Hard But Important

When we are hurt, things change. We can pretend it didn’t happen but then we don’t heal. We can learn from how Jesus handled Judas’ betrayal.

Matthew 26:21, “During the meal, He said, ‘I have something hard but important to say to you: One of you is going to hand me over to the conspirators.’ ” The Message

Jesus didn’t play games.

Matthew 26:25, “Then Judas, already turned traitor, said, ‘It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?’ Jesus said, ‘Don’t play games with me, Judas.’ ” The Message

He didn’t pretend everything was okay.

Matthew 26:50, “Jesus said, ‘Friend, why this charade.’ ” The Message

Jesus never stopped loving Judas. He acknowledged that their relationship changed. It would never be the way it was before.

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Never Hide Your Feelings from God

“Isn’t it ironic that we spend so much time and energy trying to figure out how to get to where God wants us to go, when all we have to do is simply say, ‘Here I am’? It’s God’s job to get us where He wants us to go; our job is to make ourselves available.” “All In” by Mark Batterson

When David gives me “that look,” he doesn’t care if my hair is frizzy. He doesn’t mind the extra pounds. I don’t even need to put on makeup or jewelry. He loves me. He wants to spend time with me. All I need is to be…

Available!

God loves me more than David. Why do I feel like I need to be perfect before approaching Him? I’ll never be perfect on my own.

But I believe in Jesus Christ! When God looks at me, He sees Jesus in me. Jesus is perfect!

I have no fear sharing everything with David. He’s seen it all! Every emotion and reaction I’ve ever had. Still, he loves me.

Psalms 34:5, “…Never hide your feelings from God.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Psalms 34:4, “God met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Psalms 34:12, 13, “God, you did everything You promised, and I’m thanking You with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life.” The Message

God loves you that much, too!

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A Harvest from Seeds

When I woke this morning, I went online to listen to a sermon I missed when I was out-of-town. Pastor Monte Knudsen preached about marriage.

He said we plant seeds in three ways:

  1. Our words.
  2. Sexual desire.
  3. Money.

The seeds we plant will bring a harvest, either good or bad.

Balak understood the power of words. He hired Balaam to curse Israel. He understood the power of money. He kept increasing the amount he offered to Balaam.

When both of those failed against the children of Israel, he used the third – sexual desire. Balak encouraged the women to seduce the Israelite men. Once they did, the men started to follow the Midianite gods.

What was the harvest of those seeds? A plague went through the camp, killing 24,000 people, see Numbers 25:9.

The most powerful seeds we plant are the words we say. We need to speak the words of God. We also need to keep our sexual desires under control.

Numbers 25:6, “Behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought to his brothers a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the assembly of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tent of meeting.” Modern English Version

Why were the people weeping before the door of the tent of meeting? Their loved ones were sick and dying because of the plague.

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I Planted Seeds and Was Rewarded Immediately

I really wanted a nap. I could justify it because of the Nursing Home Service today which will delay and shorten my Sunday snooze. But there were 3 projects on my list and I still needed to practice for both services.

It didn’t help when David woke up from a 20-minute catnap and cheerfully said,

“I’m going to paint the house!”

(He painted the east side of the house and added a coat to the east side of the shed.)

I started by practicing and the music pushed the drowsiness away. I moved on to painting the boards that I use to raise the keyboard pedals. (Derek said they looked “Ghetto,” whatever that means.) I primed them yesterday but had to wait until David brought home paint after work this morning. I painted the bottom sides and stole Derek’s fan to help them dry more quickly.

Then I got out my biggest planter and filled it with the rest of the soil I have on hand. Earlier this week, I wrapped 4 kinds of seeds in a paper towel and put them in a Rubbermaid container. My daughter-in-law laughed when I admitted the seeds were from 2011. Vindication came when I opened the container and showed her the seeds had sprouted!

I got out small signs and wrote the name of the four plants on them. I put the signs in the pot and planted the seeds. After watering the pot, I put the planter behind the sheer curtain in the living room, just like I wrote about in an earlier post.

1 Corinthians 15:37, 38, “When you sow, you do not sow the body that shall be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. Then God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural.” The Message

That left one nasty task – ants in the cupboard. The traps I set out last month must have been too old. My sugar, honey, and marshmallows are hiding in the refrigerator. I emptied the cupboard, washed it with Windex, (the ammonia will cover the trail from the first ant), and shut the door. I hoped the ammonia would asphyxiate any ants that snuck in. Then I set out new traps.

I decided to take a break to read before starting supper. David came in from painting and said,

“How about Taco Johns for supper?”

God blessed me for working when I really wanted to nap. I believe that was my reward for obeying God and planting those seeds!

Proverbs 6:6, “Look to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise.” Modern English Version

I was not a sluggard! I finished all of my projects, painting the last coat on the boards at 9:00 p.m. I did consider the ant’s ways – not one went after my vegetable bin! They surrounded the sugar, honey, and I even found one on the peanut butter!

I decided to stop feeling guilty when I ate dessert. I will just be wise and not eat it in excess!

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Logjam

“When professional loggers discover a logjam, they climb a large tree . . . and find . . . the “key log” creating the jam. . . . The point is you don’t necessarily need to change all your thinking – just the few items that keep you from having the right approach to life. . . . How do you feel about yourself? When do you feel the most negative about yourself? What causes you the greatest problems when dealing with others? Insecurity? Resentment? Inferiority? What negative thoughts constantly control your mind? Psalms 119:59, “I thought about my ways” and Proverbs 23:7, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. 

“The Difference Maker” John C. Maxwell

I took the time to answer those questions and find the “Key Log” in my “Logjam.” I wrote down 5 actions I could do to release my “Key Log.” Then I read the cross-references in the few verses I studied today in Psalms and found this verse.

Psalms 37:7, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways . . .” Modern English Version

God revealed answers to the questions and gave me a plan to implement. He is the best Counselor because He knows everything.

Isaiah 40:14, “With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice, and taught Him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding?” Modern English Version

No one!

God is the source of all counsel, instruction, justice, knowledge, and understanding!

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Keep

I have a red-letter edition of the Modern English Version of the Bible. The sayings of Jesus are printed in red, but I don’t read just the red paragraphs, I read every word.

John 15:20, “. . . If they kept my words, they will keep yours also.” Modern English Version

We accept the words of Jesus’ apostles because they all come from the same source, God the Father.

John 15:15, “. . .everything that I have heard from My Father have I made known to you.” Modern English Version

 

Titus 1:2, 3, “In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began, and has in due time revealed His word through preaching, with which I was entrusted according to the command of God our Savior.” Modern English Version

Dear Father God,

Thank You for Your word. You spoke through Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament and Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. Each word has power. Reveal the hidden truths to us.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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December, 2016 “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide Chapters

• 1 – Deuteronomy 17-20
• 2 – Deuteronomy 21-23
• 3 – Deuteronomy 24-27
• 4 – Deuteronomy 28
• 5 – Deuteronomy 29-31
• 6 – Deuteronomy 32, 33; Psalms 90; Deuteronomy 34
• 7 – Joshua 1-4
• 8 – Joshua 5-7
• 9 – Joshua 8, 9
• 10 – Joshua 10-12
• 11 – Joshua 13-15
• 12 – Joshua 16-19
• 13 – Joshua 20-22
• 14 – Joshua 23, 24; Judges 1
• 15 – Judges 2-4
• 16 – Judges 5, 6
• 17 – Judges 7, 8
• 18 – Judges 9, 10
• 19 – Judges 11-13
• 20 – Judges 14-16
• 21 – Judges 17-19
• 22 – Judges 20, 21
• 23 – Ruth 1-4
• 24 – Luke 1
• 25 – Luke 2; Matthew 1
• 26 – Matthew 2; John 1
• 27 – Luke 3; Matthew 3; Mark 1
• 28 – Matthew 4; Luke 4; John 2
• 29 – John 3, 4
• 30 – Mark 2; Luke 5
• 31 – Mark 3; John 5

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Uncleanness

“A son is a son, till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.” Irish Saying Quotes

There is no denying that the bond between a mother and a daughter is stronger than the bond between a mother and son. A woman needs her mother more deeply, from menstruation through menopause, to understand and cope with the changes in her body. The greatest changes occur during pregnancy and childbirth.

But, why was the time of uncleanness double for a daughter in Leviticus?

Leviticus 12:5, “If a woman gives birth to a daughter, she will be ceremonially unclean two weeks, just as she is unclean during her menstrual period. After waiting sixty-six days, she will be purified from the bleeding of childbirth.” New Living Translation

An explanation is found in the “Book of Jubilees,” which is an ancient Jewish religious work of 50 chapters.

Book of Jubilees, Chapter 2,

“8…In the first week was Adam created, and the rib – his wife: in the second week He showed her unto Him: and for this reason, the commandment was given to keep in their defilement,

9 for a male seven days, and for a female twice seven days. And after Adam had completed forty days in the land where he had been created, we brought him into the garden of Eden to till and keep it, but his wife they brought in on the eightieth day, and after this, she entered into the garden

10 of Eden. And for this reason the commandment is written on the heavenly tablets in regard to her that gives birth: if she bears a male, she shall remain in her uncleanness seven days according to the first week of days, and thirty and three days shall she remain in the blood of her purifying, and she shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor enter into the sanctuary, until she accomplishes these

11 days which (are enjoined) in the case of a male child. But in the case of a female child, she shall remain in her uncleanness two weeks of days, according to the first two weeks, and sixty-six days

12 in the blood of her purification, and they will be in all eighty days…”

I am grateful we no longer live under ancient Jewish law. Jesus sees us all as equal.

Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” New Living Translation

Dear Father God,

Thank You for making us free. Thank You for giving me the same inheritance that You gave Christ. I am grateful my life is hidden with Christ in you.

Amen

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November, 2016 “Relevant” Guide Chapters

• 1 – Leviticus 4-6
• 2 – Leviticus 7, 8
• 3 – Leviticus 9-11
• 4 – Leviticus 12, 13
• 5 – Leviticus 14, 15
• 6 – Leviticus 16-18
• 7 – Leviticus 19-21
• 8 – Leviticus 22, 23
• 9 – Leviticus 24, 25
• 10 – Leviticus 26, 27
• 11 – Numbers 1, 2
• 12 – Numbers 3, 4
• 13 – Numbers 5, 6
• 14 – Numbers 7, 8
• 15 – Numbers 9-11
• 16 – Numbers 12-14
• 17 – Numbers 15-17
• 18 – Numbers 18-20
• 19 – Numbers 21, 22
• 20 – Numbers 23-25
• 21 – Numbers 26-28
• 22 – Numbers 29-31
• 23 – Numbers 32, 33
• 24 – Numbers 34-36
• 25 – Deuteronomy 1, 2
• 26 – Deuteronomy 3, 4
• 27 – Deuteronomy 5-7
• 28 – Deuteronomy 8-10
• 29 – Deuteronomy 11-13
• 30 – Deuteronomy 14-16

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Worked

Joseph was in training to become second in command of Egypt. He just didn’t know it. He was not a shepherd, like King David, but he often tended his father’s flocks.

Genesis 37:2, “…When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half-brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.” New Living Translation

Bilhah and Zilpah were slaves or servants. Their owners, Rachel and Leah, gave them to Jacob to become his wives, (30:3, 30:9). Their children were the sons of slaves. These sons were the shepherds.

Joseph, the favorite, (v. 3, 4), was willing to work for sons of slaves. It says he often tended the flocks.

10 Characteristics of a Leader

  1. A leader is not afraid of hard work and getting dirty, v. 2.
  2. A leader does not see any job as beneath him, v. 2.
  3. A leader can work for, and with, anyone, v. 2.
  4. A leader will work steadily or often, v. 2.
  5. A leader does not cover up dishonesty, v. 2.
  6. A leader reports and submits to authority, v. 2.
  7. A leader does not keep a list of all failures or wrongdoings, v. 2.
  8. A leader works when he doesn’t have to because of his position, v. 3, 4.
  9. A leader will do the work, even when it is someone else’s job, v. 2.
  10. A leader will seek answers, even when it makes him unpopular, v. 3, 4.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the reminder that I am in training. I don’t know the plans You have in store for me. Help me to work like Joseph did, no matter where I am.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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