Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Joshua 22:1 - 24:33

 22:5 "But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."

Joshua is about to die and reminds the people to keep the commandments and not follow other gods - or they will perish.  He reminded the people of the convenant made before God.  Joshua died and was buried in the promised land.  


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Joshua 16:1 - 19:9; 1 Chronicles 4:24-33; Joshua 19:10-31

17:17-18 "You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out."

Even though the enemy is strong - if God is with us, we are always stronger.


Monday, March 29, 2010


I. Like. Being. In. Control.

There! I've admitted it.  I like control. I need to feel like I have some control.  All too often however, I have absolutely NO control.  


I hate it!!!

Being in control is a sign of strength. power. togetherness.

Lately though, I have been exercising my control in not highly recommended ways.  A few months ago I stopped taking some of my medications.  OK - most of my medications.  One is particular was my anti-depressant.  Not life threatening - I thought.  Until I sunk into a deep depression...where I still sit.  A dear one said to me, more than once, "I just don't understand why you won't just take it."  I flat out didn't want to.  I don't want to take any more pills.

Then I thought about it.  And processed it. And asked my friend to call/email/text every day to make sure I took the pill.  They did. I did. (mostly)

What was it really about? Control.  I could control whether or not I took the pill.  I didn't want to admit weakness. I want to have this facade of strength.  I need to appear stronger than I am.

but I'm not strong at all - or in control.


Joshua 19:32 - 21:45; 1 Chronicles 6:54-81

More details about land division and cities of refuge.  Where are our cities of refuge now?

21:44-45 The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Joshua 13:1 - 15:63

3 chapters about the division of land.  I have nothing except to be amazed at the detail given to the allotment of land to the different tribes of Israel.


Knowing God - Job 1:21

(from Pastor)

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart. 
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised”
Job 1:21
Most of us wouldn't complain if we had a little more money. But I remember having to counsel someone once who was taking the wrong attitude toward getting it.
The person was upset that their parents had adopted the philosophy, "I want to live so fully that I'm cashing my last check when I die." Yes, they were traveling some and playing more. Yes, they had made arrangements -- insurance, etc. -- in case they were incapacitated. But mostly, they were giving it away. They were joyfully investing in the kingdom.
"My inheritance!" cried this friend.
How do you think my friend would have reacted if I said they're living God's purposes: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart"?
How do you think my friend would have reacted if their motto became, "May the name of the Lord be praised"?
In Christ's Love,
a guy who already has a great inheritance
... it's eternal and from God
It can also be a reminder for us to live simply.  Do we really need 8 pairs of shoes? 10 pairs of jeans? A TV in every room? The newest gadget?  God will take care of our needs. We need to watch out for the wants.  What we have isn't guaranteed.  It is hard not to get attached to our stuff - but we can't take it with us.  But what we have waiting for us in heaven is ... amazing!

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Joshua 10:1 - 12:24

Joshua was fighting in unfamiliar territory - it was all unfamiliar - he asked the sun and moon to stand still so they could keep fighting.  And it did! (Actually the earth stood still - for almost a full day longer) The only time this has happened.

There was a long time of warring and then when all the cities were captured, the land was "at rest from war."  Just as God had promised - the Israelites took over the land.


Knowing God - John 7:38

(from Pastor)

Let the one who believes in me drink.
As the scripture has said, "Out of the believer's heart
shall flow rivers of living water.' "
John 7:38
"Which came first the chicken or the egg?"
That question comes to mind because of the two principles in this verse: 1) "Believers drink living water." 2)"Believers overflow with living water."
The question is: Which comes first?
If we want rivers, waters, fruit, and faithfulness to flow from us, first we need to drink, abide, worship, and know the living God. Indeed, the inward act of drinking in God's presence preceeds the overflow of love, joy, and peace.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who wants to be sailor
(surrounded by so much living water
he can't see any land)
I believe the chicken came first ... God created the animals and birds of the air.  

In order to overflow with something, you have to be filled with it.  So - we need to be filled with God's love, joy and peace before we can have it overflowing out of us to others.  How we do that is hard to answer right now for me.  

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Friday, March 26, 2010

KNowing God - Luke 22:31-32

(from Pastor)
Jesus said ...
Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat,
but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail
Luke 22:31-32
When we pray, "Lead us not into the temptation and deliver us from evil," we are praying that "Satan [won't] sift [us] like wheat" and that "[our] own faith may not fail."
On the night Jesus was betrayed, it wasn't the disciples praying these petitions for themselves. It was Jesus who was praying for his disciples.
Are you Jesus disciple too? Isn't it comforting that you're not alone in your prayers for less temptation and stronger faith. Rejoice, because Jesus is praying for you!
In Christ's Love,
a guy who doesn't want to be nicknamed "Buckwheat"
(because I'd rather draw close to Christ
than be sifted by Satan)
But that doesn't mean we won't get sifted anyway. It is a prayer that when we are we are strong enough faithfully to withstand the sifting.  We can't do it alone.  But Jesus is praying for us as well.  As he was preparing for death, Jesus was praying for others - he knew the would face temptations, challenges, opposition.  All because of him.  He knows that still today we continue to face challenges, temptations and oppositions because of him.  And he still prays for us.

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Joshua 7:1 - 9:27

A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.  In this case - one person disobeyed God and the entire population suffered defeat at the hands of the enemies.  When the person (Achan) was found out by a series of 'lots' then he was stoned for coveting, stealing and disobeying per the law of the time.  Aren't we thankful Christ's death makes stoning unnecessary in our times???

After this, they were successful in battle.  And Joshua built an altar and read teh entire law of Moses to all the people - men, women, children, aliens.

Then deception.  From a neighbor that they were not supposed to make a treaty with.  This happened because they did not seek God first.  The treaty was not broken, but the people were not fully accepted.  Instead they became water carriers and wood cutters to the Israelites.  At least they were allowed to live.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three Days

Three days...
how long Jacob's sons waited after being circumcised to rescue their sister.
how long before Pharoah's cupbearer would be restored to his position.
how long before Pharoah's baker would be hanged.
how long Joseph held his brothers when they came seeking food during the famine.
how long the plague of darkness covered Egypt.
how long the Israelites traveled in the desert after crossing the Red Sea before they started complaining about not having water.
how long the Israelites traveled looking for a place to rest - more than once.
how long the spies hid after visiting Rahab.
how long after making a treaty, the Israelites discovered they had been deceived and disobeyed God.
how long to wait for the answer to Samson's riddle.
how long Saul's donkeys were lost before encountering Samuel.
how long often to respond to a request, search for something or visit/dine with someone or stop for a rest.
how long Jonah was in the belly of the big fish.
how long a visit to Ninevah required.
how long Jesus would be in the heart of the earth.
how long the people were with Jesus before he fed them.
how long Jesus said it would take to rebuild the temple.
how long before the Son of Man will rise.
how long a young Jesus was missing before his parents found him talking to the elders at the temple.
how long Saul was blind.
and in Revelation - how long the bodies killed by the beast will lay in the street before the breath of God will enter them.  (actually - this is 3 and a half days ...)


Joshua 3:1 - 6:27

Three days... I may need to do a search of 'three days' in the bible. It keeps popping up. Just like these verses.  Yesterday's reading was also part of the reading for bible study and what pastor covered in Wed. eve bible study.  Same thing. 3 times in less than 24 hours.

New territory. The Israelites are going to follow the Ark across the Jordan.  To show Joshua's authority, God stopped the water from the Jordan River and caused it to 'pile up in a great heap' as soon as the priests stepped out in faith into the river.  During flood stage.  Then everyone crossed on dry land.  Normally - that would have taken days to dry out...but the water stopped and the land was dry.

After crossing, the leader from each tribe took a stone from the river and set it up in Gilgal (meaning circle) as a memorial to the crossing.  12 tribes. 12 apostles.  hmm.

Then all the men were circumcised and stayed put until they were healed.  Renewing the covenant with God.  They ate off the land of Canaan and the manna stopped. You know they had to have been both relieved and worried.  The manna was a sure thing - redundant, yes, but they knew they had food.  Now it was gone.

Then they fought the battle of Jericho.  If only all battles were this easy - walk around the city once a day for 6 days. Then 7 times on the 7th day and shout.  ...boom... down go the walls.

Rahab was rescued and "lives among them to this day."  I am intrigued by the tense use in this verse.  Not "lived among them for the rest of her days", but "lives among them to this day."  And she is in Christ's lineage.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Deuteronomy 33:1 - 34:12; Joshua 1:1 - 2:24

Chapter 33 is filled with blessings for each tribe of Israel.  Then in chapter 34, Moses died on the mountaintop - overlooking the promised land. 

34:10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

How amazing to know God face to face.  

Joshua 1:7-9 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Moses is dead. Joshua is in charge. God knows he is scared. Terrified.  And he repeatedly tells Joshua to 'be strong and courageous.' 

Rahab. a prostitute of some sort. a wealthy independent woman. She hid the spies from Israel, lied to the king of Jericho, told them of their journey in the desert and what she knew about their God. 

2:11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

Such faith for someone who was not an Israelite. who did not personally witness the miracles in the desert.  Who only heard stories - yet believed.  Then demanded a promise from the spies to come back for her and her family.  The sign was a scarlet cord tied to her window. A red thread that runs through everything.  


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Being Blessed

Yesterday was a long day.  And I needed to ask someone for some help with something.  I do not like asking others for help. I don't want to be an imposition. Everyone is so busy with their own insane schedules that adding one more thing is overwhelming.  But I was cornered into asking for help. 

This dear one said repeatedly to me something that has been bouncing in my head ever since -

"Letting us help you will be a blessing to us."

I never thought of blessings as something we need to allow others to do for us to bless them, but in a way we do. As humans, we want to do everything on our own. Fix it our own way. Dwell in our own mire - alone.  Deal with it in our own way.  But as Christians, God works through people.  And we have to be willing to allow these same people to show God's love in real ways.  And we need to be accepting of the situations where we can bless others. 

This can be as simple as a note in the mail, a quick lunch together, asking for company while running errands, a short email/text/phone call.  Even a hug.  Blessings are ways of showing you care.  Just saying the words aren't enough.  Words too often ring hollow .  Actions speak much clearer and much, much louder.  

Who can you bless? Who can you show that you truly care?


Knowing God - John 11:40

(from Pator)
Did I not tell you that if you believed,
you would see the glory of God?
John 11:40
If ... then ... 
In this case, if you believe, then you will see. And who of us doesn't want to see God's glory?!
The Apostle James tells us "you have not, because you ask not" (4:2). If you want more of God's glory, start asking to see it. Trust in it. Look for it. Seek it. Believe it! God is real. And in big ways and small, he wants to find ways to bless you.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who wants to wear sunglasses
because God's glory is overwhelming
Yet - sometimes it seems as if believing is not so simple. Trust is impossible. Seeking is tiring. And God is so far off.  And just because you ask does not mean that God will deliver in your time.  He has his own schedule.  But we have to persevere. And keep asking. trusting. seeking. waiting.

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Knowing God - John 15:1

(from Pastor)
"My Father is the husbandman."
John 15:1
Most of us would prefer a more modern translation: "My Father is ... the gardener ... the farmer ... the vinedresser." So what is a "husbandman" anyway?
As you might guess, this 14th century word is related to the term, "husbandry" which is the art and science of farming, especially breeding. Rather than calling God just an average farmer, "husbandman" acknowledges the heavenly artistry that has brought together two distinct life forms -- God and man!
Here's how it is designed to work ... In order to fully live, the first thing that must happen is that the branch -- i.e. you and me -- must die. We must cut ourselves off from every twisted vine and priority that we thought contained life. Then we must reattach ourselves to the true vine.
Once we make that first step to abide in Christ, God the Husbandman completes the miracle. He joyfully draws us into his life. 
In Christ's Love,
a boysenberry who wants to be
grafted onto God's grape vine
Reminds me of an illustration I read recently about winter trees.  Winter is the time to remove the dead branches. Trim the tree.  I know nothing about grafting except what I was taught *many* years ago in biology class ... but I do know that all life forms need some sort of nutrition to live.  As Christians, we get our from Christ - the true vine.  But to receive the nutrition, we need to be tightly attached to the vine. Bound to it.

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Psalm 90:1-17; Deuteronomy 31:30 - 32:52

Psalm 90 - a prayer of Moses.  Acknowledging God's power. His might. His omniscience. His love. Requests God help and strength. Asks for work of his hands.  Asks to be made glad in affliction.  What faith he has.

90:14-15 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. 

Deuteronomy 32:3-4 I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

32:28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them.   [I wonder if we can say this about the US in these days ... sadly]


Monday, March 22, 2010


The obligation to demonstrate and take responsibility for performance in light of agreed expectations. There is a difference between responsibility and accountability: responsibility is the obligation to act; accountability is the obligation to answer for an action. 

In 'Christian' circles, you will often hear people talk about accountability partners or accountability groups.  I've been thinking about this the past couple of days.  I've never really had an accountability partner - yes, I have some friends who will kick me in the rear if really needed - but not a true accountability relationship.  I have also discovered (admitted?) that I am extremely good at hiding my true feelings and lying at times - mostly to myself.  To the harm of no one but myself.  

How does a person find an accountability partner when you really don't know anyone? How do you know who will be the right kind of person for you personally? Is it a two way street? How often do you meet/talk? 

Being new to the area and not really knowing anyone, I don't even know where to start.  I have reached out for friendships and have met walls.  I'm not going to reach out for this and be shut out yet again.  

So - until then - post your comments and let me know if I am on the right track or way off my rocker!

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Deuteronomy 29:1 - 31:29

29:4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.

...and he still hasn't, I believe.  The more I learn, the less I know...

God then goes on to remind the Israelites that during 40 years in the desert, their clothes never wore out, they never went hungry, they had fresh water to drink, their enemies were defeated ... all because the Lord their God was with them.  

30:9-10 ... The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

"All" your heart and "All" your soul.  Easier said than done.  We tend to want to keep a piece of it to ourselves.  Just in case.

30:14,16 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. ... For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you ...

31:6, 8  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ... The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.


Sunday, March 21, 2010


Pastor shared a story and I will not do it justice ...

There was a town with a flood pending.  One of the gentlemen decided to stay in his house. As the water was reaching his steps, some folks came by in a small boat to offer him an escape.

"No thank you. I am waiting on God to come save me."

The waters continued rising.  As the bottom floor was covered, a larger boat came by and offered him a ride.

"No thank you. I am waiting on God to come save me."

As the waters continued to rise, the man climbed onto his roof. A helicopter came by to rescue him. Again the man said,

"No thank you. I am waiting for God to come save me."

The man eventually drowned and was before God.  He asked God why he never showed up to rescue him  God replied, "I sent you 2 boats and a helicopter. What more did you want?"

I am as guilty as this man of not seeing what is right before me.  Of not accepting what God is offering.  What about you?

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Know God - Proverbs 19:18

(from Pastor)
Where there is no vision,
the people perish.
Proverbs 19 :18
This is a classic scripture that people use to teach leadership. "The first thing you must do is have a vision!" they say. And ... "If you don't have a vision for where you're going, you're not likely to get there." 
Do you see the profound problem in that logic? Usually this points to a human leader and says, "It's up to you, George."
How many of us lead, work, serve, and live like it's all up to us. What I've grown to hear in this passage is that if the leader hasn't seen God (vision) or hasn't heard a clear message from a prophet (another kind of vision), then we may embark on grand adventures, but they're likely to be as successful as Custer's last stand.
(And by the way, if a prophet isn't around, you may just be able see God in a faithful reading of the scriptures.)
In Christ's Love,
General George P. Custer
(Custer's middle initial was "A" for "Armstrong,
mine is "P" for "Please, Lord, slow MY plans down enough to hear YOUR plans.") 
No vision = no plans. This can = no hope or, maybe worse, chaos.  No vision can lead you blindly stumbling along.  But, like Pastor said, the leader isn't the only one with visions.  We are not in this alone.  1+God is a majority - and we KNOW who has the clear vision on that team.  

The hard part. Listening. Patiently listening.

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Deuteronomy 27:1 - 28:68

After crossing the Jordan - the laws were to be written on stones coated with plaster.  And then a string of curses were read with "Amen" said after each.  Imagine the roar of that crowd!

27:26 "Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"

Blessing for obedience - 14 verses
Curses for disobedience - 54 verses.
Which one is God more worried about???

28:9-10 The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Knowing God - 1 Samuel 3:18

(from Pastor)
"It is the Lord;
let him do what seems good to him."
1 Samuel 3:18
Don't you just love that simple and profound logic?!
But is it really simple?
The context of these words from Eli, the priest, were not simple. God had just shown the prophet Samuel a hard future for Eli. Meaning? When the immediate future looks bright, it's easy for us to say, "I trust." But what happens when we can only see trials for the foreseeable future? This takes a longer-term perspective and bigger-hearted trust.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who knows the future looks bright
(and is willing to wait for it when trials come)
What seems good to God. Not always what seems good to us.  We are impatient, worldly, short-sighted.  God is patient, heavenly and eternal sighted.  The hard part is letting God do what seems good.  We know the end of the story. We know the guys on the white horses win.  We don't know the in-between.  It is hard. It can be lonely. scary. painful. daunting.

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Deuteronomy 23:1 - 26:19

23:6 However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.  (We all need to remember that, eh?)

24:5 If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married. (I know a lot of people who wish this was still the case ... I like the 'bring happiness to the wife he has married.') 

26:16-19 The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws, and that you will obey him. And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.  


Friday, March 19, 2010

Knowing God - Nehemiah 1:8-9

(from Pastor)

Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying,
"If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but
if you return to me and obey my commands,
then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon,
I will gather them from there and bring them to the place
I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name"
Nehemiah 1:8-9
Some people stopped by the house last night. The boy asked about our dogs. I let them out and let them run.With great joy they rushed through the yard, bounding after squirrels. After a few minutes, I called and they bounded back. "They obey better than our dogs, don't they?" said the mother.
My dogs didn't know it, but they were modeling a kingdom principle! In this passage, faithfulness is defined as obeying God's commands and returning to him.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who wants to be a faithful old dog
who brings his master joy. 
Wonder if I can send my dogs ... and kids ... to his house to learn that principle. 

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Deuteronomy 19:1 - 22:30

20:1 "When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you."

___ + God = a majority 


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Knowing God - Matthew 2:13

(from Pastor)

... remain there until I tell you ...
Matthew 2:13
This verse implies two things: 1) God has a plan, 2) we ought to listen.
The context is the Holy Family -- Mary, Joseph, and little Jesus -- going down to Egypt to escape Herod's wrath. 1) God had a plan: For the Christ child to continue to live! 2) Will it pay off for his parents to listen?! Absolutely ... it will pay off for Mary, Joseph, the baby, and a thousand generations.
1) What plan does God have for you? 2) Are you willing to remain where you are -- even if it is in a wilderness as dry as Egypt -- until you hear a word from God?
In Christ's Love,
a guy who wants to be a jacklope
(a desert creature with big ears)
I do not know God's plan for me. I know he tells us that he has a plan for us, not to harm us, but for us to prosper, have hope and a future.  But often his definition of words and ours aren't quite the same.  

There are times when a person can wait and times when they must do something. Take action.  There are times when waiting for an answer while taking action is the best course.  Even is the action is wrong ... God can help you correct it and get back on the right track.

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Deuteronomy 15:1 - 18:22

15:1 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.

--That would be nice in these times ... 

15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
-- Wanna be obedient? See that link over there with a kiddo celebrating a birthday today? Click it. I dare ya. 

18:19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees...
--This was written for kings to do, but we'd be wise to follow through as well.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Knowing God - Hebrews 12:10

(from Pastor)

For our profit ...
Hebrews 12:10
"Profit" makes me think of "money" ... and "money" makes me think of "riches" ... and "riches" make me think of the great and eternal "inheritance" that is promised to all who believe! But with such a short snipit of a verse, the question is what is the profitable inheritance that God wants to bestow on us?
"Discipline!" -- Hebrews 12:10
How much would you "pay" to be disciplined? 
If most of us are honest, we'd pay to NOT be disciplined! But we must remember that it's a loving father who disciplines us because he wants the best for us.
How many children have you watched who've received improper discipline from imperfect human parents? Too much can crush the soul. Too little can leave us without roots or bearings. But in the hands of a successful parent -- and who better than God the Father -- the right amount of discipline helps a child grow successful.
In earthly terms, "successful children" often reap monetary awards and successful careers. But in God's eyes, there are deeper measures of "profit."
May God discipline us so that we can be rich in kingdom terms and have a career of faith (and inspiration for others).
In Christ's Love,
a guy who wants to be rich
(knowing that RICH means something like
Righteousness IChrist's Hands)
I typed something. hit publish and it disappeared.  may reattempt later... 

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The Difference We Make

By now you know that Compassion International is one of my passions.  I have decided to write about Compassion once a week.  I just returned home from an advocates retreat in TN and was going to write about that, but a friend told me a story that I just have to share. 

LC's story ...

LC and her family started sponsoring a little girl in South American several years ago.  Recently, they received a letter and photos from Arianna.  At first glance of the photos, LC thought, "Wow. To be considered so poor, they don't have it too bad."  The photo showed the inside of a house with cinder block walls, a small stove, cooking utensils, table, chairs, a window.  Basically - a solid house with supplies to care for a family. 

Then, as LC looked at the photo ... she realized that she had received a thank you note for every. last. item.  Thank you for the walls - they are now sturdy cinder block instead of mud.  Thank you for the stove - we can now have hot meals. Thank you for the rug - we don't have to walk on dirt inside. Thank you for the roof - we are safe from the sun and rain. Thank you for the table and chairs where we can gather as a family.

Compassion International is so much more than child sponsorship.  It builds families.  This little girl's family 'doesn't have it too bad' but only thanks to dedicated sponsors.  Her life has been forever changed.  They have seen the love of Christ in action.  That is what Compassion is all about. 

There is a link over there ----------> that you can click to begin changing a child's life today.  And their entire family as well.


Prayers from St. Patrick

Prayer for the Faithful 
May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us.
- Against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.

St. Patrick's Breastplate
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through the confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the Judgment Day.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of demons,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

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Deuteronomy 12:1 - 14:29

12:5 But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go;

Isn't it wonderful that we can go anywhere to worship God in our time? Although there are still some places that feel more 'sanctified' for worship than others.

12:32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it. 

13:3-4 ...The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. 

14:27 And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.  

Talking about tithing ... the Levites were the Priests.  It is imperative we tithe to our church so our priests, pastors, ministers can sustain themselves and their families...  


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


One of my favorite books is The Phantom Tollbooth.  My favorite scene was when the main character, Milo, is in a room filled with card catalogs.  (Like libraries used to have!)  These catalogs had a file for every word ever uttered.  Milo takes one and keeps it in his closed mouth.  At the appropriate time he whispers the word he stole and chaos ensues. [at least that's the way I remember it - it has been a while since I read it - but I was impressed with the power of a simple whispered word.]

Words have power.  Especially when uttered outloud.  Once free, the words are able to bounce around and shift and change and become real. If something is known yet unsaid, then it can be denied. and hidden. and lied about.  You can think something, but until you say it out loud [or write it down] - even when alone, it has no real power.

In the Beth Moore study I am doing, she has talked often about praying out loud - even alone to give more credibility to your words. more power.  On the other hand ... some words don't need more power. more credibility.  Sometimes it is better to leave them in your head.

... But ...

today I ignored my own gut. my own instinct.  I lowered defenses and regret it.  Words I wish I could retract. So I can keep ignoring them. Lying to myself. Denying the truth of them.  Now, because of those words being free, I have to make a decision.

  1. To choose to do what I know and believe to be right. OR 
  2. To keep doing what I am doing and act like I never said what I said, admitted the truth of the matter, the truth of the actions [or lack of actions] OR 
  3. To choose to do what I know is the wrong choice ... but at times is the most appealing.  

I'd like to say that from now on I'll be keeping my mouth shut, but I know better.  There are times when I say something - especially to certain people - and then realize what I have said.  It's like God was pulling strings to control the words and I have no power over the flow of them.  

If only it wasn't said outloud...


Knowing God - 1 Chronicles 16:26

(from Pastor)
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
1 Chronicles 16:26
The second commandment says, essentially, "no idols" and "no graven images." The simple explanation of this is that we're not supposed to have statues or pictures of God. The reason for this commandment is that as soon as we "draw" a picture of God, it's like we've attempted to confine in infinite God to a single sheet of paper. Not on purpose, surely! Nevertheless, no matter how great the artist, our creations automatically limit the Creator.
However, since few of us intentionally draw graven pictures, how does this apply? Well, if we're honest, we actually produce "pictures" of God all the time. How? We constantly say, "Well I see God like this?" Or "I can't imagine a God who would do that." Our canvas is our mind. And we continually picture what God is like.
Scripture says, "Quit imagining!" Instead, we need to read the word. We need to let scripture tell us who God is ... even when the picture is hard. Why? Because when we begin to embrace the complexity of God, we finally begin to see the true God more clearly.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who wants his mind to be a blank canvas
The more I learn ... The less I know.  Especially where God is concerned.  However, there are times when I need to say to myself, "God is..." In certain times I need to really know and focus on limited attributes of God versus trying to futilely trying to wrap my mind around the complexity of who is really is. We were asked once to write who God was, I simply wrote, 
"God is ..."  
To be honest though, it should be, 
"God was ... God is ... God will always be ... "

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Deuteronomy 9:1 - 11:32

9:6 "for you are a stiff-necked people"   ...  hmmm... Israelites or us today????

10:12-13 "And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?"

(brings to mind a praise and worship song we'd sing in college ... lyrics were simply "Love the Lord your God with all  your heart and all your soul and all your might and all your strength.")

10:19 "And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens ..."
So often we don't take care of the 'aliens' - anyone who doesn't belong - anyone.

10:22 "He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes."

11:32 " be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today."

God keeps repeating this. And do they listen??? 


Monday, March 15, 2010

Knowing God - 2 Chronicles 6:14

(from Pastor)

"O LORD, God of Israel,
there is no God like you in heaven or on earth.
You keep your covenant of love with your servants
who continue wholeheartedly in your way."
2 Chronicles 6:14
If someone who didn't know God asked you to describe your Lord, what would you say?
We couldn't give a much better description that the words King Solomon chose when dedicating the temple in Jerusalem. Solomon proclaimed that God is the covenant keeper who is in love with his servants.
Faithful and loving. That's who God is.
And in the simplest terms, that's all he asks of us. "Continu[ing] wholeheartedly in [his] way" means being faithful and loving too.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who wants to be just like "Dad"
"There is no God like you" ... Aren't we fortunate to have such an amazing God?  I know I don't obey like I should. Believe like I should. Have faith like I should. Love like I should. But He is always faithful and loving.  That was the covenant He made ... wholeheartedly. 

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Deuteronomy 6:1 - 8:20

6:5-9 "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

There was once a tradition that religious leaders would tie tiny scrolls to their foreheads to follow this command.  This is also where the mezuzah that those of the Jewish faith place on their door frames comes from.  

6:24-25 "The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.  And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.

8:6  Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him.

8:20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.

The key is obedience.   


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Knowing God - Exodus 20:31

(from Pastor)

Moses drew near
unto the thick darkness
where God was.
Exodus 20:21
Do you know what my prayer is for you? Darkness. Pain. Horrible trials. And a deep and endless pit.
Are you cursing me yet?!
Just kidding ... I'm not really praying for pain and suffering! However, I do know from personal experience that I often grow the most in life (including growing closer to God) through life's darkest trials. Why is this? It's because when things go well, we generally like to take personal credit for our successes ... but when things go poorly, it's often then that we finally cry out to God. The great irony in this passage -- and in life -- is that God is very often found in the darkness.
Rather than praying for darkness, let's pray instead that we can start looking for God more fully whenever it's bright!
And let's also pray that the next time darkness comes, we'll open our eyes and start looking ... because God is never far!
In Christ's Love
a guy who wants a true night light  
Exactly how long are you supposed to look?  And how far is not far?  And what about our night vision?  

A speaker once had us close one eye and hold our hand over it.  He then turned off the lights and had us open our eye.  We had better vision in the eye that was closed in the dark.  If you are in the dark and wait, you will be able to see most of the time.  But there is a dark so thick it is claustrophobic.  It is hard to know you aren't alone when you are in that 'thick dark' - the dark where there is no hope of seeing your hand inches from your face.  
(my apologies for the disconnected rambling of this...)

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Deuteronomy 3:12 - 5:33

Moses begged to go to the promise land, but God stood his ground and said no.  But he let Moses see with his own eyes.  God was consistent, but loving.

4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

A verse we would do well to memorize ... so often we add to or subtract from what God has told us.  The first sin in the garden of Eden was Eve adding to what God commanded her.  Many of the legalisms today are from 'religious leaders' doing just this.  

Idolatry - 4:15 You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you ... out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully ...

The LORD Your God - 4:35You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.

5:32-33 So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Deuteronomy 1:1 - 3:11

1:6 You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 

The group is on the move again - this time to take what God is giving them.  Haven't we stayed long enough at mountains sometimes? Then we need to move. To do something.  We just have to make sure it is what God is telling us to do.  

1:29-30 Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you...

Moses is recapping the journey, but this is something we would do well to remember.  Repeated they were told ... you are going to point X ... do not fight them. do not provoke them. you will not get their land.  do you think the israelites were becoming impatient???