Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 180 Crowded thinking & integrity

Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab 1 kings 22:1-53
Listening to or being part of "the in" crowd does not guarantee integrity or hearing correctly from God.

I wonder if these were the same "400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table." mentioned in 1 kings 18. (Elijah slaughtered the 450 prophets of Baal verse 40) Isn't it interesting that Ahabs 400 hundred prophets rallied around him to give him counsel he wanted to hear. What was the point of having them if he knew they would only spout back his own desires?

Lets look at these three people and see what distinguishes them from the crowd:
Elijah had a knowledge of a living God and that he served Him.
God gave Elijah his daily bread and water in the midst of a famine.
Elijah obeyed God.
Elijah interacted with real people in dire straits and had the reputation of being a man of God and being truthful.
He defied and put to shame and death the Baal and his prophets.
He was human and so got exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually after hearing that Jezbeel was after him.

1 kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe [a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there." 5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."

3 Elijah was afraid [a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

Elisha son of Shaphat:
He had a herd of oxen harnessed to 12 yokes. I can't imagine the type of equipment he was plowing with to need that amount of power. He must have had muscles on his muscles and "worth his weight in gold".

19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.

Elisha is not heard about for a while until 2 kings. He stays with Elijah and knows he will succeed him. He does not have to hurry but pay attention to Elijah's movements.

Micaiah son of Imlah
Was the lone voice before kings, a very precarious position to have. He appears to have been well suited to the contrary nature of his office as prophet.

Today's perception of a prophet.
When we see real live prophets in the old testament, they are not the most congenial people to have around, and we somehow like to shape today's "prophets" to give only positive and encouraging messages. I wonder if the church would recognize an old testament style prophet? Would Jesus ask his church the question "whom did you come out to the desert to see?" when speaking of John the baptist. What do we want God to say to us? Could we handle the answer?

Day 180 Proverbs 16 Perspiration and Inspiration

1 To human beings belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.

It seems that Perspiration comes from within and Inspiration comes from above. May God give us energy for one and peace to receive the other, amen.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 179 Our response to demands relfects our desires.

What comes to the surface when we have demands put upon us? It drives the intents of our hearts to the surface and there our deepest desires are open for all to see. Here are a few scenarios we can learn from; people who were pushed to their limit to obey - and didn't.

1 kings 20 Ahab was happy to give away his, money, wife and children to the enemy.
3&4 'Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.' " The king of Israel answered, "Just as you say, my lord the king. I and all I have are yours."

But when the same items are demanded with a search of the palace then Ahab objects.
5 The messengers came again and said, "This is what Ben-Hadad says: 'I sent to demand your silver and gold, your wives and your children. 6 But about this time tomorrow I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.' "

Its a funny thing, when something is asked of us we can easily comply, but when its demanded then our emotions get stirred up. Or maybe Ben-Hadad did not trust Ahab to surrender everything he valued! Ahab shows himself to be quite witty in his retorts to Ben-Hadad, and astute in his assessment of just retribution in his discussion with the prophet. Little did he know that the judgment he pronounced as proper, was on himself. He let Ben-Hadad live when God wanted him to die.

Why did Ahab make a treaty with him? He didn't have a reputation of being a merciful or righteous king. His response to the prophet - Sullen and angry, he went to his palace.

Maybe that's the clue, he simply wanted his own way not YHWHs. I recognise that if I simply made a less than best judgement call I can more easily receive a rebuke or correction but if I was fixed on wanting a certain outcome and it doesn't happen, then I can get annoyed and irritated very easily.

It's worth noting that both Cain, Saul and Ahab have much in common. Each wanted to do their "own thing" in worship, making offerings and keeping animals and people alive that should have been killed.

Cain got upset when his offering was not accepted by the Lord. It lead him to kill his brother Able Genesis 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast.

went into many emotional "funks" in his reign, seeking to kill David was another favourite pastime. This little cameo of his behaviour give us some insight into the self justification he trained himself to do.
1 Sam 15:17 Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' 19 Why did you not obey the LORD ? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD ?" 20 "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

Ahab: 1 Kings 20:43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria
1 Kings 21:4 So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.
1 Kings 21:5 His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, "Why are you so sullen? Why won't you eat?"
1 kings 21:24-26 (There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)

All three were rebels for their "own cause" and was a receipe for isolation, displacement from power and untimely death.

What comes to the surface when we have demands put upon us? It drives the intents of our hearts to the surface and there our deepest desires are open for all to see. Let us walk in the Light as we live in the Light. 1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 172 God speaks to eveyone everyday....

We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.In the past, he let all nations go their own way.Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." Acts 14 15-17

This Fathers day morning, look out the window. What is your heavenly Father saying to you?
I can hear a bird or two, I have seen two chipmunks pass my door, I feel the increasing breeze and see the winds sway the trees and shrubs, I see the glassy raindrops on the leaves and the muddy ground. I hear the silence of sons and a dog sleeping and the quiet breath of my spouse beside me. Yes it's Father's Day, and the father says "thank you for noticing my provision for you"

Day 172 Street wise discernment. The good, bad and ugly of life

Here are some of proverbial insights on the wise, the foolish and the mockers in life.
By their fruits you shall know them. What do I see when I look in the mirror of Truth?

Proverbs 14:
What do I hide in my life? is my life transparent? am I thoughtful when I make decisions?
"The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception".

When I mess up do I truly make amends for the wrong?
"Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright".

Do I "fly off the handle" and strut off in moral self righteous anger?
The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.

When we look back at our childhood did we heed our parents correction, what did they need to do to gain our attention. Was a look sufficient, a conversation or a beating? Did they care enough to teach?
"A fool spurns a parent's discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence".
"Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but those who heed correction gain understanding".

Proverbs 15
The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.
The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
Folly brings joy to those who have no sense,
but those who have understanding keep a straight course.
Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 170 Laying foundations takes the longest time...

1 Kings 6:37& 38 "The foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv. In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it."

As we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, what do we consider foundations to our faith in Christ?
Isaiah 28:16

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
Isaiah 33:6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

Solomon did have gold, silver, precious stones but we have the cornerstone - Jesus to build our lives around. It's how we align ourselves to the "key to this treasure" that makes all the difference.

Luke 6:49
"But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

So what word do I bring into this day for me..In all decisions and assessments I make today of circumstances and people, will I let the peace of God act as umpire over my soul?

Colossians 3:15 amplified bible
And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

May my Amen be visible today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 169 Wanting God to give someone a "clip 'round the ear" !!

Wanting God to give someone a "clip 'round the ear" Well you're in good company! In Psalm 74 Asasph asks
"Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!

He quickly recovers his composure and relents. verse 12 "But God is my King from long ago; he brings salvation on the earth". When we know who is truly in charge of what happens, we can rest assured that the "judge of all the earth will do what is right".

He does however, also encourage God to keep an eye on the mockers:
18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name.
22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.

Asaph asks God to defend his cause, not to raise up an army to do it, or to plant a bomb in his name or to lift up hands against another. Even Jesus rebuked Peter when he cut the servants ear on the night He was betrayed.

This is a good reminder that when we take matters out of Gods hands and into our own then we are easy fodder for evil and fools to point the finger at us, and still continue to wag theirs at God.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 168 Anger & teachable moments

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Well, this is a teachable moment in our household - taking the bait of trouble makers, the invite to fight. Most normal teenagers have some sort of fist fight growing up and its the parents job to "milk" the teachable moments in life when they are still learning, and when consequences are limited to a the "school yard shuffle".
As Dr Hunter so succinctly put it "my life is in the hands of any rascal who chooses to annoy and tease me". We are now reflecting on what pushes 'our buttons'.

1 Corinthians 10:12-14

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

James 1"13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

As James says temptations arise within us it's not outside ourselves.

2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. Well the altercation that resulted in a broken wrist was prompted by insults thrown at my character - the mum, and what son worth his salt, would not respond to such with a righteous moral anger? Well the mom, has now the financial burden of this character assignation that was so ridiculous for words was not worth the energy to speak the words let alone the $2,000 in medical bills.
Needless to say, being prudent in what battles are worth fighting for is needed here.

The second altercation, "the school yard shuffle", thankfully didn't result in such harm.

5 A fool spurns a parent's discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

I am grateful that both sons, are reflecting on these issues and accepting correction. Time will tell whether they "heed the correction" Proverbs 15 will also be part of their reflection process.

So , off we go to begin the process... thanks to be God for His Wisdom, he makes our crooked paths straight and helps us to "make straight the way for the Lord" John 1. I am so grateful for God's influence and prower in our lives.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 166 What ticks God off?

YHWH has gained a reputation for being a thunderous and angry God of the Old Testament, but as far as I can see,there has only been 6 times when "the anger of the Lord burned against Israel"

1. The first is found in Numbers 25:3 Israelites are now on their journey of deliverance to the promised land and they become worshipers of lesser gods.

2. Next in Numbers 32:13 they refuse to engage in fighting to possess the promised land and end up going in circles for 40 years in the desert.

3. Joshua 7:1 They stole from God (Achan). God swiftly put an end to the whole family.

4.Judges 3:7-9 "they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim." They served other gods and He sold them into the hand of the enemy.

5. 2 Sam 24 God incites David to number the army.
While we aren't told why God was angry at Israel but when David realizes what he had done he says to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men." This is something to learn from, God does have a greater picture always, we know from the NT book of James God does not tempt us, even so we don't know what happened here. We just see what Davids response was. He relied on God's mercy and knew that he was safer in Gods punishment and in the hands of men.
Also "I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." that also marks David out as someone who needs to show YHWH that he, David, is serious in his devotion to God. I have heard it say our pocket book often shows where we are most devoted.

6. Lastly, 2 Kings 13:3 "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them. 3 So the LORD's anger burned against Israel, and for a long time he kept them under the power of Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad his son.
We are without excuse when we choose to follow another's sin.
"Following the sins of another will get us into bother"!

In each instance, God's anger came to an end. The punishment is out and that is the end of it. His punishments may be to three or four generations but his blessings are to thousands.

Let's recap, God got angry 6 times in how many thousands of years? 6 times for many of us is once a day - and of course nobody get angry on Sunday do they??
Have a blessed peaceful day

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 165 Gibeonites - Keeping promises

The Gibeonites are first encountered in Joshua 9 where they duped Joshua by pretending to be strangers living far away, rather than the neighbors they were, bound for annihilation as part of clearing the "Promised Land".

Joshua 10:2 gives us a glimpse of what the Gibeonites were like. "Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters". Because they had made a treaty with the Israelites the surrounding kings we now bent on attacking Gibeon and they called on Joshua to save them, which he did.

We are not given any hint of the massacre in 1 Sam, but David didn't disagree with the details and the 7 men were killed "before the Lord". God answered and ended the famine. It's interesting that God chose/took his time to show his disapproval for the "war crimes" on the Gibeonites. There was a keen sense of injustice by the Gibeonites. They didn't go to David themselves. Maybe the "prayers and cries of the people" reached God's ears.

It took David three years to understand that something else was going on other than the ebb and flow of life. David asked God, God told David and David asked the Gibeonites what they needed. However grateful they felt with what they had left of their tribe, they didn't ask for wealth to replace tribal legacy. Their value was in their heritage. Something easy to forget in the Western world.

In this story I see the importance of keeping promises, they are generational. This reminds me of Acts 16:29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family. The Jailhouse at Philippi got its first foundational church members!

At some level there is a blessing that circles the people of God. The Gibeonites were still not Israelites but their place among them should have been secure according to the treaty. In those days anyone who wanted to be near the Israelites could not be banished they had to be circumcised or servant to the Israelite tribe. The relationships we have are no less binding than the ones made to the Gbeonites. It's no wonder that we are called to "not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever" (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

For a full exposition on this event

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 163 Psalm 73 Reflection on the Struggles and Strife in Life

Psalm 73:1 "Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart".

This is a great psalm to reflect on life as we know it, and also Life with God. Asaph gives us some insight into his way of thinking about the perceived injustices of life, what those emotions raised up in him and how he resolved the discrepancies in life as he sees them.

Ecclesiastes 7:13-15 Gives us the dilemma many of us may have experienced in our lives.

"Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future. In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: a righteous man perishing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness".

Beginning with "Surely God is good to Israel" could as easily read Surely God is good to "he who struggles". It was Jacob who got the name change when he struggled with the Angel of the Lord. Genesis 32:28.. This makes a profound impact on us when we realize that once we become disciples of Christ it doesn't necessarily mean a life of ease, more than likely its just the beginning of a lifelong commitment of realignment to Kingdom principles and the business of life.

It gives me hope to know that God is good to those who struggle. The struggle is not against God or his kingdom but to get "us out of" and "get over ourselves' to live a life worth living knowing that God is near.

Psalm 73 :1-14 sums up a natural reaction to mainstream living.

Verse 15 "If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children" Asaph has a sense of knowing when to keep his mouth shut and when our complaining may adversely influence the next generation in their experience of God and when we don't take the time to understand the struggles in life from a godly perspective.

Verses 16&17 "When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

The Psalmist struggled with this, and probably lost a few nights sleep over this. He understands verse19" How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! "

Not only have we seen indivuduals been destroyed not only in financial terms but their reputation with their livihood brought under scrutiny in recent months but also we have seen what greed produces on a global scale. In verse 7 the literal hebrew is "their eyes bulge with fat" says it all really.

It would serve us well to have a world view that helps keep our head out of the sand; acknowledge the struggles of life and know that when all is said and done we can say

"But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds."

The fact that "God is near" may be the only comfort we can be assured of.

Remember this song/chorus?

I worship You, Almighty God,
There is none like You.
I worship You, oh Prince of Peace,
That is all I long to do.
I lift my hands for You are my righteousness.
I worship You, Almighty God;
There is none like You.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 161 people we meet when we are vulnerable; motives and understanding.

There are times in life when in crises mode we need to think clearly and we would be wise to be aware of other people's agenda in the midst of a crises. Here is a snapshot of people who met David and their actions speak for themselves. Also we see David praying at the beginning and accepting the actions and judgement of God on his life.

David needed a confidant and found one after praying for one. He needed someone with access and influence. Hushai the Arkite was that person.

Hushai the Arkite
2 Sam 14:32-37 "When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head. David said to him, "If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 'Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father's servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,' then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel's advice. So Hushai, David's confidant, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city".

Ahithophel was the king's counselor, he continued in that role to Absalom the self appointed king. People who value position and power over loyalty and friendship can easily waiver and when they perceive they are slighted then the outcome can have detrimental effects on their state of mind. Later we see how he dealt with failure. 2 Sam 17 "When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb".

2 sam 15:1 "When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.The king asked Ziba, "Why have you brought these?" Ziba answered, "The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the wilderness."The king then asked, "Where is your master's grandson?" Ziba said to him, "He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, 'Today the house of Israel will restore to me my grandfather's kingdom.' " Then the king said to Ziba, "All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours."

Later we find out that Ziba was deceitful in his representation of Mephibosheth; his intent and character.

2 Samuel 19:26-29 He said, "My lord the king, since I your servant am lame, I said, 'I will have my donkey saddled and will ride on it, so I can go with the king.' But Ziba my servant betrayed me. And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king is like an angel of God; so do whatever pleases you..."

Shimei son of Gera
2 Sam 16:5&6"As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul's family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king's officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David's right and lef".

The accusation of Shimei was correct, but he may not have applied the term murderer to the same events as David would. I can see that David would recognise the term "murderer" in his dealing with Uriah and not Saul and his family. David shows us a humilty in the overall truth and doesn't get defensive about the exact details.
David is a man who knows where he stands with his God and that is all that matters.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 160 The God who draws us near

2 Sam 14:14"But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him".

WOW, what a insight on family feuds. This sums up the heart of the Father towards us. What would our families and churches look like if we practiced this characteristic of God?

Let's look a little closer at how the story plays out using the scriptures in today's Proverbs reading. Proverbs 14:16 The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.

David's stubborness and half hearted willingness in bringing Absalom home but not meeting or seeing him is worst than being a hothead, he had grown cold towards his son. And yet he felt secure in his position.This was to change, and eventually this led to a split in the kingdom.

Irrational, ungracious behaviour will result in leading ourselves and others astray. Absalom was given all the time and "good reason" to plot evil and lead himself and others astray. He was left to his own devices and fed isolation with a decaying relationship in the family.
So, like mushrooms that grow in the dark and in manure, he had "much room" to split the kingdom and his family! And like the atomic bomb mushroom image, the beginning of a matter exploded out of all proportion to the perceived wrong done.

Proverbs 14:22 Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find [a] love and faithfulness.

May we be the ones "who plan what is good and find love and faithfulness". Amen

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 156 what to do, when...God gives us rest

2 Sam 7ff David was given rest on all sides from his enemies... David then is still restless and wants to do something for God - build him a house. God didn't need a house to be built for him as He moved around with the people in a tent. God sees that its his prerogative to provide a place for us and plant us so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed (v10). (John 14 comes readily to mind)

That was his preferred mode of being, being among His people. There is a sense of God living/dwelling among us - that is His Heart's desire. No Shrines, no temples, no ivory towers - just his presence with us.

It's no wonder that David's response (V18ff) to Nathan's word of the Lord was "who am I, O sovereign Lord....and "How great you are, O Soverign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you...

These are the aspects of God's character to ponder on when we have been given rest.. We are to resist "doing" however laudible when it takes away from resting in God's presence.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 155 God's purpose in our lives

2 Sam 5:12 "And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel".

David was fully aware of his purpose, and it was out side of himself. His purpose was for others, God's people. So do we know what our purpose is? why our lives are ordered the way they are? Why has God rescued us from this present evil age?

Lets try a little experiment...Insert your name and role in this sentence..Mine looks like this...
And Siobhan knew that the LORD had established her as ....wife to Tony, mother and trainer of three children, manager of the household finances, friend to those struggling to know God, encourager to the saints,.... and had exalted her household...... for the sake of his people Israel".

Phew That was difficult to write... but I am sure you get my point...We may not be kings and queens but we have influence on those around us.

Reading Colossians, Galatians and Ephesians gives us a whole theme that sets up grace against the rules and popular secular wisdom in the cultures of the Greek world, and the rules and regulations of the law for the Jewish world.

Galatians 1:3-5 "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul goes on to talk about Law verses Grace.
That "grace" is how God rescues us from the present evil age.
We can set aside the grace 2:21 and We can fall from grace 5:4
We do this when we rely on keeping the world's system of wisdom/law/rules to keep us in the love of God.

Why did/does he rescue us?
Ephesians 2:4-9 "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 not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are to show the goodness of God in our lives by being and living the "new creation"
Galatians 5:6"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love" and in 6:15 "what counts is a new creation"

By being merciful to others we are showing ourselves to be "created in his likeness". Whatever aspects or attributes of God we display we are administering HIS grace to others through us.

1 Cor 5:18ffSo from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Peter puts it nicely in 1 Pet 4:9-11"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen"

The new creation brings the message of reconciliation faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms... Today may the LORD establish the work of our hands, for the sake of his people.. Amen.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 154 Some lessons in leadership from 2 Samuel

When others are too powerful for us....
2 Sam 2:38 Then the king said to his men, "Don't you realize that a great commander has fallen in Israel this day? 39 And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!"

I remember the first time these words sank into my life. It was a heart wrenching time when I had to acknowledge that there are people and situations that are too powerful for me to handle, and that it's ok, but only when we have placed the people and situations in God hands for resolution. We don't need to follow and try to appease the stronger, just release them into God's care and protection. What He chooses to do and how he does it, is his domain.

When we lose our heads in a situation, or believe a could cost us our heads in reality..
2 Sam 4:1" When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed". He was then stabbed to death in bed by his two raiding party leaders and they brought his head to David. The two leaders, seized an opportunity to gain advancement in David's camp because they assumed that David agreed with Abners death. If they and Ish-Bosheth didn't lose their head figuratively speaking, they wouldn't have really lost his head. David then put them straight and takes their heads. That's a high price to pay for assumption!

Committment to our committments make the difference...
David's ruthlessly kept to his committment to Saul and Jonathon and in the long run, this united his reigh the Israel and Judah. 2 Sam 5:1-5


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day 153 Jesus asks..Do you love me?

John 21:1-25 Jesus makes breakfast.....and "when they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

Three responses, when Peter tell Jesus he loves him.
  • Feed my lambs
  • Take care of my sheep
  • Feed my sheep
Making Breakfast for Believers.... how do we do this in our spiritual communities?

Its interesting that Jesus didn't give instructions to take care of the lambs, just feed them.. sheep on the other hand, need care and feeding. Maybe lambs stay closer to the Shepherd and sheep are prone to wandering. Also we are told that Jesus goes after the lost sheep and maybe some one needs to look after the 99 in the pen fold!

I am about to go to visit a new "lamb" in Christ. Steve became a Christian on mothers day week end. I hope to prepare him a "Breakfast" a short book on Brother Lawrence and maybe to study the gospel of John for the next 6 weeks while he recovers from surgery.
This was a good reading for this morning for 'spur me onto love and good works".

Have a great blessed day on God's pastureland.