Friendship in the Bible: Philemon and Onesimus

For years I thought that God was inefficient. It just didn't seem to make sense that the Bible could be so big and so full of complicated stories. Surely if God really wanted us to know what he was like and how to live, he could have done it in less space, surely? And with the use of a few, well-placed bullet points. Thankfully, as I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate efficiency less and relationships more. Now that I understand that God operates in relational ways, it makes sense that his story is told within the rough-and-tumble of relationships in history. The Bible is full of friendships−between God and people and between people themselves. We can learn a lot about our own rela

Friendship in the Bible: David and Jonathan

For years I thought that God was inefficient. It just didn't seem to make sense that the Bible could be so big and so full of complicated stories. Surely if God really wanted us to know what he was like and how to live, he could have done it in less space, surely? And with the use of a few, well-placed bullet points. Thankfully, as I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate efficiency less and relationships more. Now that I understand that God operates in relational ways, it makes sense that his story is told within the rough-and-tumble of relationships in history. The Bible is full of friendships − between God and people and between people themselves. We can learn a lot about our own re

Friendship in the Bible: Ruth and Naomi

For years I thought that God was inefficient. It just didn't seem to make sense that the Bible could be so big and so full of complicated stories. Surely if God really wanted us to know what he was like and how to live, he could have done it in less space, surely? And with the use of a few, well-placed bullet points. Thankfully, as I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate efficiency less and relationships more. Now that I understand that God operates in relational ways, it makes sense that his story is told within the rough-and-tumble of relationships in history. The Bible is full of friendships − between God and people and between people themselves. We can learn a lot about our own re

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Shore of Sea of Galilee

John 21:1 Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. Jesus told his disciples to return to Galilee and he would meet them there. Back to the Sea, the place of so much of his teaching and so many of his miracles. The place of faith. The favourite place of many of the pilgrims who continue to visit this land. It is a joy and privilege to be able to walk on this shore, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus in this land. It can bring these stories to life, grounding them in their context and providing richness to their details. But walking in the footsteps of Jesus is not a call to visit the land of the Bible. It is a call to follow Him daily wherever we are. To take

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Garden Tomb

Matt. 28:1-2 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. There is more than one empty tomb in Jerusalem, where people go to remember Jesus. Does it matter which one is the ‘right’ one? I don’t think so, because we don’t go there to mourn or set up a shrine, as you might for a long dead hero. He is not there, he is risen. Death has been defeated, the grave has been silenced. On Easter Sunday morning, thousands gathered here to worship and proclaim this truth, as millions gathered all over the wor

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Golgotha

John 19:17-18 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they nailed him to the cross. These stones form the foundation of a church that dates back over 1650 years, built on what was thought to be the rocks of Golgotha. A place outside the city walls in Jesus’ day, but a place near enough for passersby to see the humiliation of those being punished and mock them mercilessly. A place of death and defeat. Where the charge against Jesus, ‘King of the Jews’, was meant to proclaim his failure. But it became the place where God declared his once and for all victory over all evil, sin, and suffering. The central event of our faith. How

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Via Dolorosa

Luke 23:26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. Making a winding, narrow path through the busy streets of Jerusalem is a road called the Via Dolorosa, or the Way of Suffering. This is the traditional route Jesus walked, carrying his cross from his beating to the place of his crucifixion. Many pilgrims walk this path everyday, some carrying crosses as a symbol of what it means to follow Jesus. Like many places in this land, it can be a helpful reminder that this story we read took place in real time and real space, grounding it in phy

Time to Listen, Time to Act. What can you do?

On May 22nd several hundred people gathered at North Sydney Independent Theatre (hosted by Northside Baptist Church) to think further about how the local church can respond to Domestic Violence. We were confronted by the heart-wrenching story shared by a victim-survivor, and challenged to think about how our theology and every day practices help or hinder us to hear the voices of women and particularly of domestic violence victims in our midst. We were challenged to think about what the local church can do to respond better, to take action, to advocate and to protect, and reminded that the local church can play a significant role, that we can be a place where victims of domestic violence can

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Gethsemane

Matt. 26:36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” An olive grove on the Mount of Olives. A quiet place Jesus often withdrew to in order to pray. A place he found peace and rest. But on that Thursday night it became a place of spiritual turmoil as he wrestled with the sacrifice the Father had called him to make. And it became a place of physical turmoil as one of his own betrayed him and soldiers came to arrest him. But in the turmoil he found peace in simple words of surrender, “Not my will but Yours be done.” Where might you find true quiet and peace even in the midst of turmoil to surrender to Jesus today?

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Temple Steps

Luke 19:47 After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him. These steps leading up to the Jerusalem temple were built by King Herod, and would have been used by Jesus and his disciples as they entered the temple. It is also likely that Jesus sat here to teach his disciples. Here he spoke words of judgment upon the temple and what its leaders had turned it into, driving out in anger those who turned people away. Here he proclaimed himself the true temple, the definitive location of God’s presence and forgiveness. We no longer need to visit the place because we can meet with

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Jerusalem

Matt. 20:17-18 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. There is nowhere quite like the Old City of Jerusalem. A walled city containing narrow streets and staircases alongside busy attractions and peaceful homes, with bustling markets and abandoned corners, churches, mosques and synagogues. Pilgrims comes from all over the world to gather, remember, celebrate, mourn, or simply be there. They come expectant and hopeful. Jesus came

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Sea of Galilee

Matt. 14:25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. The Sea of Galilee is somehow both smaller and larger than expected. Most of the time it is a calm and peaceful place, the favourite spot for many who visit this land. But the locals tell of how a storm can turn it violent in a hurry. Here Jesus travelled between various towns. Here Jesus spoke with authority to calm the wind and waves. Here Jesus walked upon the water, and Peter by faith did the same. Where in your life might Jesus be calling you to step out in faith, even if it seems ridiculous or impossible? Melinda is an ordained Baptist pastor currently working as Senior Lecturer in Biblical Stu

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Magdala

... along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons ... Luke 8:2 The newly excavated town of Magdala has a synagogue dating from the time of Jesus and ritual baths for purification, giving insight into Jewish life at that time. But it is the woman from this place whose life was cleansed, turned upside down and inside by meeting Jesus for whom it is best known. Mary of Magdala would have been rejected and ignored, the people of her town most likely wrote her off. But Jesus didn’t, and she became part of his ministry support team and the first witness to his resurrection. Is there anyone in your circl

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Korazin

“What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago.... Matthew 11:21 Some locals call Korazim ‘Capernaum with a view’. Another ancient town, but overlooking the beautiful Sea of Galilee. Another place where Jesus taught and performed miracles, but a place whose only mention in the gospels is for its people’s failure to repent and believe. A place of warning, for not everyone who hears Jesus’ teaching and sees his miracles becomes a disciple. Is there anything Jesus is saying or doing around you that you have not been willing to respond to? Melinda is an ordained Bapt

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Capernaum

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Mark 2:1 The remains of ancient houses and a synagogue at Capernaum provide a glimpse of first century life in this small town where Jesus lived during much of his ministry. Here he taught his disciples, healing people and doing miraculous signs, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. How might you share the good news he proclaimed here in your world today? Melinda is an ordained Baptist pastor currently working as Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Tabor and Director of Ministry Accreditation for Baptist Churches South Australia. She completed her PhD on the Psalms of Ascents in

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. Matthew 4:1 It doesn’t take very long after leaving the towns and cities of Judea to enter the rugged, inhospitable wilderness. Spending an hour or two out here in the heat is almost unbearable. Jesus spent 40 days, facing every kind of temptation and yet clinging to God’s Word, remaining faithful to his Father and his mission. What kind of temptations are you facing that Jesus is able to lead and guide you through right now? Melinda is an ordained Baptist pastor currently working as Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Tabor and Director of Ministry Accreditation for Baptist Churches South Australia. Sh

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Jordan River

Matt. 3:13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. Not much more than a murky stream in many places today, the Jordan River remains the border between the nations of Israel and Jordan, existing as a physical and symbolic boundary marker. For Jesus to cross over through the waters of baptism was to identify himself with the people of the Old Testament in their journey, and with all of us in our obedience and repentance, entering into the new life God has for us. How is Jesus calling you to follow him in obedience this day? Melinda is an ordained Baptist pastor currently working as Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Tabor and Director of Ministry Accredit

Walking in Jesus' footsteps - Nazareth

Luke 4:16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. Another small town located in the central part of Galilee, overlooking some of the land’s most fertile valleys and busy hillside towns, Nazareth is home to spice markets and carpentry workshops, places of worship and a first century village. Daily life goes on in the place where Jesus grew up and experienced all the joys and struggles of life, seeking to follow his Father and preparing for his calling and ministry. Where will you meet Jesus in your hometown and daily life today? Melinda is an ordained Baptist pastor currently working as S

Walking in Jesus’ footsteps - Bethlehem

Luke 2:11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! A tiny, obscure village in Jesus’ day, Bethlehem today is a small Palestinian city surrounded by a wall. It’s a place of heartbreak and confusion, conflicting stories and emotions. And yet it seems fitting that the Saviour of the world was born in one of the most complicated places on the planet, the Prince of Peace in a place of ongoing sorrow and strife. Where do you experience Jesus coming in the darkness to you today? Melinda is an ordained Baptist pastor currently working as Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Tabor and Director of Ministry Accreditation for Baptist Churches South Aus

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All images, words and materials are copyright protected and are the property of the author and / or Fixing Her Eyes. Please contact us at fixinghereyes (@) gmail.com for permissions. January 2020