The Hand of God – Take Courage

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Because the Hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage… Ezra 7

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Was Ezra, in chapter seven, 

Walking into Heaven?

No, he had much to do,

He needed God to help him through. 

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The Hand of God 

Is Light’s direction rod.

The path we talk,

We must also walk.

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Ezra had the king’s blessings, 

Gold, silver and all the dressings. 

Ezra was Aaron’s 16th generation son,

Brother of Moses when priesthood had begun.

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A teacher in the Law of Moses too, 

Sacrifice was what Ezra really knew.

Leadership is courageous servant-hood,

To help the people who want to be good.

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When we walk with God,

We must not plod or sleepily nod.

We like Ezra have work to do.

We ask God to get us through. 

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Pray the Hand of God to be on me and on you.

Pray courage that we walk true.

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Amen 

—-

Ezra Comes to Jerusalem

CHAPTER 7

After these things, during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, 

Ezra son of Seraiah, 

the son of Azariah, 

the son of Hilkiah, 

the son of Shallum, 

the son of Zadok, 

the son of Ahitub, 

the son of Amariah, 

the son of Azariah, 

the son of Meraioth, 

the son of Zerahiah, 

the son of Uzzi, 

the son of Bukki, 

the son of Abishua, 

the son of Phinehas, 

the son of Eleazar, 

the son of Aaron the chief priest— 

this Ezra came up from BabylonHe was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. 

Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.

King Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra

This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes had given to Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law, a man learned in matters concerning the commands and decrees of the Lord for Israel:

Artaxerxes, king of kings,

To Ezra the priest, teacher of the Law of the God of heaven:

Greetings.

Now I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who volunteer to go to Jerusalem with you, may go. You are sent by the king and his seven advisers to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem with regard to the Law of your God, which is in your hand. Moreover, you are to take with you the silver and gold that the king and his advisers have freely given to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, together with all the silver and gold you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the freewill offerings of the people and priests for the temple of their God in Jerusalem. With this money be sure to buy bulls, rams and male lambs, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and sacrifice them on the altar of the temple of your God in Jerusalem.

You and your fellow Israelites may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God.  Deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles entrusted to you for worship in the temple of your God. And anything else needed for the temple of your God that you are responsible to supply, you may provide from the royal treasury.

Now I, King Artaxerxes, decree that all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates are to provide with diligence whatever Ezra the priest, the teacher of the Law of the God of heaven, may ask of you— up to a hundred talents of silver, a hundred cors of wheat, a hundred baths[c] of wine, a hundred baths [that’s 600 gallons] of olive oil, and salt without limit. Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should his wrath fall on the realm of the king and of his sons? You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.

And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates—all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them. Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

Not Fair

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“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
I am appreciative of this little book “Jesus Calling ” by Sarah Young.  It is scripture written in the person view of Jesus speaking it. I am also very appreciative of a crew of 3 Bible study companions for this book that I’ve joined in my “little  church  with  a  big  impact” and we take the verses day by day… That’s the Jesus Way, DAY BY DAY…

“It’s not fair”, this one reading struck me strongly… Jesus reminds us, that we are NOT to look at human opinion of us, but of Jesus’s Light guiding us, how we act, how we help. It’s not fair how we are treated sometimes in this life as we do His work, sacrificing for His sake, the sake of loving each other and the sake of giving up our own will. But then again, Jesus losing His life for our sins was also not seemingly fair. Well, that’s life. And yeah that’s LIFE because Jesus gives us LIFE forever. 

Walking this week, I saw this verse in action, a writing in a visual WAY while I was walking. Under the canopy of an off-road, there was a fallen tree, deadwood in the making, and yet it had not fallen, it was caught leaning on wires. DANGEROUS, I thought, but low wires so they are probably not electricity which are usually higher. DANGEROUS for falling, I thought, but this is a road rarely traveled. INCONVENIENT I thought because it was going to be a LOT of work to remove it, requiring shutting down that wire’s feed anyway. And INCONVENIENT for an overworked workforce? Probably. What was the holdup? Time, manpower,  resources,  urgency. 

What was holding up this tree from breaking those wires? I looked more. ANOTHER TREE! I looked further up and the two higher branches were being held by another set of limbs. Secured (for now), HELD! So, was it a strain on that other tree? Maybe. Somewhat. But it held its ground. A delicate STRONG hold. 

A delicate strong HOLD. Was it fair? Not for the second tree, but it WAS helping and keeping order in the forest. It was keeping chaos from breaking out. It was HOLDING THE PEACE. 

JESUS, holding up the people, keeping order in the kingdom and the hope to get people there. Jesus holding the peace. Not just dying for our sins, but LIVING for the opportunities that others could so LIVE. Not fair? Nope, but faithful devotion. Jesus Saves. Find peace in His Presence.

Have you ever been in a situation you did NOT want to be in? Maybe you are like that second tree, holding its ground and supporting structures, people, even seemingly deadweight? However we have to look to what Jesus wants us to be and do. I was stuck somewhere recently, I didn’t want to deal with the strife, and wondered really “WHY AM I HERE, LORD?“. Asking why I was positioned, questioning my struggles with “do I worry what people think of me for acting a certain way, or do I sacrifice to do the right thing in a bigger sense?”…  I PRAYED… I’ve been in this situation before in different scenes, it’s like another act in God’s stage production but I’m not the star, never was, Jesus IS. Not my place to say “it’s not fair”, because it’s not, but we are on His mission. His helping is our crosses to bear. I PRAYED and asked for a sign. I had access to the web in front of me and could look up secretly a scripture. “LUKE” was laid into my brain. “15” was laid into my brain. Click, Click, Click: Luke 15, ahhhhh… the parable of the LOST SHEEP, the LOST COIN, the LOST son… SO CLEARLY GOD ANSWERED ME (especially since I asked into His Word)… Go after the one lost sheep… be the support… be that tree holding it’s ground supporting the whole scene… be HIS HANDS AND FEET, no matter the cost to you. FORGIVE because we ARE a broken people. Jesus is the only Way.

No matter what, we are to pay the price of time, energy, work because Jesus already paid for us… Let’s keep working for Him.

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

I have to remember that I was once deadweight but He rebirthed me to LIFE, He put me to Work. I was and still am a sinner saved by HIS grace. I was (and am) one sheep of our Shepherd. I was lost, Jesus came for me… 

NOT FAIR, but Jesus came to save us anyway. Our brokenness is nothing compared to His Healing. Hold us Lord, Help us Lord, Heaven-us Lord.

Amen

Thank You Lord, Thank You…

—- 

Here is a reading of this Oct28 entry in that Jesus Calling book: https://youtu.be/2uGUslBZ98o

Ephesians 1:7-8 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

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Luke15

PS…. 8 years now this upcoming winter is when I awoke from being dead in my faith, as if Jesus said “eh, she’s only sleeping”, like when He awoke Jarius’s daughter. It was also 10 years ago now that when I was teaching Sunday school (yes I was teaching Luke 15) that I out-loud said these parables were “Jesus’s great teaching stories” and “God sent Jesus to make the Word of God spread faster“, SNAP… yes, just like the fun hands-on foaming catalyst experiment I was demonstrating at the time, of hydrogen peroxide, dishsoap and yeast (Jesus being represented by living yeast as a catalyst), this was Jesus spreading the Word… Ah, this action is Jesus finding us… thus was JESUS finding me… I’m grateful to tears… amazed to awe… challenged to action… blessed to further bless… My job? Our job? Great Commission to go out and be the workers, FIND THE SHEEP and feed them the Word!  AMEN!!!

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Romans 5:5

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Prepare Proceed Process, PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE

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PRAISE 

Praise God. I praise a new day.

POSITION 

I have been Positioned into a family of faith and a fulfilled future,  therefore I CAN start this day. Start this day in God’s Way: Praise, Position, Proceed, Protect, Process,  Praise. Jesus came and He will come again. I just need to get through today in God’s Way.  New challenges and old issues, same God. 

“…while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven GENUINENESS of your FAITH – ofgreater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined –may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

PREPARE 

I have been given FAITH resources and scripture readings to prepare me for my day. I can BOTH put on the Armor of God for protection but most importantly pick up the Sword of Truth – Jesus’s Word – to bring into my day and cut to the chase, cut thru the day, and most importantly create an atmosphere of teaching thru living. I can demonstrate that I have a Living Hope. 

PROCEED 

Refueling often in the day IN FAITH is SO IMPORTANT.  Proceeding when small things stand in the way may mean you have to reflect on the Way, the Word, the Wonder, to get you thru, around, out of, and back into the day. The reason why Jesus walked on earth was so that He could walk WITH you, then, now, and forever. Guard your heart, walk in faith and Proceed. Proceed Protected 

PROCESS 

At the end of the day, reflect and see what went best in God’s Way. What went wrong in attitude or expectation? What went right in listening or learning? What is unresolved and what is unresolvable? Therefore what will be set down for God to handle in His Time. Time to rest.

PRAYER 

God help me Process and then Rest. Lord, You have said: Tomorrow is another day. You have shown me that today was best proceeded in Your Way. You have shown me that LISTENING to the Word was Your Best Way encouragement for me to Prepare for the day. . .

PRAISE

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. “The word of the Lord endures forever.”

Prepare Proceed Process, 

Praise Praise Praise 

AMEN Amen and amen…


Praise to God for a Living Hope

1Peter 1:3-9, 13-16, 22-25

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

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Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each otherlove one another deeply, from the heart  For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.

God Has Seen Worse

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It’s not just scary stuff at Halloween, but there’s scary stuff all year round. Yet if we think nowadays is bad, I am pretty sure God’s seen worse, He has seen worse tragedies and strife, horror and human failings. I’m God-fearful to say He could even inflict harsh punishment if He chose to. 

My friend made some photoshopped images as artwork – and gave as giveaways for a fundraiser. Couple video game character grim reaper types and illuminati-ish symbols were in some. They were “scary” if you allowed yourself to be scared, but fake. Really nice photoshop work, but not my cup of tea. I think however scary-like, God has seen worse. Actually I am certain God has seen worse. And future revelations show its just going to get worse too for masses of people who don’t know God and let Him lead.

From my friend’s artwork, I chose an image of lightning strikes, photoshopped to add extra strikes on a water scene. Real and not unnatural scary powerful stuff. Lightning is real in our interesting and intricate world. I thought, accepting that photo, if God can make things that are scary but God IS in control, then He MUST have infinitely more power than ANYTHING, over evil influences allowed to work in the world, over all. Our job is to believe God’s power not just of scary things, but that God’s power of love is MUCH stronger. God REALLY is in control and LOVE is MOST powerful. LOVE NEVER FAILS

We must believe God’s power is supreme, surpassing all evil, already putting us on the winning side. In old testament histories, God gave real life prophets to help the people thru. We now have written prophecy and witness, we can be encouraged as well.

So….

If stuck in a rut, let’s ask God to move the ground around us. Love never fails. 

If stuck in a bad scene, let God change the plot. Love never fails. 

If stuck in being enslaved, kept down, or simply fighting bad paperwork, red tape, weird scenarios, remember God’s Sovereignty. Love never fails. 

God’s lifetime is infinite, our memories are not. When we get through hard times, we are allowed to forget the level of pain, that’s how we can walk forward into victory as well as new battles. When we are battling pain now, may we also remember that God will get us through this. 

Bible stories and demonstrations of God’s power are written for us to learn from. God has got this, He always did.

God’s love will never fail.

Amen 

PS… I just read quickly thru Ezra 4-6, WOW, opposition to rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. If you think we have opposition now, or sticky scenes in conference rooms or wherever, BE PATIENT… Let’s let God stick it out with us... read ahead and I will tell this story soon: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezra%204-6&version=NIV

Let God go ahead. Let God win.

The House that God Built

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I know it is the “boys of summer” in this October World Series time, and tickets are now at a premium.  But I was at that SAME ballpark in the summertime and it was EMPTY… except ALL the employees and some vendors and some of the faithful were there (like 2 raincoat clad people behind home plate that never gave up)… and then others like us were actually there as “foodies”… yum crabfries… (This was NOT the house that Ruth built, but certainly the whole place was built really nice for the fans… fair-weather fans and all…)

So now there is EXCITEMENT, now eyes are FOCUSED and hearts are strung higher. The fair-weather fans now wear raincoats for a change and actually show up for thousands of dollars, whereas they could have seen the SAME team for a fraction of the price before they were winning it all. One nosebleed seat in summertime cost equal to a serving of crabfries, REALLY it did. 

The sports radio commentators recently were mentioning the last World Series win, almost 15 years ago, and laughed again at the statement someone made back then, when a diehard fan said after the win: “now I can die in peace”… FUNNY…  of course my ears picked up instantly on the scripture reminder of Simeon who was told by the Lord God that he would see the Savior, the Salvation of the nation and the world. Simeon WAS in the temple that day as God beckoned him to go and Simeon held baby Jesus in his arms,  brought by Mary and Joseph for dedication, circumcision and prayer. “I can now die in peace.”

The Temple, that Simeon sought was not just the building but the Body, the Temple was Jesus in his arms and was Jesus the stone Rock under his feet and was Jesus born a perfect lamb as the sacrifice required of God. So much praise and tears were realized in that building – as the chosen people were building in anticipation – embracing building up FOCUS on Salvation – of Kingdom restoration.  THIS WAS WHAT THEY WERE WAITING FOR. The tears were tears of realization, God DID deliver. God showed him, specifically him prophet Simeon and prophetess Anna, the PROMISE, for the RESTORATION of the Kingdom. Simeon said: “He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” 

In this physical temple, built and rebuilt, there was a history of crying and of sacrifice. Tears of joy and tears of sadness and tears of all emotions. This temple was built in the location where David made an altar sacrifice after he called for a census against God’s wishes and had to repent to stop a plague of an angel of death. Solomon built the actual temple, but we must see the pattern that the sacrifice came first, then the altar, then the foundation walls and roof. Worship first, woodwork after. 

In the book of Ezra, that temple was described as being rebuilt after destruction. And the weeping of tears and shouts of joy were indistinguishable from each other and SO LOUD that all could hear. Those old souls saw restoration of HOPE. This rebuilding, re-laying of the foundation of the “second temple”, restored the first building by Solomon. The first temple was destroyed by Babylonians, sweeping Judah’s people of Jerusalem away to second exile (50-70 years). Cyrus of Persia defeated Babylon and allowed the exiled people to return, thousands trekked 4 months (see Ezra 2). The temple was rebuilt by the altar first, then the foundation poured underneath.

Praise then Prayers

We too must praise and worship first, our altar of sacrifice comes from acknowledging God’s Sovereignty and also His Goodness. First we must seek His Plan and not balk at its complexity or severity. David saw God’s Power, so can we. That existed first. We also must see God’s Sacrifice and realize it is so we can be with Him forever. Yes, He sacrificed FOR the benefit of us because He loves us.

Jesus as Alpha and Omega came to lay the bricks of Himself a Temple to be torn down and rebuilt. He is the Kingdom’s Prince of Peace, the Lamb Slain. May we all NOT be fair-weather fans of His flame, but blessed to stand (kneel) and cry weeping and restore SHOUTS OF JOY for our Temple HAS been rebuilt. WE HAVE SEEN THE SALVATION. 

This IS the House that God Built.

There are no cheap seats but they all ARE paid for. He is good, for his mercy endureth forever! Jesus IS Alive. 

We can now prepare for the Temple is coming again. Celebrate His Win, Praise His Name, then Worship and Work in sacrifice for more people need to come to Jesus still. He is still building His fan base, brick by brick. We are in the kingdom that God has built.

Amen 

Ezra 3:10-13

And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.  And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.  But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

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Luke 2:22-40

Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

The Prophecy of Simeon

At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,  as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

The Prophecy of Anna

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

Pass-over Pass-around Pass-thru

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Did you ever wonder why you might be going thru a hardship? an illness? a slowdown? a missed event? a less lined pocket of change? a time where God blocks a door or something? Maybe this is a “pass-over”, maybe you are supposed to stay inside – maybe you are supposed to find a new thing to do – maybe (DEFINITELY) you are to find God’s opportunity to PRAISE HIM first (praise first, complain later)…

Maybe you will never know in this lifetime. 

Maybe you won’t know the reason – but as long as you know that you are still going to be OK, that’s OK. God’s got this… God has you on other duties, especially on prayer duties.

When king Josiah (old testament divided kingdom, many years after Moses) realized that they had not been honoring God the way God had prescribed according to the Law of Moses, he also realized they were not celebrating/remembering the Passover… The Passover in Moses’s time was tremendous and a fear-filled night, it was when death came to the first born in the households except for those in the Israelites (held captive as slaves by Pharoh). Israelites then were slaves after traveling to Egypt, during the time of Joseph, and were to be led out of captivity by Moses.Slaves who listened to Moses were knowledgeable to “the word of mouth” instruction to place lamb’s blood on the door frame. Instead of death inside of the first born, the death of a lamb as a sacrifice was placed as an outward sign. Truly this foretold of the sacrifice and death of first born, alpha and omega, Jesus as the lamb who became the replacement for all our sinful deaths. The outward sign on our individual frames so that God accepts us as His people who are saved.

Saved. Spared. Shared. The passover meal in the times of king Josiah was shared – the priests and gatekeepers and musicians had no time to cook – so the rest of the people did extra sacrifices for them. The priests – the gatekeepers – the musicians – were all working on God’s scheduled tasks. The community shared and the good fraction were spared.

What about us – are we spared? We are now that Jesus came for our sins – He IS and was and will be our own passover Lamb, His blood shown up on our death’s door. He will take up our pleas, He took them so we could pass into Heaven free. All it takes on our end is belief from you and me. It takes a plea: “I’m guilty Lord of my sins, PLEASE set me FREE.” 

Amen


2 Chronicles 35:10-18 The service was arranged and the priests stood in their places with the Levites in their divisions as the king had ordered. The Passover lambs were slaughtered, and the priests splashed against the altar the blood handed to them, while the Levites skinned the animals. They set aside the burnt offerings to give them to the subdivisions of the families of the people to offer to the Lord, as it is written in the Book of Moses. They did the same with the cattle. They roasted the Passover animals over the fire as prescribed, and boiled the holy offerings in pots, caldrons and pans and served them quickly to all the people. After this, they made preparations for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were sacrificing the burnt offerings and the fat portions until nightfall. So the Levites made preparations for themselves and for the Aaronic priests. The musicians, the descendants of Asaph, were in the places prescribed by David, Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun the king’s seer. The gatekeepers at each gate did not need to leave their posts, because their fellow Levites made the preparations for them. So at that time the entire service of the Lord was carried out for the celebration of the Passover and the offering of burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord, as King Josiah had ordered. The Israelites who were present celebrated the Passover at that time and observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. The Passover had not been observed like this in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah, with the priests, the Levites and all Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem. 

One Year BOLDER

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One year BOLDER, not just older.

One year HUNGRIER, even having been fed.

One year harder, because faith treks me to go farther.

One year easier, because God leads me to act smarter.

One year wiser, because of the roads I have been on.

One year lighter, because I know God lifts my loads.

One year more, because God makes life not a chore. 

One year more blessed, lest I believe anything less.

One year so thankful in PRAISE, that’s my Spirit raise.

One year of many, and I hope of many more.

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God Blesses I know, when you go with His flow. 

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Lord, please bless my Mom and Dad, my children, my family and friends. 

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God bless you all, I forever want to say: “God bless you today”. 

Especially everyday. 

Especially today. 

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Amen 

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Ask Chronologicler Ezra

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“Ask Uncle Ezra” – was an advice column in online format at my university for years. The letters were reposted anonymously for people to both get information and advice. It obviously was a take-off from “Dear Abby”, but super focused on the college community. It was SO useful, especially for stressed college kids. Ezra founded the school in a time that was indicative of how the close knit community combined laborers and scholars. It still does. Ezra wanted a place where anyone could get an education on anything. These people thrive on the desire to educate and be educated.

Ezra in the Bible, from the old testament, ALSO participated in education, and was said to be author of the book of Chronicles as well as his own chapter “Ezra”… Ask “Chronicler Ezra” and he could tell you that the people were devoted because God made them that way. And having been reading methodically thru the old testament Chronicles, I can now see that in this chapter that we have entered a time where both regular ancient scholars and biblical scholars have info, and they are talking about great superpower rises and falls. This section of the Bible is about 500 years before Jesus came to earth. There are references for scholars and ruins for archeologists. They support God’s Word. There is real stuff we can touch and especially real Word we can understand. Jesus walked into a scene of people losing their way. Some found it in Him.

God, from Moses’s time was either ignored or praised – just like now – and this often depended upon the kings who led their people, urging them to give devotions of praise and sacrificial offerings. (Samuel the prophet warned that if people made kings rather than devote themselves to God, they would be treated badly. Yeah, they were). Unfortunately not enough people nor the kings of the divided kingdom “asked prophets” or listened to the prophecy, and got swept away to Babylon. They DID have the “reposts” records of the previous kings and prophets but did not head to what they heard. Then 400 years before Jesus, the prophets grew silent. 

In Ezra’s writings, the remnants of King David’s line got taken away by the invading Babylon armies of King Nebuchadnezzar. When Cyrus, the Persian king, came to power, and conquered Babylon, the Lord placed it on his heart to help them return to Jerusalem. Not everyone did, but some went to re-set up the temple,  Solomon’s temple. I am amazed that I will read more into these times again in the next chapters, I didn’t know the old testament were really testaments! Over and over we get the Word weaved into a deeper story, always about God’s Promises and provisions.

I was intrigued that the end of Chronicles 36 had the exact writing of the beginning of Ezra: ” In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’”

Why rebuild the temple? Because God placed His Name in it… Because the Light of the world was going to come from David’s descendants… Because God said so… (read back to Solomon’s time)

Ask “Chronicler Ezra” and he could tell you that the people who were devoted were: “everyone whose heart God had moved“... Can you imagine if WE ACTIVELY SEARCHED OUT GOD IN OUR HEARTS how much more advice we would get?!!! If we humbled ourselves in prayer and said “I don’t know Lord, I need help.” Or “Lord, open up the eyes of my heart to see Your Purpose over mine.”… Imagine…

As for HIGHER education, let us “Ask the Lord”… Let’s search Him where and when He can be found (and yes, His re-posts are all ONLINE too)

Amen 


2nd Chronicles 7:12-20

And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.

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Ezra 1

Cyrus Helps the Exiles to Return

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’”

Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.

Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god. Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

This was the inventory:

gold dishes 30

silver dishes 1,000

silver pans 29

gold bowls 30

matching silver bowls 410

other articles 1,000

In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

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Matthew 7:7-20, Jesus said:

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Tomatoes and the Lord, our CAN-DO God!

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BLESSED…

Went to take this photo of the last of the tomatoes from a garden… then I saw this great scripture reminder on my bracelet: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

I am thankful for the reminder to NOT be anxious about the winter coming or the loss of summer (just mowed the grass yesterday too)… Soon we will have pumpkin soups and sweet potato pie… move over summer, fall is about to fall into play…

My fresh tomatoes are minimal compared to my cans of tomatoes, from who knows when, which are actually at their expiration date. Funny how we FORGET to praise stockpiles of yesterday, all those supplies we put into place for ourselves, our rainy days,  and that we even had the extra money then to plan ahead… and we (dare I say it) FORGET that the Lord provided them in the first place…  Yes we (I) do often forget to retro-praise the Lord – we get so busy and keep going…

But I want to praise the Lord for more that just these tomatoes  – canned and fresh. I want to praise Him for NEARLY EXPIRED canned goods, because I got them in the beginning of the pandemic when I didn’t know what would happen – well He did, and I NEVER needed them – but today am making chili just to use them up…

I want to praise the Lord for all folks who DID get thru a turbulent time and have the abundant supplies of canned goods, TP, and everything now. I praise Him for thousands of sticky situations He won for us. 

I want to praise the Lord for the whole house that kept us safe and sane – in pandemics to snowstorms to thunderstorms to stinky skunks… I praise the heat and the A/C. I praise the bed and the rest.

I want to praise Him for a quiet house because there were times where there was not as much peace here as there is now.

I want to praise Him for a cat companion even if she is sleeping – she just gives extra spirit to the house.

I want to praise Him for the fridge that almost died 3 times but didn’t, the dryer that I fixed twice, the razor blade to scrape the stove clean, the rug to sweep under in an attempt to clean, and the broom itself. 

I want to praise Him for the seed packets for next spring and for the poinsettias I just pulled from the garden – they were last years proof that they can survive year after year and so can we. And a praise for mums, which ease us into poinsettia season once again.

I want to praise the Lord for telling us to take it one day at a time and to give Him our worries – He already knows how to sort the seasons, surely He can sort our schedules and our sillyness too…

Can tomatoes or fresh, I want to praise the Lord for being a CAN-DO God. Praise God whom we CAN give thanks to…  and CAN He tackle tomorrow’s problems? You CAN bet He CAN and will and already went ahead.

Soon we will will be in Thanksgiving season – that is a season we can have everyday…  I thank you Lord for You!

Amen


Isaiah 12:4-5

And on that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted.” Praise the LORD in song, for He has done glorious things; let this be known throughout the earth.

Atmosphere of Lament, Light of Hope

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I’ve reached the end of 2nd Chronicles – and I have taken a moment to sit outside in the chilly October night air. It’s not just exile from summer’s warmth but reconnecting and reconciling myself to accepting these changing seasons. The crisp will soon become cold and there will be days of staying inside. But there will ALSO be brilliant sunshine and HOPE, as we are longing for springtime and summer once again. Meanwhile, the soil rests.

So now in this season, we reflect and lament the last of the warm days. We stargaze and see the stars twinkle. They twinkle because their light beams bounce around and get distorted by the earth’s atmosphere. It’s a bumpy ride, even for Light. Our bumpy ride of life still has the Light, therefore we hold onto HOPE. 

At the end of 2nd Chronicles, we learn of an end of an era, the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah has crumbled enough to be swept into a time of Exile. All that work and riches, all those kings (good and bad), all that time restoring the temple and the people’s worship, including Josiah’s Passover feast. Then this good king Josiah was killed, and all the people mourned him. Prophet Jeremiah wrote laments for them all to sing their heart sorrows.  Josiah’s son ruled only a few months on the throne, then was overthrown and the whole southern divided kingdom of Judah saw a progression of bad foreign kings and multiple overthrows. This was a bumpy ride for sure, washing away everything as their lives had known, they were thrown into exile, God gave them another chance but they refused to listen and they became servants in exile.

Did the exiled remnant of the peoples of the divided kingdom of Judah have any hope? I hope so… God pre-told their destiny as the prophet Jeremiah spoke of it. God also told them (from the time of David) that He would raise up THE HOPE from their remnants. And their land went to rest, the many years was their winter of life. The people surely longed for their old way of life. The ride was bumpy, I hope they held onto hope.

I also have been thinking of the many people in our war-torn areas presently, where does their hope lie? They too have laments, and the light is seen so tumbled in their atmosphere of strife… Their lands have been torn apart and people displaced. They are in need of prayers as there is no quick fix and return to their homeland.  These are times of lament, an atmosphere of lament, but pray they hold onto hope. 

The Light of Hope is the coming of the Lord, and the shining of His Spirit throughout their and our lives. One person recently asked a few of us how we suffer – when Jesus gives such hope – and we lives such blessed lives. So I do believe these are the people from whom we are to learn what suffering means – and to see what joy they can muster in the midst of tragedy . These are the people who are lamenting and we should mourn with them as well as give them hope. For them we keep reminding ourselves and others that there is Light in the darkness, brighter than the stars that twinkle, the Hope of Jesus remains bright.  

Let us keep praying for all to see the Light. Until Jesus comes again – there will be bumpy rides. When His Light lights the night, we will have no doubt that He Lives.

Amen

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2nd Chronicles 34:20-27

After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Necho king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle. But Necho sent messengers to him, saying, “What quarrel is there, king of Judah, between you and me? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” 

Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo.

Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, “Take me away; I am badly wounded.” So they took him out of his chariot, put him in his other chariot and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the tombs of his ancestors, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him.

Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments.

The other events of Josiah’s reign and his acts of devotion in accordance with what is written in the Law of the Lord— all the events, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

2 Chronicles 36:1-21

And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king in Jerusalem in place of his father.

Jehoahaz King of Judah

Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. The king of Egypt dethroned him in Jerusalem and imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. The king of Egypt made Eliakim, a brother of Jehoahaz, king over Judah and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Necho took Eliakim’s brother Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt.

Jehoiakim King of Judah

Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked him and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also took to Babylon articles from the temple of the Lord and put them in his temple there.

The other events of Jehoiakim’s reign, the detestable things he did and all that was found against him, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.

Jehoiachin King of Judah

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon, together with articles of value from the temple of the Lord, and he made Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, king over Judah and Jerusalem.

Zedekiah King of Judah

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the Lord. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an oath in God’s name. He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.

The Fall of Jerusalem

The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.  He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.

He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.

Say the “t” in Christmas

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We rush the seasons, there’s Halloween candy in August, Christmas merchandise in October, and deep discounts to get rid of all of “it” from stores before we have even opened half the gifts we paid full price for (and probably don’t need anyway). 

We need Jesus SHINE over a new bottle of wine.

There’s a good chance that we ALSO often rush in saying: “Merry Christmas” both without thinking fully WHY we are wishing it, and rushing our PRONUNCIATION so much that we say “Merry Chrissssmas”. We skip the T. Well, we don’t need to include the “t” from a pronunciation perspective just because, but because it is a lowercase letter “t” REPRESENTS the symbol of the CROSS. Say the t in Chris”t”mas. Christ-mas, a celebration of Christ.

With Jesus entering the world, He knew and predicting prophets fortold that there was one important Way to accomplish God’s Will: death on the cross, a Savior rising after being slaughtered as an innocent lamb.

* Say the “t” in Christmas. 

* “Keep Christ in Christmas” can be reWORDed as an OPPORTUNITY rather than a scolding, to say: “SHARE Christ at Christmas”. 

* Saying Christ reminds us to believe and teach the Way: that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed One. Fully God, Jesus came humbled as a baby, humbled as a human, to fulfill the prophecy and die for our sins and be RISEN for our forever eternal life with God on Heaven.

* “Keeping Good Friday in Christmas” completes the mission: Jesus said “it is finished”. The word “It” is an “I” and a cross “t”. Jesus knew: I must go to the cross. We also are to pick up our crosses and die to ourselves and our wishes to follow Him more and more closely. “I” cross.

* “Keeping Easter in your Christmas” remembers the Merry joyfullness, understanding that on the third day Jesus rose again. Jesus rose for God’s sake, because He loves us eternally longer and immensely more than we could ever realize. 

Let’s keep this “t” in our Christmas this year, and SHINE Christ from our hearts EVERYDAY and FOREVER. 

AMEN 

Healed by the Book

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Not perfect… we are NOT perfect… So of course we should try to always improve ourselves. Yet we don’t want to fall under human force of “conforming to norms”, we want God Himself to guide us, mold us and remodeling us. We do need and want Him to help us. He will. Our Great Physician will hear and heal. 

God is willing and able to teach us the book, not throw it at us. The book is now not just Moses’s book of laws, but THE BOOK, the Word Himself in pages. The whole Book, the Bible, is ALREADY telling us the War is won, Jesus came and will come again. He is Proof of Love. There’s nothing God can do but offer you an open book test because He covers you with the pages that are Living Word. So let us embrace Him who already holds us.

King Josiah of the divided southern kingdom of Judah was good, but he got even better… After a long line of bad kings (who didn’t listen to God) and a few good even great kings who listened but were sometimes led astray, king Josiah decided to restore the Temple (Solomon’s amazing Temple,  where God said His Name would remain). He wanted to return to another level of authentic worship. In doing this cleaning up, his crew (including his priest) found the Book of Laws, written for Moses by God, recorded but lost under dusty years of neglect. Lost but found, just like us. We don’t have to clean up to come to the Lord, we just come “AS WE ARE” and He will take us in.

God said, through a prophet: “Because your heart was responsive… and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. Now I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace.

IN PEACE- that’s where we want to rest too.

This BOOK OF LAWS showed them that although they were good, and willing to try best they knew, they were NOT perfect and saw why God was punishing those who drifted, especially for what the previous BAD king Manasseh had done. Judah like Israel was headed to exile again. Josiah did tremendous clearing of idols, removing of the high places of worship, righting the wrongs to re-center his people’s worship AT THE TEMPLE. He read the book and tried to restore how to live by the book. He even restarted a Passover celebration like none they had ever seen.

We are to try our best, and yet we are NOT perfect either. We have a Shepard leader who knows He is our Temple and He is Book-ing our Best Way to lead us in paths of righteousness, because Jesus came to FULFILL the law given to Moses and the prophets. Jesus came AS a Temple, stuck down but Rebuilt in Resurrection. This is why He wants us to open the Book, teach the Book, live the Book. Help spread this Good News.

We too fall down the path of destruction, like the remnants of Moses’s people in Judah of those days. We too get swept away by idolatry, jealousy, and untruths. Yet when we worship the Lord as king Josiah did—with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength – we too will find rest – we will find peace. After earthly kings,  Jesus, our King of kings, Name above all names, Alpha and Omega, will be our Prince of Peace. 

Let’s open up this Book and let Him open up our wounds and heal them.

Let Us Let God.

Amen

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Jesus said: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”(Luke 5:31-32)

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Read about king Josiah here:

2nd CHRONICLES 34: 1-4, 8, 14, 19-22, 26-33 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Chronicles%2034&version=NIV

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols.

In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, to purify the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler of the city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple of the Lord his God.

While they were bringing out the money that had been taken into the temple of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that had been given through Moses.

 When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that is poured out on us because those who have gone before us have not kept the word of the Lord; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book.”

Hilkiah and those the king had sent with him went to speak to the prophet Huldah,…

She said to them: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard:  Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. Now I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.’”

So they took her [prophet Huldah’s] answer back to the king.

Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. The king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book.

Then he had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.

Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

2nd Kings 23:24-27

Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger. So the Lord said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘My Name shall be there.’”

As for Me and My Plate, We Will Serve the Lord

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Last Saturday was a whole day of selling and purging stuff at the church’s yard sale, but also snapping up good deals. I got good stuff – but I still have lots of stuff that I still need to shed… (as in shed away not shed storage)…

We tend to teach about not being attached to material possessions but then again: we like our stuff !!! God says store up treasures in Heaven, not your house but His House. We will NOT be able to bring it with us!. Does God really need our plates and silverware anyway? Probably not in Heaven, we will be eating at HIS Table. But He does appreciate when we think of Him in giving others what they need…  and plates and silverware lead to hospitality and welcoming others to eat with us.

Later that weekend I went to see a dear friend who is moving. He was boxing it all up in an orderly fashion but had an OOPS of placement of a particular ceramic plate with a scripture on it that he wanted to give to me. A weekend prior, it accidentally went into the donation pile. I said no worries! I am grateful he thought of me, whom am I to complain!  I have no deed to the plate, no sense of rights… especially since it went as oops to a good cause, a donation at a good place. It is OK, it is the “thought that counts”…

This plate and this scripture says A LOT, he told me it was green and said: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Truth in desire, hope, happiness and peace: I do want to Serve the Lord. I do want to have my family serve and understand. I actually already have this scripture on my bedroom wall as a dollar-store sticker. I have the essence of this scripture in my “to do” list…  I pray to keep this scripture in my heart.

So, where is that ceramic plate with the scripture now? Well, after visiting Sunday afternoon, I had just a few minutes to get over to that thrift shop to check. Who knows, maybe it would be a miracle waiting for me on a shelf… Well, sort of… Instead of the regular shelf, I found out that the plate and scripture is taking a couple weeks in PUBLIC display, yes PUBLIC DISPLAY!   It actually got placed into the glass cabinet silent auction section of the thrift store, displayed beautifully and requiring a minimum of 2 weeks before the silent auction is decided… I could see it and understand it – but was not my plate. I took a photo – I can always put that on my wall, LOL… So I got myself a number registered and placed a silent auction bid inside the book, no one else had bid on it yet. I can call in or stop in for about a week or so to watch the bid. 

As for my friend and his plate, they will serve the Lord. (and he does!)

Later this might become: “As for me and my plate, we will serve the Lord”, but for now, by appreciating that “mishap oops” has put scripture in a PUBLIC PLACE, this IS the Lord’s Word and His Word never returns to Him void. “… 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.” Isaiah 55:11

As for me and my bid, we will serve the Lord.  This is a good thrift shop where the money goes to rebuilding healthy homes and healthy lives. If my friend wanted to give it to me, I WOULD treasure it – but if it doesn’t come to my house, I will understand. Whatever the price paid is minimal compared to the price paid by our Savior for us.

I will wait for the plate. I will wait for the Lord.

I was happy to see the scripture was hand written on the pledge sheet. The scripture written into our hearts… I am grateful that I did see the plate – and I am grateful that I and others know this scripture. I am hoping hundreds if not thousands of people to see it too… And I hope it helps them realize what a blessing it will be when we sit down at the Lord’s dinner table one day – and use HIS PLATES…

Amen

—-

Isaiah 55

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.  “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. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

Joshua 24:14-18

“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.”

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”

Fear NOT

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Classic timing, the theme of the week is: Fear Not…. remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LordDavid in Psalm 27.

So many times we preach and teach: Fear Not, GOD’S GOT THIS… but when something happens and scares us, we have to put our faith to the fire test, but better to put His fire into our faith. We have to believe God’s Word, and live it. You and I know that we aren’t always best at this faith test, but God’s winning of our faith test can give us rest. God’s precious hold on us is the best.

I was nervous about what faith test I would be stepping into when during the “wellness fair” at work, but it was filled with free toothbrushes and insurance tips, healthy food advice and I got my free flu shot. The enthusiastic organizer invited me into the mindfulness session by another sweet lovely lady who teaches breathing and meditation techniques, had a quiet place to chat. I motioned that my mindfulness is giving prayer up to God, but later I did go talk to the nice lady. I sat and asked for armor of God in the session to protect my heart and thus protect my mind, and we had a nice short faith conversation, including how beautiful the leaves were as God’s creation. Then she explained and shared breathing techniques (which reminded me of marching band lessons) and she shared two calming scents: clove oil and lavender… Yes, these ARE wonderful fragrances (designed by the Lord no doubt) and have been a blessing to me previously… So nice moment and then I left back into work and life…  

The mindfulness or mixed-up-mind-emptying-ness all really should go back to filling up our heads with God’s assurances, be still, be living in His Living Word, put on His Armor, Fear Not

Yes, stress and humanness are our “lot in life” and require us to walk gently through this world. The fact that we are but travellers is another reason Jesus says to give Him your burdens.

Covid and college and children are many reminders of “things” for sure in my life that I need rest in God’s Hands. Having those kits are helpful to test and rest assured when you “need to know”, I’ve sent my college kids many these past years, so far so good… I’ve sent grocery money and often my college kid has taken the train home just to rest. Having God’s rest is even better… 

Focusing on today and a devotion book I read said to not be making “mushrooms grow” by worrying about tomorrow. Making mushrooms pop up all over. after a rainy stretch, was the phrase about not stressing over tomorrow but living in the present. Another friend and I shared the scripture: Do Not Worry from Jesus teaching in Matthew’s Gospel…

So, whatever term is used, we know that letting our minds race ahead of us is harmful and causes fear. God’s provisions should help us not fear. King David sang what is written down as Psalm 27 in God’s Word: The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?

I have friends who have much worse burdens than me, and just this week I’ve watched them in different stages of stress give them over to the Lord: a horrible motorcycle accident, a financial crisis, conflicts, family brokenness, a LOT of stressful scenes… makes my mushrooms of worrying about tomorrow mini in comparison to so many problems of today.

Maybe one additional aspect of our delving into old testament readings is to realize life was not perfect then and is not perfect now. Our perfect Savior is not a perfectionist of our human attributes but adding Himself into our lives as repair. Let Him Shine and help fade away our fear..  

Like Solomon had to put in the work set before Him, building a temple, we also have to put in our work. Remember, God’s got this. Fear Not.

(I will make ONE prediction for tomorrow: I bet this theme of the week will continue!)

Amen

—-

David said to Solomon his son, 1 Chronicles 28:20 “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”

—-

Psalm 27. Of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life –  of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his templeFor in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;  I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”  Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger;  you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

—-

Jesus said (in Matthew 6:25-27, 34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? CAN ANY ONE OF YOU BY WORRYING ADD A SINGLE HOUR TO YOUR LIFE?

THEREFORE DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW, FOR TOMORROW WILL WORRY ABOUT ITSELF. EACH DAY HAS ENOUGH TROUBLE OF ITS OWN.

Your Repair

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It’s not my problem Lord, but it IS Your solution.

It’s not my business, Lord, but it IS Your Company. 

It’s not my fault, Lord, but it is Your Repair. 

It’s not my issue, Lord, but it IS Your Subscription. 

It’s not my choice, Lord, but it IS Your Solution.

It’s not my intention, Lord, but it IS Your direction. 


Not Mine but Yours, Lord.


It no longer should be about my song, Lord, so make it YOUR SONG.

It no longer should be about my heart, Lord, so make it YOUR HEART.

It no longer should be about my intention Lord, so make it Your direction.

It Is Your Love that fills my Life – let me let You live it too…

Thank You Lord, for turning me around…

Thank You Lord for YOUR REPAIR to my brokenness

amen Amen AMEN

A Servant Scene. A Deep Breath of Belief.

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It was a beautiful Saturday outside, a yardsale set of sellers, a collection of comraderie in customers, purchases and peace. And then OOPS. One car backing up hit a parked car on the edge of the street, SCRAPE…  scraped the door. CRUNCH. We watched the crunch in real time, couldn’t stop it, then we saw the slow motion of emotions started churning and rolling. No one was injured but damage done. Big breath… whew…

Sadly and understandable the tears came, this was an elderly woman’s car, and she was distraught but totally together. I heard snippets of conversations and our emotions predicted that rest. I projected my issues onto the scene too, and this focused my prayers… This seemed to be a teen driver and she was so sorry. This was a mom passenger who took charge both of the accident and of the paperwork. The mom in the middle, she was then helping the hugging and in the healing. She hugged both the daughter and the woman. She was “sandwich generation” in substitute. She understood both sides and stood in the middle of the road being the bridge. Her car, her daughter, her handling of everything. Truly a SERVANT SCENE. 

That’s how the LORD is handling us, BEING OUR BRIDGE.  He is handling our world, our situation, our crunch scenes, our scrape ups and He already handled our salvation. A SERVANT SCENE. The Lord is standing in our roads, being our advocate, gathering the info and the flock. Showing that even in stress, God’s help shows His strength of healing. His love as a bridge. God the Father, God the Son Jesus, and God in His Holy Spirit. God takes charge of calming the accidents and always handling the heavy healing. 

God has enough capacity to hold the world in His Hands, and so He does, bringing His people up close to His heart. 

I don’t know the total stress that was caused or how each person dealt with it completely as it looked like they were handling it fine and us as viewers took on the burden of angst, amd we felt the weight of being emotional bridges. Most importantly we started praying with empathy.

YES PRAYER DOES HELP.

Having the “birds eye view”, it is easy to be “analytical” and to just see the paperwork and “easy” steps take care if repairs, but we all know there are slow motion hurdles in all the fixes and repairs to tackle. Since I was a watcher and not a participant, I had to participate in ACTIVE PRAYER above all, especially for safe travels in that scene the rest of the day.

God is with us totally in the moment and IS a watcher AND participant. God never leaves us.

Stressed scenes show us God’s LOVE seeping in.  God IS in the mix because He is holding His World of people in His companionship and hope. God wants us to know He has us in His Hands, Heart, Healing. 

Deep breath of belief. 

Amen

A servant scene of prayer strengthens hearts…

Amen 

Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:6-7

Repent and Be Restored

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My favorite season has always been Fall, but I miss the Summer warmth. The Autumn reminds us to appreciate the warming sunshine before winter.  My favorite holiday was always Halloween, and I understand that desire to deck out the decorations like crazy… But ever since I’ve drawn closer to the Lord, I’ve drawn away (or tried to) from ghouls and ghosts. I never liked the blood and gore, I’ve removed vampires and zombies in my celebrations. I’ve never been a fan of ghost tours, but they bring big bucks to struggling historic sites. I don’t believe in ghosts (even if Casper IS friendly). I DO BELIEVE in angels and the Heaven’s Spirit army here among us. I believe in “buffering angels” in near-accidents, those miracle misses, I believe in warriors fighting evil in the unseen realm. We surely have felt day to day life interventions by Good over evil. God IS fighting our battles and He has won the war.

I have no use for witchcraft, but maybe I still have a couple witch hats in the costume collection. We are not perfect and live in fun portrayals over going overboard, but we must be careful not to weaken our worship. I believe in good apples over eating tainted ones. Snow White agrees… I believe in spider webs and want to put a giant one over my house one year.

I believe we need to skip practicing divination over PRAYER. Prayer works. But who are we to petition without first humbling ourselves to say “You’ve got this Lord.” Praise of God must come first. Praise Prayers Petition. Provisions is what God always brings. Some of our problems are what others would praise to have. Count our blessings. 

King Manasseh, son of Hezekiah (a mostly good king), practiced EVIL divination and witchcraft, worshiped false gods, worshiped the stars and moon falsely, and sought mediums. He angered the Lord. 

I don’t think I need to understand divining rods but when I was a child I did watch a man, with one Y-shaped stick, try to find a best placement of a new house and perhaps a new well out in a farmers field. This was for a friend of a friend and I don’t know how much they paid him. And who knows how what he was thinking – the stick was Y shaped and the long end would lean towards the ground, like a needle on a mechanical gauge. I would like to think if one earnestly prayed for where do dig for water, the Lord would give you a sense without needing the stick.  I know prayer works. I do believe that God gave me a hunch that day I lost my crab overnight in the house, I prayed, I was led to the exact corner of the laundry room where I found him, covered in dust. I believe in God’s power and mercy and grace. 

I’m sure king Manasseh was shaken up well by God’s punishment, by “letting” him get overrun by foreign armies and taken away to Babylon (*they put a hook in his nose!*). The scriptures say Manasseh repented BIG TIME. SORRY LORD! Perhaps this is where the phrase “oh man!” could be applied, “oh MANasseh, you went too far”… and God watched you go there too…

took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly…”

Manasseh repented and repaired and removed false and brought back worship of TRUTH. God intended His HOPE for the people to continue thru that line of David to when Jesus would arrive. Repentance and restoration, this is for us, for all, and all thru Jesus. 

What about us? Can we drift and go down wrong paths? Yes. Can we repent and return to His Path, His Worship? Yes Yes. YES!!!! 

Over and over again we are taught how others went astray and we have to be careful ourselves not to be whisked away from our Godly sense, an uncommon sense as well as our common sense of right and wrong. Just like we shouldn’t indulge in OVERDOING it with all the yummy but cheap glossy candy bars lining wide paths of destruction to our sensible eating, we must choose wisely (with wisdom) to FOLLOW THE LORD and not the glitzy lights of false gods or goo. Go for the BEST candy sweets in moderation, and the NARROW path of sweet salvation with FULL devotion. 

I am not perfect, no one is, just Jesus IS perfection. Yet we can try fresh each day to sacrifice our own glitz to follow His True Light. 

Manasseh made amends, we can make AMENS and believe in the forgiveness of God and repent. 

Repent and be restored. 

Amen 

*and WHEW, Thank You God!


2 Chronicles 33

Manasseh King of Judah

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.

He took the image he had made and put it in God’s temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. I will not again make the feet of the Israelites leave the land I assigned to your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them concerning all the laws, decrees and regulations given through Moses.” But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.

The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.

Afterward he rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, west of the Gihon spring in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate and encircling the hill of Ophel; he also made it much higher. He stationed military commanders in all the fortified cities in Judah.

He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.

The other events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are written in the annals of the kings of Israel. His prayer and how God was moved by his entreaty, as well as all his sins and unfaithfulness, and the sites where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself—all these are written in the records of the seers. Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his palace. And Amon his son succeeded him as king.

Dipped in the Light

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The moon shows us that each dark night is dipped into the light of the next day… Night is just waiting patiently, silently, peacefully to be overtaken by morning… Morning WILL come.

Our sin and our whole selves are dipped in a cleansing LIGHT for the next LIFE, God’s Light. We are covered in Jesus’s blood and now we SHINE white-as-snow – no blemishes – no doubt. We are His because He loved us before we were even created. He was and is and will be.

Jesus WILL come again for us – He will meet us in the sky.

Keep watching for His Light.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

AMEN!

Don’t Mock God

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Short and stern message over and over again in the old testament scriptures:

DON’T MOCK GOD!

DON’T TURN AWAY FROM GOD!

King Hezekiah was faithful and wow God blessed his people when they took the time to offer gratitude to God.

PRAISE GOD FIRST!

TRUST GOD!

Hezekiah had a kingdom of the people of Judah in the southern divided kingdom containing David’s city, now embedded in modern Jerusalem) … Well, the king of Assyria came after them and their riches and MOCKED God. So, the first thing Hezekiah did was block off the water supply outside the city (The city of David was flanked by the Central Valley and Kidron Valley). Then he repaired walls, kept up his defenses. (We too must channel the flow of living water in ourselves, also build up and repair the walls of toughness against ridicule, all while staying alive and staying faithful. )

There is a great book with photos of Hezekiah’s tunnel for the water, and recreated renditions of David’s city, available as a PDF WITH PHOTOS here: https://www.generationword.com/jerusalem101/19-city-of-david.html The walls and tunnels of Hezekiah’s time still exist, 2700 years later!

Well, Hezekiah blocked the water from the Assyrians and had to endure hearing all the mocking. Hezekiah and prophet Isaiah called out in prayer. God thru an angel destroyed the whole Assyrian army. The king Sennacherib was then killed by his own flesh and blood. Hezekiah was faithful and rescued and respected. 

Mocking people and Mocking God, we should not do either. Even the evil people are made in God’s image, so surely this pertains to Jesus telling us to love our enemies. Put on our armor of God. We should let God handle the rest. God’s got angels and His own anger. We’ve got praise and prayer. We’ve also got forgiveness and so many reasons to love as we are loved. Forgiveness is MUCH stronger than the weapons waged against you. Forgiveness overcame even death.

God’s love wins.

Amen 

—–

2 Chronicles 32:1-23

After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself. When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to wage war against Jerusalem, he consulted with his officials and military staff about blocking off the water from the springs outside the city, and they helped him. They gathered a large group of people who blocked all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land. “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?” they said. Then he worked hard repairing all the broken sections of the wall and building towers on it. He built another wall outside that one and reinforced the terraces of the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields.

He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

Later, when Sennacherib king of Assyria and all his forces were laying siege to Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah king of Judah and for all the people of Judah who were there: “This is what Sennacherib king of Assyria says: On what are you basing your confidence, that you remain in Jerusalem under siege? When Hezekiah says, ‘The Lord our God will save us from the hand of the king of Assyria,’ he is misleading you, to let you die of hunger and thirst. Did not Hezekiah himself remove this god’s high places and altars, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before one altar and burn sacrifices on it’?

“Do you not know what I and my predecessors have done to all the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand? Who of all the gods of these nations that my predecessors destroyed has been able to save his people from me? How then can your god deliver you from my hand? Now do not let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my predecessors. How much less will your god deliver you from my hand!”

Sennacherib’s officers spoke further against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah. The king also wrote letters ridiculing the Lord, the God of Israel, and saying this against him: “Just as the gods of the peoples of the other lands did not rescue their people from my hand, so the god of Hezekiah will not rescue his people from my hand.” Then they called out in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to terrify them and make them afraid in order to capture the city. They spoke about the God of Jerusalem as they did about the gods of the other peoples of the world—the work of human hands.

King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. And the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace. And when he went into the temple of his god, some of his sons, his own flesh and blood, cut him down with the sword.

So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them on every side. Many brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord and valuable gifts for Hezekiah king of Judah. From then on he was highly regarded by all the nations.

………………………

FALLing for Jesus

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Don’t worry: Jesus said: not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you…

A leaf that changes from green to the reds and oranges and yellows in the fall is absorbing back the vital magnesium (Mg) from the center of the chlorophyll molecule. Carbon, Hydrogen. Nitrogen, Oxygen and Magnesium held together “just so”. Leaves are modifying and producing pigments and allowing the leaves to go thru a “natural” process of aging, recovering Nitrogen from protein breakdown and recovering other nutrients (like the Mg) for next spring’s leafing out and fruit production. Absorbed is the light needed for photosynthesis production and life. Plants have multiple types of chlorophylls, anthocyanins and carotenoids which color the plant parts we see and eat. The color we see is from reflection of the light wavelengths not absorbed. 

This is where I mention Jesus as the Light, not from the sun, not from a reflection of God, but from Himself being God, One with God. He IS the Light of the world, and we ARE blessed to both absorb Him and reflect Him and to let Him shine thru us.

Perhaps in our phase of life or year we are leafing out, ready to work all summer. Perhaps our lives are preparing for winter, slowing down some work like photosynthesis but still very active like accumulating vital nutrients for the whole tree to keep living. Perhaps it is time to let go of our tree life this year and venture out to the piles of groundcover to travel all around with the wind (Holy Spirit lead me). Perhaps we can join in with others to be a jumping pile for JOY, or be creature comfort cover for winter warmth (for both plants and animals or for people in need of our collective warmth). Perhaps and eventually we can be what breaks down and replenishes the ground with our nutrient gifts. Breaking down does not mean giving up, it is often for giving back. We replenish others with what we don’t need as we move forward. 

MOVE TOWARDS THE LIGHT.

Amen


A poem:

Falling for Jesus

Jesus and we are to be living His Reflection, each of our days.

Jesus and we, like leaves, have temporary physical earthly stays.

Jesus and we can FOREVER live Spiritually our relationship together in all His Ways.

Falling for Jesus

Jesus and we are to be reflecting His Life’s Life for all to see. 

Jesus and we only have minimal time on this tree. 

Jesus and we must know our ultimate phase is so very Heavenly. 

Falling for Jesus

Amen 

The Palm of God’s Hand

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I’d rather be held in the palm of God’s Hand,

Than live in the lap of luxury. 

I’d rather be a sheep of our Shepherd,  

Than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

I’d rather follow the Light of the world, 

Than be a flash in the pan.

I’d rather be humble, 

Than be filled with any false pride.

I’d rather be walking alone with the Lord, 

Than following the crowd. 

I’d rather follow a narrow path to life,

Than a wide swath of destruction. 

I’d rather ride the waves,

Than rock the boat.

I’d rather Jesus HAD me,

Than me have anything. 

Amen

Deuteronomy 13:1-4

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

I’d Rather Have Jesus 

Rhea Miller/George Beverly Shea 

“I’d rather have Jesus  than silver and gold.

I’d rather be His, than have riches untold. 

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.

I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand

Chorus:

Than to be the king of a vast domain

Or be held in sin’s dread sway.

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame.

I’d rather be true to His holy name [Chorus]

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs.

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead [Chorus]

This Interruption brought to you by God

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A favorite song lyric: “You have every failure, God, You have every victory…”

His juices flow in my dreams, I’m creative but not to that level. I just now woke up from being a fly on the wall for Queen Elizabeth’s personal life away from the cameras and then later talking to Sir Paul McCartney and transcribing down a new catchy song he was creatively assembling in his head and guitar fingers, spilling it out in rhyme. It was going to be a great song, I could tell, more of a Wings song than a Beatles song, LOL. I missed writing the 3rd verse in the dream, and of course didn’t write any of it down for real because I was dreaming. I can witness in wakefulness now that the real reels turning in my head were/are God’s creativity. 

You have every failure, God, You have every victory

And somewhere after the jumbled untangling dreams with the Queen’s insights of avoiding being followed, (trying to find private time for herself) and later learning about heartache from Paul McCartney and later how his creativity juices just bubbled up to song, I was then INTERRUPTED from a strong dream that was starting to go bad, starting to be very harmful to my ego.I knew waking up it was rubbish. 

Dreaming must be God combing our brain folds as He combs our hair. When He is taking time curating and straightening out thoughts being knit in our brain folds, it is as if He is separating the seeds from the chaff or picking the bad thought briers from our knit sweaters, those pesky seeds who come along like hitchhikers. He is getting us to a better state, pruning us. 

God is always looking to bless us, teach us. He is much more elaborate and vast and minutely detailed than each of us could comprehend. In this goof turned bad dream, my emotions were threatened to being exposed instead of me quietly taking in criticism. I was being hard-pressed and perplexed in spirit but not crushed! NOT CRUSHED! God WOKE me up to show me the garbage He was throwing away. God was separating the harvest of thoughts like He separates the delicate good wheat from the weeds sub-planted by the evil one.

God’s creativity in me is His. God’s love in us is His.

In this dream I was being singled out and maybe legitimately, but the criticism was manufactuted by evil forces who did not place these into my head while being asleep, but placed the bad thorn seeds while I was awake, only to sprout later. That happens to all of us, perhaps as super sensitive folks we absorb the criticism too much. I  hate being criticized, and in the dream I was being criticized or observed by an external unknowlegable person for something that was NOT previously stated as something being measured, a metric made up artificially for tracking. It doesn’t matter to explain this, just know that THIS IS WHERE GOD INTERVENED, halted the train of destructive thought, WOKE ME UP.

God’s combing every hair on our heads, both because He knows them and because He is picking out the gum that some evil influence tossed at us. God’s purification is complete when Jesus covers us with His blood. Blood over blemishes. 

“The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity”

Let God complete the good work He started in us! (Ok back to bed, good dreams God please!)

Amen 

—-

“Taking all I have, and now I’m laying it at Your feet

You have every failure, God, You have every victory”

—-

Song: You Say. By Lauren Daigle 

Listen link: https://youtu.be/HqpNGYbcy3U

Lyrics:

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough

Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low

Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know

Ooh-oh

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

And you say I am held when I am falling short

And when I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours

And I believe (I) Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I) I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity

Ooh-oh

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

And you say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours

And I believe (I) Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I) Oh, I believe

Taking all I have, and now I’m laying it at Your feet

You have every failure, God, You have every victory

Ooh-oh

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours

And I believe (I), Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

—-

Matthew 13:24-30, 34-43

The Parable of the Weeds

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Kneading God’s Bread

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I’ve been reading and reading about good kings and bad kings in divided kingdoms in Chronicles, restoring the temple, robbing and ruining the temple, listening to God thru His prophets and ignoring them… Their loyalty or cruelty caused the people to follow or not, then the Israel’s and Judah’s people were whisked away to captivity… 

So much history. The Word folds it’s to us, His listening people, in multiple sets of scriptures of the same important timeframe… and we can see this is all in preparation for Jesus to come as the Messiah. King Hezekiah had Prophet Isaiah to teach them, and us, both that God kept His Word and that the Word was fortelling Himself becoming flesh

This preparation of the Word is both telling of the gathering of people from David’s bloodline and the needing of understanding WHY the bloodline is being preserved. Each turn of the good and bad kings is like folding a delicate batter over “in a fold” with a spatula. Each set of peoples another “fold” or flock of people Jesus came to save. These churnings and learnings are like KNEADING the earthly dough of the Bread of Life. Needing this Messiah, God’s leading was kneading and working His Word of Himself into the world. 

Our reading and reading is like kneading and needing His Word in us.

Jesus Was and Is and Is to come, never changing as God, but humbling Himself to help us here get up there. 

These “good” and “good turned bad” kings returned to listening for stretches of time, similarly God was stretching the dough. They listened to the prophets and this dough was proofing Itself (as Jesus is fully Gid) and gaining rise, until He allowed Himself knocked down for the Final Bake. Done. Knock on the Bread of Life and hear Him knocking back on your door, asking you to remember Him when He is broken…

God’s forever Temple restored in Heaven’s Kingdom with Jesus’s Sacrifice – never to crumble again. Now we are gathering the crumbles of the remnants of peoples. Now Jesus IS calling in ALL His Flocks back into His Folds. May we pray they hear with opened ears.

Hezekiah brought people back to celebrate the Passover. Jesus IS the lamb slaughtered for us, we are covered in His Blood. Hezekiah prayed for those who did not come clean and God forgave them. Jesus came to clean and God forgives us. “…and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.”

Jesus came. Jesus is the now-leavened RISEN Bread. He was and is proof of His bloodline foretold. Jesus took the Time to save us. 

May we realize our need of His knead and Rise with Him!

Amen 

2nd Chronicles 29:1-12

Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done.

In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.  Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.”

Then these Levites set to work……

2nd Chronicles 30:1-9, 17-20, 26-27

Hezekiah Celebrates the Passover

Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. The king and his officials and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month. They had not been able to celebrate it at the regular time because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. The plan seemed right both to the king and to the whole assembly. They decided to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. It had not been celebrated in large numbers according to what was written. At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read: People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”

.. 

Since many in the crowd had not consecrated themselves, the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all those who were not ceremonially clean and could not consecrate their lambs[a] to the Lord.  Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.

—-

Another blog about Hezekiah:

Sink or Swim, Jesus Pulls and You’re In

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Sink or swim?

Let Jesus pull you in.

Need a save?

Your sin feels grave?

Original sin,

And all the you stuff bundled in.

Well because of Him,

You’re forgiven. 

Think you don’t rate?

Jesus says you’re great. 

Doesn’t depend upon your IQ,

Jesus simply loves you. 

His love makes your amends. 

His love NEVER ends.

Sink or swim, keep Him in view. 

Jesus is our total rescue. 

Amen 

Be Humble and Happy

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Over and over and over again, Second Chronicles talks about kings who follow the Lord for a little bit then their PRIDE gets the best of them. Let’s try to not be so prideful as Christians, as Americans, as anything. However we are human and flawed and we are going to be proud of many things. I know that I get personally prideful of LOTS of things, so I need to tell myself more often that it’s a blessing not a boast. Yes, we (especially me) must have more praises of thanks to God over any pride… As we seek the Lord, let us kneel humbly in awe over standing proud 

King Uzziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of [priest] Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.

Second Chronicles 26 recounts an episode of this king Uzziah (mostly good at the beginning) of getting carried away, then being afflicted by leprosy instantly. His plight reminds us that we best not get too big for our britches! 

A friend posted a share from a Facebook page that used pride and Christian in the title. I’m not sure they posted anything skrtchy, but the title scared me… As Jesus did, surely we all should TRY to walk away from even getting close to straddling the line of prideful showboating or strutting, and instead hope to hold onto humble gratitude. 

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13

Here is king Uzziah’s story, he and we are not perfect but God’s line thru the House of David was kept intact. It brought HOPE, brought us Jesus to take our sins away. We don’t deserve this but Jesus saved us anyway. Now, we won’t be blemish-looking to God when He sees Jesus’s sacrificial coverage over our skin. Jesus saved our skin.

Be humble AND happy. Amen

Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king [of Judah], and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. 

… 

His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful. But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.”

Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him.

King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land. 

Dusty Trail

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Thru my desert wandering in life, I never stopped talking to God. We discussed everything… We still do, but sometime (many times) I neglect to Listen. So, when I forget to check in with Him, as can happen often, I find that He has never left me – He leaves me not JUST a breadcrumb-of-life trail back to Him, but also the freedom to view the dust trail I left behind, walking away… However, Jesus says “Look Forward. Walk Forward.” And thru His love, He is washing that dusty trail away. Jesus Reigns and Rains.

Dust is from Him as we are human and made from His dust. Our paths can be quite varied but always better when we walk WITH Him. He will keep us safe, let us find that narrow passage back.

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

People who have sprouted in the thorny soils (see Luke 8) get choked away from their faith – people who are in rocky soil have no depth and will fade away…  I myself was the dry soil – I did not know Christ until I knew Christ – I had blockages of “show me the data”. I believed that Jesus could have been a prophet with a publicist – and even though I trusted God 100% and believed in the Holy Spirit, I was not knowing in my heart how the mystery of Three in One was not something to solve but something to believe and be in AWE for. So it was God who brought me to Jesus using the Holy Spirit to direct our Way… 

The Gospel is written for different audiences – we too can study soils, personality types, and with the Holy Spirit help, we can be gentle breezes of convincers or thunderous convincers. Often we find that the people don’t know what they don’t know, so who are we to judge…. We can be like paraclete Philip and explain things… We can add Jesus-like actions to hydrate dry dust with Living Water.

Dust is all scattered… but the rains of Living Water will seep down into every crevice and every holdout. We can not hide from God and our Spirit does not want to.

Let the King Reign and Rain onto our Dusty Trails. We are made in His Image of His Dust, Let Him hydrate us all to Glory.

Amen

Good Save

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I had to go back to my cheat sheet (pictured) for 2nd Chronicles 22 23 24… perfect reading for a rainy day of staying inside… the names are a puzzle of A’s and J’s, but the stories are all about the good saves…

Summarizing, the good kings get killed and the bad kings get killed. Yup… And often at the hands of each other. Importantly, the southern divided kingdom, Judah, was where David’s descendants were kept as a blood line from where Jesus’s earthly Light would be born into.  “Does anything good come from Judah?” They would ask later on… Well, YEAH!

So after GOOD king Jehoshaphat, his son king Jehoram was BAD, grandson king Ahaziah was also BAD plus his mother Queen Athaliah was SUPER BAD, she even revenged king Ahaziah’s death by killing the whole rest of the family except one. (Her son Ahaziah was killed by the north bad king Jehu… remember all north was bad, and south kings had glimmers of good in a few, very few). (If you think your family or people you know have family drama, surely Jesus can say: I UNDERSTAND! Both men and women good and bad… but God is not stopped. )

Ok, so here was a GOOD SAVE. Queen Athaliah killed the whole family line in Judah EXCEPT a hidden away baby, Joash, hidden for 6 years. Joash became king at age 7, he was good for a while, known for rebuilding Solomon’s temple. The woman who saved king Joash, Jehosheba, was a daughter of a king, sister of a king, wife of a priest Jehoiada.  It is SO important that we can see many women in The Bible who were so very responsible for God’s mission on earth coming to fruition. Women bear fruit! Physically and emotionally and strategically.  SO IMPORTANT that these women were in the right place at the right time. 

It is also SO important that good priests kept faith and were advisors to kings! Even now. You don’t have to be a king to make a big difference in the kingdom. There’s a quote: “We are not on Earth to see how important we can become, but to see how we can make a difference in people’s lives.”

And so king Joash was protected by strong brave woman Jehosheba and strong brave priest Jehoiada. Evil Queen Athaliah lashed out “Treason, Treason” and was captured and put to death. The kingdom people rejoiced and under priest Jehoiada’s inspiration went out and destroyed the false god Baal’s idol worship areas. Priest Jehoiada made good counsel for king Joash, and helped the kingdom people restore the temple, paid the builders, keep the line of David intact by finding wives for Joash for their children to be born into David’s line. 

Sadly, later after priest Jehoiada dies. Joash abandoned the temple of the Lord and worshiped false idols again. God’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen. Peopleforgot/forget God and all He’s done...

Joash even forgot about the good done by priest Jehoiada and when his son, priest Zechariah, was filled with the spirit of the Lord and warned them, they stoned him to death by order of king Joash.

So, these good kings were not perfect and the temple was built and torn down, robbed, repurposed for worship of false gods again. What a contrast to the final GOOD TEMPLE, GOOD KING of all kings, Jesus.  When Jesus came He said this Temple (meaning Himself) would be knocked down but RAISED FOREVER.  Jesus got both the kingdom and us into the best GOOD SAVE. 

Kings will come and go. But Jesus rules over all. (And how refreshing to see the saving work of so many women AND men in the Bible. This is Jesus’s story of us, the good the bad  and the saved…)

Yes, Jesus, the Light from Judah, was and is OUR GOOD SAVE. 

Amen

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Exerpts from 2nd Chronicles 22-24

[North king Jehu] went in search of (South king] Ahaziah, and his men captured him while he was hiding in Samaria. He was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him, for they said, “He was a son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart.” So there was no one in the house of Ahaziah powerful enough to retain the kingdom. When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him. He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.

Ch23:18on Then Jehoiada placed the oversight of the temple of the Lord in the hands of the Levitical priests, to whom David had made assignments in the temple, to present the burnt offerings of the Lord as written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and singing, as David had ordered. He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s temple so that no one who was in any way unclean might enter.

He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the nobles, the rulers of the people and all the people of the land and brought the king down from the temple of the Lord. They went into the palace through the Upper Gate and seated the king on the royal throne.  All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword.

Ch24:

Joash Repairs the Temple

Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada chose two wives for him, and he had sons and daughters.

Some time later Joash decided to restore the temple of the Lord. He called together the priests and Levites and said to them, “Go to the towns of Judah and collect the money due annually from all Israel, to repair the temple of your God. Do it now.” But the Levites did not act at once.

Therefore the king summoned Jehoiada the chief priest and said to him, “Why haven’t you required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax imposed by Moses the servant of the Lord and by the assembly of Israel for the tent of the covenant law?”

Now the sons of that wicked woman Athaliah had broken into the temple of God and had used even its sacred objects for the Baals.

At the king’s command, a chest was made and placed outside, at the gate of the temple of the Lord. A proclamation was then issued in Judah and Jerusalem that they should bring to the Lord the tax that Moses the servant of God had required of Israel in the wilderness. All the officials and all the people brought their contributions gladly, dropping them into the chest until it was full. Whenever the chest was brought in by the Levites to the king’s officials and they saw that there was a large amount of money, the royal secretary and the officer of the chief priest would come and empty the chest and carry it back to its place. They did this regularly and collected a great amount of money.  The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who carried out the work required for the temple of the Lord. They hired masons and carpenters to restore the Lord’s temple, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the temple.

The men in charge of the work were diligent, and the repairs progressed under them. They rebuilt the temple of God according to its original design and reinforced it. When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money to the king and Jehoiada, and with it were made articles for the Lord’s temple: articles for the service and for the burnt offerings, and also dishes and other objects of gold and silver. As long as Jehoiada lived, burnt offerings were presented continually in the temple of the Lord.

Now Jehoiada was old and full of years and he died at the age of a hundred and thirty.  He was buried with the kings in the City of David, because of the good he had done in Israel for God and his temple.

The Wickedness of Joash: After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.

Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’”

But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. King Joash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, “May the Lord see this and call you to account.”

At the turn of the year, the army of Aram marched against Joash; it invaded Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the people. They sent all the plunder to their king in Damascus. Although the Aramean army had come with only a few men, the Lord delivered into their hands a much larger army. Because Judah had forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, judgment was executed on Joash. When the Arameans withdrew, they left Joash severely wounded. His officials conspired against him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest, and they killed him in his bed. So he died and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

Those who conspired against him were Zabad, son of Shimeath an Ammonite woman, and Jehozabad, son of Shimrith a Moabite woman. The account of his sons, the many prophecies about him, and the record of the restoration of the temple of God are written in the annotations on the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son succeeded him as king.

The Biggest Rock First

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I told coworkers, both junior and super senior to me about a work seminar, “Executive Motherhood”, which I took time to attend last week. It was about thinking STRATEGY vs EXECUTION to get stuff done. So I remembered and suggested to them this GREAT video as a GREAT reminder for “putting first things first” (which you know works even better when we put the Lord first and give Him our burdens). The four-minute video below is a Franklin Covey effective habit, putting big rocks into a jar first then the little ones. It doesn’t work otherwise. Please watch it or the many videos like it. Little pebbles or sand represent the many small things that clog the way of big important things to place in your life. Yet the small stuff also is important to get done. It’s all about what you do first.

Put the best and biggest rocks (and Rock) FIRST in life, that’s the recommendation for how we are to structure our days. Of course this concept really is about the Lord of our days, letting Him lead our ways,  being our foundation. We also see over and over again in scripture how God blesses the praising, the preparation, the obedience, and the moments we let Him Work for us. Be Still and know He is Lord. 

It’s not a surprise but an amazing wonder that when I rearranged my thinking these past few days, that God got me super organized and got me focused… and I finished many things work-wise with good gaps for enjoyment too, like an hour phone call with a friend inside an arboretum near work as my late lunch. One thing that got pushed on me as super urgent last week was, but I knew the other folders on my desk were so close to being finished and more pressing and more deadline looming And with any new projects, we can see more time being wasted in freak outs over work. But that all subsides when we all get down to business). How I responded first was in prayer then rearranged just so slightly those folders (physical and mental), then I worked on the urgent project enough to placate the worriers and the planners, and I was then gifted back the incentive to clear out those old things from my plate. Now I both have more time to work on this AND someone took something off my plate too. Now I have found that in serving, God found a short window of opportunity for me to travel up home too (early next week). FIRST THINGS FIRST. In life, in family, in work, in everything. Yeah, the Lord arranged and worked me to rework my head. That how He led.

Each day let us start with the Lord as a FIRM FOUNDATION. He can Plan like no other. REALLY!!!

Clearly the Lord is the BIGGEST Rock for us. PUT HIM FIRST. Put Him first ESPECIALLY because He WAS here first and He already knows our future (not in predetermined fate but in prepared walk with Him). 

Each day can shake out in His Way. 

Rock of Ages. (Don’t take Him for granite).

Amen 

(PS that granite joke is accredited to a great preacher friend who is a reacher to people for God… thanks)

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Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/zV3gMTOEWt8

Good Good God

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A dear friend just lost his pet, so many years a great companion…  Truly the dog was a gift from God to my friend, just as many of our pets are to us. He was a good dog. They took care of each other. To each other they were a Godsend. 

This friend was/is also a preacher and one day he was telling the special needs adult group at a church service about his dog and you could have heard a pin drop in the sanctuary, they intensely paid attention to him talking about his sweet dog. He was clearly conveying a message about the love of the dog.

Likewise, on the few weeks I visited, when my friend was preaching the gospel to these folks (and their caregivers), just about 5 or 10 minutes, it always seemed the special needs adults mostly calmed quietly. Less jittery. Less distractions. Less noise. It was mysteriously marvelous. They were clinically mentally challenged, but it seemed that when the Word of God was spoken, they were faithfully fulfilled by the Good Word in that good environment. That’s not just cool, that’s God. And how amazing that He IS a Good Good God. That’s the mystery of His Ways.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1Cor2

I also listened intensely and intently whenever my friend would preach the Word. I was drawn to TRUTH and even now realize I was living as if the Lord was cracking open the unopened unwrapped newness in my gift of Spirit. And my Spirit still has yearn to learn. One day, a separate moment, our pastor was saying how amazed he was that the Word, that this first preaching friend said, had touched him so deeply,  such perfect timing. My friend said: “Well you know that’s not me, right?” That’s truth for us to remember, the Spirit uses us to reach others. 

God not only has control of our situations, He has something to teach us about ourselves, and always something to say thru His Word. He calls us to listen, but it is how “in tune” we are that helps us comprehend what He means. Inside us is where we can comprehends the Spirit spoken. The Spirit hidden there wants to be aware, because God Himself placed and holds Himself protected inside us. Jesus asked God the Father for this Advocate to be with us.

The Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 1Cor2

God’s servants serve the Spirit.

Another friend preacher, who listened to the Spirit within, made a move to an army training base as a chaplain. Great to follow him on Facebook. He’s been baptizing many many army recruits, as adults becoming aware of theircommitment to the LORD’S ARMY. So beautiful to see this movement of the Lord. Over the weekend this preacher moved up one soldier in the crowd watching the baptism line who was in full tears, knowing the movement of the Spirit. He was baptizing him in full uniform. All watching, by the Spirit, truly knew this was the life changing movement of the Lord’s Spirit FOR the Lord FOR that soul. 

God knows us, so He sent Himself to help. 

Each of us fully human are continually tapping more and more into our Spirit from Him, IF we listen and obey. Our Spirits get unwrapped from the protective wrapping inside, just in God’s Timing. This Spiritual awakening awareness can be heard as a continual crinkle inside our souls of the plastic wrap coming off, a need for our souls to ABSORB the Living Water of Jesus, hydrating and healing. We are a Spirit Sponge, actually we are spiritual mud made from dust which absorbs the water laid on us by our Potter, our Creator. Our vessels made stronger by the hard pressing of the world outside, but don’t crumble because of the building by the Spirit from within.  God’s dust holds water.

He IS a Good Good God. God holds His Hope for us inside. Our GPS, our God Positioning System, TRUST HIM. 

Amen 

(Just now, my Godsend of a cat jumped up as I finish, she sits patiently as if an angel told her to chill.)

I believe in God the Father, Jesus His Only Son, and the Holy Spirit, God three in One.

With Him, our dust has just begun. 

Amen Amen 

Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.

With whom, then, will you compare God?  To what image will you liken him? As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple.

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground,

than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:13-26