Sunday, October 22, 2017
"Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you....I will send an angel before you...But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff necked people...." Exodus 32:34. 33:2.
Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, below, Aaron was making a golden calf.
Guess what? God wasn't happy.
Moses interceded for the people, and God, because He is kind and merciful, elected to forgive the forgetful, faithless group.
The crowd chose to disobey. God chose to forgive. But God said there would be consequences.
God had been the Leader from the get-go. He'd been in the cloud by day and the fire by night. The actions of the people caused Him to change His mind about His presence. He wouldn't go with them, but He'd send His angel to go before them.
Sad, right? They missed their Divine Blessing. The Presence of God.
God, in His mercy, gave them an alternative, an angel.
I love angels. I write about them. I'm thrilled to have them in my life. I know they are with me. They do God's bidding, but they aren't the real deal.
Who leads you today? God? His angel?
I hope we all stay in His Presence, but when we fail, and we do, I'm relieved He sends His angels.
Friday, October 20, 2017
As the pastor of a local church entered the pulpit he was handed a note to be read to the congregation. The note said, "Mark Anderson having gone to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety."
The pastor picked up the slip and read aloud, "Mark Anderson having just gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety."
From the Clean Joke Book, Bob Phillips, Harvest House Publishers, pg. 141
Maybe the preacher didn't have his reading glasses on. On the other hand, perhaps the note writer wrote the note without a comma after the word "sea."
Here's a few bloopers to appear in church bulletins.
Now you know why we writers need editors.
I have 16 books on Amazon and I'm grateful to all the editors who have worked with me. I send each of them a big thank you. They make my work better.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Here's an old joke to start the day.
Little girl: Mother, you know that vase you said had been handed down from generation to generation?
Little girl: Well, this generation just dropped it.--
The All-New Clean Joke Book by Bob Phillips, Harvest House Publishers, page 64
Let's smile at that, and admire that innocent face, but on a serious note, keep this in mind.
How sad it is when one generation drops the morals, scruples, and ideals of the previous generation. I'm thinking of the virtuous mores of past peoples. Marriage. Babies born into a two parent home. Life commitments. Church. Patriotism. God and Country. That sort of thing.
Do you see a movement away from those past standards?
I guess it depends on which generation you're in whether you see it or not.
Ask the former generation and find out what their fathers learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing and our days on earth are but a shadow.--Job:-8-9. NIV.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Have you read Mattie's story yet?
Women are more fortunate today.
But women still experience harassment and abuse. We still have a long way to go to get this behavior stopped, even with our own husbands. In what way are we equal? How does a woman keep her independence, intelligence, and be Biblically submissive?Churches debate over the teaching of submission. How far is too far? Society in Mattie's Day thought it okay for a woman to be raped or sexually mistreated. "Just don't tell. Keep the family secrets." Today's headlines reveal the mores in Mattie's Day continue to thrive. Come on, ladies and gentleman, let's change things. No woman or child should live in fear and put up with abuse.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
--Exodus 24: 20. NIV
I read God's words to Moses this morning and thought, Whoa! Then I looked at my hands.
When the time comes to say hello to God, face-to-face, what will be in my hands?
Oh, don't get me wrong, I know I can't take anything with me, but what have I given to Him that I'm leaving behind? Have my hands been a blessing to others?
What is an important legacy? One that God smiles over and blesses?
We'll all have different answers. Children, ministry, jobs, good deeds, support of pastor and church, talents, etc. I'm sure various ideas come to your mind as you read this.
But are those the "things" that God really wants?
The Psalmist, King David, was wealthy and powerful. He was a talented dude too with lots of "things" to hand to God, and he brought multitudes of offerings to the Lord. He preferred sacrifices that cost him something. He made once this statement:
But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.--2 Samuel 24-24.
Hmmm. I wonder if I've surrendered anything that truly cost me something. That "something" could be time, money, talent, even life itself. I give offerings, but how much real expenditure is in them? Have I really, ever given up something I wanted to keep? A gift I couldn't live without? Have I given an artifact or asset that cost me an enormous submission?
That's kinda like the age old debate, "How much goodness is enough?"
David expressed the true sacrifice that pleases God in Psalm 51:16-17:
You do not delight in sacrifice, or would bring it. You do not take pleasure in brunt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. O God, you will not despise.
Friday, October 13, 2017
I walk by a rock garden when I tread the neighborhood. The garden was once beautiful. Roses. Large stones. Little pebbles. An assortment of small colorful flowers. I don't garden, so I don't know their names, but they were pretty.
The weeds took over. No more beauty.
How quickly those weeds grew. Before I knew it, they'd ruined a tranquil sight.
As I passed by today, I stopped and photographed the garden. Like the garden, my mind gets full of similar weeds at times. How about yours?
We go along, thinking our thoughts, taking care of daily activities, and then BOOM!
Weeds control our thoughts and actions. Ugly weeds.
What kind of weeds do you have today? I'll tell you a few of mine, but please keep them a secret, OK?
Yep. I'm fearful about stuff coming my way. Our daughter is ill, and decisions must be made. I don't like it one bit. I also dread with mucho anxiety what the outcome will be.
This weed is small at the moment. That's because I yank it up and throw it out, but it grows back. Who do I feel angry toward? Mostly circumstances I can't control. Big whooop on that one, right? If I can't control something, why be mad? I pull that weed up often.
This one is small too, but it also grows back. I sometimes resent circumstances that keep me tied down.
I have notes taped to my desk. Here one I wrote in a Sarah book, and because it spoke to me, I taped it near as a reminder.
"Sarah," Mother Goodness smiled, "Don't look below at the circumstances. Look above to the Father."
Good advice, right? So, I need to stop looking below at the fear, anger or resentment about things down here I can't control.
I remind myself that Someone bigger than me is the Master Gardener, and He's got the landscape planned. I'm just the weed remover.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
I'm gonna buy another one. Do I want to? NOOOOOOO, I don't!! I hate getting on the thing. I usually go to the gym and select one in the lineup. When I forget my earbuds, I'm forced to read the closed captions on the TV. If I remember the earbuds, I can listen to an audio book. The TV or book makes the walk go down easier. The trip to the gym is an hour round trip from my house, not counting the time on the hated gadget. Sigh. If I have one at home, maybe I'll use it daily and have time for other, pleasurable things. Maybe. That's the plan, anyway.
In my next Sarah book, my little dyslexic angel helps a human with a makeover. Sarah and Valerie join a gym to help with weight control and physical well being. Like me, Sarah finds the equipment torturous. If you've read any of my Sarah books, you know she's gonna cause accidents in the gym. Unexplained, funny, chaos.
At the end of the book, Sarah accomplishes her mission. Valerie, the earthling, becomes confident and healthy, both physically and mentally. Right choices do that for us.
Wouldn't it be lovely if an angel came down to help us with doubt? Or our weight? Or the myriad of problems we face?
Truth be told, sometimes they do.
I'm studying the book of Exodus. In chapter 23:20, God tells the Israelites that He's sending an angel ahead of them to guard them along the way and to bring them to the place He'd prepared for them.
I know God didn't send Sarah. She would have kept them lost. Sarah can't find her way, even with a map. She sometimes flies up when she means to float down.
Even with God's help and the angel's direction, the wandering, freed, Egyptian slaves acted obstinate at times. Rebellion seemed to be in their DNA.
So is there hope for us? When life is hard and we have stuff we don't want to deal with? What about when we fail? Or the times we bury our head in the sand and procrastinate?
Put one step in front of the other and return to the treadmill of life. If you fall off, get back on. Is it fun to do the difficult? Nope. Not at all.
But we can do this!