Jesus HIMSELF IS the KING – When He returns, we will see the restoration of the Kingdom.
JESUS is LOVE.
Walk the Way of reading in the New Testament and know that each page and each story of Jesus is tied to the stories, the predictions and the pages of the Old Testament – REALLY !!!
Yes there are gems of stories – and remember that the Old Testament points to Jesus – these are not just stories but pages of the Word, Jesus Himself.
The front of the book, the New Testament, would not exist if the pages were not attached to the back of the book – unfold the book and see they are whole pieces of paper – just sewn in the middle to give it that fold.
Old and New go together – pages that can NOT exist without each other.
Jesus didn’t just close the book on death – He opened the Book to Life.
We are part of Jesus’s fold – His People.
Jesus covers us in His cover of blood.
The pages are Jesus – the Word is Jesus – the seam in the middle has sewn Jesus into our hearts – into our souls.
The cover of the Book is the Blood of Jesus – that opening of the Book is the pure white pages of forgiveness – justified sanctified saints because of what is written and what is read. We are IN Jesus’s Book – let us walk in the Way of Him.
Read HIS Bible – HIS Word – Read His Love into Your Life.
Check out His Book and don’t put it back into the book return – Hold onto HIM until HE returns.
Sampson should have listened to Meat Loaf “I would do anything for love, but I WON’T do that.”
It bugged me that Sampson was tricked by Delilah seemingly TOO easily, telling Delilah about the secret of His strength being his hair – that his hair was not cut from birth, because he was set aside, was dedicated to God. God of course, not the actual hair, was giving Sampson strength because He had a plan for Sampson and because He wanted and wants people to know that dedication to God means something. So, the hair could be called a token of dedication, important but a substitution of focus, and yet hair is a visible outward image of what is covering our heads – like God covers us all – IN LOVE. Love however is not removable like hair. Love IS.
I bet Sampson felt tricked to have lost his strength, but really what felt painfully worse immediately to Sampson was that he lost his sight too, the capturers gouged his eyes out. Hair regrows, but eyes do not. Sampson however DID re-find his faith. He returned to asking God for strength. He accomplished much by God’s unique Way, known only to God. Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more…” God may have removed the strength with the hair – but God’s hearing and love and forgiveness was only less than a hair’s width away from Sampson.
We too are to walk by faith and not by sight.
What did Meat Loaf actually mean – “I won’t do that” ? He was talking about forgetting something he loved about that person (I looked it up). WELL, we need to remember that “I won’t do that” to us should be: “I WON’T FORGET THAT YOU LOVE ME, LORD!”
Are you part of the ‘Overthinkers Club’? ME TOO! Yet, I know EXTRA paranoid people too, so I am not so bad, right? We all have a little bit of worry in us, founded and unfounded. We ask: “Are we being tricked?” What if we start down that path being tricked by the devil: “Do I really have to do THAT for love?” – “Have I drifted away from God and lost my strength AND His Love?” DON’T OVERTHINK! BE STILL!
Number One lesson: You DON’T lose God’s Love. God IS Love. God does NOT change. Love is not fickle and love is forgive-ful, meaning His love will forgive your sins and draw closer to overlay you with mercy thanks to Jesus.
Overthinkers could be tricked into the simple trap of paranoia by the devil. We develop elaborate scenarios of trickery and how evil works and we over think over-orchestrated plots to sabotage us, yet the REAL basic trick of the devil is to make you question your love and His love. It’s like those thieves that watch your eyes to betray where your valuables are hidden, to betray your secrets. Don’t hide God under your basket – wear His Love on your sleeve – because HE wears HIS LOVE EVERYWHERE.
We are to remember that God’s LOVE is NOT hidden, not a secret or something increased by earning it, not out-of-touch or unachievable. God’s LOVE is POURED OUT AND OVER YOU. Complete. LOVE like Jesus’s Blood poured over you. LOVE like freshly fallen snow adhering to every tree branch as if blankets of thick purification. Love keeps no records of wrongdoing. Therefore the evil rehashing of old sins can be rebuked too. Don’t go there overthinkers, God’s LOVE is complete. Completeness comes and ALL who love the Lord will be whole again.
When the world comes asking questions, stand strong, not from your own strength but humbly in His Love. Don’t worry about showing the world your human secrets but display the parts of God’s Love that you DO know, that you can put on HIS Armor to protect and teach – and that you can be covered in God’s Love enough to share His Love too (even with your enemy). His LOVE is more powerful than anything under the sun. Walk knowing that His LOVE will NEVER fail.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. LOVE NEVER FAILS. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when COMPLETENESS comes, what is in part disappears. 1 Corinthians 13:4-10
Judges 17:6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
Judges 18:1 In those days Israel had no king.
Judges 19:1 In those days Israel had no king.
Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
I PUZZLE at the deep and intricate stories of the Old Testament that I don’t YET understand. It is OK that I don’t yet understand (YET) because I know I WILL understand some day – and all these popcorn kernels in my head that have not YET popped open, WILL pop. I long to sit down with God’s newsreels of wars and warriors. Someday, we will understand it all – and maybe as we will pick up cliffnotes commentaries we will learn on the go, SO for now let us just glean the truth as we can get. It is BETTER to read it first and let the Lord fill in the blanks because He has the best heat to expand our brain spaces like Jiffy Pop. Don’t eat the old popcorn off the floor of the movie theater either – get a NEW bucket and free refills for yourself and start digesting the scripture scenes for you own clean nourishment. Eventually with HIS Heating Elements, you will pop the unpopped kernels of information – gratefully add the Spirit sprinkle of Salt and Light – and surely there will be Endless refills because God already paid.
Because I have read the book of Revelation, I know that the coming together and tearing apart of Israel is key to study throughout all time and especially now. What I can glean from the stories of Judges 17 thru 21 is that without a king, Israel did what they could. As the scripture repeats in chapters 17, 18, 19, and 21: everyone did as they saw fit. The Lord was still in charge – and was consulted often – the ark was still revered and remembered – yet there was war between even the Israelite tribes. There were MANY lost soldiers, women, children, and animals – destroyed towns – so much bloodshed that it was like Israel was bleeding and eating at itself. Eventually the Benjamin tribe was especially ambushed at war and decimated but for a few left. The whole house of Israel was divided against itself. The house of Israel, formed from Jacob who fought his own brother from the time of being in their mother’s womb, continued to sometimes mentally wander even when IN the Promised Land.
War started at home – war kept going – war without a peacemaker turns inward. Even the strange tale of the concubine killed and divided by her master who sent parts to each of the tribes is a disturbing story of blame – of calling out – an analogy of discord for the kingdom to be reunited with the need of a King. NO WONDER the disciples of Jesus asked Jesus if He was going to restore the Kingdom of Israel (Acts 1:6 after He arose and before He ascended).
Judges 17 starts the story of Micah and his mom – silver was stolen and returned – but the interesting solution to problems is when Micah hired his own priest. If we think about Israel as a whole – from one man Jacob to 12 sons – and the infighting and plotting they had against each other back then – especially of Joseph (the youngest with that dreamcoat) and Benjamin the second youngest – we can see the back and forth trouble beginning between jealous brothers and then between eventual tribes. Imagine that large scale now with the 12 tribes. Imagine the heartache Moses and Jacob had trying to manage the unmanageable. Imagine the remorse later for the brothers to have lost Joseph – imagine the remorse for the tribes in Judges to have lost most of the Benjamites. This was a family trait – to lose and then long for each other.
There are many more stories of Israel for us to read next and for us to live next when Israel once again becomes center stage as the book of Revelation predicts. When does this end? When a King is risen up from Israel and when the King, namely Jesus, returns to put all to rest. We live in a flip-flopped life. No king for Israelites in the book of Judges but always a God to look to. Now a King in Jesus, but not always Jesus being looked to. Jesus turned the world upside down with his humble birth and rise as not a King for their earthly reign, but for a Kingdom to restore.
No, the popcorn has not yet popped in the brains of all men to know Him and follow Him. Jesus is the King to return peace but not without war – not without battle – not without strife – not without division.
I am sure that there are educated scholars to tell us the answers to the puzzling story but there is ONLY ONE KING to have already known the solution to the problem. Restore the Kingdom. Be the King of the Kingdom – RETURN.
Come Lord Jesus, on a cloud that looks like popcorn. I am saving the seat next to mine for your commentary of all.
Amen (and forgive the unpopped kernels of knowledge that I need salt and light for popping.)
Many times I go to work for me – to find the “normalcy” in a non-normal place, for a paycheck sure, but especially for working on important medications and ESPECIALLY for being available to many people. The people there are the best – and even though we can debate and negotiate – we realize we have to work together.
I love people and at work I am blessed to go in. Covid-era or not, each day we march into work, into life, INTO the battle because WE SHOULD, because He, the Lord, NEEDS US THERE, and because “THERE IS NO DISCHARGE FROM THE WAR“. That’s God truth from Ecclesiastes 8, part of the ‘everything is meaningless on earth’ chapters – we are to keep in line with the Lord who knows all. This was double felt in my heart and mentioned in my ears from a sermon about Joshua going to fight the Lord’s fight. Joshua did what Moses commanded. Moses did what God commanded. We all need to follow OUR LEADER.
Keep marching INTO battle. That’s been my theme of the week, you may have other plans, but only God knows the future. If you think life on the planet is going to change and become perfect, it’s a fallacy because we are in a fallible world and we are fallible people. ME TOO. Why do we keep going? To be the SALT and the LIGHT. Who do we follow? The One Who went before.
LIGHT lights the WAY and gives HOPE. Over one shoulder is the beautiful moon, out the other window is the Morning Star, which is the planet Venus. Both bright but both shining NOT of their own light, they are reflecting the Sun, a bright star so far away and yet lined up with objects we see. The Sun also so perfectly positioned to give us warmth, light, and direction – not to mention the days at the beach, the warmth of the garden – and, as a sermonist recently said in my radio, the Sun has the ability to dry bricks and to soften wax. AMAZING.
We don’t shine our own light. We are to stay ALIGNED with the Source. We reflect the LIGHT and are not to deflect it. (Our Morning Star rises in our hearts) Light brightens our face, consoles our heart, marks the path to follow. We are to follow the One who went before, follow the commands of the King.
As we live in our lives, let us become MORE WISE in WHY we are placed in life. We serve at the command of our King, our Lord. He says keep going with wisdom. Doing evil or turning your back on good won’t accomplish anything, won’t discharge you from the war. “…I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.” Ec 8:12-13
WISDOM, wisdom will allow you to LIVE, to BRIGHTEN your face…
Soften your heart for the Lord. Do what He says. He knows. Follow His Command and enjoy the days. Put on His Armor and keep marching.
Keep the faith, watch your days lengthen like a shadow from the Sun.
Keep SMILING. You ALWAYS have time to smile.
Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things? A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance.
Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery.
Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? As no one has power over the wind to contain it, no one has power over the time of their death.
AS NO ONE IS DISCHARGED IN TIME OF WAR, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.
Ecclesiastes 8:1-8, (thought to be written by Solomon)
As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.
ATTACHED IS A PHOTO OF MY OLD CLOCK – THE CLOCK THAT HUNG IN MY OFFICE SO MANY YEARS AND WHEN I LEFT THE BUILDING (to go to the new building) THEY TOOK IT FOR THE “CLOCK WALL” – MY FRIEND HAD ME SIGN IT – I SIGNED IT WITH MY CATCH PHRASE “YOU ALWAYS HAVE TIME TO SMILE”
My 2 cents – on a check it is not worth that – for 2 cents it costs dollars to send, cash, reconcile, and laugh about.
My 2 cents – in speech – can stop a conversation – can draw a line – can cut to the chase.
My 2 cents – in opinion – doesn’t cost much to give. Can be taken or forgotten.
My 2 cents – in mail – as in a 2 cent stamp – is paid for by me – at my expense no one else’s.
His 2 cents
His 2 cents is His – not mine.
His 2 cents is at His expense – His ransom for our souls.
His 2 cents – not laughable but joy-giving – should NEVER be forgotten.
His 2 cents – is sent DIRECTLY to you – not for anyone else – He is reaching for YOU.
I asked the Lord today – “For whom am I writing?” He said soundly boldly quickly without hesitation: “YOU“.
YOU = me = You. I write Lord, for You, because You ask me to write. I write Lord for You because to You all praise is due. I write Lord for me because I need to express what love seeps out of my seams. I write Lord for me because You give me the Spirit to say: I LOVE YOU.
LORD, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When the Lord’s 2 cents is Immediate, Direct and Advice only for YOU, know that He, the Lord, paid it all ahead of time – JUST to say “I LOVE YOU“.
I was awakened and asked God for a Word, He boldly said BE STILL.
I am His over-thinker-er, He is STILL our Enforcer-er and Reinforcer-er.
I said Alexa, what time is it? She said no internet. I asked God what time is it. God said NOW.
I am His over-planner-er, He is our Present-time-er.
I arose to morning stirring, asking me to join in, my child, cat, dishes and laundry. I am His and my house-keeper-er. He is our Provider-er.
I sat to write, re-shut the lights off. I am His thinker-er, harvester-er. He is our Peace-giver-er. He is our Vine-dresser-er.
I stood to see, lights not created by me. A SUNRISE SO SPECTACULAR, A MUST TO SEE. It’s like He wanted to share just this 5 minutes with me – so just some of us would STOP to SEE. He IS the Creator-er of all Good. What He gives comes at His cost but to us FREE.
When I wake, I thank the Lord for getting me where I am, and not where I am not. I wake up and even if I forget the many issues that have gone away, I try to not forget to praise. I thank the Lord for rescue – the very distinct dangers He had and has pulled me thru. Praise be to God from me is always overdue – I am thankful for His Grace and His Mercy too.
Sometimes I say YAY, another day to accomplish X,Y,Z tasks. I praise God for my health too. No, I am not just a Pollyanna, I have much to fret about too, but today, I will praise God that He is in control above all else.
What an interesting story of Sampson. l wonder much in reading it not about him having his strength which came from the Lord, but wonder if He awoke and thanked God for the gift of Strength. I wonder if he wondered why God gave it to him. In reading his story (part 2), I wonder how amazing his devotion to the Lord was. I think he must have walked around with his conversation with God like a known, like “this is who I am, a Nazarite, devoted to God”. I wonder how we can realize that too – we are to be dedicated to God. To accept God is with us and keep walking.
I secondly wonder about his initial fake answers and then later very straightforward answer to Delilah about what makes him strong and what makes him weak – why to tell her the secrets to subduing him? Why, especially since she first tried all the fake ways. Sampson, I wonder why He told Delilah about his hair.
I wonder also why my memory fails me, the story here does not say Delilah deceives him – must have been a movie fallacy and that I never read this for real – because this story (below in Judges 16) says Sampson (eventually) was straightforward and told her. NO TRICKERY – maybe for her love he told her – and definitely for his tiredness of her nagging – but not because he was really forced to… Hmmm… Maybe he simply trusted her or was just so worn down and tired that he told his God-secret out in the open. Would we tell our secrets if we were asked? In this world, perhaps we don’t have to tell people our secret conversations with God – we don’t have to tell our God-secrets – but we CAN tell others where our strength comes from. From God. We can tell them that we will look to God.
Sampson may have known she was aligned with the Philistines – maybe not – perhaps he did not care as everyone was known to live in a sticky situation – all the Israelites seemingly co-existed in enemy’s reach before and after the 20 years of peace. Perhaps Sampson was just straightforward because he knew God had a plan either way. Perhaps he and God talked in those early mornings – especially the one where he got up before his attackers did – and had the upper hand on them (as well as ripping their city gate up open and carrying it up to the hill). If Sampson knew he was best to trust God that day, he hopefully did all his days. Sampson knew when his strength left and when his strength returned, and he credited God and he conversed with God. And so can we. If we know to trust God on one particular day, in one particular incident, see He delivered us then – well then we certainly can trust to trust in HimEVERYDAY. If God is a God who moves mountains, then certainly he can be trusted with our little molehill problems too.
The hero aspect of this story is when Sampson is at the very end, after his capture (subdued by the loss of strength) and his eyes gouged out – wow ouch – and his hidden secret that both his hair grew back and his strength grew too. God came back with him as he devoted himself to one last heroic act – God came back to Sampson when Sampson asked. Sampson found the kingpin of the arena and what would take it down – even as blind, he knew the sightline of the answer. Even as out in the open, he knew his hidden strength. Even as a captive, he knew his freedom was with God and in God. And so Sampson moved to the columns holding up the arena – and with the great prayer that we all can pray: “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more,” He pushed the columns over and the whole arena collapsed killing the Philistines and Sampson himself. He killed more Philistines that day than in the rest of his life.
Boom – trust in the Lord until the end. Trust in His Strength to move mountains. Keep your God-secrets between God and yourself – but tell of your God – our God – to others as He is in control! If you are shackled and chained, find the last great weakness in the enemy – that he does not know God like you do. TRUST GOD.
(and below please read the REAL story, part 2, of Sampson)
One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.” But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.
Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.” Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered. Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.” He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.
Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.” He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric and tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric. Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.
So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
The Death of Sampson
Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.” When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.” While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.
When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.
I am riddled with suspense by the riddles and rich stories of the Old Testament, this is continuing in the book of Judges, leaders who helped Israel keep the peace, and is just part one of Sampson, whom I only knew by name and that hair incident. That’s the riddle of the old testament, the stories are so rich and deep, but why wouldn’t they be elaborately told? It’s likely because they were shared, told, and became more memorable. God needed and needs His Word shared – and these chapters spoke of great leaders and accomplishments of God thru people (men and women).
Riddle me this Batman, why are we captivated by such intriguing tales with interesting characters? Because our brains can and do appreciate the details, because God looks for us to attach to Him like mental Velcro, 3M Command Strips of millions of hook and loop grabbing onto Him. He created us in His image and I can’t even imagine the complexities of Him with the very complex brain He has given me.
Riddles, not the silly kind but the thinking kind are placed in life. You may not understand them, but you will remember them. Sampson riddled his new in-laws with: “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” For three days they could not give the answer. For us, there is the backstory that helps us here. See, Sampson was chosen by God to be dedicated to Him, a Nazirite. Sampson often was FILLED with the Spirit to do something important in God’s plan. Sampson was given great strength at times (killed a lion, slew a thousand men with a jaw of a donkey). His mission was often probably unknown to Him as well, yet he certainly knew the Philistines were oppressing his Israelite people. We are told on paper (the Word being the Lord) that Sampson was chosen to interact with the Philistines to prime the pump and stir up the small big battles God was gearing up to sustain the Israelites. The Sampson and Philistines interactions, as you can read below in Judges 14-15, led to 20 years peace, but not before some harrowing riddling tales.
These chapters detail only part 1 of this chosen servant (haven’t even gotten into Sampson’s hair situation). But I will stop reading here to imagine how much the Lord speaks to us individually in His Word and by interacting with His people. Jesus is now revealed to us like something sweet out of death, Jesus is the LIFE. And as there’s a backstory of how He came to us, there is a forward story of the next unwritten chapters of Him and us after He comes again. We are currently living on HIS pages “in-between” and He is filling us in on His riddle of life, day by day, one by one. He only gives the info on a “needs to knowbasis”.
What are we riddled with? Unknown? Illnesses and pain? Uncomfortable situations not of our doing? Immense joy and blessings when we don’t know why? God’s leading us to His next developing scenario. A friend is going in for surgery, and praying and planning for one particular date to come to fruition. Is it God’s plans for the actual date? Who knows! For a delay due to covid staffing? For something completely different? That’s not our riddle, but it is God’s riddle for this person. And God only reveals info on a daily “needs to know” basis. He is still in control but we don’t know what switches He is pulling today. We can only trust in that the train will get to the station.
These riddles of life are not always answerable in this world. A friend who passed away a few years ago after a battle with a 2nd liver failure and hepatitis and kidney shutdowns that lasted years and years, she was kept alive by a miracle and a riddle of God. She only knew that God had some plan for her, and for each doctor baffled by her healing and cat of 9 lives revamping, she witnessed to them of the power of God and the saving Grace of Jesus. We witnessed her as a grandma glue to a family – she seemingly was done but her glue rehydrated, reworked for life, resurrected in a riddle of reality that God had a plan for her.
God has a plan for us. Who knows how He will use us today, whom He needs us to meet, how He needs us to stir up a situation or calm down someone else’s train-wreck, or be stopped by an obstacle. Maybe we will be provided an answer we never saw coming. Maybe we will have the Spirit of the Lord come powerfully upon us today. All we do know is that each time He works for us, He is ALSO working us for Himself, .
Let’s not forget that God has a plan for each of us and take each day as it comes. Sampson’s riddle was about a Lion and Honey. After the carcass rotted, bees moved in to make a home. The eater was eaten and something sweet, Honey, came from it. This riddle was something only known between God and Sampson (and took his wife to pursue the answer like a field getting plowed). It took time to set up and it took time to think about and it took time to answer, SOour riddles of life may only be known by God until revealed to us. Again it is that “need to know” basis… Our riddle is NOT DONE. We only know that Jesus has won.
Sampson was used by God, so are we. For each of us today, we are to know there is something sweet of God’s Plan – our something sweet is Jesus. For each of us, He is still writing us into the rest of His Story. For us, we wait upon His Timing and His Strength. His Mystery. His Majesty.
Amen (and do read the tale of Sampson, part 1).
Judges 13:24-25, 14, 15.
The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan [“Dan’s camp” in Judah], between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.
Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon himso that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her. Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.
Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions. “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”
“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.” He replied, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” For three days they could not give the answer. On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?” Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”
“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.
Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” Samson said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.”
Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.
Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in. “I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.” Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.” So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.
When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.”
So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death. Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam. The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi. The people of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?” … “We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”
Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?” He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.” They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.” Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.”
“Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock. As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.
Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.”
When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi. Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.
Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.
I would say I have strange dreams normally but this dream sequence has totally been caused by me stressing about some work deadlines. And I’ve been dreaming about putting things in order because I have been thinking about order in God’s Kingdom that I REALLY don’t have in my earthly existence, and because I’ve been CLEANING (got the Christmas decorations down, cleaned and put the window plastic up just in time for 10 degrees and a Nor’easter like storm) – Yes in my working day and in my sleeping dreams I have been trying to restore order in my postage stamp sized section of God’s Kingdom here on earth. But honestly, I will NEVER get order here, I will always have piles, have schmutz of dust and crumbs and whatnot, and if I spent my whole life here, I’ll never achieve order. Blessedly God’s Kingdom is orderly and prepared AND Jesus will be my Mr Clean, Dustbuster Brother, Salvation Scrubber.
I can’t keep up, cleaning or deadlines. But Jesus IS our Lifeline. Jesus looks at the heart, that’s where His and my cleaning will start.
And I never should focus just on myself or my piles – Jesus says the harvest is ripe but the workers few – the great commission says go out to help the flock. The best evangelical opening sentence I EVER heard (but don’t YET have the guts to say) is: “So you think you are going to Heaven because you are a good person? So that means you think that the death of Jesus was unnecessary?” WOW, YIKES, WOW. I love the direct approach of this stinging question because it’s a true sword of truth question. Our lifeline to Heaven has NOTHING to do with us. We cannot think or try to be orderly enough, clean enough, or “good enough” as a person for getting to Heaven. Both our blunders and our original broken nature require us to be registered with the ONLY Name above all Names on the Heaven registration list. It’s not who you know to get you into an exclusive club, it’s knowing WHO you need to go before you go – that’s JESUS.
Is this achievable? He’s already ACHIEVED therefore we only need to believe.
Is this believable? He’s already showed us the WAY therefore we must just Pray.
And I DON’T have to get my piles ready for Heaven, I don’t need a plan for earth dust, only to give it back to God to mold me more. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” And we CAN’T take piles back to heaven with us either. Luckily blessedly this earth WILL roll away and no one will see our golden palace or our pigpen in Heaven (nor will anyone see our bankroll or lack of it either).
Will we hit all the deadlines we try to achieve in life? NOPE! But life does not have a DEADLINE – SO hold onto that LIFELINE Jesus, because Jesus is already holding onto you.
Amen. Love You Jesus. Your Death and Resurrection are our Heavenly Correction and Connection. Amen Amen
(PS. The cat is back)
A Letter to the Phillipians 2:1-11, 13
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a NAME which is ABOVE EVERY NAME: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
It’s Saturday, my cat does not understand. No one has to get up. It’s Saturday before a big storm tomorrow but we are not on “Little House on the Prairie”, I don’t really have to batten down the hatches, I don’t have to rush out to the store for crucial supplies like ice cream. I don’t have to do ‘nothin…. but I DO have to listen to the Lord, not ask so many questions, and WAIT on Him, walk with Him. Wonder, Work, Worship.
Time waits for no man, but time could stand still for the Lord. He IS waiting on us. Yup. If He waits on us, we can WAIT on Him.
The cat did cajole me up out of bed, with mews, knowingly climbing to my side table where she knows will annoy me by looking for something purposeful to knock off. Yes she does! I also got the love nip and more mews… I’m up cat, I’m up.
I’m up Lord, I’m up, ready to read and write. Time management is up to us, He invented time and just like being good stewards of land from Adam’s time, we are asked to be good stewards of HIS TIME. Keep battling. Keep FAITH. Keep Walking.
Joshua, leading after Moses, saw the sun stand still and they fought a battle a whole LONG day without ceasing until it was done. God said He never did that before and won’t do it again (just like the flood, one and done). And so God uses different stretches of time for us. We must only ask for immediate instructions and not ask too many questions!!! The Lord does not want to burden us with nitty gritty details for tomorrow until tomorrow. We have to display TRUST today.
There is a great pre-story in the old testament, book of Judges, about Sampson’s parents. Sampson (long haired) will have quite the story, but first starting with his mother and father, we read that they SPOKE to an ANGEL of the LORD and DETAINED him, they kept him on earth until they could ask more questions, but he only said 2 things again and again: 1) do what I say and 2) worship the Lord. Succinct advice for us too. Don’t ask tooooo many questions, don’t waste time wondering about tomorrow when you could be worshiping today. We are to WORK and WORSHIP.
The angel said to treat the pregnancy (which was unexpected in a barren woman) appropriately as the baby would be dedicated to God, a Nazirite as detailed in Moses’s time (see Numbers 6, nazarites are not from Nazareth but a selection of babies set aside as dedicated to God). I am sure many barren women would have been studying these many old stories of women unexpectedly bearing a child dedicated to the Lord, preparing in the present for the Lord’s future plans, dedicating themselves and trusting they had to do their part by eating only clean foods.
Sampson’s parents asked the angel to come back and then they asked too many questions – and they asked him his name. The angel said: It is beyond understanding“, told them to dedicate a worshipful sacrifice of grain and a goat to God, and then the angel arose back to Heaven in the flame of the sacrifice. God gave them (and us) commands and then by His displays of miracles, He gives them (and us) confidence in His plan.
We too may be puzzled by our calling, but know each step of the way, the Lord KNOWS the Way. Step out in faith today. Just take the steps in your Walk and Worship.
My cat is back, perhaps I should attend to her needs. We watched out the window earlier and saw a skunk in the dawn light eating whatever was left for it, from us and from God. God has set creatures in front of us, 4 legged and 2 legged, all whom are LOVED by God. Our ability to dedicate ourselves to God’s Plan is shown in our WAIT, our WALK, our WORK, and our WORSHIP.
Be a blessing, go venture out in the world before the storm today to be dedicated to God’s plan (and go feed the cat).
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’”
Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!” Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?”
“I am,” he said. So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?” The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”
Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.) Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?” He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.
“We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!” But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”
The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson.
After God sent the tumbling round loaf of barley bread into a soldier’s dream and conquered an army (really that’s what happened) in Gideon’s lifetime, we later see many years of on and off peace – peace when a “judge” was raised up to lead the people and listen to God on their behalf – and we see many years of rebellion by Israelites (just like we see us individually get away from our faith at times). The Book of Judges details certain times and these leaders/”judges” which brought peace. We know only a little about Tola and Jair, who came before Jephthah and know very little about Ibzan, Elon and Abdon who were “judges” after Jephthah. But for Jephthah, he has a mighty LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG story for us, and I can not start to gleem all the lessons from the details. It’s too much. Yet, there are 3 pieces I can tell you about from my reading (and I encourage that you read all this yourself): 1) that people remember the details of what people promise them. 2) God remembers what we promise to God. and 3) God always keeps His Promises… TRUTH!
1) Jephthah was wronged by people who later came back and said – hey don’t mind we treated you badly, you can trust us now – we NEED you. (yes how many times has that happened to us!) Jephthah did help them – and the Lord was with Jephthah.
2) Jephthah made a promise to God – and to his dismay his own daughter had to take the severe consequences that Jephthah promised God – to be the offering to God – and his daughter also knew that what was promised to God must be done. She knew it and took her situation to heart. Wow. God knows all about sacrificing His own child. And God’s child Jesus knows all about sacrificing His own self for the Will of God. We as children of God are called to be people of sacrifice and do the Lord’s bidding.
3) Jephthah and the Gileadites fought the Ephraimite forces because he “saw that you wouldn’t help” in a previous battle, forcing Jephthah to take his own life in his hands (with God’s help) and the Lord gave the victory. Then the Ephramites were killed and any other Ephramites were continually challenged based on how they pronounced the name of a city. It is those details that set them apart – made them stand out as being against Jephthah.
Details Details… we say that all the time when we shrug off the little things that we think are not important – but to God, all things of the heart are important – all promises are important – all detail details are important.
What are we promising to God today – or in the past – do we forget the worst situations that God delivered us from and just flippantly forget? Do we remember the details of our prayers? we are told to not promise God anything we can’t commit to… at the same time, the safest promise we can make to God is our lives – and take it day by day, step by step, detail by detail…
While we are told to not sweat the small stuff with everyday life in grievances, we are truly blessed when we count our blessings of God, delivered down to every last detail.
And God? He already detailed our Salvation and His Kingdom for us to know – just keep in His Word and His Word will keep you in His story.
History is HIS story.. He is Faithful from the beginning to the end.
1) Judges 11:1-10 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.
Some time later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.” Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?” The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head over all of us who live in Gilead.”
Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me—will I really be your head?” The elders of Gilead replied, “The Lord is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.”
2) Judges 11:29-40 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”
Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”
“My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”
“You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
From this comes the Israelite tradition 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.
3) Judges 12:1-7 The Ephraimite forces were called out, and they crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We’re going to burn down your house over your head.” Jephthah answered, “I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me out of their hands. When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?”
Jephthah then called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The Gileadites struck them down because the Ephraimites had said, “You Gileadites are renegades from Ephraim and Manasseh.” The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he replied, “No,” they said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’” If he said, “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.
Jephthah led Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in a town in Gilead.
The book I love, and bought it as it called out to me when I saw it for $10. This book and certain passages is clearly a way for God to remind me both of His abilities and of His Majesty. It’s a book now that I have purchased many ebay used copies (for only $5) to give to preacher friends.
This paragraph on page 71 describes me. I heard the Word in human voices and THEN heard the Word in Jesus’s voice. I saw the faith, then I knew the faith. I woke up from a long sleep. I was born again but it took a month – it took the head forceps to get me out of the darkness of my own head. I was born from my mother the first time and they used forceps – I was born by and thru the Sprit and JESUS PULLED!
When Jesus speaks, His SHEEP (US) HEAR HIM.
The Name Above All Names page 71 text reads: “but one night as he came home, he “happened” to pick up a recording of a sermon we had preached. The young man listened to the sermon every day for a month. On the last day of the month, he came to a living faith in Christ. What happened? He presumably did not realize what was happening to him; Christ was calling him; only slowly did that dawn on him. He heard the same human voice again and again, but then at last he heard the voice of Christ and responded.”
I was not satisfied with how I thought about MLK Jr day on Monday, because I didn’t think about it or him at all, just a crazy busy day within a crazy busy season of my life. I revisit today not just for recapturing yesterdays but also by revisiting 1957 and a sermon by Dr King about LOVING YOUR ENEMIES. Thanks to Wikipedia and wonderful websites, we have a transcript and audio of many sermons and speeches.
What a great excerpt I was led to find – that Jesus says we are to love our enemies because love is redemptive goodwill, because God loves everyone and because you have agape in your soul. As hate only bring hate, the redemptive strength of love means that when you are presented with the opportunity to defeat your enemy, that you DON’T do it. When we love, we see God’s image in each person – in our enemies too.
I’ve included the link to the whole sermon and audio, as well as more links to more sermons. If we remember that God is behind all the drive to love, that God IS Love, we also will remember that love will not, and can never fail.
Especially I like the analogy he gives about dimming the car headlights – that we are all driving where we need to dim the car headlights and be courteous and be the LOVE… Love has a redemptive power because God is Love. We should all be NOT satisfied with the hate in the world when we are commanded to LOVE.
Amen and Please do read below:
Excerpt of the MLK Jr Sermon NOV 1957
“…within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls “the image of God,” you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.
Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must not do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.
The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point. It comes to our aid beautifully in giving us the real meaning and depth of the whole philosophy of love. And I think it is quite apropos at this point, for you see the Greek language has three words for love, interestingly enough. It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the gods. And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love. Everybody has experienced eros in all of its beauty when you find some individual that is attractive to you and that you pour out all of your like and your love on that individual. That is eros, you see, and it’s a powerful, beautiful love that is given to us through all of the beauty of literature; we read about it.
Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved. You love on this level, because there’s something about the person you love that is likeable to you. This too is a beautiful love. You can communicate with a person; you have certain things in common; you like to do things together. This is philia.
The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.
And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, “Love your enemy.” And it’s significant that he does not say, “Like your enemy.” Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, “Love your enemy.” This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.
Now for the few moments left, let us move from the practical how to the theoretical why. It’s not only necessary to know how to go about loving your enemies, but also to go down into the question of why we should love our enemies. I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [tapping on pulpit] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.
I think I mentioned before that sometime ago my brother and I were driving one evening to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Atlanta. He was driving the car. And for some reason the drivers were very discourteous that night. They didn’t dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights. And I remember very vividly, my brother A. D. looked over and in a tone of anger said: “I know what I’m going to do. The next car that comes along here and refuses to dim the lights, I’m going to fail to dim mine and pour them on in all of their power.” And I looked at him right quick and said: “Oh no, don’t do that. There’d be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody got to have some sense on this highway.”
Somebody must have sense enough to dim the lights, and that is the trouble, isn’t it? That as all of the civilizations of the world move up the highway of history, so many civilizations, having looked at other civilizations that refused to dim the lights, and they decided to refuse to dim theirs. And Toynbee tells that out of the twenty-two civilizations that have risen up, all but about seven have found themselves in the junkheap of destruction. It is because civilizations fail to have sense enough to dim the lights. And if somebody doesn’t have sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history. Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.
There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater.
Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies…”
Seriously we have a human characteristic to be squabbling like little kids – like who gets the bigger half of the sandwich. Gideon (who led winning wars thanks to God’s intervention and that tumbling loaf of barley bread) later came up against people who grumbled, and who withheld help, and Gideon encountered lots of folks who turned their backs. He reminded and warned those Israelites that God always is the Deliverer, God forbid they withhold what God has given.
A Godly characteristic is SHARING and a Godly trait is to give of our best. A sacrifice to sacrifice. A sacrifice of praise to realize we are ALREADY blessed.
God surely can say: “It’s all mine, why would you have a say in how I distribute it anyway.” This is true of the father to the prodigal son. This is true of the vine dresser to the workers in the vinyard. God could withhold in order to teach, but rather He could give forth in order to reach. If God chooses to bless, who are we to say He can’t spend His Blessings in any way He wants.
God knows that we are not deserving, but only say the Word, the Word of God, meaning say Jesus into your day, and His Mercy is poured out. His blood spilled on purpose. We have the spoils of the Victory of the War waged in Heavenly realms, AND WE DID NOTHING TO EARN IT.
Resentment lessons are gleanings (extra good info) from Bible teachings. LOVE and LOYALTY Lessons are the HEART of the Harvest of the Word. Surely if we have the blessings of God’s Hand, we cannot grumble as much about what is (or what is not) in our hands.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
God loves a cheerful giver.
Judges 8:1-3 Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they challenged him vigorously. But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.
2nd Corinthians 9:6-8
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work
Matthew 6:9-15, 20-21
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
A football kicker for the Baltimore Ravens mentioned this song on a 60 minutes interview… Dropkick me Jesus… Too fabulous… Love the truth in these lyrics: I’ve got the will, Lord, if you’ve got the toe.
Not only do I love the visual these lyrics bring – it’s the old-tyme country singing style that defined country music when I was a kid. It’s one of those ballads that says: This is where I am in life. Not the blues, but the TRUES. Jesus comes to meet us where we are.
The truth is that in life’s game plan, we would best realize to know and have God handling us, the ball. Jesus came to the bottom of the fumble pile and He has recovered us.
A dropkick means that the game still goes on. We have the best player coach in Jesus. Let’s not play life, let’s live it! And hear all those stadium saints cheer!
Dropkick me, Jesus By Bobby Bare
Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life
End over end, neither left, nor the right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life
Make me, oh, make me, Lord, more than I am
Make a piece in your master game plan
Free from the earthly tempestion below
I’ve got the will, Lord, if you’ve got the toe
Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life
End over end, neither left, nor the right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life
Bring on the brothers who’ve gone on before
And all of the sisters who’ve knocked at your door
All the departed, dear loved ones of mine
And stick ’em up front in the offensive line
A lowly benchwarmer I’m contented to be.
Until the time that you have need of me
The flash on the big scoreboard shines from all high
The big super bowl up in the sky
Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life
End over end, neither left, nor the right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
What an interesting Beatles lyrics I woke up humming, “For tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun.” I can’t say they are related to a dream or this next scripture, but I know that they convey the thought: you don’t know what you have… that DOES relate to much of the winding tales in the book of Judges, the Israelites not knowing how to SOLELY worship God, they get distracted and fall off the path. They just keep breaking their peace.
Gideon was quite the warrior after beating the Midianites, which he did by listening to God (Judges 8). Gideon killed many who did him wrong, he also gathered a following (and had 70 sons by many women), but in all the people had a stretch of peace. He did say the Lord would rule the people, however one snare to his people was when he made an item of gold from people’s earrings, set it up and they worshiped it falsely. They later wandered in their worship of false Baal gods. Off-track…
The Shechem were very swayed by someone claiming to be worthy of power, but not appointed by God, Gideon’s son Abimelek, who hired scoundrels and killed all but the youngest of his 70 brothers. The youngest Jotham called to the people and chastised them in asking: Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Jotham uses a great comparison to asking a thornbush to rule over trees but becoming the cause of a consuming fire that destroys. God does just that and the unsettled situation, caused by God to teach a lesson, brings destruction on those Abimelek followers and even Abimelek dies when a rock is dropped on him.
The Israelites go back to knowing God IS Lord Almighty, listening again, following God-appointed rulers, for a time.
God sets up these conversations again and again, then and now: don’t follow false gods, like the song:
Some day you’ll know, I was the One… We want to learn more of who He is and what He stands for, we can teach that too.
Are we willing to remember that people who don’t always listen to God tend to pull us in one direction or another? Or do we just wander into distraction? Can we listen to God and come back? He wants us to hear Him, not follow the sun but the Son.
We are like Jacob and wrestling with God and often fighting against His Plan for us, He touches our hip, puts it out of whack for us to notice we are fighting the ALL-POWERFUL GOD. We must stop and listen enough before it’s too late and the end comes without us being attached to Jesus who continues to reach out for us. We don’t want to miss the boat, nor the opportunity to worship and listen. We don’t want to attach ourselves to the thornbushes and be consumed by our lost way.
God values the basic most important thing: LOVE. We don’t always have to understand the trials, but we need to stick with the Lord.
Other may forget us, but God doesn’t.
REMEMBER THE LOVE.
REMEMBER THE LORD.
Judges 8-9 excepts
22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.) They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.
Jerub-Baal son of Joash [Gideon’s original name] went back home to live. He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.
Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, “Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.” When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, “He is related to us.” They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers. He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.
When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’
“But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’
“Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’
“But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’
“Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’
“But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’
“Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’
“The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’
“Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal [Gideon] and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves? Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian. But today you have revolted against my father’s family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you. So have you acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too! But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!”
Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek.
After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelek.
Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.
Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died. When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home. Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.
Gideon said: “Pardon me?” to the Angel of God, and actually later realizing he was speaking to the Lord God Himself, yet he did not die from the intensity (as was predicted from Moses’s time).
How many times have we said: ” ‘EXCUSE ME?’, ‘Are you really God?’ and ‘You want me to do what?’ “
Gideon (later chosen as the patron “saint” of the “Gideons” the group which places Bibles in hotels), was picked by God as a hidden gem in God’s growing field. Gideon was a young man thrashing wheat secretly hidden away from scoundrel invaders, but Gideon was chosen to do SOMETHING BIG by God. He reminds us that little people can do BIG things when God is directing. (Just like little but ever present Gideon bibles placed where people look for inspiration, they can find true power and direction).
Midian people invaded the Israelites’ Promised Land and were as numerous and hungry like grasshoppers and ate up the provisions so that the Israelites couldn’t feed their own livestock. It was so bad that the Israelites, who at that time also had been doing evil in the Lord’s eyes, actually called out to the Lord for help. They continually forgot (like we do) that people are not supposed to worship leaders or material things, ONLY God.
The Lord reached out to one man, Gideon, who essentially said: What?! Wait! Me? How do I really know it’s You Lord? Yes, he said all that. God bless us for we are also like Gideon… ‘Little ole me?”… Gideon asked the Lord to demonstrate miracles, well yeah we ask that too. Gideon said “WAIT” to God, and God said He would wait! Does God wait for us to come back to Him? You can be sure of that.
Gideon said: but I am the weakest! How many times do we not realize that God’s going to provide the Power behind His Plea for us to do something. Yes God makes a Way. God told Gideon to prepare a sacrifice of food, bring it to the oak tree where they spoke. God then started the consuming fire. Gideon was amazed, realized he had seen God and lived, and built an altar there called “The Lord is Peace“.
God’s work for Gideon had just begun, commanding him to destroy the altar of the false God Baal. Joash was Gideon’s Dad and told the truth to the angry people that the false God won’t save them.
Gideon was back at discussions with God. Who would have thought that our REAL God would tolerate and engage in REAL conversations. Well He does, ask Him. Gideon asked for a sign – that a fleece blanket of a sheep to be made sopping wet, God did that. Gideon said “EXCUSE ME LORD, ONE MORE THING”… REALLY. Gideon asked the fleece to be kept dry when the morning dew covered the land the next morning. Yup, God delivered. Delivered the dew (as He does normally) and delivered the sign of His Power.
Now it really was time for the BIG battle and instead of a HUGE army, Gideon was asked to pare down the numbers, down to ONLY 300 men, so that everyone would realize that God’s Hand was the cause of the victory. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’…
God didn’t want them boasting, nor does He want us boasting today. Both because they did not achieve the victory and because others should not surmise that anyone besides God was solely responsible. It’s finesse not fierceness in this situation, just like in our lives. Give credit where credit is due.
The battle was won before it was even started, God had planted a dream into a sleeping soldier in the enemy camp that a whole loaf of barley bread tumbled in and knocked down the tent. Another soldier interpreted the dream as that they were all delivered into the hand of the mighty warrior Gideon. This conversation was overheard by Gideon who realized GOD WAS RIGHT! Gideon worshiped then organized the 300 men into 3 divisions of 100, gave them torches, trumpets, and empty jars. That’s REALLY what God used: a dream of a tumbling loaf of bread, an interpretation of the dream, the noise of empty jars broken, the sound of Trumpets, and the LIGHT of the torches… WOW. (and cool the symbolic use of bread, those dreams, yes trumpets, and LIGHT which all relate to JESUS, who is the Sword of Truth being the Word, dividing based upon the Word, saving because of the Word.)
THE ENEMY RAN AWAY… no swords except for the piercing Sword of Truth planted in the minds of all who would believe that God IS Sovereign.
God is really Lord. REALLY Gideon, REALLY.
God does GREAT things.
KEEP LISTENING FOR THE TRUMPET.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel
And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”
And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”
Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”
But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”
So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”
Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.
Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.
Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’”
Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.
When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled…
We can have a new song, a New Year’s praise of old year’s victories. We can remember how far God has taken us. Safe thus far. Deborah, judge of Israel, told Barak how God had already won and would deliver as long as he “stayed the course”. We too can praise, for the Lord has gone before us. He has WON our wars (especially over sin and death). Our job is to stay the course with Him, let Him win.
Deborah detailed how tribes of Israel worked together. They became the Hand of God that He could push thru the problem. Are we willing to be that hand as well? Let the Lord push us into His Plan?
For the Lord has delivered us from:
Jackpots of junk.
We can be the voices reciting the victories of the Lord:
I will sing to the Lord
I will praise the Lord
Deborah sang a song of “when the people willingly offer themselves — praise the Lord!” Are we willing to say ‘Here I am Lord”, then sing a song of His deliverance?
We have no idea of the battle in the heavens fighting for us. We don’t see His logistics or how He changes the weather to change our course. We don’t know the fraction of the time He has made for us. The least we can do is PRAISE.
“So may all your enemies perish, Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.”
Let us rise to be His Light.
Let us remember in this NEW YEAR that we will ultimately be ALRIGHT!
The Song of Deborah (Judges 5)
On that day [defeat of Jabin king of Canaan after death of Sisera], Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song: “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves — praise the Lord!
“Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will praise the Lord, the God of Israel, in song.
“When you, Lord, went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water. The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel. In the days of Shamgar [judge] son of Anath, in the days of Jael [judge], the highways were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths. Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel. God chose new leaders when war came to the city gates, but not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. My heart is with Israel’s princes, with the willing volunteers among the people. Praise the Lord!
“You who ride on white donkeys, sitting on your saddle blankets, and you who walk along the road, consider the voice of the singers at the watering places. They recite the victories of the Lord, the victories of his villagers in Israel.
“Then the people of the Lord went down to the city gates. ‘Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.’
“The remnant of the nobles came down; the people of the Lord came down to me against the mighty. Some came from Ephraim, whose roots were in Amalek; Benjamin was with the people who followed you. From Makir captains came down, from Zebulun those who bear a commander’s staff. The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; yes, Issachar was with Barak, sent under his command into the valley. In the districts of Reuben there was much searching of heart. Why did you stay among the sheep pens to hear the whistling for the flocks? In the districts of Reuben there was much searching of heart. Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan. And Dan, why did he linger by the ships? Asher remained on the coast and stayed in his coves. The people of Zebulun risked their very lives; so did Naphtali on the terraced fields.
“Kings came, they fought, the kings of Canaan fought. At Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo, they took no plunder of silver. From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera. The river Kishon swept them away, the age-old river, the river Kishon. March on, my soul; be strong! Then thundered the horses’ hooves — galloping, galloping go his mighty steeds. ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord. ‘Curse its people bitterly, because they did not come to help the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty.’
“Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women. He asked for water, and she gave him milk; in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk. Her hand reached for the tent peg, her right hand for the workman’s hammer. She struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple. At her feet he sank, he fell; there he lay. At her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell—dead.
“Through the window peered Sisera’s mother; behind the lattice she cried out, ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?” The wisest of her ladies answer her; indeed, she keeps saying to herself, ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoils: a woman or two for each man,
colorful garments as plunder for Sisera, colorful garments embroidered, highly embroidered garments for my neck – all this as plunder?’
“So may all your enemies perish, Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.” Then the land had peace forty years.
It’s maybe unusual, but for me it is not morbid to check out my own gravesite. I mean I got a great deal on it, $ not so much! Mostly it is about preparing an easier way for your kids to take care of you. This is a beautiful spot overlooking the lake, and even if that side of the hill might roll down eventually in erosion, LOL, at least I am in good company as the stretch has spots for many of my relatives, plus all our grandparents on the other side of the road. Good company. I also like how the spot next to me, not a relative, already placed three benches. Maybe someone will sit and reflect there – and be taken by the view to overcome their sadness.
That’s just the point. Our view of the next life should overcome our sadness. There’s good stuff coming… And we will be in GOOD COMPANY!
My Dad’s grave is in a separate cemetery in the valley of our tiny city, near his parents and many brothers and family, and immediately behind his friends from his service club. Oh my, JOKERS! But hard-working folks, lovers of people, a gregarious group for sure… it’s quite the visual of the lineup… it makes us smile… GOOD COMPANY… I can hear their laughter… You think it’s Rest in Peace? This shows that it is Reminisce in Peace. (Rabblerouse in Peace too)… Fun.
It’s not that we wish this world away, no, this earth is good garden soil for tilling faith. It’s not we should get bent out of shape here either with the situation and stop tilling the faith, Jesus Himself said: “I have told you these things, so that in ME you may have PEACE. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (HE HAS, I read ahead).
Recently I have been watching the Disney plus documentaries about King Tut – my Dad’s favorite from Egypt – he loved the gold and the mystery and we got an opportunity to see some King Tut artifacts when the traveling tour made it to the US. Apparently he was buried in a rush, perhaps he died young on a battlefield and was buried by the next ruler (not of the blood line) – he was clearly buried to be “forgotten” – not even his heart was included in the body which was thought to be needed to rise to the afterlife. He was club footed and in pain much of his days. His life was not perfect and although his artifacts don’t detail his family tree, DNA evidence showed generations of inner marrying and genetic gene pool depletion. Turns out that King Tut was buried in a smaller than normal tomb – with borrowed items and he was mostly stricken from the history records. Of course you can’t take it with you – and riches tend to be robbed – but being forgotten, because of the non-traditional burial, the grave robbers probably did not know where to look and overlooked this grave of treasures. King Tut is now the most famous name and face of an Egyptian ruler. Overlooked then becomes good now, forever remembered.
We are NEVER forgotten by our Father, no matter the size of our grave, the marker, the flowers, or the time. We are never overlooked, not while alive or when we die, as believers we are in Good Company, because Jesus has overcome it all. We may not have the golden life (even if we own all the gold like King Tut) but we have the GOODNESS of God – who is worth more than all the gold.
UNCHANGING GOODNESS. UNCHANGING GOD. HE IS GOOD COMPANY. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
There are certain songs that stick with you – this is one: Goodness of God, 2019. I remember the first time I listened to it in the car during some tough days of my Dad being in the hospital (pre-covid, stroke scares a couple years ago). On the visit I walked in and my Dad called me by my name after a bad stroke-like non-responsive stretch. Wow – he knew me and could say my name. Later we connected these incidents to infections that mimic stroke like behavior. Wow what joy in even a little normalcy. And when my Dad improved, and got out of the hospital, I continued to sing this song. I actually sang it even with MORE gusto – and this really IS a GUSTO-filled powerful song to sing in the car.
If we remember life, we know there are ups and downs, knowns and unknowns, good days and bad days – and yet one constant: the Goodness of God.
Goodness of God, Bethel Music
I love You, Lord For Your mercy never fails me All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands From the moment that I wake up Until I lay my head Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
… And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
… I love Your voice You have led me through the fire In the darkest night You are close like no other I’ve known You as a Father I’ve known You as a Friend
… And I have lived in the goodness of God (yeah) And all my life You have been faithful (oh) And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God (yeah)
… ‘Cause Your goodness is running after It’s running after me Your goodness is running after It’s running after me
… With my life laid down I’m surrendered now I give You everything ‘Cause Your goodness is running after It’s running after me (oh-oh) ‘Cause Your goodness is running after It’s running after me Your goodness is running after It’s running after me
… With my life laid down I’m surrendered now I give You everything ‘Cause Your goodness is running after It keeps running after me
… And all my life You have been faithful And all my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God
It’s been an interesting journey – learning about people wandering with Moses – fighting enemies and settling down with Joshua into new lands – and now we see some of the broken people being broken again – going back to worshiping the other gods that don’t care and can only ensnare… It is a prophetic look at today – the distractions lead us astray. BACK TO THE DESERT! Well, not wandering around the dry desert like Moses, but the desert of dryness from not actively looking for God’s watering…
Not everyone goes whole hog down the wrong path, but WOW when they do, God watches them and gets REAL, He says I won’t remove all the snares if you aren’t going to listen to Me. God gives good things and He can take them away too. We do need to see where we can pull closer, be more careful with our steps. And we need to not lead others astray. We DO need to shine His Light, especially in the darkened places. We have OPPORTUNITY all around. Like a desert spring about to sprout we know Who’s Hope to shout about.
In moving from Joshua to Judges, in Old Testament readings, we see the tribes of Israelites either made it to good lands where they defeated enemies with God’s Hand, or we see some co-living with enemies, or we see some lose their reverence to God as they did not know how He helped bring them originally to the Promised Land. (See Judges 2)
The lost folks continually turning their backs to Him is where the Lord got angry, but the Lord kept raising up new leaders, now called Judges, to move them forward. When the “Judge” was around there was more peace and praise of the Lord – when the Judge died – war and worse came back… Chaos…
Judges included Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah (YAY Deborah!), Gideon, Abimelek, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli, Samual, Saul and that lead us to the time of King David… Judges were “simply” people appointed by God to lead the people to worship and trust and love God.
Deborah was a prophet leader who told Barak, a warrior, to follow God, and that God already has the plan and the war won, Barak really just had to follow the laid out path.. “because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver [Siseria]… …Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?”
Has not the Lord gone ahead of you? – WOW does that sound familiar?YES… The Lord HAS gone ahead of us too… Can we be Deborah’s calling out to the world – telling them to just keep on the path?!!! Are we the next crop of leaders He is raising!?! Has He not already gone ahead of us? We know this – we know He has.
We ARE the mini-deborah judges of this time – leaders of families and friends who need to see His Light. Sometimes we will wait in a desert season, then a new spring will arise. Often that new spring is for us to help dig. I can not help but think not just of Deborah the Judge, who said – it is already won for you – keep moving forward, but also of my favorite spiritual movie, Song of Bernadette, where she dug a spring that the Lord told her thru a vision to dig. She had such faith that thousands then millions came to show their faith too that God was with her and with them. The healing waters of Lourdes may really be the healing springs of hope. Hope springs eternal…
If you have been blessed, especially knowing the Lord Jesus, knowing His Hope, knowing His eternity, please shine His LIGHT.
This Christmas – remember Whom God has sent – willingly entering the world to be our leader – leaving the world to give us the Holy Spirit as our leader – being with us ALL THE TIME. Jesus is the season as well as the reason for the season. He is the spring, the eternal light, and the hope.
Keep digging for Spring.
Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.
Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
Wanted to wait to write and send this sad Christmas story, but so important for processing grief in a broken world by writing about the One who understands brokenness…
A Blue Christmas
I took that last trip to the store for gift cards for my teenager’s Christmas stockings, left the store to the sound of sirens. Ah, Santa I thought must be starting early this year in our section riding his fire truck on EVERY road in our neighborhoods. I started to drive back home but didn’t expect police cars whizzing past us on the busiest most dangerous byway of our county. A sight not of Santa’s RED fire trucks but BLUE lights, a road blockade of BLUE volunteer firefighter cars with their lights, redirecting traffic. This was not just a big accident, this horrific accident on Christmas Eve claimed the lives of two teenagers. A truly BLUE Christmas of sadness, an unimaginable pain for these families. Their names Tyler and Matthew.
The Christmas eve afternoon and Christmas eve night, I heard those sirens again, but this time I knew it really was Santa. Firefighting Santas never disappoint the kids. Santa’s helpers are brave men and women, many volunteers serving in sacrifice to help others, including our loved ones. I sat in church that evening for candlelight services, hearing more fire company parade sirens, thinking God Bless those emergency responders… Oh how hard this day was for them too. How to come upon this car accident scene on Christmas Eve, how to deal with their grief. They are family folks community saints. How tirelessly they serve then STILL find the energy to put on the annual Santa parade, knowing life must go on.
Sacrifice we know is the practical Way that God Himself on Christmas entered this world as a baby. Sacrifice as a goal, the baby Christ child grew up, knowing the plan to save the people who would look to God thru Him. Peace not in this world but ETERNAL PEACE promised by His Heaven-sent teachings.
Christmas Day I felt compelled to walk up to the growing memorial, had felt that way all day. I had finished the marathon Christmas crunch of preparations and gift opening, knowing the news coming from social media said that 2 teens had died, not just one. Held my own teens closer in my heart that day knowing they were safe. Praised God more. So I walked to the memorial for prayer and presence. How could we barely imagine the mourning of these parents for these kids. Oh precious, the families had raised a memorial of a Christmas tree, sign, flowers, and the young man Tyler’s hat. I hung one of the provided ornaments, a blue one, and I had brought some blue “PEACE” ornaments just because. I saw angel wings on the sign and an angel on the tree. Driving by, I will try to continually pray for these families – and pray for them to know that the angels surely witnessed the Hand of God taking their sons HOME, making them now WHOLE in Him. They rest in peace.
For all our loved ones whom we miss tearfully this Christmas, let us add a prayer for all to know this deeper meaning of Christmas. May we all be held by Heaven’s Hope and want to be amazed at heavenly hosts of angels and a Savior born in our own hearts for us to cherish. His guiding STAR does SHINE in our hearts to help us find PEACE.
This is a thoughtful thought of a Lord who thought FIRST – Who gives us the eyes to see the Kingdom when we open them….
Let’s open our eyes – let’s take NOTES!
What to take for Insomnia? NOTES!
(I don’t usually have insomnia but sometimes shifted sleep when I fall asleep at 8pm on the couch… oops…)
What to take for insomnia? NOTES!
Take note of what God is teaching you, placing in front of you…
Note down and read up on what God says… this is FOUND time, QUIET time. HIS time.
Strum notes of harmony and thankfulness.
Know that notes from sweet dreams will come in time.
Notations of devotions and dedications of hearts.
Know knowing Him is where to start.
Know the Notes of Knowing.
Know Him better.
Moses continues teaching those entering the Promised Land.
And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief. Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Epiphany – worth the wait, no matter what the date.
Wisemen – they surely wait. Their watch, wonder and worship was worth the wait.
The star shone in WEIGHTED significance. The star shone in WAITED anticipation to be noticed. “Lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was”. The soul felt its worth.
Joseph was told to bring this baby to Egypt in an escape and Joseph waited to return then find a place to live, to raise the baby now the child Jesus. Safety was worth the wait.
(Herod couldn’t wait and wasted worrying while wisemen went another way. Herod in worry wasted a whole generation of lives in his wrath.
Israel waited, Simeon and Anna waited, the Heavens waited, the world would need this King of kings. Israel waits to be restored.
Jesus, Lord, waited to be raised, first as a child then as a Savior. He worked the wait. He walked around in His work.
Jesus, Truthfully, now waits to be returned to restore the Kingdom.
We, like He, wait out the wait.
Epiphany still anticipates.
We wait for His return.
Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.
We are WISE to WAIT.
(PS – I finally got the outdoor nativity scene I was waiting for. I waited since before Christmas in shopping, waited in hearing back from the local seller, waited for connecting and receiving. He waited for me and I took them right out of his yard. I waited thru my own electricity cords and rearranging in the dark of early night. Then I turned on the lights. Our future too is bright. It was worth the wait. Now a whole new season is here within which we anticipate. Amen Amen)
Epiphany – what did they know? The wise men surely studied Micah 5:2-4 in the old scriptures as prophecy written 700 years before Jesus was born:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
The story of the wisemen:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
The wait we wonder about now:
Revelation 22:6-14 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
What wisdom can I bring to the understanding of how God IS significant?
His Word is Efficient.
His Way Proficient.
His Works Sufficient.
His Wholeness Magnificent.
He shares succinctly to today. We can’t and won’t know enough for our own questioning but we COULD be satisfied, if just for today, only through our faith.
Wise men walked.
Wandering men wondered.
Willing hearts heard.
Wonder-filled men worshiped.
Willingly would we?
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
His Word is Efficient
“For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name. I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand — I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’” Isaiah 51:15-16
His Way is Sufficient
“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant?Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.” Isaiah 50:10
His Works are Proficient
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10
His Wholeness is Magnificent.
“To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
“Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. Isaiah 54:9-13
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6
My dreams are so vividly detailed that as soon as I am woken up (either naturally or by this 530am cat) I realize that my human brain in awake state can not contain or process what the Lord has been processing in my mind asleep. This makes me wonder IF and HOW the Lord restrains our experiences in a broken world. How elaborate, and how we miss the depth of His inner work and inner world. Perhaps the elaborate dreams I have, often processing for healing at hyperspeeds, are but a glimpse of all the life incidents we WILL have to finish processing in our journey to Heaven. Perhaps these dream storylines of brokenness being repaired will continue in our elderly years and until our deaths and then we are on God’s timeline of processing, surely at hyperseed, for the goal of PEACE. Can you imagine PEACE as we fall into Jesus’s arms in Heaven? Peace in piecemeal for us, for our little individual postage stamp-sized debt paid by Jesus? Do we realize “Be Still and know I am God” also means BE REPAIRABLE and BE STRENGTHENED and BE WHOLE.
Restrained for God is Him handling our GENTLE healing by knowing Him GRADUALLY more and more on earth whereas He could be unleashing a crush of ultimate knowledge of Him.
Restrained for God is sending Jesus on that Rapture roadtrip to take us to His Heaven, at His APPOINTED time not just a random time which surely allows for just a few more awakenings and a whole world roundup of revival. PRAY FOR REVIVAL!
Restrained for God is also holding back His anger and punishments, especially and ultimately by having ALREADY given Jesus’s life for ours. Jesus covers us and we appear as sinless souls to God.
Restrained for God is also Him restraining the evil in the world, the calming of the calamities of chaos. He is the One who floats us, like Peter, back up to walk on water when the storms rage in our heads. He is the One who walks us thru the valley of darkness to get to the other side. He is the One who tells us He is the Beginning and the End, Alpha and Omega, so that we DON’T sweat the small stuff in between.
Restrained for God is already knowing His “work around” for believers when the evil worse is yet to come. God knows that the end times will be brutal and He will allow Satan and his power loosened for a time, only to be crushed ultimately by Jesus when Jesus returns.
Restrained for God is already winning the war but letting the remaining enemy ammunition get burnt up on the battlefield.
Restrained is God’s ability to let life roll on, evil to continue with distractions of wicked schemes that are only surface level, protecting us ultimately by letting evil burn itself out. (See 2nd Thessalonians and book of Revelation description of times to come: And now you know what is holding him [Satan’s evil antichrist] back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. means God is restraining the ultimate evil until final showdown. Restraining the complete loosening of life’s brokenness until as many sheep as possible are gathered by the Shepherd.)
If we pray to know more, God shows us more, but does not overwhelmed us with the details.
If our dreams reveal roads to God’s healing, then imagine how LIFE will be when He restores His Whole Kingdom?!!!!
RESTRAINED is God’s way for healing.
UNRESTRAINED IS God’s LOVE.
Be OPEN to His Love as His Love was OPENED for us.
Paul’s letter to Thessalonians (2nd, ch1:4-10, ch2)
… perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
It is quite the unique way to remember a loved one who has passed, by sewing their neck ties into aprons. This is the project that my friend came to use my sewing machine for this past week before Christmas. She pinned and I sewed. The wide-ness of the tie creates the skirt, the inner thin pieces become the apron strings to wrap around the neck and waist. Love the colors.
It’s a project that creates both a meaningful gift and a talking memory piece of her Dad, from her Dad, who passed away this year. She arranged two color patterns, more red/brown for her sister and more blue/black/purple for her daughter. Oh I love the classic ties of the 70s 80s and flashy 90s styles too.
What I REALLY like thinking about is that THESE NECK TIES witnessed YEARS and YEARS of TEARS and CHEERS. Thet witnessed LIFE. They saw each business day, many weddings and funerals, gala events and all those tie-loosening car rides home in decompression. These neck ties are silent witnesses that saw it all.
Wouldn’t that memory be the same for many of us for our Dads? It would be of mine (except my Dad wore clip-on neck ties, haha, but he always wore a tie as a banker). Our Dads saw a lot. They navigated life. They raised families. They set us, their beloved children, on our trajectories for life today. They are remembered. They are cherished. They are LOVED. Memories are the TIES that bind.
This is Christmas time: we remember how Jesus came into our earthly world and forged TIES with His loved ones, us. Family and true friends became His disciples and He saw and sees one-body as His bride of Christ, true family from all His followers. AND Jesus bore silent witness to so many detractors who became lost souls. Jesus fulfilled prophecy that said He would be the silent lamb brought to slaughter. He was and is the perfect lamb born for silent sacrifice.
Aprons must be tied tightly to hold on. Family ties are strong too, no wonder we mention cutting the apron strings when it’s time for a child to venture out. But with Jesus reminding us, we are to LIVE KNOWING what the Father wants for us. Jesus IS the TIE that binds us to our Heavenly Father. He is the New Covenant and Jesus is the apron and apron strings as well. Jesus is that wrap around us in protection. Protection for not our clothes but for cloaking over our sins in His covering GRACE. Jesus is also the sewing stitch of the NET that is capturing us. He is the one threading MERCY into our lives and making us whole. His life was and IS sewing our brokenness back to wholeness. He is the thread and needle, stitching love.
If Christmas Day is a memory where LIGHT entered the world, and Easter Day is a day of Majesty realized of Jesus completing the prophecy, then what is today? Surely Today, Today IS the DAY of Salvation.
Jesus IS the LIGHT who opened our eyes to His Majesty and He gave us a seat at the table to be with Him.
Merry Christmas to all as we are all family in Christ.
JESUS, YOU ARE OUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT TODAY.
...”This is what the Lord says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel— to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
…This is what the Lord says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Befree!’ a Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49
…All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. Isaiah 53:6-7
Isaiah spoke of the coming of Jesus:
...”I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
I still think of all my writing as potential spamming to folks who tolerate me clogging their inbox. But it’s not the Joy of Spamming, it’s the Joy of Spiriting.
I mean why else would I wake up at 530am just to spam my friends’ email. Even the cat has often to wait upon the Lord as I write before entertaining her needs for the day. This morning however I did open the front door for her entertainment of “cat TV” gazing thru the clear storm door. She’s knowing something will happen, creatures moving, she is MESMERIZED.
MESMERIZED – That’s how we should be looking for the Holy Spirit everyday. Mesmerized and realizing that the Joy of Spiriting is intended to be a part of our daily life. Ask the Lord every day “Why am I here?” Every day will be a different circumstance but essentially the same answer: you exist for MY JOY!!! MY LOVE!!! MY HEART!!!
Living Holy Spirit INTENSE always comes at our EXPENSE – in a good way. Why? Because we are to give all our lives away. REALLY. But that also means we are to give our troubles away to the Lord, and give all the things that will bend our noses out of shape to the Lord, and give all the angst too. It IS a Spirit gush that comes at our expense of time and life because we ARE to pick up our crosses each day to give up our agendas and instead crave for the Lord’s leading to His intended life for us. We do live in His footsteps to the cross but we walk on – past the cross too and past the open tomb and INTO the ABUNDANT LIFE. It is like cheating the system to live in JOY because He already cheated death. We walk wondering not wandering.
Does that mean we live in fear? NO. Does that mean we live in uncertainty? NO. We live UNDER HIS WING. We live out the scripture: ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. (Matthew 25:29)
We live out the living of life in a broken world but NOT BLINDLY. We are to know when He puts a challenge in front of us to bear or work on or tolerate or investigate. In all these things He challenges us more and more.
SAYETH THE LORD: I WANT ALL TO KNOW MY LOVE. Let us all be sharing His Love.
Let’s get sensitive to HisInTensitive.
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.“
A few scriptures I’m reminded of lately, from Luke and Matthew and Proverbs, having to do with abundance and making the most of what you have. This is a VERY true scripture: to those with much, more will be given. These ESPECIALLY means INSIGHT INTO HOW GOD WORKS. Wait on Him. Hold your tongue in certain situations and instead you will hear with your eyes better. These scriptures (below) are talking about things of God, and/but you can see how easily they are transferable as sayings about life.
These vacation days after Christmas, I can know and feel that I am blessed. And yet at a time long time ago when I was scraping by, was struggling in certain ways, but even then I ALSO remember counting my blessings and being blessed. We are reminded by God to keep giving from the heart, into being His Light. We are reminded to not worry, and know He will provide. He did. He does.
Count Your Blessings NOT Your Change. Don’t worry about nickels and dimes and you will see when He’s got dollars for you instead. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Rise above the waves. Give of yourself and find Him filling you up more.
We must remember that even some hardships might be blessings in disguise. Hardships are blessings IF you ask to see them under God’s plan. Maybe they will motivate you. Maybe they will make you less covetous of stuff you didn’t really need. Perhaps you will remember people who walk out of car wrecks or destroyed burning buildings and still count their BLESSINGS.
Life is life. Life is broken but God is Whole, so step away from the sharp edges of your brokenness and other people’s brokenness and step back to see and feel His wholeness. If He wants something to work out, He will make it that way. He knows better, let Him figure it out. If you simply ask Him to lead, He is MORE than happy to.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end – even the wicked for a day of disaster. Proverbs 16:3-4
Life does not always go as planned but God has made a plan for us to get thru everything. Just keep asking Him to LIGHT each path we take in this broken world. We all have things going on that God knows the purpose of. Trust Him.
Sometimes life is like a Monopoly game (and last night we played a great one with family, 4 HOURS wow). In life you have ebbs and flows, sometimes one person has all the money, sometimes you have just enough for a couple houses and the rolls of the dice are favorable and the game turns around completely. The best plan is to stick it out and play by the rules and see how it all works out. Sometimes you win fairly (or lose big), sometimes you win because others give up, and sometimes you give up. Often deals change the game. Life CAN SEEM like this, but IF you give your dice to the Dealer, our Lord, HE will move your peace to GO (and piece past “Go”). “Collect 200” AND collect your wits about you. HE WOULD RATHER YOU BE POOR BUT STAY IN THE GAME…
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. Prvb 16:33
STAY IN THE GAME MY FRIENDS.
See your blessings, play life with God’s plan…
The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper. Proverbs 19:8
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.(Prvb 16:8)
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12 half of 48
Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it? Prvbs 17:16
“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:24-30
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. Matthew 13:10-16
2022, is this the year Jesus comes again, for you?
2022, do you vow to make THIS YEAR the best kind of new?
2022, are you ready to adjust and expand your own view?
2022, God knows not everything will work out – however you can count on Him being with YOU.
2022, sounds like a good year He made especially for you.
Whatever you did not get done last year, you have a WHOLE NEW YEAR to get more excitement in. Happy “Every Day is a New Day” Year!
(However you still have to do last year’s dishes and laundry. Pay last year’s bills. Sorry.)
In exchange. you get to advance forward the universe one more day. Be sure to take it one day at a time. You get to shake off yesterday’s dust. You get to toss yesterday’s garbage. You MUST drop last year’s grudges and judgements. You get to sing a new song and teach the world to sing this new song for you. Don’t make a new year’s resolution, but resolve to live this year newly.
What a great VBS surprise! at a party of some ole vbs folks yesterday. SURPRISE. In addition to my VBS-fanatic hosts, was Barbara, the then 3-4 year old who held a snowball in July and held Jesus’s teachings in her heart… Oh how she taught me!!! Almost 10 now, such an AMAZING girl… fantastic family… God is good!!!
It’s really true that God encourages encouragers, and what better a scripture than Peter in the Book of Acts being called to a household (of Cornelius) where the Holy Spirit was about to pour Himself out onto them. Peter was interrupted in his speaking because the Spirit was already seeking. See Acts 10
Peter was called to witness that’s there was/is no stopping the Holy Spirit. I can say that too.
Here is Barbara’s story, the Holy Spirit teaching me the teacher… blessed!!!
Here’s my witness:
I Saw Jesus, 30 July 2015
I have a story about seeing Jesus…. A little 4 year old sweetie – Barbara – I got to witness Jesus in her…
A little 3 year old boy, who truly truly didn’t know any better, yanked her hair so hard it pulled out a big clump. I was there… oh to hear that scream, see the clump pulled out, and see others comfort this little girl. It was so painful, she cried so much…. And her grandma emailed later to say she cried on and off for the rest of the day… Barbara said she didn’t want to go back to VBS because she didn’t want to get hurt again, but she wanted to be with her friends and it was breaking her heart not to be with them. So her grandma urged her to come back to VBS, and we encouraged her grandma, and I said to please tell her how happy her crew leaders and I would be to see her come back… And yes, Praise God, Barbara came back the next day with the biggest smile on her face. Praise Praise Praise.
For the bible lesson, we taught that God has the power to heal… I pretended to be the Fairy Snow Mother with the power of snow (yes I saved 3/4 of freezer with snowballs from February for July), asked if there was anyone I could make feel better with my snowball, nope, as much as they loved holding it – it did not have the healing power that Jesus has…I reminded them that it’s actually God who has the power to heal… “He heals the broken hearted and bandages their wounds”… and that God has the power to forgive.
I was teaching but actually I was the one who was taught that day about Jesus – I witnessed Jesus in Barbara coming back to be with her friends at VBS despite being hurt by someone. I was told by Barbara’s crew leaders that the first thing she did when she came back was to sit down next to the boy who pulled her hair and she said directly to him: “DON’T pull my hair” and then she gave him the biggest hug…. if that’s not showing Jesus is LOVE, I don’t know what is… She was being Jesus – at four years old she was shining Jesus love…
Jesus says I LOVE you, I don’t judge you, and “go and sin no more”. This little girl essentially said: “I forgive you” with her smile, “I love you” with her hug, and “go and sin no more” with her words. Will she forget? I don’t know…. But she forgave that day…. Jesus forgave that day. Jesus says: “They don’t know what they do, Father, forgive them… “
And we are all called to be Jesus as well… Not judge… Just Forgive… Always to Love…