Beautiful Christian Life

Choosing the Good Portion — Luke 10:38–42

Martha was the one rolling up her sleeves and making sure everyone had a good meal. Serving people is important work, but there was something more important taking place at Mary and Martha’s home, and Mary had figured this out. She was sitting at the feet of Jesus, getting to know him and learning from him.

In Luke 10:38-42 we read about Jesus visiting the home of two sisters, both of whom he loved: Mary and Martha:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” — Luke 10:38–42
Mary Recognized That the Most Important Thing She Needed to Do Was to Know Jesus
It might seem that Jesus wasn’t very considerate of Martha’s feelings when he told her that Mary had “chosen the good portion” (Luke 10:42).
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8 Comforting Things to Remember about Jesus’ Benediction

The ascending Jesus is not a godly Enoch who walked with God and was taken by him. Jesus is not merely an amazing prophet like Elijah, whom God swept off to heaven in a chariot of fire. No, this Jesus is one who receives the worship of men and women. This Jesus is God born in the flesh and God raised bodily. Jesus is equal to the Father and the Spirit in power and glory, and at his exalted name we get the privilege to worship, praise, and adore him. This is our good and perfect response to the ascending benediction of Jesus Christ.

Before he ascended to heaven, Jesus turned to his disciples, raised his hands, and blessed them.
And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,and were continually in the temple blessing God. (Luke 24:50-53)
This posture and act of Jesus are very distinct ones that we also find in the lives of the Old Testament saints. This act could only be done by one person at one specific time.
This was the act of the priest in the temple to bless the people after worship. After all the sacrifices were performed, the priest would turn to face the people, raise his hands, and pronounce the Lord’s blessing upon the congregation. In Leviticus 9, on the day when Moses and Aaron inaugurated worship in the tabernacle and Aaron finished all the sacrifices, with smoke rising to heaven he raised his hands and blessed the people. The blessing he pronounced was given in Numbers 6, the Aaronic benediction, as it is called:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,   The Lord bless you and keep you;   the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;   the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Num. 6:22-27)
Thus, for Jesus to bless with raised hands, he was showing himself to be a priest. Just as Melchizedek blessed Abraham, so Christ blessed his people as our high priest.
Blessing Can Be Used in Several Different Ways in Scripture
We find three kinds of blessings in the Bible:

First, we can bless each other. One person says, “May the Lord bless you,” which is essentially a prayer. As we bless another, we are praying that God would do them good. 
Second, we can bless God, which is basically an act of praise and thanksgiving. Blessed be the Name of the Lord! This is praising and glorifying the Lord.
Third, the Lord can bless us, which is not a prayer but a decree. The Lord’s blessing is a performative word where he actually puts his love, grace, and mercy on us. In the Aaronic benediction, the priest wasn’t praying; rather, he was a mere channel or conduit for the Lord’s decree of favor.

As it says in Numbers 6, with the benediction the priest was putting God’s name upon his people, which expresses ownership and care. For the Lord to put his name on you means you belong to him as a precious possession. In fact, the benefits of belonging to the Lord are stated in the blessing.
In the Aaronic Benediction, There Are Three Acts of God
In the Aaronic benediction, which is implied in the one Jesus used, there are three acts of God—and three resulting advantages.

The Lord blesses to keep and protect you.
The Lord makes his face shine to be gracious to you.
And the Lord lifts up his face to give you peace.

These facial expressions of God are full of emotion. In the Old Testament, when God is angry at someone for sin, Scripture states that he hides his face from the person. The Lord turns his face from that person in anger to show him or her the back of his head. Yet, by the smoke and blood of sacrifice, the Lord’s frown is turned upside down. His hidden face turns to shine on that person now with a smile.  
Children know all too well the angry face of their mom and dad, as well as their happy faces. In the Aaronic benediction, God’s happy face is gleaming at us, and he will protect us, be gracious and merciful to us, and grant us peace. This is what the risen Jesus says to us in the benediction.
Here are eight comforting things to remember about Jesus’ benediction at the ascension. 
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6 Things You Need to Know about Unanswered Prayer

Sometimes God’s children pray for things that would not be good for them or are against God’s will (Matt. 6:10; John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15). In his love, God keeps us from dire consequences by not granting those petitions. We see a clear example of this in Jonah’s prayer that God take his life because he felt humiliated that God relented and nothing came to pass from his warnings to the people of Nineveh (Jon. 4:1-3). Yet, God patiently reasoned with Jonah.

If you’re like most people, you have wondered why God seems silent at times when you have prayed to him about something. Here are six things every person needs to know about unanswered prayer.
1. When a wicked person prays, sometimes God turns a deaf ear.
People who have turned their backs on God and scoffed at him should not expect God to hear their prayers, let alone answer them.

[Re: David’s enemies:] They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them. (Ps. 18:41)

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. (Prov. 15:8)

The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Prov. 15:29)

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (Prov. 28:9)

There are instances when God does hear the cries of unbelievers, such as was the case with the king and citizens of Nineveh in the book of Jonah. The Ninevites had no reason to think God would answer their prayers. Yet, God heard their prayer of repentance and appeal toward him, and he showed mercy on them:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (Jon. 3:7-10)

2. There is no such thing as unanswered prayer for Christians.
God hears the prayers of believers, and he will answer all of them.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Pet. 5:6–7)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:7–11)

3. Sometimes God answers “no” to a believer’s specific prayer.
Sometimes God’s children pray for things that would not be good for them or are against God’s will (Matt. 6:10; John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15). In his love, God keeps us from dire consequences by not granting those petitions. We see a clear example of this in Jonah’s prayer that God take his life because he felt humiliated that God relented and nothing came to pass from his warnings to the people of Nineveh (Jon. 4:1-3). Yet, God patiently reasoned with Jonah:

And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jon. 4:11)

Sometimes God has something much better for us, as was the case for Elijah, who asked God to take his life while fleeing from the wrath of Jezebel in 1 Kings 19:4.
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What Is the Meaning of “His Number Is 666”? — Revelation 13:16–18

The number 666 symbolizes man exalting himself as God. It is idolatrous humanism. It is what Adam reached for in the garden of Eden, and it is what lies of the heart of all idolatry. Truly, the hearts of humans are idol factories because sinful man desires to be like God. The number 666 perfectly matches the agenda of the beast and the false prophet to worship that which is created instead of the Creator. And chief of all things created is man. 

In Revelation 13:16-18 we read the following about “the number of the beast”:
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. (Rev. 13:16-18)
What is the meaning of “his number is 666” in this passage?
The Number Six Is Related to Man’s Creation on the Sixth Day, and It Has the Biblical Symbolic Value of Imperfection Due to Man’s Fall
The mark that the false prophet places on people is a sign of ownership and loyalty, indicating that the Antichrist beast is their lord and master. Their thoughts and actions are given to the service of the beast. The number six is related to man’s creation on the sixth day. It has the biblical symbolic value of imperfection due to man’s fall, while the number seven symbolizes divine perfection.
Six is repeated three times in Revelation 13:18 because repeating something three times represents the divine superlative (e.g., “‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev. 4:8: see also Isa. 6:3).
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