Lifting As I Climb

Servant's Heart Ministries


 

Greetings in the name of the Lord. Welcome to this website. This upliftment ministry in South Florida is designed to bring understanding to those who are experiencing depression or anxiety. It may be helpful to anyone needing a "lift" in their lives. The information provided comes from someone who is recovering from a twenty year bout with depression and anxiety. It is a not-for-profit endeavor and I am not being compensated for my efforts in any fashion. I am not promoting my Christian beliefs nor those of any denomination. I do refer to THE DAILY BIBLE (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER) that features commentary by F. LaGard Smith and  published by HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS. I have erroneously stated that GUIDEPOSTS INTERNATIONAL published the book but they offer it with special permission from HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS.  I do not often quote the commentary but am inspired by them. I am featuring excerpts from the bible with authority from Sharon Shook, Permissions Editor for Harvest House Publishers. Additionally, I must credit the sermons of my  pastor, Pastor Mike who is Executive Pastor at the non-donominational church I attend, for some of my inspiration. I also am indebted to Dr. J. Vernon McGee for his insight on prophecy. The authority to use Dr. McGee's commentaries was granted me by Denise McCormick of Thru The Bible organization located in Pasadena, Caifornia.  The information was extracted with permission of BLUE LETTER BIBLE. ORG. Permission for usage of the New International Version was given by KeAira Perry, Rights and Permission Assistant of Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Copyright 1973, 1978 and 1984. Authority to use the New International (NIV) translation of the Holy Scriptures as a non-profit endeavor was granted me by Lyn Arroyo, Legal Assistant of BIBLICA US, INC. If you do not accept God and Christ as your Lord and Saviour you may not completely benefit from this site. However, even non-believers can find it helpful. Albeit it is non-denominational, it is based upon a belief in the triune God relationship. I would like to inject some disclaimers. I am not a licensed counselor nor am I acting on the behalf of such. I am not a theologian but am simply functioning as a servant of the Most High. To that extent, I am a minister. I have not been ordained by man but by God. I am answering the call of the Most High. I am not advocating that you stop taking prescribed medications nor terminate your visits to licensed professionals.  I am going to be providing you with prayers that will augment your efforts. The prayers are my own. The experiences I weave into them are my own. The biblical information comes from God's Holy Word. Authority granted me for use of the sources employed on this website have been given without charge. What is received freely, you should given freely. I look forward to providing these prayers and words of inspiration for you as often as life events will allow. I encourage you to tell others about the site. I also suggest that you submit to a physical examination before determining that you are depressed, as some conditions mimic mental illness. May you have just enough clouds in your life to make a beautiful sunset.

 

 

Heavenly Father, it says in Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning you created the heavens and the earth." Heavenly Father, it goes on to say that the earth was formless and empty and that darkness covered the surface of the deep; you said Let there be light and there was light. For those with depression their lives become as the earth was at the time of creation. Father, I ask you to let them know that the earth did not remain dark or empty. The darkness and the emptiness covered the surface. Father, you wanted light and you willed that it be done. Heavenly Father, we are serving an awesome God. Father, we pray that those with depression will know that their night will become day. Father, we ask you to breathe light into the lives of those suffering from depression. You can do it Lord. Father, we pray that their darkness gives way to happiness. You want them to be happy, God. Lord, you created the Heavens and the earth and if you can do that, and if you can create day and night from a formless earth, you can certainly bring them out of the pit in which they find themselves. Father, some of them don't know day from night. They blend together. But your will for the earth is that there is day and that there is night. Father, you created an expanse between waters and created the sky. Lord, help them look towards that same sky that you created for their help. Their help comes from you. Lord, I pray that they realize that treatment administered by doctors can never replace the help available to them by you, the Great Physcian. Lord, let this day be a day when they will affirm: this is the day the Lord has given; I will rejoice and be glad in it. Rejoice in it. That is what your heavenly Father wants you to do. Take the first step. Say it to yourself throughout the day: I will rejoice today because God has given me this day. He wants me to be happy. I will be happy because I have a creator who made me to enjoy life. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 Submitted Tuesday, September 29, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, God of Noah, a man who stood upright while others sinned in your sight, we come to you to ask for a breakthrough for those who are suffering from depression. Some of them, Lord, have sinned and are feeling guilty as I once did. Lord, you know that you have sent your son to redeem them and if they ask for forgiveness and sin no more there is no cause for guilt. Lord, In Genesis 12 you said "This is the sign of my covenant I am making between me and you, a covenant for  all generations to come." Lord you continued to say in verse 16 that "whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant..." God, you promised never to destroy the world again by flood. God, these depressed souls are experiencing floods in their lives. They need to see that rainbow that you promised. God, show them the rainbow, I beg you. God, we know that it exists and that the floods that overwhelm them will not last forever. God, they have the floods when they can't sleep at night; God, they have the floods when they sleep too much. God, I can remember spending an entire summer in bed. But, I remained tired. God, that is what depression does to your servants. Lift each and every one whose eyes are viewing this prayer up so that the rainbow will appear and the floods of depression will be no more. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

Heavenly Father, God of all mankind, we know that it was your intention for the whole world to experience a commoness as is found  in Genesis 11:1.2. God, mankind rebelled against you and you scrambled their languages so that they could not build a tower planned as a symbol of their rebellion. God, today you want those with depression to have a feeling of oneness with you and with the world. So many of them are feeling alone, as if they have nothing in common with others. God, let them know that you want them to be connected with the world. Lord, many of your depressed servants isolate themselves. Many have no where to turn; they are friendless and feel hopeless. I can remember that feeling, Father, in bygone years. Father, let them know that you are their friend and that they always have you to which to turn. Father, it is my prayer that those with depression realize that you made them with a desire to be connected with others. You implanted the need for you. I pray that they make this connection. Heavenly Father, let them affirm right now that "I will feel a part of the world. I am not out here alone. I have a friend in God." This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

Submitted Thursday, October 1, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, God of Abraham, we see in the Genesis account at Genesis 12 that the man you chose to be the father of all nations has made a bad choice. In the 11th-13th verses it tells  how Abraham entered Egypt with his wife, Sarah, who was a beautiful woman. In order to save his life, Abraham (then called Abram) lied and told the Egyptians that Sarah (then called Sarai) was his sister. In another account we see that his nephew, Lot has also made a bad choice when he chose to live in the lush land of Sodom, when offered an opportunity to select the area in which he wanted to live. Jehovah, Sodom was an evil city but looked good in the eyes of Lot as we see in the 10th-13th verses of Genesis. God, it shows that people make bad choices. Even good people make bad choices. Lord, that is what has happened to many who are depressed. They are the products of their own choices. I was. I made many bad choices in life. I made bad choices in many areas, sinning before you, God. But, Heavenly Father, they can not erase the choices that they made, but they can go forward as did Abraham and Lot. Lord, please let those who are depressed know that they cannot continue to make bad choices and expect good results. Lord, we pray that you send down a Comforter, in the form of the Holy Spirit to help each and every one make better choices. Their lives depend upon the choices they make....in every area of their existence. They must achieve balance, in mind, body and spirit. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, October 2, 2009

 

Heavenly Father,  we pray that those with depression will overcome their insecurities and get on with their lives, enjoying the blessings that you have in store for them. Abram, now called Abraham, as is found in Genesis 17 is promised by God that he would be father to many. Sarai, now called Sarah, was promised that she would be the mother of those descendants. Both trusted God in the matter, even after a child was born through Hagar, a servant. Sarai mistreated Hagar and Hagar ran away. That is what many of those with depression do. They run away from their pain. Some drown their sorrow in drugs. Some want to stop the pain by sleeping long hours as I did. But the pain doesn't leave. The guilt doesn't leave. They need a circumcision of the heart. God ordered Abraham to circumsize the males in his tribe as is found in Genesis 17. God, I beg you to perform a circumcision of the heart of each depressed person reading this message. Put away the "stuff" that weighs them down. Cut to the core of the matter. Rid them of the baggage. It will  take time to reach spiritual maturity. It took time for me. It takes carving out quiet time to meditate. It takes reading the Holy Scriptures. It takes putting on "spiritual armour" each time they leave the house. Lord, we pray that they will get past their insecurties as did Abraham and Sarah. Get on with your life. Move on. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

 

Submitted, Saturday, October 3, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, the Genesis account continues in the 18thand 19th chapters with a revelation of a new birth that will take place through Sarah and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lord, when we read the account in Genesis 18 we find that Abraham receives visitors that later reveal themselves as from the Lord. Jehovah, many reading this will have no faith in this occurance. However, if their faith does not allow them to believe it, perhaps they can relate to visitors in their lives in the form of friends. The visitors informed Sarah that she is to give life. Lord, Sarah laughed when she heard the news as she was was old. But, God we know that there is nothing too hard for you. Sarah even laughed when told that she would become a mother. Lord, some of the depressed souls reading this will, perhaps, laugh at some of the things about which I pray on their behalf. But, for those who believe, this account shows that if Sarah could give birth at such an advanced age, then surely the Lord can ease their trials and tribulations. Jehovah, in the 19th chapter, the account continues by relating the events leading up to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It tells how Abraham's nephew, Lot, was spared from destruction and how Abraham pleaded with the Lord on behalf of the citizens of the twin cities who had grossly sinned. Lord, let those who are reading this not be dismayed regarding the destruction but know that God showed mercy in sparing Lot. Lord, they must understand that we all must be held accountable for our deeds and  this fact cannot be ignored. However, the bible is filled with acts of kindness shown by an everloving God. Father, we know that you want them to repent of their sins and get on with life. Lord, I pray that those reading this will not become discouraged, but encouraged that they always have an opportunity to change. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, October 4, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, we continue in the Genesis account following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lord, in the 20th chapter we find Abraham and his wife, Sarah, living between Kadesh and Shur. Here he encounters Abimelech, a pagan king. Father, we find that Abraham lies again regarding his relationship with Sarah. He, once more, claims that she is his sister. And, in reality, she is a kinsman. But, Jehovah the point here is that he lied...again. This character flaw will reveal itself in his offspring as we will later discover. Father, many of your servants, who are depressed, have lied and done many other deeds that you consider displeasing. Let them realize, Lord, that even your chosen had character flaws. Yet, your grace and mercy was demonstrated to them and those who are depressed can expect the same kindness. Sarah gives birth to Isaac in Chapter 21 and is very happy. Father, many women reading this will be saddened that they cannot give birth and it is the root of their depression. Depression is said to affect more women than men. Father, let those who mourn realize that things are done according to your will and purpose. Chapter 21 further reveals that Hagar and Ishmael are expelled. Hagar was the slave girl who gave birth to Abraham's first son. But, the account shows that Ishmael was promised to become the father of a nation. Some non-believers may think that the bible is filled with inconsistencies and unfair dealings with human kind. But, Heavenly Father, let them know that all is done so that your will can be done. The chapter closes as Ishmael grows up and is given an Egyptian wife. Father, as I close this prayer today, it is hoped that somehow those who are reading it can realize that they don't have to be perfect to be forgiven and to call upon your name for help with this disease.  Today's affirmation, say: I can ask for forgiveness. God wants to  forgive me of  my sins. I deserve to be forgiven. I will overcome my obstacles. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, october 5, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, we come before you to ask for a breakthrough for your servants who lack faith. In the 22nd chapter of Genesis, the account reveals that you tested the faith of your friend, Abraham, when you asked him to take his son, Issac, to Mount Moriah and  sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains. Abraham did just as God asked. Abrahan had faith and didn't question God. Some of our depressed persons question you, Lord. They have not learned to put their faith in you whole souled. I never questioned you God, and for that I am thankful. Lord, speak to the heart of those non-believers who question your authority. God, the account continues in Genesis 22nd by relating that God stopped Abraham from slaying his heir. He provided a ram in the bush. Jehovah, let those who are depressed know that you are their ram in the bush. That is, when they have no where to go, you will be there for them. You have provided help for them in the form of doctors and counselors and they are a necessary part of their recovery; however, you are their ram in the bush. You can help them augment the efforts of the medical profession. The account continues when Abraham, God's friend, was given information about his brother Nahor. Nahor's son, Bethuel, would become the father of Rebekah. We will learn about her role later in Abraham's own lineage. Father, we realize that at this time Abraham was a foreigner in the land of pagans. Genesis 23 continues as it tells of the death of Sarah who died at the age of 127. She was buried near Mamre (which is also called Hebron). We will hear more about Hebron later. Lord, let those whose eyes scan these prayers affirm today that: I will have faith. I will follow what God wants me to do because I know that he knows what is best for me. I will follow the advice of my doctor, but I will augment that trust with faith in God. I will get better because I have faith that I can and will get better. I didn't get better suddenly. It took twenty years of suffering. And, I am still on medication which helps me stay balanced. Lord, I thank you for helping me get better and I pray that the eyes reading this prayer will join me in this improvement in their mental, physical and spiritual health. This prayer we pray in the  name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, October 6, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, we come to a point in Genesis when some events take place that seem unfair and, to non-believers, it may appear as if you are an unjust God. In Genesis 25 we find that Abraham takes on another wife after Sarah's death. She was called Keturah. Lord, I have done further research and have discovered that one of Keturah's sons, Midian, was the forefather of the Midianites where Moses fled from Egypt. Moses married a Midianite. These were people who settled around the area of Egypt. Lord, the account in the 25th chapter of the book tells of the death of Abraham at the age of 175. Little account of Ishmael is given in the bible but in this chapter it does say that his descendants settled near the border of Egypt. And, it goes on to say, they lived in hostility toward all their brothers. The scripture further gives an account of Isaac and tells of similarities between he andhis father, Abraham. His wife, Rebekah, had trouble conceiving just as Sarah, the mother of Isaac. Isaac was 60 years old when his wife gave birth to twins. Lord, you said that two nations were in her womb. The twins, Esau ad Jacob, had different personalities. Esau was a hunter and Jacob was a quiet man. The account continues by revealing how Esau, the oldest, sold his birthright in order to obtain some red stew. In the 26th account of the same book, we find Isaac in the area of Gerar. He lied to the men by claiming his wife, Rebekah, was his sister. You may remember in an earlier account that his father made the same claim. Father, we find that many of those who are depressed find themselves in situations that they think are unfair. They think they have gotten the "short end of the stick." We find that sometimes life appears that way. Esau felt the same way. Many non-believers will confirm their belief in the unfairness of God. But, Lord, we must realize that everything works for the glory of your name. We also discover, Lord, that sometimes children fall in their parents footsteps. I felt that way. My grandmother had a nervous breakdown and my mother suffers with depression. My mother and I had trouble in love. Jehovah, what those that are depressed must realize is that they cannot use that as an excuse to justify their behavior, nor to wallow in self-pity. Life can be unfair. Get over it. Move on. Let them affirm today that" I will get on with my life. I may have had some bad breaks in life. There are some things that have happened to me over which I had no control. But, I will trust in you, Lord. I will overcome." This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, October 7, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, the Genesis account continues with a tale of deceitful behavior on the part of Jacob and his mother, Rebekah. Father, we know that our non-believers are stuck in this mode of blaming you for the lies, treachery and deceit evidenced in your Holy Scriptures. But, they must understand that, in order for your will to take place, these things must happen. Father, we see in the 27th Chapter of Genesis that Isaac was old and his eyes were weak. He was approaching the end of his life and wanted to bestow a blessing on the first born, Esau. Jehovah, it was not your will for Esau to receive that blessing. The way it was executed will stumble some. But, those who believe know that you are too wise to make a mistake. You knew the hearts of Esau and Jacob. The 27th chapter finds Rebekah and Jacob plotting to claim what was rightfully Esau's for Jacob. Jehovah, it tells of an intricate plot to trick Isaac by covering Jacob with the hair of an animal and dressing him in the clothing of his brother. Additionally, Rebekah made the stew for Isaac that he so loved to receive from Esau. Heavenly Father, Esau was angered as would anyone would be. He had lost his birthright and to get even with his parents he went to Ishmael (the first born of Abraham and Hagar) seeking a wife. The wife that he found was from a pagan nation. The account in Genesis goes on to tell of the grudge that Esau held against Jacob and his vow to kill him. Rebekah arranged for Jacob, her favorite son, to escape to the land of her birth and to seek a wife from  among her kinsmen. Father, as I relate this part of your Holy Scriptures, I am mindful that there are those who are depressed because some of them think their parents favor another sibling. Father, this is not uncommon. I felt that way for many years. I always thought my mother favored my brother. As I matured I understood that these things do happen for various reasons. I surmised it was because he reminded her of our father. At present, my mother and I are closer than ever. We pray, Heavenly Father, that those victimized in this way will know that things have a way of working themselves out when we leave the matter to God. Let us affirm today: "I may not be the favored sibling in my family. But, I am blessed and  highly favored by God. I will stop carrying that grudge and will get on with the business of living. I will pray for my parents if they are guilty of this and will not seek revenge. I will pray for peace to reign in my life." This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Thursday, October 8, 2009

 

Heavenly
Father, you continue to reveal your will and purposes through the events brought out in Genesis 29th and 30th. Father, again we see a web of deception and favortism emerging. But, Holy Father, we want our non-believers to take heart for it all will work out for the glory and honor of your name and for your will to be done. In these chapters we find Jacob, who has fled because of his deception in connection with Esau. Now, he has met his match in Laban, the kinsman of his mother. Upon his arrival in Haran, he meets beautiful Rachel withwhom he instantly falls in love. But the account goes on to say, when Jacob agreed to work for the honor to wed Rachel he is deceived by Laban and is presented the older daughter, Leah. Now, Leah was not as attractive as Rachel and Jacob loved her less. But, God opened her womb as she gave birthto many sons. Please note that these sons would later form many of the 12 tribes of Israel and one of them, Judah, would be the one from whom Jesus would spring. Jacob works seven more years for Rachel. The two sisters compete for the affection of Jacob by having children and offering their maids to also bring forth children. This may seem barbaric, but, again we must remember that it is a different time, a different culture and God is behindthe scene. Further deception is seen when Jacob andLaban determine who shall possess sheep. Jacob claimed the spotted ones and Laban the white ones. In spite of the deception of Jacob, God blesses him and he also remembers Rachel when he opens her wombas she gives birth to Joseph. Lord, those who are depressed often experience deception in their lives. And they feel that they are not the favored one. But, Lord let them know that you will remember them if they remember you. And, Lord, for those whose wombs are closed, let them know that there are many ways to become mothers. They must explore them. For instance, becoming a foster parent or volunteering as a mentor for a child. God has his reasons for shutting your womb. He may close your womb but not your heart. Let us affirm today: God, I have been the victim of deception. I didn't deserve it. I have to go on with my life. I will let go andlet you work it out. For you will work things out in your time and manner. I will lift up my head and have a positive attitude, for there is power in positive thinking. I will do what I have to do to get well. If that means taking medication, I will not hold back. I will not let pride get in the way of the healing you have in store for me. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, October 9, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, we are continuing to study your word in the Genesis account. We examine Chapter 31 where we find Jacob planning to leave Laban. God, you have said to Jacob that he is to go back to the land of his fathers. Jacob steals away from Laban, but not before Rachel steals some of  her father's household gods. Again, we see deception and trickery reigning. Laban does not take things "lying down" as the expression goes and he pursues what he thinks is rightfully his. Laban overcomes Jacob and his family. There is a dispute between the two regarding Jacob's treatment during the twenty years in which he worked for Laban. Jacob tells Laban that the God of his fathers prospered him or surely he would have left empy-handed. The two reach an agreement and a Mizpah resulted when they declared, "May the Lord keep watch between you andme when we are away from each other." Heavenly Father, those that are depressed need to know that you will keep watch over them. Some are here alone and need to know that you will be by their sides. Because of their separation from their core family, many are feeling isolated. God, let them know that  you will not abandon them. In chapter 32 Jacob is found wrestling with a stranger until daybreak. Jacob would not let the man go until he received his blessings. The man is said to be from God. At this time, Lord , the man gives Jacob a new name. "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel." Lord, Abram's name was changed to Abraham and Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. Here again we see elements of events taking place in the life of Jacob that occurred in the lives of his forefathers. Heavenly Father, there are some who are depressed with parents who did not make good choices. Some turned to drugs and many are afraid they will do the same things. Lord, many of them have. I did not turn to drugs to numb my pain, Lord, but many do. Lord, help those with depression know that help is available to them. Help them, Lord, realize that an egg has to be cracked in order to make anything worthwhile withit. The shell is thin and easily broken and sometimes the yolk has to be scrambled in order to make the desired dish. That is what happens to those with depression. Non-believers may be getting frustrated more and more with the deception found in your holy text. But, be aware that it all must take place in order for your will and purposes to be done. Verse 33 finds Jacob meeting Esau as he crosses through Edomon his way home. Esau accepts Jacob and they embrace and weep upon seeing each other. There are those reading this who need to reconcile with their brothers, sisters or other relatives. They have grudges against them. Healing will not take place until these things are resolved. Give them the strength, Lord, to do as Jacob and Esau. The chapter ends with Jacob settling in Shechem. These accounts should encourage those who are depressed because it shows how God protected his servants in spite of their character flaws. Lord, you will do for them what you did for thosein these accounts. Affirm today: I will take the first step towards mending fences with my relatives. I will love them because of the blood we share. I will stop trying to seek revenge. This we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday, October 10, 2009

 

Heavenly Father, today we continue withthe Genesis account in Chapters 34 and 35. We find deceit and violence evidenced here. Non-believers continue their dismay over these things that take place in the Holy Scriptures. They will notice that these revelations could easily have been omitted from the text, yet they were included to show the readers that men are not perfect, but God is. It also supports the idea that God works through imperfect men. Dinah, the daughter of  Leah, is the protagonist in the account. She is violated by Shechem, son of Hamor, the Hivite. These are pagan residents who worship idol gods. It is not God's will and purpose for his people to intermarry with them. Dinah's brothers take revenge upon them, after convincing them to become circumsized in order to be accepted by Jacob andhis sons. While they were weak, the sons of Jacob murder them and plunder all of their belongings. That seems so unfair, I suppose, but God has a plan for the Israelites. Those who claim to be descendents of the people of the Hivites and other such nations will be offended by the account. They must realize that a parent, sometimes, must allow things to transpire in order  to assure that their children will live desirable lives. Jacob, and rightfully so, is concerned that the events that transpired in Shechem will become common knowledge with other pagan lands in the area. So, God directed Jacob to Bethel. In the meantime, Benjamin was born to Rachel. Rachel, however, dies shortly thereafter. Jacob returns home to his father, Isaac, in Mamre (Hebron). Isaac lived 180 years and breathed his last breath anddied. The scripture says that Esau andJacob buried him. This account affects those who are depressed because there are some who have been violated, both male and female. Some were victims of incestuous relationships. They live with the pain every day. Lord, I pray that they can cast these burdensupon you andleave them there. You can ease the pain and erase the nasty memories from their lives. I was violated andI know the pain associated with it. It, sometimes, takes a lifetime to overcome it. Lord, help the depressed understand that it was not their fault. They were victims. Many times they go unpunished. But, you see what is happening and they who violate will themselves be violated in some way. Affirm today: I will not let the agony of the past control my present. When I allow others to anger me, they control me. I want to be controlled by an ever loving God. He will help me get over the pain. I didn't deserve it, but it happened. I must get over it. I will secure a basket and place it in full view on a desk. In the basket I will write the things I want God to handle. Write it on an index card or small slip of paper. Put it there and leave it there. It is done. Finished. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, October 11, 2009

 

The Genesis account continues with chapters 37 and 38. Non-believers may think that this is the Genesis saga rather than the Genesis account. Stay with me, we are going somewhere with all of these tales of lies and deceit. The account continues with the story of Joseph. Now, Joseph was the son Rachel bore Jacob (who is now known as Israel). He was highly favored by Jacob, so much so that Israel made a coat of many colors for Joseph. This infuriated the other sons. Lord, many of those depressed are reacting to a parent who favored another sibling and even mistreated them. Jehovah, let them know that they need not dismay for they are highly favored in your sight. Joseph tattled on his brothers. When he was a lad of seventeen, he told his brothers about a dream in which they bowed down to him; further another dream showed, to Israel's dismay, that even his father would do the same. Joseph was a dreamer. I am a dreamer. If I were not you would not be reading this prayer. Joseph ends up in Egypt after being sold to a caravan of Ishmaelites. Do you remember Ishmael? All of these things must take place in order for God to preserve his chosen people and for the Messiah to come. Now, I know I have lost some of my non-believers. But, I want them to stay with me. Initially, his brothers wanted to kill him, but threw him in a cistern instead and dipped his beautiful coat in animal's blood before presenting it to his father, Jacob. This broke Jacob's heart. The account continues with chapter 38 where it tells of a strange happening. Judah married a Canaanite woman with disastrous results. Jehovah, let those who are depressed understand that bad things happen when they make bad choices. We cannot run away from you, Lord. Judah's sons sinned in God's eyes. Are you surprised after being born of a pagan mother? But then sometimes good can come from evil. God put two of them to death, leaving Tamar, the wife of Onan, childless. Though it may sound strange now, when the brother of a wife died he is to continue the blood line by having sex with her. Judah deceived Tamar after deciding not to give her another son fearing he, too, would die. Then, Tamar tricks Judah by posing as a prostitute and having sex with him. Here, we find Judah having a relationship with what he thought was a temple prostitute. Tamar conceives and was almost killed for her actions. Tamar was impregnated by Judah. Her life was spared when she returned to him the things he had given her when he thought she was a prostitute. So, Lord, we pray for those reading this who have behaved as prostitutes. God loves you, too. Tamar gave birth to twins. I have twin grandchildren, Jada and Jaden, so I can relate to this. The "saga" has a positive ending as it is through Perez, Tamar's twin, that the Messiah will come. On yesterday, I suggested that you place your issues on an index card and deposit them in a basket. I would like to credit that idea to Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, founder of Guideposts, a devotional corporation for whom I have high regard. I recommend that you read a book he wrote over thirty years ago entitled THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING. It truly changed my life. Today affirm: Yes, Lord, I have engaged in sex without the benefit of marriage. I was wrong, Heavenly Father. I am not the only one to have done that. I may have even charged for my services. But, you still can heal me, Lord, and I can be saved. The bible is filled with people with character flaws. The Messiah came from someone who behaved as a prostitute. I will change, Lord. I can change. You will help me change if I have just a little faith. With faith the size of a mustard seed, there is nothing impossible for me. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, October 12, 2009

 

Genesis 39-42 presents a more positive picture. Here we find Joseph planted in a strange land. He was a young lad when he was taken there after having been sold by his jealous brothers. It was a strange culture and their gods and way of worship were strange to Joseph. But, Joseph bloomed where he was planted. Joseph didn't get depressed, Lord, because he kept his eyes focused upon you and knew that somehow you would deliver him. We find that he ended up in the house of Potiphar where he is made head over all that Potiphar owned. Because of Joseph, God blessed the household and fields of Potiphar. But, Lord, you know that when things are going well with us that is when we must be cautious. The wife of Potiphar lusted after Joseph as he was well built and handsome. But, Heavenly Father, we find that Joseph stood up to her; he ended up being accused by her of trying to lie with her and Joseph ended up in prison. Jehovah, depression is a prison. I was in that prison for twenty years. My sentence was long, but you had plans for my life. Let the depressed know that sometimes things happen for a reason and they are imprisoned for a season. They, too, can escape depression, Lord. Joseph was blessed....even in prison. When you are for us, Lord, who can be against us? While imprisoned Joseph meets two of Pharaoh's former servants. They had a dream which Joseph, through God, interpreted. One was told of his imminent death and one was informed that he would be restored to his former position in the palace. When the cup bearer returned to the palace he failed to mention Joseph to Pharaoh as he was instructed. But, that didn't stop Joseph. God, you can pour out your blessings upon those who are down trodden the same way that you protected Joseph. You are the same God. Pharoah calls for Joseph after the chief cupbearer finally remembers Joseph. Heavenly Father, everything works according to your plan. I know it did with me. When it was time for me to blossom, I did. Joseph listened to the dream of Pharaoh. Read the account in Chapter 41. Joseph predicted a famine. Isn't depression akin to a famine, Jehovah? Like the cows in the dream of Pharaoh, depression is like the skinny cows. Joseph comes into his own; he is about thirty years old when things turn around for faithful Joseph. He becomes an important ruler, second only to Pharaoh. The Egyptians, with advice from Joseph, stored grain and survived during the famine. Depressed souls can survive during their famine. Help them to remember, Lord, that they are not insane. Insanity, according to Freud (and revealed through my pastor's sermon Sunday) is doing the same old thing and expecting different results. God was behind the scene in the events that happened in Egypt. He was behind Joseph. And, it all had to take place in order for Jacob and his family to survive. Lord, help those who are depressed know that they will survive. Affirm today: I am experiencing a famine in my life. I am hungry and thirsty. I thirst for peace of mind. I thirst for rest. I hunger for help. But, with faith nothing is impossible for me. I will stop doing the same old things and expecting different results. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, October 13, 2009

 

We continue in the book of Genesis, chapters 42-45. We find Joseph having a little fun with his brothers in Egypt. They have left the land of Canaan searching for food resulting from a famine that was throughout the land. Joseph schemes against his brothers. Joseph's behavior is certainly justifiable as his brothers sold him into slavery. Read the account as it tells how Joseph asked his brothers to leave one of them as "security" after they returned to their home and to bring Benjamin, the youngest child of his mother, with them when they appear before him again. It seems scheming runs in this family doesn't it? But, again it is done in order for God's plan to be executed and Joseph was not enjoying it. In fact, he would turn his head and weep when he executed the plot to bring Benjamin to him. As part of the scheme Joseph had his cup planted in the bag of grain his brothers took with them. When they returned to Canaan and explained what took place in Egypt, including Joseph's demand for the return of Benjamin with them when they returned for more grain, it grieved Jacob. But, Lord, Jacob grieved for a while but then accepted things as they existed and moved on. That is what those with depression must do. Remember the serenity prayer? We must accept the things we cannot change and change the things we can while having the wisdom to know the difference. Lord, wisdom comes from you and it is my prayer that those suffering with depression will pray to you for it. When Joseph's cup was stolen, his servants scolded the brothers, saying Joseph used the cup for divination. Some non-believers are using this fact to justify their belief in fortune tellers. You must realize that the practice was later condemned. It is also interesting to note here that Joseph has learned the language of the Egyptians and spoke through an interpreter. He understood the language of his brothers, albeit they did not know that. Many of our aliens understand the advantage of speaking two languages. It is also noteworthy to see that Joseph's brothers did not recognize him and presented themselves as honest men. Additionally, they were distraught because of sheer guilt. I felt the sting of guilt when I committed adultery. I know the feeling and how it can destroy you. In fact, depression is guilt turned inside. They knew what they had done to Joseph was wrong. Lord, help those with depression understand that guilt can  destroy them. It makes them miserable and it accomplishes little. Joseph could contain himself no longer and revealed himself to his brothers. He did not condemn them as he explained that it was a part of God's plan to feed them during the famine. Had the events not transpired, they would have perished. Jehovah, I pray that those with depression realize that some of the things that happened to them happened for a reason. You wanted to take them to another level. Joseph did not hold a grudge. Lord, help the depressed know that they must abandon feelings of ill will. Joseph had every reason to feel angry. He was justified. But, he looked at it a different way. Lord, help the depressed to understand that perspective is important. Affirm today: I have reasons to be upset over matters in my life. But, I will repeat the serenity prayer over and over. I will meditate and pray to overcome these feelings. Not because the persons who hurt me deserve it, but because it is the only way for me to heal. I will heal. God will help me heal. I will help myself to heal. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, October 14, 2009

 

In the Genesis accounts today we read in verses 45-47 that Jacob is invited to leave with his belongings and come to Egypt where Pharaoh offered him the best of the land and told him that he would enjoy the fat of the land. Lord, it is my prayer that those who are depressed accept your invitation to come out of the darkness into the light and enjoy what you have to offer them. Jehovah, you have peace to offer them. You, God, are their land of Egypt. They have been in famine conditions too long. When Joseph's brothers left to return to their father, Joseph sent Jacob gifts. Father, you have gifts to give to those who are depressed. You offer them the gift of life. Father, help those who are depressed to know that severe depression can lead to suicide. Father, that is a truth that they must accept.
They must seek professional help in the  matter. You endowed the medical community with skills needed to assist them. You want them to unload their "donkeys." Lord, you want them to remove the burdens they carry. When Joseph's brothers departed, Joseph warned them about quarreling on the way. Sometimes when you are depressed you are easily upset and you quarrel with others, especially the ones who love you the most. Father, I pray that those who care about ones with depression understand that their quarreling results from the illness. Mood swings are a part of the malady. Jacob and his family became immigrants in the land of Egypt. Yes, immigrants. Many look down their noses at those who share our land, but God didn't. He made them strangers in the land. Jacob's family settled in Goshen as they were shepherds. Joseph warned his family that shepherds were detestable to Egyptians. Now, fast forward to the New Testament and we will see that being a shepherd takes on a new role. Joseph settled his family and gave them property in the best part of the land. Father, you have land to give those with depression. It is not tangible but intangible. You want to give them a land where they can finally be themselves. Many of them, Lord, have lost their true personalities along the way. They suffered a famine, as it were. Native Egyptians were undergoing difficulties during this famine. They had to sell all they owned, including themselves, in exchange for food. Lord, you offer "food" to the depressed freely. Your food is for them to do your will. Later, we will find that Jesus said these very words. Now, this is where many of my non-believers will detour. They don't accept God as the ultimate authority and they most certainly don't believe that Jesus is His son. Reading what is written here will not change the thinking of many. However, if only one or two will, at least, begin to question their beliefs about the Son of God, then my work has not been in vein. The Israelites prospered in Egypt. Later, they will have to be delivered from another Pharoah who was not as kind to them as the one who lived when Joseph was alive. But, at least for now, they are happy. Lord, there are some who are depressed who must learn to live life one day at a time and say "today I am happy." Affirm today: I will live life one day at a time. Each day is a victory and I will accept God's gift of today as a "present." That is why it is called the present. I will get through this moment, this hour and this day with the help of God. I will not worry about tomorrow. I will have faith that tomorrow will take care of itself. I will NOT worry about tomorrow. I will release the burdens that I carry in the hands of God. His shoulders are broad and He is waiting for me to ask Him for help. He has sent the medical community to help me as well. I will seek their help. I will stop denying my condition. I will take the medications they prescribe and stop living in denial. Help me, Lord. For I feel helpless and hopeless. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Thursday, October 15, 2009

 

As Genesis ends, we see the end of an era. Israel (Jacob) and Joseph die. The period of the patriachs ends and a nation is  born. In Chapter 47 we find Israel pronouncing blessings upon his sons. Israel had Joseph swear that he would not bury him in the land of Egypt. He wanted to be taken back to the land where his forefathers were buried. When Israel (Jacob) blessed Joseph's sons, he placed his right hand on the head of the youngest, Ephraim. This was done in spite of Joseph's protest. Read the account of how Israel blessed his sons in the 48th and 49th chapters.  It is interesting to note that when Israel was returned for burial he was buried with Leah as his beloved, Rachel, was buried on the road to Bethlehem. So,  they were finally together in death if not in life. Israel was embalmed in the Egyptian style and an elaborate period of mourning was established in Egypt and when they reached the final burial place in the land of Canaan. This land of Canaan will be an important factor in the history of the Israelites later. Joseph died at the age of 110 and told his brothers he held no grudge against them. That he would not stand in the place of God. They meant to harm him, but it all turned out for his good. Lord, we pray that those who are depressed can see that some things begin as a horror story but end as a "fairy tale." I suffered from depression for over twenty years and now I am living my dream. So, there is "balm" in "Gilead."  I never thought I would have my own web site and would be ministering to those like myself. In other words, Lord, they must have the proper perspective about everything. Jehovah, let them be able to look beyond the surface of a situation as that is not the end of the matter. Lord, we pray that they will behave as Joseph when he unconditionally forgave his brothers. He exemplified "agape" love. Lord, help them understand that it is what you would have them to do. Lord, you know all things and you are aware of the unfairness some of those with depression experience. But, Heavenly Father, I pray that they will be able to endure until the end. Affirm today: I will not hold a grudge. For by so doing it will harm me, in mind, body and soul. I will pray for those who treat me unfairly. As a non-believer (if you are one) I can understand this principle. It is a good one. I will love my brother as I love myself. I cannot claim to love God if I cannot love others. For God is love. I will call upon Him for help. He is there for me. I will assume a positive attitude for it is best for me. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, October 16, 2009

 

As we enter another book, I want to make you aware that the bible wasn't always so conveniently divided into chapters as we see here. The text was written on scrolls and later divided. As we enter Exodus 1-6 we find the account of Moses. The revelation appears about 400 years after the Egyptians settled in Egypt. Their happy-go-lucky life, as it were, ended with the death of Joseph as new kings entered onto the scene who had not known Joseph and all that he had done for Egypt. They were viewed as a threat. Lord, as I write this it is my hope that the medical profession does not see me as a threat to them. It is not my wish to divert patients from their care to my website. I am only following my calling as they are theirs. I highly recommend that my visitors consult them and follow their directions. I continue to take my anti-depressants and am appreciative to my personal physician for his expertise, and knowledge given him by a caring God. Depression is said to result from a chemical imbalance and it takes drug therapy, along with counseling, to help you. The Egyptians feared the Israelites as they multiplied. So, they did what many who fear others do....they oppressed them. There are segments of the population who will inject their own thoughts regarding discrimination in thier lives. It is not my intent to focus on those issues as I am trying to reach  people of all races and creeds. It is, however, a fact that the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites. They sent task masters to make life difficult for them. That did not stop God's people. They continued to thrive. The king of Egypt went to extreme measures to prevent their multiplying. Many of you have heard about how the king wanted to exterminate all of the males born. The midwives lied to the chief and told him that the women were "lively" and gave birth before their arrival and, consequently, they were unable to kill the male infants. That didn't stop the head of state as he took further steps when he ordered them thrown into the Nile. Sounds barbaric, but similar practices parallel what happened here. Moses was born to Jocebed and Amram. The mother of Moses hid him from the Egyptians after his birth. After three months of concealing him, she had to make a move. She constructed a basket and placed it in the Nile. God inspired the daughter of  Pharaoh to find the baby and to feel sorry for him. Lord, many of those depressed feel sorry for themselves. Please let them know that they need not. Children of God need not have such thoughts. Moses, as she named him, was taken to the palace after having been weaned by his mother. He thrived there and was trained in the ways and knowledge afforded children of his status. Things take a detour when Moses ends up killing an Egyptian who abused one of his kinsmen. It was another Hebrew that reminded Moses of his deed resulting in the necessity to flee to Midian. Lord, sometimes the very people you are trying to help are the ones who hurt you. Father, some are depressed because their children are acting out. Parents have done all that they could and their offspring turn on them. Lift those up, Lord, and let them know that prayer changes things. Moses ends up in Midian. I mentioned earlier that the Midianites descended from Keturah, the wife of Abraham after the death of Sarah. There Moses marries Zipporah; Moses was later cirticized for his choice because it appears that she was dark skinned. Moses was a shepherd while working under the direction of Jethro, his father-in-law. In the New Testament (Greek Scriptures) we will find that Jesus was referred to as the Good Shepherd. One day God appeared, in the form of a burning bush, to Moses. Moses was curious as to why the bush was burning but not consumed by the fire. God spoke to him and Moses answered, "Here I am." Lord, that is my answer when you called me to do this work. It didn't happen suddenly and I "backed into it," but my answer to you is the same as Moses gave.  God revealed that he has seen the misery of the Hebrews. Lord, you also see the misery of those who are depressed and can deliver them also. All they have to do is ask and it shall be given them. God gave Moses instructions. Moses did not want to do as God commanded. He considered himself to be inadequate for the task. Lord, I considered myself to be as Moses. After all, I was a sinner. But, God chooses who He wants to do His work and I think He has chosen me. God reassured Moses of his powers. Read about it in Exodus 4. Aaron was appointed as Moses' helper. God was not pleased with the attitude Moses assumed. Heavenly Father, I know you are not pleased with the attitude of many who are reading this prayer. They need an "attiude adjustment" and you can give it to them. With Jethro's blessings, Moses leaves for Egypt. On the way, Moses' life is  spared when his wife circumsizes her son. It was called the "bridegroom of blood." Later we will find that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. Non-believers won't accept this. I am aware of it. But, keep reading anyway. Some day you may surprise yourself. Lord, let the depressed affirm today: I am a chosen vessel of the Lord. He has willed that I was born. He will not forsake me. Today, I will begin to learn how to dance in the rain. I will look to the hills from whence cometh my help. I will trust in the Lord and He will sustain me. I will not give up on life, as God has not given up on me. Here I am, Lord. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday, October 17, 2009

 

The next few chapters we will cover, Exodus 5-8 ,consists of material of which movies are made in Hollywood. That is, the plagues upon the Egyptians are revealed. Many readers are familiar with the events. Moses accepts his commission to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let the Hebrews leave the land of Egypt. They said "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so they may hold a festival to me in the desert.'" Now, as a believer, I have often wondered why God hardened the heart of Pharaoh. I have learned that God, all knowing God, knew the heart of Pharaoh. He  understood his psyche and He was just using, what already existed within his seat of emotions to work for Him. After this request,  the burdens of the Israelites were increased. Now, they had to make bricks without the benefit of straw being provided. The slave drivers required the same quota from them. Lord, there are those who suffer from depression because of circumstances that prevail on their jobs. They have their taskmasters who require more of them than they can bear. Let them know that there is a God watching who knows exactly what is happening with them. Many of them have their own "Pharoahs." Lord, let them know that deliverance is on the way. Let them know, Lord, that they are to bloom where they are planted and that they are to grow in the "dump." In other words, do as they are asked; learn what they can learn in the process so that when they are planted in another garden they will be the rose of that garden. The people began to blame Moses for thier problems. Lord, some depressed persons blame everyone but themselves for what has happened to them. Let them take a "reality" check and see from where the problems come. God knows the heart of men and God was prepared for their complaints. Moses, on the other hand, also blamed another for their difficulties. He asked God why he had been sent and said, "If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharoah list to me, since I speak with faltering lips?" We see here that there is an expression of doubt and a lack of faith appearing. Some non-believers experience this. But, so do believers. When these events occur, Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three. Some are depressed because they are growing older and feeling useless. Lord, I am 60 and am embarking upon quite a journey myself. I am just beginning to learn and grow and others must feel the same. They are not worthless and must stop blaming everything on "senior moments." I will direct you to Exodus 7 where the plagues are described. First, comes the display of power when the rod of Moses becomes a snake. Now, many are unaware that the magicians were able to duplicate some of these acts of God with their secret arts but later, when they could not, even they admitted (Exocus 8) that "This is the finger of God." After the rods become snakes there was a plague that turned the river to blood and the magicians did the same things. Afterwards, the plague of frogs came and then the gnats. The magicians could not duplicate this act. Then Exodus 8 continues with the plague of flies. Even Pharoah said, "I will let you go offer sacrifices to the lord your God in the desert, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me." Lord, depressed people need prayer, as even the king of Egypt requested. But, like Pharoah, many are not sincere. They want to wallow in their sorrows. They need the attention that depression brings them. God knows their hearts and motives. Today affirm: I will not give in to my plagues. I will accept God's will and purpose for my life. I know that I can overcome. The plagues will be intense at times, but I know that they will leave. I can get through them. God will help and I will help myself. I will stop trying to seek attention through my illness and try to help myself crawl out of the pit. I know in my heart that I will overcome. I also know that I MUST TRY TO HELP MYSELF. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, October 18, 2009

 

The plagues continue to come, as they are described in Exodus 9-12. The plague of dead animals is revealed in verses 1-7. Read the account of how the Lord killed the livestock of the Egyptians, yet those of the Israelites were spared. Still, Pharaoh's heart was unyielding. Then, boils descended upon them. After that, there was a plague of hail. Of course, no such occurance was evidenced in Goshen where the Hebrews resided. Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, "This time I have sinned...the Lord is in  the right, and I and my people are in the wrong." He implored Moses to pray for him. Lord, at this point I address my non-believers as they must think that this is just a story told by those desiring to demonstrate their faith in God. It is not. Also, my believers have found themselves in situations wherein they have been in dire straits and called upon the Lord. Then, after the storm subsided they returned to business as usual. That is what happened here. Lord, you warned Pharaoh of your intentions; however, his heart was hardened because he did not want to accept your sovreignty. God later sent locusts and darkness. Pharoah played games with God when he told Moses that he would allow some of the people to leave and also that they were to leave their flocks there. Lord, you are always trying to magnify your name. That is the point here and it was the point during much of biblical history. Lord, I hope that those with depression will yield to your great power, as well as healing abilities. The Hebrews would not leave empty handed as the Egyptians gave them gold and silver after having been inspired to do so by God. Then, a turning point came when Moses warned Pharaoh that all of his first borns would die. Those in the palace and those in the slaves' quarters. The chapters end here, yet they are just beginning for those who don't know God. Lord, I pray that those with depression will not have to go through what Pharaoh endured. God knows their hearts, the seat of their emotions and intentions. The plagues they will confront are plagues of despair, hopelessness, fear, guilt and resentment. They will all get in the way of total recovery. As I mentioned earlier I admonish those with depression to augment what is related here with professional care. My personal physician, "The Itallian Stallion," has been most kind and effective in prescribing just the right "cocktail" for me. The two methods work hand in hand. That is, positive thinking and faith, along with medical treatment. Today affirm: I will not be stubborn like Pharaoh. I will not have to live through plagues in my life. I will listen to others as they try to help me. I realize I am not a "one man show." It takes others to help me find my way. I will say to myself each morning what was uttered by an old preacher: Lord, help me remember that nothing is going to  happen to me today that you and I together can't handle. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, October 19, 2009

 

The Exodus account continues in the 12th and 13th chapters with the history of the passover. This is a familar account to many. We find Pharaoh being taken aback with the death that prevails throughout his land as the first born of all of his citizens are killed, including the livestock. This gets his attention as the palace is not spared. The Lord gives Moses and Aaron distinct instructions as to what the Hebrews are to do in preparation for the event that will be observed througout the ages. Read the details for yourself. However, I will simply mention that blood played an important part in the ritual the Israelites were to follow. There is much symbolism here for Christians as we relate the events to the coming of Christ. Also, a lamb was sacrificed and Jesus is often referred to as the lamb of God. The lamb was to be a male without defects. Again, to Christians the symbolism references Jesus, our Redeemer. They were to put the blood on their doorposts so that the angel of death would by pass them. In Exodus 12 it says: "This is a day  you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord__a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast." The account continues and tells them exactly how they are to do it and who qualifies to partake of it. The bible says that those who participate must be circumcised. Pharaoh finally gives up and, again, asks to be blessed. The Egyptians assist the Israelites. The Israelites had been living in Egypt for 430 years. At this point, I would like to inject a little personal note. It has been brought to my attention, by a trusted friend, that some issues I present may be offensive. It is not my intention to offend anyone. However, if you are not ready for a dose of reality then you may not want to visit this site. I was also informed that my use of the phrase "the depressed" turns off many. I will try other references; however, the site is designed to reach those with the illness as is stated in my mission statement on this page. Now, I am aware that many of you are not sure if you are depressed. Again, I direct you to the medical community. I can only tell you my symptoms. And, yes, I was unaware of my condition. I did know something was wrong with me. I slept all of the time. Some don't sleep at all. I gained weight. Others lose weight. I lost interest in the things that once fascinated me. I was confused and lacked organization when I was once known for it. I felt that someone was out to get me. I lacked energy. If you are not sure of these things a qualified doctor can certainly help. Today's affirmation: I will stop ignoring my feelings that something is going awry in my life. I will go to the doctor and find out. If I am not ready for that, I will do some research on my own and discover the symptoms of someone with depression. I will stop fretting and fuming when someone suggests that I need help. I want to stop being a weeping willow and become a sunflower. I may not believe that God can help in the matter but I know others have been helped in this manner and have been encouraged to seek a higher power to assist in their recovery. Today, will be the day that I begin to get on with the business of living again...really living. I will take my own exodus. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There are some powerful lessons taught as God leads His people across the sea in chapters 13-15 of Exodus. When the Israelites left Egypt God guided them around the land of the Philistines to avoid war as He knew they would be discouraged if they had to engage in a conflict. Moses fulfilled an oath made to Joseph that they would take his bones with them when they left Egypt. God sent them through the desert. Lord, that is what happened with many of your children who are hurting. They are taking the long way around through the desert. But, they will eventually be relieved of their travails just as did the Hebrew nation. In Chapter 14 it says "By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night." Lord, I know you will guide your children just as you did in bygone days. Pharaoh had a "reality check" and realized what he had done and how it would affect the economy of his land. God continued to harden his heart and he, of course, decided to pursue the Israelites. Sometimes, Lord, we all must take a "reality check" and feel the pulse that motivates our actions. God wanted to gain glory through Pharaoh. The Israelites panicked. They were certain of imminent death. Sometimes you may feel this way. In fact, some of you may even contemplate ending it all. But, help is on the way. The Israelites had short memories. They have already forgotten what God has done for them up to this point. Have you forgotten how God has sustained you up to where you are presently existing? Do you have short memories? Even Moses cried out to God. Moses told them that "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Some of you have lost the will to fight for yourselves. Please know that God will fight your battles. Just be still for a little while longer. In verses 19-20 it tells how the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of them, withdrew and went behind them. The account says: "Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long." How many sleepless nights have you had? How many times have you thought the darkess was ahead and behind you? God's Holy Word continues by telling how Moses streched out his hand over the sea and "..all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land." My non-believers do not accept this explanation. They deem it impossible. I must remind them that anything is possible with God. The Egyptians, again, realize that the Lord is fighting for Israel. But, it is too late. It is not too late for you. Lord, give them the hope that they need to fight their battles. Let them know, Lord, that they can prevail. Jehovah of Armies, let them know that, if you can part the Red Sea you can help them. In verses 26-29 it goes on to say: "The Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen." The Lord swept them into the sea. Lord, some are feeling that they are drowning in a sea of agony and that there is no hope for them. I can remember, after my first nervous breakdown, saying aloud "All hope is gone." Little did I know what God had planned for my life. Moses and the Israelites sang a song to the Lord. The sister of Aaron and Moses appears here_Miriam, the prophetess. She lead the women in song. Today's affirmation: Yes, I am in the sea...a sea of problems. But, I will prevail. God will part the sea and bring me through on dry land. He will dry my tears and ease my sorrow. I will try to help myself. Nothing has been accomplished without effort. If I must, I will seek medical help and yes, even take medication (chill pills). I will try. I must try. I must not drown in a sea of sorrow. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, October 21, 2009

 

Exodus 15 to 18 is filled to the brim with lessons of living today. The Israelites escape from Pharoah. But, soon they begin to murmur against God. How quickly they forget. They traveled three days in the desert without water. Again, I remind you of the symbolism in the bible (hidden meaning, if you will). Much of it references the Messiah. I am aware that some non-believers do not accept these references. The people grumbled against Moses, but they were actually complaining about He who sent Moses. They wanted water and that was all there was to it. God, with his quality of patience and forgiveness, helps them. God showed Moses a piece of wood. He threw it into the water and the bitter water became sweet. Lord, your people are drinking bitter water now. But, they too can have sweet water. They are experiencing the bitter taste of rejection. Many are divorced and have a feeling of failure. Many feel that they have failed as parents. A personal note to those who think they are having difficulties with their children: Whenever I have a message to deliver to my daughter, I write her a letter and mail it to her. In this way, there is no confrontation and sometimes you can think better when words are not expressed. The Israelites murmured for food. But, the Lord remembered His chosen people and told Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day." Lord, let your servants know that they must gather enough strength to suffice for one day. Sometimes, they can only get through one hour or even five minutes. The Lord hears you just as He heard His people. The Lord continued to tell Moses, "I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, 'At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.'" What will it take for you to know that God is here for you? So, that evening quail came and covered the camp and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. "When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor." They did not know what it was and Moses told them it was the bread the Lord had given them to eat. Lord, help them to understand that you will provide what they need to get better. You will provide their bread. You have equipped the medical community to assist in the process. Moses told them that they were not to keep any of it until morning. God, then instituted the Sabbath. He allowed His people to save bread (an omer, or about two quarts or 2 liters) for the next day without it spoiling. God wants you to rest, my friends. Lord, help your servants rest from their weary journey. Help them to sleep at night. There is "balm in Gilead." There is healing for those who need it. The manna was kept for a memorial and will appear later. The 17th chapter finds the Hebrews setting out from the Desert of Sin. How appropriately named. Then, the people were thirsty for water and grumbled, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?" Lord, help your people understand that many of them don't want to leave their "Egypts." In other words, they enjoy wallowing in their self pity as it is their way of seeking attention. God continues to help the Israelites. They defeated the Amalekites after Moses stood on a hill and held his arms up. Lord, please let them know that you are holding your arms up and out for them. You are waiting for them to come unto you. In the 18th chapter Moses is re-united with Jethro, his father-in-law and his family who was sent ahead of him. Jethro worships God after seeing all that God had done. Perhaps my non-believers can also see the value in doing so. The chapter ends with Jethro giving advice to Moses. Lord, many do not want to take the advice given to them on this website nor any other suggestions. Moses listened to Jethro. Heavenly Father, I pray that your servants listen to someone. If not a qualified doctor then a family member or friend. The account in the 13th-27th verses tells how Jethro noticed that Moses was growing weary listening to the problems of such a multitude. He advises Moses to  select capable men of God to assist him. Jethro said :Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live....But select capable men from all the people...and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people.." This system is used today. Jehovah, I pray that your servants understand that the problem with many of them is that they have not learned to delegate. Lord, I am not saying "dump" on others but to let others help them with their load. Today's affirmation: I will not wear myself out when others can help me carry my load. I must realize that God will pick up my cross and carry it "with" me. I know that a God who performed all of the things these chapters reveal can certainly help me. I am not "of little faith." I will turn that around and open up to God, my pastor, my doctor and even myself. I have been shut up for too long. It is time to move. To move out of the desert. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Important Notice: For those of you who are regular visitors to this site, I would like to announce a partnership with GUIDEPOSTS, AN INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN INSPIRATIONAL ORGANIZATION. Now, you have a direct link to them found at the top of this page. You can request prayer at their sister web site and trained volunteers will pray for you. I am quite excited by this partnership and attribute this action to the Almighty God who also partners with me. Just click on the link in the "global text area" and you will be directed to their website. In this way, you can request prayer independent of my efforts.

 

Submitted Thursday, October 22, 2009

 

In the next few chapters of Exodus, the 19th-24th, we find God establishing a covenant with his beloved people. He wants them to know that He has certain expectations of them and He expects them to obey Him. Lord, help my friends to know that, as parents, this is what we are to do. We must establish limitations for our children. If we don't do this, then we should not be surprised by the behavior they demonstrate.  The Israelites arrive at Mt. Sinai in the 1st and 2nd verses of Exodus. God summons Moses. That must have been an awesome experience for him. God wanted the people to know that they could trust Moses and that Moses was receiving directions from Him. The people were consecrated and in so doing were instructed to wash their clothing. Lord, some of my friends fail to keep themselves clean during the ordeal of depression. They have little time for this. But, Lord, we want them to know that cleanliness is akin to Godliness. Moses met God on the mountain. There was a thick cloud over the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast. The people were afraid. Lord, fear paralyzes some of my friends. Some of them are afraid to leave their homes. Lord, let them know that they have nothing to fear but "fear" itself. The Lord asked Moses to "go down and bring Aaron up with you." The people were warned not to go near the mountain; even their animals could not touch the mountain. Death would result from such behavior. Moses gave them the ten commandments. There has been much ado about posting these directives in public view, but we can see that they were given to Moses many years ago and that we are still bound by them. Lord, I pray that my friends follow  them as they will be happier for having done so. Good cannot come from bad behavior and, like the Hebrews, there are consequences for  failure to do so. Read the commandments at Exodus 20th. The people, understandably so, were afraid when they saw the mountain smoking and trembling and heard the thunders and lightening. They stayed at a distance. Lord, some of my friends distance themselves from you, as well as friends and family. Let them know, Heavenly Father, that they must not isolate themselves as it only escalates their illness. God dictated many laws as this was a theocratic arrangement. God was their king and they had formed an agreement to follow his laws. God makes promises to the people that originated with his promise to Abraham to make his seed a mighty nation. He promised them victory over the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites. God said it would happen slowly as if He did it quickly the wild animals would overcome them. Jehovah, let my friends know that they must slowly emerge from their depression. It is normal to do it this way. As the saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day." In a later account it says the elders saw God's glory. The description tells us that "...under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself." Now, my non-believers should take comfort in the fact that God is not some abstract figment of our imagination. At this point, I would like to recommend a book for my non-believers that was given me by Pastor Mike, my minister at the non-denominational church I attend. It is entitled MORE THAN JUST A CARPENTER BY JOSH AND SEAN MCDOWELL. It is a small book and I think you will find it interesting. Rather than an affirmation today, I would like to include a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I learned it in sixth grade. Thank you, Mr. Miller, for insisting that we learn it. It is entitled, "The Rainy Day:" THE DAY IS COLD, AND DARK, AND DREARY; IT RAINS AND THE WIND IS NEVER WEARY; THE VINE STILL CLINGS TO THE MOULDERING WALL, BUT AT EVERY GUST THE DEAD LEAVES FALL, AND THE DAY IS DARK AND DREARY. MY LIFE IS COLD, AND DARK AND DREARY; IT RAINS AND THE WIND IS NEVER WEARY; MY THOUGHTS STILL CLING TO THE MOULDERING PAST, BUT THE HOPES OF YOUTH FALL THINK IN THE BLAST, AND THE DAYS ARE DARK AND DREARY. BE STILL, SAD HEART! AND CEASE REPINING; BEHIND THE CLOUDS IS THE SUN STILL SHINING; THY FATE IS THE COMMON FATE OF ALL, INTO EACH LIFE SOME RAIN MUST FALL, SOME DAYS MUST BE DARK AND DREARY. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, October 23, 2009

 

The 24th chapter of Genesis ends with Moses spending forty days on the mountain of Sinai. There is symbolism here as Jesus fasted for forty days when he was tempted by the devil. You must learn to look for these hidden meanings as they point to the Redeemer. God gave Moses instructions as to how he wanted his tabernacle built. In other words, his church or his tent of meeting, as it were. First, the Lord said to Moses: "Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. ...gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastplate." So, what does this tell us? Well, first it tells us that God likes things done according to His will. He is an organized and precise God and He likes pretty things. Some may say, He likes ornate things. Before the construction of this portable tent started, God asked for donations. He asked the people to give from their hearts. Lord, let my friends know that they must learn to give from their hearts. Things can be done in many ways. God wants us to give a tenth of our earnings to Him (tithe). For those attending church, this references supporting God's House. It can also mean giving in terms of service to others. Lord, please tug at the hearts of those reading this prayer and let them know that they must get outside of their cares and concerns. They must help others so that they may be blessed. When you are busy assisting others there is less time for attention to the things that vex you. God gave many instructions in Exodus 25-28. No stone was left unturned. He directed how the ark was to be built; the construction of the Mercy Seat; He laid out plans for the lampstand and the tabernacle. Only God could come up with such a plan, as He is the Supreme Planner. Read many of the details for yourself. Included among the directives was the inclusion of an outer court. They were to make curtains for the entrance to the courtyard. God even gave instructions as to how the garments for the priests were to be made. Chapter 28 tells: "Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazer and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor. God asked for skilled workers to do his bidding. Lord, there are skilled workers among my friends who are either without work or working in a capacity that does not parallel their abilities. Lord, let them know that they are to bloom where they are planted. The account goes on to say, "Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel in the order of their birth_six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Among the things to be worn by the priest was the Unim and the Thummim in the breastplate "...so they may be over Aaron's heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord." These may seem silly details to non-believers, yet we must remember that God's presence would be there and He wanted things done just so. This is not to say that churches today must be as ornate. In fact, the bible says where two are more are gathered in my name, there I am also. Lord, let my friends know that they need to gather with like-minded persons. Individual prayer has its place but reference the statement above. Today's affirmation: Lord, I am going to get "outside" of myself and help another. I am not the only one having problems. When I compare my self to others, I will see that there will always be someone doing better as well as worse than I. I will volunteer for a worthy cause. I will become passionate about something. I will divert attention from my problem-ladened life. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday,  October 24, 2009

 

The 29th-31st verses of Exodus continue with directions from God Almighty.  In verses 1-9 of the 29th chapter, God gives directives for the ordination of the priests. He explains what type sacrifices are to be offered as well as how their garments are to be worn. Again, there is  a commandment regarding blood.  The priests were to slaughter a bull. Again, a reference to the eventual slaying of our Lord and Saviour. There also was to be a special burnt offering. God also gives directions regarding fellowship offerings. Verses 19-34 speak of Aaron's sacred garments and how they "...will belong to his descendants so that they can be annointed and ordained in them." Lord, here you demonstrate that formal training in a school of Theology was not a part of the requirements to become priests. And the directives regarding the sacrifices were symbolic of the coming Messiah. The entire ordination was to take seven days, a number that means something has been completed, as in a seven day week period. Numbers have meaning in the bible as you will later discover. The account further says that the Tent of Meeting would be consecrated. God, further, requires them to make an altar to be made of "acacia wood for burning incense." The 30th chapter talks about a census being taken and that 'each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted." Lord, we understand that we are to use part of our earnings to magnify your name, and when we don't, calamity often occurs. We have the "plagues" of financial insecurity as well as the absence of peace of mind. When we hold back from giving God the ten percent due Him, we are showing disregard, as well as disrespect, for the one who made these provisions. Lord, I pray that my friends understand this principle. It is as much a part of the healing process as is medication. Lord, sometimes my friends become selfish, centering their lives upon their issues. Though they may lack a healthy ego, they have become, in a sense, egocentric. The Lord later chooses skilled workmen to assist in the task. Lord, you know what my friends are capable of doing. Many of them are highly skilled but their abilties are clouded as they wallow in self-pity. Their creative energy is sapped by the energy required to exist in their state of depression. Lord, help them return to their former state. You can do it, Father. Finally, Moses is given the tablets of the testimony, the tablets of stone inscribefd by the finger of God. Lord, if you can do these things, when will my friends understand that you can bring joy into their lives. Today's affirmation: I will trust in the Lord. He has demonstrated His interests in the affairs of people on earth. He watches over me and his heart aches when mine does. I will learn to lean on Him instead of recreational drugs and immorality. I am me and that is all God asks. He will take me where I am and mold me into the kind of person He wants me to be. I will stop being a "yes person" and accept tasks of which I am not capable of completing. When I over task my body, I over task my mind as well. I will learn assertive tactics. I had to be taught these techniques. I will learn that it is okay to say NO. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

  

Submitted Sunday, October 25, 2009

 

Chapters 32-34 relate the act of rebellion demonstrated by God's people while Moses was on the mountain of Sinai. It appears that the name Sinai is used  interchangeably with that of Mt. Horeb. It seems incredible that the people would persuade Aaron to fashion them a golden calf to worship. And, it appears equally amazing that Aaron does as they ask. Lord, you are showing my friends that the heart and will often conflict. God, of course, informs Moses of what is taking place and His anger burns towards the people. How quickly they forget. God told Moses, "I have seen these people and they ae a stiff-necked people. Lord, so many of my friends are stubborn. They, too, are "stiff-necked." They know that they are ill but rationalize about their condition and refuse medical help and counseling. The accounts go on to tell how Moses intercedes. God had enough of them. Moses reminded Him of His promise to Abraham. Moses also told God that the surrounding nations would be delighted if God abandoned the Hebrews. Lord, many delight in the woes of my friends. People who are suppose to be their friends rejoice when they suffer. Many of my friends are talented, attractive and accomplished persons who have fallen upon sad times in their lives. But, God can intercede and His anger against their sins will be blotted out once they repent. In the 7th-11th verses it relates how God entered the Tent of Meeting: "...the pillar pf cloud would come down and stay at the entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses." This should be encouraging to the non-believers who have continued to visit this website. The 34th chapter goes on to reveal how God admonished: "Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose  name is jealous, is a jealous God." My friends, do you have idols? Lord, help them realize that their idols may exist in the form of their children, cars, homes, positions in the community, bank accounts and appearance. Moses wrote another tablet, known commonly as the Ten Commandments. Moses had to veil his face when speaking to the people because his face was so radiant after having spoken with God. Is that proof for you, non-believers. Today's affirmation: I will examine my heart and determine the things I worship. I will realize that God is a jealous God and demands whole-souled worship. I will worship God alone. I will submit to His will and purpose for my life. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen.Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, October 26, 2009

 

The Exodus account continues  with Chapters 35-38 relating the events leading up to the building of he tabernacle. Wow, what a project it was. You will find that God, not only likes nice things, but His favorite colors are bold_blue, purple and scarlet. Now, what do you think of that? Scarlet does not have a good reputation among the prudish. The accounts begin with Moses relating a commandment from God. It is awesome how God spoke directly to Moses. Moses said: "This is what the Lord has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing  is to bring to the Lord...." Now, notice He said "from what you have." My friends may wonder what does all of this have to do with depression. It has everything to do with it. You need God's healing. Well, He wants to know that you are sincere in that request of Him. Why is it  you find it difficult to  understand that you OWE God something in return. You need to make an offering just as the Hebrews did. No, not a burnt offering, but an offering none-the-less. But, I have nothing, you say. Perhaps you are without a job. Well, how about that hamburger you bought for yourself. Ten percent of what you DO have belongs to God and He will make that "widow's mite" grow into something large. Verses 20-29 go on to speak of the materials they were to bring: it says "everyone who was willing.." How willing are you? You want help; you  must learn to give it. Give from you needs, not your leftovers. If necessary, volunteer at a shelter or food bank. You may give in terms of a service to God's needy.  The women contributed as well. "Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun.." The women brought "to the Lord freewill offerings.." What you do for God must be done freely and from the heart. Not because someone asked but because He deserves it. Skilled artisans were chosen and filled with "Holy Spirit" in order to peform the intricate details required of them, as well as to teach others. I think that God inspires me to read His word and apply it to your situations. I think that I, too, am filled with Holy Spririt. The people gave so much that they were restrained from bringing more. Read the details of what God asked them to do. Lord, help my friends understand that, in some cases, monies given to your "tents of meeting" are misapproriated. But, when tithes are given from the heart, it is not their concern to fret over how the contributions are used, for you will hold to whom the monies are given accountable for how it is used. Today's affirmation: I will stop freeloading on God. I freely ask, and I should freely give. I will give from what I have. I will not be ashamed to give the small amount with which I have been blessed. I will remember the widow's mite. I realize that I can cut the lawn for the church; clean the church or volunteer to serve in other capacities. This will plant a seed, a "mustard" seed. And, I know that it is written that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, there is nothing impossible for you. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, October 27, 2009

 

When you are searching for gems, sometimes you have to dig a little deeper in order to  find the most valuable ones. It is the same process as when you are searching the holy scriptures to find ways in which you can apply its wisdom in your lives. When I read the detailed instructions God commanded Moses to which to adhere in the construction of the tabernacle, I  pondered as to how I would make it apply to your lives. After a cup of coffee and some meditation, the task seemed easier. First, the tabernacle is most often considered a place of worship. In fact, what is happening in the chapters I cite in Exodus is a forerunner to the temple that will be built later. When I think of your lives I think that what you have gone through or continue to experience is a forerunner as to what God has in store for you. I suffered from depression for twenty years. They were long and lonely. They were filled with episodes commonly known as nervous breakdowns. But, God had plans for my life. Of course, I must continue to take my medication as the disease results from a chemical imbalance and I have inherited the illness. My grandmother had a nervous breakdown and other family members are also afflicted. So, when the tabarnacle is constructed, I think of the beauty of it. That is how your lives will be if you believe and trust in the design God has planned for you. The 39th chapter of Exodus  continues to describe the fashioning of such things as the ephod and the breast plate. Lord, let my friends know that you will be their breast plate. Lord, you are a skilled craftsman and you can put their lives back in order. You will weave their negative experiences into their positive and make something beautiful from it. The account gives intricate detail of how God wanted things to be constructed. Verses 32-43 said "So all the work on the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, was completed. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses." Lord, help my friends understand that their bodies are temples. Lord, inspire my friends to remember that when they fill their stomachs with junk foods and use their bodies in an unholy manner it will not help them heal. Lord, help my friends understand that diet and exercise will aid them in their journey towards freedom. God, you have shown us that you love beautiful things and that there is nothing wrong with that when kept in check. But, you also are showing us that we must do just as you command. That includes attending a "tent of meeting." All churches "are not created equally," so to speak, and you must choose one wisely. Pray about it and be vigilant. God will lead you to the right one. In verse 40 it says "Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." What an awesome God we serve. Todays's affirmation:" I will watch what I eat as my body is a living temple. I will exercise and keep my temple in shape. I will remember all that God commanded the Israelites to do and remember that He wants us to do as He commands us. My healthy mind will be of little value housed in an unhealthy body. I can walk. I do not have to join a gym. I can eat simple foods, including less red meat. I will eat more veggies and hold the starches. I will limit my visit to fast food establishments. I can change my habits. They are only habits. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, October 28, 2009

 

As we enter the book of Leviticus, we find more information than some would care to know. After all, who wants a blow-by-blow description of the ordination of the priests. But, if you skip this section, you will miss a big  point that was made there. Albeit the many sacrifices are confusing, they all lead us to the ultimate sacrifice made by the atonement of the Messiah. Non-believers who do not accept Christ as the son of God nor as one who could atone for our sins may be a little dismayed by this claim. But, never-the-less, there is a point being made with these detailed descriptions included in the Holy Scriptures. The account in the 8th chapter speaks of the gathering of the assembly. Lord, my friends must learn to gather together with those of like mind. Some are frustrated by the corruption that prevails in modern churches. God is just as intolerant of them as he was of the disobedience of two of Aaron's sons who offered unofficial fire and were consumed by them. Do not dismay over the behavior of those seeking selfish gain under the guise of being a shepherd of God's flock. For they, too, will be punished. In the 10th-12th verses it tells how the altar was consecrated: He (Moses) "sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times..." Again, we hear of the number seven,  one that means completeness. There are so many different types of offerings, that it boggles the mind of the casual reader. There is the sin offering, the burnt offering, the peace offering and, let us not forget the wave offering. The sin offering was executed by presenting "... the bull for the sin offering..." "Moses slaughtered the bull and took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on all the horns of the altar...so he consecrated it to make atonement for it." This act points to the atonement of sins by Christ, our redeemer. Lord, help my friends to understand that albeit this is a ceremony instituted in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) it has direct impact upon their lives. Although this is not a modern practice, it leads to a very important redemptive process which offers them hope of forgiveness. And, many of my friends need to unload the "stuff" they carry around onto the shoulders of a loving God who has sent his Son to atone for their short comings. Get rid of the guilt. It is making you sick. In the 22nd-29th verses it speaks of the use of bread in the ceremony. "Then from from the basket of bread made without yeast, which was before the Lord, he took a cake of bread, and one made with oil, and a wafer.." Doesn't that sound like the communion we celebrate in memory of Christ's death? And, remember why they didn't use yeast. Reference the Exodus from Egypt. Moses further instructs the priest to "Cook the meat at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and eat it there with the bread from the basket of ordination..." The Levites (the tribe from which the priests come) were given provisions as they did not get an inheritance of land and, it also might be noted, that they did not engage in war. Read details for yourself regarding the offerings. The ceremony ends with Aaron blessing the people and "Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering.." To disregard what, to many may seem boring, is to ignore what is to come in terms of the atonement of our sins by God's son. After the death of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's sons, the 10th chapter tells us that Aaron remained silent. Lord, help my friends understand that silence is not always golden. In the case of Aaron, he was following God's directives. But, Heavenly Father, many of my friends are killing themselves softly with their determination to keep their illness hidden. Of course, its revelation is risky. Many have a lot at stake. And, others who, in some cases, are depressed themselves will ridicule you. I certainly have experienced it. But, I am so "prayed up" that it rolls off my back and I whisper a little prayer for the one who initiated the comment or insinuation. Today's affirmation: I understand that I will not get better hiding my pain. I will take a risk and talk about it, even if I have to do so with a counselor. I have to talk about about it with someone. First, I will tell God. He will direct my steps from that point. I must say what  is troubling me. I will be a risk taker. The stakes are too high not to do so. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen. (personal Note: I am in no way implying that seminary training is a negative experience. I, too, have been trained at an institution of higher learning. In fact, I have a Master's Degree. I AM saying that many who possess these titles are still not equipped to shepherd the flock. Some are unfamiliar with the scriptures and skirt about them with emotional deliveries. Others are in it for the money and it has become a career instead of a "calling." Many, without such training, are better equipped as they are blessed with the Holy Spirit and God's annointment.)

 

Submitted Thursday, October 29, 2009

 

The book of Numbers continues with how the Lord directed the Israelites to prepare the tabernacle. And this book specifically addresses the donations the tribal families contributed towards this effort. In Numbers, Chapter 7 it says: "Then the leaders of Israel, the heads of families who were the tribal leaders in charge of those who were counted,  made offerings." That "O" word appears again. In other words, giving something back to the Lord. Many of my friends, Lord, don't want to hear about this aspect as they never seem to find the assets to donate. Yet, many of them drive the latest cars and make sure they live in nice abodes. Many of them, Lord, have things with which they can very well get along without, including services rendered them. In verses 12-17 the account continues with the Lord saying to Moses: "Each day one leader is to bring his offering for the dedication of the altar." Numbers 7:12-17 states: "The one who brought his offering on the first day was Nashon son of Amminadab of the tribe of Judah." Now, there is significance in the fact that it was the tribe of Judah who made the first offering; this is the tribe from whom the Christ will spring. For the sake of brevity, as well as to avoid "spoon feeding" you the word I will allow you to read the detailed description of the gifts offered. Summarily, "These were the offerings of the Israelite leaders for the dedication of the altar when it was anointed: twelve silver plates and gold dishes...The total number of animals for the burnt offering came to twelve young bulls, twelve rams and twelve male lambs,  together with their grain offering..." The number twelve is also a significant number. Lord, let my friends see that they can't "skirt" around the issue of tithing. It is a requirement for those who desire to please the Lord. Also, at issue here, Lord, is the family unit. Let my friends know that they are not islands but a part of a family_both their biological and a spiritual family. Lord, let those with families take care of them as you care for us. If there are elders needing help, Lord, inspire my friends to tend to them and learn something along the way. Today's affirmation: I will not neglect my obligations. First, I will find a way to contribute to the Lord's house. It may mean that I will have to wash my own car or manicure my nails at home. But, where there is a will, there is a way. And, I will find it, Lord. I may not have the money but I have my mind and my body that I can use to help others. I will think about someone other than myself. If I am divorced, I will contribute money and time to my children for they need me more than ever. This prayer I pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, October 30, 2009

 

The tabernacle has been constructed and the book of Numbers continues to relate to the people, through Moses, how they are to function as a nation. Please note, as some astute visitors are already aware, that the accounts braided in with my prayers seem to "skip around a bit." In my mission statements I explained that I am using THE DAILY BIBLE WITH CCOMMENTARY BY F. LaGARD SMITH (GUIDEPOSTS PUBLICATION) and the events are told in chronological order. Hence, some of the laws revealed in more than one chapter may be presented only once. This, in no way, constitutes "heresy," but makes it easier to understand. My goal is to "stimulate" your appetite for the Holy Scriptures so that you can fill in the details during your personal study, using the bible of your choice. In Numbers, you would expect for a census to take place and that is exactly what happens. The tribes and clans register. This foretells when Joseph and Mary had to journey for a census. The Lord said to Moses: "Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. You and Aaron are to number by their divisions all the men in Israel twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army." That is not to say that women were not important, as they were the ones who gave birth to the nation, but this is referencing military might. Moses received help from the princes. Lord, help my friends to realize that they must also ask for help. Lord, help them to understand that they cannot and do not have to "go it alone." Again, for the sake of brevity I direct you to the bible (Numbers 1:24-47) for detailed lists of the tribal members. The Levites (priestly class) were not counted. They were set apart. The Lord even directed the tribes as to where they were to camp in relationship to the Tent of Meeting. The Levites were to position themselves in the middle of the camp. The account goes on to discuss who was to carry  which items of the tabernacle. For instance, the Gershonites were to "carry the curtains of the tabernacle..." The Merarites' duties were to "..carry the frames of the tabernacle." Lord, we see what an organized God you are. Let my friends know that many of them lack a sense of structure in their lives. Order and structure are important. A clean, orderly house and a clean body promote healing. The Lord said to Moses, "Count all the firstborn Israelite males who are a month old or more and make a list of their names. Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the Lord." The Lord claimed the Levites. We see the importance of the first born; it reminds us of when they were killed in Egypt. There was to be a redemption of the firstborn. "To redeem, the 273 first born Israelistes who exceed the number of the Levites, collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons." Do you see any symbolism here regarding Christ?  I don't think I need to talk about the big "O" word again do I? Non-believers are probably growing weary of reading about Offerings. But, you cannot escape reality. Just as your household operates on a budget, so does God's house. Affirmation for today: I will strive for structure in every aspect of  my life. Everything has its place, in my household and in my mind. I will strive to keep both free and clean. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

NOTEWORTHY: My visitors may be interested to know that God has given me the opportunity to be a featured blogger on GUIDEPOSTS' PRAYER WEBSITE. You can find me by going to the top of this page (in the global text area) and clicking on the link to the website. Go to the COMMUNITY TAB. It will take you to the regularly featured bloggers. Then look for "more bloggers." On that page you will see a dove with my username, thkugod6273. And BINGO. Please read my story. Agape

 

Submitted Saturday, October 31, 2009

 

Like shells sitting on the surface of the ocean's sands, so are the bits of wisdom found in the next accounts of Numbers. First, in the 1st-10th verses of Chapter 10, we find the Lord addressing Moses again. I never fail to be amazed by this act. Imagine! The Lord chooses to speak directly with you. You can be assured that Moses was humble and that, if that were to happen to some people we would never forget it. The Lord said to moses: "Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having camps set out."  As the whistles of the drum major in a band signals his squad to move in certain directions, God had codified the trumpet sounds. Read it for yourself. "The sons of Aaron, the priests, are to blow the trumpets."  The Lord referred to the Israelites as a community. Father, please motivate my friends to become a part of their community. Many are not. They can do that in many ways. And there are different sub-cultures within their community. Some don't know how to accomplish this goal. Will you teach them, Lord? Finally, they set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place. "The divisions of the camp of Judah went first." Remember JUDAH? This is the tribe that will give birth to our Saviour. Non-believers may have little faith in this, but may consider it an interesting story. It is my desire that, through prayer and supplication, they will see it as much more. As we approach the Christmas season, one in which many do not share, it brings to mind the classic referencing of the authenticity of Santa Claus. The little girl, Virginia is advised: "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." Though I question the merits of such advice, the  point here is: YES, THERE IS A GOD AND YES, HE HAS A SON THAT RULES IN A TRIUNE RELATIONSHIP, ALONG WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. As the Hebrews prepare to move, "Then the tabernacle was taken down and the Gershonites and Merarites, who carried it, set out. "...Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. The tabernacle was to be set up before they arrived." Moses asked Hobab, the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, to serve as guide. But God was actually in control. Moses promised to treat him fairly if he accepted the offer. As the Israelites traveled, "The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp." The cloud determined when they were to depart. In Numbers 11:4-6 it speaks of some unrest in the camp instigated by the "rabble," referencing those who joined them from Egypt. "The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat!" Lord, my friends have "rabble" in their lives. Many of them are surrounded by negative energy. That is, their friends are really their foes. Lord, give them discernment to distinquish between the two. Later, Moses becomes so discouraged that he uttered: "I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now_if I have found favor in your eyes_and do not let me face my own ruin. I can remember feeling like this and many of my friends do also, Lord. But, help was around the bend. "The Lord said to Moses: "Bring me seventy of Israel's elders who are known to you as leaders....I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone. Lord, you can do that for my friends; I know you can because you did it for me. Numbers continues in Chapter 11:31-35 to explain how God solved the "meat issue." "Now a wind went out for the Lord and drove quail in from the sea....But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people and he struck them with a severe plague." Lord, depression can be a plague. My friends know this. But you are a willing and able God who can relieve them of all afflictions. Today's affirmation: I will  grow up. If I am a child I will also mature in God's loving and living spirit. I will become a part of the community in which I live. I will pray to God to teach me how so that I can avoid negative influences. This prayer we pray in the name  of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, November 1, 2009

 

In Numbers Chapters 12-14 we find rebellion rising among the Israelites and again Moses intervenes on their behalf. In Chapter 12:1-2 Miriam and Aaron began to speak negatively about Moses' choice for a wife. It appears that Ziporrah, the Midianite, has died and Moses weds a Cushite woman of dark skin. "Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?" they asked. "Hasn't he also spoken through us?" And the Lord heard this. It appears that the "green-eyed" monster has risen its ugly head in the form of jealousy. Lord, help my friends to avoid this character flaw. For there will always be those better than they, as well as the opposite. Aaron appears to "go along to get along." Father, this is what happens with some of my friends. They find it difficult to stand up and be themselves. Aaron demonstrated this tendency when the people made a golden calf to worship while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments. And, again Aaron is not rebuked; yet, Miriam is struck with leprosy. Moses begged God to heal her and he does, after a seven day quarrantine outside the camp. In Numbers 13 we find spies being sent into the Promised Land. In verses 1-3 it says, "The Lord said to Moses, "Send some to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders." Included among them was Hoshea, son of Nun, whom Moses re-named Joshua. Caleb was also among them. These men stand out from the crowd as they were the only two to return with a favorable report regarding the Hebrew's chances of settling in the land. They checked out the area for forty days. This is also the number of days that Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan in the desert. The 25th-29th verses of Numbers relate: "They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there." It is interesting to note here that the Nephilim (descendents of Anak) were giants. In earlier accounts it tells how they were the offspring of rebellious angels who intermarried with earthly women producing the hybrid race. Chapter 14:1-3 goes on to explain "That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. Jehovah, that is what my friends do. They weep. And, even worse, they  internalize their grief. That is what I did. Will they, like the Hebrew, ever learn the powers of God? Joshua and Caleb rebuked the community and reminded them of God's ability to see them through this crisis. At issue here, Lord, is that my friends endure one crisis after another. Please help them realize that is called "life." Life is a "bowl of cherries" if you see it as such. It depends upon your perspective. Some of my friends actually get their needs met through the attention they "earn" from the illness. It, however, is not worth the temporary relief they obtain. Again, God is angered, and justifiably so. In Chapter 14:10-12 "The Lord said to Moses, How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?" Lord, I ask non-believers the same question. After pleading to the Lord not to destroy them, God acquiesced and determined: "In this desert your bodies will fall_every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplited hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. The disgruntled spies were struck with plagues and died on the spot. Today's affirmation: I will learn from the Hebrews. I see that God does what He says He will do. I have choices. If I am a non-believer, I will begin to question MY believes rather than that of the bible. Am I happy living as I am? I must examine myself to find the source of my unhappiness. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen. 

 

Submitted Monday, November 2, 2009

 

As we continue in the book of Numbers, Chapters 16-18, there is more rebellion among God's chosen people and the big "O" word is specifically mentioned in regard to the Levites and Aaron. Of course the "O" word references tithes and offering. Chapter 16:1-3 begins with the account of rebellion, spearheaded by Korah, a member of the Levite (priestly) tribe. He "..became insolent and rose up against Moses." With him (and certain Reubenites) "...They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them,  'You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly'"? Lord, when I think of this occurance, I ponder how children rebell against their parents, as this is what is hapening here. They are targeting Moses and Aaron but the attack is really against He who sent them, God. Many of my friends, Lord, are reeling from the blows they receive from wayward children. They have done their best, yet it is not good enough. Lord, sustain them throughout this ordeal and teach them how to reach such obstinate ones in their care or even those who are far from them. Moses said to Korah: "It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him." Jehovah, I also think of non-believers as I relate the answer the two chosen leaders give to Korah. "The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once." God had enough. He was tired of them and wanted to do away with them. Heavenly Father, I am also mindful of my friends who have left churches because they oppose the leadership there. There are times when you must make changes when you are not being given your  spiritual "food." But, outright rebellion against the one who serves in a leadership capacity is never appropriate. Nor, is a child's blatant uprising against their parents. If you challenge them, then you will eventually begin to stand up to God. "But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, "O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins'"? Then God advised Moses to demand that the assembly moves away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, the ring leaders, as it were. "As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split..." You can imagine what happened to them, along with their families. "The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 'You have killed the Lord's people,' they said." Now pardon my judgmental attitude but this, as is expressed in the vernacular, "is getting old." When will they learn? But, Lord, the same can be said of some of my friends. When will they learn to help themselves? When will they....(fill in the blank)? As a result of that outburst 14,700 died of the plague. And more would have done so had it not been for the very leaders they opposed. "The Lord said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them.." For the sake of brevity, I will tell you that the rod belonging to Aaron was the only one that "...had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds." Again, God is justifying himself. That shouldn't have to happen. In Numbers 18, the Lord assigned members of the Levites to "...join you and be responsible for the care of the Tent of Meeting.." It later states: "You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar..." The account (not story, non-believers) in Numbers 18 goes on to discuss the fact that the Levites are to be taken care of by the donations from the people. It also references the coming redemptive qualities of Christ when it mentions the first born of the animals. Read more for yourself. "The Lord said to Aaron, 'You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. The Lord further requires "From these tithes (given by the people) you must give the Lord's portion to Aaron the priest. The Lord, in other words, required tithes even from the Levites themselves and that offering was to go to Aaron. So, it seems, you can't escape it. The big "O" word, I mean. Today's affirmation": I will begin to follow what God wishes me to do so that it will go well with me. For faithfulness in small matters will help me in larger issues. I will stop letting other people control me as did Korah with his mindless group of followers. I will be the "thermostat" not the "thermometer" when it comes to my emotions. There is but ONE I wish to control me and that is GOD. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, November 3, 2009

 

As the Lord and I take you on this journey through His Word, there are some "roads" I will ask you to explore by yourselves as you dig deeper into the bible. Numbers is no exception. Moses will reveal all of the territories through which the Israelites adventured. However, I will mention a few. I hope that you will do further research and "fill  in" the framework I provide. The 20th chapter of Numbers, beginning with the first verse, relates that "In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried." Now, please flashback to the time when God condemned them to wander in the desert for 40 years for their rebellious acts. Verses 2-5 explain: Now there was no water for the community and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. You can surmise what they said for they used this rationale frequently. At this point many of you are becoming disgusted with God's people. And, as many are sympathizing with Aaron and Moses. But, before you drop the "hatchet," please remember that God allowed these accounts to remain a part of His Holy Word for a reason. These accounts validate God's loving and forgiving nature. He did do away with some along the way. So, I wouldn't take his good nature for granted. God instructed Moses to "...Take the staff ... and speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out water." Water is what the Israelites craved_again. I would caution you against your well-intended, yet feelings of ill will when the Hebrews complain. Lord, help my friends to understand what is really happening here. This, Lord, is not simply biblical history but life application as well. Moses and Aaron assembled the people together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock? Do you hear the superiority complex Moses displayed? He failed to give the credit to God and he would pay dearly for his mistake. Spiritual leaders must avoid the same pitfall. Later, passage through Edom (homeland of Essau) was denied. Remember the dispute he had with his brother Jacob (Israel)? Aaron later died atop a mountain at Mount Hor. "Moses removed Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar." There were sprinkles of victory for the Hebrews. But, when the people traveled around the Red Sea in order to avoid the Edomites (Essau), the people mumbled again. God sent snakes to bite them and many died until God directed Moses to build a snake and attach in to a pole. As they were bitten, the Israelites could look at it and be saved. For a detailed description of the places the nomadic nation traveled when they came out of Egypt, please reference Numbers Chapter 33. Lord, let my non-believers refrain from rejoicing by,  what may appear to be turmoil in your Holy Word. Everything is written there for a purpose. Today's affirmation: I will not dismay if I "backslide." If I am sincere God will forgive me and I can continue to serve Him. If He could forgive His CHOSEN PEOPLE that many times surely He will forgive me if I  truly repent and go on with my life. I cannot use this as an excuse to sin as He knows the seat of my emotions. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, November 4, 2009

 

As we continue in Numbers we find an incident that begins with the fear of a king and concludes with the prophecy of a soothsayer. Now, this will be somewhat controversial as it discusses divination and the opposing will of God. Lord, there are some of my friends who practice the art of sorcery and seek the help of fortune tellers. Lord, some are outright worshiping Satan. They, God, need intense prayer as they are mixed up with the prince of darkness. Many did it out of despair after prayer "failed" them and some are practicing a mixture of the occult and Christianity. This is what we find occuring in the 22nd-24th chapters of Numbers. Balak was king of Moab at that time and "...sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the River (Euphrates) in his native land. He had heard rumors about the conquests of the Israelites and feared them. Lord, many of my friends do things out of fear. They may practice sorcery in an effort to seek relief with a quick fix. It didn't work for Balak, Jehovah, and it won't work for them. Many of them frequent your house of worship but serve Satan behind closed doors. It appears that the Moabites and the Midianites were partners in "crime." In Numbers 22:7-14 it states: "The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said. You may read details for yourself. The "short" of it is that Balak wanted the help of Balaam, who did not truly worship God but practiced sorcery. Sometimes, Lord, what is meant as harm, can often turn out being a blessing. Balak had confidence in Balaam, but God had other plans. "But God said to Balaam, 'Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed. Lord, that is what happens when you are for my friends. Who, then, can be against them? Balak offers Balaam a fortune if he will help him. That night God came to Balaam and said, "Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you." The account tells how Balaam encounters an angel. Are there non-believers who consider it nonsense? I am sure there are. The angel appears before the donkey and stops him in his tracks, saving Balaam's life, even after he beats the animal. The Lord opens Balaam's eyes and reveals what had happened. After repenting, the angel of the Lord said to Balaam "Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you." Balaam told Balak "...whatever he reveals to me I will tell you." Balak became distraught. This is what happens, Lord, when my friends delve into the occult. Balaam utters several oracles. In one of them he says "There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel." Verses 1-9 of the 24th chapter says "Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to sorcery as at other times, but turned his face toward the desert." The oracle continues, "May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed." It is referencing Israel. Balaam is no match for you, Lord, and neither is the prince of darkness. Balaam uttered, "Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you of what this people will do to your people in days to come. Acting under inspiration, he even foretells the birth of the Messiah: "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not here, A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel, He will crush the foreheads of Moab.." "Then Balaam got up and returned home and Balak went his own way." Today's affirmation: I will not delve in darkness. I will not try to take the short cut, as I will be condmened in the long run. God can turn my curses into blessings. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Thursday, November 5, 2009

 

When I was a girl, I would anticipate the end of the school year. Not because I didn't  like school. Quite the contrary. But, during those days we adhered to a strict dress code. Slacks and shorts were not permitted. But, on the last day, you could wear modest casual outfits. And, my mother would buy be a new one. Plus, I would get to take my young cousin to an activity known as field day. We played and did things we wouldn't ordinarily do. Well, the next accounts in Numbers 31 are akin to it, to some degree, in the eyes of non-believers. Under God's directions the Midianites were essentially destroyed. The death and destruction was not unusual, but non-believers may think that a just and loving creator had not ought to behave in such manner. The term "field day" is often used to refer to a time when someone does something they want to do, regardless of its moral implications. As I prepared to write this, with the assistance of the Lord and trusty coffee in hand, I pondered as to how I could justify what happened. As if the LORD needs justification. Let's see what took place. In Numbers 25:1-5 it tells us "While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to engage in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices of their gods." Israel, the proverbial "bad boys" joined in worship of Baal of Peor. The Lord said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them to broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord's fierce anger may turn away from Israel." So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshipping the Baal of Peor." Verses 6-8 continue to relate how one man, in particular, flaunted a Midianite woman before the camp to the dismay of Phinnehas, son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest. He ends up killing both with the spear. This is where non-believers drop their jaws and wonder how a loving Father would do such a thing. They would rationalize their lack of belief in Christianity. Well, God let that account remain in the Holy Scriptures the same way He allowed other more compassionate passages to stay in the biblical accounts. What lesson lies here is the fact that God is not wimpy. He is also a God of destruction. Hence, we should guard our behavior and not merit his wrath. The Lord said to Moses, "Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people." A thousand men from each of the twelve tribes were  sent into battle. They fought against the Midianites. They killed and they plundered. When the soldiers sparred the women Moses and the priest were angered.  Now, this is where the unfaithful will wince. "Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor so that a plague struck the Lord's people." Validate this account at Numbers 31:7-12. Here we see that God punished the Israelites for their part in this matter. In fact He killed 24,000 as can be read at Numbers 25:8. The account at Numbers 13-16 continues: "Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man." This seems so barbaric. But, you must realize that it was a different time, a different custom. And, this is probably going to knock the non-believers out of the water when Moses said, "All of you who have killed anyone or touched anyone who was killed must stay outside the camp seven days." This was for the sake of purification. A slap on the wrist, you may say. The spoils were divided, even among the priests. Today's affirmation: I understand that God can be vengeful. I must not play games with God. If I am going to seek forgiveness, I must do so whole-souled or continue my way conducting business as usual. God is not one with whom I can play games. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, November 6, 2009

 

Another census takes place in the 26th chapter of Numbers. Verses 1-4 said Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them and said "Take a census of the men twenty years old or or more, as the Lord commanded Moses. Read the names included among the tribes and clans later. Numbers 26:51 explained that the total number of the men of Israel was 601,730. The Levites were also counted albeit they had no claim in the inheritance of land. Moses and Aaron were from the tribe of the Levites, the priestly class. The 63rd-65th verses reveal: "These are the ones counted by Moses and Eleazer the priest when they  numbered the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho. Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they tallied the Israelites in the Desert of Siniai. For the Lord had told those Israelites they would surely die in the desert, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun." Something is brewing. Can't you feel it? New leaders and events are about to emerge. That is the reason for the census. But, there is another incentive for the numbering of the people. First, to determine their military might. Then, the Lord wanted to record the information for authenticity. Lord, let my friends know that you have counted the hairs on their heads, just as you have numbered the Israelites. You know each of them intimately. Jehovah, I pray that they will come to know you in the same manner. Father, inspire them so that they will understand that this closeness comes from studying your words and meditating on them. For non-believers, you may accept the act of meditation, even if the object of your thoughts is not God. Lord, I pray that my friends will be able to see the similarities between a peaceful mind and meditation. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday, November 7, 2009

 

The final chapters of Numbers find a changing of the guard. Moses prepares for death and Joshua prepares to take his place. In the 17th chapter, verses 15-17 we find Moses speaking with Jehovah. Moses said to the Lord, "May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord's people will not be like sheep without a shepherd." Lord, many of my friends are tossed around like sheep without a shepherd. Let them know, Lord, that they have someone watching over them. For twenty years I felt the same way. Yes, I attended church and prayed. But, I didn't REALLY know God. I had not cultivated an intimate relationship with Him. So the Lord said to Moses, "Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him." "At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in." Moses did as the Lord commanded him. As they prepared to cross the Jordan, the Reubenites and Gadidtes, who had large herds and flocks, requested to remain east of the river. In Numbers 32:6-15 Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, "Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here?" The narrative continues when they explain to Moses that, "But we are ready to arm ourselves and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place." They continue, 'We will not  return to our homes until every Israelite has received his inheritance." Moses agreed. The half-tribe of Manasseh, son of Joseph, also remained east of the Jordan. Then Moses set aside three cities east of the Jordan, to which anyone who had killed a person could flee if he had unintentionally killed his neighbor without malice aforethought. He could flee into one of these citties and save his life." so says Deut. 4:41-43. Remember we may skip around a bit in order to present the information chronologically. These cities were called cities of Refuge. Lord, you are a refuge for my friends. A refuge from their trials and tribulations. The boundaries are determined when the Israelites enter Canaan as is told in Numbers 34:1-29. Further research is needed to discover the lands constituting the southern, northern, and eastern boundaries. Moses commanded the Israelites: "Assign this land by lot as an inheritance." The final chapter, Numbers 35:1-8 speaks of the cities assigned the Levites. You may recall they had no inheritance because the the Lord claimed them.  The Lord said to Moses, "Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will  possess. And give them pasturelands around the towns."Father, as your chosen people plan to enter the PROMISED LAND it is my prayer that my friends prepare to enter their own lands of peace and harmony in their lives. Lord, take their hands and lead them across their "Jordan Rivers." This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen. 

 

Submitted Sunday, November 8, 2009

 

As we enter the door of the next book, Deuteronomy, we find Moses summarizing what has taken place in the lives of God's chosen people. Some may think it unnecessary and others, who do not accept the bible as God's word, may find it like rubbing salt in their wounds. Every chapter in the bible is written for a purpose. You may say it recaps old information. Others may say it emphasizes it. Lord, when some of my friends define their lives, they think of it in negative terms. Words like pain, sorrow, regret and guilt come to mind. Let them know, Lord, that all of those things can make a potent mixture. It may be catagorized as bitter-sweet. Yes, there are positive elements hidden among all of the negativity. Lord, help them to think of those things that build them up and release the destructive influences in their lives. And there are many attributes that almost destroyed them. I felt doomed many times....like a failure. As Moses reflected upon the past, he, too, remembered situations that grieved him. And he mentioned them many times. One reference can be found in Deut. 3:23-39: But because of you the Lord was angry with me and would not listen to me. "That is enough," the Lord said. "Do not speak to me anymore about this matter." Moses wanted to enter the Promised Land. But because of his arrogance related in a previous chapter, God would not allow it. He did, however, permit him to view the land. In the fourth chapter, verses 1-8, Moses gives the nation a pep talk. He reminded them of all of the wonderful and miraculous things the Lord had done for them. Some of my friends, Jehovah, could use such encouragement. They need to be reminded of their blessings. Perhaps even to the point of writing them in their journals. The people were admonished to obey the laws and things would go well with them. This is true for my friends, Jehovah of Armies. Your wellness is braided with your behavior. Verses 9-14 tells the Israelites: Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Today's affirmation: I will remember my blessings. I know things are difficult for me now, but God has blessed me in days goneby and continues to bless me. I will reflect upon those gifts and write them down. One by one. I will live life one day at a time. Today is a "gift" and that is why it is called the present. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

 

 

Monday, November 9, 2009

 

Deuteronomy reveals itself as an interesting chapter. It is true that it is filled with information that some may very well not know. And laws are given. And warnings are issued. None of it makes for a fun book. But, the bible is not meant to be a novel. It is filled with warnings and all of the things many care not to hear. Beginning in Deut. 4:44-49 we find God's spokesman addressing the people for a second round of warnings. Think of it as a parent speaking with a child who is about to embark upon a new adventure. It may be going away to college; perhaps the child is engaged or maybe the child is going abroad to study. Then again, the child may have completed their studies in a lucrative field and will soon embark upon his or her chosen career. You would give them a "lecture." Of course, you may want to disguise it over dinner, yet advice is what you give. This is what Moses is doing. The Israelites are about to enter the Promised land and God promises that things will "go well with them" if they follow His laws. In Chapter 5:1-3 it states: Moses summoned all Israel and said" Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our fathers that the Lord made this covenant, but with us who are alive here today. Moses re-capitulates what had transpired as many were not alive at the time. Isn't that what you do when you speak of deceased relatives to your children? Moses continues in Chapter 5:28-33 when he says : So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. If your child travels to another country, you will most likely try to prepare the child for what awaits him/her. They are going to another land, another country where a different language and culture await them. God, our Supreme parent, warned his Chosen People to be careful that they did not forget. Forget their past as well as their promises. They are entering lands where other gods are worshipped. The children of God are anxious. They do not know if they can conquer the seven nations with whom they must battle. Lord, my friends are battling a war of their own. I ask you, Father, to be with them just as you were with the Israelites. For they, too, are your children. You wanted the Israelites to remember their past and, Jehovah, my friends must also recall their pasts as those who forget the past will tend to repeat it. I have not forgotten my past. That is why I am trying to help you, my friends. But, I am not giving in to it. I will not let it control my destiny. Deut. 7:6-11 speak of Israel's special status with God. It says: For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession." It goes on to speak of how they werre not the most numerous but the fewest  of all peoples. Lord, show my friends that you have a special place in your heart for the underdog, as it were. You also, Father, have a place for them. Perhaps if my friends would think of themselves as special they would  see that you are there for them. Many of them, Lord, are talented and sensitive and they must remember that you remember them. Today's affirmation: I will stop feeling sorry for myself. I will think of myself as special in the eyes of God. I will emerge from my proud status and submit to God and accept the fact that I cannot do this all by myself. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

 

Submitted, Tuesday, November 10, 2009

 

Many of you will utter "de ja vu" when it comes to Deuteronomy. It appears as if you have "been there" before. You must, however, realize that God's Chosen are about to make an important step. They are going to be on the receiving end of Jehovah's blessings. In Deut. 9:1-3 It states: Hear, O Israel. You are about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. The people are strong and tall_Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: "Who can stand up against the Anakites "But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you. Do you see yourselves here, my friends? I can. I recall when my misery was as tall as the walls protecting the Anakites. I was afraid to cross the Jordan into the land of happiness. What is preventing you from taking that trip? Do you have too much baggage? Verses 4-5 go on to say: After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, "The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness." No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your integrity that you are going to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now, perhaps you understand why I have not revealed my identity. The Lord deserves the glory. The laws given to Moses by God, can be found in several books of the bible, but I have chosen to follow the structure presented in THE DAILY BIBLE IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER WITH COMMENTARY BY F. LaGARD SMITH (PUBLISHED BY GUIDEPOSTS). Consequently, they are grouped together and presented after Moses' second address to the people. You may wish to engage in a deeper study of the bible and read the laws yourself. They are important as they preceded the Messiah's presence. And, along with that came an exchange of many laws with the blood he shed. Of course, the ten commandments remain binding. The laws can be catagorized as religious and ceremonial; laws of government; those relating to mariage, divorce and sexual relations; health and dietary laws; general welfare laws; rules of warfare and responsibilities under the laws. By summarizing this information it, in no form, decreases its importance. None of the bible is superfluous. Today's affirmation: I am ready to break down the wall preventing me from reaching my destiny. I will slay the "Anakites" standing in my way. God will go before me. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, November 11, 2009

 

Laws have gotten many into big trouble because they ignore them. People have choices and they are the product of their choices. In the chapters that I will now consider, the covenant is renewed between God and his Chosen People. In Deut.8:1-4 Moses shares with the people the blessings they will receive if they honor the agreement with God. In essence, it is a contract. Verses 1-4 set the stage: If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you will obey the Lord your God..." Now, I am far from naive, and I am aware that some of my friends continue to observe the Laws of Moses. It remains a part of their worship. They do not accept that Jesus is the Messiah. I respect their method of praising God. There are also those who do not wish to read about how God intends to bless Israel. It is my desire that both factions rise above those issues and keep an open mind. Their beliefs are their own and may differ from my personal tenets, but I remain confident that they can gather wisdom from this site. The 28th chapter continues when he makes known to the people that curses await them if they do not honor the convenant. Read the specifics when you set aside time for meditation and study. Verses 20-24 avows: The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have in forsaking him." Now, there are those who wish to compare what is written here with modern day reality. You can use the scripture to "prove" whatever you wish. Even the devil can cite scripture for its purpose. It depends upon how you explain it and whether or not it is removed from its context. Deut.29:10-15 discloses: I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today. Yet, Chapter 30:1-10 provides forgiveness after repentance: When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you." Do I see a debate kindling here? It is not my purpose to embroil you in such. Lord, as my friends read this, stimulate them to gather the hope you are offering them. Father, let them know that they need not know every chapter and verse of your word. The Pharisees also knew the scriptures. It is the heart that matters. You may be able to quote God's word but your pride and self-righteouness put a breach between you and the ones you quote. So, Lord, my friends ought to continue to study your Word, but need not feel guilty that they don't know it all as some profess. All they have to know, Jehovah, is that they love You and accept You as their Lord and Saviour and put faith in your Son and the Holy Spirit. Today's affirmation: I know that I may not be able to quote scripture and explain the Law of Moses (actually, God's Law) but I know that God cares for me. If I come to Him, he will accept me exactly as I am. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

 

As we wind down in Deuteronomy, I am reminded of the chief complaint my daughter has against me. She says, "you never say something once, but you always have to repeat yourself." I respond that I taught school for 32 years and that's the way things were done. Well, I wonder if the Israelites were thinking the same things. Moses did just that. He went over things that had already been said. But, for good reasons. First, many were too young to know of them. And, most importantly, he was God's mouthpiece. The government in which they existed was a Theocratic one. God knew of what His people were capable. He knew what they would do before they knew. In other words, God anticipated their actions. In Deut. 31:1-6 Moses speaks the words of God to the Israelites: Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: "I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord said to me, 'You shall not cross the Jordan.' The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said..." Lord, help my friends to see that you will always be in front of them as they experience their issues. You know their past and you even know what they will do in the future. Verses 7-8 finds Moses encouraging Joshua. Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous, for you must go with these people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance." Father, my friends must show courage as well. Change is  difficult  for some. It takes valor to come of the darkness. Many have built a comfortable little nest in the shadows of life. Jehovah, let them know that it is okay to come out. Lord, they can escape the drudgery that accompanies the issues they present. Many like being in pain. It takes too much effort to overcome it. But, you must. The alternatives can be deadly_including suicide. Chapter 31 continues in verses 14, 15 and 23 when the Lord, speaking to Moses ,said, "now the day of your death is near. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the Tent of Meeting, where I will commission him." Heavenly Father, here we reference Moses at the end of his life, but there are many of my friends who are in the springtime of their lives. Depression affects youth as well. Their pain is just as intense. Lord, remember them as well. Deut. 31:16-18 says: And the lord said to Moses "You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitue themselves to the foreign god of the land they are entering." It sounds amazing that they would behave in such a manner. God, let my friends know that some of them are reacting similarly. They repeat habits they have formed. But, they can continue to try and shake them off. You, Lord understand them. Moses, as cited in the 19th-22nd verses of Chapter 31, is instructed to teach the Israelites a song. God says, "Now write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them...I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath." Music is important to me. And sometimes I can listen to contemporary songs and inject spiritual referencs. So do many of you. Songs remind me of the events of my life_some good, some not so positive. Chapter 31 continues  in verses 24-26: Moses commanded "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the Ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. Moses assembles the people and in verses 27-29 he states: For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die!" At a later time, you may wish to read the lyrics of the song Moses presented to the community as found in Deut. 31-32. In verses 44-47 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people.  Today's affirmation: I will use music as a medium for healing. I will avoid trashy lyrics and, instead, listen to words of comfort. If not Christian music, I will, at least, listen to contemporary songs that remind me of the Creator. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen.Amen. 

 

Submitted Friday, November 13, 2009

 

As Moses prepares for his imminent death, Joshua anticipates leadership of God's chosen. With these two events, we see the end of the book of Deuteronomy. Deut. 32:48-52 spins a bitter/sweet web. God told him: "Go into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land  I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel." How disappointing. In the vernacular, "What a Bomber." So, Moses goes about preparing for his demise. Notice God said Moses would be gathered to his people. He did not say he would be confined to the tomb in which he was buried as is the thoughts of non-believers. Jesus later proved that it was possible to live again following death. To dismiss this concept is to miss the very essence of one's being. If this life is all there is, then some of us will be short changed. Moses blesses the tribes of Israel. You may examine what he said to each during an indepth study of the Word. Since Jesus will spring from the tribe of Judah, I will quote his blessings upon them: And this he said about Judah: "Hear, O Lord, the cry of Judah; bring him to his people. With his own hands he defends his cause. Oh, be his help against his foes!" I was expecting more about Judah and some direct reference that the Messiah would come from his loins. In Deut. 34:5-7 it says: And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where the grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. Why do you suppose the location of Moses' grave remains a secret? I will give my reason by answering a question with another question. What do you think would occur if people knew its location?  So, the life of a man who communicated directly with God ended. Abraham also communicated one-on-one with Jehovah. One era ends and another begins. Lord, that is what I pray would happen to my friends. That is, an era of heartache will end and one of good health will begin. A balance of mind, body and spirit. Today's affirmation: I must not dismay over what others think of me. My reputation in this life is insignificant when compared with the life to come. This prayer I pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday, November 14, 2009

 

Following Moses' death, things started rolling for  the Hebrew nation.  We enter a new era and a new book. The book of Joshua. In the first chapter, verses 1-9 it reads: After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross  the Jordan River ..." God continues to encourage Joshua by uttering: "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." Lord, that is so consoling. Just think, my friends, this promise is also extended to you. God continues, as he admonishes Joshua: "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Jehovah, my friends also have an inheritance. While it is true that Adam and Eve passed on sin to them, they can be confident that Jesus' shed blood covered those sins. Josh. 3:1 tells us that early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. Spies were sent to survey the land. They were especially interested in Jericho. This is where the plot thickens and the controversy begins. The lives of the spies were spared by a prostitue living there name Rahab. She lived on the edge of the wall. When queried about the men, she gave the king of Jericho the run around. She recognized that God was with the Israelites and begged to be spared. Now, there are some who do not accept the fact that Rahab was a lady of the evening. They find it more palatable to describe her as an innkeeper. Either way, she was of questionable character and apparently found herself entertaining men. Heavenly Father, there are some of my friends who are also of ill repute. Lord, speak to their hearts and let them know that you often work through such persons. Jehovah, let them know that they do not have to remain of shady character. Rahab made the spies promise to save she and her family. In Josh. 2:8-16 the men tell her "Our lives for your lives!" So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall." You may read further what occurred following the return of the spies to the campsite in the fourth and fifth chapters. The affirmation for today: I may be living an unsavory existence, but I can change. My reputation may be tarnished, but Jesus died for such persons. I will ask for forgiveness and repent of my sins. As I lighten my load,  my depression will begin to wane. Others may know of my conduct, but I am not a hypocrite as some of them. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

November 15, 2009

 

Drrrrrruuuuuum roll, please. We are about to enter the conflict of this account. Joshua is at the helm. Spies have been launched to check out Jericho. An ally was found with a prostitute named Rahab. Now, God will further intervene when he directs Joshua in what will be their first victory. In the first five verses of the sixth chapter of Joshua it reveals that the Lord is speaking through his agent, Joshua: Then the Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the  city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in." Verses 15-19 explain what happened on the seventh day: On the seventh day, they got up at day break and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around,....Joshua commanded the people, "Shout!" to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared. But keep away from the devoted things, so that they will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Verses 20-21 tell us that the walls came tumbling down. They burned the entire city. Rahab was spared. Lord, we see that this is not only a lesson in military conquest, but a lesson in obedience. Additionally, Lord, you are showing my friends that they all have a chance to be saved. Some of my friends are clinching their teeth as they consider themselves to be descendants of those nations who were conquered.  I can only offer the explanation that it was the will of my God. These things had to occur because a Messiah would be born. He would die for the sins of all. With the taste of victory fresh in their mouths, the Israelites again anger God. Achan steals some of the booty. This frustrates Joshua. In the seventh chapter, verses 6-9, he says "...If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!..." Jehovah, some of my friends are content to stay on the other side of their "Jordans." Let them know, Lord, that victory is coming. Achan confessed and was stoned. God gave Israel victory over Ai. Read the details for yourself in the eighth chapter. Today's affirmation: Victory will be mine! I will conquer my demons. I will not be content to remain on the east side of the Jordan. I want to be happy again. I will work towards that goal. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, November 16, 2009

 

The ninth and tenth chapters of Joshua contain more fuel for those seeking to criticize the actions of our Lord regarding his Chosen People. Much blood is shed with many victories for the Hebrew nation. The kings in the area heard about their conquests. Joshua 9:3-5 relates: However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse. They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. The men put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us." One must credit them with using their cunning ways in order to preserve their lives. It turns out that three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard they were neighbors, living near them. (Josh. 9:16-21). It was too late. The oath had been made. Joshua had been deceived. There was little that he could do to change things. News traveled quickly during those days as the king of Jerusalem heard about what the Gibeonites had done and was not pleased. Gibeon was an important city and the men were good fighters. (Josh 10:1-5) An alliance was formed and the  king of Jerusalem and the others in the area  joined forces to attack  the Gibeonites. Verses 6-11 tell how Gibeonites appealed to Joshua for help. They were victorious with divine intervention. God sent hailstones from the sky and more died in that fashion than by the sword. Joshua 10:12-14 states: On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel "O sun, stand still over Gibeon.." The 12th and 14th verses tell how the sun stopped long enough to allow victory. The account continues to give details of the battles. In most cases no survivors remained. To many doubters, this is where Christian morality becomes an issue. However, you must remember that it happened during a time when the defeated nations worshipped gods fashioned from wood and stone. Students of the scriptures may wish to engage in further investigation by reading the 11th and 12th chapters where all of the defeated kings are listed. Today's affirmation: I realize that God is a merciful God, but he also is Jehovah of Armies. I will not pretend to change if I am not seriously inclined to do so. God's ways are not man's ways. That is why I can look to Him for grace and mercy. Yes, I may be able to improve without Christian beliefs, but I wish a permanent fix to my issues. As for me, I will choose the Lord. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, November 17, 2009

 

Mission impossible has almost been accomplished with divine help from God for the Israelites. Now, the land has to be "divived." Most of it will be assigned by the casting of lots. The area east of the Jordan was divided before the conquest. Josh. 13:1-7 asserted: When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the Lord said to him, "You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over. This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites; from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite; from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek, the region of the Amorites, the area of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath. As for  all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and a half of the tribe of Manasseh." Verses 8-12 and verse 14 explain: The other half of Manasseh, the Reubenites and the Gadites had received the inheritance that Moses had given them east of the Jordan, as he, the servant of the Lord, had assigned it to them.' It continues: But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the offerings made by fire to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them. The chapter continues by clarifying the boundaries of each tribe, clan by clan. Please read the details starting in the 13th chapter. Non-believers may consider this blow-by-blow description to be like rubbing salt in their wounds. Some may say these divisions were made void in the Greek scriptures. At this point, it is not my intention to determine who should get what land. My intention is of a spiritual, rather than political nature. Additionally, it is my goal to provide a framework of the accounts in God's Holy Scriptures. I encourage you to engage in further examination if you are so inclined. For many, what is provided at this website is better than "nothing at all." Today's affirmation: God has kept his promises to the Israelites. I will persist in my promises to Him. First, I will make an emotional survey of my life. What is going on with me? Why am I feeling so "down?" What changes should I make? I may need help with this assessment; a mental health professional can assist with this. Next, I will examine my relationship with God. Others may wish to address a power larger than they that may not be the God others serve. Then, I will scrutinize my physical health. I will take a closer look at my eating habits. I will consult a doctor to determine my capacity to exercise. Finally, I will assume a proactive role in my life. This prayer I pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, November 18, 2009

 

So far, for the most part, the biblical narration has been male dominated. Yet, women have made important contributions. And, some have not been of the usual "good girl" type. One played the role of a prostitute in order to trick Judah into having a relationship with her in order to procreate. Without her bold actions the tribe of Judah, the one from whom the Messiah would come, would have been extinct. Then, there was Rahab, the prostitue who hid the Israelite spies from the king of Jericho. She would join them as a foreigner, but later would become the ancestor of Jesus Christ. And, that encompasses only the Old Testament. God  held women in high esteem. However, he set man over them as in the Garden of Eden. In Joshua 17:3-6 it demonstrate the fairness with which women were treated. In the tribe of Manasseh, Zelophehad had only daughters. Verses 3-6 make known: They went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, "The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers." So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to the Lord's command. They were even mentioned by names _ Milcah, Noah, Hoglah, Mahlah and Tirzah. So, do not dismay, God loves us all and most women know that their roles are more than  supportive. Josh. 18:1-7 explain that their were seven tribes who had not received their inheritance. Spies were again sent into the areas. Verses 8-20 say: As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here in Shiloh in the presence of the Lord." The chapter continues with detailed information about how the land would be divided. Everything was done in a fair manner. Lord, some of friends feel that they are not being treated fairly. Not by those close to them, and not even by You. Lord, whisper words of comfort in their ears and motivate their hearts to let them know that many of these feelings result from an illness. A malady characterized by paranoia. Though these thoughts permeate their minds, it doesn't make them so. I was extremely paranoid at one time. I know what it feels like. It can be debilitating. It can consume you like fire. The first six verses of Chapter 20 reveal God's plan for cities of refuge: Then the Lord said to Joshua: "Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood." It continues: "He is to stay in that city until he has stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then he may go back to his own home in the town from which he fled." God, many of my friends need a "city of refuge." They need peace of mind. Some are not ready to leave as they continue to evidence issues. Let them know, Jehovah, that the "high priest" has died for their sins and bears those burdens they carry on his shoulder. That high priest is your son, Jesus Christ. For further study read how the land was proportioned in chapters 18-21. Chapter 21:43-45 make clear that the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give to their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he has sworn to their forefathers. Heavenly Father, grant rest to my friends. Many of them are in dire need of it_both spiritually and physically. Today's affirmation: I will not see myself as "crazy." There are many out there who truly fit that description. I do not. Yes, I have concerns, but I have a God to address them. Taking prescribed medicine does not qualify me to be among those who are "crazy." My medication will help me just as one who evidences symptoms of hypertension or any other malady. I will take the medicine and be thankful for it. In days of old, I would not have received such help. I may have been treated as one who was crazy. This prayer we pray in the name of  the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Thursday, November 19, 2009

 

Most often, when a child does something well, the parent rejoices. With the  parent-child relationship existing between God and the nation of Israel the reverse usually occurs. God, being omnipotent, knows the future and is aware of the nation's next move. So, He warns them. Sometimes the accounts in the bible appear repetitious, even to the point of ad nauseaum. There is a purpose for everthing included in God's Words. Consequently, we will discover in the 22nd chapter of Joshua that the patriarch is delivering farewell addresses to the nation. As did Moses. First, he speaks to the Eastern tribes. They will remain on the opposite side of the Jordan as they requested from Moses. Joshua spoke with the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh and commended them for their loyalty in carrying out the mission the Lord gave them. In other words, they fought with their brothers to secure the lands on the western side of the Jordan. In verses 1-6 they were encouraged to walk in the ways of the Lord and to obey His commandments. Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away and they went to their homes. When they came to Gelioth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubinites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan (Josh. 22:7-9). Those west of them were angered. They were afraid of God's wrath upon the entire nation. Verses 13-20 tell how Phinehas, the priest and an entourage including ten of the chief men went to the eastern side to investigate. They were pleased with their discovery. The eastern brothers meant no harm. They did it as a memorial to God for future descendants. They were afraid that the heirs would say 'You have no share in the Lord.' Lord, sometimes my friends think they have no share in your mercy. That, too, is in err. They may still be on the eastern side of the Jordan, but you remain with them. God, please assure them of that fact. In his address to the western tribes Joshua  informed the nation that he was old and advanced in years, as is brought out in the 23rd chapter, verses 1-16. In his talk, he reminds them of their journey will the Lord. The people have to be reminded of their past or they will be condemned to repeat it. Lord, this is true of my friends. They must be able to look in the rear view mirror. But not in sorrow. They must remember from how far they have come and how you have kept them so they wouldn't let go. In the 24th chapter, Joshua reproves: "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. The people said to Joshua in verses 19-24, "No! We will serve the Lord." Lord, I ask my friends: whom will you serve? Today's affirmation: I will cease my on and off relationship with the Lord. I will get off the fence. If I cannot serve God, then I will clear my mind through meditation. I must be careful of such action as I may succumb to concentrating  on elements that are not in my best interest. I will begin to seriousy consider the action that will result in permanent change in my life. I am worth it. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, November 20, 2009

 

With the death of Joshua and Eleazar, the priest; along with the much awaited burial of the remains of Joseph, a new life ushers in for the Israelites. The connection with Moses is severed. And God appoints Judah to lead His people. Judges begins with the Hebrew nation inquiring of the Lord: "...Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?" You see, all of the people of that region had not been driven out. Judges 1:1-10,16-19 expound: The Lord answered, "Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands." Note here that Judah rises above the others in their assigned roles given them by God. It is from this tribe from which the Messiah will come. The chronicle relates the failure of the Hebrew nation to totally secure the area. To certain factions reading this account that is an important revelation.   Judges 2:1-5 explain: The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I have brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.' Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you." When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokin. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord. It is interesting to note here that God is communicating with the people through a representative, an angel. Lord, my friends have not gotten rid of the thorns in their sides either. Their thorns assume many forms _guilt, regret and shame, to name a few. Father, help them remove those thorns and let them know that they can be eliminated. Today's affirmation: I have a thorn in my side. It has been there a long time. It is a constant reminder  of the issues confronting me. But, God has made a covenant with me also. He sent His son to shed his blood at Calvary to redeem me from the issues with which I deal every day. I don't have to suffer. Jesus suffered in my place. I will pick up my cross and carry it. Things will never be perfect. I know that. I will always have to depend upon God to get through the day. He promised me daily bread. This prayer I pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday, November 21, 2009

 

At this point in the history of the Israelites, non-believers and believers may ponder: why didn't God just save some time and summarize the behavior of the Hebrew nation on one page. It would probably say something like this: Thus the Israelites continued to sin and ask for forgiveness. And God repeatedly rescued them from their rebellion. Period. End of story. But, it doesn't work quite that way. You see, God inspired men to record these events for all nations to read. He is sending a message that reaches beyond what happened to the Israelites. He is considering what will happen later. Much of what occurred in the Hebrew text foreshadows outcomes in the Greek Scriptures. As mentioned previously, I am cognizant of the fact that some do not accept this part of biblical history as being authentic and a part of God's Holy Word. The first three chapters of Judges chronicle the on-and-off relationship between the Hebrew nation and their God. It appears that they again have a memory lapse. The younger generation did not know the Lord and what He had done for Israel. Verses 2-7 reveal: The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. It is important to note that God had commanded the Israelites to annihilate the pagan nations. He knew what would happen had any survived. And it took place as He predicted. They began worshipping their gods and intermarrying. Of course, this angered God. Judges 2:20-23 said: Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, "Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their forefathers did." Many of the pagan nations defeated the Israelites. But, God remembered them and sent deliverers. One such leader was Othniel, Caleb's younger brother (Judges 3:9-11). As is often said, history repeated itself and the people again do evil in the eyes of God. Chapter 3:15-17 tell us that the Lord sent another leader_Ehud, a left-handed man. He was sent to Eglon king of the Moabites with tribute. Before departing he strapped a double-edged sword to his right thigh. The account continues: He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on   their way the men who had carried it. The scripture later explains how the king was killed after Ehud approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said "I have a message from God for you." He rammed the sword into his fleshy body and after pulling the sword out the fat closed in on it. Ehud was well on his way when the deed was discovered. Judges 3:26-30 say, That day Moab was made subject to Israel and the land had peace for eighty years. Today's affirmation: I know that things are not always as they appear. I must watch out for people in my life carrying double-edged swords. I will be cautious when I speak to and of others so that I don't send a "double-edged" message. I will pray for those who speak ill of me and who may criticize my circumstances. I know that it is the way God would have me to behave. And I want to please God. As I work to please Him, I will get better. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, November 22, 2009

 

The fourth and fifth chapters of Judges narrate an account of a different nature. The protagonist is Deborah, a prophetess. She is joined by Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. The chapters chronicle more than a vexed relationship between the Israelites and their God. It highlights the contributions of two women and how their actions, along with support from Jehovah, resulted in victory for the nation of Israel. Chapter 4:1-3 tell how the Israelites again do evil in the eyes of the Lord following the death of Ehud. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin, a king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera...Because he had nine hundred iron chariots and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. In verses 4-10 it discusses Deborah who was leading Israel at the time. She sent for Barak and said to him, "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men ... and lead them to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.'" Barak told Deborah if she would not accompany him, he would not go. "Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman." Sisera was defeated. And to add insult to injury he found himself at the mercy of another woman, Jael. After fleeing on foot, Sisera found himself in the tent of Jael. The Kenites had a friendly relationship with Sisera and he counted on their help in hiding him. The 17th, 11th, and 18th-22nd verses describe how Jael tricked Sisera. Jael went out to meet him and said "Come, my Lord, come right in. Don't be afraid" The bottom line of this is that Jael killed Sisera while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove a peg through his temple into the ground and he died. Lord, many of my friends are deceived. I, too, was deceived. Father, grant them the discernment and wisdom to distinquish between friend and foe. The remainder of Chapter 5 tell of the song the people sang on that day about Deborah and Barak. For further enlightenment, please examine it. Today's affirmation: Remember: YOUR SITUATION IS NOT YOUR DESTINATION_ONLY PREPARATION. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, November  23, 2009

 

On Valentine's Day  in the month of February, sweethearts exchange boxes of chocholate covered candies. It is traditional. The fun of receiving the treats is to be acknowledged as the apple of the giver's eye. Once the red foil is removed, the hunt begins. Some relish sweets chocked with nuts while others are partial to those that are filled with creme. Well, the next four chapters of Judges are filled throughout with goodies that can't be ignored. Chapter six begins by revealing that the Israelites have once again turned away from God. Non-believers may be questioning God's authority at this point. Why can't He keep the errant Israelites in line? At the risk of redundancy, I remind them that God does what He wishes. And everything happens for a reason. Following their disobedience, God gave the Israelites into the hands of the Midianites. They were oppressive. And they were riding camels which gave them even more leverage. Verses 1-6 disclose their cruelty. They over whelmed the Hebrews by destroying their crops and forcing them to hide in caves. And, as expected, the Lord heard their cries. Now, they had been worshipping Baal prior to their cries for help. The Lord sent an angel and the heavenly representative spoke with Gideon, an unlikely choice. But isn't that just like our Lord? Of course he demonstrated self-doubt. He needed signs that the Lord was with him. Lord, many of my friends also need signs. They surround them, but many don't recognize the  your presence in their lives. Jehovah, a sunset is a symbol of your power. Your logo is on everything in the universe. They all represent you, Father. Inspire my friends to realize this through the Holy Spirit. The angel showed Gideon that God was with him. In the 19th-21st verses of Chapter 6 the angel consumed the meat and bread that Gideon had prepared. Afterwards, he received his first assignment. He was to destroy his father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then he was to use the wood to provide a burnt offering to God. (Judges 6:25-27) This Gideon did but under the protection of darkness. It shows lack of confidence remained in Gideon. Then God further tested him. Sometimes, Lord, my friends are tested. I was tested. For twenty years I endured depression. And I suffered. People saw the smile on my lips but few realized it was supericial. Now, it is from my heart. Lord, place a smile on the face of my friends which cannot be removed. The Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed the Jordan. They were ready to rumble. Gideon gathered his people to arms. Again, Gideon asked for a sign from God. Judges 6:33-35 find God providing more encouragement for Gideon. The sign, this time, involved a wool fleece. Read the written word later as to how God provided proof that He would be with Gideon in battle. The account continues in the seventh chapter when God told Gideon that he didn't need all of the men he had with him in order to secure victory. Summarily, God reduced the army to three hundred. I invite you to use the bible of your choice and examine the details. Using trumpets and empty jars with torches inside, the opponents were defeated. They were tricked. They turned on each other and by their own hands were destroyed. Today's affirmation: I will decide today that I will not engage in self-destruction. I am too valuable in God's eyes for that. If I have destructive ideations I will confess those feelings to someone. I will seek help. NOW. I will stop living in denial. I am loved more than I will ever know. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, November 24, 2009

 

One might describe the events that transpired in the next few chapters of Judges as "gore." Requests are made and refused. Retalliation takes place. Antagonists rise and fall. And so goes the circumstances recorded at Judges Chapters 8-9. Intermingled in the record, we find a parable being spoken. Those of the Christian world know that Jesus taught using parables. We begin with Gideon and his exhausted men, fresh from battle, making a plea for hospitality after crossing the Jordan. After entering Succoth he implored its residents to give them bread to eat. In verses 4-9 of Judges, Chapter 8 it tells us: But the officials of Succoth said, "Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?" Gideon's response reminds me of my own reply to conflict during my childhood. Then Gideon replied, "Just for that, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thornes and briers." I didn't follow through with most of my threats when I uttered, "Uh huh, just for that." But, Gideon did. Now, Gideon's name was changed to Jerub-Baal following his destruction of the remnants of worship to Baal after God called him to serve. After Gideon championed their cause, the Israelites wanted him to rule over them. But, Jerub-Baal refused. In chapter 8:22,23 his response was "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you." Father, I pray that you rule over my friends. Lord, let not drugs nor friends and family assume that role. With your guidance, they will make decisions for themselves. Non-believers, you must decide for yourself whether or not you will serve the living God. Not the cultures under which you exist. Now, Jerub-Baal had 70 sons. Being contrite, I cannot resist the temptation to say" there is a bad apple in every barrel." Such was Abimelech. Judges 9:1-6 tell us that he murdered all seventy on one stone at his father's home in Ophrah. This all took place after his father's death. Abimelech was in for a surprise when Jotham, the youngest, escaped. Interpret the parable that he spoke referencing rulership, found in Judges 9: 7-13. After speaking the parable Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother, Abimelech. Following a brief uprise by Gaal son of Ebed, Abimelech prevailed. Amid his destruction of  Shechem, Abimelech heard the citizens could be found hiding in the tower there. They met their death when Abimelech and his men cut branches and set them afire. As with most terrorists Abimelech met his match. In Judges 9:50-54 it reads: Next Abimbelech went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women_all the people of the city_fled. They locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. Abimelech went to the tower and stormed it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull. Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and kill me so that they can't say, 'A woman killed him.' So his servant ran him through, and he died. Today's affirmation: I will look to God to be my strong tower. He will snuff out the fires in my life. He will protect me and restore me. I believe, with all of my heart and soul, that He will. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

 

Submitted

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

 

The final  chapters of Judges end with much drama. Its content could easily provide material to create a movie. One that I would certainly enjoy_for a change. Beginning with the tenth chapter, the plot slowly unravels. Verses 1-2 tell of the man who rose to save Israel after the death of Abimelech. After the time of Abimelech a man of Issachar, Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir. In verses 3-5 we find that Jair of Gilead emerged, who led Israel twenty-two years. At this point we could use such phrases as "of course," or "naturally." Or similar judgmental words when referencing the apostosy of Israel_again. And, yes, they deserve it. But, Lord what punishment do we merit when we sin_again. The Lord's anger was kindled against his people. Judges 10:6-9 make clear the Lord's reaction. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, who that year shattered and crushed them. After appealing to the Lord, He shows signs of frustration when He replied in verses 10-16: "...But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble. Applause here? But later in Judges 10:17,18 it expounds that after the people destroyed the idols, God could bear Israel's misery no longer. Jehovah, we are glad that you are sensitive to our misery. We know it must vex you whenever we fall short, but how thankful we are that You remember that You fashioned us from dust. At this point, the hunt was on for a leader. So, in essence the  the people advertised for one. They said, "Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead. Now, our most recent hero enters the scene. Judges 11:1-3 tell of a special Gileadite. Jephthah, the Gileadite, was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. Do I need to re-wind that portion of the "reel" for you? Yes, I did say prostitute. This isn't the first time God has used someone of this caliber to save His people. Lord, let those who earn their living this way know that all is not lost. That you can still use them. They must "clean up their act" first. And, for many it is drama. For, this is not the way they wish to live. They have found themselves on the outskirts of society by yielding to temptation_in one way or another. Please peruse Judges 11:14-28 to study the dialogue that took place between Jephthah and the king of the Ammonites. It was in response to the question Jephthah asked through messengers: "What do you have against us that you have attacked our country?" The king's response is the stuff used for political arguments_which I will not address here. The bottom line of Jephthah's response was that the Lord had given them the land and He will decide the dispute. The heartbreaking account follows Jephthah's victory. Chapter 11:29-31 relate: And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord. "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt sacrifice." Verses 34-40 of Chapter 11 tell: When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was his only child. Of course, the warrior turned hero was devastated. But not so his daughter. "My father, she replied, "you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request," she said. "give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because  I will never marry." Lord, you are not simply relating a sad story. You are inferring that You, too, will sacrifice a child. An innocent child. But He will be your only begotten son. Today's affirmation: Perhaps I may never marry. I will be like the daughter of Jephthah. I will offer my life to the Lord. My body will be a temple of God. I will not be cheated of a fulfilled life, however. I will be happy. I can be a mother in many ways. Lord, show me how. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

 

Submitted Thursday, November 25, 2009

 

The chapter of Ruth is short, yet powerful. There is a lot of meat on that frame. It is, in essence, a classic example of depression. The first chapter, verses 1-5 tell of a woman from Bethlehem who departs from her hometown because of a famine in the land. She ventures to Moab. Previous chapters have related the bad blood between Moab and the Israelites. But, here is a new twist on things. Ruth, her husband, Elimelech and her two sons find themselves as foreigners in Moab. The sons take Moabite women as wives. They were of excellent character. After being aliens there for ten years, tragedy strikes. Naomi finds herself alone following the death of both her husband and sons. But, she had her daughters-in-law. In verses 6-14 it tells how Naomi heard that the famine had ended and she wanted to return to her home. Determined to go back alone, Naomi blesses the wives of her sons, Orpah and Ruth. Orpah returned home, but Ruth refused. At this point, Naomi was feeling depressed. She said "... it is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord's hand has gone out against me!" Lord, many of my friends think in this fashion. They view their circumstances as punishment from You. They don't realize that you may be fertilizing the soil of their existence so that beautiful "flowers" might spring. This is exactly what happened in my life. In verses 15-18 Ruth gives a beautiful reply to Naomi after she entreats her to return to her family and gods "...Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die and there I will be buried, May the Lord deal with me." Naomi surrendered to the will of Ruth. They both returned to Bethlehem. Upon her arrival home, Naomi was so downtrodden that she wanted her name changed to Mara. Verses 19-22 tell: "Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me." Jehovah, inspire my friends to learn from this lesson you provided for them in this chapter.  Lord, Ruth was without money, food, land and family. And, she thought You had abandoned her. Boaz saves the day, and in the process procreates with a son who will be an ancestor of David, king of Israel. Referencing the Law of Moses, provisions were made for widows. Also, a plan was established to redeem the land that once belonged to their deceased relative. Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz to provide food for Naomi. Boaz noticed her. He ends up being Naomi's kinsman-redeemer when he purchased the land that once belonged to her husband. And along with the land he claimed both Naomi and Ruth. Lord, this redemption foreshadows a more significant act of redemption on the part of your Son. Read more details about Ruth's role in the redemptive act on the part of Boaz in the third chapter, verses 14-18. Not only was the land redeemed, but Ruth regained her joy. Father, let my friends know that they, too, can re-capture their pleasure in life. Today's affirmation: "Though weeping may endure for a night joy comes in the morning" (Psalms 30:5). This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, November 26, 2009

 

The three chapters of Judges considered here are in contrast to  Ruth, a story of endurance and compassion. The era covered in Judges was, for the most part, filled with revenge and bloodshed. The account of Samson was no exception albeit it has flashes of romantic encounters, along with indiscretions. Samson, the hero, was  a man with character flaws. Lord, we all have erred and fallen short of your desires for us. So is it with my friends. Father, keep them from judging themselves harshly. Even some of those equipped with your protection have not lived up to your expectations. Yet, you continued to use them, Father. My friends should not use these facts as an excuse to sin but as support when they do. Lord, you know the difference between willfull and unintentional sin. Samson's conception began miraculously. Chapter 13:2-5 tell us that a sterile woman of the clan of Dan conceived with God's intervention. Though not named, she was the wife of Manoah. An angel brought her the glad tidings. This foreshadows how an angel would inform Mary of the fact that she would have an immaculate conception. The angel warned Samson's mother not to eat from the grapevine nor drink fermented portions. As Samson grows, he demonstrates a thirst for women of questionable character. Read about Timnah in Chapter 14:1-4. His riddles are often referenced. Further reading in Judges Chapter 14:15-17 will explain one. It seems that our hero is the victim of deception by the opposite sex. Lord, there are so many of my friends who are depressed as a result of a soured love affair. A woman caused Samson's downfall. Her name was Delilah. Known for his trysts with prostitutes, he met his match with Delilah. But, Samson was in love. So, all is fair in love and war. Or is it? Delilah had dollar signs in her eyes when she queried Samson about the source of his strength. Our protagonist had a little fun with his lover in the process. But she won the game. Samson, after being nagged by Delilah, revealed the secret of his strength. In Judges 16:15-17 Samson confides: "No razor has ever been used on my head," he said, "because I have been a Nazarite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man." VOILA! Of course, Delilah snitches to the rulers of the Philistines. Samson was blinded when they gourged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. For some of my non-believers, the area involved here is a sensitive issue. I am merely writing what is written in the bible, the Holy Scriptures of the God I serve. Samson was down but not out. Yet. Used to entertain rulers of that nation at a feast to honor Dagon, their God, Samson found himself near the pillars of the building. With the help of God, who had abandoned him, Samson mustered up enough power to wipe out the celebrants. Judges 16:23-30 tell us that he killed many more when he died than when he lived. Today's affirmation: I will not let my problems in love determine my destiny. I made a mistake. I sinned. I may have chosen the wrong mate. I will get over it. I will move on. I will be more cautious the next time; I will look to God to direct my steps. And, I will not compromise myself morally. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends. Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday, November 27, 2009

 

The Israelites again veer towards pagan gods in the final chapters of Judges, but, this time, they enter by the rear door. That is, an innocent act ends up with a household influencing a nation to enter into an idolatrous relationship. And a priest is weaved into the plot. Judges 17:1-6 narrate the event that transpired between a mother and her son. Now, a man name Micah from the hill country of Ephraim said to his mother, "The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse_I have that silver with me; I took it." Then his mother said, "The Lord bless you my son!" The mother hypocritically entreated the Lord for blessings on her son. Yet, out of the same mouth she said, "I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make a carved image and a cast idol. I will give it back to you" Lord, we see how your word is tainted here. The mother, Father, is mixing Christianity with paganism. Jehovah, that continues to happen more often than is publicly confessed. The account goes on to state that in those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit. And this is the case with believers and non-believers today, Lord. They do what seems right to them. But, that is not how you want us to live, Father. You have made sure that your will is made known through the inspired writers of, what we now call, the bible. The plot thickens now as a Levite enters the scene. He was from the clan of Judah. The same clan into which the Messiah will be born. He was young and seemed to be looking for adventure. And, he found it. But, it existed outside the perameters of holy worship. He ended up being befriended by the family of Michah who was engaged in idol worship. Lord, many of my friends have found themselves involved with the wrong crowd and going with the flow, as it were. The Levite was enticed by an offer of security. Many of my friends have entered into marital relationships based on their desires for security. Not love. With tragic endings. The Levite lived with Micah's family and became their priest. He joined them in their worship of the molten god. Judges 18:1-6 tell us that in those days Israel had no king. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. Many non-believers may be thinking that they took land that did not belong to them in order to accomplish that goal. As I so often say, that is beyond the scope of what I am trying to accomplish. The Danites entered  the hill country of Ephraim and came into the house of Micah, where they spent the night. They were surprised to see a Levite living there. They sought blessings from the priest. Lord, the priest did not have your blessings. Some men of God, preaching your word, likewise, do not have your blessings. A few have entered illicit relationships. After being blessed by the priest, the men of Dan came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety. Jehovah, this happens to your sevants. The devil notices that your servants are set apart from the world by a sense of security and peace. And he finds them unsuspecting of his wiles. The men of Dan overtook the people and Micah to boot. And, persuaded the whimsical priest to join them. He was looking for greener pasteurs after being offered a position with a clan rather than a family. Lord, some of your shepherds, flow from one church to the other searching for greener pasteurs. Some of my friends do likewise. They are never satisfied. Judges 18:27-29 show us what can happen when you isolate yourselves from others. The people of Laish lived such an existence. They lived so far from another tribe that their pleas for help went unnoticed. Today's affirmation: I will not isolate myself. I will not retreat into my own little world. I will come out of the closet to communicate with my Lord and others. I am not an island. No man is an island. I will try hard to leave my safe haven. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, November 29, 2009

 

There is no way to circumvent it. The final chapters of Judges are filled with gore. It is the stuff of which horror films are made. Additionally, Judges ushers in a new era in the life of the errant Israelites. In the days of the judges, there was no king and people did as they chose_for the most part. Judges 19:1-2 tell us of a certain Levite who lived in the hill country of Ephraim. He took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. That area will play an important role in the future, as many of you are aware. The concubine proved unfaithful and left him, returning to her father's house. Verses 2-9 narrate what follows: After she had been there four months, her husband went to her to persuade her to return. Upon the estranged Levite's arrival, his father-in-law exemplified hospitality. He insisted that he remained with him beyond the time  he had intended to stay. Finally, he and his party, including his concubine, headed home. Well, in those days hospitality was extremely important. Travelers found themselves at its mercy. And, so was the situation with the priest. His servant suggested that they lodge in the city of the Jebusites. But, the man of God rejected that idea. Lord, we are reminded here of how Your Son was rejected by the Israelites. And, so salvation was extended to the Gentiles. Determined to reside with a fellow Israelite, they moved on. And, thus begins a story of rape, murder and revenge. They ended up in Gibeah in Benjamin. Judges 19:16-21 relate their challenge to find lodging. They sat in the square, hoping to be noticed. Seeking someone to take them into their home for the evening, they came upon an old man. After being ignored by others the Levite said to the gentleman: Noone has taken me into  his house. Further conversation brings out the fact that the weary travelers were equipped with fodder and food. The old man readily accepted them. Lord, when will my friends turn to YOU? You, too, will be there when others have rejected them. What takes place next will remind you of Lot and the men of Sodom. Verses 22-25 tell us: While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with  him." Reminiscent of Sodom, the old man chided that they not do as they had purposed. He offered his virgin daughter. But the men would not listen. The concubine was compromised instead. She ends up dying following the brutal attack. Father,  in some ways it reminds us of what happened to the Messiah. He was sent to redeem a dying race after Adam's sin. Enters revenge. When he reached home he took a knife and severed the concubine into twelve parts and sent them into all of the tribes of Israel. They were livid. And they sought to punish the Benjamites. They did. But, not before the tribe of Benjamin killed off many of them. Judges 20:12-18 tell how they prepared for battle. The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, "Who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites?" The Lord replied, "Judah shall go first." Judah will give birth to the Messiah. Verses 24-28 expound that God finally gave the victory to the remaining tribes after warring with the Benjamites. But, that is not the finale. Judges 20:47,48 speak of the six hundred Benjamites who escaped. All was not totally over for the men of Benjamin. Their brothers wept for them, and found a way to redeem them. Lord, let my friends know that they, too, can be redeemed from their miseries. Read the final verses to discover for yourself how the renegades were given hope. Today's affirmation, for the most part, comes from nuggets found in a talk at my church given by Dr. Robert, an elder: I understand that the most painful thing about learning from experience is NOT learning from experience. Sheep, the most humble of the animal kingdom, will pretend to be functioning when they are ill; they want to protect themselves from harm's way. I will affirm not to hide my illness. Remember: As you travel down life's pathway, may this ever be your goal...keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole. That gem was gleaned from a devotional by one of the contributers to Streaming Faith. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, November 30, 2009

 

The first two chapters of 1 Samuel are about Hannah. A woman. A depressed one. Verses 1-8 share with us the story of a man with two wives. One was prolific and bore him many children, but the wife of his heart had none. She was barren. And Hannah's rival, Peninnah, would not let Hannah forget it. There are other instances of barren women through whom God worked. Lord, so many of my friends are depressed as was Hannah because of their infertility. Elkanah  would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" Hannah was depressed. Many of my friends with the illness stop eating, Jehovah. Others overeat. These are classic symptoms of the disease. Her husband could not comfort her. And in those days anti-depressants were unavailable. During a pilgramage to Shiloh to offer sacrifices, Hannah was praying aloud. In verses 9-18 it references how Eli, the priest was observing her: As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine. Heavenly Father, Hannah was innocent of the accusation, but many of my friends are not. They are alchoholics. They numb their feelings with spirits. Lord, show them that the only way to escape their situation is to replace the "spirts" in which they now indulge with the Holy Spirit which will bring them lasting comfort. Following an intense plea to procreate, she made a vow to God, saying, "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." Remember Samson? After assuring Eli, the priest, of her innocence he blessed her. She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. Consequently, the depression lifted. You see, the source was uncovered. Let my friends peel away the layers of concern that is at the root of their malady, Lord. 1 Sam.:19-20 finds Hannah conceiving. This time when Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, "After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always. She named him Samuel. Lord, this event reminds me of the two miracles with which you have entrusted my daughter. Twins. I offer them back to you, Lord. For your service. Interpret her prayer through additional study_found in the first eleven verses of Chapter 2. Interlaced within this happy account is a sad story of excess and disobedience. The sons of Eli rebelled against God in many ways. And Eli did not punish them. But, God did. He killed the wayward sons and cursed the Levitic line. Chapter 2:27-36 tell that all of the descendants of the Levites will die in the prime of life. There was hope in Samuel, the last judge of Israel. God knew the desires of the heart of his people. He knew they wanted a king. The Lord expressed this in the Law of Moses. Today's affirmation: I may be barren, but God can open my womb. I must pray as did Hannah. I know that Hannah offered her son to God and was later blessed with many children. This has happened to many women. I know that women who cease to pine away over their problems have later produced offspring. My worth is not determined by my fertility. I will let God's will be done in the matter. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen. 

 

Submitted Tuesday, December 1, 2009

 

A web is weaved in 1 Samuel Chapters 3-7. And Israel is entrapped. Many die. And, I will reveal the "punch line": Israel survives. As if that is a surprise. The first eighteen verses of chapter three speak of Samuel. Now, you will recall God's pronouncement of doom upon the Levites. They were not given an inheritance of land among their brothers as God was their legacy. Now, because of their failure to meet God's requirements, God has withdrawn His hands of protection from them and, temporarily, from the people of Israel. Samuel, who has resided at the temple since childhood, ministered before the Lord under Eli. One night Jehovah called Samuel. He assumed it to be the voice of Eli. After several attempts to address Samuel, Eli realized the call to be from God. So Eli told Samuel: "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." God revealed His plans to arouse Israel. God told Samuel that "...the guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering." Eli pressed Samuel into revealing what God had shared with him. It was not good news. His wayward sons had caused their downfall. Lord, this has happened to many of my friends. Because of lack of discipline, their children have caused upheaval in their home. I, too, must not let this happen in my life with my grandtwins. And correction must begin in infancy. Verses 19-21 tell how Samuel became known for his prophecy. In Chapter 4:1-2 defeat comes to the nation. Again. This time at the hands of the Philistines. They killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield. So, the Israelites got the bright idea to bring the ark of the covenant up from Shiloh onto the battle grounds. Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas were present. But not for long. For after the Philistines defeated them, they also captured the ark. And Eli's sons died on the same day, just as God had predicted. When told of what transpired, Eli fell backward and broke his neck and died. To add to the misery, his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, went into labor and died after birthing a son named Ichabod. The Philistines, meanwhile, were scourged after positioning the ark beside their god, Dagon. Following a plague of tumors and death, they returned the ark. For you see, even the Philistines had heard of what transpired in Egypt. Samuel advised the nation to return to God. And they did. God, then, returned to them. The Philistines were defeated. Chapter 7:7-14 explain: Throughout Samuel's lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. 1Sam. 7:15-17 tell that Samuel continued as judge over Israel all the days of his life. Today's affirmation: I realize that God is a forgiving God, but His word is truth. I must not pretend with Him. And, if I err I will be corrected. But the good news is that He stands ready to forgive me. Over and over again. It is through this pardoning, that I can obtain freedom. Confession is good for the soul_and mind. This prayer I pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, December 2, 2009

 

It is often said that one must be careful of our wishes. They just might come true. This is what happened to the Israelites as 1 Samuel continues in verses 8-12. Samuel has grown old and he appointed his sons as judges over the nation as is brought out in Chapter 8:1-5. But, they proved unfit. So the people said: "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." Recalling the Mosaic Laws, you may remember that God anticipated this. You see, when the nation begged for a king they were, in essence, rejecting the theocratic arrangement_and  rulership by God. But, like a parent, he let them make their own mistakes. Knowing what would happen. The Lord advised Samuel to go along with their desire for a kingship. But, He also infomed Samuel that he must warn them of what would take place as a result of the new arrangement. Read all about it at 1Sam. 8:10-18. The people ignored the warnings and refused to listen to the prophet. So, they were given a king. Their wish became a reality. Unfortunately. Chapter 9:1-5 tell of a family from the tribe of Benjamin. The king would come from them. Recall if you will the background of the Benjamites. They engaged in idolatry and, consequently, were almost wiped out. They were at the mercy of their brothers. Some were saved. But, they became the smallest tribe. What good could come from them? Lord, similar accusations were made when you chose the town in which your Son's mother lived. Let us see how Saul, an impressive young son of Kish, was discovered_or shall we say chosen. Saul's father's donkeys were lost and he sent Saul to fetch them. Like a faithful son, he and his servant searched everywhere. His futile investigation finds them seeking the advice of a seer. Now, non-Christians must realize that in those days a seer was a prophet of God and not related to satanic worship. Such a man was Samuel. Chapter 9:6-14 find them inquiring of the prophet and being told that he was due to come that way shortly. Verses 15-17 say: Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Annoint him leader over my people Israel; he will deliver my people from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked upon my people, for their cry has reached me." Lord, let my friends know that You have heard their groans. Father, also inspire them to understand that their backgrounds do not matter. Saul did not recognize Samuel and inquired of him the whereabouts of the Seer. Chapter 9:18-27 find Samuel admitting, "I am the seer." Samuel calmed Saul's anxiety over the missing donkeys by assuring him that they had been found. Then Samuel said, "...And to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and all your father's family?" Saul answered, "But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?" Saul went to dine with Samuel. After Saul was given a piece of meat set aside for him, Samuel said to Saul, "Tell the servant to go on ahead of us"_and the servant did so_"but you stay here awhile so that I may give you a message from God." In the first eight verses of Chapter 10, they tell us that Samuel annointed Saul's head with oil and kissed him. Samuel summoned the people at Mizpah. The introduction of their newly crowned king was temporarily aborted when Saul hid among the baggage. Lord, many of my friends have baggage of their own. Please, Lord, help them label each bag and leave it at the station along the highway of life. After Saul returned home, he did so to mixed reviews. Father, your Son did not receive acceptance in his hometown as well. Chapter 10:26,27 expound: Saul went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. But some troublemakers said, "How can this fellow save us?" They despised him and brought no gifts. But Saul kept silent. Jehovah, many of my friends are victimized by jealousy. And, they also keep silent. But Saul presses on and reveals his capacity for leadership in Chapter 11:1-11. I invite you to read it. In Chapter 12:1-16 Samuel speaks of himself and, in so doing, recaps what God has done for Israel in the past. Lord, most people despise others reminding them of what has been done for them in days goneby. Children do. I know my daughter does. And, my husband has uttered a complaint or two about by repetitious nature. But, God had righteous reasons for his repetition. In verses 16-25 they tell how Israel has already begun to realize the consequences of their actions. In later scripture the plot thickens. Today's affirmation: I will not let my past determine my future. God does not, nor will I. He often chooses those with character flaws. I know this because it permeates the scriptures. I will forget about the past and go on with my life. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen. 

 

Submitted Thursday, December 3, 2009

 

The adage do as I say; not as I do is one by which King Saul abides. Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty-two years. (1Sam. 13:1). Saul's career can be summed in three words: He messed up. But, he had a wonderful son in Jonathan. The "chip" is not always like the block, one might deduce. Father, many of my friends lacked positive role models in their parents. Some of them sprung up like weeds, with little guidance. And most thrived in dysfunctional enviornments. Saul attacked the Philistines as we discover in Chapter 13:2-15. When Samuel did not arrive on the scene, Saul took matters into his own hands by offering up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. "What have you done?" asked Samuel. Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord's favor.' So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering." Verses  2-25 continue: "You acted foolishly," Samuel said.  "But now your kingdom will not endure ; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command." Saul lacked discernment. Lord, many of my friends have this same problem. God, grant them wisdom so that their decisions and actions will please you. Chapter 14 goes on to relate Jonathan's victory over the Philistines. Continue the study by reading it. Today's affirmation: Lord, I do not have to follow in the pathway my parents chose. I am capable of making wise choices. I know that you will help me. I have faith in you. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

 

 

Submitted Friday, December 4, 2009

 

A tainted ruler. Great start, but he fell from grace. God's grace. That was Saul. But Saul was, as is said in the vernacular, "not a lone ranger." But, noone is all bad. Neither was Saul. He was a successful military strategist. And God helped him, for a while. The remainder of chapter 15 reveals his military might. 1Sam. 14:46-48,42 tell us: After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned,  he inflicted punishment on them. He fought valiantly and defeated the Amelekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundererd them. Tribes on the east of the Jordan got into the act. In the first nine verses of Chapter 15 we find Samuel giving Saul directives from God: "This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amelekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys,'" You can breathe now. What a cruel and vindictive God, some may think. But, it is righteous indignation. Lord, you will cleanse the people in the final days by allowing judgment to transpire. Let my friends know that there is a limit to their indecision. As is said in your Holy Word, choose for yourselves whom you will serve. When Saul made his attack he and the army spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs_everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. (1Sam. 15:1-9) Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Verses 10-21 continue to tell how Samuel grieved for Saul. Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord annointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission, saying 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.'Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?" Saul offered excuses. Lord, very often my friends are grieved over the decisions their offspring make. Their spirits are vexed. Comfort them, Father. Saul confesses. But it is too late. 1Sam.15:24-35 find Samuel putting Agag, the king to death. Today's affirmation: I know that my children are wayward. I have done my best to discipline. I will not let them destroy me. I will pray for them and go on with my life. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

  

 

Submitted Saturday, December 5, 2009

 

David enters the stage. But Saul hasn't made his exit. Yet. 1Sam. 16-17 is about the rise to power of David. Again, God has chosen the most unlikely. Chapter 16:1-5 find Samuel grieving over God's rejection of Saul. But, God advises him to get over it and go about his assignment to seek out a replacement for Saul. The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king. Samuel feared Saul. But God asked him to take with him a sacrifice. Jesse, the father of David was invited. His sons were paraded before Samuel. But he did not choose the most likely candidate. Lord, let my friends know that they, too, may be unlikely candidates but God can choose them to do His will. I am such one. God has looked beyond my sins that were washed clean in the blood of the lamb. And, He has given me a ministry. David was young and was a shepherd boy. In verses 6-13 the Lord said, Rise and annoint him; he is the one." Meanwhile, Saul is tormented by an evil spirit because of his deeds. His soul was vexed. He needed comfort. Saul wanted someone to sing and play the harp. Father, music can help my friends as well. Lord, let them choose wholesome lyrics. A servant suggested that Saul sends for David. He was pleased. Jesse's youngest son ends up working for the king. The Philistines and Israel were arch enemies. Their hero was a giant named Goliath. I invite you to read the dialogue that took place between David and Goliath in the first three verses of the seventeenth chapter. David slays Goliath with five smooth stones and the help of God. Examine the details in the remainder of the chapter. Today's affirmation: I can slay my giants. I know, too well, their identity. God will help me. I am weak but He is strong. I will also seek help from professionals. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, December 6, 2009

 

David goes from folk hero to fugitive. Saul sours towards him, but Jonathan, his son, supports David. Chapter 18:1-4 reveal how Saul's son loved David. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. It appears that he knew David would become the next king rather than the usual succession. Verse 5 goes on to explain how David did everything that Saul asked of him and performed his duties well. Too well. So successful was he in battle that the women came out from the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. As they danced, they sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." (1Sam. 18:6-1) And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. Heavenly Father, many of my friends have jealous eyes cast upon them. Often from those closest to them. Lord, go with them as this happens to them so that they, like David, will escape harm. So, Saul schemes against David_now his enemy. He feared him. His throne was jeopardized by Jesse's youngest. He tried to pin David to the wall with a spear, but David eluded him twice while playing the harp. (1Sam. 18:6-11) After that ploy failed, he tempted him with marriage to his daughters. David maintained his integrity. After refusal of one, Saul finally tricks him into a marriage to Michal who loved David. Saul's tricks just never materialized. And, we will see that the "hunter was captured by the game." Saul had high hopes that David would be killed in battle by the Philistines. In Chapter 19:1-7 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David and warned him. Jonathan interecedes on David's behalf to his father, the king. Verses 8-10 of Chapter 19 tell  that Saul was attacked by evil spirits sent by the Lord. Again, Saul tried to spear David. This time, he got the message and fled. His wife helped him escape. David became disheartened and prayed to the Lord. Read the prayer at Psa. 59. Lord, I pray that my friends entreat you when their spirits are vexed. It will ease their minds like a bridge over troubled waters. David escapes to Ramah, but Saul's cronies inform their king of his location. He was joined there by Samuel. The king's men were in hot pursuit. But their efforts were thwarted after finding David. They joined his men in prophesying. After sending several bands to overcome David, Saul acquiesces and joins them in their prophesying. David becomes dismayed over the entire matter and in Chapter 10:1-7 speaks to Jonathan: "What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?" Lord, I know very well the feeling David must have. It may not be literal, but spiritual. And so do my friends. Jonathan establishes a covenant with David. And continues to aid in his escapes from his father's wrath. Read the remainder of Chapter twenty for more information. Today's affirmation: Sometimes my friends can be closer to me than those related by blood. I must ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment to make this determination. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, December 7, 2009

 

You may have heard it said, desperate times call for desperate measures. Such is the substance of 1Sam. 21:1-22:3. Please note that an unorthodoxed approach is used in that the psalms are interspersed at the time David wrote them, rather than introduced later in, what most reference, the book of Psalms. Many do not consider it to be a book per se. This is done because I am following the organizational structure of  THE DAILY BIBLE (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER) PUBLISHED BY GUIDEPOSTS. In the previous submission, we find Jonathan parting with David. Jonathan orchestrated his escape from his father, King Saul. Chapter 21:1-6 tell of David's encounter with Ahimelech, the priest of Nob. There, he ends up eating consecrated bread and obtaining the sword of Goliath, the giant he slew while just a boy. Even more surprising is his encounter with the Philistines. The prayer presented at Psa. 56 is introduced here as David prays for confidence. Lord, this is what many of my friends lack_confidence. I know I did. At one time, I couldn't even conduct a conversation. Now, there are many who desire the return to those times because of my veracity. In the psalm, David says, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you." Father, I pray that my friends take this prayer into their hearts as many harbor a myriad of fears. Many are imagined. Some are realistic. We all have fears, Jehovah, but you can ease our anxieties when we trust in you. David continues to pray in Psa. 56: "In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" What comforting words, Heavenly Father. Later, in verse 13-15 David feigns insanity. The ploy worked. Achish said to his servants, "Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so  short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?" In Psa. 34 David writes a praise to God regarding the matter. He wrote: "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice, Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answererd me; he delivered me from all my fears, Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame..." Lord, some of my friends are not genuinely depressed but, instead, hide behind faked insanity. Some do it for attention. Others to escape responsibility. Psa. 34 resumes: "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the Lord is against those who do evil..." The twenty-second chapter begins with David leaving Gath and escaping to the cave of Adullam.  His family joins him there. In Psa. 142 David prays for safety: "I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way." In the beginning of the twenty-second chapter we find David seeking refuge for his family with the Moabites. And he finds it. Today's affirmation comes from Pastor Mike, Executive Pastor at the church I attend: I may be a prodigal child. I may have abandoned my life at home. I may have sinned in the process. I may have reached rock bottom. But when I hit rock botton, the only way to look is up. I can return home. I will repent and change my mind and direction. I will get REAL BEFORE THE LORD. Jesus has provided  substitutionary atonement for my sins. This prayer I pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, December 8, 2009

 

Both King Saul and David show their true colors in the next two chapters of 1Samuel. In 1Sam.22:6-19 Saul reveals his concern for himself. He discovered David's hide-out in the forest. The king utterred the following to his cronies: "Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today." But Doeg the Edomite said, "I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. Then he spills the beans about how the priest helped David. Lord, we see in this scripture how King Saul was only concerned about his welfare. It was all about HIM. Father, with some of my friends, it is all about THEM. They are egocentric. Heavenly Father, inspire them to widen their horizons beyond their needs. Saul confronted the priest and said, "You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and your father's whole family." But, the king didn't soil his hands with the priest's blood. Neither did his men. Then, Saul ordered Doeg to do so. And so he did. But, verses 20-23 show how Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, fled to join David. He took the ephod with him. Psa. 52 is a song David wrote condemning the action taken by King Saul: "Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others." Jehovah, some of my friends have engaged in such behavior. I pray that they will be able to understand the ramifications of their actions. In the meantime, David hears about how the Philistines are fighting against Keilah. After receiving God's blessings, David proceeds in a Robin Hood-type attack and overcomes the Philistines. God advised him to leave the area after the ambush. Like a nomad, David and his band of faithful followers roamed from place to place. Psa. 60 expresses David's  appreciation for God's assistance: "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." As I recover from depression I, too, have a passionate attitude towards the relief God has bestowed upon me. My days are filled with laughter and my nights with thanksgiving. 1Sam. 24:1-7 is a beautiful account of forgiveness and humility. It is familiar to many believers. Here we find Saul catching up with David in the Desert of En Gedi. David and his men hid deep within a cavern. As God would have it, Saul chooses the same cave in which to relieve himself. Ignoring his men's urge to kill him, David cuts off the edge of Saul's robe instead. The action can be found in verses 1-7 of Chapter 24. Father, there are some of my friends who refuse to worship at church because they consider the leaders hypocritical. They can learn a lesson from David. In verses 16-22 Saul reacts to David's kindness: When David finished saying this, Saul asked, "Is that your voice, David my son?" And he wept aloud. "You are more righteous than I," he said. You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly." Lord, some of my friends need strength in order to turn the other cheek. To forgive. At this point, Saul admits defeat but asks David for mercy on behalf of his descendants. Now, King Saul knows what his son has known from the beginning. That David was God's chosen. Read Psa 57 for the full flavor of his appreciation for God's sustenance. Today's affirmation: I am thankful to you, Lord. I can overcome my problems by dwelling upon my blessings rather than my shortcomings. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, December 9, 2009

 

Like an oasis in the desert, beautiful and intelligent Abigail arises to prevent David and his men from avenging the blood of her husband's servants. When 1Sam. 25 begins we find that Samuel has died. David and his entourage continue to move. At present, he is in the Desert of Maon where he encounters Nabal, whose name means "fool." And he lives up to it. He was wealthy. While out in the desert, David and his men protected Nabal's property. Father, you protect my friends in ways in which they are often unaware. You, Lord, prevent them from making costly mistakes. I know that you have done that for me. One must be careful of that which one prays. You just might get it. It was shearing time. A festive event. And, David and his men got caught up in the excitement. Surely, Nabal would acknowledge the assistance rendered by David and his men. So, the son of Jesse sent representatives to seek provisions from Nabal and he responded (verses 9-13): "Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where? When the news got back to David, he vowed to wipe Nabal out. But, a wise servant informed Nabal's wife, Abigail, who was unaware of the situation. Verses 14-22 express how she lost no time. She loaded up provisions for David and his band of men. She met him on the road as he was enroute to Nabal's property.  Abigail extolled David. And David accepted the goods from her. Later, in verses  36-39 we find that Nabal died. David wasted no time making Abigail his wife. Saul had given Michal, David's wife, to another. In the next chapter, twenty-six, David gets another opportunity to kill Saul. He and his men found the king and his army asleep in a camp. Again, David spares God's annointed. Rather than kill him, he takes his spear and water jug. Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away and called out to the army and Abner, Saul's right-hand man. Saul recognized David's voice and said, "Is that your voice, David my son?" Again, Saul refers to David as "his son." Then Saul said, "I have sinned. Come back David, my son. B
ecause you have considered by life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have erred greatly." The account should have ended there, but it continues. David decides to go behind enemy lines and retreated to the Philistines. He convinced Achish to give him refuge in the city of Ziklag. There, he was joined by others, including Saul's relatives_the Benjamites. There was an issue of loyalty when the Philistine army plotted to raid territory familiar to David in Jezreel.  David was alarmed to discover his shelter burned and his people taken into hostage. 1Sam.30:1-8 tell how the Amelikites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They killed none of those remaining after David and his men had departed. Read verses 9-20 to determine the role of an Egyptian in the captives' release. Today's affirmation: I may feel like a captive in a desert land, but I am confident that God will release me. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Thursday, December 10, 2009

 

It is just right to do right. Saul learned this lesson but paid the ultimate price for it. Beginning with the twenty-eighth chapter, verses 4-7, 3, and 8-14 it divulges that the Philistines gathered to attack Israel_again. Saul was afraid. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her." "There is one in Endor," they said. Samuel was dead and Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. So Saul disguised himself. In spite of her fears, the woman asked, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" Saul told her to resurrect Samuel. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul. Jehovah, the woman was surprised to see that Samuel had appeared because she possessed no real powers to bring up the dead. Father, many of my friends have conjured up spirits through mediums. Or, at least, they were informed of such. This is against the will of God. Let us see what happened to Saul. Samuel appeared wearing a long robe and Saul poured out his heart to his spirit. No help did he secure. Samuel informed Saul that God has departed from him. It gets worse. He prophesied that the Philistines would defeat him and that Saul and his sons would die. The woman extended hospitality to the king and his men. 1Sam.31:1-10 divulge how the Philistines fought against the Israelites and won. They chased Saul and his sons. They were overtaken. Saul was critically wounded and ends up killing himself by falling on his sword. His armor-bearer joins Saul in death. His body was desecrated, but later buried. The twin book of Samuel, second Samuel, begins with David's discovery of the multiple deaths. An Amalekite brought the news to David and admitted killing Saul: So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew that after he had falled he could not survive." The messenger was slain for fatally wounding God's annointed. Please read the lamentation David wrote for Saul and his sons at 2Sam.1:17-27. Special note should be made of David's feelings for Jonathan. Today's affirmation: I must be cautious as to whom I turn for relief. I must not break the laws of God. I know that God disapproves of spiritism. If I engage in it, I cannot expect God's grace. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, December 11, 2009

 

Abraham Lincoln once said a house divided against itself cannot stand. It was true during his rulership and it is true in the account of 2Sam chapters 2-3. An analogy prevails between the kingdom of Judah/Israel and that of the not-so-united states of America. There was a civil war. And slaves had to be emancipated. In the modern example, a president is murdered and in the ancient account the son of Saul is killed. 2Sam.2:1-4 tell us that David is anointed king over the house of Judah. David ends up restricted to rulership of the tribe of Judah and lived in Hebron for seven years before becoming king over the nation of Israel. Verses 8-10 say that meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead. But not for long. Fierce battle prevailed between the tribes of Israel and that of Judah. Lord, we see here that your will takes place even when the odds are against it happening. The odds are against some of my friends, Father. But, with faith, they will also prevail. Scripture tells us that the war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker. Jehovah, I pray that my friends grow stronger and stronger while their problems become weaker and weaker. Chapter three, verses 6-11 relate the rift that developed between Saul's son and Abner. Read the details later. In the next few verses, we find Abner defecting to David's camp. David accepted his offer of good will, but Abner was later killed in a revengeful act by Joab. But, before Abner's demise, he arranged for the return of David's first wife, Michal who had been given to another. The action elicits melodramatic behavior on the part of her present husband. David was not pleased by the murderous act on Abner and wiped his hands of the matter. David cursed the house of Joab forever. The people mourned Abner's death. There is more revenge to occur. Saul's son was killed_in his chambers and his head was returned to David. Rather than gratitude from King David, they met their demise. Now, David finally rules the united nation of Israel. Today's affirmation: My life is divided. I am happy one moment and sad the next. My moods change like the wind. But God can smooth out my life as he calms the ocean. I will beseech him to help me. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday, December 12, 2009

 

TH CITY OF DAVID. That is what Jerusalem was known as after King David conquered it. The Jebusites held it and dared David to defeat them. In 1Sam.5:6-8 the Jebusites taunt the Israelites. They said to David, "You will not get in here; even the blind and lame can ward you off." Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David. King David then issued a challenge to his men. David said "Whoever leads the attack on the Jebusites will become commander-in-chief." Joab son of Zeruiah went up first and so he received the command. In 2Sam.9-10 (and also 1Chron.11:6-9) it is recorded that David takes up residence in the fortress and it was called the City of David. Word of David's valour spread and Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs, stonemasons and carpenters to build a palace for him. David acknowledges God to be the source of his success. He conferred with his officers and commanders and the whole assembly of Israel regarding his desire to return the ark. Lord, David sought your blessings upon his actions. It became a habit to do so. Heavenly Father, my friends must do so as well. And, they must let your will be done in their lives. Note here, that some of the action in one book may also be recorded in another. That does not make the bible repetitious but authentic. The excitement of moving the ark, for example, is recorded at 2Sam.5:11,12 but may also be read in 1Chron.13:1-8: They moved the ark of God from Abinadab's house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. And, then the joy was interrupted by the death of Uzzah. Verses 6-11 of Second Samuel tell: When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because  he had put his hand on the ark. Jehovah, this shows my friends that he/she who is faithful in little is faithful in much. We must be cautious of our little acts of indiscretion. Uzzah had been instructed about decorum but failed to adhere to it. Lord, my friends have the bible to guide their behavior. And many are depressed simply because they have sinned and are guilt-ridden. The Philistines enter the picture again. David inquired of God and He assured him of victory. David celebrates his victory in his usual poetic style as recorded both in 2Sam.22:1-51, as well as Psa. 18. In it he writes: I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. Today's affirmation: Lord, I have had feelings of self-destruction. I have wanted to leave all of my problems behind. (I, too, was equally distraught but God will deliver you as He did me.) I know that you are my rock. You are the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. Help me, Lord. Help me hold on. I will look to you as my fortress, and trust in you. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, December 13, 2009

 

The next segment of 2Samuel may seem like downtime, compared with the action in the previous chapters. But, it  is not. In keeping with the chronological arrangement, scripture is cited from 1Chron. as  well as Psalms. In the next narration, we find King David getting his house in order. He started at the top. The twelfth verse of Chapter 6 in 2Sam. describe David's thoughts regarding the ark. Now King David was told, "The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God." 1Chron.15 :1-10 tell how David prepared a place for the ark. Then David said, "No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever." Then,  in verses 11-16 of the same chapter David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals. Believers may have observed that no mention of the Messiah has been made as of late. Be assured that the entire Hebrew Scriptures point towards His coming. In fact, He will come from the line of David. Michal, daughter of Saul and the wife of King David, watched as the ark entered the City of David. She despised her husband. This information can be found in 2Sam.6:16 and also 1Chron.15:29. Lord, let my friends know that the ark is not just an Old Testament thing, but still abides with them. God made a covenant with them as He did with the Israelites. If my friends keep your commandments, You will be with them. David writes another psalm of thanks to the Lord: found in Psa. 105 and Psa.96. He chronicles the history of his people. He sang about the sublime subjugation of the nations who opposed them. He sang: Let the heavens rejoice; let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations "The Lord reigns!" Today's affirmation: I have much over which I can rejoice. I will give thanks to the Lord. I will learn to dance in the rain. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, December 14, 2009

 

Kindness is demonstrated by King David in the sixth and seventh chapters of 2Samuel. Mephibosheth accepts it. God rejects it. The narration presented begins with a description of how priestly duties are assigned. This account comes from 1Chron.16:37-43. Some were to be gatekeepers and others presented burnt offerings. And there were those who played musical instruments. 2Sam. continues in Chapter six with a rebuke from Michal, David's first wife. In verses 20-23 she is shown coming out to meet her despised husband after David returned home to bless his household. She said to the king, "how the king of Israel has distinquished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would." David reminded her that the Lord chose him rather than her father and defended his behavior. Furthermore, King David said "... I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor." In return for her criticism of God's annointed, she became barren and never gave birth to the day of her death. Lord, many of my friends are concerned about what others think of their depression. And, for good reason. People attach stigmas to the illness rather than accepting it as such. One that is akin to a heart condition, for example. My friends must be courageous enough to admit their problem. When others berate them, they must consider the source. For those very ones are probably hiding issues of their own_sometimes depression. Personally, I could care less who knows about my warfare with the illness. When others observe me now, it is a witness to the healing powers of God. In 2Sam.9:1-13 David keeps his promise to his friend, Jonathan. David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" Ziba, a servant, came forth and informed the king about the location of Mephibosheth. He was crippled. He was referenced in previous accounts. Read later  that which David did for his household in verses 1-13 of Chapter 9. The king's kind acts don't end with the house of Saul. King David wanted to build a temple for the ark. 2Sam.7:1-3 tell us: After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent." Nathan replied to David, "Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you." But, that night God spoke to Nathan: "Now then, tell my servant David, This is what the Lord Almighty says: "...The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever..." Heavenly Father, from this description my friends can reason that You move according to your time frame. Lord, help them to realize that "not now" doesn't mean "not ever." My friends, wait on the Lord. Have the faith of a mustard seed and live according to the will of God and you will get better. After receiving the word from Nathan, David didn't sulk. He praised the Lord. He said, in 2Sam7:18-29, "Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?" Jehovah, inspire my friends to repeat the same comment made by David. Not as a mantra but as a prayer or supplication. Yes, Lord who are they? Are my friends exempt from problems? Even your Son had them. Today's affirmation: Who am I, Lord, that I should escape the pains of life? When I suffer, it makes visions of heaven vibrant in my head and heart. I will consider my suffering all joy because I have to depend upon you for relief. I will also seek help from professionals. You equipped me with enough common sense to do this. What does it profit me to gain the world and lose my soul? This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Tuesday, December 15, 2009

 

Where is the part that speaks of David and how he committed adultery and murder? And God forgave him. It is here. Albeit it sounds melodramatic, it really happened.  In the eleventh and twelfth chapters of Samuel, we find warfare of two types: military and spiritual. You may study about Israel's on-going battles with their opponents in 2Sam.21:15-17 as well as in the tenth chapter. 1Chron.19 parallels this action.The psalm David wrote beseeching God for restoration after Joab returned and struck down twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt can be found in Psa. 60. 2Sam.11:2 references the spring of the year when kings go off to war. David remained at the palace. Drrrrrrum roll, here would be appropriate. One evening, the scripture says at Chapter 11:2-5, David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From his vantage point he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" David ends up sleeping with her. The plot thickens when he tries to conceal his deed. To make matters worse, he sends a note to Joab that Uriah, Bathsheeba's husband, was to be sent home. Hopefully, to sleep with his wife. Verses 6-13 say Uriah would not fall for the bait as he was an upright man. Out of desperation, David has Joab place him in harm's way on the battle grounds. Uriah is killed. And Bathsheeba becomes pregnant. Verses 26 and 27 of Chapter 11 tell how David brought her to his house and she became his wife. But the action is just starting. Enters Nathan who makes David confess by telling him a parable about a man with a beloved sheep and how a rich man took it from him. At first, David didn't understand that which Nathan spoke. Then, the light bulb went off when Nathan said to David, "You are the man!..." Following the prophet's condemnation with words from the Lord, found in Chapter 12:1-12, David confesses. In the thirteenth verse, David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord" Father, I was guilty of adultery. Many have engaged in such behavior, including my friends. Forgiveness comes with a price. Lord, help my friends to accept the penalty and move on. Lord, keep them from wallowing in the mire eternally. If they pray for forgiveness and live a life free from behavior that displeases you, they can move on. David writes a psalm on this occasion at Psa. 51. David lives his songs. (inspired by a saying uttered by Dr. Robert at my church). Inspiration for today's affirmation comes from a sermon given by Pastor Mike, Executive Pastor at my church: I will not engage in relationships outside my marriage. I will not think that the power that money brings in society can equip me with the right to do what pleases me.  I will not get away unscathed. I will set myself up for the place where I will end up. As a powerful person I must understand that I cannot take it with me, but I can send it ahead. When I raise my standard of living I will also raise my standard of giving. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Wednesday, December 16, 2009

 

Is Jehovah a God of bloodshed? Sometimes. Is He vindictive? Sometimes.  Is it righteous indignation? Always. In the twelfth chapter of Samuel, David receives disconcerting news. The child he fathered with Bathsheeba will die. The good news was that Nathan informed him that the Lord had taken away his sin and that he would not die. After discovering that his son would, David fasted and spent nights lying on the ground. He could not be consoled. In 2Sam.12:18-23 we find that on the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought David would do something desperate. Lord, I fear that some of my friends may engage in acts of despair. Many grieve over the demise of a child. Some fail to move beyond the usual period of bereavemnt. They think they can no longer endure the heartache. Scripture says that after David surmised that his son had died he got up from the ground. He washed himself and ate. His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"  He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." There is wisdom in his logic. Verses 26-31 continue to speak of the sujugation of such nations as the Ammonites, Moab, Hadadezer, Edom and Damascus. At this point, non-believers may grunt as they consider the actions unfair. Judgments are not to be made here. At least by this writer. God is the supreme judge and He is a jealous God. The nations in question worshipped gods of stone and plaster. Jehovah is a living God who has chosen a nation to serve him. Not that they did so with consistency, but they would always return to Him.  The twenty-third chapter relates the brave men who fought the nations. You may examine it at another time in verses 13-39. Some of the exposition can also be found at 1Chronicles 11:15-19; 20-21; 22-25; and 26-47. Today's affirmation: I realize that I am depressed over matters that are beyond my control. I must allow God to take the helm and He will help me. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Thursday, December 17, 2009

 

Rebellion and rumors. That is what is encountered in 2Sam.:14,15. Not only in the person of King David's son, Absalom, but in non-believers as a rule. Those who do not respect God's sovereignty may want to be cognizant of his grace. In previous reference, the Book of Ruth mentions a widow from Moab who left her home to accompany her mother-in-law, Naomi, to her hometown. She was a foreigner and had worshipped pagan gods. But, from the womb of this Moabite came the ancestors of King David as well as Jesus Christ. So, those who emphasize differences among races may be aware of the thread that unites them. In Chapter twelve, verses 24, and 25 we find that Bathsheba is blessed with other children. Among them is Solomon who would later be crowned king. Do you see an attribute regarding God that may escape the casual thinker? Bathsheba was the woman with whom David experienced an adulterous relationship. According to 2Sam5:13-36, as well as in 1Chron,3:4-9 and 14:3-7 we find that David reigned thirty-three years in Jeurusalem. In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of  his brother, Absalom . 2Sam:13"1-14 tell how he became essentially "love sick." David's brother, Jonadab helped devise a scheme to rape Tamar.Amnon feigned illness, and with the approval of an unsuspecting father, lured Tamar to his bedroom and had his way with her. Following the act, he began to hate her and commanded that she is thrown from his chambers. Her brother, Absalom was furious but did not act upon his hatred immediately. He waited. But, he ended up engaging in fratricide. Absalom fled. Rumors spread that he had killed all of his brothers. But that was not true. Lord, rumors can kill in many ways. They can cause the demise of a person's character. Some of my friends are victims of gossip. Let them know, Heavenly Father, that they must turn a "deaf" ear to them. We know, Jehovah, that you abhor a lying tongue. In verses 1-11 of chapter 14 we discover how Joab devised a plan to redeem Absalom. Read how a wise woman from Tekoa assisted him. Lord, some of my friends have rebellious children. Some are acting out under the influences of their friends. Some even engage in Satanic worship. Father, lift them up so that they can endure until You return their wayward wards to them. Today's affirmation: I don't understand why my child is angry with me. I know that God does. I will commit them to the loving arms of the Lord. I will not allow myself to decline because of my situation. Time is a great healer. And prayer changes things. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends. Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Friday, December 19, 2009

 

The adage "beauty is but skin deep" proves more than a maxim with Absalom. In today's scriptual considerations, Absalom has returned to the palace but has not seen the face of the king in two years. 2Sam14:25-28 describe Absalom: In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him. Whenever he cut the hair of his head_he used to cut his hair from time to time when it became too heavy for him_he would weigh it, and its weight was two hundred shekels by the royal standard. He had three sons and a beautiful daughter named Tamar. Known for his patience and plotting, Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king. (14:29-33) Joab refused to help him gain audience with his father. So, he had the fields of Joab burned. That did it. Joab came and was cajoled into gaining him an audience with the king. Lord, there are some of my friends who have succumbed to vanity. Their pleasing appearance has been a cause for lamentation. Many have formed fatal attractions. Lord, teach them that faces are physical and that it is the spiritual that is at issue. Absalom and David reconcile. But, not for long. 2Sam.15:1-6 tell how Absalom schemed against his father. He stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Read the details in further study of the scripture. Four years later, Absalom planned a ploy that got him out of the city and into Hebron to worship the Lord as he vowed. Of course, this act was just an opportunity to establish a kingdom in opposition to his father. And that is what he did. Chapter 15:13-28 tell how a messenger came and told David, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom." David became a fugitive once more. Father, sin carries its consequences. It is true with David and it was true with me. And, it is also the situation in which many of my friends find themselves. David and his household found themselves in exile.  As in bygone days, David had his loyal followers. Included among them was Ittai the Gittite, a foreigner. David was concerned for him as is shown in 2Sam.15:19-22: The king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May kindness and faithfulness be with you." But Ittai was loyal to the king. The  countryside wept for David. Jehovah, there are times when my friends weep. And, in many cases others weep for them. David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. The king found treachery in every corner. Mephibosheth saw David's situation as an opportunity to regain control for his grandfather, Saul. He was the son of Jonathan befriended by David as a youth. Sometimes, Heavenly Father, my friends are betrayed by those they hold dear. Let them know that you are always near as their dearest confidant. In Psalm 3 David writes a poem expressing his feelings when he fled from his son Absalom. It begins: O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him" But you are a shield around me, O lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Today's affirmation: Trouble may be coming from every direction but I know that help is on the horizon in the form of a capable God. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Saturday, December 19, 2009

 

Death. Death of Ahithophel at his own hands. And the death of Absalom after his thick mane gets caught in the branches of an oak tree. These and more are the substances of 2Sam. 16-19. During those days it was not unusual to seek God's advice before making a move. Chapter 16:19-23 tell of Ahithophel whose recommendations, scripture says, was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how David and Absalom regarded all of his advice. Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give us your advice. What should we do?" He answered, "Lie with your father's concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a stench in your father's nostrils, and the hands of everyone with you will be strengthened." So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he lay with his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel. Ahithophel was full of counsel. But later falls victim of his own destruction when his strategies were not followed. Chapter 17:23 says: When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. Father, suicide can result from untreated depression. There are some, Lord, whose shame is so intense that they find self-destruction the only option. Father, let them know that there is no sorrow that you cannot heal. Intense fighting is related in 2Sam.18:1-8. Absalom met David's men in the Forest of Ephraim. Verses 9-18 tell how Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going. Joab was informed of the situation. He killed him with three javelins in his hand while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. Now, David had to be told of his son's termination. When David spied a man running alone, he assumed it was good news. David asked, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" After discovering the truth, David moaned: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you_O Absalom, my son, my son!" Jehovah, there are some of my friends who have lost children under tragic circumstances. Lord, speak to their hearts. Help them heal. Today's affirmation: I will be careful as to whom I seek advice. Especially regarding my depression. I can always seek discernment from God. And mental health professionals are also available. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Sunday, December 20, 2009

 

Wise advice is given and received by Joab, David's military leader in the 19th and 20th chapters of 2Samuel. Joab took a direct approach in his counsel to King David. Verses 5-8 explain: Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, "Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don't go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now." Now, that is straight talk. No subtle implications here. And, Lord, that is what some of my friends need. Lord, they must ask themselves: 'What am I getting out of my circumstances?' Let us see how this warrior-king handles Joab's directness. So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, "The king is sitting in the gateway," they all came before him. Meanwhile the wayward Israelites had fled to their homes. Confusion prevailed in the country.  Mephibosheth, as recorded at verses 24-30, went down to meet David as he returned. He was Jonathan's son and Saul's grandson. He explained that he desired to support the king during his exile but was limited because of his physical challenges. He mourned David's absence and had not taken care of his hygeine since the departure of God's annointed. He blamed Ziba, his servant, for slandering his name. In verses 24-30 David exemplifies reciprocal forgiveness. The king said to him, "Why say say more?" Rebellion emerges again in the person of Sheba. Examine more details in verses 31-40. Another wise woman saves her city from destruction in 2Sam.14-22. Joab was in hot pursuit after Sheba, leading him to Abel Beth Maacah. Joab trapped him there with dire intentions. A wise woman called from the city, "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him." He went toward her, and she asked, "Are you Joab?" She reasoned with him and he took her advice. Lord, you can't reason with many of my friends. And they consider themselves beyond reproach. The wise woman informed Joab that they would pitch the head of Sheba outside the wall of the city. Though gruesome, she saved her town from being sacked. Today's affirmation: I will learn to take advice from a trusted source. I do not know it all. There are those who can help me. I must make a move in the right direction. I have erred with my self-assessment. Isn't it about time that I actually listen? This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.

 

Submitted Monday, December 21, 2009

And the beat goes on for King David. Sin. Retribution. And forgiveness. As 2Samuel winds down, we find problems continuing to prevail in Israel. 2Sam.21:1 tells of a famine. During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death." If you will recall, the Israelites vowed to spare them many years ago. They were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites. After discovering the source of the problem, King David went about trying to solve the matter. He asked the Gibeonites, in verses 2-9: "What shall I do for you? How shall I make amends so that you will bless the Lord's inheritance?" Non-believers may question this reasoning. Why, many may ask, does it always have to be about the "Lord's inheritance?" Therein lies the answer_because it belongs to the Lord. The Gibeonites refused money but wanted seven of Saul's male descendants to be given to them and killed_and exposed. David handed them over to them. One might think this a rash act by a former shepherd boy. David did bury the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul's father Kish in Benjamin. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land. (2Sam.21:10-14) So, David did show some mercy for Saul. Their woes have not ended. It is recorded at the twenty-fourth chapter, verses 1-9 and 1Chron.21:1-6 that Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. Again, Joab speaks up: "...Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?" The king's word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel. 2Sam.24:10-14 tell how this action was repulsive in the eyes of the Lord. So, the Lord sent Gad to David and told him to say: "This is what the Lord says: Take your choice: three years of famine, three months of being "swept away" before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord_days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel." Lord, some of my friends find themselves with few options. If they confess their depression they may lose their jobs and the respect of their peers. If they continue to conceal it, they may end up taking drastic measures to obtain relief.  David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men." Further reading is suggested at 2Sam.24:15-17 as well as 1Chron.21:14-17. David encounters an angel whose intent is to destroy the people. David said to God, "Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? O Lord my God, let your hand fall upon me and my family, but not let this plague remain on your people." David humbled himself. That is what I have tried to do through my confessions of immorality albeit it happened decades ago. Some of my friends, Lord, hide behind a facade of perfection. Father, inspire them to get off their "high horses" and confess that they, too, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It is recorded at 2Sam.24:15-17 and 1Chron.21:14-17 that seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead after the Lord sent a plague. It goes on to say that the Lord was grieved and withdrew the hand of the angel. David was ordered to build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David bought the land on which the altar was to be built after rejecting it as a gift freely offered by Araunah. Today's affirmation: I have calamity in my life. I am vascillating between problems. I must humble myself and admit my problems. And I will work towards fixing them. God is my supreme "Mr. Fixit" but I must step up to the plate and hit the first ball. That is how I will get on base. I will go from one to another until I am at home base. I will not fear striking out. I will just continue hitting the ball. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen.



Submitted Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Excerpts from 1Chron. have been woven throughout 2Sam. Along with psalms from David. This is in keeping with their historical occurance. At this point, David prepares to build a permanent house of worship. The tabernacle is at Gibeon. But David said, in 1Chron. 22:1: "The house of the Lord God is to be here and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel."  In 2Sam. 24:18-25 and 1Chron. 21:18-30 the scriptures say that the Lord had answered David on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Additional research by this editor has revealed that the jebusites continued to live in the city of David albeit they were not Israelites. If this is accurate, then the Temple was constructed on the site of the threshing floor of a foreigner.  Then David called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God  of Israel. In 1Chron.22:6-16, David said to Solomon: "My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. But this word of the Lord came to me: 'You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side..." David continued: "I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the Lord.." You may wish to engage in further study of the passage. In verses 17-19 of the same chapter, David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. Psa.30 is a song David wrote for the dedication of the temple. In it he says: I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy  name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Lord, David also has BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT. May his song bring peace into the hearts of my friends. This prayer we pray in the name of the risen Christ. Do you receive it, my friends? Amen. Amen. 

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