Continuing my “writing thru the old testament”… I was surprised when I opened a physical Bible and was an inch in!! Wow!!! If I don’t wake to read, the cat wakes me, angels must be goading her. God implores each of us to read His Word. He does call me to READ!!! If I am tired, I LISTEN to the Word, David Suchet’s voice speaks to me and phrases JUMP into my ears to start writing: what Samuel says to Saul: to obey first (and fresh) is better than to sacrifice a burnt offering later. Here’s the audio: https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/suchet/nivuk/1Sam.15
Here is my devotion from the super lesson from the book of 1st Samuel:
SERVE THE LORD. And have a heart for Him. If we learn anything from Saul decreasing and David increasing, it is that God has certain jobs for certain people, not everyone is to do everything or should do everything.
Not everything we or anyone appears as indicates our devotion, because “the Lord looketh on the heart.”
Samuel devoted his life to listening to God and Samuel became so sad when instructions were NOT followed. Samuel became heartbroken because Saul had turned away from God, not carried out His instructions but overrode them, modified them, made himself king of decision making not just of people. We should never become king of decision making, we always need to LISTEN TO GOD’S WORD, no matter if we are king or shepherd. God makes the kings. God makes the moves that matter. God gives us work WORTHY of the KINGDOM in all circumstances. (Remember that storied drummer boy GIFT of giving baby Jesus what he DID have). We have the most important GIFT we could have, DEVOTION, and God has need for our devotion. God has desires for our hearts to DESIRE HIM. DEVOTION.
David came from Bethlehem. God loves telling stories about the greatest coming from the least. David shows us the importance in HAVINGA HEART FOR GOD. David’s life shows us that even when we go off the rails, do wrong, God does not leave us. Especially God listens if we keep looking for Him. David sang praises, prayers and laments over the many years of His life. David started with devotion. He shepherded the favor of the Lord. Clearly the Lord is partial to harps, the Lord is partial to ears that hear. The evil spirits don’t have a heart for harps, nor anything that shows returned devotion to God. God has a heart for harps of love, harps of healing, harps of harkening unto the Lord’s Word.
The LOVE poured out overtook the days of evil. There is time for mourning bad situations and people who go astray, like Samuel mourned Saul, and then there always will be a time to MOVE ON, see where God is leading, see how God will resolve the situation.
This is still true.
TUNE OUR EAR STRINGS AND HEART STRINGS, LORD.
We know that evil exists and that God already saved us eternally. So keep being devoted. God IS in control. When we grow stronger in our God-listening, let us TUNE our harps of praises and lamenting to catch His attention, He will show us resolution. He will show us love. He will take care of our enemies and has already planned the ultimate ambush.
Let us read between the lines of the news of the times and see how it aligns with end times. Keep marching and keep your harp as tightly as God keeps your heart.
He will be OUR King. He IS our King.
1 Samuel 15:16-23, 27-29
Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”
“But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”
But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king. “
As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”
1 Samuel 16
And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.
And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?
And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this. Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this. Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.
And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.
Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.
Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight.
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
So blessed to have gotten home for my Mom’s birthday, a joy to see her joy… I’m back now and was glad to see our kitty when I came home. I thank the Lord for this kitty who enriches our lives. My daughter comes home occasionally special to see the kitty (and have creature comforts of being home (WAITING FOR ME TO FEED HER and yes free laundry)).
My Mom also got a great kitty, after my dad passed, perfect match, and wow they are so blessed for his companionship and he theirs. Creatures who comfort are bigger than creature comfort to us, they bring out the natural LOVE that balances the world. The bonding is real. The paying attention to each other is real. My Aunt, whom we visited, is filled with memories and stories, from milking cows to building houses, doing paperwork and raising farm animals. She loves horses. She has realized this is the first time she has lived without a cat. She told me that the horse, from her youth, always had a cat!!!. Yes, the horse had a cat companion! She said they were best companion animals, horses need to have a companion and be a companion. They naturally do.
Creatures comfort. Creatures comforting by mutual presence is not just a creature comfort, it’s Real Love. It’s both stewardship and companionship. Having a cat on your lap or even knowing that the cat is jostling you to get up and move, it’s a moment to know that you are BLESSED. Even if you are alone, and a different scale, the comfort of the Lord is REAL. You can talk to Him ALL DAY.
One old testament lesson I glean is that the people went off the rails many times and neglected worshiping the Lord. It was a group effort to live Godly lives. In contrary to group efforts, individuals ALSO stood out as devoted. like Samuel, tapped into understanding of how to live: DEVOTED. Samuel reminded it is better to obey first then have to do sacrifices after not listening…
Now, in our next stage, new covenant living, we can be devoted too, we can take a moment and be at peace with taking a path narrow but sure. Our companion is the Lord who calls us as His children, not just His creatures. HIS CHILDREN. He wants us to take a moment and rest, lay our heads and burdens upon Him. Be able to sit in peace. Be ready for Him to come again. Be waiting like the cat for the opportunity to hear Him come to us. Run like never before when He comes thru the door.
We have the comfort of the Lord and the knowledge that there are angel warriors all around us. Perhaps these cats are being directed by the angels for when to sit with us, when to jostle us, when to come running. I believe there are spiritual forces to buffer out existence, hold our cars in their lanes driving down the highway and put invisible butter on our faces for creatures to kiss. Resting kitties on our laps, the angel knows helping. Be presence. Be the comfort of our needs. Remind us to be still. Still in midwinter rest. Still in counting our blessings.
PS, I took a puzzle moment too, had time to sit. I was grateful for the opportunity. I was not worried but took a rapid test anyway to have that comfort, I assembled it’s puzzle-like instructions, I did NOT puzzle that the Lord had brought us back together with appreciation of togetherness. He gave us wisdom and waiting skills, He carried us all throughout this time. He comforted us. He still does. (And the puzzle? It was a cat sleeping in books named for cats… “Holy Cats!” Was my favorite title.) YES, blessed…
There’s heaviness to the speech Samuel makes to the Israelites. He speaks of God’s gifts and gains that they had forgotten about. He weaves back the stories of His faithfulness and their wandering and forever wanting. Worst of all to this point in time, they asked for a king, and that essentially told God that they don’t trust Him to deliver.
We need to trust that God has and will take care of us and don’t start looking for our own kings, our quick fixes, our idols of worry. Be true.
God lets them feel the weight of that decision, but reminds them He was ALWAYS faithful for when they called out to Him “. and he delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around you, so that you lived in safety.”
The fiercest of warnings was then issued and Samuel showed them that even when the Lord has power in punishment, He is never going to turn away from loving them. Samuel says: “yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.”
Samuel reminds: “For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.”
Samuel would always pray, as we should, for the Lord’s people: “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”
Samuel weaves history into lessons. The wool of sheep is warm and can be woven for others to wear. We can see and take the warmth of the love of God and weave it back into His flock to SHARE THIS GODLY LOVE. Feel the weight of the wool as thick enough, strong enough, real enough to carry the people in life. KNOW the texture to apply to the situation. We can be weavers of lessons yes, but mostly we should share this weight of LOVE. Love is heavy, not always easy, but love anyway and have the burden be carried by the Lord. He was pleased to make us His own. He will clothe us in love. He will bring us home.
Let’s weave GOD’S LOVE today.
Samuel’s Farewell Speech (Chapter 12)
Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”
“You have not cheated or oppressed us,” they replied. “You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.” Samuel said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.”
“He is witness,” they said. Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of Egypt. Now then, stand here, because I am going to confront you with evidence before the Lord as to all the righteous acts performed by the Lord for you and your ancestors. “After Jacob entered Egypt, they cried to the Lord for help, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.
“But they forgot the Lord their God; so he sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hands of the Philistines and the king of Moab, who fought against them. They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned; we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve you.’ Then the Lord sent Jerub-Baal, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel, and he delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around you, so that you lived in safety.
“But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, ‘No, we want a king to rule over us’—even though the Lord your God was your king. Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the Lord has set a king over you. If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.
“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the Lord to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king.”
Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel. The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”
“Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
Driving up home it was 22 degrees and sunny, but this morning it has taken quite the dip! It is not windchill, it’s really MINUS SEVEN DEGREES (Fahrenheit)… but it will warm up again today to 22 if we wait. It’s OK to go out at minus seven if you get ready for cold… We had a whole winter like this once.
I couldn’t wait to get here but had to WAIT. Wait to organize my responsibilities, line up my commitments and tackle my tasks. I had to really work to get the opportunities to be here for some time off.
The snow, now turned to ice, is now solid on the sides of the roads. It HAS to wait for spring thaw. It’s the weather we weather in February. It’s not just run in and out, it’s wrap up in layers, it means take time to WAIT and warm up the car, have provisions ready, or stay in and WAIT, but you can’t wait until June for warm weather, you have to be ready for whatever in whatever whenever weather.
Likewise, I can say of times in life, God says Go, but WAIT, DON’T go until I make you ready… other times He says WAIT for a LONG time…
In the continuing story of Sampson and Saul, Saul was told to WAIT for instructions, and he was told that He would be changed… “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.”
What did Saul have to do? WAIT for God’s instructions and get ready to serve. I find myself in that position too. Why would we be any different. When the Spirit of the Lord needs us to serve, we serve. He gives you ALL you need. When you need to go out, you prepare and praise. When you are sheltered in, you praise. Put on the armor of God and keep the home fires burning too. Wait for the season to change or you to change.
Saul, for these times, was chosen by God for many tasks, including teaching Israel a lesson. Future challenges await, but for now the challenge is for Saul to accept the change he did not ask for. And wait for serving…
There is no better way to serve than the wait for the cook to cook it up first. We can wait on God too. Prepare to serve… then serve…
Don’t be left out in the cold, prepare your hearts for the Lord’s instructions. When it’s time, we can wrap up and move… Let’s be warmed by His Love.
They rose about daybreak, and Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get ready, and I will send you on your way.” When Saul got ready, he and Samuel went outside together. As they were going down to the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us”—and the servant did so—“but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.”Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance? When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, “What shall I do about my son?”’
“Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to worship God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine. They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. “After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.
When is the last time you lost your father’s donkeys and ended up becoming King?
Yeah, like every time you get a strange sideways SAVE from the Lord, or a result or rescue from a reason unknown… How did God do that?!!! Yeah, it’s more than “right place, right timing”, because God’s blessings often come seemingly out of left field, and yet they AREN’T… His Blessings from His Timing are simply and historically the Truth.
Take me losing my keys a few years back, I just told a friend this yesterday, the loss of keys that I never lose… REALLY, gone, dropped, not found until 2 hours later even though they WERE laying obvious enough to dozens of people who may have spied them in the grass and yet not until eventually collected by a very important connection person I had already wanted to meet – well I am sure that connection was made by God to do something crucial and of unknown ripples into unknown peoples’ lives including mine…
Then there’s the $tory about the half inch damage to my wood floor that paid off my whole $ewer replacement. And the story when my dryer broke…. and my shoulder injury… and… and… and…
There’s another couple (extra-long) stories as bonus stories to those moments that the Lord knows were HUGE discernment revelations for me. God knows how to line things up…
Surely there are many other stories that got away… We are not seeing fully, only understanding in part…
Just last week another story about when I was totally late in the car – went the wrong direction on top of that – and ended up with an extra hour free time. HUH? A super late-making event made me an hour extra free time? Because my lateness and the traffic tie ups (a gaper delay not even an accident in our lane), it forced another person’s mind to start clicking and their plans all adjusted for the better and that helped someone else get extra time too – that was just a couple weeks ago – SO bizarre and surely ONLY the Lord could have orchestrated that all!!! It came about after I was praying for saving grace, He delivered. He involved a whole truckful of stuff spilled on the road for the gaper delay so I am not saying it was ALL good for everyone – but for me, it was just a little piece in the puzzle of HIS timing.
I am not talking about magic tricks. There are many mirages seen in olden times – like when God gave Moses the direction to toss his staff and it became a snake, that also was repeated by the flip side of dark powers. Not every snake fake and not every mirage miracle is for us. Be certain in knowing the orchestration of goodness over convenient band aid quick fixes… In all, look for God’s Hand.
In the old testament, there is a cool story of God using donkeys (again) to travel Saul from place to place and eventually to Samuel, whom God had told was coming. Samuel got not just a revelation from God but a clear path dictation of who would become King. Samuel could tell Saul exactly about what was going to happen, not as a fortune teller but a teller of God’s fortune plans. Saul got not just his meal (and knowledge of his found donkeys) but the opportunity to be King. WOW!!!
OF COURSE, like Saul, we DON’T ALWAYS make the BEST USE of the GIFTS that God gives us (especially time) and Saul certainly will have issues in later chapters not following God’s instructions… So a reminder reverberates here: make the most of our gifts and LISTEN to God in how to use them…
And think of our own place in the Lord’s kingdom. The Lord says to us what Samuel says to Saul: “[‘Here is what has been kept for you. Eat, because it was set aside for you for this occasion from the time I said, ‘I have invited guests.’]”
Imagine all the praise God could hear if we could all SEE the series of saves every day… Imagine, GOD KNOWS ALL THE STORIES THAT GOT AWAY… WOW…
Thanks Lord for one more day doing life YOUR WAY.
PLEASE READ ABOUT SAUL:
Samuel Anoints Saul (Chapter 9)
There was a Benjamite [Israelite of the Benjamin tribe], a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.
Now the donkeys belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost, and Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys.” So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha, but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them. When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come, let’s go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.”
But the servant replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.” Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?” The servant answered him again. “Look,” he said, “I have a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take.” (Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquire of God, they would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.)
“Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was. As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?”
“He is,” they answered. “He’s ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrifice at the high place. As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time.” They went up to the town, and as they were entering it, there was Samuel, coming toward them on his way up to the high place.
Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on my people, for their cry has reached me.”
When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.” Saul approached Samuel in the gateway and asked, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?” “I am the seer,” Samuel replied. “Go up ahead of me to the high place, for today you are to eat with me, and in the morning I will send you on your way and will tell you all that is in your heart. As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found. And to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line?”
Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” Then Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the hall and seated them at the head of those who were invited—about thirty in number. Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the piece of meat I gave you, the one I told you to lay aside.”
So the cook took up the thigh with what was on it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel said, “Here is what has been kept for you. Eat, because it was set aside for you for this occasion from the time I said, ‘I have invited guests.’” And Saul dined with Samuel that day.
After they came down from the high place to the town, Samuel talked with Saul on the roof of his house. They rose about daybreak, and Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get ready, and I will send you on your way.” When Saul got ready, he and Samuel went outside together. As they were going down to the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us”—and the servant did so—“but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.”
We (the world) tend to be short sighted and yet we have the gift of knowing long history. I’m going to speak about Samuel and the Israelites waiting a king, but I will start with the example of present day SNOW. We just got a couple inches of snow. I saw it in the forecast, but this was not hyped like they did for every flake at the beginning of the winter… Plus after 2 days of 60 degrees in February, the snow is a surprise but we must remember that it IS February… We shouldn’t be surprised. (and isn’t it weird to get emergency alerts to your phone when a snow squall is arriving? It IS February – we are SUPPOSED to get these storms).
The Olympics this year, in contrast, is on fake snow, but the other day they got 3 inches of real snow as a surprise? Only a surprise to those not paying attention. And they did get the shovels out for the ski and snowboard courses, they kept grooming so that the paths would not become snowed over.
We need to know knowledge. We need to burn fires of keeping attention and then watch snow melt!
Samuel was paying attention. Paying attention to the Lord. Actually, there was direct conversation between the Lord and Samuel. You would have thought the others would comprehend that what Samuel said FROM THE LORD was IMPORTANT to listen to. After all those years, the memories faded quickly… Time and time again, throughout their history, Israel fell into their evil ways. One would think that they would remember the times of peace and try to keep the peace, but they were pulled back again and again. The people WERE astute enough to figure out that the sons of Samuel were not good and could not lead self-lessly. However instead of asking God to answer and guide, the people directly asked for more than a ruler or judge, they asked for a king. They coveted what they saw of their neighbors. Did they not know that kings often become selfish? Samuel repeated the Lord said: “Do you know what you are asking for?”
The Lord spelled out all the downfalls of getting a king, serving and surrendering under a king. The times just following the law, offering sacrifice, and waiting for the “next Samuel” were not good enough any more. The Lord provided and protected, yet there was worldly viewing of the people. Same as today.
Why did they want a king and why did they think they needed protection and why were there adversaries? Because way back in the time of Joshua they did not deal with the people who would give them trouble in the future. They did not eliminate the risks but assimilated the stumbling blocks.
Was Samuel upset? Have you ever been upset because nobody was listening to you? God knows all about this!!! And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but THEY HAVE REJECTED ME as their king.”
And He told Samuel to warn the Israelites about setting up their own king: there would be unfortunate assignments of jobs, ruthless dealings, and essentially they would become slaves. They would get stuck… (We probably know that the Lord won’t ALWAYS unstick you so quickly from quicksand that you laid down yourself.)
AND WITH A KING, YOU FORSAKE YOUR RIGHTS. God again and again asks for us to discern His Will. I hope that we realize reliance upon our TRUE HEAVENLY KING has given us good things. Earthly kings will never compare. It is good to rely upon GOD. He has accomplished final victory and will bring us out of our desert. The Israelites had the Promised Land, ability to live, and a sacrificial system of atonement. God already knew how life would be. He also knew the crowd scene, just like when the mob mentality took over and many years later the people took Barabus over Jesus for release. God knew and knows those ways in us that get caught up in the moment and take on a worldly view of “what have you done for me lately?”…
Snowed over… when you don’t see the pitfalls coming, you might become snowed over in life. When you don’t keep up with clearing obstructions from the Way He HAS set out for you, you can quickly realize you have been snowed over…
Snow NOW, So NOW we need to realize there is nothing the Lord can NOT handle. When we look to HIM we don’t always have to always have to wait until the snow melts. He can light our way. He can handle us a shovel. (He can hand us a cross to bear too – we must decrease, and He must increase, as John the Baptist taught). He knows the Way and He who made the day can save our day. Let’s just let Him do it His Way. We also know that in Him, we don’t have to follow “new and improved systems of rule”, be wary of the latest quick fix, stick with the One Who Knows… He is fighting our battles. Hope in the Lord.
Remember Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Israel Asks for a King
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”
There is an amazing picture in a picture video of the Olympic mixed doubles snowboarders – in the winning race. The first team member gave the second team member an edge by finishing well and the second team member gave it her all to get across the finish line. It is a video of the cheering and overjoyed exuberance of two near 40 year old competitors that were16 plus years into Olympic journey and wow, you just have to watch it for being inside their joy and for their joy of leaning into the race… He said to his teammate about the gold: Your bringing something HOME.
I KNOW Who is EXACTLY like this – CHEERING US IN HIS JOY – Jesus is CHEERING US ON – Jesus is watching us moving and growing and getting closer and closer to the finish line. He ALREADY knows that He won the race. We can hold hope to finish our journey well. WE WILL WANT TO GIVE IT OUR ALL TOO. It is not about our achievement or skill but we will be presented blameless and polished pure to Our Father if we hold on to our partner Jesus! That is our thrill to finish the race. Tears shed in JOY and shed tears for the blood that Jesus did spill, the Lord knows them all.
In Jesus’s days, He took on the pain of the race for sure – He gave it His all – He took the marathon to the darkness of abandonment where sin was destroyed and He moved sin’s consequences as far away from us as the East is from the West. AND THEN HE RETURNED TO CHEER US TO THE FINISH LINE…
Bring it HOME.
And is the finish line the end? NO. So at the end there is a new start – it is not a medal ceremony but a NEW BEGINNING – with ALL of US CHEERING VICTORY. We will watch the NEW JERUSALEM coming in… (read Revelation for peeking around the corner and down the slope.)
Put that “picture inside the picture” video knowledge of Him INSIDE your heart and feel HIS Cheer… Lean into the RACE, because He says: “Way to Ride, BEAUTIFUL! I’m bringing you HOME.”
He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him, Samuel sacrificed and stood as interceder.
Often we cry out for ourselves, but how often do we cry out for others? That’s a sacrifice of standing down, moving ourselves out of the way and putting another person’s prayers first EVEN IF they are not praying them themselves.
Samuel was chosen for leading the people and especially for interceding for them in front of the Lord. The Lord chooses not a middle man but a mediator, just like Himself. All the leaders in the book of Judges interceded, for they were instructing the people. Their type of judging was judging you worthy after your sacrifice. Moses, Joshua, Caleb were all chosen as leaders. Samuel was saved from birth for his dedication. We too are to lead by example and by simply being the children of God He created us to be. Show our Love.
Who among us would be able to willingly dedicate our lives to His tasks. God Himself already knows why He calls us. He knows the skillsets He cultivates. He puts us out sometimes to lead nations, foster familyness, or at least keep the home fires burning.
For us, we have a merciful Lord who lives to lead us, set an example for us, forgive our folly and whom lives to love us. Fear of the Lord becomes respect when cultivated and our hungering becomes hopefulness.
We all have our own “Philistines” of attackers, just like in Samuel’s time. A pesky or a gnawing problem. Samuel interceded for others. We must see the Philistine challenges in other people’s lives so that we too, in God’s guidance, can come from behind and counterattack – routing the enemies. We ESPECIALLY can surround others in prayer, even those whom we don’t know. An intertwined brier path of pain in this broken world, we need to put on our Armor of the Lord in infinite teflon toughness. Guard our hearts and hear our calling.
Let us find some Samuel in us today and guide others in His Way. Let us full-circuit travel and check in on others. Let us be dedicated to be His Hands and Feet and let us always be His Breath of Forgiveness.
1 Samuel 7
Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.
Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader of Israel at Mizpah.
When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.”
Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.
While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
So the Philistines were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. The towns from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had captured from Israel were restored to Israel, and Israel delivered the neighboring territory from the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life. From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places. But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also held court for Israel. And he built an altar there to the Lord.
The morning star, Venus, stands alone BRIGHTLY in my 6AM kitchen window. And it just rises and grabs everyone’s attention. I remember it being so very INTENSE and COMFORTING on those days that we had no power for 4 days after a hurricane, Sandy I think, many Octobers ago. The hurricane blew out the power, but the power to comfort came from the Lord.
Those days we went to bed SO EARLY because it was SO DARK. Woke up early too and one morning, before dawn, the moon helped me outside (I was picking up toys or sticks) to see natural things I would not have seen. The moon and planet Venus, have deflected light from the Sun, none of it is from themselves. It is all shared second hand but lit forward to catch attention, to light and to warm… Isn’t it interesting that we have a beautiful solar system but we can not see it in truth because the light pollution is so awful… we also have to block intense sunlight for it’s too hot. It is out of balance at times for us. Creation groans…
For some reason this reminded me of my intrigue of how the Old Testament sheds LIGHT towards the New Testament. We often think of only dual-folds of time, old and new, with end points – but ACTUALLY there’s infinity BEFORE and infinity AFTER these testament pages. Time infinity. Does infinity, the symbol, twist in the middle? Yes. Does infinity, the LIFE, meet the Middle with the Alpha and Omega? YES IT DOES… Some twists are unknown to us, yet to come in life, but don’t fear, know that the complete infinite LOVE is always connected to us with no beginning and no end.
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.
We don’t fall off the pages of the end of the book. There are unwritten pages ahead of us in life. Remember God knows the Way. The Old Testament LIGHTS the path to the arrival of the Promise, the New Testament makes a New Covenant SHINE the path to the NEW KINGDOM. Light lives. These days for us are gifted but not yet revealed, not yet unwrapped even if they ARE known.
The DARKNESS of this world is going to get DARKER. Don’t be surprised. Be prayerful and look to the Proper Power, the LEAD LIGHT. UNPLUG from synthetic set ups. Travel as a transient Truth-seekers. Look past external light pollution and focus on inner LIGHT LEADING. Steadily LOOK up to see Him pick us up.
We need to get outside to appreciate the beauty of the world. We need ALSO to OPEN OUR HEARTS to absorb and reflect the ILLUMINATION. Keep walking the pages of the Word. JESUS shines His Light in them. Jesus powers us to His save.
JESUS, LORD, LIGHT of our LIVES, LIFT US FROM WHAT IS LEFT. LEAD US LOVINGLY. We are blessed to reflect You.
I was thinking again of the MANY times the Lord has saved my skin (in the car and otherwise) and saved my projects and saved my life and everything… (and of course I am praying for His guidance once again for the project I am working on now!) I know of SO MANY TIMES that the Lord has gotten me out of a jam, including the eternal one.
When I do seem to struggle with a task (or allow myself to be distracted), I think it is because I need to REMEMBER to depend upon Him – and He reminds me of that! I may still struggle, but I know that means that when I don’t struggle, He must be fast tracking me. When I am slowed down, I know it must be for reasons unknown, which are known to Him. When I am just me, He wants me to know Him better.
He is reminding me that my flow is a “no-go” without HIM.
He is the Water to my flow,
the Light to my glow,
the Nourishment to my GROW.
Joshua also knew and taught this because God said so DIRECTLY! ‘So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’ Joshua said: “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.“
Yes, we are to know that God is our Fortress and our Army. He is our Farmer and power of our Sunshine, our Carpenter and Provider, our Healer and our Healing, He IS our All in All.
Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.
“‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen as far as the Red Sea. But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.
“‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.
“‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’
[Joshua then said: ] “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Yesterday I walked around work saying: “God, You’ve got to help me get through these tasks.”… “What to work on first, how to manage my responsibilities, manage ME, just make life clear. HELP.” I walked around knowing that if He can start everything, can create everything, can move everything, surely SURELY He can help me, and yes He did and does, He helps us with our work. He’s already gone before us. And so we can ask for fine tuning to know if we are in sync.
I hit the end of the day and even though I feel so BACK LOGGED on my work, this probably means the LOGS in my eyes are preventing me from seeing things His Way, I did know that I got stuff done. I also knew the piles in front of me but prayed GRATEFULLY that at least I COULD work, am ABLE to work. And I am grateful that I see a pause possibility, and I can take a few days off to visit home.
Just then an older friend texted me that she broke her arm walking the dog and I know this is devastating to her because it means she’s out of work, yes she gets paid but she’s out of the building meaning she cannot physically be in to see the people that she wants to see day to day. Please pray for her. She is light and salt to me, I pray her better. Lord give her hope, give her joy in life, bring her to new ways to be light and salt. Lord You ARE the great physician.
Light and salt, keep us going. I must keep myself going knowing that I can go.
Immediately after, exhausted and heading to bed, the word of encouragement I needed came in this tiny 1950’s devotion book (Windows Towards God, Charles Schmitz) that was among my first “fall from the sky” God placements that I noticed in my faith journey that first awakened month. These are short stories from the 1950s, a thin book that I now keep by my bedside. I don’t read many devotions since I write them, but this little book was a gift in a hidden box of church closet clutter 7 years ago. How God drops gems into our clutter ALL THE TIME. Just the morsels we need.
The answer I knew, and yet this passage held the reminder I needed. “Who is He? The Man among men. The King of kings. The Savior of saviors. Educators save others but He saves the educators. Scientists save others but He saves the scientists. He is the Physician of physicians. He is the savior of saviors.”
I immediately texted it to my friend in the need of the Great Physician.
Scientists need Jesus too. Me too. Managers need Jesus too. People who do ANYTHING need Jesus. Me too. We all need His help. People who do anything need the WISDOM from the Lord. (And memory to follow it).
Double down He does – over and over again – so this morning here are more reminders of God’s messages with the prayer of Solomon showing up in another occasional devotion I read on email… ASK FOR WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT.
Oh yeah, not only does God want to give it to us, He wants us to know how to ask… Don’t ask for riches, don’t ask for long lives, don’t ask for things (even though He can give them) BEFORE YOU ASK FOR WISDOM ON HOW TO USE THEM.
Ask how to live through the life you’re already living. Ask how to just get through the day today.
And of course, God will answer on ALL of the issues of your life… God has you in the Palm of His Hand, so that He can bring you closer to Himself. “We kneel in streams of mercy”, as Paul Balouche sings.
Lord, we need to know Your Ways are above our ways. Be with us, shine the LIGHT moment by moment.
Be our restoration and guide.
Be our best advice as we drop our pride.
Be our straight path maker for our stride.
Be loud, cover our noise like an ocean tide.
Be our Life Physician, our Healer, our guide.
1st Kings 3:3-15
Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.
Jesus speaks, recorded in Matthew’s chapter 5, of how He, God, Son of God and Son of Man, bring fulfillment to the law: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.”
The stroke of a pen, or a feather, or ? I looked up what Moses might have written with because MOSES WROTE DOWN THE LAW. And what did Moses write on? likely leather – likely skin. The internet is full of pharisees and heresies, fake say, hearsay, who knows say… Can we believe Jesus KNEW what was written down? Yes. Because Jesus was that Word and He took it Walking. Jesus in the skin of the Savior walked with us and His Word was His Willingness.
Look at all the media writing methods that go obsolete, floppy disks, the bricks of old phones, the typewriter, the telegraph. Does Jesus go obsolete? No.
How did Jesus fulfill the law? He RESTORES the lost connections of love. Jesus restored the respect from commandments one to ten. Love is God. God is Love. Jesus restored the power of LOVE to save. Jesus restored the respect we can repay Our Father – we can obey. Jesus restored the fulfillment of not the flesh but the Forever. No one need be jealous anymore or steal. From Him flows life, good things all unmeasurable.
The most important life-giving, promise- fulfilled, battle won GIFT we have is to follow the One who walks with us. JESUS. Teaching all the Way. If we question and find media lacking, pen strokes slipping, telephone game dropped calls, we simply and steadily can and need to walk up to the One who wrote it, devoted it, gave it. Jesus fulfilled His purpose of God’s Power to Save the condemned people.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
It’s hard to imagine a year going so fast, let alone 7. But 7 years ago, February 1st, is when I realized that I had awakened. After a month of blooming – eyes opening – I KNEW at that time that I truly believed Jesus was not a made up Savior based on stories BUT REAL. And there was no turning back. This was not a short time ago to me – this was 7 years LONG ago – 7 years plus 7 days – but I can still taste the sweet potato fries that I ate that day. I can still feel holding the beams of the steel at the 911 memorial flipping over a coin that Superbowl Sunday, reading it: John 3:16 God GAVE His Son, and realizing that I REALLY believed it, REALLY realized that I had CHANGED, over the course of weeks of God sightings and Spirit sliding tiles into my steps. And 30 plus writings to start were a lifeline of my lifetime. I was AWAKENED, even though I didn’t know that was “a thing” before that. I remember that I had REALLY taken Jesus as my Lord and Savior, even though before that I did not really know that I really had to… I held up my double check sense to my heart AND head on Feb 1st, no going back – nope, no going back. Never could. Never would. Never knew that He had been with me the WHOLE time, I just never learned of Him in me, only learned of Him in History. I didn’t really know Him until I let Him in.
But this year? I completely forgot February 1st, the date. Forgot.
I can still taste the sweet potato fries sitting with “the girls”, knowing my mind was mobile and morphing and moved, I can hear my Christ-connected confidant say: “Hey, what’s going on with you?” Sensing but never interfering. I can remember listening and yet knowing that ONLY God knew what was going on in my head. I remember lunch, a baldheaded eagle perched in a tree, I can remember wandering driving in the car lost but landing over to the 911 memorial and knowing that I was FOUND. I can feel the hot cocoa couch collapse at my friend’s house after. I can remember people seeing a strange sense of something in my soul. I walked different. I thought different. I knew different. I can taste the fries from that day, but I will never know, can NOT know how God orchestrated my awakening in His Time.
I can still feel Jesus holding me, never stronger, He never left. My salvation tied to Him remembering me. My forever tied to a decision NOT a date in time. Time to be dedicated, not be dedicated to time.
My forever tied to His faithfulness not mine. All I had to do was not stop God from opening up my eyes and ears. Haha, stop God? NEVER.
God KNOWS the date.
If you are to be awakened, then wake.
If you are to become alive, then live.
If you need to ponder, get sweet potato fries.
If you need to be saved, fall on your knees and pray.
If you need to know God’s heart, say Hello to Jesus today.
I enjoy reading thru the parts of the Bible I have never read because I know that the Lord wants to reveal something fresh to me that HE thought of, to create a memory pathway into my brain. Not an idea having to be novel to the world, but fresh to you. Importantly, for someone who also wants others to know Him too, I believe that we are to take our encouragement jobs and skill sets to places where we are DESCRIBING THE ACTION, HIS Action, exploring the Source. To reconnect the telephone lines of heart and head we must WORK THE LINES. Telegraph telephone tele-us-Lord. Lord, help us help You set up new nets, to repair and restore lost connections. Work the Lines, fishing lines, communication lines, lifelines..
We are to be looking at scripture visually, scrumptiously, and as BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLIES, capturing the colors for a moment in our net to ponder and wonder but then releasing them for the world to keep discovering. CATCH AND RELEASE.
We could listen to the Lord this way with the hope to share. The Lord’s Word is in the pages. The Spirit’s singing is in our synapses. God is guiding our growth. God wants us to walk in His Way.
See the caterpillars crawling on the pages and not know what colors they will be? Just know they will become developing scripture scenes during some NEW time while re-reading, re-feeding. Feed them while you “leaf” thru the pages. Read scripture like you are setting storehouses of supplies to feed your soul. Setting up Jordan River stone piles of memories (like Joshua), and walk by them frequently, flipping back and forth in the pages. Feed the caterpillars. Behold the butterflies. Build the memories. Build up your brothers and sisters.
Show us Your butterflies, Lord.
We are to ponder and guard
We are to wonder and watch.
We are to marvel and move.
We are to witness and walk.
Catch and release.
We are to stop flopping in the net and FALL ON OUR KNEES.
A treasure not to steal but the be shared in. Be ready with the net, network, internet, connective word set. Know. See. Share. Catch and release.
(Sometimes a thought comes to me to write, then I miss it. I only had a glimpse, just a moment, but I lost view, it flew away. Gone from me, but God will find the other worker with willing acceptance of the challenge. Sometimes a thought is gifted and an angel stands in Spirit silent sentinel until I pick up the scent of scriptural something, the Spirit squishing about my soul, an Ah Ha Moment of keys clicking and a hidden treasure revealed.)
Listening to the Word (1 Samuel 3 on) gives new insight, especially to eyes that are tired but ears who want to hear. Listen with this link to hear animated David Suchet speak or read below and you will see how it’s BAD NEWS when you “take the Ark to go” – thinking you can take God’s protection and powers for your will not His… Thinking God’s in a box… Well, He’s not.
It was an Ark of the Covenant. It was a command of God to create a box of items that helped the future generations realize His Promise, a sacred weight to carry and law to hold. Yet who carries this weight for us now? Jesus. He carries our burdens and sins, our broken covenants and broken existence. Delivered.
God wants to be known as Deliverer, rather than be deployed as if He had a decoy.
Drifting into Displeasure, Ark Deployed, Decoyed, Deity Disregarded.
Don’t Mess with God.
Oh the Ark!
Deployed – the Israelites took the Ark to protect themselves in battle against the Philistines, but that was not God’s plan that day, and they were being punished for priest Eli’s, his scoundrel sons, and their own evil ways drifting from Him, for relying upon past glory instead of being faithful to God. Even Eli knew God was displeased, because of what God told Samuel was going to happen.
Oh the Ark!
Decoyed – Well it may have seemed that the Ark itself would provide protection to those Israelites, but it WAS/IS God Almighty Himself Who sends the strength for weathering of storms, the strength to fight the battle, and the already done defeat of the devil (eternally done but locally there still are battles to wage). At that time the Israelites were in and out of battles moving into their delivered promised land, they needed to be DEDICATED to God, they could not win without His Planin place. The Israelites did not think this Ark move could fail, but they themselves failed. The Philistines defeated the Israelites and ALSO captured the Ark. But we know God’s power is not contained solely in the box. The box became a decoy of their distracted focus, they took their eyes off Whom delivered them and disregarded the duty of protecting the sacred elements inside the Ark: the golden pot that had manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.
Oh the Ark!
Destroyed – The loss of the Ark destroyed Eli, who fell down and died with a broken neck. The mistreatment of the Law handed down by the Lord to the people was exacerbated by the two scoundrel sons who were supposed to be in the line of Eli as holy priests. Their derelict of duties and denial of Him caused them both to be destroyed.
Oh the Ark!
Displayed – The Philistines who first thought they would be DOOMED because of the Ark, then displayed the captured Ark in their temple of Dagon, but his false deity was broken, DISMEMBERED. No one then dared to cross the threshold because of fear of being destroyed.
Oh the Ark!
Departed – The daughter-in-law of Eli, distraught over death of her husband, died DEJECTED delivering Ichabod. She said “The Glory of the Lord has Departed.”
Oh the Ark!
Devastation – the Philistine people, worshipers of false god Dagon were afflicted with tumors and devastation. They moved the Ark as they feared wrath but they saw devastation wherever it traveled.
Oh the Ark!
Delivered – The Philistines returned the Ark to Israel. They offered a guilt offering of atonement, models of gold tumors and gold rats. They put the Ark on a cart with oxen and saw that it travelled itself up the hill. The Covenant on the Cart KNEW it’s DESTINATION. A Promise placed not pulled. And the Philistine rulers KNEW this meant that the Lord was the cause of the destruction by tumors and rats.
Oh the Ark!
Discovery – There was DELIGHT for the Ark was returning – but there were also some Israelites who dared take a peak inside the Ark and they died. The Israelites (and Philistines) discovered that the Lord Himself means business! Don’t mess with DESIGNATED Holy items. Don’t mess with God.
DETAIL on Delivery
Oh the Side Detail – as the Ark was Delivered, so should we remember that God’s Promise is DELIVERED. Jesus is the Promise of Deliverance – He KNEW He as the Promise would drivedelivery of those who would take Him as Lord.
Docket – What is on the docket for our lives? To find our dedication to the Lord. Be deployed as His children whom He DELIGHTS in. DO know that the Lord has taught lessons of law but we DO live in His Love and we have done nothing to deserve this. What is impossible with men is POSSIBLE by God.
Death is now Destroyed for those who are Delivered.
Live outside the box, it is God who lives among us now. Be His.
Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek. The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield. When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. And Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook. Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?” When they learned that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp, the Philistines were afraid. “A god has come into the camp,” they said. “Oh no! Nothing like this has happened before. We’re doomed! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
Death of Eli
That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry. Eli heard the outcry and asked, “What is the meaning of this uproar?” The man hurried over to Eli, who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes had failed so that he could not see. He told Eli, “I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day.”
Eli asked, “What happened, my son?” The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led Israel forty years.
His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay any attention. She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.
The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors. When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”
They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel. But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors. So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.
When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven months, the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.” They answered, “If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it back to him without a gift; by all means send a guilt offering to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been lifted from you.” The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land. Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When Israel’s god dealt harshly with them, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way?
“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance.”
So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves. They placed the ark of the Lord on the cart and along with it the chest containing the gold rats and the models of the tumors. Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.
These are the gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the Lord—one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers—the fortified towns with their country villages. The large rock on which the Levites set the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.
But God struck down some of the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy[a] of them to death because they looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them. And the people of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up from here?” Then they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to your town.”
You like a good story? This is REMARKABLE. Samuel being called by the Lord.
When the scriptures talk about ears tingling, it’s remarkable. The Word of God tingles ears like the dust particles making your ears get up to dance. Remember that the Word of the Lord is imprinted into local lingo as Jesus Himself speaking. Jesus fully God is God’s Word, achieving all the Work of the Lord in Word. All Love is Lingering as the Lord Let’s it Live.
Samuel is called before he even knows the Lord is speaking. He is young and a fresh voice to the nation of Israel but yes even Samuel must be taught Who the Lord is – even if he hears Him. He who hears must also understand. Imagine the pure Spirit of a little boy devoted to the Lord because he is the gift from the Lord for that purpose. Imagine Jesus said: have the children come to me, because He IS the one who knows them best, created them, loves them. KNOW Jesus ALSO calls us His children. He takes our dust like mud to joyfully create into life. He then names and calls us. Imagine the conversations the Lord had with him – KNOW the conversations the Lord wants to have with us.
Samuel was chosen by God for God, chosen to talk to His people. A prophet. The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.
What falls to the ground? Dust. What doesn’t fall to the ground without returning to God? God’s Word. God creates and captivates us by tingling our ears. They are not ears on our heads as decoration or to be chopped off to fall to the ground. God needs to tingle them AND our hearts. The Lord Himself must reveal Himself. The dust must muster motion, make more sense as speech and be HEARD.
In us, you and me, we can be realizing that “the Lord came and STOOD THERE”, just as He stood there for Samuel. We can realize Jesus was present in Spirit ALWAYS so Jesus God Spirit Himself STOOD by Samuel. Jesus God Spirit, Spirit Jesus God, God Jesus Spirit, every iteration ALL stood there TOGETHER. Infinitely Wise. All in All. We know in part, God is ALL.
What a great story of Samuel hearing then knowing. This means we have opportunity to hear God too. We don’t have to finish the race before we hear the cheering. The voice of the Word wants to be heard.
The Lord Calls Samuel
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord:The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord came AND STOOD THERE, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”
Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
“What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a PROPHET OF THE LORD. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there HEREVEALED HIMSELF TO SAMUEL THROUGH HIS WORD.
It’s review season at work. Busy writing writing writing, if you choose to. It’s ratings numbers and text writing, descriptive self-evaluations and management reviews. So, one crux of evaluation lies upon what goals have been set, the volume of work accomplished or how philosophical priorities prevailed. A mixture of met expectations or lost momentum. Maybe morsels make meaningful moments or make mediocre mush.
The meat of musings by managers must be mentioned. The meat of a review will either nourish and be tasty morsels to savor OR the meat of the review will be undone, rot, and need to be tossed away, a waste of time and money.
Eli, the priest and caretaker of Samuel, son of Hannah, got a Manager of all Manager’s review from the Lord directly, based upon expectations of his tribe of Israel, his ancestors, his family history of being chosen as priests and whether they or he was holding up the Lord’s command. His family line started to fail the review.
Eli knew his scoundrel sons were slipping off the path. “No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the Lord’s people is not good.” The Lord said I REALLY MEAN BUSINESS, you and your line, your rotted promises shown by you eating the choicest meat, you must decrease and my Plan must increase. “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind” Eli’s sons did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death. And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.
Yes, so God started FRESH. Look I am doing a New Thing. Same God, new revealing of plan. God’s messenger spoke the prophecy and the plan to Eli, that a new manager of mercy would be revealed to have the rule and those who lost their way would have to petition to even eat. The Lord God knew His expectations were not met and knew, before time, of who would walk with Him and who would not. No explanation needed, God IS Sovereign and ALL KNOWING.
Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me forever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
So, a review of all reviews showed God knew He needed to set up a “Clean Agreement” from before time – establishing a FAITHFUL HOUSE, a Savior in His Son to come from Heaven thru a restored earthly line, in the House of David, a Lion and Lamb from Judah, the Perfect Sacrifice. Meeting with us “where we are”. Making us unable to make admission without
Him. With man, impossible, with God, ALL POSSIBLE. Just Believe in Him.
Scrapping sinful sliding scales and establishing executive big picture review, God made Mercy the mediation. Don’t give the job of SALVATION to the middleman, make it heavenly happen from the TOP.
Jesus, God with us. JESUS COVERS US WITH MERCY AND GRACE.
JESUS HAS A PERFECT SCORE.
(and please read this historic section of God’s shift in reliance on dependable deputies in favor of a faithful CHOSEN LINE, His priest of Same Heart and Mind.)
Prophecy Against the House of Eli
Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your ancestor’s family when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites. Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’
“Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age, and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age. Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.
“‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always. Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.”’”
Hannah was so overjoyed the Lord granted her a son, Samuel, removing her agony from being barren. God heard her prayers and praises. She praised the Lord and after giving birth, she dedicated the boy to ministry under tutelage of Eli the priest, whom she had seen at the temple while praying. She weaned the boy and gave him up to be dedicated. She visited him each year and brought him special clothes. Samuel was chosen to serve the Lord by the Lord. God wanted all the priests and their servants and offspring to serve, but Eli’s sons were scoundrels… Terribly they took the privilege of serving at the Lord’s Will, and purposefully warped it. God saw all this. Dedication or disruption. Promise or poison. Salvation souls or scoundrel-ed spoils.
Eli’s scoundrel sons did not serve the Lord. As children chosen on a priestly line, they squandered and served only themselves. One of the descriptions of how they took advantage of their privilege was by forcibly taking food that was not even cooked as required and prescribed, was not ready for them, not their portion. This food they would have received as a privilege was now taken as piracy. We see this today as well. We may forget to give praise back to the Lord, we may want to force our way or can’t wait until the meat of the matter is cooked. The sins of piracy of privilege and entitlement. We see this with those blinded to their own blessings that they even try to take life by force. We should all wait until our portion is prepared and portioned. (That old saying: Yes, you can have everything in life, but that does not mean you have to have it all at the same time.)
Hannah knew her child was a gift from God. She did not then hoard him, keep him away, or disregard her promise to dedicate him to the Lord. The blessing did come from God, she gave her first son back, into service. Then Eli prayed for her to have more children to replace the feeling of loss, and Hannah DID have more, five more children. God gave her more to love. Of course, there is only one Samuel, but she her portion became overflowing with love in children.
How interesting this parallel, God gave His only Son, clothed Him in earthly-ness, dedicated Him to Service. And the Son, Jesus, agreed to serve. God Himself sacrificed to give life, took it by freely giving it, not taking life by force. The proper timing is important as well, not taking portions of earthly life spoil before the preparation was/is done.
Like Hannah, the Lord has MANY more children, namely you and me, and although we are not Jesus the firstborn, yet we ARE brothers and sisters loved and created to love and be loved and serve. From before time, we were loved. God gave Himself more to LOVE. God gave Himself us.
Of course, there is only one Jesus created One with God. Only One LOVE divided and portioned to never disappear but return to Him with our warming up to it. We must cook His Love up in our hearts and portioned it back to Him by sharing it forward to others. The portion we give is what He already gave us. Don’t be like Eli’s scoundrel sons, instead be God’s Givers. Give until it helps.
Jesus gave until it hurt.
Jesus gives until it heals.
Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.” If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”
This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.
But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod. Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
I saw a friend who is so sweetly savoring his baby boy, BABY DINOSAUR they nicknamed him, SO PRECIOUS. Also saw another friend’s twins’ photo on their first birthday, such SWEETNESS!!!
AMAZING gifts from God, MIRACLES. AMAZING also as these babies were all medical MIRACLES mediated by the ALMIGHTY. The moms and dads to be petitioned the Lord, many years they tried, oh now to be blessed with babies. These parents (and we who know them) thank the Lord so much.
With open hearts, we remember that the Lord DOES deliver, both babies and HOPE, knowledge and strength. Strength to endure, strength to bear them, strength to raise them. All good miracles come from God.
The miracle of God’s intervention was also a tremendous blessing for Hannah, mother of Samuel in the Old Testament, after having been barren then to conceive. And she kept her promise to dedicate her child to the Lord. Samuel is a tremendous servant and a key to opening awareness of the Lord for others.
Hannah also was mocked by her rival and disheartened before the time she conceived, upset enough she did not eat… and she petitioned the Lord in prayer, poured out her soul. He heard. He answered. Hannah then prayed a new song of thankfulness and knowledge. There is No Rock Like Our God.
Hannah knew the Lord delivered. How often do we remember this in our lives and those of friends. How we need to remember that we have miracles of moments every moment.
The Lord satisfies and delivers… salvation and sweet baby souls in cute children. Direction, knowledge and strength. The Lord IS our Rock.
(Please do listen to these first parts of her story, using the links and read her prayer below.)
“And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
“The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.“He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+1-2&version=NIV;KJV
I was sad to hear of the passing of a longtime member from the community church where I have recently been attending. Sweet determined woman the one time I met her. I remember her NOT wanting to use the elevator but climb the stairs herself. She did! Thank you for prayers for her family.
There are 2 or 3 ladies who are similarly named, all seasoned seniors, and many church folks have to double check which person we are speaking of. Me too. So, God got a WHOLE conviction writing out of me before I had the sense to double check. So, what I wrote below, yesterday morning, is pure emotion and Jesus giving pure GRACE and second chances. I wrote out a conviction thinking this passing was of a woman who I once met as the bell-ringer, but it was not her. But I won’t change the writing except to just call the bell-ringer “Bell”. The conviction of me is paired with relief of guilt, thanks Lord, GRACE is not issuing condemnation – that IS the WAY of the Lord. Jesus, thank You for both!
Here is the premature writing as this as “Bell” did not pass, but I thought she did. The conviction is still the same. The GRACE is never different. God gives grace and reminders.
“Bell” always appears to be a sweet woman and I only met her maybe three times maybe only twice. I knew and know EVERYONE loves her.
It really was an excitement of re-opening the warm church after a summer of services outside in the park, it was a very good place to be worshiping the Lord, together. The first time I got to meet Bell, she rode the elevator and then was being escorted by Greeter D to go ring the church bell – PROMPTLY at 10:03am. What a perfect way to ring out that the church was OPEN and the HOLY SPIRIT inside was ALIVE wanting to be shared OUTSIDE. Isn’t hearing the bell awesome? Isn’t that the great commission in mini-miniature? GO TELL – GO ring out praises – for the Lord is GOOD and His LOVE endures forever. Ring out the truth for if they can hear the bell, they know something is going on. If they can hear the Word, they have an opportunity to hear from the Lord directly, to hear Jesus Himself say: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” If Jesus told Nicodemus that, the Great teacher to another, we need to tell it too, one saved sinner to another.
The church bell – Greeter D explained to me that Bell was an expert and she certainly was strong enough, for sure. Bell rang the bell PERFECTLY. I mean really perfectly and made it look SO EASY. I watched in EAGER anticipation because I was slated to be the church Greeter the following week and WOW I pretty much bubbled over in excitement all week. I kept checking in with the Lord because I KNEW that I should not be SO excited over earthly things and SO greedy to want to ring it. Yes I KNEW this of myself and yet I just couldn’t wait! I also knew in the Word of the advice of Jesus written down by James: we need to ask if it’s the Lord’s Will not ours. We church servants need to check our will at the door and humbly pick up His Service as easily or as hard as picking up the rope to ring the bell. Yes, as servants IN a church service- in any church job – we are to serve humbly for HIM rather than us.
Well, the church bell, I DID get to ring it EXCITEDLY and I did TERRIBLYTERRIBLE. Yes I had the enthusiasm but I lacked and still lack technique. I tried again another week and I was TERRIBLE again. And I lost count too. The neighbors in earshot surely were trying to count 10 double rings but got like 17 and a half. But truly I rang it excitedly in JOY and I had a little child helper too, to match my child exuberance. We were both excited. Lord, forgive me for my form, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, please forgive me for my greedy sinful pride in wanting so much to be ringing the bell that first time when I KNEW Bell was in the pews. I KNEW I should have asked her but I didn’t. Bell please forgive me.
It is in tears now that I know Bell, as a true follower of Jesus, would have forgiven me on the spot. CRAZY bell ringing or not, I feel and I pray she in her Spirit would have understood the excitement in my Spirit. I simply wanted and want those people OUT THERE, outside the church walls, to know God LOVES them. To know that if a church bell rings, it tugs at their hearts because God tugs at their hearts to soften them if just a little. God rings in our hearts until we HEAR Him
I can say now, that I should and would apologize to Bell, but I did not have the opportunity that day, nor did I see her the next week. I can only ask the Lord for the forgiveness request to be spirited up to Heaven. [REMEMBER THIS IS BEFORE I REALIZED I HAD THEM MIXED UP] Surely, I can hear the Lord’s Comfort to me in what I imagine Bell would say back to me now: ‘Don’t worry about my hands not holding the bell rope because what I am NOW holding in my hands are the actual HANDS OF JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF!!! And what is ringing in my ears now is the comfort of His Voice. What is ringing in my freed soul is His Love. What’s in front of me is ETERNAL LOVE. There are no tears in Heaven. NONE.’
TRUE. And thank you Bell for walking the walk with Jesus. There is no condemnation of us in Jesus. We who walk in the flesh, like me, will try harder to walk in the Spirit. Jesus says, just walk WITH me.
We shed our tears now for many reasons. Remember God collects and saves all our tears. Jesus had tears on earth too. Jesus now has a Home for us in Heaven by His Sacrifice – He came to collect and save us too.
Bell has Jesus. And Jesus has Bell. What more could any of us ask for. JESUS HAS EACH OF US FOREVER, when we call Him Lord, look to Him as our Shephard.
I will pray, Lord willing, to become MORE humble and faithful. And so, until we meet again Bell, I will ring out how faithful Jesus has rescued and redeemed you. Thank you for the tutorial.
Amen and from such tears yesterday, to joy that I pray I may get to watch this Bell once again ring the bell. I can be a student of life, both bell-ringing, and humble walking. Maybe that’s why we slow down with aches and pains as we age, so others can watch us APPRECIATE each step as Jesus walks with us, tells us where to travel, even if slow. Let others catch a glimpse of your Jesus walk…
Let the outside hear the Jesus Bell ring out of us.
Amen again and prayers of peace for the family of the stairs walker servant who did pass away after winding down, slowing her walk, the good faithful servant she was. Thank You Jesus for collecting and saving her.
It’s a great read of the second half to the story of Ruth. She doesn’t beg favor but gains it from the generosity of Boaz who let her gather gleanings of grain off of the field. She does not trick him but listens to her mother-in-law Naomi in how to find the quiet secluded time to talk to him, she meets him quietly at the Threshing room floor. Ruth helps Naomi by bringing food and she honors her self-appointed obligation to take care of her with grain-filled gifts. She is a helper to restore Naomi’s life change. Naomi’s life changes, Ruth’s life changes, Boaz’s life changes, history changes.
Boaz goes thru all the right “legal” channels and clears the way for Ruth to marry him, not for fancy but for the fulfillment of a promise and dedication to take care of the past. Ruth marries Boaz, conceives a baby boy, conceives specifically because the Lord takes favor on her, makes her fertile and sets up His human History plan. She gives birth to Obed who became the father of Jesse, the father of David. Yes David of David and Goliath fame, yes King David fame (and folly), yes David of shepherd David’s Psalm 23 ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ that gifter of song and praise.
Yes, that David. LIFE CHANGED each time he re-approached the Lord. The Lord said he was a man after His Own Heart. He raised up unto them [the Israelites] David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Acts 13:22
Ruth’s change in life comes from OBEDIENCE and the gift of Boaz into her life (whom a friend reminds me is a symbolic Jesus representation). Ruth’s change in life comes from hard work and righting hardships of widow life, of being a foreigner. Burdens to blessings. Unknowns to knowns. Boaz takes her in. Jesus takes us in.
“Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” Boaz says – and gives her grain. God gives us both the goods from His Hands into ours and gives us the Savior to save. God gives us the best even though we did not work for it.
Yes, Boaz’s gift of taking care of Ruth is Jesus-like giving from what he has – is Jesus-like of taking care of us. So is the place where Ruth approached Boaz, at the Threshing Floor, appropriate for how we meet Jesus. Jesus, so generous in gifts, generous in working His mission of separating the wheat from the chaff. He is continually working His Harvest, gathering and preparing good grain. The flip side is that Jesus takes out the chaff and burns it. The non-fruit chaff separated and discarded. Listen to John the Baptist describe Jesus: He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11-12
We too come to Jesus with our hopes and our obedient hearts and He fills us with HOPE. We can try to present ourselves to Him, but the truth is that He is happy to meet us where we are – and in our lives He comes to us. We can be obedient each time we call upon HIm and wait. He also grinds away the chaff in our lives. He separates us from our sin. He throws away all that impedes us from thriving with Him. Others who don’t seek Him, don’t ask Him, don’t hold Him as Lord and actively work against Him will be hit with that unquenchable fire. We ask Him to be LORD and SAVIOR so that we don’t just have Him as “fire insurance” as a pastor preacher continuously says but so that we are OBEDIENT to Him.
Please do read this great story of Ruth, Naomi, Boaz and of HOPE. It is sweet in it’s gifts, it is firm in it’s attention to detail and is about doing the right thing by going thru channels, it is a reminder to meet Jesus at the Threshing Floor. It is a LIFE CHANGE for all these people. And for us, it is a LIFE CHANGE to meet Jesus and call Him Lord.
“Your Father in Heaven gives good gifts to those who ask Him!”
Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor
One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”
“The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.” So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”
He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town.
When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”
Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”
Boaz Marries Ruth
Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.
Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
“I will redeem it,” he said.
Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”
At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.” (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)
So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.
Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”
Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
Naomi Gains a Son
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
Then Naomi Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse,
Compare how God sees a snowstorm and how we see it or don’t. While we are either freaking out or loving it or oblivious to the large scale of it (remember no generation before ours could see satellite images of snowstorms), God is IN CONTROL.
When we are looking at the 0 to 60 inch uncertainty or the dead-on prediction of inches and form granular or puff-powder, GOD is IN CONTROL. God has set up the whole intricate geometry for each and every unique snowflake with no two the same. God holds the snow in His Warehouse of Wonder. He can give them individual attention AND bulk directions to fall on the just and the unjust. Snow is fancy ice and snow is water reimagined. Snow is pure as white and yet formed from using a speck of dust to begin crystallization. Snow is white even though the ice is clear. Snowflakes have symmetry, order, purposes unknown.
If Snowflakes so beautiful are formed AROUND the dust particles, imagine what God can do WITH the dust particles, namely us. We are formed from His Dust. Whether you look from outer space or look at snow from an intricate place, God is IN CONTROL. Whether you get excited at the first flake or irate at the foot of them, God is IN CONTROL. Whether the flakes are held in Warehouses of Wonder or whisked out in wallops of white, God is IN CONTROL.
The MIRACLE of moments like these is they are GOD MOMENTS with attention to detail so exquisite and personal to the snowflake, but anonymous to the uninformed. Every moment you can ask God to reveal some detail, He may show you or melt it away. If you can’t see God in control, at least try to feel it. Know by faith, Snow by sight.
IN CONTROL, that’s what we need to remember. Go with the SNOW FLOW.
GOD is GOD.
His Purpose is Greater than our purpose, that’s what we need to remember.
GOD IS IN CONTROL!
“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. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
OH! There is a snow squall this morning – a storm before the storm coming tonight – not even yet formed which will be a Blizzard for some and ho-hum for others. Wherever that line is drawn it will either be too much snow or not enough. People are focused on a day from now and forgot about the here and now, whoops!
Right now there is not much but fine snow – yet that still could make things slippery… Well, that is what happens when the HYPE overweighs the watching. The shovels might be filled with foolin. Only God knows who gets the snows. Only God knows WHY.
OH THE HYPE!!!! The storm that hasn’t even come yet but it overshadows the snow now… This is probably like a fine snowflake version of the real freeze out – when the people who don’t know Jesus as Savior will miss their opportunity to watch for His return – and the anti-christ will bring the hype of all hype… OH THE HYPE! “Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.”
Watch for the Savior not the Storm.
HEAR by listening and not following the HYPE.
The snowflakes are so detailed – just like every living creature – every beautiful flower and leaf – every snail and salamander. Detailed and yet so easily melted and ignored. The water does not disappear however – and neither does the Lord’s Plan. He has the power to make things beautiful and to make things noticeable – even if they are there for such a short time… A second warning is for us to not start IGNORING the signs when we are being blinded by fake light – or drowned out by the noise – or become ho-hum to a deafening constant hype. Jesus said the love of many will grow cold. Don’t be cold – keep warming yourself with the Love of God and watch for His intricate moves. Stand firm to the end to see the result that LOVE wins over anything else. God has already delivered us – we are just waiting for the final cloud to unpack it’s GLORY.
In the meantime – Watch the beauty in the quiet – hear the Word in the Light – be the wise in His Wisdom. WATCH. WAIT. WORSHIP.
Watch for the Savior – not the storm – Don’t grow cold – keep warm…
Keep watch for the REAL re-arrival of Jesus!!! No foolin…
Jesus spoke a warning as an answer to the question: “‘what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
“Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
I love the Proverbs, the Psalms are AMAZING (most shared by King David), YET the Proverbs are so much like “I TOLD YOU SO!” It is like writer King Solomon (temple builder, King David’s son) knew we were going to need something to nod our heads about. He learned a lot in the lots of life thrown to him… Surely we also need to know that the Lord is IN CHARGE and gives us ways to act. Someone said: it doesn’t matter what cards you have but HOW YOU PLAY YOUR HAND.
The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.
Yes, as a bingo player from way back in Catholic school and a card player not enough (wow I miss camping), I trust that the Lord is better at making the numbers and cards work for HIMSELF over anything He would put us through… The Lord can flip the tables and the coins… Count your money when the dealing is done. Play 52 pickup. Take life one day at a time – sometimes one moment at a time.
A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. I have seen some things come out of left field. I really have. I bet you have too – the Lord will accomplish things HIS Way. I mean who would use the tactic of death for life but the Lord. Who else would make the most frail flowers pretty and the smallest detail so meaningful. Pray for something but DON’T expect the delivery to come thru the front door. Prepare for something but expect it to arrive in the LORD’S TIMING not yours.
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Amen to this!! Wisdom is watching half the people panic for 6 inches of snow when you have enough milk and bread and food to last 6 weeks let alone 6 hours not getting to the store. It’s 0 to 60 inches as unknown compared to things which are INFINITELY known by God. Wisdom is waiting on the Lord for answers. Wisdom is knowing the Lord has a plan, JUST KEEP PRAYING. (And get your shovel ready too)
The hoary (grey-haired) head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. This means it is good to be old and wise IF you have found Whom to get your wisdom from, where to pull your strength from, and especially to not fly off the handle at every little thing. I have never thought of myself as old – but it is the youth who make you realize you have seen a whole slice of life they have yet to experience. It is also with age comes wisdom to make you spend more time on the important things.
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Amen Amen Amen!!!
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty. How many times did we expect a fight or angry words or something and said “wow that was easy” – “wow I thought he would be more mad.” It was the humble heart which positioned us for a blessing over a fight. Can we put our madness where our mouth ISN’T and be slow to anger? I know there are many aspects of God to emulate – but this has got to be one of the best of them – BE SLOW TO ANGER. Give Grace, Let God have the Last Word – because He had the First.
There are moments in life where you say: “I am surprised and glad to be where I am now and not where I was”. There are moments when you are happy to have plans change and you get to stay home – happy to nestle in (with those 6 weeks of provisions) for a few days of just pretend to be snowed in like “Little House on the Prairie” moments.
OH, IF WE ALL COULD JUST BE CONTENT.
Just TRUST that the Lord, who dispenses the Lots of Life, will hold you in the Palm of His Hand, ALWAYS.
The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
A just weight and balance are the Lord’s: all the weights of the bag are his work. It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right. The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain. How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he. The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him. An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass. The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.
Well, I never read the book of Ruth, but it’s got much Truth to GLEAN.
Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me, a foreigner?”
I’ve been reading only the beginning because we basically only get soundbite scriptures and I want to appreciate the Sound Engineer who mixes the mix of people and places. Naomi is from Bethlehem – wow – the little detail that means a lot. Not some random town but Bethlehem. There’s a story before we even get to Ruth and Boaz. And you know there is a story after this!!! Bethlehem is the “house of bread” I learned once – a great phrase for the Lord being the bread of life.
Please read the first part of the story of Ruth and Naomi below, I had never read it. Naomi, widowed, having lost most everything, returns to Bethlehem empty, it’s a poor place and yet enough to feed them. Ruth, her widowed daughter-in-law, gleaned the droppings from the field. The Lord ALWAYS commanded people to leave the gleanings to the poor people so they could eat. Ruth finds favor and is allowed to keep working even as a foreigner for food.
“’When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.’” Levitticus 23:22
I love the Word “gleaning“. This is where I stopped and thought of Jesus – and all those outside the Jewish faith who came gleaning – came to Him and found favor – of those people later in the book of Acts, the distant people, the Gentiles, being gleaning people of learnings but actually being allowed to partake in ALL His Grace. Yes, Gentiles too, Peter and Paul would have to realize, were God’s children too.
Empty poor Bethlehem brought forth the fulfillment of Bread. Jesus came into the world with nothing but the efforts of Mary and Joseph gleaning a place to stay overnight for the birth. Why Bethlehem? To be counted.
Who is counted in the harvest? Those who come back to Jesus and realize they have NOTHING. And in Jesus, they have EVERYTHING.
We do leave our comfort zone. We do have to trust the Lord to take care of us. And thank Him when He does. He leaves us gleanings to find. And in return we are going to have supper at His table.
“May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
The gleanings of the field and the hem-touch of His garment. Jesus finds those seeking Him. Jesus leaves out the breadcrumb trail of hope. FromgleaningstoGrace.
Jesus WAS the appearance of a foreigner residing in Bethlehem and in this world because no one recognized Him, no one expected Him except a few. Naomi called out in distance from God. Jesus called out for the forsaken moment God abandoned Him in death. Jesus left His Heaven to be the foreigner on earth. Jesus kept walking…. Ruth kept walking and stayed the course with Naomi. Ruth was noticed as a foreigner and blessed for what she did, brought into their fold to work in the field. Let us recognize Jesus and let Him in too – bring Him on – let Him enter our hearts. He knows He belongs there. There He can be the bread. Let us go spread breadcrumb and watch the Harvest. Jesus wants to return to us and see us gathered in Him as the Whole Loaf.
Amen (please read part 1 Ruth scripture below)
Book of Ruth 1-2:13
Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem
When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 1and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field
Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.
And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”
“The Lord bless you!” they answered.
Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”
At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
“May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”