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Thanks to Pastor J. for the Church Photo - Check out his blog - Lillie-Put:

When I started this pondering about the Sabbath, I really thought – two or three posts – I had no idea of going 2 weeks. Monday I start Christmas I promise, and later this morning you can be looking for a quickie birth announcement, as my first grand-baby is coming this morning.

There is one last passage that I want to toss briefly into the mix. It's in Hebrews. Actually half of the third chapter and all of the fourth deal with Sabbath and entering into the rest prepared for us. We could have a lengthy Bible study on this passage, and it would be really worthwhile going verse by verse, but I do not have time here and now to dig in. Perhaps in the new year. For now – a couple key concepts.

The rest God offers is entered by faith.

For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. - Hebrews 4:2

This faith was demonstrated in obedience, or perhaps I should say lack of faith was demonstrated by disobedience.

Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, - Hebrews 4:6

There is yet a place of rest available for our entry.

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. - Hebrews 4:9

We must find this tension of living in the rest God has provided and striving for a rest yet to be entered.

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. - Hebrews 4:11

In this letter to the Hebrew Christians, the writer exhorts them toward faith, diligence and obedience.

Lest you be compelled into some legalistic observance of old law, I want you to understand that these three are one.

We are not called to believe facts and creeds, and enter by the sweat of our brow in religious labor, and the keeping of hundreds of ceremonial laws.

The “work” you (we) are called to, is faith, and what faith looks like is abiding. Living in Christ, living, seated in heavenly places in and with Christ. Hearing His voice and responding to it daily. This is the call.

Loving Him and His people, these are the commands He has given, and this is what faith looks like.

Love is the path to rest. [Tweet This]

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Have a blessed day

And for now you can call me

Grampa Ben (watch for the announcement later today [big smile])



“I Shall Be Whole” { The Woman with an Issue of Blood } Painted by Al Young
“I Shall Be Whole”
{ The Woman with an Issue of Blood }
Painted by Al Young

Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" - Mark 5:30

When I read this, two things jump off the page for me.

First, Jesus sensed power flowing out of Him

Next, taking the passage at face value, He did not know where the power went.

(ok – let’s say three things)

Finally (for now) He did not cause the power to flow.


This power is tangible. Jesus could feel it flow or at least was aware of changes in it. This helps to inform me on what was up in Luke when he reports that:

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. - Luke 5:17 NKJV

Jesus carried an anointing for healing everywhere He went. There were times when He healed everyone, and there were times when He healed just one. There were times when He did amazing and over the top miraculous stuff, and there were times when ...

“He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.”(Mark 6:5)

So then – at least this time (I am loath to put Jesus in a box and say He does this under these conditions – so we will observe what He did do, but not assume that He does it exactly the same in every circumstance – is that fair?) Jesus was more or less a spectator, or perhaps a commentator on what God was doing with this woman.

She determined what to do. She pressed into proximity of Jesus. She touched Him. The power of God He was carrying responded to her faith.

Is that what happened? Does that sound too New Age-ey?

Did her faith move the power of God that was resident in Jesus without His knowledge or participation?

That’s the way I read it. How about you?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.



Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780.

As we ponder this story from the gospels of the four men who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, I am energized by what we can see clearly in Mark’s account.

And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven. ~ Mark 2:3-5

I really only want to pull two words out today: “their faith.”

Who “their?” you may ask.

As we noticed last week, the house was full of skeptics, and there was only one “who” in the stretcher, so that leaves the deconstruction team on the roof.

Jesus saw the faith, the expectation in these men. That expectation was clearly expressed by the lengths they were willing to go in order to get their friend to Jesus. They were willing to risk some real world trouble, and face some serious consequences in order to get their friend to Jesus.

This is so encouraging to me today.

For one thing, nothing is said about the one in the stretcher. When you have been sick or disabled for decades, it is pretty hard to stir up any expectation. You, as likely as not, will build up barriers against such expectations, and protect yourself against having hope spring only to be dashed once more.

But what I learn here is that we can bring our friends to Jesus.

I don’t want to build some magic doctrine that says everyone we pray for will be saved or healed.

But I will say this. We can bring our friend to Jesus.

We can do it with our words,
we can do it with our prayers,
we can do it with a posse,
you can do it in that chair.

We can bring our friends to Jesus. [Tweet This]

Why not do it right now? There is someone on your heart, someone who needs their sins forgiven, someone who needs their body mended. Perhaps there is a broken relationship the Spirit is highlighting.

Let’s bring our friends to Jesus today.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.


By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

A couple weeks ago, I posed a questions about what "vain faith" was, and i wanted to come back to it and bring some resolution.

I wanted to circle back and touch it one more time. I was not happy with where it all landed last time, and have a bit more light on it now. It was one of those - Oh - that makes sense moments for me, and i just thought i would share it with you.

Here is the main verse I was puzzling over:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

What I had missed was this verse a bit farther down the page.:

 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:13-14

Now in my study, I have found many who want to make the first reference one of working hard so your faith is not ignored in the grand scheme of things, but when i read this second part, i see that the "unless you believed in vain" in verse 2 is a foreshadowing of his argument in vs 14 where he comes right out and says: If Christ is not raised from the dead then your faith is vain.

Vain faith is faith that is placed in something that is worthless. Vain faith is misplaced faith or misplaced trust.

Faith in Christ is a gift of God - every man is dealt a measure of faith by God, as we are told in Romans 12:3

So how could faith that God has given in the first place, when it is place in Christ, the most secure foundations, ever be vain?

It could not.

If your life shows no fruit after a period of time, the question is not whether you have vain faith, but rather, do you have faith in Christ at all.

So - there you go.

What do you think?

Ben NelsonSee you again soon. I should be back to the pen (well - keys) next week. Thanks to you all for coming by and checking out my parade of favorites this week.




I want to share a wonderful book I read (listened to) this week.

I met Steve Bremner on Twitter this week, and for signing up for his newsletter I received an audio copy of his book:

Six Lies People Believe About Divine Healing

I love this book. Steve does an outstanding job bring the light of the Bible to some extremely common misconceptions about divine healing.

He does word studies from the original language and teaches from both Old and New Testaments to expose six common errors of interpretation.

Here are the lies he debunks:

It’s Not God’s Time to Heal Me

I’m Not Good Enough to Deserve Healing

God is Teaching Me A Lesson Through Sickness

Sickness is Merely the Way Some of Us Die

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be Healed

I Didn’t Get Healed the First Time Around so it Must Not be God’s Will to Heal Me

If any of these statements ring true with you, I would highly recommend this book. Read it with an open mind and an open Bible and see what Steve has to say.

If you, like me, already believe in divine healing, but would like to see more, and gain a deeper revelation, give this book a read.

Steve’s casual writing Style makes it an easy read.

But here is the big news – This Tuesday Amazon is giving the electronic version away for free!

Ben NelsonEnjoy!



Ok – I have a question.

I am studying 1 Corinthians 15 in preparation for some preaching I will be doing at the end of the month, and I wanted to put this concept out there for some group think.

Twice in the top of this chapter Paul uses a term that would fit nicely in my formerly hard and legalistic theological structure.

In verses 1 & 2 he says this:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Then again in verse

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:10

What’s bugging me is this idea that somehow because he worked (labored) it proved that he was indeed an apostle.

Does this mean that in the first section, our salvation somehow does not count if we don’t get to work?

Clearly Paul militates against this idea in the book of Galatians where he reprimands them for going back to a trust in works after being saved by faith.

Ephesians 2:8-10 also clearly demonstrates that works are a result not a cause:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:8-10

It is interesting that the Greek word is not the same in both cases

In verse 2 the word is “eikē”  -

1) inconsiderably, without purpose, without just cause
2) in vain
a) without success or effort

In verse 10 the word is “kenos”

1) empty, vain, devoid of truth
a) of places, vessels, etc. which contain nothing
b) of men
1) empty handed
2) without a gift
c) metaph. destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent possession, yet is without the fruits of faith
d) metaph. of endeavours, labours, acts, which result in nothing, vain, fruitless, without effect
1) vain of no purpose

So here is what I think at this point in my process. It sound to me like in the second case, Paul was given a gift  - that of apostleship. Had he denied it, suppressed it, ignored it dispensationalized it (saying for example he could not be an apostle because he did not walk with Jesus) or what ever – the gift would be like that juicer you received as a wedding gift that still has the ribbon on it. All it is good for is using up space on the shelf, though it is capable of so much more.

I think many of us Christians (myself included) leave the fabulous gifts the Lord has chosen for us, prepared us for, and equipped us with unused, perhaps because we don’t even realize we have them.

But what’s up with this first one – the word believe is the standard word for faith, so I have a hard time reconciling this, without some sugar coated cop out answer.

What do you think?

Do you have questions – or some topic you would like to discus in the this forum? Click the link in the side bar and ask away. I don’t promise right answers, but you can at least watch me think – LOL

Ben NelsonSee you again soon




Thanks to for the definitions!


Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel." ~ Matthew 8:10

I am due for a little word study, don’t you think?

  • He marveled ~ NASB
  • He was impressed ~ CEB
  • He was so surprised ~ CEV
  • He was amazed ~ ERV
  • He was astonished ~ Phillips
  • Jesus said to His followers in amazement ~ Knox
  • Taken aback, Jesus said ~ MSG
  • He was surprised and wondered ~ NLV
  • Jesus was stunned ~ VOICE [i]

I am just pondering this idea. Jesus is blown away by the faith, the confident expectation, of this foreigner, this gentile.

He is not a Jew, but a Roman. He has not grown up being told the stories of Israel’s history, and celebrating time after time when God’s hand was manifest in the outcome of this nations life.

Yet this centurion understands the kind of power and authority Jesus wields, and it amazes Jesus.

What does it take to surprise, amaze, impress Jesus?

When was the last time Jesus was impressed with you?

You say (yep – I can hear you) I don’t impress Jesus. The only emotion I evoke in Him is disappointment.


I love this story because it helps me see a side of Jesus we don’t hear much these days.

He get’s excited when we move in the right direction. He is thrilled and amazed when we  move out and expect Him to show up.

You know this verse in Hebrews:

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

We tend to focus on the first part, life without faith, but miss the fact that it is not only possible, but part of the normal Christian life to please Him with our faith filled words and actions.

When you speak out loud your expectation of the Father's presence in your circumstances, He sits up straight and takes notice. [Tweet This]

BenTrust Him today, will you?

See you tomorrow


Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible; Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society; Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center; J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) J. B. Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition by HarperCollins; Knox Bible (KNOX) Knox Bible. Copyright © 2012 Westminster Diocese. Published by Baronius Press. All rights reserved; The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson; New Life Version (NLV) Copyright © 1969 by Christian Literature International; New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.; The Voice (VOICE) The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Ruth Gleaning in the fields of Boaz

And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? (Matthew 6:27-30 NASB)

Friday we talked about anxiety, and that is clearly the overarching message here, but today I want to do a little gleaning. Let’s poke around the edges a bit and see what we find.

As a computer programmer (perhaps that is an overstatement) Having done a smattering of computer programming (that feels a bit more honest) I am keenly aware of the power of an “If – Then” statement.

And if Jesus is going to be sharing this “if – then” we can trust it completely.

Jesus does not just say stuff that sounds good. His name is “The Truth.” In fact He told us that He only says what He hears the Father say!

Why am I making a big deal about this. Check this out:

Will He not much more do so for you” NASB

He will certainly care for youNLT

will he not much more clothe youNIV

He will surely do even more for you!” CEV

shall he not much more clothe youKJV

Won't he be all the more sure to clothe you?” GNB

is he not much more likely to clothe you?” JBP

WOW – how do we miss this. The one who has taken care to arrange for our eternal life, and at no small expense, and not without a seriously detailed plan executed over 4,000 years, this God, is going to overlook the fact that you have no visible means of support?


God is on it.

Jesus is not putting out some overarching principle here. He is not even making a promise. He is just stating an obvious fact.

I love this!

I am kind of thinking - How much more Lord? And I hear Him answer - "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Eph 3:20) [Tweet This]

BenHope this helps you today.

See you next time.



On the same page: And Then Some: Play Grand 

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