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Showing posts with the label forgiveness in God

Prayer removes obstacles

Background: Taken out of context, the story of Jesus’ cursing the fig tree sounds harsh, but reading the whole chapter of Mark 11 puts that incident into perspective.

Jesus had set His face toward Jerusalem, knowing this began the journey toward the cross. As He rode into town on a donkey, people laid a path of palm branches and their own cloaks, shouting, “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!”

After entering the Temple and looking around, Jesus and His followers went back to Bethany for the night. As they headed toward the Temple again the next morning, Jesus saw a fig tree already in leaf, which indicated fruit but none existed. Not only did this become an obstacle to His hunger, the tree had become showy, rather than fruitful, and so He said, “No one will ever eat fruit from you again.”

Jesus then entered the Temple and drove out money-changers and merchants whose booths blocked people from getting through the area to worship. Quoting scripture, …

Stephen prays for his murderers

Background: As the early church greatly grew, people from diverse backgrounds had to find ways to connect with the Body of Christ. Since Jesus and the Apostles belonged to the Jewish faith, the church began as part of the Temple and local synagogues, which meant that the early Christians had to discern whether to keep Jewish rituals, customs, and traditions or openly welcome peoples from the Hellenist (Greek) community.

God made it clear that all peoples who accepted Jesus as their Savior were to be included in the Body of Christ. Nevertheless, Christians from the Greek community felt they weren’t being given as much as Jewish Christians, so they complained to the Apostles in Jerusalem.

Wisely, the Apostles advised the Hellenist Christians to select seven Spirit-filled men with good reputations to be in charge of food distributions and other acts of service. Stephen, one of the seven, had so much wisdom and power that he caught much attention, including negative attention that jealo…