Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Answers to Yesterday's Quiz on Moses

Let's look at what some of the answers may be for the questions I posted in yesterday's blog post.




When God first told Moses that it was he, that (God) would send to deliver His people from Egypt, God called Moses by name from the midst of the burning bush. Moses was there to seek God and to see what made the bush burn and yet not be consumed by the fire. Immediately when God called Moses by name, he answered, "Here I am."  Moses, raised in Pharaoh's court as an adopted son, was taught in the best schools Egypt had to offer.  He wore royal clothing, befitting an heir to the throne. He had a close relationship with Pharaoh. He was trusted. Yet when the time came on God's timeline, it was revealed to Moses that He was not an Egyptian, but indeed a Hebrew!  So when he saw one of his fellow Hebrews being mistreated, in anger, he killed the Egyptian, which would have been punishable by death. 

So Moses fled Egypt to Midian, where he meets Jethro, a Midianite Priest Jethro gives to Moses, Zipporah, his daughter, in marriage.  Moses then resides with Jethro and cares for his flocks.  During these years, Zipporah bears a son for Moses and they name him Gershom, for he said "I have been a stranger in a foreign land." Also during these many years, the Pharaoh that knew Moses has passed on and another Pharaoh comes into power.  This Pharaoh fears that the growing number of Hebrew slaves may turn on him and overtake his kingdom, because there are so many of them.  

It is in this context, that God calls out to Moses, whom He has made ready to 'shepherd' and lead His people Israel from the slavery they have endured for 400 years (since the passing of Joseph and the famine in the land that brought them to Goshen). God had been preparing Moses, all his life with not only an education to make him a leader, but as a shepherd, to lead and tend flocks. Moses was ready to lead and guide and protect God's people as they wandered through the desert on their way to the Promised Land.

So, when Moses is in the Presence of the Holy One of Israel, he prostrates himself before Him and God identifies Himself to Moses as "The God of your father-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Moses hid his face for fear of looking upon God.

God then tells Moses that He has heard the cries of His people; He knew their sorrows and has come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians. Then Moses begins to question and doubt. He first asks God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?"  Moses had been in the desert tending sheep and raising a family and living the life of a Shepherd, dwelling in tents. He was content. It had been a long time since he walked the royal halls of Pharaoh's court, and then had fled for his life!  He was no longer the same man that left Egypt!  God promises him that He will be with him and the sign of this would be that once he had brought God's people out of Egypt, they would come back to that same mountain and worship God. 

So he asks God, "When they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" God answered and told him to reply "I AM WHO I AM"The Hebrews would recognize this name of the everlasting God.

Again, Moses says "But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say "The LORD has not appeared to you."

Answer: God asked Moses:  "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod." (It was his shepherd's rod.)  God told him to cast it on the ground and it became a serpent.  Then he told Moses to pick it up again and it became his shepherd's rod again.  This was the first miracle that God showed Moses to confirm to him that He was who He said He was and would be with Moses to deliver His people.

The 2nd miracle that God showed Moses was that He told Moses to put his hand into his bosom.  When he did, it became leprous, as white as  snow.  He told him to put it back in again, and when he withdrew it, it was completely healed.

Next:  God tells Moses that if they refuse to believe these two signs, then he is to "take water from the river and pour it on the dry land.  The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land." (This is what was left out and was different from the movie "The Ten Commandments", although later, God tells Moses to extend his staff out over the river and it would become blood, which was depicted in the movie.)

So... after seeing all these things that God had shown him, how did Moses respond? He begins to make excuses, saying he's not a man of eloquent speech. (He surely remembered the higher education of the Egyptians and the courts of Pharaoh's house! He had spent years in the desert talking to sheep!) So God responds by reminding him just who 'made' the tongue and that HE would be 'with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."

Ok.  So what  next? Moses is running out of excuses now, so down to the bottom line: "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send."  (Can't someone else do this better than I can??)

God works it all out and appoints Moses' brother Aaron to be the spokesperson for Moses. Moses would tell Aaron what to say and he would say it. (Moses was 80 years old and Aaron 83 when they spoke to Pharaoh. Ex. 7:7)

David Jeremiah tells us that when it comes to the "will of God, commitment comes first; confirmation second. We want to reverse this order. Waiting for the confirmation means you will never make the commitment. Obedience must come first to what has already been revealed to us and then new instruction will be given."

Before we get too hard on Moses, let's consider how many times God has revealed His will in a matter to us, and we try to make excuses why we aren't the best candidate to do it, or why surely someone else is more qualified.  Yet when God chooses a person, He doesn't look at all of your great abilities does He?  He looks for a willing and obedient heart. One who want to please and obey Him.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Today, in reading Chapters 3-6 of Exodus, here are some thoughts that came to mind and a little Quiz for those that are interested: 

First: when God told Moses He would send 'him' to deliver His people from Pharaoh and Egypt, what question did God ask Moses? 


Second: what were the first two miracles that God showed Moses, when Moses asked God "But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.'" 


Then there was a difference in the movie "The Ten Commandments" when the water was turned into blood and the Biblical account. Can you tell what that difference was? 


And finally, what were the excuses Moses tried to use when God told him that He would use 'him' to deliver His people? 


After God answered all of Moses excuses, what did he say then?? 


Dr. David Jeremiah says that "When it comes to the will of God, commitment comes first and confirmation comes second. We want to reverse this order. Waiting for the confirmation means you will never make the commitment. Obedience First (to what is already revealed) and then New Instruction is second. 


Let's see how many people really know their story of Moses' encounter with God at the Burning Bush! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Trees

 Another life-long favorite poem, that many have memorized in schools in the past.  I know we had to memorize this poem in grade school.  After I had grown, and was working in our local church Awana Clubs, working with girls in the 4th, 5th and 6th grade, I did a devotion one night on this poem.  It's a beautiful picture of how our life should be in relation to God.  
Here is the poem called Trees by Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)




TREES

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast.

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

The Way of the Righteous

 1 Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

(A tree): Who has ever looked at a beautiful tree and not stood in awe?  Or stood under it's branches on a hot and sunny day to seek shelter and shade? Have you ever silently listened to the wind stirring the leaves?  Or seen the sunlight streaming through the branches, or the moon shining at night reflecting on the bark and leaves, and not be in awe? I'm sure most all would agree that there is little in nature as lovely as a tree.

We, as Christians, in God's Word, can be compared to a healthy, fruit-bearing tree. 
 Titus 2:14 says that we are "a peculiar (or special) people".  In Matt. 5:14, "a city set on a hill".  (Do you remember that song "This Little Light of Mine... I'm gonna let it shine"?)  When we walk in the presence of the Holy Spirit, people can see the beauty of Christ in us. Our entire demeanor takes on a new appearance.  We are a "new creation in Christ Jesus" the Bible tells us, when we accept Him as our Savior. "Old things have passed away and all things become new." (II Cor. 5:17)

(Hungry): Matt. 5:6  "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."  
I Peter 2:2:  "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby."  As the tree's "mouth" or roots, are pressed to the earth to gain nutrients needed for growth, we must find ourselves daily seeking spiritual nourishment from God's Word.  This is how we grow in our Christian life and learn from the Holy Spirit of God, and gain the character He wants us to show to the world. "Against the earth's sweet flowing breast"....  God's Word is ever flowing and alive.  Every time we go to God's Word, we can receive anew, what we need to keep going and face the challenges we face each day in this world.

(looks at God each day):  Ps. 119:164 says "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules."
Hebrews 12:1, 2 " Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
      
Jesus is our example.  We should be looking to Him each day, and not to the world, or celebrities or athletes for an example of how we should think and live our lives. We should not be modeling our self or our appearance after these people. There are good people in the world, that we can look to and model our lives after, many of them.  But Jesus is the only "perfect" human being that never sinned or offended God in any way. It is Him to whom we should look to see what kind of person we were meant to be..

(lifts her leafy arms to pray):  I Tim. 2:8  "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands,..."  and King David says in Ps. 143:6a  "I stretch out my hands to you, my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah"  

Do we really thirst for GOD each day?  What do you do when trials and times of difficulty and sadness or confusion come?  Does this drive you to act in your own power and thinking? Or are you driven to thirst after God and His answers for your situation? We can fill our lives and hearts and minds with so many things!  There are so many temptations to "satisfy" our every desire, thrown at us each and every day in this world, but only GOD can truly quench that thirst or fill that hungry desire. He has ordained that we should receive those blessings by coming to Him in prayer each day.   As the tree in our poem "lifts her leafy arms" to God...  we are told in the Bible to life our hands in prayer and praise to the God of the Universe.  To thank Him for all His blessings in our lives; to praise Him for His presence and attention to us, mere humans who have in the past rejected and disobeyed Him and gone our own way;  yet in His infinite mercy He made a way for us to be forgiven, by sending His own Son Jesus, to die in our place.  (John 3:16)  

I Thess 5:17 instructs us to "pray without ceasing".  How can we do that?  We can utter prayers to our Father in Heaven at any given minute of any day.  Day or night. In joy and in sorrow. There is no limit on how many times we should talk to God in prayer. This can be done all throughout the course of a day. We have a direct line to God, our Father, who loves us and desires we come to Him for assistance with the things we face each day. He is always there listening for our voice.

(a nest of robins in her hair):  I believe this can represent the "good works" that we do each day as we live in God's presence.  Good works cannot save us.  God's Word tells us that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" before a holy God.
Isaiah 64:6  "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

But we are told that after we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, that our lives should reflect that change:  that new person we have become!  Phil. 1:11  says: "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness."  Titus 2:3-6 says: ".. that they be in behavior as becometh holiness....  in all things showing thyself a pattern of good works."   and I Tim. 2:9,10 "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves with good works." (emphasis mine)  We can "adorn" our lives with the good things we do for others in the name of Jesus.  We can be his hands, so to speak, when we give help or aid to those that need it.

(intimately lives with rain): We can and will all face trials and hard times in our lives.  We will suffer losses: family members, friends, maybe health or well-being.  What matters most is how we react to these things when they come. 

The tree in our poem, knows what it feels like to have the storms and rain and lightning hit. She is sometimes even scarred by lightning strikes and must have limbs removed to save the life of the tree or prevent damage to her surroundings.  You've heard the saying "into every life some rain may fall"..  it happens to us all as we live day by day.  James 1:2-5 tells us to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers (or various types of) temptations."  How can we find trials and temptations to be a "joy"? Because we can be assured that just as this tree survived the rain and storms by putting down deep roots so that she is nourished and strong, we too, can put down deep roots through the study of God's Word and maintaining an intimate relationship with Him. Then when the rains come and the wind blows, we will have a firm foundation that will carry us through.  We won't fall or be destroyed by the hard times that come our way, but rather strengthened by them. Just as those deep roots support the tree, God will provide the support we need in those times. 
King David said "5 "When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears."  He knew how to survive the hard times! He had prepared a lifetime of learning to listen to the voice of God and seek His face in the hard times.  He called upon the Lord and had the confidence that God heard his prayers.

(but only God can make a tree):  Ps. 127:1 says " Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."  In John 15:5 Jesus tells us:  "without me you can do nothing."  There is only so much man can do to help us in our times of need; but God made us and He is intimately acquainted with what we need in times of distress.  Only God could have made us and formed us in our Mother's womb. His Word tells us He counts the very hairs on our heads;  that there is no where we can go and be separated from His presence.  "only God can make a tree".... only God has the answers to all the needs of His own creation.

I don't know about you, but I want my life to reflect all the beauty of this lovely tree in this beautiful poem by Joyce Kilmer.  
How about you?  In this new year, 2015, let's aim each day to be like a lovely tree, lifting our arms (and hearts) in prayer and gathering nourishment from God.  Then our lives will be beautiful and pleasing to Him and one day we will hear: (Matt. 25:21) "His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

LRH


Friday, January 2, 2015

 "A Persian fable says: One day, a wanderer found a lump of clay; so redolent of sweet perfume, it's odor scented all the room.

'Who art thou?' was his quick demand. 'Art thou some gem from Samarcand?, or spikenard in this rude disguise, or other costly merchandise?' 

'Nay! I am but a lump of clay!' 

"then whence this wondrous sweetness- say?' 

'Friend, if the secret I disclose, I have been dwelling with the Rose!" (Author unknown) 




I have always loved this poem!! It reminds me of the fact that we are all unacceptable in God's eyes because of our sin! yet, Jesus died for us to reconcile us to God. 

While on this earth, our bodies are but a lump of clay, but we too, can carry with us, the sweet fragrance of Christ, to others everywhere we go, as long as we spend time in His presence each day and allow Him to mould us into something beautiful! 

May this year find each of us, sharing the sweet scent of Christ with a dying world.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

In the Beginning....

Genesis 1:1 in our English translation of the Bible, tells us that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  The Restoration Bible tells us that "In the beginning Elohim created... "  "Elohim, Aleph Taw, created"..  the aleph and taw represent the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet and are a sign of the direct object in Hebrew grammar and likely depict the presence of both the Father and Son at creation, corresponding with John 1:1-3.  This may also parallel several passages in Revelation, where both the Father and Son are referred to as the alpha and omega (Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13); these first and last letters of the Greek alphabet correspond to the Hebrew aleph taw.  (taken from the Restoration Study Bible).

The notes in this study Bible are so enlightening if you want to get a clearer understanding of what your Bible is really saying!  You have to go to the original language for an understanding of the true word/words that are used in that passage.  The Hebrew has many 'shades' of meaning and interpreting it to say just one of our English words is difficult and leaves much to be desired if one wishes to fully understand what is being said.  (Just as with translating any language into English.)   I highly recommend getting this Bible translation if you want to more fully understand the Scriptures.  Having a fuller understanding of Elohim's word today is vital.  Who knows how much longer we will have the freedoms in this nation to read and study it at will?  We, as a nation and a people, need to get back to basics and begin teaching our children the Scriptures again. We are seeing such a void in our education system and in our families.  It seems everything is falling apart and we are living in those Biblical days when "everyone did that which was right in their own eyes"; and we are reaping the benefits of this loose society: chaos.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Long Hunter State Park Pow Wow

Arvel Bird and me at Long Hunter State Park

I had the privilege of going to Long Hunter State Park in Hermitage, TN this Saturday to see and hear Arvel Bird perform his Celtic Fusion music.  His background is Celtic from his Father's side and Paiute from his Mother's Side.  The result is an extremely unique and BEAUTIFUL sound of music like you've never heard before (unless you've heard Arvel in the past!).  I first met and heard Arvel Bird play at a Pow Wow quite a few years ago. It's been so long now that I don't remember which Pow Wow it was!  But when I read that he was appearing at the Long Hunter State Park in Tennessee this weekend, I just had to go!  For several years now, I've been trying to get my family all interested in Pow Wows and enjoy going with me.  My background is that (I believe it was) my Great-Great-Great Grandmother was a Blackfoot Indian. I remember my Grandmother telling me she was the daughter of the Chief, which would have made her a Princess in the Blackfoot tribe.  I cannot document this as we have absolutely NO history on her: no pictures, no documents, nothing! It grieves me that our family has nothing to acquaint us with her. All of the family heritage from my paternal Grandmother's side of the family was given to a Cousin of mine and she has not had anything to do with our family for years. I'm not even sure if she is still living or not, but she took all that history with her and none of us knows what happened to it.  So sad.  

But back in those days, it was not uncommon for Native Americans to change their identity for safety reasons. It was not safe to be known as Native American then. Not much history or birth certificates were kept or documented either. How I would love to be able to see a picture of her and to know more about her.

I think in all of our family, my Dad bore the strongest Native American look.  When my Brother was born, he looked like a little Native American boy! A head full of thick, almost jet black hair! My Dad had the reddish skin tone and facial features of a Native American and when he got older and retired from the steel mills, where he worked his way up to Foreman in the Electrical department, he became a Missionary Representative for a missions organization named "United Indian Missions" and made several missionary trips to reservations out west in Arizona.

Our of all six children born to my parents, it is only myself (I'm the eldest) and my baby Sister (who was born right before #6, my Brother) that seem to have inherited the Native American genes and love and passion for all things Native American. Just a month ago, she came to TN to visit and asked if there were any Pow Wows that were going to be going on while she was here. I found just one, and we went, but it was very small and not many "real" Native Americans there. It was pretty much a disappointment. I wish she could have been here for the one we just attended in Long Hunter State Park, supported by the NAIA (Native American Indian Association).  They only allowed registered tribes to dance or enter as vendors. There were tribes represented from all over the U.S., one of the furthest was from upper New York and from Minnesota.  What a joy to be at a "real" Pow Wow again and hear the Drum Groups playing and smell the white sage burning and see the dancers from differing tribes in their beautiful authentic regalia. I so wish my Sister could have been with us!  Thankfully, I was blessed that my eldest daughter and youngest daughter and Granddaughter were able to attend with me this time and they all thoroughly enjoyed the Pow Wow. (I think I am slowly winning them over!) :-)


Arvel Bird and my Granddaughter Amber
at Long Hunter State Park
Arvel Bird was the main stage attraction for talent though!! When we got there, we were thoroughly unprepared for the weather!! Just two weeks ago, it was so HOT we couldn't stay long, so we only took sweaters with us this time, as the weather was beginning to cool a little in the mornings but then go up to the 70's in the afternoon. I even took an umbrella with me to use if the sun got too hot and we didn't have any shade! So, I 'thought' I was prepared!  We got almost to the Pow Wow and it started raining and the temperatures were dropping into the low 50's! We kept trucking, hoping that it was going to clear up soon.  We got there and it was still alternating between raining and misting lightly. We were glad we had the umbrellas! But, not having brought jackets or heavier sweaters, we were all freezing!!  So the blanket sellers really made out there yesterday!  Everyone was going from booth to booth looking for anyone that had jackets or blankets for sale! Luckily, we found one and the blankets were beautiful and very reasonably priced, so we all bought blankets and couldn't wrap them around us tightly enough!

We were a little concerned because someone said that if it was still raining when it was time for Arvel Bird to perform, he wouldn't be performing because of the danger of the wetness and electrical equipment. I was secretly praying for the rain to stop!!  We were thrilled when it stopped raining and Arvel was able to perform! What a great musician and performer he is, and such a pleasure to watch! His unique sound and fusion of his Celtic and Paiute background is candy for the ears! Afterwards, the real thrill was to be able to have our pictures taken with him and purchase his CD's and speak with him for a few minutes. What a genuinely "NICE" person he is!! Most highly famous musicians are a little "snobby"..   but that isn't the case with Arvel. If you ever get the chance to meet him or see him perform, you will always be a FAN!

Thank you Arvel Bird!  Can't wait until next year and hopefully the opportunity to see him in person again!  Unless Jesus comes back first!  :-)

https://www.facebook.com/thearvelbird

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Government - God = CHAOS

With all the chaos that is happening right now in our nation, our Leaders "grand-standing" and trying to make a name for themselves, rather than giving honor to God, a King came to my mind recently after watching the movie "The Book of Daniel".  I am reminded of King Nebuchadnezzar, a very foolish man that decided his own name and honor and glory should be exalted over that of the Creator of the Universe!  God took His finger and wrote a declaration on the wall: of Nebuchadnezzar's doom for failing to give honor to God, until he came to his senses and humbled himself and gave due glory to GOD.

This is what we are seeing in our own nation at this moment. A once grand and glorious and honorable nation that was founded on God's principles is now taking the same path as past nations that have fallen, due to greed and sin and wickedness.  Rome... Babylon... just to name a couple.  We have told God that "We don't WANT YOU around anymore!  We want our own way and don't want to give up our sin!  Go AWAY and don't come back!!"  We have decided it is better not to offend people who might not believe the same as we do, than it is to offend a holy GOD.

So God listened to our demands, and did as we commanded. HE withdrew, and I pray in His Name, He has not yet "given us up" totally.

What we are seeing today is the result of One Nation that has turned her back on the only ONE that can save her. May God help us.

All Christians need to spend more time on their knees and in God's Word, seeking His face and asking for His mercy that He might spare our nation from the disaster that is as surely as I write these words, coming our way.

May GOD'S NAME be praised.