God’s work…God’s glory…

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 6:11-19

 

 So he caused the ark of the LORD to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

 Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.

 And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets blew continually.

 And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.

 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.

 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city.

 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.

 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it.

 But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.”

 

The people of Israel are warned that God’s wrath comes upon the whole company for the error committed by one. We can bring God’s displeasure upon our whole group of fellowship if one of us does something contrary to God’s command. This side of God is not often presented. We have salvation; but we can still be subject to God’s discipline. God’s people had His assurance of victory; but they were warned of consequences for disobedience. With the release to shout! victory! came a serious warning. We have victory but that does not make us untouchable…It is so very important to be alert and aware; to the words and actions of those we affiliate ourselves with and our own words and actions. God’s people’s’ victory shout was tempered with a reminder that we are to follow God’s command and give Him the glory. Premature shouting would have been an open door to self-glorification and gloating. We must avoid taking credit for what God has done.

 

The temptation to keep what was not theirs would also have been great for a people wandering the past 40 years in the wilderness. They would want the ‘spoils’ of the victory. However, this victory was God’s not theirs and the perceived ‘spoils’ were God’s not theirs. They were to do with the ‘spoils’ what God required of them. When we are given the victory over a battle in our lives, the ‘spoils’ like the victory belong to God. We need to be sure we are following all of God’s commands. Taking credit for any victory would be to usurp the glory due God.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Take care of His temple…

Ezekiel 44:1-9

Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. 2 And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. 3 As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.”

4 Also He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD; and I fell on my face. 5 And the LORD said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.

6 “Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of all your abominations. 7 When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it—My house—and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your abominations. 8 And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.” 9 Thus says the Lord GOD: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=44&t=nkjvp>

The entrance is closed to all once the glory of God has entered.  We are his temple.  When we receive his presence at the cross, our minds- the east gate- are closed to all else.  We become focused upon the Lord, His thoughts and His ways; we are new the old has gone.

“…This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. …”

Need it be said to be careful what we expose our minds to?  Our God is a jealous God – we are to keep to Him only.  We are not to allow ‘foreigners’ – anything that can be anti- or other than- God based- anything that does not hold to Him only- entrance to our temple.

“… “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel….”

We are consecrated; set apart for Him only.

Take away:  What do we spend our time on?  To whom do we allow entrance to our inner self and mind?  When we allow outside influences, – those influences other than  the Lord’s we are inviting ‘foreigners’  into His temple, our body,  mind and spirit.  He calls this desecrating His sanctuary.

“….you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it…”

We can be alert, aware of what we expose our minds and inner selves to.  Monitor the influences we expose ourselves to; He says pay close attention to…

“… mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary….”

Pride goes before a fall…the greatest cedar of them all

Ezekiel 31:1-9

Now it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his multitude:

​‘​Whom are you like in your greatness?

3 ​​Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon,

​​With fine branches that shaded the forest,

​​And of high stature;

​​And its top was among the thick boughs.

4 ​​The waters made it grow;

​​Underground waters gave it height,

​​With their rivers running around the place where it was planted,

​​And sent out rivulets to all the trees of the field.

5 ​‘​Therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of the field;

​​Its boughs were multiplied,

​​And its branches became long because of the abundance of water,

​​As it sent them out.

6 ​​All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs;

​​Under its branches all the beasts of the field brought forth their young;

​​And in its shadow all great nations made their home.

7 ​‘​Thus it was beautiful in greatness and in the length of its branches,

​​Because its roots reached to abundant waters.

8 ​​The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it;

​​The fir trees were not like its boughs,

​​And the chestnut [fn1] trees were not like its branches;

​​No tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty.

9 ​​I made it beautiful with a multitude of branches,

​​So that all the trees of Eden envied it,

​​That were in the garden of God.’

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=31&v=1&t=NKJVP>

A message to Egypt of another nation, one great as they,  likened to a great cedar and  given in a poem.  This poetry describes the nation of Assyria as a great cedar, created by God.

“..I made it beautiful with a multitude of branches,…”

He tells of its beauty, the safety of its branches, the comfort of its boughs.  But this great cedar, although it was taller than all the rest was brought down.

“…Therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of the field;

​​Its boughs were multiplied,…”

Pride goes before a fall and the greater they are the greater the fall.  For their pride judgment came through Nebuchadnezzar.  They ceased to be a great nation, the cedar was brought down.  Our take away from this – never forget who created us, gave us life, gave us abilities, placed us where we are.  To some he gives much and to some little but whatever we receive be careful to always give God the glory and the credit.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Where does the Holy One reside?

Acts 7:48-53

“However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

‘Heaven is My throne,

And earth is My footstool.

What house will you build for Me? says the LORD,

Or what is the place of My rest?

Has My hand not made all these things?’

“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”

 “…the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, …” Stephen quotes from the Old Testament.  Elsewhere it says he “inhabits the praise of His people”  and Jesus said we would “worship in spirit and in truth.”  We are to always give the glory where it is due; to the Creator.  Stephen goes on with strong words, pointing out how every effort to reach out to His creation is rebuffed.  It is heard and seen everywhere today!  Nothing changed, mankind would rather glory in the creation of their hands and minds over the creation of God.  We are His children, made in His image and so we create as he does and did.  That does not give cause to worship our own creations and neglect giving glory to the one who gave us that ability.  He does not live in our houses made for Him by our hands. He does visit for He lives in our praises.  When we assemble to praise Him, He is there.  Let’s keep a right perspective, let’s give Him all the glory He is due and then we will find He is with us, “inhabiting our praises” as we worship “in spirit and in truth.”

we are one…we believe…

John 17:20-26

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

 ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    • Glory:  take great pride or pleasure in;  bestow honor or distinction by common consent; a highly praiseworthy asset
    •  Christ’s glory – his asset; he came from God and he pleased God.  Our glory given to us by Jesus and the Father; the honor and distinction of belonging to Him, the asset of unity in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
  •  He prays for us…let that sink in. 

 He prays that we are one.  He prays that we have complete unity.  The unity that gives evidence to the rest of mankind that we are loved; that Christ came from God.  The beliefs we hold to, the thoughts we give allegiance to, the actions we approve and engage in all find their source, their origin in Christ, who came from God.  We accept Christ’s authority, his word and we become as he is, we become one in him and have unity with each other for we believe in no other.  He continues to make God known to us and fills us with God’s love.  His desire is to be so much a part of us he calls it being in us.  This community is so special, so different from that known by the rest of mankind.  It is so self-less, other oriented, Christ-centered.  Differences are still there but they do not hinder the work of the Spirit, they give it flavor and interest.

Exposé or complaint; critique or judgment

John 12:1-11

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead,  whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said,  “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii  and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.  But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

 We often hear  this same complaint spoken against the church at large.  Perhaps the gifts of some to the church are like the gift shared by Mary, given from their heart , offered to honor and respect our Lord.  Who are we to judge another’s heart?  Who are we to decide for another what they should do with what is theirs in the first place?  Who are we to determine the best use of anything that God  has given to another?  At the root of these judgments do we see the same bitter root that Judas displayed?  We, perhaps, can get into a critical spirit and find ourselves looking at others rather than looking  to our own doings and listening to the voice of the Spirit of God guiding our own actions.   What is the true cause for the judgment?  Did not God call for the jewels, gold, fur and fine linens to adorn His tabernacle?  Were there critics then? Let God judge, we do not know the possible plans He has, and we never need be guilty of hindering His glory.

An act of unselfish love and gratitude is smeared with the judgmental objection of one who had no part in the giving and no right to decide its use.  The cold stings the face and hands, unwrapped skin; recoiling from the bitter onslaught,  cover is desired drawing inward away from the pain.  The beauty of the snow gives way to misery.  Withdrawing to the warmth of the interior, away from the inflicted pain, the thaw of the fire and light is welcome.  Criticism is the cold, and what appeared at first to be an agent of beauty and enjoyment turned bitter.  Escape to the true warmth of a fire lit by the Spirit of God gives comfort and peace.  Let us spread a positive thought to counter the negative we have been made aware of, rather than speak more criticism with no offer of the warmth and love of Christ’s teachings.  It is not enough to only point out the  ways in which we err, Christ followed his truths with acts and teachings that heal, giving opportunity for change.

 The voice in the wilderness exposed sin, then called for repentance and provided a means to change and new life.  If we are to be that voice, follow through with the message that gives the means for change.