Are You an Early Riser?

Some of us rise early, even if it does not come naturally to us.

But for others, rising early is something they cherish. Why?

I can think of many reasons someone might cherish the wee hours of the day.

  1. It affords a quiet time of meditation before the demands of the day begin.
  2. An opportunity to enjoy the sunrise or other aspects of nature.
  3. A preferred time to exercise one’s body.
  4. Time to work on a personal hobby or even a second job.
  5. I’m sure there are other reasons too.

But none of these reasons explain why some rose early to go visit a tomb as shared in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

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From Peter’s Confession to Palm Branches

Last week, a group I regularly meet with discussed Peter’s confession of Christ in Matthew 16:13-23.

In this passage, Jesus is alone with His disciples in a location most Jews of their day would never visit since it was a city full of pagan worship. (Matthew 16:13)

While there, Jesus asks his disciples these two questions:

  1. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13)
  2. “But what about you…who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15)

The disciple’s response to the first question was, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Matthew 16:14)

Peter responded to the second question: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

After affirming Peter’s statement, Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. (Matthew 16:20)

Why did Jesus issue this warning?

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How Teachable Are You? defines teachable as apt and willing to learn.

If you were to make a list of everything you enjoyed learning from childhood to the present day, what would you include?

What would you list as things you didn’t enjoy learning?

Which list is longer for you?

Did you include things outside of formal school subjects?

In Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21, Jesus thanks the Lord of heaven and earth for hiding things from the wise and understanding while revealing them to little children.

What does this have to do with being teachable?

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Are You Ready to Start a New Year?

Last week, my husband was a camera operator for our church’s evening Christmas Eve service.

Because of this, we arrived about an hour before the service began.

I planned to meditate on scripture while I waited for the service to start.

However, upon entering the sanctuary, I met a friend who had signed up to usher for the first time and began asking me if I knew what he was supposed to do.

Shortly after, another friend who was ushering arrived and asked me if I thought they should light the altar candles this early or wait.

Next, two of our facilities team approached, talked about some things they had cleaned because of earlier services, and asked me if they should bring out the individual candles to hand out to worshippers since people had already arrived to get a good seat.

If you read last week’s post, you know this experience of “ask Barbara” is not an unusual phenomenon for me.

So how did I respond to all these questions?

And what does it have to do with being ready to start a new year?

Most importantly, what does it have to do with studying the Bible?

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Who is Really in Charge?

In 2022, during the holiday season, before I signed off at my day job for several days of vacation, I emailed my coworkers with the subject line “Ask Barbara Not an Option.”

Why did I do this?

First, I did it to be funny.

Second, I would travel by car for my vacation and would have extremely limited time or access to internet service.

But also, having started working as the receptionist and eventually becoming the office manager, I get asked many questions throughout the workweek in my job.

Thus, from the day I started working at my current employer, I have regularly interacted with every single department. Thus, I know many details about many things.

But this does not mean I am the one in charge at work.

What does any of this have to do with Luke 2:1-7?

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You Are Highly Favored | Luke 1:26-38

How would you respond to someone greeting you with the statement, “You are highly favored?”




Would your answer change if the statement came privately?

It is one thing to have a fellow human make this type of statement to us, regardless of the motive behind it.

But what about when an angel from God speaks to you this way?

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From Genealogies to Dreams: Obeying God | Matthew 1:18-25

The first chapter of the gospel of Matthew surprisingly starts with a genealogy.

After fifteen verses about who fathered what son and after mentioning a few unexpected mothers, we get verse sixteen:

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. [1]

Verse seventeen then summarizes the royal genealogical record Matthew highlighted, reinforcing his opening verse statement that Jesus Christ is officially part of the promises made to Abraham back in Genesis and King David in 2 Samuel.

Then, Matthew explains the mystery of why he did not call Joseph the father of Jesus Christ.

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The Genealogy of Christ | Matthew 1

Do you like genealogical research?

Most of the time my answer would be not really.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of genealogical research.

And I am glad others take the time to do this type of research.

It just is not something I feel drawn to pursue for myself.

But the Bible contains several genealogical lists that intrigue me.

For example, the Gospel of Matthew opens with a genealogy of Christ.

What can we learn from this odd way to open a book about Christ?

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Mark 1:35-39 | Why We Need Devotion


Each month, I meet with a small group of friends to discuss a chapter or more of a Christian-authored book.

We have read and discussed a variety of non-fiction and fiction Christian-authored books since meeting as a group.

Currently, we are working our way through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book, A Place of Quiet Rest: Finding Intimacy with God Through a Daily Devotional Life.

A scripture passage that is referenced more than once in DeMoss’ book is Mark 1:35.

But before we consider Mark 1:35 in its context, we need to define devotion.

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