Seriously?: Baldy & the Bears – The Man of God

2Kings 2:23-24
The context for this episode of Baldy and the Bears is the struggle between apostasy/idolatry in Israel and faithfulness, the true worship of the Yahweh, the God of Israel. This struggle goes back to the dawn of Israel itself in the Exodus from Egypt, and even beyond, as God calls His People to follow Him, first out of their slavery in Egypt and then into the Promised Land and the creation of the nation of Israel. The one constant theme throughout this struggle is the prophet of God, the man given to Israel to lead them; Moses and Joshua, the men and women we know as Judges, Gideon, Deborah, Samson, Samuel and others. Whenever Israel faces a challenge, God never fails to provide the leader they need.

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Seriously?: The Day Jesus Cursed – Father In Us

Matthew 21:18-22
Our Bible story for this week shows up in the New Testament in both Mark 11 and in Matthew 21. Jesus speaks to a fig tree and the tree dies. If you read the story in both books, you get a slightly different spin. In Matthew’s account, the fig tree dies as soon as Jesus tells it to. In Mark’s story, Jesus curses the tree and then cleanses the Temple. The next morning the disciples realize that the fig tree is dead. Regardless of how the story actually played itself out in real life, the tree ended up dead, and the disciples were curious. They wanted to know how Jesus spoke to the tree and made it die. Matthew 21:20, “…the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?””

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Seriously?: The Day Jesus Cursed – Single Minded

Matthew 21:18-22
So, Jesus gets up the next morning after a very big day, gathers up His disciples and heads back to Jerusalem. Along the way, He sees a fig tree that looks like it should have some fruit and being hungry, He goes to the tree expecting for find figs. When He finds nothing but leaves, He curses the tree and it withers. The disciples are amazed and ask ‘How did the fig tree wither all at once?’ (v. 20 NASB). Jesus answer is essentially, ‘If you have faith and do not doubt, you will do the same and even greater things.’ And then He gives them the Truth kicker, “All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” It can be real easy to go chasing off after the ‘why’ of the fig tree and make comparisons between that tree and the nation of Israel and those comparisons may even be valid. But Jesus first reaction to His disciples’ question of ‘How…’ is prayer.

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Seriously?: The Day Jesus Cursed – Authority

Matthew 21:18-22
Jesus curses this fig tree, saying ‘No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you’ (21:19 NASB). Our immediate reaction or at least mine is, ‘Why? What did this fig tree do that it deserves to be cursed?’ There are many good and valid reasons that this fig tree had no figs. Mark 11:12-14 relates this same incident with the added information that is wasn’t the season for figs. This is Passover with Jerusalem and the surrounding villages teeming with visiting Jews. Jesus, in all probability wasn’t the first hungry traveler to pass this tree, and it could have very well have already been picked clean. Not knowing anything about fig trees, there would appear to be several good reasons why this specific tree has no fruit. It would seem that ‘why?’ might not be the best question to ask right off the bat. The question the disciples ask is ‘How did the fig tree wither?’ (21:20) and that is the question that Jesus answers and His answer has everything to do with authority.

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Seriously?: Ultimate Fighting – Rest

Genesis 32:22-31
God has preserved a strange story throughout time and history for us to observe. Jacob wrestled. There must be a reason that this story is recorded. There must be something for us to bear in mind or to take away from the story of Jacob and his overnight wrestling match. Does God want us to wrestle too? Does God want us to be free from wrestling? What are we supposed to learn from the life of Jacob? There are at least two very clear take away points from the life of Jacob that are very clear in my mind. Jacob did not change God’s plan, and his struggle was simply his own journey to surrender to God and embrace the plan that was already in motion for all of humanity.

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Seriously?: Ultimate Fighting – Fear

Genesis 32:22-31
Fear makes us do silly things. It seems to heighten our senses at the same time shutting down our brains. The worst thing it often does is make us forget God, His love for us, His might and power, His desire to give us all good things. In Genesis 32 we find an example of this in Jacob. He has seen time after time God’s blessings yet facing his brother after twenty years he is terrified, and in that fear, he does something remarkable.

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