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New book by Mary DeMuth and Frank Viola author reveals Christ in a fresh ways:
“Jesus, from the very beginning, has been ‘good news for women.’ Perhaps that news has rarely been needed more clearly than in our day. One reads of His encounters with the women described in this book with a sense of wonder that these interactions took place two thousand years ago. He is good news for women still.”
“What a treasure this diary-style book is! This impactful message focuses on five broken women in the Bible and their life-changing encounters with Jesus. The way Mary and Frank portray their stories will help any woman who has experienced heartbreak, loneliness, and rejection step right into the extravagant grace and love of Jesus.”
Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author
“Step into the first century, as your senses and imagination are engaged in Mary DeMuth’s masterful biblical narrative, deftly exploring the hearts and minds of five women who met the Savior. Then Frank Viola brings his own gifts to the page, opening the Scriptures to help us understand each account more fully. Together, their voices sing of the beauty of Christ and the redemption He offers. The Day I Met Jesus is truly a wonderful book.”
Liz Curtis Higgs, bestselling author of Bad Girls of the Bible
“We all long to lift the veil of history and catch a glimpse of the real story–the one that makes our hearts pound, our faith grow, and our lives change. That’s exactly what Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth offer in this compelling book. You will never look at Scripture or God’s work in your own heart the same way again after you close the final page.”
“Elegant, stimulating, rewarding, this probe into Jesus’ relationship with women packages the best of biblical scholarship and theology in the spellbinding wraps of storytelling.”
Leonard Sweet, bestselling author; professor (Drew University, George Fox University); chief contributor to sermons.com
Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand own Him;
Joyful choose the better part.
Consider the striking contrast between the village of Bethany and the holy city of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus.
It’s like comparing the corner grocery store to the Super Mall.
The population of Bethany couldn’t have been more than four hundred people. A scant two miles away, Jerusalem had a population of fifty to sixty thousand. During the religious festivals, the population of the holy city could reach up to the hundreds of thousands.
Compare the two locations in your mind.
Jerusalem—the holy city of David contained intoxicating crowds, formed the center of Israel’s worship, and featured a fully robed priesthood. The city was fast-paced, throbbing, exciting, restless, and hectic. Jerusalem also boasted the presence of the great temple, clothed in stunning gold.
Within walking distance, almost in the shadow of the temple walls, was the lowly town of Bethany—obscure, unknown, modest.
In which of these two places did the God of the universe feel at home?
The tiny village of Bethany.
This example screams that God is more concerned with quality than with quantity. It shouts that He’s more concerned with reality than with flash. It thunders that He’s more concerned with authentic hearts than with what’s outwardly impressive.
Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, was bitterly rejected by the world. But He was gladly received in Bethany.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Thank God for Martha. She received the Lord Jesus into her home. She welcomed Him into her family.
This leads to a significant question. What does it mean to properly receive the Lord Jesus in our day?
Excerpted from God’s Favorite Place on Earth by Frank Viola Author
See also Frank’s podcast
The following is by Frank Viola author and it’s from his book Jesus Now.
The Bible speaks of three main stages in spiritual development that correspond to our physical development: infancy, childhood, and adulthood.
The first stage is infancy:
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Pet. 2:1-3 ESV)
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? (1 Cor. 3:1–3 ESV)
Infancy is characterized by a kind of helplessness. A baby is totally dependent on her or his parent to provide. This is true both for the infant’s external and internal needs. Just like a baby needs milk, a baby also need endless amounts of compassion and love.
I can remember a friend suggesting that a crying baby should be disciplined. How ridiculous! The infant is simply alerting us to its needs when it cries. There’s a special sensitivity that we give to infants in part because they are so helpless. But as they grow, we increase the level of responsibility we give them.
Following infancy is childhood. Jesus sanctifies us by His Spirit, making us progressively holy in our conduct. So we are first babes in Christ, and then we grow into childhood—or as John put it, the stage of being “young people” in the faith. During this stage, Jesus does His marvelous work of transformation by His Spirit (Rom. 12:1–2).
I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one. (1 John 2:12–14 ESV)
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. (1 Cor. 13:11 ESV)
Transformation points to the Lord’s role in allowing us to go through trials and tribulations, which are designed to work His character into us. This is the experiential side of the cross.
From a parent’s perspective, this is when maturity is difficult to watch our children go through. Frustration produces growth, but we don’t want our children bouncing from one failure to another. However, a parent who doesn’t allow their kids to risk, stumble, and fall is actually stunting their child’s growth.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2–4)
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:6–7; see also 1 Pet. 4:12–13)
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. (Rom. 5:3–4)
Jesus’ present-day ministry of reproving and disciplining us is also included in this stage.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. (Rev. 3:19)
But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. (1 Cor. 11:32)
The following article is an excerpt from the book Jesus Now by Frank Viola Author
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me …
In every grueling trial, in every dark night, in every unexpected crisis, our good shepherd promises to be with us. Therefore, we have nothing to fear.
All throughout the Bible, God tells His people to “fear not.” As sheep, we are naturally fearful, untrusting, and timid. But Jesus is greater than any problem. He has all authority in heaven and on earth. There is nothing that He cannot handle.
However, He wishes to take us to the high mountains. But this requires that we pass through and climb the valleys. Not only will He lead us through the valleys, but He will also walk with us there.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 KJV)
Consequently, most dilemmas, distresses, and disappointments are all crafted by the hand of God to bring us to higher ground.
Even in the dark valleys, God feeds His sheep. Interestingly, the valleys provide the richest feed and the best forage for the sheep. There is also water there. So the Lord meets us in the valley with food and drink. We are often unaware of this until we get past the crisis and we look back to see God’s hand of care and protection.
Having been through the dark valley ourselves, we may offer the Lord’s comfort to those who are walking in the dark valleys now.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor. 1:3–4)
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me …
The rod and the staff are the shepherd’s arsenal. The rod is used to defend the shepherd and his sheep from predators. It’s also used to discipline wayward sheep and bring them back to the flock.
The shepherd’s staff is his hallmark instrument. The staff is a long, slender stick with a hook at the end of it. The shepherd uses his staff to bring newborn lambs to their mothers. He also uses it to draw sheep closer to one another or to himself (for examination). Unlike the rod, the staff is used gently.
Both instruments express the care and concern that the shepherd has for his sheep. For this reason, the shepherd’s rod and staff bring comfort to the sheep.
In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ defends, disciplines, and draws us closer to Himself and to the other members of His body via His “rod” and His “staff.”