Sunday, December 27, 2009
He returns and finds that the initial fervency has waned somewhat and the people returned to error of their former ways.
The past can be a good tutor but it can only be as good as those willing to pay attention and learn the lesson and hope to learn it - once!
Here are a few questions I found on the web to make the most out of adversity and use it to our long term benefit.
"In what ways have I dealt with adversity that were effective and ineffective?
How have my ways of dealing with adversity affected other people and me?
What have my adversities taught me about my honesty, integrity, sense of personal responsibility, and my faith in other people and myself?
What have my adversities taught me about human nature and how the actions of other people tend to influence how I react to their behaviors?
How can I react to adversity in a way that will better allow me to grow wiser, more resilient, and more loving?
What is my personal faith that brings me the greatest strength in times of adversity?"
Trials bring greater depth the more we dig in and take lessons out!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
There will be no breaching of walls,no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets. Blessed is the people of whom this is true;blessed is the people whose God is the LORD.
Sad to say this was not in Israel's future. They did go into captivity, there were cries of distress. But YHWH had a way back for them - after 70 years.
Our other reading is Ezra which is also mirrored in 2 Chronicles 36:22
Ezra1:1 "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:....."
When God speaks he makes it happen, and in his own time.
He changes hearts and anoints those whom he chooses. We see YHWH working on Cyrus the king of Persia, someone who does not acknowledge him, yet Cyrus will be His instrument, his anointed. Isaiah 45 is an amazing read.
1 "This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him....."
As Christians we are prone to think that God just works through His people, like the Israelites/Jews we depreciate the influence of God in other people lives.
I think its safe to say, that we are prone to believe that God holds to our views of the world and its politics, and we bring more heat than light into our political conversations.
Whatever happens on the world stage God sees, and may be orchestrating solutions to problems we have no idea about, and working through people, we, in our ignorance, consider not worthy of God's influence.
Lets pray for our world leaders, all of them!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The dexterity, complexity needed for the negotiations of life are numerous. Each relationship and encounter has its expectations and we need the skill to engage with each other. David's reign had many battles and wars. The skills of both Shepherd and Soldier were learned through the lessons of daily life.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
When life goes awry and seemingly back fires, we get our beliefs thrown in our faces like the Jews in captivity in Babylon we are encouraged to "get over it" and continue to proclaim God is good regardless, and proclaim it with joy.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
What a neat "parenthood" comment.
It tells us how to impart wisdom and what the consequences are for the parent.
I think of Eli and how God judged him for not reprimanding his sons.
1Sam 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.
Samuel also didn't have a good role model of parenthood and his sons turned out much like Eli's.
1 Samuel 8: When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Humility and Pride are not good bedfellows, but are good teachers.
Both give us perspective and if we learn, our sanity is restored.
Daniel 4:34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.
His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: "What have you done?"
36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
As we come nearer to Christmas we see that God now came nearer and dwelt among us. He became one of us. We don't have to go to a special place, we can meet him where we are, for he dwells among us.
God has shown himself to come nearer and nearer to the people who despise and reject him, may I not be one of them today. Amen
revealing isn't it?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
James 2 also drives home the message Faith without works is dead.
I read on the News this morning a woman in Somalia was stoned to death after giving birth to a still born. The Islamists who stoned her charged her with adultery....Not much has changed in 2000 years!
I was grateful that God had chosen to take the baby back to him, he couldn't change the choices of the people stoning.
Faith and works?, what can I do today that changes the direction of someones life for the good?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The lesser of two evils is no less evil. verse 52.
When we choose the lesser evil in making a difficult or seemingly an impossible choice, the evil appears more "righteous" and that in itself compounds the evil and brings greater condemnation.
I hope I remember this when faced with those choices. Maybe "no action" is a righteous choice and is preferable if it legitimizes evil in any measure. It makes counteracting evil more tricky (for want of a better word!). But then again "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty to pull down strongholds".
Feel good ideology is not the answer to global problems of slavery, human trafficking and oppressive powers, domestic or governmental.
2 Corinthians 10:4
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
May we have the wisdom and courage to correctly apply scripture to our daily encounters. Amen.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
There is a correlation between obedience, and belief, therefore entering into the sabbath day rest of God.
"God finished his work of creation and rested on the 7th day.
Then he creates another day calling it "today"."
10 "for those who enter God's rest also rest from their own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience".
The rest mentioned here is an active one not a passive half asleep type of rest.
what work do we refrain from?
Gods work was creating, maybe that was what we are to do also, Stop creating and appreciate the progress you've made thus far. When God finished each step he was satisfied with his work and took the time to say so. "And it was good" is a preferable way to end each day.
Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
How often have we not separated out the troubles of the world from the word of God?
The two are often confused and we forget that God is the one who wants to give us rest in our time of distress.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Babylonians were going to overrun them as a nation but the leaders and prophets of the day would not hear of it.
All it takes to get an appraisal of our lives is to "consider our future"
The obstacles and half truths that we believe today can keep us locked down and stagnant for tomorrow.
There was a time in my life when I didn't make a decision to act for my best interest until others made their decisions first. I remember my aunt asking me "what gave me the right to let others take the responsibility for my life decisions" I was responsible for living my life no one else. It was a nugget of wisdom that still shines through all these years later. Its still a struggle to put my self interest on a equal footing with the interests of others. We can only obey the scripture to put the interests of others above ourselves when we first love them as we love ourselves. We can only truly give away or surrender what we truly know to be ours in the first place.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We lived in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, CA and we had just received our Green cards and returned to West Point. Because of delays in getting our INS appointment and the impending exit date on our Visa we made decisions to let others live in our home. Now we were back in the US and homeless.We began to establish our business in the one stop crossroad town of WestPoint, CA.
As they say it was the best of times and the worst of times. But my desperation and frustrations of those months brought me to a nailing my feet to the floor on what was truth and what wasn't. I needed to separate the wheat from the chaff of life and didn't know where to begin. Now I can smile at how in my anger and stubbornness at what was happening to us. "Spitting feathers" was a phrase I used to a few people! But the desperation I felt, led me on a journey that has preserved my life according to HIS word.
My discipleship journey began in earnest. I remembered conversations and sermons from John our pastor, he talked about the 'all or nothing approach' to being a believer. If following Jesus is true then He deserves our whole lives and attention. He preached on the Good Shepherd and I began to trust in that truth.
Also at that time that I was working out what the Kingdom of God was all about, reading only the Gospels. It wasn't long before I read about First things First!I needed to know what it meant to me in the here and now, as we camped out on Gene's (another pastor) floor and as we began fueling our IT consultancy and the many ad hoc businesses we had in the pipeline.
Duh : Seek first the kingdom and his righteouness".. I have sung these words from when I went to folk mass in the 70's but 30 years later - the reality and power of those words struck home.
Matthew 6:32-34 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Here was a wheat and chaff distinction I could easily make.
From there the second principle of Mammon or Manna became a reality in short order that I continue to be reminded of nearly 9 years later!
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money".
As I read about how God provided for his people in the wilderness and how He calls us to open our mouths so that He can fill it. Psalm 81:10 sums it up with "I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it".
That's a level of dependency that I was embarking on and it rankled. Surely being independent and responsible was the grown up way of living? Now I understand that as I was provided for in infancy and grew to maturity that I needed to learn to depend and trust spiritually. I would need to know my heavenly Father's provision in ways not encountered before. Sure enough, lessons were learnt from that time that has increased my sense of God's Fatherhood and provision. He never fails.
That time of dogged desperation to know God better and how He wants me to operate in His kingdom has given me the sanity of being able to walk according to His word. The knowledge that Jesus is the Good Shepherd has deepened over the years through His presence and peace. The challenges have been many and varied and will continue as they may. But I know that the Good Shepherd will lead me and guide me, I will fear no evil because He is with me. That is enough. That is all I need to know.
Those two principles, have guided me and given me strength over the years, for which I am eternally grateful.
What begins in humility and desperation will end in grace and peace.
25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.
32 I run in the path of your commands,for you have set my heart free.
If life brings you low today, you are in a good place. In due time the Father will extend his hand to you and help you to your feet.
Monday, October 12, 2009
6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
Psalm 119 is my most treasured piece of scripture. I reckon if I breathe the principles outlined here, the word will change my heart from the inside out and I would understand more of YHWH's character.
God's Word promises a straight path, and a strong spine to walk that path!
He shows us that his commands sets our hearts free. All other allegiances are brought to naught as we learn that our only audience can only be an audience of "one".
I really like verse 7 We can praise Him as we learn more about Him. Our learning is ongoing as our "new self is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator" Col 3:9-10 Very powerful words, I have no idea how deep is the chasm of knowledge or the heights to that knowledge ascends. Like YHWH says "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God". (Isaiah 43;12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you.You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God.)
The incredible awareness that we can actually know YHWH is out of this world.
I stand as one who can praise YHWH for who He is and what He does without understanding how or why he does what he does. I enjoy the benefits of His Character; his faithfulness, grace and mercy and kneel before his sovereignty.
Praise to the God of the Incredible, who has compassion on all He has made, Amen
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Col 3:9-10 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
These verses have intrigued me for the past few day.
If we have be known by God before the creation, God has predestined us to good works before we are even born. Like Jeremiah have purpose and a chosen destiny outside of time. Do we connect with that pre-planning when we become Christians?
"The new self being renewed in knowledge" speaks of consistent understanding of our Creator.
In this season of Fall and getting rid of all the debris in the garden its easy to relate to getting rid of the things that can hinder preparation for new life in the spring. One thought I had when cleaning around plants and shrubs was the debris that I know was thrown there in the name of mulch! How much more our lives when we stifle the Spirit of God to feed our souls.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
May we walk in the path of His blessings today. Amen
The LORD remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless the house of Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
he will bless those who fear the LORD—small and great alike.
May the LORD cause you to increase,both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the LORD,the Maker of heaven and earth.
The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
but the earth he has given to humankind.
It is not the dead who praise the LORD,those who go down to the place of silence;
it is we who extol the LORD, both now and forevermore.
Praise the LORD.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
How often the struggles we face are "feelings" based and not something that have neither face nor feet?
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Interesting... "when the day of evil comes" not "if" but "when" We are promised that we "will fear no evil because you are with me" not that we will side step "the evil day".
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
Truth and Guarding the Heart with Righteousness are the first things to set in place for stability and integrity.
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Then we can "walk the talk" with the Prince of Peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Not only do we steady ourselves from within, we are to be prepared on the outside. Being on the defensive with an active faith to quench the fiery arrows that are surely heading our direction.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Protection of our mind and taking the offensive sword of the Spirit is a crucial part of the whole warfare stance. It takes all the parts to be able to stand against the evil day.
Walking in integrity, means dressing well in "God's armor" not ours.
Our lives are hid with Christ in God!
Friday, September 25, 2009
God will be our Light and we have given a description of the darkness we have been in and the present reality we enjoy in Christ.
2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
19 The sun will no more be your light by day,nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light,and your God will be your glory.
Made Alive in Christ -
Ephesians 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
My take away for today is recognizing "the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus". Our God is a God of Grace and he uses kindness to draw us closer to him.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I don't seem to grasp just how lost I was without hope and without God in this world. When I read about people like Hagar (an Egyptian), Ruth (Moabitess), and Rahab (Cannanite) who were not Israelites and yet made decisions to become YHWH followers/believers, I can get a sense that these were strong women who were used to going against the accepted norms of their culture and break out for a better path. They stand out from the nations and the beliefs they were born into.
verse 14-21 "For this reason I kneel before the Father,...."
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
2 Cor 10: 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Strongholds are arguments and pretensions umm. does this translate to - what we rationalize in our lives against our better (godly) judgment; when we want to get our own way on an issue that takes the knowledge of God out of the picture.
I've heard many aspects of "strongholds" that we may have in our lives. This scripture says it begins with what and how we think.
2 Samuel 23:2-4 This is a good picture of what it looks like when we are being the stewards of the resources, supplies and support that we distribute in our lives.
2 "The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me;
his word was on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel spoke,
the Rock of Israel said to me:
'When one rules over men in righteousness,
when he rules in the fear of God,
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings the grass from the earth.'
Do I bring clarity of purpose, hope and the draw out the same faithfulness that God brings to us each morning. If I am dull of mind, my weapon of righteousness is blunt and I need to sharpen my mind and straighten up my backbone!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
6 They are full of superstitions from the East;
they practice divination like the Philistines
and clasp hands with pagans.
7 Their land is full of silver and gold;
there is no end to their treasures.
Their land is full of horses;
there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is full of idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their fingers have made.
The only things truly produced by us humans are our
imaginings and mutual promises, and what we think of our life-work.
All air, nothing of substance.
God created the resources gold, silver, and the horses, we use them.
We are good at being religious, making sacrifices and prayer - lots of them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.Your hands are full of blood;
16 wash and make yourselves clean.Take your evil deeds out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,17 learn to do right!
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.
18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the best from the land;
Being a true friend, an advocate for the vulnerable is a venerable activity.
Our breath is our benediction to those around us, that is all we really have of worth. May blessings, peace and joy roll out of hearts with the aid of our lungs today. Amen
Take a deep breath and let the day begin!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
People will be attracted to us because of the "pleasing aroma of Christ". I can understand being "an aroma that brings life"; that we are also" an aroma that brings death" what I don't understand is that its pleasing in both cases. Just got it, four little words and one big perspective "we are to God". It's His perspective that matters. Christ is the sacrifice and we are also sacrificed vicariously through him.
I am meeting someone for the second time later today for coffee. We both signed up for singing lessons with a group of ladies called Women of Note and she is really keen to get to know me. I am cautious when someone is that keen, so we will see if the aroma of Christ produces results.
"we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God".
Friday, August 28, 2009
Paul urged the church to forgive the guy who was under church discipline.
6 "The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him".
We may talk/sing/dance about spiritual warfare, get all hot and bothered about the needs in the world when forgiving a brother is a better measurement of being battle-ready.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Paul was under conviction - a deep personal responsibility to bring the gospel to his fellow Jews.
In Acts 18, While in Corinth Paul had had enough with the Jewish rulers which led him to draw a line, it was clear it was time to move on...
Acts 18 verse6 "But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." I would make an educated guess that as a Watchman of Israel he took his responsibility seriously. See Ezek 33:1-20 "6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood."
God encourages Paul to keep going.
Acts 18: 9One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." 11So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
After the time of a crises which was made up of endurance with his enemies, he makes a God honoring determination for the way forward and then God speaks comfort and encouragement.
His crises continues to Asia, but with it he now has the comfort of the Word of God.
Acts 19:8Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
The sons of Sceva get a beating and the area holds Jesus in high esteem.
13Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15(One day) the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
Then there were riots in Ephesus. Uproar and mayhem prevailed but Paul held onto the God of all Comfort.
I have a friend who is seeing life as far beyond her ability to endure. I was looking for a word for her today. This scripture has helped me speak to her.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Joash began well and continued well for 40+years to obey God and Jehoiada the chief priest.Together "they rebuilt the temple of God according to its original design and reinforced it. 14 When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money to the king and Jehoiada, and with it were made articles for the LORD's temple: articles for the service and for the burnt offerings, and also dishes and other objects of gold and silver. As long as Jehoiada lived, burnt offerings were presented continually in the temple of the LORD.15 Now Jehoiada was old and full of years, and he died at the age of a hundred and thirty. 16 He was buried with the kings in the City of David, because of the good he had done in Israel for God and his temple".
With Jehoiada the chief priest dead, Joash listens to the rulers of Judah and kills Jehoiada's son.
"Although the Aramean army had come with only a few men, the LORD delivered into their hands a much larger army. Because Judah had forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors, judgment was executed on Joash....So he died and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings".
What a shame, a life time of obedience and discipline counted as naught in the end.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Psalm 103 Shows us the benefits of forgiveness and reminds us of the goodness of God.
Using the two psalms together would be useful in helping people to acknowledge their pain and then come out of their own head by focusing on Gods attributes not necessarily their afflictions.
Friday, August 21, 2009
The Psalm for today shows us how to implement the lofty aspirations of wisdom, understanding and knowledge in our homes. Let's Unpack a few items from the Psalm.
Psalm 101 AKA House work 101!
A good outlook and determined attitude in life with a song in our heart is a good beginning. Watching what we sing about I find is crucial to me. There are many catchy tunes with gross sentiments of violence, unfaithfulness and injustice packaged as love relationships. I have a couple of songs that I have to turn of the radio when they come on! I am mindful of another proverb to "ABOVE ALL guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23
These are the "I wills" that we live out today not the one we leave behind!
1 I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise.
2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life—when will you come to me?
I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart.
3 I will not look with approval on anything that is vile.
I hate what faithless people do;I will have no part in it.
4 The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
Standing up for the reputation of others.
5 Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret,I will put to silence;whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,I will not endure.
Seek out good people as friends.
6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; those whose walk is blameless will minister to me.
7 No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.
8 Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the LORD.
A sad commentary on todays news. The Lockerbie bomber discharged from prison receives a hero's welcome in his homeland. That piece of "compassion" has backfired. It takes wisdom and skill to show compassion responsibly. It's not a matter of "letting someone off". A better way would have been to receive the freed prisoner with national humility and match the grace shown to him by other grieving nations.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Shame the power of God is untapped in many parts of our "bodies". What would happen if we turned off the blood supply to any of our extremities or organs? surely the same is happening spiritually. Numb and Cold and white, then deep blue and gangrene sets in. Next step is to amputate the part for the sake of the whole! Not a pretty sight or a way to live.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
1 Cor 12;7-25
"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.....All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines".
"But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other".
Gifts are for giving for works of service
"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work".
"To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom,
to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit,
to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
to another miraculous powers,
to another prophecy,
to another distinguishing between spirits,
to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,
and to still another the interpretation of tongues".
2 Timothy 1:7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
What's in our wallet?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saying our prayers. Solomon began with recounting the mercies and favor of God and worked his way into asking protection with the expected areas of sin and degradation.
He doesn't appear to include himself in the waywardness that is anticipated.
2 Chron 7:14-16 The answer to Solomon's request is that when all the waywardness happens then "He will hear from heaven and forgive....My eyes and my heart will always be here".
Where Solomon focused on the people earlier, God focuses on Solomon in this passage verse 17 "As for you....if you.... then...." As the King so the Kingdom. God will turn his back on his temple, his dwelling if those that live there are unfaithful.We wouldn't expect a spouse to live in the same house as the unfaithful partner, why would God stay under such circumstances either!
May God's eyes and heart be always with you.
Monday, August 10, 2009
"And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!"
Judging Others and personal integrity. We are called to take a personal inventory of our actions.
Matt 7:1-2 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Luke 6:37-38"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. Here is the criteria for judging situations and people.
Psalm 94 Puts judging in the place where it belongs
1 The LORD is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth.2 Rise up, Judge of the earth;pay back to the proud what they deserve.3 How long, LORD, will the wicked,how long will the wicked be jubilant?....7 They say, "The LORD does not see;the God of Jacob takes no notice."
8 Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;you fools, when will you become wise? 9 Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?Does he who formed the eye not see?
10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish?Does he who teaches human beings lack knowledge? 11 The LORD knows all human plans;he knows that they are futile.
Knowing that its The Lord who will ultimately, judge and avenge the wrong, what is our responsibility to protect ourselves and others from evil. The old addage comes to mind, "evil prevails because the good did nothing".
James6:16-20 is very clear. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins".
Firstly, if we are judging others and doing the same things as the perpetrator of the evil then we will be judged the same as we have judged others. Its reciprocal judgment. Our integrity is on the line and we are judged accordingly.Romans chapter 1 explains this in detail.But fear of judgment on ourselves is often used to get out of the responsibility to address issues and concerns.
Secondly, judging is not personal, the actions are deemed wrong no matter who does them. So how do we encourage people to see what they are doing is against goodness and righteousness? Well God in Jere 31: 3 "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love;I have drawn you with loving-kindness.." Hosea 11:3-5 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness,with ties of love;I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.
Romans 2:3-5 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
Showing Kindness to the wrong doer is the first step and our motivation in dealing with any level of evil. How that translates into the various scenarios of life needs the wisdom of God to implement. Personally, this is a real challenge to get the language precise when communicating a mistreatment that needs correcting. Ducking and Diving through life is not the most noble way of living. Showing Kindness the way God does is a noble quest that will keep us on our spiritual toes!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
This passage echos Isaiah 64:4-9.
4 Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?
6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
7 No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and made us waste away because of our sins.
8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9 Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD;
do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look upon us, we pray,
for we are all your people.
I particularly like the phrase " who acts on behalf of those who wait for him". I think of Saul, who didn't wait for Samuel to make the sacrifice. He responded to the fears and flight of his soldiers in the face of the oncoming enemy. Though he thought he was doing right by forging ahead without Samuel to lead worship in the sacrifice, the mistake cost him his kingdom and the favour of YHWH.
Wisdom is knowing that God is alive and well on planet earth and that he is an intricate part of our lives as we let Him led and guide our steps not strides!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ".
This is taken from Isiah 40:10ff
10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has understood the mind (or spirit)of the LORD,
or instructed him as his counselor?
14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path of understanding?
15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
Paul is saying that we have the mind of Christ to begin to understand who God is and see what He does. We have the Holy Spirit to be our counselor and guide. It is He within us who will enlighten us, teach us the right way, provide the knowledge and show us the path of understanding. (Interesting path is singular!)
May our path be smooth and straight as we strive to lay hold of God. Amen
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
There is wisdom in knowing what is the main point to get across to people when talking about God. Paul resolved to know nothing except, "Jesus Christ and him crucified". We can get distracted so easily from the main message of the Good News.
The Good News is that God became man and dwelt among us. YHWH wanted to be so close to his people - us that he became like one of us. "God with us" still brings a lump to my throat in gratitude to a Creator who loves us that much to die for us as well as giving up everything to become one of us. The theology of it all is too complex to ensure accuracy in explanation so I raise my hands, not in exasperation at the mysterious triune nautre of God but in thankfullness and He seen our plight and came for us.
May we keep the main thing the main thing! Amen
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
It was only last night that I heard a heart that "rages against the Lord". She was really disappointed in God. She felt that she had done all that was expected of her and now God owed her "joy" at the very least.
So what is the source of joy?
Deuteronomy 16:14 Be joyful at your Feast—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
We all enjoy a well executed plan, an accomplishment, the work of our hands. In Deut. we see that God aids our efforts by blessing the harvest, and the work of our hands. Both Heaven and Earth working together makes our joy complete.
Gratitude to God for his work, gets us out of ourselves. Knowing that God has blessed our best efforts is a great source of strength. (We get an appreciation of that when we look at events surrounding the rejection of Cain's offering - he became sullen and angry which eventually gave way to murder)
Fulfilling your mission in life
John the Baptist had his joy completed by hearing the voice of the Bridegroom - Jesus. The work he was sent to do was accomplished and that was the source of his joy. John 3:29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. Remember, John's lot in life was not "happy go lucky". He was born to elderly parents, lived on locusts and honey in the desert, an agitator to the comfortable religious leaders, a thorn in the side to the king of the land and was eventually beheaded as a party favor! We wouldn't have recognized the joy he was speaking of.
Jesus tells us what works for Him - obedience to the Father and tells us to do likewise. John 15:10-12 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 16:24 Jesus tells us to pray and our joy will be complete. Again it's inviting God to be part of the day events and efforts. "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete".
Being in a Community of Faith
When those around us are amicable with each other, add to our joy, like Paul experienced in the Philippian church. Philippians 2:2 "then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose".
A little R&R....God style
1 John 1:4 "We write this to make our ("your" in some manuscripts) joy complete".
Reading and ruminating on the word of God and what he has done for us and how he expects us to behave towards others gives joy.
Simple friendship and conversation produces joy.
2 John 1:12 "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete'.
Psalm 90:17 "May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands". Amen
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Our personal style of "worship" or spirit filled/led living,often becomes the point of division and derision that is one of the 6 things God (Proverbs 6:19), and we do it because we "love" God!
I John 2:9-10 has it right, we can assess how much we love God by our love for our family of faith. "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Number 32:16 Then they (Gadites and Reubenites) came up to him (Moses) and said, "We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and children. But we are ready to arm ourselves and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land.We will not return to our homes until every Israelite has received his inheritance.We will not receive any inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan, because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan."
1 Chronicles 12:8;14;18 Some Gadites defected to David at his stronghold in the desert. They were brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains......These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand..... Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said:"We are yours, O David!We are with you, O son of Jesse!Success, success to you,and success to those who help you, for your God will help you." So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.
The turns and twists of history, when Jacob gave his blessing back in Genesis, it was a one liner not much to speak about really. But they stand out among the warriors with David, faces like lions, the least was a match for a hundred and the greatest for a thousand, wow that's impressive.
They may have been "the victim" of a raiding party but they surely turned the tide and lived the destiny of responsibility, honor, loyalty and provided consistent leadership. BTW Gad was not the eldest of the sons,he was somewhere in the middle.
Indeed the eldest sons' tribe Reubenites aligned themselves with Gadites to possess the land east of the Jordan. Reuben was the initial commander of the army but Gad must have made the most of the training to achieve such an accolade in Scripture as in life.
What does our training look like? 1 John 2:13-15
I write to you, fathers,
because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children,
because you have known (recognize, conscious of and understand amp. bible) the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives (always in your hearts amp bible) in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Knowing God as Creator, then Father, being strong with that knowledge, having the word of God in us and overcoming evil with good.
Lets recap the verbs that spell Victory:
to recognize,be aware of, be conscious of, understand, the Father and His Word
enables us to overcome the evil one and his entourage!
That's the good fight - Onward and Upward!
Friday, July 31, 2009
Ezekiel 3:16-18 Warning to Israel
At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.
Hosea 9:8 The prophet, along with my God,is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God.
The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Look upon our shield,O God;look with favor on your anointed one.Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.For the LORD God is a sun and shield;the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
We can be on the look out for people wanting to enter the kingdom and clear a path for them as "ushers" in the kingdom of God.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I smiled when I read this passage this morning. Where are the women? then I looked closer and there they were....all the sons that were mentioned had to come from someone! Motherhood is a hidden part of the priesthood.
Here is the alternative recruitment technique from a UK paper!!
"Religious orders and seminaries are struggling to survive because of the fall in numbers. Fewer than half as many people joined colleges last year compared with 1991. The decline over the past 15 years is particularly marked among the younger generation, with under-30s making up more than two thirds of entrants in 1991, but only half last year.
In the typical Catholic diocese, there are four times as many priests aged over 70 as there are under 30, who make up only 7 per cent. The average age of clerics has risen from 57 in 1996 to 61.5 today.
The young may be put off by the six years of training before they can enter the priesthood, or by the frugal stipend, which ranges from £3,500 to £10,000".
The missionary families we are praying for this week all have children some - really tiny ones.. I must make a point of praying for the youngest in each of the families.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This is the source of many publications including secular "positive" ideologies and a religious following that is more akin to casting spells/wishes than the cry of the heart to a compassionate Creator.
I have just turned on Klove and a new song by Chris Tomlinson " I will rise" was playing. Here are the words.
There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
I will rise
There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
I will rise
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
I will rise
Pain and Sorrow are part of the present order of life on earth, our hankering after ease has lead us to much dis-ease with all our quick fixes. In order to have a clear understanding of pain we must kneel at the foot of the cross. Jesus shows us the way out of pain and sorrow and it's via the cross. Pain and sorrow are supposed to bring about a desperation that speaks of reliance on the Goodness of God not on ourselves.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
From an online UK newspaper
"They've already tried making frogs get married - now drought-hit Indian farmers are turning to naked women for help. Farmers in the eastern Indian state of Bihar have asked their unmarried daughters to plough parched fields naked, in a bid to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain.
Witnesses said the naked girls in Bihar state ploughed the fields and chanted ancient hymns after sunset to invoke the gods. The witnesses also said that elderly village women helped the girls drag the ploughs.
'They believe their acts would get the weather gods badly embarrassed, who in turn would ensure bumper crops by sending rains,' Upendra Kumar, a village council official, said from Bihar's remote Banke Bazaar town.
'This is the most trusted social custom in the area and the villagers have vowed to continue this practice until it rains very heavily.'
India this year suffered its worst start to the vital monsoon rains in eight decades, causing drought in some states.Earlier this week, farmers in West Bengalstate held a marriage ceremony for frogs, in another attempt to make the rains come."
Although this is embarrassing for the young women involved it's not as detrimental to their health and well being as some rituals we could mention, but it does show the depths of ignorance in a Creator who has "compassion on all he has made".
This summer period is a time christian generally go on mission trips/outreach ventures, also keep our full time missionaries in focus, lets pray for them this coming week. Here is my list:
Rod and Jenny Carlson USA and Ukraine/Budapest
The Townley Family on tour
Weisner Family in Malaysia
John and Shari Rush, New Zealand
Jack and Kay Rudd - Vanuatu Islands
Our God doesn't need to be embarrassed in order to answer our prayers. He took all our shame and guilt not to enslave us but to give us life.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Proverbs 17 :27"A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered".
Blessed are the meek....for they shall inherit the earth. Meek means "power with restraint" not some mealy mouth weakling. To help us understand, visualize a 15 hand horse rearing up its front legs as its being restrained by its rider. Feel the fear and adrenaline pump not just in your body but you sense the horses also as you feel his heart beat through the saddle as you feel your heart beat in your throat. The whole environment is tense and its up to you, the rider, to keep the animal harnessed. (If you get a chance see the film "King Arthur" there is plenty of horse rearing and restraint in the movie.)
Maybe that is the restraint we will need to harness today! The question is are we accustomed to the horse and gotten the skills to maneuver him successfully?
Adrenaline is pumped by Fear and we are programmed to either fight or take flight. That's just biology, even our inactivity gives way to distorted imaginings if not addressed properly.
Romans 8:6 tell us the the mind controlled by the Spirit is Life and Peace, v 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.And by him we cry, "Abba,Father."
The anxieties and fears of life are always with us, it's how we handle them in the light of being a child of God, who dwells among us. So what to do?...is the question.
James tells us to begin with harnessing our tongues James 1 26"If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless". Chapter 3 gives more details.
James 4:7 "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.Come near to God and he will come near to you".
If we begin there, then we can understand and reign in our emotions when situations of life cause us to either fight or take off, when what we need to do is "stand firm and resist"
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Gilead is a city of wicked people, stained with footprints of blood.
What are the foot prints we are leaving behind us in today's transaction of life?
In the ebb and flow of today, will the business of the day trample over the needs and concerns of others?
Is there a set of promises, terms and conditions of an agreement that is being broken? Are we calling others to sacrifice so that we can be seen to be generous, altruistic in making changes to one party at the expense of another?
Maybe a reasonable perspective is looking at Jacobs life and where his wages were changed 10 times by his uncle Laban. After all sorts of deal making, Jacob gets the upper-hand. He goes to meet his brother and is in much distress and anguish, he puts all his live stock and family before him as a gift to appease his brother and then when he is alone, he wrestles/struggles with God.
Genesis 32:27-30 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, e]"> because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."Jacob said, "Please tell me your name."But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."
The name change from grasper (Jacob), to struggle with God (Israel) and in the midst of the struggle that place is called the "Face of God" Peniel.
The struggles we face today will show us the Face of God. Truth will rise.
Foot Prints will be seen after the fact whether we like it or not, the question is are they muddy because of the struggle or bloody because the struggle injured another?
Monday, July 20, 2009
Why? Wasn't Jehu commissioned to destroying the house of Ahab?
Jehu was responsible for destroying the house of Ahab, (See 2 Kings 9,10), and the ministers of Baal. 2 Kings 9 :7 "Then the prophet poured the oil on Jehu's head and declared, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I anoint you king over the LORD's people Israel. 7 You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the LORD's servants shed by Jezebel. 8 The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. 9 I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10 As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.'
Well, Jehu did have Jezebel buried, the King Joram, (who succeeded Ahab) was killed and thrown in Naboth's vineyard (the one Jezebel seized for her husband Ahab).
I wonder if this was what Hosea was referring to?
2 Kings10 : 6 Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, "If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master's sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow." Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. 7 When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. 8 When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, "They have brought the heads of the princes." Then Jehu ordered, "Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning." 9 The next morning Jehu went out. He stood before all the people and said, "You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these? 10 Know then, that not a word the LORD has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The LORD has done what he promised through his servant Elijah." 11 So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor.
Here we find a cause:
30 The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation." 31 Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.
Jehu, he began well, but unfortunately he didn't stay the course. His kingdom was to the fourth generation only.
Hosea first son was called "Call him Jezreel" where the kings 70 sons were massacred.
Hosea first daughter was called "Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means "not loved"), for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them.
Hosea second son was called"Call him Lo-Ammi (which means "not my people"), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.
This describes an orphaned and displaced people - how sad....
Friday, July 17, 2009
He knew 2 years before hand what was going to happen, but people did not use that time to repent, or take the words seriously enough to make changes. If Nineveh could "turn on a dime" in their speed to repent and YHWH relented from sending calamity, why didn't his people do this also? They were no less honorable or dispicable.
This calling "to account" covers areas like: political oppression, slavery, disregarding agreements made between tribes "treaty of brotherhood", unleasing fury by stifling all compassion,
performing genocide by killing the unborn generation in the womb. Even in death, the memory of the deceased is burnt to ashes and is called to account.
As YHWH draws the circles closer to home to his own people Israel, they rejected God's law and so allowed themselves to be led astray. Bartering in people for goods, denying justice, indulging in religious prostitution. I wonder if the "religious" environment gave them a false sense of security in their acts?
I take great comfort knowing that God prepares us for the way ahead.
Amos 3:7 "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets". Ch 4:13"He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth— the LORD God Almighty is his name".
These insights into the character of YHWH should encourages us as we plan ahead for our future and our families. God talked His plans through with Abraham, Moses, kings of Israel and even non-Israelite nations (Cyrus in Isaiah).
Chapter 4 talks through all the ways that God tried to get his people's attention, but "yet you have not returned to me" is repeated at least 5 times. Chapter 5 is all about "Seek me and live" "Seek good not evil".
Again obedience, not sacrifice is the focus of God's heart. V24"But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!"This is echoed in Isaiah 48:17-19 from yesterdays comment.
As The Good Shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness, may our eyesight have clarity, our footsteps sure and our hearts be true. Amen.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
but let them not turn to folly.
The amount of peace the Prince of Peace can offer us is without limitation, much like the amount of Holy Spirit we are offered. John 3:34. It's our capacity to experience both is the limiting factor.
17 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,
your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be cut off
nor destroyed from before me."
Verse 13: Jesus our "righteousness goes before him (you and I) and prepares the way for his(our) steps."
May we be strong followers with our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Amen
Monday, July 13, 2009
Romans 1:18ff: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of human beings who suppress the truth by their wickedness,since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
If we read the Old Testament storyline with the New Testament we get a sense of the spiritual application God was making in the Old Testament. When we read the OT, we get a layer of why life plays out the way it does. Then with the NT we get a fuller picture of the same emotions the anger of God when his people exchange the truth for a lie.
The blinding of Zedekiah is also a picture of the spiritual reality that happens i.e. Romans 1: 21 "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened".
The correlation between the two readings is a true warning to all, if you're a believer continue to Walk in the Light, if not make that correction today. Jesus has come not to condemn you but to give you clarity in your standing before HIM and urges you to choose "life".
I have spoken with people who truly don't understand and don't know what to believe in regard to God. Decisions to choose to believe are complicated and they make it harder than it should be. Futility and Foolishness are at the heart of concerns what pose questions like, what happens to people who never heard of God..what if... Buddah is the truth.."what ifs" go on and on. Romans 1 is a great comprehensive explanation to any one with those set of questions.
I am heartened that anyone who seeks God will find Him, humility of heart is the only prerequisite I know of that gets Gods positive attention.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Would you prefer to be ruled by a 12 yr old or an 8yr old?The myopic focus on the fascinations of a preteesn, Manassah, had dire consequences on a kingdom and peoples, even sacrificing his own son in a fire!
When Joash became king he was eight years old, a time when in usual childhood development he would be learning that the world did not necessarily revolve around him! He would have been more inclined to listen and consider.
What influences had the two available to them?
The mothers of both were mentioned in the text. Joash also has priests in his life, and knows who is trustworthy in the temple. There appears to be a calmness in Joash's reign that would help in doing repair work to the temple. Indeed, it was 18yrs into his reign that his activities are mentioned. Through his work the book of the Law is found, and again the character of the man is seen when confronted with the shortcommings of the nation.
19 "Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.' "
Not so with Manassah, there is a frenetic activity communicated through the text. building altars, making sacrifices, spilling innocent blood etc.
16 "Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end—besides the sin that he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the LORD. As for the other events of Manasseh's reign, and all he did, including the sin he committed, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his palace garden, the garden of Uzza".
What was the end of both men,
Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his palace garden, the garden of Uzza"
2 kings 23 :25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
Manasseh may rest with his ancestors, but Josiah will rest in the heart of God.
Josiah fulfilled the prime directive:"Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength"
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Numbers 21:4-10 Impatience, ingratitude and plain whinning resulted in God sending venomous snakes among them. I often wondered why God sent snakes of all things and then poisonous ones at that. It could be that the snakes are a true representation of the damage done to their souls when we whin and complain to God. Do you remember the incessant "but why?" when your children were three years old? I remember Conor very clearly, it drove me insane. Thankfully he has grown and asks those questions to people who have answers!Back to scripture...here is the story
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"
Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people.
The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
From Moses, through the period of the judges, through Saul's, David's, Solomon's reign now we are nearing the end of the kingdom with Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah begins to reign.2 kings 18:3-4 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)
What was set up to be the cure in Moses time, would not be a safeguard for future complaints and impatience against the Lord. The people who burned insense to the bronze snake wasted their time. What a heartbreak if they realized that the sacrifices they made in order to buy the insense, and the time involved praying to the bronze statue to adher to an old custom was worthless in God's sight. The heart break really is that they did not know.
I found that its usually easier to do something, however ineffectual, than changing ones behaviour, seeking out real answers to life's problems or being plain obedient to God Word. In Gods book, obedience is better than sacrifice!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
As Jesus mentioned Jonah in regard to his death and resurrection, he is worth looking at and not to be discounted as a fable as some rabbis and modern day theologians ( aka "theo hooligans") would have us believe. Here is an excerpt from a teaching I came across. This website is very detailed in describing the why's and wherefores of historical and chronological challanges and opinions. It is lengthy, very technical and well worth a read on a rainy day with a strong cup of tea!URL: http://bookofjonah.blog.com/threedayandthreenights/
This shows me that Jonah was a long term faithful servant and God used him as a teaching point to describe the death and ressurrection of Jesus the Christ.
His ministry had a long term teaching that far outlived him.
Monday, July 6, 2009
That my dear sisters is what YHWH desires for us. This is his goal for us, nothing but the best of his provision. How do we get to receive and eat the wheat and the honey?
We remember. We remember and appreciate (savor) what He has done for us.6 "I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. 7 In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud;I tested you at the waters of Meribah". 10 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. "
(As Dr Phil would say there is verbs in those sentences!)
Unfortunately, once the crises and distress was over, their character remained unchanged and therefore the burden they now carried was the consequences of their own stubbornness, not an external oppressor but an internal one. 11 "But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.
9 "You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me".
That was and still is the crux of the matter between us and our God.
13 "If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!
With all the concerns before us today who exactly are our enemies? Have we identified them so that YHWH can deal with them?
Some of my "enemies" I am dealing with, is regarding our mortgage. Having pursued this house since March, moved in on a rental basis within days of closing the sale, now we are told the deal is off. The love of $ is the root of my housing problem. Astute business practices have been overlooked in the buying and selling of mortgages and now both the sellers first mortgage carrier and us are being held to ransom as the house sallies forth to auction! Lord teach me how to pray!
Another enemy is various self control issues at home. This one is insidious, it creeps in with small steps and the consequences have long strides for not only the person themselves but for the immediate family. This gets expensive in terms of emotional fidelity and harmony and also brings disruption in laying good foundations for living with the next generation. Lord teach me how to pray!
These two enemies of mine can be subdued by YHWH, if I place Him above the anxiety of the present, and worries for the future. A quick "commit" everything to Jesus and 'let the chips fall as they may' prayer does not put our heart into it. How distressed are we in the situation, how much depends on God's hand at work to resolve a situation? How do we pray in a way that demands 100% from both us and God?
V 10b "Open wide your mouth and I will fill it". Maybe that is where we begin, with our mouths open in prayer, praise, and petition.He will give the clarity of mind and charity of heart to administer His grace and truth in each situation.
Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift to us - Jesus the embodiment of Grace and Truth.
May we taste and see that the Lord is good. He has compassion on all he has made. He is slow to anger and relents from sending calamity.
May we kneel under the mighty hand of God and receive the blessing of His presense as we present ourselves a living sacrifice today. Amen
Saturday, July 4, 2009
10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice. An oracle is person or agency "considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority, usually spiritual in nature".(wikkipedia) At very least an influencer is one who seeks wisdom and understanding and has a keen sense of right and wrong.
11 "Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making".Transparency in transactions is the Honesty that is honored.
12 "Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness." Again people who know the difference between right and wrong,to dislike or hate with intensity are sure of making good assessments and judgments.
13 "Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value persons who speak what is right".We know how frustrating it is when people talk "out of both sides of their mouth" and we know what a pleasure it is when conversations can be open and frank. (Only those who do not fear to have their deeds exposed can walk in the light John 3:18)
14 "A king's wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it". Appeasement "is intended to pacify by acceding to demands or granting concessions" Appeasing a righteous king/ruler/influencer may be ok as even they can get their proverbial "knickers in a twist" but appeasing a fool will bring it's own folly.
15" When a king's face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver! 17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives".
When we understand how precious our time on earth is, we will understand that it's worth preserving through wisdom and insight.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Naaman was not only "a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded",he was also great in his own eyes. Naaman thought that the prophet should pay him honor. 11 But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?" So he turned and went off in a rage.
Getting washed in the enemies river Jordan was also distastful. a wave of a prophets hand would have been preferable than doing something that went against the grain. He preferred "magic" to transformation. The difference between the two is "exposure" a wave of the hand is discreet, washing in the Jordan is more public.
This really describes the difference between those who are able to receive the grace from God and those who will not. John 3 19"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed".
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman's wife. 3 She said to her mistress, "If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy."
The un named captive servant girl plays an important part in the healing of Naaman the commander of the army of the king of Aram and the ultimate cessation of the raids on Israel.
Due to her intervention for Naaman, there was peaceful contact between the two armies, an opportunity for Elisha the prophet to bring the raids to an end by showing mercy to Aram's army when they found themselves captive in Samaria.
Sometimes it's the movement of little chess pieces that help win the game, the knight and king may have a greater scope on the board but a pawn can move step by step and provide space for greater movement.