Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 90 Numbers 30 - Vows

Keeping a vow, promise, pledge, covenant, one's word.... We see how YHWH considers our word binding, there are exceptions noted here, regarding a wife being overruled by her husband and we won't get distracted by that this morning, will we?!!

Seriously, though, if YHWH values our spoken word how much more does HE value of THE Living Word, his Son.The echo of God's spoken word at Jesus's baptism and on the mount of transfiguration.Luke 9:35 "A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."
Mark 9:7 "Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"

Here are a couple of vows that I can think off which are examples of zealous commitment but in hindsight,(the 20/20 vision)are considered foolish.
Peter, when he said he would never deny his Lord. Jesus didn't ask for a deathbed commitment, but Peter blurted the promise anyway. (Mark 14:29-31)
Jephthah who made a foolish vow, but he and his daughter paid the price of following through on the vow, Judges 11:21-40.
"God did not need that bargain to aid Jephthah. Jephthah was yet another tragic figure in Judges who had not yet learned enough about God to know that God does not respond to magic or bargains, which lay at the heart of Ba’al worship. Jephthah’s battle against the Ammonites was not won because of his vow, but because of God’s presence (11:32). His lack of faith in God, and understanding of who God is, cost him his daughter." See full article - http://www.cresourcei.org/jephthah.html

The times I over reach myself include, responding to something that wasn't asked of me, like Peter, and when I haven't weighed the cost up,it was a good "spur of the moment" idea but not within my means. Then I get into a right pickle to "live up to your word even when it hurts! Psalm 15:1 "LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?Who may live on your holy hill?....v5....who keeps his oath even when it hurts." Hopefully, I am learning, to be careful in what I say...
Ecclesiastes 5:4-6
"When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?"

The consequences of not keeping our word are seen on court TV at least 6 hours a day!!!Ask Judge Judy, Alex, Matthis, Karen, .....and see the accuracy of God's word.
Hosea 10:4 "They make many promises,take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field".

Proverbs 6:1-5 is full of what to do when we have made unwise decisions... "My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another,if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth,then do this, my son, to free yourself,since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands:Go and humble yourself;press your plea with your neighbor!Allow no sleep to your eyes,no slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,like a bird from the snare of the fowler".

The prayer for the day has to be "Lord keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth"! May we listen to the Word more today than talk our words Amen.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 89 Ear to Ear - Smile

Luke 8:1-8
The parable of the sower and being a producer

11"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved".

It can be difficult to let the word of God sink in, especially if our background has been one of neglect and you have been "walked over" all of your life. The means of coping have left its mark and now you are left with a hard exterior to shoulder the demands of daily life. It is difficult to enter into a Father relationship with God, when the role models have let you down. It can be difficult to let the belief that God loves and cares for you to soak in and be nurtured in you.

13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
Their life is in the limelight, on the rock, they are visible and life can be a pretty shallow and meaningless experience. Hey, they may even believe they are a rockstar! They understand the joy of life but when the darker underbelly of life is needed for growth they disappear.

14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
Being more of a "worry wart", I remember when I read this and actually realized that the thorns in life can be riches and pleasures as well as worries. I realized that a lot of the stresses I was having to deal with were to do with having plenty. Plenty of work meant cars to maintain, people to entertain, two houses with their accompanying bills to pay, more business admin, payroll and of course all sorts of taxes to keep abreast off, then there is the next business idea to be involved with.... Well, the last 10 years have made life much simpler for us, we still had all we needed and a lot of dross was loosened from our lives. As we rebuild I am very aware of the danger of cultivating thorns and not grain. Letting the peace of God rule as umpire over my life will help to identify the thorns!

15"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop". As its coming into springtime, some of us will be out in the garden, digging out old roots of weeds, adding compost and maybe a few worms for added air and nutrients. What does the ground feel like? soft even bouncy, you may say, easy to handle, light; it just flows through your fingers.

It seems to me that there are contrasts between the first group of people whose lives are on the beaten path and these who are in a more secluded area like a garden. They have more space in their lives, their lives have boundaries and are not public areas to tread on. That's what gives them the ability for having "bounce" in life.

Being resilient in life is where the "Bounce' is. Maybe this is what is encouraged in Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart,for it is the wellspring of life". We can let the Love of God dwell richly in us because we are not clinging onto anything else in the soil, we have room to let God's word produce a harvest of righteousness in us.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 88 Proverbs 8 Wealth and Wisdom

Wealth and Wisdom, wouldn't it be nice if we could experience them together all the time? Thankfully, James teaches us that there are two kinds of wisdom and we attempt to get it right, but as disciples we are just learning what wisdom looks like "in the moment". The more we reflect on aspects of being wise, then, when we need it, our brain having been washed by the word, brings the answer we need at the right time. Of course then we need the power, love and sound mind/self discipline of the Holy Spirit, that Timothy talks about to put it in action. It's not simple that's for sure.

But wouldn't it be nice! Well, it's here for the asking!
Verse 17-18 "I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.With me are riches and honor,enduring wealth and prosperity".
The country may be going into a deep economic recession but I am reminded that God's word holds true irrespective of the ebb and flow of the value of the dollar, we have to ensure that we value what God values.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day87 Psalm 38 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation...

The physical and emotional trauma brought about by sin shouldn't surprise us but often it does. This is the picture of a repentant sinner, he knows he sinned, and knows that God knows also. It's "God's kindness that leads us toward repentance" Romans 2:3-5. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death". 2 Cor 7:9-11

Here is Matthew Henry's commentary....
"Nothing will disquiet the heart of a good man so much as the sense of God's anger. The way to keep the heart quiet, is to keep ourselves in the love of God. But a sense of guilt is too heavy to bear; and would sink men into despair and ruin, unless removed by the pardoning mercy of God. If there were not sin in our souls, there would be no pain in our bones, no illness in our bodies. The guilt of sin is a burden to the whole creation, which groans under it. It will be a burden to the sinners themselves, when they are heavy-laden under it, or a burden of ruin, when it sinks them to hell. When we perceive our true condition, the Good Physician will be valued, sought, and obeyed. Yet many let their wounds rankle, because they delay to go to their merciful Friend. When, at any time, we are distempered in our bodies, we ought to remember how God has been dishonored in and by our bodies. The groaning's which cannot be uttered, are not hid from Him that searches the heart, and knows the mind of the Spirit"....

How would we grade our Gratitude for His Grace in our lives today?
1- 10
1= not given it much thought to it
10 = dependent on Him as much as we need our next breath

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 86 Balaam's Oracles

In the oracles of Baalam we see a statement about YHWH and another about His people:

1st Oracle
God: "How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced?"

People: I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.

2nd Oracle
God:19 "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"

"The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till he devours his prey and drinks the blood of his victims."

3rd Oracle
Statement of the relationship between YHWH and His People.
8 "God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox.They devour hostile nations and break their bones in pieces; with their arrows they pierce them.

9Like a lion they crouch and lie down,like a lioness—who dares to rouse them? "May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!"

4th and Final Oracles

The essence of the first two oracles are repeated and now we have a proclamation of the destruction of the kings of Moab and allies. Balak wanted to pronounce curses on the people of YHWH and got judgment on his own.

25 "Then Balaam got up and returned home and Balak went his own way."
When YHWH speaks, then nothing more can be said. I see that they might just have been stunned into silence, the type that reminds us to "Be still and Know that I am God"


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 85 Men on a Mission, & those left behind

Luke 5:12-16 Choosing the Twelve Apostles.
When Jesus met the apostles at first, he just said "follow me" and they became followers, as they stayed with him they became disciples, and then they became the "sent ones"

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Also, this is the same list used in Acts which has Luke as its author.
Is Judas son of James the same person as Thaddaeus mentioned in Matt and Mark?

Matt 10:1He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil[a] spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

The Appointing of the Twelve Apostles
Mark 3:13-16Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles —that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter) James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

In Acts 1:19-24the group who met in the upper room were referred to as believers and then lots are cast to see who would be designated as an apostle to take Judas's place.
"For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms," 'May his place be deserted;let there be no one to dwell in it,'(Psalm 69:25) and," 'May another take his place of leadership.'(Psalm 109:8) Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen

When I read the two psalms in their context I wouldn't have come to the conclusion that it was necessary for Judas to be replaced. Was this necessary or did Peter want to keep the continuity and numbers straight?

We don't hear about Matthias after his election but we hear about Joseph/Justus/Judas AKA Barsabbas. Acts 15:22 They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers.

So after all that, what is to be gleaned from today's scripture.

Firstly, that Jesus prayed before sending people on a mission. He took disciples,ie trainees of the Kingdom and then they became the "sent ones" of the Kingdom.

Is this the progression we can expect to be carried forward for today?
Is there a mission brewing in your heart this morning?
Remember "God is a work in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure"!!

Secondly, in the case of Barsabbas and Matthias; The lesson I see is, just because you got looked over to be a "sent one" by others, God will still send you on the mission He intends for you. God's will, will be done on earth as it is in heaven -

Thirdly, Where is and who is "Thaddaeus"? If I resolve two out of these three points, I'll be happy!!

Blessings on your day

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 84 Proverbs 8 Call of Wisdom

Proverbs 8 :2-3 & 10-11 A Call of Wisdom
"On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud":

I take this to mean that when decisions have to be made and opportunities arise, wisdom is available before we take the next step.

I remember my mother saying a "fool and his money are soon parted" and she was right.

10-11 "Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her".

Before we meet our next "once in a lifetime opportunity" stop and consult the voice of Wisdom, we will gain prudence, and be able to recognize the difference between truth and deception.

Remember, the more we call on wisdom, the more we get!
May YHWH be able to bless our decisions today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 83 Healing, Forgiveness and Zeal for God

Teachers of the Law, Pharisees and Money Changers all challenged the authority of Jesus to heal, forgive and cleanse. They on the other hand, are comfortable to steal, kill and destroy.

Luke 5:22 In the the story of the paralyzed man lowered through the roof by his friends, Jesus knew what the Pharisees and teachers of the law were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins."

There was something that Jesus wanted them specifically to hear.Do you think there is significance that Jesus says he has "authority on earth" to forgive sins?

In John 2:17-19 When Jesus cleanses the temple, again evidence of his authority is required."His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." Jesus was referring to his future death and Resurrection as the authority to be zealous over God house of prayer for the nations.

After the Resurrection we see that He not only has authority on earth but also authority in Heaven. Matthew 28:17-19 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

His authority on earth came via being part of humanity.
His authority in Heaven came via the cross (Phil 2:5-11)

Any thoughts?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 82 Keeping God to ourselves

Haven't you ever wondered about how our culture plays a part in our spiritual lives?.
In Luke 4 we see Jesus healing Peter's mother in law. The town wanted to hold onto Jesus, he healed the sick and silenced demons. Who wouldn't want Jesus around?
But Jesus had to tell the town that he needed to spread the news of the kingdom to other towns. v 43"I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."

If you remember, it was Peter who in Matthew 16:21-23 rebukes Jesus as he spoke about his death and going to Jerusalem but Jesus had to say to him "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

It was Peter who God interrupts on the mount of transfiguration when he wanted the spiritual high to continue and to build booths for Moses, Elijah and Jesus. Matthew 17:3-5 "While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" I find is interesting that God says to Listen to him referring to Jesus and not to them

Peter's culture was as a fisherman; maybe his way of thinking was not to rock the philosophical, spiritual and physical boats! We can easily be blinded by our natural tendencies to conduct life in a manner that is familiar and not necessarily meet the spiritual needs of those around us.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 81 Psalm 36 Journey from Deception to Destruction

Journey of Self Deception to Self Destruction
Psalm 36 V 1 There is no fear of God before his eyes.
The Awesomeness of God is sorely lacking. There is a "Brazen familiarity with deity" to borrow a phrase from the book "the shack"

The path begins with
Self Conceit --->Deception to others -->Destruction before God
Psalm 36 V 2,3 For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.

Battle for the mind is under attack... if we lose it at brain level it is soon seen on the behavioral level.
Psalm 36 V 4 Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.

We are what we think about....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 79 The wail for quail !

Numbers 11.
Not satisfied with the daily Manna the rabble among the people wanted meat. They got more than they bargained for. They got hemmed in on every side by the quail the length of a days journey. The desire for "more" is part of our struggle against our flesh. Even when judgment came swiftly and severely they still didn't learn the lesson.

Psalm 78:28-30 gives us more perspective on the incident. "He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents.They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved.But before they turned from the food they craved,even while it was still in their mouths, God's anger rose against them;he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.

In spite of all this, they kept on sinning;in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror".

When we don't learn from life's lessons then the outcome is futility and terror, not a legacy we would want to leave our respective families.

So what lesson do I see for me? be content with YHWH's provision for today, the Bread of His daily presence; paying attention to any "cravings" that are really saying God is not enough. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 78 Preparing the way for the Lord

Luke 3:4-6 "A voice of one calling in the wilderness,'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low.The crooked roads shall become straight,the rough ways smooth.And all people will see God's salvation.' " (Isa 40:3-5)

This passage, over the years, has taught me a great lesson in living with God on a daily basis. As I look back, the anxieties I have had in life could have been greatly lessened if I realized what my part should look like in this dance of life with God.

I see the pro-activeness needed in being prepared for God to act. Somehow we proclaim Christianity as "waiting for God" so we should "be still' and do nothing, forgetting that He works in us to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Phil 2:13)

This preparation gives a sense of freedom that enables involvement and calls us to "straighten up" so that we can see the salvation of God at work. It takes 100% us and 100% God in the relationship.

Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

Proverbs 4:11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.

God does give us all we need for life and godliness, so we can prepare our hearts, minds and will to conform to seeing reality as He sees it. As we go through this day, may our preparations enable us to see God's salvation in the regular situations of life. Be Blessed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 77:Shoulder the Holy Things of YHWH

Numbers 7: 6-9 So Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. He gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites, as their work required, and he gave four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites, as their work required. They were all under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest. But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible. Reference 1 Chronicles 15:14-16 re carrying the ark of the covenant.

It is interesting that each and every gift is recorded as given by each of the 12 tribes. Time was taken to appreciate the offerings. Then the gifts were distributed to make life easier for various household chores associated with worship. Washing, clean up and meal preparation was the core of temple worship! Some things have to be done and are an act of worship in the "doing"

Also there are some responsibilities that need to handled personally and carefully. and we can't "cookie cutter" the process or hand it of to others. Handling the Word of YHWH, paying attention to His commandments, although back then in the ark of the covenant, remain the same to this day.

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'(Deut. 6:5 & Lev. 19:18)

Matt 11:28-30"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Finding it difficult to love someone this morning? Trying to figure out how to express love in the face of a difficult situation? someone being a royal pain in the neck!?

Try swapping out the unholy burden with the "Holy Things of YHWH" and you will have rest for your soul.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 74 Luke 1:57-80 YHWH's little surprises!

"There is no one among your relatives who has that name."

I have a friend who gave birth last night to a little boy who is going to be called Mattrix. I know that, what was said of John the Baptist will be said in this little boys life. "There is no one among your relatives who has that name."!!

What happens when we break the mould of the set ways and traditions in our families?
We often meet misunderstanding, sarcasm and ridicule at best.
Like 1 :57-80 Not only has this son John, "senior saints' as parents, now the name is different. What next....he grows up and appears to live in the Desert, rants and raves against the conservative religious order of the day, calling them a brood of vipers!

When I think about John the Baptist I think about the mercy of God on his parents. It seems to have a child in old age brings it's own strains but to have a son so out of the regular stream of religious life would have been difficult to understand, no matter how we love our children. I imagine that by the time John goes to live in the desert, Elizabeth and Zechariah have been in paradise with Abraham already!

Also, I doubt that Zechariah's prayer for a child had been prayed the morning Gabriel visited him. I think that God remembers our prayers and weaves time and circumstances together with our tears to produce an answer.

I wonder whether Zechariah had aspirations for his unborn son and they all culminated in this prophetic song?

"And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God,the dawn from on high will break upon us,to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Well, my little new friend Mattrix, Welcome, I am glad you have arrived safely.
May you grow in wisdom and the knowledge of the living God and may you lead many to share in His grace and see HIS face.


Further Study :http://www.lakegrovepres.org/sermons/S2005/sermon_2005-12-18.htm

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 73 Positive Prophecy

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

When Mary met an angel, sorry the angel Gabriel sent directly from God, she was a little ataken back and wondered what type of greeting this was. She was then told incredulous things first that she would conceive, though she was a virgin and then that the baby would be king over the house of Jacob forever. Then later all the strange and wonderful "happpenings" around the birth played out, even the riches of gold, frankincense and myrrh to help them with the exile to Egypt. Old prophets like Anna (Lk2:36)and righteous people like Simeon see Jesus as the "consolation of Israel" Over the number of years Jesus "And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him" v 40 & 52 And as Jesus grew up, he increased in wisdom and in favor with God and people.

Luke2:19 & 51 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

We deceive ourselves if we think a "good word from the Lord" is without pain suffering and growth. If the mother of Jesus fast forwarded 33yrs, she would have questioned her interaction with the angel Gabriel and all the early "happenings".
Her faith would be in crises mode.

The most we can do when we hear prophecy, is to treasure and ponder the words in our heart and prepare for a journey that takes us via the crucible of the Cross, a dark night of the soul in the valley of the shadow of death, before resurrection time.

We are encouraged to walk as Jesus walked and this my sisters is via the cross.

1 John 2:5-7 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love[a] is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 72 Precious in His Sight.

Proverbs 7:1-7 & Lev 26:14

We are precious to God
Zechariah 2:8 8 For this is what the LORD Almighty says: "After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye-

His word should be precious to us
In proverbs 7 we are to "guard my teachings as the apple of your eye"

We lose sight of our way when we don't show that the word is precious to us.
When we don't listen and carry out YHWH's commands, the first thing that happens is loss of sight. Sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever resulting in the loss of sight.

This scripture is making me think of the dreams I've had when in the dream I was driving a car but couldn't see where I was going!!! the mind is a strange place...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 71 Drinking from the cup of the Lord

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body.
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome
Mother of James and John (Matthew 27:55-57)and Joses (Matt 27:56) Joanna (Luke 24:10)

Mark 10:37-39 When we remember the request from the mother of James and John, we see a family dedication to being a follower. She was there to help with another mothers suffering, Mary, Jesus's mother. Her request earlier for her two sons James and John to sit on either side of Jesus in the Kingdom pales into insignificance as maybe a misguided impetuous request as we see the actions of sustained dedication on the part of all three people. She too shared and drank of the cup of sorrow. Her sons were to follow. James was the first martyr(Acts 12:1, 2)and, John exiled on Patmos as an old man.

Lets rewind a little. Jesus askes a pertinent question to Peter, one that gives us insight into the heart of the Servant King. Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" (John 18:10-12)

Is there something in our lives today that calls us to be conscious of drinking from the cup of the Lord? Something that grieves us like Jesus grieved and was overwhelmed in Gethsemane? Is there a challenge that we are being called to participate in that rocks not just our world but our very beings?

Be encouraged, Read Psalm 16:5-10
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;surely I have a delightful inheritance.I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.I have set the LORD always before me.Because he is at my right hand,I will not be shaken.

May we have the response that Jesus had "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"
God is Good, Always.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 69 Becoming unclean for dead family.

Lev 21 2ff'A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean for any of his people who die, except for a close relative, such as his mother or father, his son or daughter, his brother, or an unmarried sister who is dependent on him since she has no husband—for her he may make himself unclean.

WOW what an insight this gives us to Luke 8. The passage verse 40ff talks about Jairus, the synagogue ruler's daughter, who was dying and the woman who was suffering from a hemorrhage for 12 years who touched the hem of his garment, he also referred to her as "daughter". On both occasions, Jesus would have made himself unclean. But as the Great High Priest he seen these women as daughters, part of the family of God.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Day67 Nakedness & Consequences

Leviticus 18 warns against exposing nakedness or having sexual relations with relatives. Exposure of a persons nakedness is a big deal to YHWH. Lev18:24 " 'Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.

Gen 9:25 The first time that the word naked is used is in regard to Noah, he gets drunk and exposes himself in the tent and his youngest son Ham seeing him, tells his and brothers, who walk in backwards so that they don't see the fathers nakedness.

The curse on Canaan (Noah's Grandchild, not his son HAM, )was pronounced .... and here we are hundreds of years later being warned against exposing anothers nakedness as it causes defilement.

It began with Noah not paying attention to his new drink. I doubt very much that he was aware of the result of his mixture. Lev 18:24 The consequences of our actions may not come home to roost in our generation but in our children's generation.

Later we will see in Lev 26:38 "You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers' sins they will waste away". (See also Exodus 34:7 & Numbers 14:17-19)

Deuteronomy 5:9-10 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

God puts a limit on the punishment but not on his blessing! He continues to be a gracious God, showing compassion on all he has made.

Further reading
1 Thess 4:3-8 Gives a holiness context with avoiding sexual immorality and taking advantage of your brother.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day 66 Chidren of the First & Second covenant

Lev 16:30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins.It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.

Its funny how "resting" and being "clean" before God go hand in hand!
When we rest we generally have no anxieties, no worries, have a good positive outlook on life....unless its enforced rest like illness etc.

Heb 10;3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.' " (quoting Psalm 40:6-68)

v 9-10 He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

v 16-18"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds:"Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more."And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

V22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

V26-29 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
This is a difficult scripture to read, may we ask YHWH to show us when and if we do this. I'd rather know this side of eternity and have my crooked paths made straight.

There we have it, as children of the second covenant we are encouraged to
22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Have a great sabbath's day rest,sisters

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day 65 Mold and Yeast - infections!

Lev 14 talks about the mold and how it spreads on the outside and needs to be washed off diligently. In the New Testament Jesus talks about the mold on the inside, yeast!
Jesus said it's not what's on the outside that makes a person unclean but on the inside. Mark 7:14-16

Matthew 16:11-13 How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

Sincerity and Truth the word combo for today.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 64 The clean and unclean

When I was a student nurse learning about aseptic technique and dressing wounds, some wounds needed two nurses the "dirty" nurse and the "clean" nurse.

The "dirty" nurse laid out all the equipment on the dressing trolley and took off the old dressing. Then they helped the "clean" nurse put the new dressing on. The "clean" nurse didn't come into contact with the old dressing and only handled sterile equipment and eventually put the sterile dressing on the wound. We were also very careful when describing the state of the wound in the presence of the patient. It was poor nursing practice to say that the wound was dirty, as it may imply that the patient was dirty.

This gives us a good illustration of the ceremonially clean and unclean in the OT.
Sometimes we can miss the "ceremonially" part and impute the clean and unclean as statements of our virtue or rot before God.

At no point does YHWH say that we are to be discarded, all "our righteousness is a filthy rags" but our lives are precious enough for God to die for. Remember what we read a few days ago, Moses said that we are to keep His commands so that God may come near us.

The necessity of rigorous aseptic technique practices have waned over the years and as we have slackened off wound dressing from stringent practice to "clean enough" practice we see a rising tide of MRSA outbreak in hospitals not only in the USA but in the UK and Australia.

In the church our outward practices of holiness diminish, and we wonder why God seems so far away!

Day 64 Proverbs 6

There should be a Tattoo for that!
The skull and cross bones comes to mind.

Any good images to sear the proverb into the mind?


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day 63 High Maintance Treasured Possessions.

Exodus 19:5-7 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'

Leviticus 11 & 12. Part of understanding the holiness of YHWH is to understand what being separate from things around us means, in terms of what we eat, how we live and accommodate the natural in our humanness. Back in the OT, we see this in part through menstrual cycles, having a baby, which are not evil or sinful, it's part of how YHWH created us. Even Jesus's mother abided by the traditions and brought pigeons as offerings. See Luke 2:23-25

At first reading of Leviticus we may balk at the chauvinism of the divine and paint YHWH with the same bigotry brush that may have encountered in our lives, or we can choose to chill and see how a loving Creator, who calls us His "treasured possession" views the creation he said was "very good".

I see the offerings and ceremonial rites are ways to reinstate or preserve the Jewish "holy" condition before a Holy God so that HE can be present with them. We are HIS holy people separated for Him and He gives us clear instructions on how we can do life with Him under these restraints.

The time given to women can be seen in terms of being separated and ostracized from the community on a regular monthly basis and then for extended times after childbirth or we can choose to say that every month the women of the community were given the rest from their labors at home, and after childbirth had recovery time for themselves and a bonding time with their newborns. Notice how newborn girls got twice the amount of bonding time as infant boys! I think we underestimate the rigors of life back then and that we underestimate the importance of rest and the natural times needed for healing in today's fast paced life.

Psalm 145:8-9 "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.The LORD is good to all;he has compassion on all he has made".

What difference would it make for you, if we truly seen our God as treating us as his treasured possession today?

Further suggested reading Hebrew 9 & 10

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 62 Do it YHWH's way not our way!

Lev 10:1-2 After a good worship time, the glory of the Lord appeared to the people and they fell down and worshiped. In the next breath we read that "Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD".
What possessed them to do it?

Could it be because we sensed the presence of the Almighty in a prayer meeting or in private that we can get 'cocky' thinking we are so spiritual because God turned up to the meeting and therefore we take liberties with God's grace.

We can't think for one moment that we can become familar with the holiness of YHWH and do our own thing, when we add anything to what YHWH has already commanded, we are skating on thin ice.

Was it that God had already burned the offerings with HIS fire and their concoction of incense led to a chemical lab explosion of "unauthorized fire"?

Do you have any thoughts on the "added incense",what its significance is?

Day 62 Making YHWH's Presence Possible

Lev 9: 6 Then Moses said "This is what the LORD has commanded you to do, so that the glory of the LORD may appear to you." I think that this is one of the 'coolest' sentences in the OT. YHWH wants to be with US !!! and he has a put a process in place for that to happen today. If nothing else sticks today in my consciousness I want that truth to.
The presence of God is based on the promises of God.
It might be worth recapping Deut 28 and 29 at this point!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Day 61 Psalm 28 Hands

v 1 To you, LORD, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me.
v2 Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
The image is vivid, the distraught person with raised hands imploring the heavens to help them in their plight.

V 4Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work;repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve.

V5 Because they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again.

V 9 Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.

I like the way the Psalm moves from the distress and distraught, then the focus on the dispenser of justice and discipline to being resolved in a dependent relationship on the good Shepherd.

Day 61 Fellowship offering

Lev 7 Fellowship (Shalom) offering:Rules of Engagement.
This offering is marked with Thankfulness, Promise keeping, Food Safety and Nutrition principles.
v 16 When we make a vow or a freewill offering it is to eaten that same day. I see that in terms we are not to procrastinate.

v 22 Food Safety and Nutrition: No fat or blood.
We can use the fat but not ingest it. Isn't that what we are now advocating in the 21st century? No blood products in our food. In Ireland, we have white and black pudding to accompany fry-up aka "heart attack specials"

v32 "right thigh of fellowship to the priest as a contribution"
The right thigh was an integral part of covenant making in ancient times.
See Genesis 47:29 Jacob with Joseph when he is dying.

Shalom literally means "nothing missing and nothing broken"
It will be interesting to work through these areas in my life in the upcoming months.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Day 60 "What do you want me to do for you?

Mark 10:35-40 The Request of James and John.
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.""You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." This is also recorded in Matt 20:20-28 where their mother makes the request.Either way, the request was made and Jesus makes the same response. They could share in his suffering.

We can tend to dismiss the lofty request as to the seating arrangements in the Kingdom as being pretentious and we can get indignant about it, the other disciples did! or we can see how they lived up to the intimacy with Jesus they wanted.

Lets look at them a little closer,
The sons of Zebedee James and John also called sons of Thunder in Mark 3:16-18
This was probably due to their zeal to protect Jesus in Mark 9:38-40
They wanted to avenge an insult from the Samaritans - Luke 9:51-56
They were the first disciple to be arrested in Acts 4:13-21
James the first to die for his faith Acts 12:1-2
John was the last of the apostles to die. It was late in his life, while exiled on a penal island, that John wrote Revelation. Early Christian writers state that he lived over 94 years. In his letters his words and warnings are strong, his passion and zeal continued through his life.

It was James and John who along with Peter became Jesus's inner circle of disciples.
They were probably a hot headed lot, plenty of zeal mixed with little knowledge. (Not a recipe for reliable friends that I would choose anyway). Thankfully, Jesus can correct a lack of knowledge, these disciple brought what they had, passion and zeal misplaced though they were in the beginning of their discipleship.

They accompanied Jesus to see a resurrection of the dead daughter Mark 5:35-37
They accompanied Jesus on the mount of transfiguration Matthew 17:1-13
They accompanied Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane Matthew 26:36-46
John was the one to ask the tough question of who was to betray Jesus John 13:21-26
John was the one to take care of Jesus's mother John 19:25-27
John was the one to run with Peter to see the empty tomb John 20:1-10

Looking for intimacy with Jesus?
Can we share in the suffering of Christ?
Do we have the passion for him to follow through like these hot heads did?
Jesus still asks us "What do you want me to do for you?

Note of thanks to http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/SermonsSonsOfThunder.htm