Undignified

Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 6.

David is in the process of transporting the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem so God would bless them as a nation. He was in charge of it, along with 30,000 men. The Ark was sacred and carried with it a lot of rules and expectations for transport and care. It was no joke. The men were aware of this but even in this situation they became a little “loosey goosey” and forgot that there were serious consequences to disobeying. Poor Uzzah, in an attempt to keep the Ark from falling he reached out and touched the Ark. As a result, God struck him dead. Seems a little harsh but they were well aware of the rules and what would happen if they strayed from them….even if well intentioned. This was difficult for David to witness but I think it renewed a sense of awe and fear at the power of God and the rules set forth by Him. Again, it was no joke.

After this, David spent more of his time worshipping and sacrificing while transporting the Ark. He was seeking the Lord while carrying it to ensure he was taking it to the right place. David had heard how the Lord had blessed Oben-Edom’s home and everything he had because of the presence of the Ark of God. So David took the Ark to the City of David with a “great celebration”. They sacrificed animals, sang, danced, played instruments and shouted all to the glory of God. They were not worried about what anyone thought of them as they worshipped because they had witnessed the power of God through the death of Uzzah and blessing of Oben-Edoms household. They finally placed the Ark in the tent David had prepared for it and then he proceeded to care for the people by passing out food. What a day!! He went home on a high from all the praising and witnessing of God’s power only to be faced with his wife Michal who basically tells him how stupid he looked to everyone around him and that she was embarrassed. His response was perfect in 2 Samuel 6:21-22 “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel – I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes”.

When is the last time you were “even more undignified than this”?  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve looked on at  people at church with their hands waving around and thought they looked a little undignified. Unfortunately,  I judged much like Michal did in this passage. And like her, I  have missed out on the blessing of worship and praise with wild abandon. The people that have witnessed the power of God, close up and personal, are the ones that are not afraid to lift their arms and dance to the almighty God.  I challenge you to spend some time with God – singing, dancing, shouting, and blowing a trumpet if you have one. He is worthy of our praise! It can be a solo act in your living room and it is just as effective.

David Crower Band – “Undignified” https://youtu.be/hp7B5V-qpTQ

Shelly

Joshua 2 – Rahab

Today’s reading is from Joshua 2. The book of Joshua is about the continued trek of the Isrealites to the Promised land. Moses died and the Lord chose Joshua to lead the people. God instructed him to obey the laws Moses gave and to be strong and courageous.

In the second chapter of Joshua, Joshua sent 2 spies to the city of Jericho to scope out the area and report back to him for the sake of planning his attack. The spies found their way to the home of Rahab, the prostitute. The King of Jericho heard about the spies and he sent men to find them. Rahab had the opportunity to give them up to her king but she did not. Instead she kept them safely hidden on her roof because she had heard the stories about their God. In Joshua 2:9-11 Rahab says,” For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.”

Rahab had been hearing the stories of the God of the Irealites. She feared the God of the Isrealites more than she feared the King of Jericho. Based on the stories she had been hearing about God, He was powerful, He took care of his people, and where He went the enemy was always defeated. The enemy here was Jericho and that’s where she lived. At that moment she made a choice to believe in God. And with her belief she was granted salvation from the destruction that would ensue on Jericho in the days to come. She believed and she asked to be saved – along with all her family. The spies agreed to keep her safe as long as her entire family stayed inside the house and she left the scarlet cord hanging out of her window. We don’t hear any more of the specifics of Rahab’s story in the Bible but we do know God had a plan for her life. Later in Matthew 1:5 she is one of 5 women mentioned in the geneaology of Jesus Christ. Because of her profession of faith she was saved from destruction. She became a part of the blood line of Jesus – a prostitute, a sinner, an outsider – part of the family. All it took was her belief.

No matter what our past holds, God has a plan for our future. Joshua 1:9 says “I command you – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. Rahab  no longer had to fear because God was with her wherever she went. Same goes for us. Today – be strong and courageous, no matter your past or where you come from. God has a plan.

Shelly

Great Joy

How popular would some of the great Bible stories be, if they could be made into reality TV shows?!  This would be one of the most watched.  The story of Joseph and how God used him to save his people and the people of Egypt.  I don’t know about you, but I could not pull off what Joseph did…especially when you consider the time line…it didn’t take a couple of hours to get from place to place.  I don’t think I could keep my identity hidden, much less treat my brothers with the compassion that Joseph did.  However, Joseph was so in tune with God’s plan (Genesis 45:5):  “But don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it.  He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.” 

Are you one of those people that gets great joy in giving to and taking care of others?  Can you imagine the amount of joy in Joseph’s heart when he gets to spoil his family with everything Egypt has to offer with the orders from the Pharaoh?!?!  Can you imagine the amount of joy in Jacob’s heart…not only to hear that his son was alive, but how well he was doing and that he would get to see him again.

I pray that joy finds you today.

One Shining Moment

Today’s reading is Genesis 2.

Heaven and earth were completed and God rested on the 7th day, making it holy. Then He went on to create man from the “dust of the earth” by “breathing into his nostrils the breath of life” Genesis 2:7. He put the man in the garden of eden to work it and take care of it. “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will certainly die’” Genesis 2:17. Then God created “a helper suitable for him” which He fashioned from Adams rib. They were man and woman, created by God, living in perfection. “Adam and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame” Genesis 2:25.

Can you imagine a life without shame? For “one shining moment” everything was perfect and just as God intended it to be. Adam and Eve lived in harmony with creation and in direct communion with God. Nothing separated them. Their purpose was to take care of the garden and each other. And “they felt no shame”. If only things could have remained that way forever!

As defined by Merriam Webster, shame is “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety”. Shame can be a result of sin and often carries with it feelings of worthlessness and failure. When we move from true conviction over wrong doing into shame we get trapped. We become our sin and our thoughts move inward. Shame is not productive and keeps us from being all that God intended us to be.

Unlike this chapter of Genesis 2, we live in an imperfect world full of sin and shame. That sin, when left unconfessed, seperates us from God. Our shame over our sin keeps us hidden in lies of worthlessness about who we think we are. Thankfully, God sent Jesus so many years later to atone for our sin and remove the shame that comes with it. We are sinners saved by grace to live a life of freedom in Christ. Because of this sacrifice on the cross we can live a life without shame. We are defined by a God who created us in His image not by our sin.

My prayer is that shame would never steal you away from God. You are a unique creation made for His purpose. Happy New Year!!

Shelly

One Way

I’ve been blessed with so many great friends throughout my life…many of whom would have/will do anything for anyone.  One of them was such a good person, when some friends and I were speaking of him…one of them said:  “He was such a good person, he has to be in heaven.”  When I heard the person say that, my first thought was:  “Just let it go for now and not take the chance of offending someone.”  Then I rethought it:  “I agree, he was one of the best people I’ve ever known…but that’s no why he’s in heaven.  He’s in heaven, because of what it says in John 14:6:  ‘I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father, except through me.’  I know that he did believe in Jesus because he was my best friend and I needed to know that he did believe.”  There was some head nodding and some small talk…then moved on with the evening.

Over the last few years I’ve gotten to know quite a few “super nice” people through coaching and work, but they don’t have a church home and are not sure about this “Jesus thing”.  While I still have so much to improve upon in my life, is there anything more important than helping lost sheep find their Shepherd.  There are so many ways we can do that:  praying for those lost sheep, being an example for those lost sheep, be encouraging to those lost sheep….  We are not going to convict them, that’s the Holy Spirit…but we can do these other things.  May you have a blessed day and may you be presented with the privilege of sharing the Gospel.

MT

Wake Up!

Today’s reading is Revelation 3

Have you ever received a letter from someone that was a little harsh, but true? I’ve received some rejection letters, some letters about my kids doing weird things, and a few letters of thanks or appreciation. I’ve thrown the rejection letters away but I kept the letters about my kids and the appreciation. While they were painful to read initially, they were also filled with encouragement and hope.  The three churches mentioned in Revelation chapter 3 received letters, but they were not left without feeling encouraged and hopeful.

The church of Sardis was deemed “dead” and they were instructed to “wake up”! At one time they had been strong in their faith but they let it fizzle. They were urged to get back to the basics of what they believed at the very beginning. If they didnt wake up they would miss out on His return.
The church of Philadelphia also received a letter. They Lacked strength but they were obedient and did not deny Him. They were encouraged to hold tightly to whatever strength they had and use the gifts God gave them to keep their faith. Lastly, the church in Laodicea. They were lukewarm in their faith. Their riches and self sufficiency took the place of their need for God. But they were reminded that in the midst of their riches they were actually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. They were encouraged to be diligent and turn from their indifference. The things of God are greater than any riches obtained in this lifetime.
Rev 3:20-22 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door,  I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends. I will invite everyone who is victorious to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on the throne. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the spirit and understand what the spirit is saying to the churches.”
Which of these letters would you be receiving? Are you dead in your faith? Weak? Or lukewarm? God disciplines those he loves. May we hear the encouragement in the midst of the discipline to turn from our ways back to Him.
Shelly

JOHN 13

Today’s reading is from John 13.

Wow, what an amazing chapter in the Bible!  I know that we have read it before and we concentrate on Judas and Jesus washing feet.  However, I would like to make this writing short…but your thought and reading elongated.  I would like to point to John 13:3:  “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.”  This verse took me back to a hymn as a child that I really loved.  Please excuse me if I miss quote…going from memory:  “He could have called ten thousand angels, to destroy the world and set him free.  He could have called ten thousand angels, but he died alone…for you and me.”  Jesus was given all authority, but chose to be beaten (look up ‘flogged’…see descriptions of this in other gospels), belittled, and dozens of other things that none of us would have gone through…for anyone.  He didn’t HAVE to endure any of it, but he chose to…because he loved us that much…so that he could take the place of sin and we could be connected with the Father.

Please consider his love for us this Thanksgiving week…and give thanks that Jesus loved us this much.  AMEN!

MT

10, 000 angels hymn – https://youtu.be/mP563vwmQB0

A Voice in the Wilderness

Today’s reading is John 1.

John was one of Jesus disciples, another eye witness. He wrote the gospel “to build faith and confidence in Jesus Christ so that we may believe that He truly was and is the Son of God”. (John 20:30,31).
In this first chapter of John we learn that God sent John the Baptist to tell everyone about the coming messiah. His job was to prepare the way. He was the opening act for the savior. When the Jewish leaders asked John who he was he replied in the words of Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘prepare a straight pathway for the Lords coming!’”John 1:23.
John the Baptist knew Jesus but did not know he was the Messiah until he saw “the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him” as it says in John 1:32. He was the first one to proclaim to the people that Jesus was the Messiah. He did such a good job pointing everyone to Jesus that 2 of his own disciples turned from him to follow Jesus (John 1:37). Which was exactly what John expected and wanted them to do.
John the Baptist was a man with a mission. God gave him a job and he did it. He was bold and convicted. May we be like John the Baptist and always point others back to Jesus. Our savior.
Shelly

When the Roll is Called Up Yonder

TODAYS READING : Luke13

There is a LOT of great stuff in Luke 13:  Jesus calls people to repent, Jesus heals the crippled woman, Jesus grieves over Jerusalem.  However, I’m convicted tonight to say that there is nothing like:  Jesus teaches about entering the kingdom.  I encourage all of you to read the entire chapter, but really give verse 28 some time.  “And there will be great weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets within the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out.”

I thought I had some great losses in high school and college when I may have been rejected by others…or lost a big game.  When we lost to Peoria Manual in 1987, I thought that was the lowest moment of my life.  Now, in my “mid-years”, I thought I may have experienced the most weeping I could have by losing my best friend of over 30 years and losing my mom.  However, when you give it some thought, there will be nothing worse than losing a loved one for eternity…when we have the capacity to realize at the time it is happening that people we know and love are being cast into the depths for eternity.  In this day and age, it is easy to think:  “There will be another chance…there will be a do-over.”  NO!!!  No there won’t.  When the roll is called up yonder, you’ll be there…or you won’t.  There is no second chance…there is no do-over…there is no last minute pleading with loved ones that haven’t said Jesus is who He says he is.  I recall someone saying about my best friend:  “He was such a nice person, he has to be in heaven.”  I didn’t say it at the time…as it didn’t seem like the time and place, although I wish I had…that is not why he is in heaven.  I asked him if he believed in Jesus…that is why he’s in heaven.  John 14:6…”I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father, except through me.”

MT

The Holy Spirit

Today’s reading is Luke 1

 Luke was a physician and historian. He was a friend of Paul’s and also wrote the book of Acts. Luke refers to the Holy Spirit more than any other Gospel writer. As a friend of Paul’s and a witness to the events in Acts, he was well acquainted with the power of the Holy Spirit.
In this first chapter of Luke we learn about the birth of John the Baptist and the call of Mary to be the mother of Jesus. The Holy Spirit played a major role in the happenings of this chapter. Even before Jesus was in the world, God used the Holy Spirit to accomplish His plans.
The first mention of the Holy Spirit was when the angel spoke to Zechariah about his soon to be son, John. He told him in Luke 1:15 that  “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth”. Then the angel appeared to Mary to share the news that she would be the mother of Jesus. In Luke 1:35 the angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you”.  Elizabeth was also filled with the Holy Spirit in Luke 1:41, “At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit”. She then proceeded to affirm Mary and all that God had said would happen. What a gift to Mary! Someone older, wiser, and pregnant giving reassurance that she wasn’t crazy and God had called her to this task. Then in verses 68-79 Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave a beautiful prophecy of things to come. After losing his voice for 9 months he had a few things to say!
 All these people filled with the Holy Spirit takes us to Jesus. Gods beautiful orchestration for the promised Messiah. He used people that were faithful, humble, and willing.
The Holy Spirit is a gift from God (Eph 1:13) that we have access to all the time when we believe in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is always working on our behalf. Roman’s 8:8 says, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words”.
Rest in this assurance today.
Shelly