In the Word

NKJV Giant-Print Personal-Size Reference Bible; Imitation Leather Blackhttps://www.christianbook.com/page/bibles/translations/nkjv?event=Bibles|1000153

I’m in the book of Ezekiel this week. Ezekiel follows Lamentations, and frankly I dreaded reading it. That’s where Jeremiah cries because of the pain of seeing God’s judgment on Israel. Lamentations turned out to be small, so I carried on to Ezekiel in just a little time.

It’s so hard to understand, and I tried to picture the wheel within a wheel, filled with eyes. Disconcerting, actually.

What always comes through is that God has standards and when evil prevails, He finally sends judgment. One of the sayings that kept coming up was, “That you may know that I am the Lord.”

Another verse: Ezekiel 11:5, (ESV), And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the LORD: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind.”

Now, I’m fully aware that God knows all things, but tonight the idea that He knows every thought that comes into my mind felt intimidating because I’m not perfect. In Proverbs 1:7, (NKJV), it says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

I definitely felt fear or awe of God when I realized He knows my every thought. On the other hand, tonight I was thinking that when I’m struggling, only God knows what kind of spiritual attack I might be under that is causing me to feel discouraged or sick or lonely or whatever malady may come my way.

He knows when I willfully disobey Him and choose to rebel. He knows when I make a mistake. He knows when I get deceived. He knows when I take credit for giftings that He placed within me. He knows everything. It’s a comfort and it’s a reason to consider what my attitude and my actions are going to be.

He sets things out so clearly in Deuteronomy 8:11-20, (ESV), “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today,

Deu 8:12  lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them,

Deu 8:13  and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied,

Deu 8:14  then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery,

Deu 8:15  who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock,

Deu 8:16  who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.

Deu 8:17  Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’

Deu 8:18  You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Deu 8:19  And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.

Deu 8:20  Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

God is loving but He’s also tough. He’s not wishy-washy.

Well, in this time of joy and shopping and visiting with many others, as I read along in the Word of God, my thoughts get carried away to what I think God is concerned about.

I hope you’re taking time to ask God what He would have you read and pursue. You may be surprised what He has in mind for you.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, (ESV), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This was written to the Jewish people when they were being warned about the length of their captivity by the Babylonians. At this point, some of them were already taken to that far away land.

These verses remind me that God is a fair judge, yet He’s got the welfare of the people He loves in mind, even when disciplining them. He tells us that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. That gives me hope.

May God bless you.

 

 

 

 

The Book of Jeremiah

 

A few months after the beginning of January, 2017 I decided to start reading the Bible through from start to finish. In the Old Testament, I’m only in the book of Jeremiah. I wouldn’t want to be a false prophet. God’s anger seethed against them and they either got imprisoned or they ended up dying before the end of the year.

 

Some years ago, I had a next-door neighbor. She never wanted to be on a jury because she could always feel sorry for the law-breaker, no matter what she or he did. I think she thought God doesn’t get mad, either. In Jeremiah, he prophesies by saying, “Thus says the Lord God Almighty,…”

 

Jeremiah 28:11, (NKJV)  And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Even so I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years.’ ” And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.

Jer 28:12  Now the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying,

Jer 28:13  “Go and tell Hananiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made in their place yokes of iron.”

Jer 28:14  For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him. I have given him the beasts of the field also.” ‘ ”

Jer 28:15  Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Hear now, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie.

Jer 28:16  Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the LORD.’ ”

Jer 28:17  So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

 

God allowed the Babylonians to capture the Israelite’s, both North and South kingdoms-Israel and Judah, and take most of them to Babylon. The ones that stayed behind, God told them they’d be devoured by the sword, famine and pestilence, in Jeremiah 21:9.

 

It concerns me when I read Jeremiah because one of the sins the Israelite’s committed was to follow and worship Baal, the god also known as Satan. They threw their babies into the fire as an offering to Baal. We in America have killed over 63 million babies. God says He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Surely, He’s furious with us as a nation. I don’t even know how to pray for our country, other than for revival and repentance. Even after the Israelite’s repented over the years, they seemed to go through cycles and when they chose sin over God, He eventually sent punishment. He’s merciful, but after a while, He says, “Enough is enough!”

 

That is the benefit of reading the Bible through from cover to cover. We can see the character of God and His behaviors. He is loving and kind and compassionate and gives us undeserved grace, but after we’ve wallowed in sin for a long time, and ignored His Word and His prophets, He usually sends severe weather, famine, plagues, etc. Mostly to get our attention so we’ll cry out to Him, but as in Jeremiah, even our most merciful and loving God says, “You’ve gone too far. What kind of a loving parent would I be if I didn’t discipline you and try to turn you around?”

 

Some people resent the authority of God. Some want to serve Satan. If they studied those who allowed Satan to be their god, they would see that many end up committing suicide. Satan is dark and hateful and wants the glory that belongs to God, so he deceives multitudes of people. I see young people wearing a tattoo around their wrist. I asked one, “What does your tat represent?”

 

“It’s my pledge, I belong to Satan.”

 

A friend and I talked to him and found out his heritage is Jewish. I said, “You are one of God’s chosen people, why would you bow down to Satan?”

 

I then told him many of the things God had done for me over the years. One is: I’ve never been hungry a day in my life unless I chose to fast.

 

His mouth dropped open. “You’ve never been hungry?”

 

My dad was a hard worker and a good provider. If he couldn’t work in his home town, he drove an hour or two to another city to work until he could be gainfully employed at home again.

 

My mom stayed home with us and sewed clothes, canned fresh produce, baked and cooked for us all, cleaned the house, nursed our wounds, and helped us with homework. She welcomed our friends with open arms, taught us about Jesus, and listened to us when we needed to talk. She wasn’t perfect, nobody is perfect, but I’ve found Jesus to be faithful to me even when I messed up. She would agree, based on 1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins, God forgives us and cleans us up.

 

I hope that young man reconsidered his allegiance to Satan. From all that Jesus spoke about hell, I wouldn’t wish that place on anyone.

 

May God bless you. He came to give life and that abundantly, according to John 10:10.

 

 

 

Love Makes the World Go ‘Round

Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” is a popular song written by Bob Merrill for the 1961 Broadway musical Carnival! (This is a quote from Wikipedia.)

This morning early in my day, I thought about life. Back in my childhood a saying got repeated, “Love makes the world go ’round.”

I didn’t know until a few moments ago that it was a song title. 🙂

My brother and sister-in-law uprooted themselves to help take care of her parents in their latter years. Love is not easy at times. They’re sacrificing for others, and yet they’re enjoying this precious time with family.

As a young mom, I learned to discipline my children in a consistent manner even when it broke my heart to see them cry. When they got older I wouldn’t let them watch violent movies or see R-rated or worse films. Sometimes my husband and I were too restrictive over other matters and we needed to learn to see things from their point of view.

Our children heard us say we’re sorry but I think they understood we were looking out for their best interests.

Love means saying no to the bad. My parents wouldn’t let us go see the 1961 movie, “West Side Story” when it came out in the theaters. I was maybe nine years old. Lots of the kids went. I stomped my foot and complained. “You’re too young,” my mom replied and that was that.West Side Story(photo from Wikipedia)

After more thoughts this morning, this came to mind, what shall I do today?

Part of the Scripture from Proverbs 6:6-8 (NASB), took root:

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer, And gathers her provision in the harvest.

I, too, have no one barking commands at me. My husband gives suggestions occasionally and then he gets on with his day.

It’s not that I don’t like housework. I get bored. After lots of hours alone, I want to see people.

The point of cleaning and organizing beyond the removal of germs and bad smells and nerve-wracking messes is love. Love for others sharing the home, love of self, love for others stopping over, even love or respect for the neighbors shows up with a tidy place.

I thought, if that doesn’t motivate me to continue on with this organizing quest I’m on, nothing will.

When I start my day in God’s Word and in prayer, I’m centered and reminded that His love goes with me and upholds me.

When I feel I have too much to do I break it down to smaller steps. I’m trying to remember that I have time to continue and if people interrupt, people are more important.

Too much self-centeredness does not make the world go ‘round. When it’s all about me, joy and love get sucked away. I know. I’ve been there and done that and missed out on simple pleasures of life because of complaining and a stinking attitude.

God help me; I don’t want to go there.

May God bless you!