESUS CASTS OUT A DEMON 
Capernaum was Jesus' headquarters of his ministry in Galilee. As soon as Jesus was baptized he was faced with evil spirits. Indeed, most of the diseases are caused by the influence of evil spirits.
1. "What have we to do with you ?" (21-27)
Jesus entered the synagogue and taught God's word. His word was very powerful and its impact was considerable. Its authority was unbeatable. The crowd was used to the teaching of scribes who didn't bear Jesus' word which had the true authority. The leaders claimed the recognition of their authority supported by human institutions, but they were powerless. But Jesus' authority had an other source. It came from God himself. John the Baptist also had authority which came from his obedience to God. Jesus' authority was the same source: absolute obedience to God's will. Before the authority of God's word, the demon scrambled. The demon was the first to recongnize Jesus. But Jesus casted it out so that it leaved the man. Our absolute obedience to God's word give us authority over the demon.
2. Jesus had the custom of the morning prayer ? (28-39)
Then, Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law who was sick. When Jesus touched her the fever left her. The demon had seized this woman, but Jesus delivered her. Then, she became a very useful person. In the evening, all kinds of sick flocked around Jesus. So he healed and above all he cast out many demons. The people suffered so much under the domination of the devil. But Jesus delivered all of them. Jesus was very occupied in the evening, but he didn't miss his appointment with God, because it was his source of power. Sometimes, he spent the whole night praying, but his habit was rather the morning, the first hour was for God. At this time, he looked for God's direction for his day. God gave him the direction to move to the next village, contrary to the will of his friends who wanted to enjoy to renown of the world. God's will is to save the souls. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Mark 1 :14-20 (Daily Bread of 14/10/17)


I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN


Key verse 1 :17

In today's lesson, Jesus calls his first four disciples on the Galilean seafront.

1. Spread the Gospel (14-15)

Jesus knew that John the Baptist was captured. John was a man of God. He categorically reprimanded Herod because he had taken his brother Philip's wife to be his own. John was not afraid of the King but he bravely fought against the sins that were common amongst his compatriots. In this situation it appeared as though God's was shaking and as though His justice took a serious blow. Those were some very dark days. However, Jesus did not become dispaired but rather he got up and spread the Gospel. The first message that he preached was that the time and the Kingdom of God were coming soon. This message meant that they were neither a far off nor futuristic. They were right there and then. How can one access them ? One needs to use the only two pathways that exist : repentance et faith.

2. The first four disciples followed Jesus (16-20)

Jesus called his first four disciples two by two. First he called Simon and Andre. They had a low social status. However, they were seeking the truth. Jesus therefore invited them to follow him. Follow Jesus means learning from him and becoming his disciple. Becoming one of Jesus' disciples entails looking for the truth, finding it and practising it. Jesus then gave them their mission. Their mission was to fish men out of the sea of sin. Up until now their joy or their sadness came from the number of fish that they caught. However, from now on their joy would come from saving the dying souls in the sea of sin. Jesus gave them the holy salvatory mission inspite of their youth and inexperience. He put a lot of hope in them. After their training period this vision will surely come to pass. These young people were so happy to get this call that they left behind their jobs and their families to consecrate their lifes to Jesus. These elements would have been dangereux to their spiritual growth and their future work.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Mark 1 : 1- 8 (Daily Bread of 12/10/17)


THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL


Key verse 1 :1

Mark enters directly into the description of Jesus’ ministry unlike the authors of the other Gospels. Let's start studying the Gospel from now on. Mark was not one of Jesus’ disciples but he was Apostle Peter's secretary and so he learned the Gospel’s message through him. This is the shortest Gospel and Mark wrote it about 67 A.D. The Gospel according to Mark focuses on the relationship between God and man. Mark wrote this Book for the pagans and so he tried to cite the ancient prophecies as little as possible.

1.     Beginning of the Gospel (1-4)

The Gospel according to Mark focuses on Jesus' ministry and so it talks very little about his birth. Moreover, from the very first page of the Gospel according to Mark,  he proclaims that Jesus is the Son of God. This proclamation is very similar to that of John's but unlike John Mark does not make it a doctrine. Jesus is the Son of God about whom Isaiah prophetised. Isaiah also prophetised the coming of Jesus' predecessor : John the Baptist. John was very humble as he was considered as the voice crying out in the desert. This is as a result of his complete self-denial. John's birth was  marked by his the mission that God gave him. His mission was to prepare the way of the Lord. Opening up the way refers to the act of contrition. When we repent the pathway to God opens up in us and we accept Jesus entirely and as we ought to.

2.     John appeared and started baptising (5-8)

In accordance with Isaiah’s prophecy, John appeared. Luke presented him by referring to his priestly origins whereas Mark barely speaks about this and that's leads us into thinking that he has a divine origin like Melchisedek. John was sent by God in order to prepare the way of the Lord. He therefore baptised many people in the River Jourdan to help them repent of their sins. Many came to him and many believed that he was th Messiah. However, John was so humble. He lived a very simple and humble life as he even went on to say that he was unworthy to lick Jesus' shoes. A man of God is of great value before God when he is humble. When the people confessed their sins and came to be baptised ; God forgave them of their sins.




Marc 1:9-13 (daily bread of 13/10/17)

Key verse: 9

JESUS WAS BAPTIZED AND TEMPTED

Today's story tells the two first works: Jesus's baptism and his temptation. The description of Marc is very short, but it has a great significance.
1. Jesus was baptized (9-11)
Baptism is defined as burying of the old nature and procurement of the new and holy nature (Rm 6:3). It's the result of repentance of a person. Jesus had any reason to be baptized by a man. But Jesus made it, because Jesus did'nt act according to his own desire but according to God the Father's will. God's will was to make God's work take turn from John the Baptist. Here we learn:
1) Our God is a God of history. All persons and things must be included in this history.
2) Many people act according their own way. Behind a mask of Christianity, in reality they act according to their own ideas and intelligence. But look at Jesus. Even if he was the Son, he renounced his self, he curved and lowered his head to be baptized. God the Father fully rejoiced and opened the heaven to send the Holy Spirit and make his voice listen to mankind, not because Jesus was the Son, but because of his obedience. These things was the inaugural ceremony of the ministry of Jesus. 
2. Jesus was tempted (5-8) 
The second inaugural ceremony of the ministry of Jesus was his passing to the desert and his tentation by Satan. According of the others gospels, Jesus was in the desert during 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus came on the earth with a precise goal: to destroy the enemy who in the past seduced all the earth. Therefore Jesus' coming was a divine ultimatum against the evil and tempter spirit. The fight is very hard so Jesus almost succumbed. But during each tentation of Satan about bread, abuse of God's name or vainglory of the world (Mt 4:1-11) Jesus pushed Satan by God's word. The wild beasts accompagnied him and the angels served him, so the fight was very bloody. This fight will be continue when Jesus will be killed, but the final victory is garanteed by his resurrection by which Satan's head will be crushed. 

Jonas 3 : 1-10 (Daily Bread of 10/10/17)


GO THERE AND SPREAD MY WORD

Jonas 3 : 1-10

Key verse 3 :2

God gave Jonas a second chance to accomplish his mission which entailed telling the inhabitants of Ninive to repent. By denying himself,  Jonas' message bore a lot of fruits.

1. Go there and spread the Word (1-6)

Ninive was the capital of the enemy's country. How can one love the inhabitants of Ninive ? However, that was the condition of God's heart towards them. After his repentance, Jonas was saved from the fish's stomach and he was convicted that God forgave him. Moved by God's grace, Jonas obeyed God's ordered and He took off joyfully. During one day Jonas preached the message of repentance. His message was very powerful. The result was remarkable because the inhabitants of Ninive, who were idolaters, abandonned their idols and started believing in God. It was not a simple matter of wanting to believe in Him but it was a national call for repentance. All of the citizens covered themselves with sackcloth as this act was symbolic for penitence. This information even reached the King who swapped his royal garments for sackcloth .

2. Who knows if God might… (7-10)

The King then made a decree calling for a national day of fasting. Therefore all of the inhabitants of Ninive and even the animals neither ate nor drank anything in order to express their profond penitence. All of creation suffers because of man's sins. That's the Apostle Paul's theology. The animals in Assyria were suffering as a result of their owners sins. They repented as well by covering themselves in sackcloth and by shouting towards God. However, only man is reponsible for changing his ways before God. Every man, animals not included as they are without sin, came back to God and turned away from his sinful ways. The decree is verse 9 seems a bit weird. However, it clearly shows at what point the Assyrians were desperate for God's help. « Who knows if God might… »This is the desperate cry of a hopeless man standing who is awaiting God's judgement.  God saw their sincere repentance and He changed his mind. He decided to no longer judge the city. Therefore, we see how God blesses the penitent heart and the fruits of repentance that it bears.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Jonah 2:1-11 (daily bread of 9/10/17)

key verse: 2:10
I WILL SING MY GRATITUDE
Jonah was a nationalist. He cant' waive his desir to see his country prosper and see evil for his enemy. God loved him and gave him training.
1. Jonah's prayer (1-7)
Jonas was dumped from the boat by the sailors, because he was the cause of hurricane which could kill them all. When he was dumped, a great fish waited for him. He stayed in the stomach of the sea monster during 3 days and 3 nights. In the absolute darkness, Jonah kneeled and prayed to God. In his prayer he doesn't express his repentance but he praised God who has answered his prayer when he was in absolute agony in the sea bottom. "I cried to you and you have answered me". When someone desesperately cries, God listens to him, regardless of his past sin. The environment in the sea bottom was terrible, Jonah became a marine plant engulfed in algae. His monologue was that the Lord was driven far from him. But it was Jonah who had fled from the Lord's face. In this situation, Jonah had a holy desir of come back to see the face of God in his temple. He makes sure that his prayer was rised to God's throne in his temple.
2. I will sing my gratitude (8-11)
Jonah thought that he was on his last legs. All was engulfed and crushed in the stomach of the fish. It was the moment when life seemed to have left Jonah. But, in this moment, God intervenes and listens to Jonah's prayer in his temple. The temple is the place where mankind worships. The people worship false gods. They lost their chance to be saved. But those who truly worship God are blessed by God and enjoy the divine life. The assurance of salvation comes to them. Jonah swears that now he will offer true worship to God. True worship consists of having the gratitude of the heart which is expressed through our songs. Jonah vows a vow to God that he will give a sacrifice to him and that he will keep his promise. So, this very pleasant vow had an immediate effect. God listened to his very humble and very desperate prayer and God intervenes in his matter, and Jonah was vomitted by the fish on the mainland.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Abdias 1:1-21 (daily bread of 6/10/17)

EDOM WILL BE DEDUCTED FOREVER
Introduction :
We don't know about Obadiah's life. He surely belonged to Judas' tribe, because he concerns himself with the behaviour of Edom towards Jerusalem. The Edomites had benefited from the invasion of Judah and of taken Jerusalem by the enemy armies to turn against God's people, aggravate their misfortune and be enhanced with their corpses. For that, the prophet announces to them that they will be wraped in the general God's judgment towards all the Pagans, and Judah will be a tool of their punishment, when they will be restored in their possessions. While the nations will perish, Judah will become the centre of God's reign.
1. The insolence of Edom's heart (1-9)
Edom is a descendant of Esau, the brother of Jacob. He tooks possession of the mountain of Seir. Their geopolitical situation was invincible. Their rest, thaf is their emplacement, was considered like in the stars. Because of their wealth, their heart became arrogant, saying "who will make me run down up to the earth" (3b). But God says that he will punish him because of his arrogance. The arrogance is the beginning of destruction. God will send enemies to invade his country (1). The country will be deeply humiliated by their friends who will betray him. They will mock of him because he was had, they had misled him. In fact, God made of this very smart people a stupid people, taking off his wisdom. God is the formidable sovereign. God blesses who we wants, God curses who he wants.
2. On the mountain of Zion, there will be survivors (10-21)
Edom had a serious problem which was jealousy, when his brother Israel was invaded by the enemy and taken in captivity, he enjoys (12). They looked him ans looted his property. But God says that he will be judged ans deducted forever (10) because of his pride. The day of the Eternal God was coming (15). This day wasn't only for Edom, but for all the nations (15). All the nations will be judged for what they done. Everyone will be summoned to Christ's court to be judged about what he done good of bad in his body (2 Co 5:17). It's a condemnetion reserved to all the sinners of the world. Nevertheless, the final sort of God's people is luminous because God has reserved a special place for them. Israel will be safeguarded by God's mercy without suffering the common sort of perdition. Through the power of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, God decided to forgive them and saveguard the life of Christ's people. The territory lost by Edom and the other countries will be finally fully restored. Our God is the sovereign God who reigns on the world (21).

Jonas 1 : 1-16 (Daily Bread of 7/10/2017)


RISE UP AND SHOUT


Key verse 1 :3

Introduction : Jonas worked during the time when Jeroboam II was King. Hosea and Amos were sent to predict the calamity that would fall on the idolatrous people inspite of their prosperity. Jonas, on the other hand, was sent to Ninive to preach God's Word. However, he was afraid to be used by God to save a people who were enemies to his own. During his flight, Jonas encountered a storm and was swallowed by a whale. He then realised his stupidity. The titles « Rise up and shout »(1) « Jonas prayed » « Rise up and shout. Make my Word known »(3) and « Jonas got upset » efficiently reveal the structure of this Book. The inhabitants of Ninive were saved by their faith in Jehovah God. This Book highlights the narrow-minded hearts of the Jews.  As Jesus said the only way to be saved is by repentance and obedience not by one’s works. It's a divine truth applicable to all time periods.

1.     Rise up and shout (1-3)

Jehovah God spoke to Jonas and He told him to go to Ninive in order to spread His Word. God had mercy on the Assyrians even though He will use them later on to punish the Israelites. However, Jonas fled as soon as he heard that his people’s foe was going to be saved. He did not want to obey God. In fact the real problem is that he did not understand God's heart which is aimed at saving all the peoples of the Earth. Jonas' heart was very narrow and so he took off in the opposite direction : Tarsis. He removed himself from God's presence. Following our own whims and fancies as opposed to obeying God separates us from God and prevents us from seeing His face.
2. A great storm brewed (4-16)
However Jehovah God used a natural disaster to manifest His presence. The ship that had taken Jonas was in danger. The seamen drew lots to determine the origin of this unfortunate sea event. The result fell on Jonas. He must of felt guilty at this point and that explains why he gave himself up so willingly as a sacrifice. In the meanwhile he was to talk about God whom he had disobeyed. The seamen were thus able to adopt the Hebrew English in spite of their fear. After praying they decided to throw Jonas overboard. According to the Word they gave God an offering and they made their vows before Him. A disobedient man was used to bring salvation to others !


Amos 9 : 1-15 (Daily Bread of 5/10/2017)


IN THOSE DAYS I WILL RAISE THEM UP 


Key verse 9 :11

Amos had a last vision which concerne the Lord. In this vision Bethel, the temple in which the people adored the golden calf, will fall. Amos proclaimed that God will come after the people.

 1. No survivor will escape again (1-10)

Amos saw the Lord standing on the altar. He then ordered His angels to destroy the temple. The altar, which was supposed to geared towards adoring God, was soiled because the Israelites religious amalgation. Therefore, the day of judgement against this religion will be one of vengeance .God's anger began to spark when the sinners abused His patience by walking over His orders. God will them down to punish them. They will try to flee without finding any place of refuge. There where the dead lie, on the summit of mount Carmel, in the enemy’s country, God will follow them wherever they go in order to destroy them. There God said : I will have my eyes on them constantly and I will dream of their doom, not of their happiness (4b). The God of Israel is the Lord God who created the heavens and the Earth.  Heaven is his home and the Earth His footstool. When He touches the Earth, it crumbles. The once chosen people no longer had any privileges and were seen as Ethiopian pagans. Nevertheless, Amos tried to remind God of His grace by which He saved His people from Egypt. However, God decided to destroy them because of their sins. Nevertheless, He promised to not destroy them completely ; He will them up a bit but the Earth shall not be destroyed (9c). Only those who were sinning shall be destroyed, those who impeded Amos from prophetising.

2. God promises to restore Israel (11-15)

After this last vision, God gave Amos a new one wherein He will restore Israel. David's shaky hut is the only legitimate Kingdom that shall be restored. The other tribes shall be under their control. In any case, after have been deported the two brother tribes will be brought together. Therefore, God will rebuild Israel as it was in the past. He will then take possession of the neighbouring tribes. The day of fertility and of abundance will come back to the country. God will then bring back His people from their captivity in order for them to live in the devastated country. His people will no longer be uprooted from the promised land, the heritage that God promised them.




Amos 7 : 1-17 (Daily Bread of 3/10/2017)


AMOS SAID : I CAN ONLY SPEAK 

Key verse 7 : 15 

In the third part of this Book we get to see Amos' visions. They came from God. Amos was persecuted until hewas finally chased by the religious people. In the meanwhile Amos' faith was revealed .

1.     Amos' shepherd heart. (1-9) 
Amos' first vision was about the devastating locusts. God gave him this vision during the time of the recovery. The first shoot belonged to the King while the rest was given to the owners. Therefore, this catastrophe threatened everyone. After speaking on God's behalf, Amos made a request before God on the people’s behalf. Amos did not protest against the justice behind God's judgement but rather he called upon His compassion. His goal was to soften God's heart towards the people’s weakness. However, one second after this a greater threat made its appareance. The fire consumed all of the sea water (the abyss) and the fields. However, one again the prophet's intercessory prayers encouraged God to turn His judgement away. The third vision concerns the plumb line (the spirit level).  Nowadays, masons use this triangular shaped instrument .The plumb line is suspended from this triangular top. The level is used for construction but the spirit level is used to entirely destroy the Earth. Here Amos speaks about King Jeroboam for the for the first time. His action comes without warning and it provokes the violent scene that followed. Amos could no longer intercede for them. The moral here is that even though one can stop God’s judgement through intercession, this only last for awhile before God punishes the unrepenting hearts.


2.I have no alternative (10-17)

The great prophetess Amastia denounced Amos and what he said. She called him a visionary and ordered him to return to his home country. However, Amos was a man sent by God and thus he could do nothing more but accomplish the mission that He gave him. Moreover, the time for punishing Juda had not yet arrived whereas the sins in Israel had to be quickly with. Amos had a shepherd’s heart towards his fraternal tribe. He knew that he came from humble beginnings but God's call in his life was as clear as crystal. Therefore Amos did not soften his tone but he answered Amatsia with her same cynical tone. He proclamed God's judgement on her family, a judgement that will be very tragic for them when they are abroad.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Amos 8:1-14 (daily bread of 04/10/17)

Key verse : 11,12

THEY WILL HAVE HUNGER AND THIRST TO LISTEN

God gave to Amos a fourth vision of a basket of fruit. The social injustice in economy was great because of falsification. God swears that he will judge this nation. Amos predicts hunger and thirst.

1. The vision of a basket of fruit (1-3)
The fourth vision was à basket full of ripe fruit. So the time of God's judgment was ripe. At this time, the joyful song of the singers of the king will become complaints, because an earthquake will fall on them and will cause many deaths. The corruption of the people is revealed through their economic life. Their hearts are avide and they abandon morality in business. They trample on the poor and eliminate the weak. They falsify the measures, sell the waste and take the poor as slaves who can't pay off debt even for a mediocre value like sandals. They were cruel and inhumain, so God didn't prevent himself from raising his hand of punishment. God eliminates them out of the country. Their feast of profit will become mourning.

2. They will wander in the desert (10-17)A great hunger will be sent. The poor will always have thirst. God declares the famine in the country, including the wealthy. God heard the prayer of the prophet about punishment of grasshoppers and fire. Therefore, God economically safeguarded the country. But, when the judgment will come, the punishment for the quiet people will be very serious. God says that they will be hungry but not for bread, but for the Lord's word. They will wander here and there to seek God's word but in vain. They surely have the Torah, the book, the Bible. But this doesn't ensure they eat the word, because the servants of this time were blinded, so the people didn't receive any spiritual food. Therefore, their souls continued to dry up. The people swore to idols. But the idols were only mute work of their hands, who couldn't teach them.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Amos 6:1-14 (daily bread of 02/10/17)

Key verse: 6:8b

I LOATHE THE PRIDE OF JACOB

The opulence of the greatest is unimaginable. The word tells us the reason for that. God feels disgusted by this. We must be vigilant when we are blessed. 


1. Woe betide those who live quietly (1-7)

The nobles of Sion quietly lived. The greatest exploited the poor and they rolled up on luxurious sofas. Those who lived in this way in Jerusalem and in Samaria were invited into the homes of the nations's greatest people. The greatest of Israel always begrudged the neighbouring nations. But they weren't very prosperous. They were already blessed by God, but without thanking God they begrudges others. The greatest of the country quietly lived. They thought that the misfortune of others would not attain them. Their lifestyle was voluptuous (4), and they were skilled musicians. They liked fine food. 

2. God's predicted judgment (7-14)

Because of their sins God will take them into captivity. The fundamental reason of this carefree life was pride. They received a lot of blessing but they never give thanks to God who is the source of blessing (8). They will be offered to the enemies by God Almighty, because God loathes this. God always loathes the pride of mankind. Unimaginable calamities fall on them. All the houses they were proud of are ruined, the small and the big. The dead bodies are used as fuel. The unrighteousness of the country is very great (10 c) so its prevents the people from calling God for help. They often flout right. The people are accustomed to bragging saying that their power is because of their own strength (13). I'ts a banal phenomenon when the heart of a man is proud. They don't attribute the power to God, but they attribute it to themselves, either their physical strength or their exceptional intelligence, etc. But God will not tolerate pride, he will come to judge and punish. Humility is the way of salvation and blessing.