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Showing posts from May, 2008

Bloody Red, Wool and Snow

“’Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land….” (Isaiah 1:18, 19 NIV)The people were following the rituals God had prescribed but neglected justice and mercy to the most vulnerable of their citizens. They were rebellious and loaded with guilt. Their land was ravaged by other nations that burned, plundered and laid it waste. The leaders were dishonest rebels who consorted with thieves and lead the people into “sacred” groves of oaks, superstitions, divination, idols and dependence on those who knew not God.

They had become a stench in God’s nostrils and yet he offered hope. It doesn’t matter how stubborn the stain; God can eradicate it. He doesn’t offer to hide it but to take it away completely. He not only can, he wants to. He begs his people to come. He wants them (and us) to eat the best from the land rather than to be devoured by the s…

A Tired God

“I have had enough of burnt offerings…Stop bringing your meaningless offerings…your incense is detestable to me…I cannot bear your evil assemblies…Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates, They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; I will not listen.” Isaiah 1:11-15 NIVGod seems to be contradicting himself in these verses because the very things he wants to stop, that he’s tired of, hates and finds detestable are exactly what he commanded his people, through Moses, to do. They thought they were being obedient and here was God, telling them that their obedience in these things was abhorrent to him. Why?

They were following the form of their religion without the substance. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with the form but there was something lacking:


“Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” v. 17I just rea…

Lettuce Together

"...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart...Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess...Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together...let us encourage one another...." (Hebrews 10:22-25 NIV) Five commands or invitations for believers. But note! Of the five, three depend on us connecting with others. We cannot live a Christian life in isolation from others who share our faith. We must meet together, spend time together, spur and encourage one to another. Oswald Chambers writes: "Individuals can only live the true life when they are dependent on one another.... The Holy Spirit makes a man fix his eyes on his Lord and on intense activity for others."* Are you trying to go it alone? Just you and God and no one else? I tried that once, many years ago. It didn't last long. Before I knew it, it was just me. I was leaving God out of the picture.

Dear Father, keep me from ever supposing that…

I Can't Unless...

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets...I tell you the truth...not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law...Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19*
Old Testament:
"You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3
New Testament:
"Put to death...greed, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5

Old Testament:
"You shall not murder." Exodus 20:13
New Testament:
"...anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." Matthew 5:22

Old Testament:
"You shall not commit adultery." Exodus 20:14
New Testament:
"...anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:28

There is often the m…

Intercession

After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Jobhas. So now ... go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Jobwill pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job's prayer. After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:7-10 NIV
For those who don't know the story of Job, Satan challenged God to ruin the man in possessions and health to prove that Job's righteousness was only because of the blessings he had. In one day, Job loses everything he owns and his seven children are killed. Not…

Ambassadors of Reconciliation

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 gainst them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are threfore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NIV

We are ambassadors of reconciliation. Our mission is to bring reconciliation to others--that they may be reconciled first to God and then to each other. If this is my mission (and yours), have I been reconciled to God? What about reconciliation to others? Have I sought reconciliation between me and those who have hurt me or who I have hurt? Can I be an ambassador of reconciliation if I haven't?

What does an ambassador of reconciliation do? What is reconciliation? "Reconciliation is changing for the better a relationship between two or more persons." (Dictionary of Theology) So the ambassador of r…

Bible Genealogies (Did You Know?) V

Continued from previous post.



Did you know that a woman, Sheerah, granddaughter of Ephraim (son of Joseph) built three towns: Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah?

Did you know that temple musicians' only job was to make music day and night?

Did you know that other temple careers assigned were: gate keepers (212 of them), inventory keepers, property managers and bakers?


(The end--for now)

Bible Genealogies (Did You Know?) IV

Continued from previous post.


Did you know that Bathsheba, the wife King David stole from Uriah, was the only wife of David who had more than one son? Did you know that her son Solomon, who later became king, was the youngest of her four sons?

Did you know that one of the descendants of Judah, Saraph, ruled in Moab (one of Israel's enemies descended from Lot and one of his daughters)?

Did you know that Samuel was a Levite? The Levites were the tribe that was responsible for taking care of the tabernacle and later the temple. There were three clans, each given a particular aspect of the work. Samuel came from the same clan as the priests. Those in that clan who were not descendants of Aaron the high priest were the Levites who were allowed to get closest to the most sacred parts of the temple. So when Samuel slept in the tabernacle as a child, he had an ancestral right to be there. Did you know that?

Did you know that the chief musician during David's reign was Heman, the grandson …

Bible Genealogies (Did You Know?) III

Continued from previous post.



Caleb was one of the two good spies who reported back to Moses and the people in the wilderness about what had been seen when they scouted the Promised Land. Because of that, he was allowed to live through the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and claim land that Moses promised him when the land was finally possessed.


Did you know that Caleb was the great-grandson of Judah?


Did you know that Caleb's great-grandson was Bezalel, the artisan God appointed to construct the sanctuary will skilled assistans? Bezalel was probably at least 20 years old when given this assignment and this was before the 40 years of wandering in the desert began. If each father was only 15 at the birth of his first son, Caleb would have been at least 65 years old (and quite likely older) when he spied out the land and no younger than 105 when Israel crossed the Jordan River. (Except that Bezalel's grandfather was Caleb's fourth son so add a few more years to all thes…

Bible Genealogies (Did You Know?) II

Continued from previous post.

Did you know that David had both a sister and a wife named Abigail?

Joab was the commander of David's army. He had two brothers, Abishai and Asahel. The three men were known as the "sons of Zeruiah." Did you know that Zeruiah was their mother, not their father? Zeruiah was David's sister so these three "mighty men" were David's nephews.

When Absalom rose up against his father David to take kingship of the nation, he appointed Amasa to be over the army. Did you know that Amasa was the son of David's sister Abigail and Absalom's cousin as well as the cousin of the sons of Zeruiah? After Absalom was killed, David kept his nephew Amasa as the commander of his army in place of Joab but Joab, pretending to kiss his cousin Amasa in greeting, stabbed him in the belly and left him to die in the middle of the road. David was so angry that when he put Solomon on the throne, he urged Solomon to avenge Amasa of his death. Joab fled…

Bible Genealogies (Did You Know?) I

I love the genealogies in the Bible. There is so much you can learn from them. Last night I read the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles, which are only genealogy. I have a lot of notes scribbled in the margins from my various readings through these chapters and would like to share some of my discoveries with you. The very cool part of these genealogies, which make then different from those in preceding books, is that they cover time from Adam to after the return from exile so you can see a broad sweep of time.

Did you know that Jews are called Semites because they are the descendants of Noah's son, Shem?

Did you know that Canaan, the son of Noah's son Ham, was the father of all the nations God drove out of the Promised Land when Israel moved in?

Did you know that Abraham had eight sons, not just two? Did you know that one of those sons was Midian, the father of the Midianites that Gideon drove out?

Did you know that the Amalekites, who Isreal fought successfully while Aaron and H…

Mother's Day

I'm still sick. You'd think that I'd be well after a week or more but I'm not. My third son, who got sick a week before me is also still sick and now the rest of the family is dropping with it. Not fun.

We had a good Mother's Day, however. At least I think it was. I had some black tea Saturday, early evening, and so it was late before I could get to sleep (I'm very sensitive to caffeine and sometimes forget this because tea is my favourite drink) and my sleep was very broken after that because of all the coughing and nose-blowing. As a result, I missed church and slept all morning. When I got up, about noon, I was going to drive to a favourite bakery to buy my favourite lunch-to-go and then pick up Son Three so he could come home to play games but Son Four generously offered to go instead, which was very nice. Son Three needed more sleep so I sat here, at my computer, enjoying my lunch (eating dessert first, of course).

When Son Three arrived later on h…

I'm Sick

It's been far too long since I've posted here. At the moment, I have a ferocious cold generously given to me by one of my sons. But I'm also struggling with depression and the last two weeks have been particularly difficult. Sometimes the simplest things seem incredibly overwhelming to do. Then I beat myself up and wonder, "What's wrong with me? Am I just being lazy?" In my saner moments I can say that I'm not. There are so many things I want to do, like writing here, but the ability to do those things escapes me. Thankfully I have a husband who has been very gracious about picking up the slack--washing dishes, making meals, vacuuming and so on.
I've been reading some interesting books in addition to my Bible (I try to read a minimum of half an hour a day, just before going to sleep and just started 2 Kings): two on prayerwalking, a novel and a half (not finished the second one yet) set in rural Mennonite Manitoba and The Box, a history of shipping con…