Webs of deception…

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.

Ezra 10:16-44

  Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men, heads of fathers’ houses, according to their fathers’ houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter;  and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.

  Now there were found some of the sons of the priests who had married foreign women: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, some of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers.  They pledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt.   Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah.   Of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah.  Of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.  

 Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.  Of the singers: Eliashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

   And of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Hashabiah, and Benaiah.  Of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah.   Of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza.   Of the sons of Bebai were Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai.  Of the sons of Bani were Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth.   Of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh.   Of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,  Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah.  Of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei.   Of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi,   Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,   Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu.  Of the sons of Binnui: Shimei, Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah,  Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai,  Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph.   Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.

  All these had married foreign women, and some of the women had even borne children.

There is a place in scriptures that talks of the sins of the fathers affecting the children.  What a hard place to be!  However, history shows how this intimate relationship among God’s people time and again eroded their relationship with God.  It brought judgment, pain, and destruction.  Can we learn from the past?  We cannot have intimate relationships with that which God has commanded abstinence from;  whatever it may be.  Can we  see that it is for our own protection and the protection of our relationship with Him?  Our relationship with God is paramount.  Knowledge is the key.  Did these men not know scripture?  We have free access to God’s Word; we can know truth and what is righteous.  They had it available and disobeyed.  It caused them pain to make their relationship with God right.  Let us not be caught in the same web of deception!

webs of deception entangle

webs of deception entangle

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Peace…Go…Forgive…

John 20:19-23

Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled,  for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

 Forgiveness, forgiving,  to forgive all these are much talked about in today’s world.  Peace is granted twice in this passage.  What is being presented here?  Can we possess peace of any kind if we possess anger, pain, bitterness or a grudging spirit?  The doors were locked for fear; peace does not imply fear.  What was comfortable, renewing, familiar, their relationship with Jesus was, in their minds, wrenched from them and they were filled with fear that the same actions taken against Jesus would spread to them and theirs.  At the root of this were also the seeds of bitterness, anger and pain for what had been done.  Reacting in that way to events like these in our lives would not separate us from the rest of humanity, it would be an expected reaction  The believer has more to draw from.  The believer has the Holy Spirit given to us to bring peace and the ability to forgive, to see beyond the circumstances.  In the middle of our pain and anger we need the power of God granted through the Holy Spirit; a spirit of peace and  forgiveness, not a spirit of fear, anger, pain and bitterness.  In the middle of our pain and anger we need brothers and sisters in Christ to ‘circle the wagons’; to pray, to intercede for us, listen to our pain, share healing scriptures from God’s Word.  We need to come together, not fall apart.  We need to defeat the attempts of the enemy to destroy what God has built.  “Our Father, who art in heaven, ….forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us…”  Mat 6:14   “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Jesus

“Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Ask, receive…joy

John 16:17-24

Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”

 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?  Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.  A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

 Birthing something new involves pain of various degrees: a sense the labor and pain will never end,  fear can be a factor for those in it for the first time, regret for being involved in the process.  Once the new has been revealed, whether it is a child or anything else, the labor and all it entailed is forgotten.  It wasn’t taken away, it still existed but the joy of the baby erases the pain, labor, fear and regret.  Jesus relates this to the birth of the new covenant.  There was all of this: pain, labor, fear, regret and more but with His resurrection, with the knowledge of what He was bringing to the world came joy that covered it all.  While we are in the process of working for the kingdom of God, he promises us we will receive anything we ask of the Father in His name.  He also promises a time when we will no longer ask him for anything.  What will make the difference?  We will have received and our joy will be complete.  The birth will have taken place, the new will have been revealed.  Can this be applied to many different situations?  Absolutely.  And we can move forward in the knowledge He leads, we can ask and will receive and there will come a day when our joy will be complete.

Echoes from the past….

The girls come bouncing up the stairs,

       Smiles light their faces

       Laughter fills their voices

       They greet us.

       I speak with easy pleasure

Responding to the joyous spirits

    Her head stays down

    eyes averted

They reach out to touch

    she moves back, away

They speak softly

     inquisitively

She does not respond

     turns away

     finds something to do

I notice the change

          it hurts

They leave

          puzzled

One remains to hug me

     Then with a wistful look

       also leaves

She asks who they were

     then says “oh…”

These children

         the hurting ones

     look at you

         their eyes are

      deep wells of sorrow

They struggle

        to look like the rest

     they laugh

        too loud

     they talk

         so softly

     afraid they will be

          heard

They fill my classroom

      each straining

          isolated by their

           personal anguish

      to maintain normalcy

So no one will know….

Don’t tell….

Gracie Grimes Hill