From study of Elijah; We are warned…

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
Image result for fire from heaven

taken from Google images

Reflections from 2 Kings 1:

  1. The description of Elijah matches the description of John the Baptist given in the New Testament.

(the king) He asked them, “The man who came to meet you and told you these things, what kind of man was he?” “He was a hairy man,” they answered him, “with a leather belt around his waist.”  He said, ” It was Elijah from Tishbe.” 2 Kings 1

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. – Matthew 3:4

2.  “Man of God”  used the first two times by the commanders of fifty was done sarcastically.  Man of God is a representative of God to us…calls for the same respect one would give an all-powerful God.  The lack of respect was what was punished…with death!  Study of the Old Testament highlights God’s disgust with arrogance and smugness.  Disrespect brought judgement many times.  Something to be very wary of.

Then the king sent a commander of fifty to Elijah, together with his fifty men….The commander climbed up to him(Elijah) and said, ” Man of God, the king says to come down.”  Elijah answered the commander of fifty, “If I am in fact a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and burn you up, along with your fifty men.” Fire came down from heaven, and it burned him up and his fifty men.

The king sent another commander of fifty, together with his fifty men.  He said to him (Elijah), “Man of God, the king says , ‘Come down immediately!’ ” Elijah answered them, “If I am in fact a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and burn you up, along with your fifty men.”  Fire came down from heaven, and it burned up him and his fifty men.

3.  God’s word is powerful…it accomplishes what it sets out to do.  This is done with or without humanity’s belief.  We can participate in it or be at its effect.  Sobering.

Take away:

Israel belongs to God.  When they stray he will not ignore it but take steps to bring them back into alignment with Him and His ways.

Our country has strong foundations in the Judeo-Christian beliefs.  It was founded by deeply religious people whose faith in God led them here to give him honor and practice His ways.  Their primary concern was to have a place where they could do so without hindrance or persecution for their faith. As we continue, as a nation, to honor Him we are blessed.  As we leave His ways and disrespect Him we are faced with the consequences not much different than that faced by the Hebrew nation.

Our history bears the truth that those who serve the Lord bring blessing.  Those who disrespect Him and His commands, bring cursing. We are warned.  What course of action will we take?  Our prayers can make the difference.

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Beware of what is unseen…

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

From Numbers 16:

8Then Moshe (Moses) said to Korach (Korah), “Listen here, you sons of Levi! 9Is it for you a mere trifle that the God of Isra’el has separated you from the community of Isra’el to bring you close to himself, so that you can do the work in the tabernacle of Adonai and stand before the community serving them? 10He has brought you close and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you. Now you want the office of cohen (Priest) too! 11That’s why you and your group have gathered together against Adonai! After all, what is Aharon (Aaron) that you complain against him?”

12Then Moshe sent to summon Datan (Dathan) and Aviram  (Abiram), the sons of Eli’av  (Eliab). But they replied, “We won’t come up! 13Is it such a mere trifle, bringing us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, that now you arrogate to yourself the role of dictator over us? (ii) 14You haven’t at all brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, and you haven’t put us in possession of fields and vineyards. Do you think you can gouge out these men’s eyes and blind them? We won’t come up!”

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/num.16>

*words in parenthesis are English for the Hebrew placed by this author.

The heart of the matter is a grab for power.  It is couched in words of men’s reason. But God.  Truth is revealed to Moses:  “You want the office of priest.  That’s why you and yours have gathered against Adonai!” They made it appear to the assembly as if they were against Moses and Aaron for designating themselves as overseers of the assembly.  They made it look as if the wandering about in the wilderness was Moses’ and Aaron’s doing.  They questioned why they weren’t being taken into the land of milk and honey.  They accuse Moses and Aaron of attempting to keep control; have it their way.  Moses was able to see the truth of the matter.  Moses walked with God and because of this relationship saw beyond the men to the real enemy.  “You have gathered against Adonai!”  There is only one who defies God impudently and that is Satan the enemy of the human soul.  Truth will prevail.  Eyes are blinded, the people are manipulated by the lie.  “Did God say?”  continues to place doubt and cause division.

The political half of the rebellion refused to even come up when Moses called them.  Their arrogance is in full view of the people.  Their response to Moses clearly shows their intent to take authority from him.  They accuse him of blinding the assembly to truth when in fact it is they who do so.

These tactics continue today on so many levels.  Satan uses them to divide God’s people at every opportunity and those who are immature are taken in and deceived.  The assembly heard and were swayed by those rebelling.  None of these were open to instruction from God.  They were full of themselves and their ’cause,’ ideologies, thinking that is skewed away from God.  Unable to receive correction through Moses, they are left wide open to God’s judgment and correction.  Self has once again risen to take its place over God.  The move is subtle but can be heard by those whose ears are open to hear.

In this day, self-esteem led to self-awareness and now to self-identity.  Who do God’s people seek?  Their own identity or God’s?  A warning is being sounded, a caution.  The question: “Did God really say?” led to a lie.  ” He (God) knows that when you eat you will…”  And evil was revealed; was birthed in humanity. This deception continues today in the cloak of seeking identity.  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, His righteousness is received and identity is revealed.  Then all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33

Pray – Lord we have been given your Word both scripture and in Jesus.  May we heed what it says, apply it to our lives, our thinking and actions so we can build your kingdom, not one of our own making.

Repent – Lord, I’m sorry for the movement away from You.  Please open eyes and ears to see and hear from you.

Ask –  I join with you in asking that we be completely one and those outside the assembly of believers may realize who you are and who you sent.  I ask that your love be manifest in how we love one another.

Yes – Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these people have known that you sent me.  I have made your name known to them, and I will continue to make it known; so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I myself may be united with them. – Jesus.  I pray this with you, Lord, may it ever be You who is seen and glorified.

John 17:25-26

May I never be guilty of flattering you with my lips…may my heart be always yours, obvious in what I do and say…careful to follow your commands, to give you honor and respect.

Source: Numbers 16 and John 17

Prayer…

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

Matthew 6:5-15

Matthew 6:5-15 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,

but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

Forgiveness is a big thing. This looks a lot like ‘do unto others…’ It encompasses provision and honor. God is love and is loved. He gave the first kiss and it was a kiss of life. Couples kiss and the life of a relationship is birthed…life happens. Mothers, parents kiss and life is nurtured in the young body. Forgiving one another springs out of loving one another.

 

That love springs initially from the Creator. When accepted by humanity, it bears proof of the Creator’s presence within His creation. That love then extends to all who come into contact with the believer. The honor and glory remain in the Father. Living is loving and loving is living…all that is said and done is said and done in love. It becomes an integral part of the created being. It is not possible to truly love another if that other is not forgiven. There remains a block to true worship; a hindrance to true communion with God and others. That unforgiveness within begins to grow into a root of bitterness that sprouts a weed rather than a tree. When forgiveness is extended, there is a release and a freedom to fully worship the Father and to truly love others.

 

In that place the following prayer can truthfully and powerfully be prayed:

I fall on my knees before you, Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its character and name. I pray that from the treasures of your glory you will empower us with inner strength by your Spirit, so that the Messiah may live in our hearts through our trusting, our faith. Also I pray that we will be rooted and founded in love, so that we, with all God’s people, will be given strength to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah’s love, yes, to know it, even though it is beyond all knowing, so that we will be filled with all the fullness of you, God.

 

Now, to you who by your power working in us is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine, to you be glory in our community and in the Messiah Yeshua from generation to generation forever. Amen

 

Taken from Ephesians 3:14-21 The Complete Jewish Bible; personalized.

praying[1]

If my people who are called by my name….pray. At this time there is a great need for the power of prayer to be released in the spiritual realm. There is great need for safety, provision, and a return to the Word of God, both the Scriptures and the Son, Jesus. Prayer is power…it is spiritual power that combats the spirits that intend evil for God’s creation. It is time for all God’s people to band together in prayer, releasing His power on earth. As it is in heaven…so shall it be on earth.

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God honors His Word

 

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 10:28-43

 

 As for Makkedah, Joshua captured it on that day and struck it, and its king, with the edge of the sword. He devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. And he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.

 Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah and fought against Libnah.

 And the LORD gave it also and its king into the hand of Israel. And he struck it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it; he left none remaining in it. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

 Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish and laid siege to it and fought against it.

 And the LORD gave Lachish into the hand of Israel, and he captured it on the second day and struck it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it, as he had done to Libnah.

 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish. And Joshua struck him and his people, until he left none remaining.

 Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon. And they laid siege to it and fought against it.

 And they captured it on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword. And he devoted every person in it to destruction that day, as he had done to Lachish.

 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron. And they fought against it

 and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it. He left none remaining, as he had done to Eglon, and devoted it to destruction and every person in it.

 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned back to Debir and fought against it

 and he captured it with its king and all its towns. And they struck them with the edge of the sword and devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. Just as he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king, so he did to Debir and to its king.

So Joshua struck the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings. He left none remaining, but devoted to destruction all that breathed, just as the LORD God of Israel commanded.

 And Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, as far as Gibeon.

 And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.

 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

 

Systematically destroying that which was not of them as God directed them to with the use of the sword; Israel claimed their promised land. The Bible is our sword.  We can do battle and defeat our enemies both physical and spiritual. Jesus gave us the example to follow when He was tempted in the wilderness. When we know the Word, we can speak it over our enemy. Are we battling illness? Are we battling depression? Do we have conflicts with individuals? We can speak the Word against the enemy of our soul no matter what he is using against us. We can pray and sing the Word of God against the enemy. God will honor His Word and give us the victory just as He gave the victory to Joshua and the people of Israel.

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

Honor who?…

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.

Romans 13:1-7

 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,

for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

This could lead to argument over whether to honor those who use the roles of authority to abuse.  What is said is if we conduct ourselves righteously, we have God’s approval and protection.  We use the services provided for by the taxes and so it is just to pay for them.  God is over all; better to seek change when needed through God’s intervention.  Our focus is always to be on him and him alone.

Who has knowledge, understanding, wisdom?

Daniel 5:1-12

Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. 2 While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

5 In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 6 Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. 7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” 8 Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.

10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas [fn1] were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=5&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Ah, to be known as the one in whom the Holy Spirit resides.  Looking at this passage a question comes.  Can the wisdom of God be bought?  I will clothe you in purple, place a gold chain about your neck, give you authority over a third of the kingdom, only tell me what this means.  The king was wise enough to be fearful of the hand that wrote.  What has he done? He has treated the holy vessels of God as common and to add insult did so while praising other gods.  Has he done this out of ignorance?  It seems it does not make a difference if he knows the God Almighty or not; he is judged guilty of disrespect.  The Holy Spirit is the giver of understanding and knowledge and fear of the Lord brings wisdom.  Rather than fear of the Lord the party-goers were exhibiting pride and mockery.  And now, it takes the voice of a woman to remind them of one who has the Holy Spirit.  How are we known?  Can others sense the presence of the Holy Spirit within us?  Do we give evidence of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge only He can give,  not of this world but of the kingdom of Heaven?

Resolve…to stand…respectfully

Daniel 1

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.

3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. 6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

11 So Daniel said to the steward [fn1] whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king interviewed [fn2] them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. 21 Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=1&t=nkjvp>

“…But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself …”…during a time of  his life that he could accurately claim was a dark period, Daniel resolved/purposed in his heart, and became a light in that darkness.  His trust was not in the legal system, the political system,, the economic system; it was in the  Lord God Jehovah.  He could correctly be called a slave; he was owned by the king; he was among the spoils of war and conquest.  Yet he did not compromise even under these conditions. He did not justify going with the flow and he did not fight back.  He spoke with respect and made a request.  God honored his trust; the trust in God showed in his demeanor and attitude.  As a result, his request was granted and God’s light was permitted to shine through these young men in their dark hour.

Take away:  even though our times may seem dark, may seem as if the ‘rule’ is anti-God, we can resolve not to defile ourselves.  We can place our trust in God alone; not in mankind’s economic, political, or legal systems.  We do not have to despair but rather resolve to stand, in a respectful and honorable attitude.    The Lord delivered these men into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands; they probably voted against him, but no fear, no despair, they continued in their dark hour to stand for what was righteous and just and they did so  respectfully.

Honor and faithfulness rewarded…

Ezekiel 48:

1 “Now these are the names of the tribes: From the northern border along the road to Hethlon at the entrance of Hamath, to Hazar Enan, the border of Damascus northward, in the direction of Hamath, there shall be one section for Dan from its east to its west side; 2 by the border of Dan, from the east side to the west, one section for Asher; 3 by the border of Asher, from the east side to the west, one section for Naphtali; 4 by the border of Naphtali, from the east side to the west, one section for Manasseh; 5 by the border of Manasseh, from the east side to the west, one section for Ephraim; 6 by the border of Ephraim, from the east side to the west, one section for Reuben; 7 by the border of Reuben, from the east side to the west, one section for Judah; 8 by the border of Judah, from the east side to the west, shall be the district which you shall set apart, twenty-five thousand cubits in width, and in length the same as one of the other portions, from the east side to the west, with the sanctuary in the center.

9 “The district that you shall set apart for the LORD shall be twenty-five thousand cubits in length and ten thousand in width. 10 To these—to the priests—the holy district shall belong: on the north twenty-five thousand cubits in length, on the west ten thousand in width, on the east ten thousand in width, and on the south twenty-five thousand in length. The sanctuary of the LORD shall be in the center. 11 It shall be for the priests of the sons of Zadok, who are sanctified, who have kept My charge, who did not go astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray. 12 And this district of land that is set apart shall be to them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=48&v=1&t=NKJVP>

This is a listing of the tribes of Israel and their portion of the promised land.  In the listing is included the portion of land set aside for the temple.  Of that portion there is a special gift given to the priests who remained true to the Lord.  Their portion is called most holy. Faithfulness is of value to the Lord and He rewards it.  Another view of this could be that, of the total, a percentage is given back to the Lord.

He has made it clear how important honor is to Him, how important faithfulness is to Him.  If you love someone and want to please them, it is good to find out what they appreciate and give that or be that to them.  We can return to the Lord for what He has done for us, out of our love and gratitude to Him, the gifts of faithfulness and honor.  We do it out of love not out of gain.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

History repeats and we don’t listen…remember…

Acts 7:39-47

…whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:

‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,

O house of Israel?

You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,

And the star of your god Remphan,

Images which you made to worship;

And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’

 

“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen,  which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built Him a house.

 Rejecting God for lack of memory?  Hardness of hearts?  Selfish focus?  Honoring the creation rather than the creator?”…rejoiced in the works of their own hands. …”  Do we see this yet today?  They had witnesses, they had signs and wonders, they had God’s presence and still turned away to follow the creations of their hands.  And our world is full of those who give honor and glory to the creation of our hands, rather than to the God who gave to us the ability to create, the mind to think and reason.

 God reaches out, demonstrates His power and still mankind forgets and looks inward to himself.  Impatient, they honor what their own hands have created.  This is still true today.  We look at what we have accomplished, give no credit to God and praise our own achievements, not giving glory to God.  Each time mankind goes this direction, God sends punishment.  Our take-away then is to take joy in the Lord always.  What we do, we do only as He gives grace.  He is our supply and source.  Any skills we possess are his creation.  When He is honored, His blessings follow just as surely as when he is not, punishment follows.

 Men and women continue to reject God forgetting who He is and what He does.  In the remembering, we keep Him always before us and so are blessed.  There is a place that is comforting even in the middle of crisis of the soul, that place that acknowledges our God, creator of the Universe and us.  It is a place where His peace reigns and carries us above the turmoil of the crisis.  Let’s continue to seek that place, remembering His good works and rise above the temporary events of this life.

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.