Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 211 Positions of Trust, :Gate keepers and Watchmen.

1 Chron9:22....The gatekeepers had been assigned to their positions of trust by David and Samuel the seer. 23 They and their descendants were in charge of guarding the gates of the house of the LORD—the house called the tent of meeting. 24 The gatekeepers were on the four sides: east, west, north and south. 25 Their fellow Levites in their villages had to come from time to time and share their duties for seven-day periods. 26 But the four principal gatekeepers, who were Levites, were entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasuries in the house of God. 27 They would spend the night stationed around the house of God, because they had to guard it; and they had charge of the key for opening it each morning.

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.

John 10:2-4
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.

Psalm 84:9-11
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

Day 210 How did the women serve?

1 Chronicles 6
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

209 Day "I will rise, when He calls my name..."

I Chron 4:9 "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request".

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
And rise
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
And rise
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
And rise
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

Day 206 Embarrasing the gods....

Romans 10:1-3 Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

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

Day 204 Restraint

Isn't it interesting that at the heart of the economic recession is lack of "restraint". We would do well to recession proof our parenting and home life with restraint and self control, it just shows that these things do matter.

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? 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

Day 203 foot prints...muddy or bloody

Hosea 6: 6-8 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. As at Adam, they have broken the covenant; they were unfaithful to me there.
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

Day 201 God keeps count

Hosea1: 4 Then the LORD said to Hosea, "Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. 5 In that day I will break Israel's bow in the Valley of Jezreel."

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

Day 198 Amos the Thoughful man from Tekoa

I am intrigued at how YHWH uses people with simple everyday professions. Amos was one of many shepherds in Tekoa and yet he was the one who gave thought to the social, cultural and political structures of the day - and formed firm opinions about them in the context of what God thought about them.

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

Day 197 Keeping our back turned against foolish ways.

I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
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.

Isaiah 48:17-19

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."

The little words "if" and "but" makes all the difference and we can choose what to do. Be taught new wise ways of dealing with the complexities of life by YHWH himself or return to our own brand of coping skills.

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

Day 194 God's temper has limits..

2 Kings 24ff.. "It was because of the LORD's anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence".

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

Day 192 Would you prefer to be ruled by a 12 yr old or an 8yr old?

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.
"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

Day 190 When a snake cure turns to a snare

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 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

Day 188 Who is this Jonah?

The description of Jonah as "Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher' 2kings 14:23ff made me think of our remiss & misguided missionary to Nineveh, so I went digging...

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:

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

Day 187 Honey from the Rock Psalm 81

"But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you".

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

Day 184 What an influencer looks like

How we plan our lives, even the "no plan" plan is established with decisions and consequences.Proverbs 16:9 "In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps". As God is always at work to see who wants to know him, he will use whatever it takes to show us that he is the "God who is There". Fundamental to God's character is theyearning to dwell among us and reveal Jesus to us. Our decisions and choices turn on knowing the God who dwells among us.

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

Day 183 The commander and the servant girl

1 "Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy".

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".

Servant Girl"
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.