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Archive for March, 2011

I’m Not Settling

The other day I read Numbers 32. In this chapter you see an account of something that disturbed me and has caused me to really question myself.

In a few chapters before this, we see the Israelites decide that they are too scared of the enemy to take possession of the land the Lord promised to give them. So, they start to wander through the wilderness again.

Well, in chapter 32 we see a few tribes decide that they don’t want to wait for the promised land. They want to go ahead and settle for land they perceive good OUTSIDE the “promised land” boundaries.

This has bothered me greatly. I know that there have been many times in my life that God has promised me something and I frankly got tired of waiting, so I made other plans.

I think what has bothered me the most is the knowledge that God allowed these tribes to do just what they wanted. Moses rebuked, they bargained, and they seemingly won. But what about their promised inheritance in the land of Canaan? Well, it was given to someone else.

I don’t know if this bothers anyone else. All I know, is that I don’t want to settle for less than the promises of my Saviour. I want to press in and believe Him for everything He tells me I will have.

[Reuben and Gad Settle in Gilead]
 Now the people of Reuben and the people of Gad had a very great number of livestock. And they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, and behold, the place was a place for livestock. So the people of Gad and the people of Reuben came and said to Moses and to Eleazar the priest and to the chiefs of the congregation, “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon, the land that the LORD struck down before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.” And they said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession. Do not take us across the Jordan.”
 But Moses said to the people of Gad and to the people of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here? Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the LORD has given them? Your fathers did this, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the people of Israel from going into the land that the LORD had given them. And the LORD’s anger was kindled on that day, and he swore, saying, ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me, none except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the LORD.’ And the LORD’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone. And behold, you have risen in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the LORD against Israel! For if you turn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all this people.”
 Then they came near to him and said, “We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones, but we will take up arms, ready to go before the people of Israel, until we have brought them to their place. And our little ones shall live in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our homes until each of the people of Israel has gained his inheritance. For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has come to us on this side of the Jordan to the east.” So Moses said to them, “If you will do this, if you will take up arms to go before the LORD for the war, and every armed man of you will pass over the Jordan before the LORD, until he has driven out his enemies from before him and the land is subdued before the LORD; then after that you shall return and be free of obligation to the LORD and to Israel, and this land shall be your possession before the LORD. But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. Build cities for your little ones and folds for your sheep, and do what you have promised.” And the people of Gad and the people of Reuben said to Moses, “Your servants will do as my lord commands. Our little ones, our wives, our livestock, and all our cattle shall remain there in the cities of Gilead, but your servants will pass over, every man who is armed for war, before the LORD to battle, as my lord orders.”
 So Moses gave command concerning them to Eleazar the priest and to Joshua the son of Nun and to the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel. And Moses said to them, “If the people of Gad and the people of Reuben, every man who is armed to battle before the LORD, will pass with you over the Jordan and the land shall be subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession. However, if they will not pass over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.” And the people of Gad and the people of Reuben answered, “What the LORD has said to your servants, we will do. We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, and the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us beyond the Jordan.”
 And Moses gave to them, to the people of Gad and to the people of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land and its cities with their territories, the cities of the land throughout the country. And the people of Gad built Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, Atroth-shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, Beth-nimrah and Beth-haran, fortified cities, and folds for sheep. And the people of Reuben built Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, Nebo, and Baal-meon (their names were changed), and Sibmah. And they gave other names to the cities that they built. And the sons of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead and captured it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were in it. And Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh, and he settled in it. And Jair the son of Manasseh went and captured their villages, and called them Havvoth-jair. And Nobah went and captured Kenath and its villages, and called it Nobah, after his own name.
(Numbers 32 ESV)

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Choosing To Praise

[4 ] You hold my eyelids open;
  I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
 [5 ] I consider the days of old,
  the years long ago.
 [6 ] I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
  let me meditate in my heart.”
  Then my spirit made a diligent search:
(Psalm 77:4-6 ESV)

 

[7 ] “Will the Lord spurn forever,
  and never again be favorable?
 [8 ] Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
  Are his promises at an end for all time?
 [9 ] Has God forgotten to be gracious?
  Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
(Psalm 77:7-9 ESV)

 

Ever have these questions running through your head? Oh, I know, as “good church going christians” we are never “supposed” to admit that they do… so of course we shake our head and wonder if everyone else is lying just like we are.

Well, I love the honesty of the Psalms. I love that every question, concern, or worry I have can be answered in the Word. I love that this passage is here and I don’t have to wonder if “I am the only one who feels this way”.

But more than that I love what I see transpire in this chapter. Look at the very next verse; [10 ] Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
  to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
(Psalm 77:10 ESV)    First off, notice that he “said”, not thought. Brings back the truth of speaking into our situation. But “the years of the right hand of the Most High” are referring to the past victories that he had seen or heard of. He chooses in verse 11 to “remember the deeds and the wonders (miracles) of the Lord”. Verse 12 he chooses to “ponder on the Lord’s work and His deeds.” and then you see the change in our Psalmist.

[13 ] Your way, O God, is holy.
  What god is great like our God?
 [14 ] You are the God who works wonders;
  you have made known your might among the peoples.
 [15 ] You with your arm redeemed your people,
  the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
  [16 ] When the waters saw you, O God,
  when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
  indeed, the deep trembled.
 [17 ] The clouds poured out water;
  the skies gave forth thunder;
  your arrows flashed on every side.
 [18 ] The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
  your lightnings lighted up the world;
  the earth trembled and shook.
 [19 ] Your way was through the sea,
  your path through the great waters;
  yet your footprints were unseen.
 [20 ] You led your people like a flock
  by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
(Psalm 77:13-20 ESV)

We don’t know what this man was going through in his life. We don’t know what “Promises” he as waiting on, but we know it is inspired by God and is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” for us, the believer. (2Tim 3:16)

I know that I needed the reminder this morning to change my focus to God’s miraculous deeds in my life and to know that “all the promises of God are “yes in Christ.” (2 Cor 1:20).

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My family and I have been borrowing the Walton series from some friends for quite sometime now. We are on season 6 or 7 now and for the most part, have really enjoyed the show. Abbie and I were watching a particular episode the other day where something stood out to me.

John-boy had been away from home for a while, and when concerns drew him back he came home with one small suitcase.

Of course that had nothing to do with the show, but I felt the Spirit knocking on my heart. I started thinking how big our suitcases have become. His was truly no bigger than some men’s briefcases or some women’s purses. When we go to visit someone now, in 2011, our luggage is HUGE!  We have more stuff then we ever use, more stuff then we should carry, more stuff then we should own. 

Spiritually speaking I felt the Spirit ask me, “What is in your spiritual suitcase?” You know, as life goes on, this baggage can grow too. We may have started out small, dealing with sin and concerns the moment they come up. However, as we go on, life happens and we may start to pack away some stuff.  Maybe we have been on this journey for 20 years or so and our “luggage” has become so heavy we can’t even imagine opening ourselves up and going through it.

God tells us in Isaiah 61 that He has a great exchange for us if we do. Look at this passage with me;

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
  to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
 the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
  the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
 that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
  the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
(Isaiah 61:3 ESV)

I need a “baggage exchange”. What about you? We serve a big God with a mighty arm of salvation, He alone is able to make this exchange! Praise His name!

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“…in the shadows of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” Psalm 57:1b

I wanted to blog about something different this morning, but how can I? My heart is so burdened for the people affected by the earthquake/tsunami which has hit Japan, and is now on its way to many other parts of the Pacific. I cannot imagine how if must be to see huge ships and other sea vessels coming at an overpass! It must have a surreal kind of hollywood feel to it! My mind automatically thinks of the return of Christ and how in Matthew He tells us that these are all signs of His soon return for His Church. I wonder how many people are ready for that day? I also think about the souls lost to this disaster. How many knew my Jesus? How many are experiencing Heaven right now? Or the awful alternative of experiencing hell?!

We as the body of Christ who live in America are so lazy in this truth! I am speaking to myself… Do we have a lost person who we pray for regularly to accept Christ? Do we ask for more of a burden for the lost? Or are we more concerned about how we will pay our bills, or what we will wear than the truth that in the time it will take you to read this blog post, many many people have just died and gone into an eternity without knowing Jesus?! OH! May this break my heart this morning as I look at the devastating pictures and see the fear and despair in the eyes of those in Japan, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Alaska! Do they know Jesus? Do you know Jesus? This Saviour who died for all mankind to know Him? Oh my friend, please search your heart; if you do not know Christ, His very word says that “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” If you DO know Him, is your heart broken for the lost? Do you pray for the souls around you? If not, you have become callous, not just to the lost but to the Saviour of the lost, Jesus Christ. 

May our hearts be reminded of eternity again.

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Psalm 65

I love the outdoors! I love being outside during the warmer seasons and feeling the sun warm my skin as I work or play with my family. I love to garden. I love watching the plants we have planted come to life in the Spring. I love eating out of our garden and the satisfaction we receive from a job well done. These are all reasons why my soul responds to this chapter in the Psalms. But more than even these reasons, I love the love for God that resounds out of this passage! The Psalmist sees God in everything because he is so in love with HIM! I can try to relate this in a human love. I feel this way about my husband; I will see something and immediately I think of how he would like or dislike it. I want to share the beauty around me with him, going places together, meeting new people, visiting old friends… I want to do this with Tony. Why? Because I am in love with him. 

However, the love we see here from David for God exceeds even the deepest human love. This is a love of a man for his God who has seen him through battle after battle, forgiven him for dark sin, and embraces him as a son daily. He feels it like he feels his own skin!  He knows this God. He knows His power, His justice, His creation, His forgiveness, His love. Take your time to read over this chapter and see if it doesn’t make your spirit leap for a new refreshed love for your Father.

[O God of Our Salvation]
[TO THE CHOIRMASTER. A PSALM OF DAVID. A SONG.]
  [65 :1] Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
  and to you shall vows be performed.
 [2 ] O you who hear prayer,
  to you shall all flesh come.
 [3 ] When iniquities prevail against me,
  you atone for our transgressions.
 [4 ] Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
  to dwell in your courts!
 We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
  the holiness of your temple!
  [5 ] By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
  O God of our salvation,
 the hope of all the ends of the earth
  and of the farthest seas;
 [6 ] the one who by his strength established the mountains,
  being girded with might;
 [7 ] who stills the roaring of the seas,
  the roaring of their waves,
  the tumult of the peoples,
 [8 ] so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
 You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
  [9 ] You visit the earth and water it;
  you greatly enrich it;
 the river of God is full of water;
  you provide their grain,
  for so you have prepared it.
 [10 ] You water its furrows abundantly,
  settling its ridges,
 softening it with showers,
  and blessing its growth.
 [11 ] You crown the year with your bounty;
  your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
 [12 ] The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
  the hills gird themselves with joy,
 [13 ] the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
  the valleys deck themselves with grain,
  they shout and sing together for joy.
(Psalm 65 ESV)

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John 4 is a passage that I have read many times, mainly focusing on the woman at the well and being blessed Jesus ministering to her. However, this morning as I read it I was drawn to the story of the “official” at the end of the chapter. Jesus had been in this man’s town before celebrating at a wedding (Check out John 2) and making the servants talk.

You can imagine after seeing a man turn water into wine, the word would spread quickly that this was no “ordinary man”. So, here we see a father whose son is ill to the point of near death. As a mother I never feel more helpless than when my children are sick. Last night Abbie smashed her finger in the car door and it broke both mine and Tony’s heart when it happened. However in all of  the different illnesses my children have had, I have never been to the point where this father was though, not knowing if my child would live or die.

Picture this scene with me…

[Jesus Heals an Official’s Son]
 [46 ] So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. [47 ] When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. [48 ] So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” [49 ] The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” [50 ] Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. [51 ] As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. [52 ] So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” [53 ] The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. [54 ] This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
(John 4:46-54 ESV)

Imagine the moment the father got the word that his son was going to die. Can you imagine the fear? Some of you can. Some of you have been there or close to it. This father was desperate he did not sit down and accept defeat, he went looking for Jesus! I wonder how many things in my life would change if I would not just accept the word that humans give but instead do what this man did… “The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him”. This father received what he needed. Why? I believe that scripture teaches over and over it is “Belief” that moves the mountains in our lives. Look at the gospels, how many times do we see Jesus say; “Your faith has made you well.” or “Be it unto you according to your faith“. Almost every time He healed someone!

Hebrews tells us in chapter 11 how important faith is. I want this faith. I would say I want faith like this father’s, but you know what? I want even stronger faith if it is mine to have. I want to excercise my faith muscle to its maximum so that I can glorify Christ with His Word being made known.

[17 ] And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; [18 ] they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
(Mark 16:17-18 ESV)

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Today

 

Not again, Not today.

I am sick of the games my mind and spirit play.

One day I am full of trust in You and in Your plans.

Seemingly the next day, I take it back into my hands.

 

Most of the time I feel as if my pain is mine alone.

My heart twists and turns,

Well, at least I know it’s not made of stone.

 

People get tired of hearing my desire,

Even the ones who have been there,

So I quiet myself around them

And try not to shed those tears.

 

Sometimes it feels like this is a silent pain

No one wants to know,

I do not let it show.

But my desire still does not wane.

 

I look at your Word, it DOES speak to me          

I long to trust, have faith in You, COMPLETELY.

 

One more month, one more day

Only by Your grace and Your Word I stay.

 

I set my mind on You in this moment

Kneeling down, tears again on my face.

Trusting You with today, only by Your grace.

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