Posts Tagged With: Jerusalem


Ruins of Käesalu manor windmill Photo by Ivar Leidus

Good morning, beloved,

In the morning, when I rise, Give me Jesus…

So, as I begin my day today, I reflect on these past days. God has poured out His blessing on our lives. Through encouragement of friends, through seeing our children enjoy time with friends, a dear one sent me a beautiful book full of reminders of His glorious grace, we had needs arise and people came around and prayed and gave of their time. Needs were filled.

Acts is full of stories of believers in community. How Jesus took a group of rough and tumble men and transformed them into His church…now, as we turn our attention to Paul, we are still peeking into the curtain of this community.

10 There was a ·follower of Jesus [L disciple] in Damascus named Ananias [22:12]. The Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision, “Ananias!”

Ananias answered, “Here I am, Lord.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to Straight Street [C the main east-west street of the city]. Find the house of Judas [C not either of Jesus’ disciples by that name; Judas was a common name], and ask for a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus [C a town in Cilicia, a Roman province in southeastern Asia Minor (present-day Turkey)]. He is there now, praying. 12 Saul has seen a vision in which a man named Ananias comes to him and ·lays [places] his hands on him. Then he is able to see again.”

13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and the ·terrible [evil; harmful] things he did to your ·holy people [saints] in Jerusalem. 14 Now he has come here to Damascus, and the ·leading [T chief] priests have given him the ·power [authority] to ·arrest [bind]everyone who ·worships you [L calls on your name].”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! ·I have chosen Saul for an important work [L For he is my chosen instrument/vessel]. ·He must tell about me [L …to take/carry my name] to the ·Gentiles [nations], to kings, and to the people of Israel. 16 [L For] I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17 So Ananias went to the house of Judas. He ·laid [placed] his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus sent me. He is the one ·you saw [L who appeared to you] on the road on your way here. He sent me so that you can see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something that looked like ·fish scales [or flakes] fell from Saul’s eyes, and he was able to see again! Then Saul got up and was baptized. 19 After he ate some food, his strength returned.

Saul stayed with the ·followers of Jesus [disciples] in Damascus for ·a few [several; some] days.

So the Lord Jesus visits again. Obviously, there was no such thing as quick communication between the believers, but Ananias knew Saul. Maybe not by face, but by his actions, his destruction was well-known. 

10 There was a ·follower of Jesus [L disciple] in Damascus named Ananias [22:12]. The Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision, “Ananias!”

Ananias answered, “Here I am, Lord.”

The Lord spoke in a vision, the word here is (horama), used only 12 times in the NT. These visions are powerful beginnings that connections between people who would not associate. Here, with Ananias, he declares as the patriarch Moses declares upon seeing the burning bush, Here I am. 

11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to Straight Street [C the main east-west street of the city]. Find the house of Judas [C not either of Jesus’ disciples by that name; Judas was a common name], and ask for a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus [C a town in Cilicia, a Roman province in southeastern Asia Minor (present-day Turkey)]. He is there now, praying. 12 Saul has seen a vision in which a man named Ananias comes to him and ·lays [places] his hands on him. Then he is able to see again.”

Think about these instructions. Jesus is Ananias’ Google maps. I wonder if Jesus gave these directions so it would be one less excuse. ;) Even better, Jesus never talks about the man Saul was, only what he is doing. He is praying. He has seen visions. He awaits. Ananias reminds Jesus if He might have forgotten.

13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and the ·terrible [evil; harmful] things he did to your ·holy people [saints] in Jerusalem. 14 Now he has come here to Damascus, and the ·leading [T chief] priests have given him the ·power [authority] to ·arrest [bind]everyone who ·worships you [L calls on your name].”

As we see, there was a terror. The stories were circulating. Do you get the sense that they are whipped up, in a frenzy? Not without cause, mind you, but it does remind me of the people of Jericho. 

8 Before the spies went to sleep for the night, Rahab went up to the roof. 9 She said to them, “I know the Lord has given this land to your people. ·You frighten us very much [L A terror of you has fallen on us]. Everyone living in this land is ·terribly afraid of [L melting away before] you 10 because we have heard how the Lord dried up the ·Red Sea [or Sea of Reeds] when you came out of Egypt [Ex. 14:15–31]. We have heard how you ·destroyed [or devoted to the Lord for destruction; see 6:17Deut. 20:15–18] Sihon and Og, two Amorite kings who lived ·east of [beyond] the Jordan. 11 When we heard this, ·we were very frightened [L our hearts melted]. ·Now our men are afraid to fight you [L And there rose up no spirit/breath in a man because of you] because the Lord your God ·rules [L is God in] the heavens above and the earth below!

They heard stories. They knew. In this case, though, the people of Jericho’s fate was written by their own sin. For Ananias, he knew that he had to trust the Lord, follow His directions and abide in the grace so freely given him. Jesus does, however, tell him a little of Saul’s future, gives him a glimpse at the life Saul was to have. 

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! ·I have chosen Saul for an important work [L For he is my chosen instrument/vessel]. ·He must tell about me [L …to take/carry my name] to the ·Gentiles [nations], to kings, and to the people of Israel. 16 [L For] I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

What do we learn of Saul here? 

  • he had been chosen
  • he MUST tell about Jesus and this doesn’t seem to be negotiable :)
  • he was to be sent to the Gentiles, to kings, and to the Jews
  • he was to suffer MUCH

17 So Ananias went to the house of Judas. He ·laid [placed] his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus sent me. He is the one ·you saw [L who appeared to you] on the road on your way here. He sent me so that you can see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something that looked like ·fish scales [or flakes] fell from Saul’s eyes, and he was able to see again! Then Saul got up and was baptized. 19 After he ate some food, his strength returned.

Saul stayed with the ·followers of Jesus [disciples] in Damascus for ·a few [several; some] days.

How did Saul get to stay with Judas (we know he is not the disciple and this was a common name)? Ananias placed his hands on the man responsible for so much pain and heartache. Notice what name he announces..Brother. Three days, Saul had no food, no water, he did not talk. We are not given information about this time. However, on the third day, Ananias greets him as a brother. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Saul sees and is filled. He was baptized, he received nourishment. And Saul’s life was to never be the same. 

To begin our look at Ephesians: 

Ephesians 1: 1 From Paul, an ·apostle [messenger] of Christ Jesus. ·I am an apostle because that is what God wanted [L …by the will of God].

As we have already seen, Ananias is told what was going to be revealed to Paul. He became a messenger. He became an apostle..

Ephesians 3:1So [For this reason] I, Paul, a prisoner [C Paul is probably writing from house arrest in Rome, about ad 60; see Acts 28:30–31] of Christ Jesus ·for [for the sake of] you Gentiles—[C Paul is about to pray for the Ephesians, but instead digresses into a description of his ministry until v. 14].

At the time of the writing the letter to the Ephesians, Paul is under house arrest. He recalls his calling. He was to be sent to the Gentiles…and here he states, again, his mission.

Ephesians 3:7By God’s special gift of grace given to me through ·his power [L the working out/exercise of his power], I became a servant ·to tell that Good News [of this Gospel].

God’s grace had been richly given to Paul. He knows it is by God’s power, not his own, that he accomplishes the mission. He knew his place. He was a servant. He was a messenger.

Ephesians 6:19 Also pray for me that when I ·speak [L open my mouth], God will give me words so that I can tell the ·secret [mystery] of the ·Good News [Gospel] ·without fear [confidently; boldly]. 20 ·For this Good News […for which] I am an ambassador in ·prison [L chains; 3:1]. Pray that I will speak ·it [or for him;or in him] ·without fear [boldly; confidently], as I should.

So, yes, Paul had been given visions. He had been graced with a very specific calling by Jesus. Yet, do these words encourage you as they do me? Paul asks for prayer. Paul asked to speak the words of God, not his words. He doesn’t want people hearing Paul. He wants people to understand the secret mystery of the Gospel. See that little phrase at the back of verse 19? without fear…even Paul struggled with fear, with confidence. Not only does he say it once, he says it twice!! Please pray I will speak it without fear.

Friends, if Paul needed the prayers of the saints to speak boldly, to be without fear ( and we know the end of Paul’s story, this prayer was answered!) then what makes us any different? We need to be asking for prayer from the body of Christ. People need to know how to pray for you. Paul knew that he needed the support and encouragement of others. We get so bogged down by our fears and worries. They become our focus! We get so busy.

Knowing this about Paul, he was a man just like us, he reminded the Ephesians (probably for his own sake too) of his calling. He needed to remember, to keep it in the forefront of his mind. I need to remember the mountain top experiences with the Lord when the valley seems to close around me. I remember my calling. I remember God has called me to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. Lord, help us to speak the Good News. Lord, help us to proclaim. 

Thankfuls:

275. Thankful for my new book.

276. Thankful for the church that meets needs for my kids.

277. Thankful for the time at the lake

Pray on. Pray on. 

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Glorious…


Sunrise in Newbury, Berkshire, in 2004 Photo by Joolz

Good morning, beloved,

Tuning my thoughts to Jesus this morning. Remembering this is His time. This is not the time to ponder the day. Or conversations I need to have. Rather, this morning time? I need to dedicate this time. Set aside. Frankly, I could learn a lot from my dog. Do things bother her? Does she get hung up on little things? Right now, she has taken to the couch and is on her back sound asleep. Yes, asleep. Very singular focus, this dog. Me? I’m all over the place. I ask my God to tune my heart. Be my vision. 

On our trip home from vacation, we listened to most of Acts and all of Romans from the Word of Promise audio Bible. There is something about listening to these precious words. Don’t get me wrong, reading and taking apart is my passion…At times, you will hear the pen scribbling on the paper. Doors open and close. Listening to Paul’s story, his conversion, his transformation all over gives me hope. My goal in these next few weeks is to follow Paul’s story and work through Ephesians.  So let’s introduce ourselves to Paul. 

·In Jerusalem [L But; Meanwhile] Saul was still ·threatening [L breathing threats against] the ·followers [disciples] of the Lord by saying he would kill them. So he went to the high priest [C probably Caiaphas; 4:6] 2 and asked him to write letters to the synagogues in the city of Damascus [C in Syria, 135 miles north of Jerusalem]. Then if Saul found any ·followers of Christ’s Way [or who belonged to the Way; C a name for the Christian movement], men or women, he would ·arrest [take them prisoner; L bind]them and bring them back to Jerusalem.  Acts 9 EXB

I have to tell you. If you haven’t read chapter 8 of Acts. Do it. Amazing. The Spirit of God is moving, powerfully.  The mourning of Stephen, the story of Simon (a man who had much to learn), the story of Phillip all encapsulated the early movement in the church. Behind it all, a man was gaining power, prestige and moving to destroy the Way. 

Panoramic View over the Old City Jerusalem from the Austrian Hospice. Photo by 365grad

Saul wasn’t content just ripping apart the Way in Jerusalem. He saw that it was spreading to other regions. He had his goal, his purpose. Look in this passage. How far was he willing to travel? 135 miles? On foot or by horse, still a long way…according to NET Bible, “From Damascus to Jerusalem was a six-day journey. Christianity had now expanded into Syria.”  He was planning to make this a round trip. So, not only was he willing to travel six days, round ‘em all up, then he was willing to come back.

Map

3 So Saul headed toward Damascus. As he came near the city, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him [C in the OT lightning sometimes signaled the appearance of God; Ex. 19:16]. 4 Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

5 Saul said, “Who are you, ·Lord [or sir]?”

The voice answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 Get up now and go into the city. ·Someone there will tell you [L You will be told] what you must do.”

A bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him…

When Paul is describing this event in Acts 26:13, “I saw a light from heaven. It was brighter than the sun and ·flashed [shone] all around me and those who were traveling with me.” All he could do was fall to the ground. Makes me think of when Daniel encounters the angel in Daniel 8: 17 ·Gabriel [L He] came to where I was standing. When he came close to me, I was ·very afraid [terrified; or overwhelmed] and ·bowed facedown on the ground [L fell on my face]. But ·Gabriel [L he] said to me, “·Human being [L Son of man], understand that this vision is about the time of the end.”

Ray of Light on Cap Haitien, Haiti Photo by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia

Just think, friends, Paul met with Jesus. What do we know about the name of Jesus?

In Philippians 2:10 so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus—
    everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
11 And ·everyone [L every tongue] will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and bring glory to God the Father.

So, now, we have a handle on the holiness of this moment. This was the defining moment of his life. He met Jesus. He heard the emotion as Jesus called to him. And Saul realizes that his persecution, his passion for the destruction Christian church…little did he know he was actually persecuting Jesus! What does that mean to us today? Jesus felt every blow, every whip, every word against the church. He felt every wound. Sweet friend, Jesus feels your every trial, He catches every tear. 

Beautiful. Absolutely! 

7 The ·people [men] traveling with Saul stood there ·but said nothing [speechless; or unable to speak]. They heard the voice, but they saw no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but he could not see. So those with Saul took his hand and led him into Damascus. 9 For three days Saul could not see and did not eat or drink. Acts 9 EXB

Pray on. Pray on.

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Enough


A Panoramic View of Florence from Bellosguardo Painting by Thomas Patch (1725 – 1782)

Good morning, beloved!

13 I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with ·much [L all] joy and peace ·while you trust[because you trust; through your faith] in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15 EXB

I’m going to admit to you, dear reader, that today I need these verses. I need to cling to the God of hope today. I cannot make myself hope and have joy and peace. These promises are found in faith in Him and Him alone. So let’s look at some cross references for these verses from the Blue Letter Bible.

I pray that the God who gives hope…

May ·the patience and encouragement that come from God [Lthe God of patience and encouragement] ·allow you to live in harmony with each other the way Christ Jesus wants [or grant you the same attitude with each other that Christ Jesus had]. Romans 15 EXB

16 The Lord ·will roar like a lion from Jerusalem [L roars from Zion];
his loud voice will thunder from ·that city [L Jerusalem],
and the ·sky [heavens] and the earth will shake.
But the Lord will be a ·safe place [refuge] for his people,
a ·strong place of safety [stronghold] for the ·people [L sons; T children] of Israel. Joel 3 EXB

1 From Paul, an ·apostle [messenger] of Christ Jesus, by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope. 1 Timothy 1 EXB

will fill you with ·much [L all] joy and peace ·while you trust[because you trust; through your faith] in him.

 Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. ·Trust [Believe] in God, and ·trust [believe] in me[or You trust/believe in God, trust/believe also in me]. John 14:1 EXB

27 “I leave you peace [C the Greek word for “peace” reflects the Hebrew shalom, a typical Hebrew farewell; but Jesus’ peace, in the sense of wholeness, is also a characteristic of the messianic kingdom]; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid. John 14 EXB

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through his grace gave us eternal ·comfort [encouragement] and a good hope, 17 ·encourage [comfort] you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2 EXB

Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And ·patience [endurance] produces[tested and proven] character, and [tested and proven] character produces hope. And this hope will never ·disappoint us [let us down; or put us to shame; dishonor us; C honor and shame were among the most important values in first century culture], because God has ·poured out his love to fill our hearts [or flooded our hearts with his love]. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. Romans 5 EXB

And God can ·give you more blessings than you need [L overflow/abound all grace to you]. Then ·you will always have plenty of everything [L in all things at all times you will have all you need]— ·enough to give to [abounding/overflowing in] every good work. 2 Corinthians 9 EXB

He is sufficient. He is more than enough.

So today, friends, as you face your day, remember, He is enough. He is worth living for, He is still more awesome than we can even imagine.  As trials come today, as encouragement comes..whatever you face today, face it knowing that He is more than enough.

My thankfuls:

220. My church family checking up on me, praying for me and loving me and my family.

221. For children who want to spend time with one another and with us.

222. Thankful for my Dad willing to do whatever he can to help.

Prayers for your Pastor and his wife:

Day 18 Pray that your pastor and his wife will be people of prayer and worship, and that they will lead by example—teaching the congregation how to walk in a close relationship with the Father. (1 Thess. 5:17; Acts 1:14a; Matt. 4:10; Mark 1:35; Luke 22:46) Revive Our Hearts

Pray on. Pray on.

 

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The Spullersee is a high mountain lake in Vorarlberg. It was built from 1919 to 1925 by the Austrian Federal Railways on the occasion of the Arlberg railway electrification and is used for energy. It is located in the municipality of Dalaas. by böhringer friedrich

Good morning, beloved,

I sit in the quiet. It’s amazing to be quiet, isn’t it? Yesterday, in the busyness of the day, the Lord stopped me and gave me a passage of Scripture. I realize I’ve never really studied Nehemiah. A little for context with Esther, but no church I have ever attended has ever delved into the book of Nehemiah. How about you? Know any good sermons on Nehemiah? Well, we have been a tight knit family these past few months as I have not been driving. To my kids, sometimes I think the old saying, Absence make the hear grow fonder rings true in their hearts. A little absence..not such a bad thing. Yet, I believe that the Lord is knitting their hearts together. It is, by no means, a perfect stitch. They are learning self-control, how to respond to conflict..and I watch sometimes how the world can creep into their thinking. They know they have power in their words and actions. I am surprised to hear words, lingo, attitudes of when I was in school. I remember being treated my classmates with such attitudes. I remember what it felt like to be left out.

Well, conflict around here seems to be running rampant and I was asking the Lord to help me guide these kids, I believe He did, yet I believe I received the greatest gift of all. His presence, His sweet reminder that He fights for me. Nehemiah and the Jews were back building the wall. Nehemiah was the cupbearer for the King Artaxerxes of Persia. The Jews had been in captivity for many, many years.  And Nehemiah heard a report that Jerusalem was ripped apart. Destroyed. His heart broke and as he brought in his king’s wine, the king noticed his sadness. (So much there!) He )Artaxerxes asked what Nehemiah needed. Nehemiah asked to go home. It was granted.

Nehemiah’s journey from Susa to Jerusalem by http://www.jesuswalk.com

So, he went back. He gathered the Jews who would help him. They began, but not without much controversy. MUCH.

Nehemiah 2:

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed us to scorn and despised us and said, What is this thing you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?

20 I answered them, The God of heaven will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or memorial in Jerusalem.

The task was formidable but the Lord God gave Nehemiah courage. I’m giving this story a very, very watered down version but no matter what was said to them, they built. So we pick up in chapter 4.

This was their goal: build the wall surrounding Jerusalem.

So, they began to build, he had the men (not many) but Nehemiah knew the Lord God was with them. However, again their enemies voices were strong.

Nehemiah 4:

1 But when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and in a great rage, and he ridiculed the Jews.

And he said before his brethren and the army of Samaria, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things [at will and by themselves]? Will they [try to bribe their God] with sacrifices? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?

Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him, and he said, What they build—if a fox climbs upon it, he will break down their stone wall.

So what did Nehemiah do? Did he grab his men off their task and yell back, fight?  Nope.

[And Nehemiah prayed] Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their taunts upon their own heads, and give them for a prey in a land of their captivity.

Cover not their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have vexed [with alarm] the builders and provoked You.

So we built the wall, and all [of it] was joined together to half its height, for the people had a heart and mind to work.

He prayed. Not the bland please help us. No, Nehemiah reminded God of their enemy and more importantly, had provoked the Living God.

But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were going up and that the breaches were being closed, they were very angry.

And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem, to injure and cause confusion and failure in it.

But because of them we made our prayer to our God and set a watch against them day and night.

10 And [the leaders of] Judah said, The strength of the burden bearers is weakening, and there is much rubbish; we are not able to work on the wall.

11 And our enemies said, They will not know or see till we come into their midst and kill them and stop the work.

12 And when the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times, You must return [to guard our little villages]; from all places where they dwell they will be upon us.

13 So I set [armed men] behind the wall in places where it was least protected; I even thus used the people as families with their swords, spears, and bows.

14 I looked [them over] and rose up and said to the nobles and officials and the other people, Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.

15 And when our enemies heard that their plot was known to us and that God had frustrated their purpose, we all returned to the wall, everyone to his work.

16 And from that time forth, half of my servants worked at the task, and the other half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail; and the leaders stood behind all the house of Judah.

A couple of things to point out in this section. God allowed the Jews to hear of the plot before it occurred. Every person, it seems, was set to work. Families. Protection came from all sizes. Anywhere where the wall was weak, Nehemiah brought protection. He brought encouragement…do not be afraid, remember the Lord, take courage from Him. God frustrated the plot.

17 Those who built the wall and those who bore burdens loaded themselves so that everyone worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other hand,

18 And every builder had his sword girded by his side, and so worked. And he who sounded the trumpet was at my side.

There is a lesson here for us. We have a responsibility given by God in our daily tasks, no matter our line of work, to remember the walls are weak that surround us when we are not saturated in His Word, His truth, His Spirit and we allow these critical “streams of living water” to dry up.  When controversy, strife, conflict come into our lives, what will our first response be? Will I pray? Will I ask the Lord to fight for me or will I go in fists raised fighting for my rights? To go one step further, Nehemiah was doing the will of God. God’s will was for that wall to be built up. The people who helped they were doing God’s will. Are you doing God’s will for your life?

19 And I said to the nobles and officials and the rest of the people, The work is great and scattered, and we are separated on the wall, one far from another.

20 In whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.

21 So we labored at the work while half of them held the spears from dawn until the stars came out.

22 At that time also I said to the people, Let everyone with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that at night they may be a guard to us and a laborer during the day.

23 So none of us—I, my kinsmen, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me—took off our clothes; each kept his weapon [in his hand for days].

You and I were never meant to walk this road alone. Ever. One, we have His Spirit alive in us if we have given our hearts to the Lord. Two, we have great opportunities for community. We have to reach out and grab it, yes. When we have a community of believers surrounding us, when we cry out for prayer and help, when we sound the trumpet, we know and can have confidence that our brothers and sisters in Christ will rally to us.

Our God will fight for us. 

Exodus 14:

13 Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again.

14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.

24 And in the morning watch the Lord through the pillar of fire and cloud looked down on the host of the Egyptians and discomfited [them],

25 And bound (clogged, took off) their chariot wheels, making them drive heavily; and the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians!

Deutronomy 1:

29 Then I said to you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.

30 The Lord your God Who goes before you, He will fight for you just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes..

Deutronomy 3:

22 You shall not fear them, for the Lord your God shall fight for you.

23 And I besought the Lord at that time, saying,

24 O Lord God, You have only begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth that can do according to Your works and according to Your might?

Our God fights for us. Remember that as you walk into your day today. Your God fights for you.  Thank You, Lord, for fighting for me.

My thankfuls:

39. I’m thankful for a snuggling boy this morning.

40. I’m thankful for my kids going to AWANA and the encouragement they find in memorizing His Word.

41. I’m so very thankful for my precious God who fights for me, especially when I don’t have a CLUE how to remedy a situation.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


Bridging the Gap by dying_grotesque from Richards Bay, South Africa

Good morning, beloved,

I had one of THOSE days yesterday. Tried, failed, tried, failed. Christmas cookies were TOO inviting. I grumped at my kids. I grumped at the dog. I lost my focus. Our laundry couch was overflowing. Piles of papers seem to fly. Nobody could find anything. Does that ever happen to you? Then God gave me a gift. I certainly did not deserve the gift, of course, I never do. God gave me some time with a friend. She shared with me just how God has used their family and I listened. I listened as she talked about her kids, her faith, her journey and I revived. I was so grateful. God gave me a perspective shift. Boy howdy, I sure needed it.

As I walked away with children having fits that we couldn’t stay longer, my mother instinct began to kick in. I wanted to lecture. I wanted to rant. And the Lord just put a cap over my mouth, I quieted. I understood where they were coming from. I brought change to their schedule. I pushed because I knew we had to be at an appointment and there was no way I could give in to their rants. They didn’t know that their daddy had a plan while I was in my appointment. As we drove to the appointment, I pointed out a rainbow. Promises. Promises. I was dropped out at my physical therapy appointment and they got their treat.

I’m no different, sadly. I rant and rave at God. Why do I have to be in pain? Why do I have to be dizzy? Couldn’t it just be an easy fix?

2 Corinthians 12: 9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and[a]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may[b]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

I’m afraid I wasn’t bearing the trouble manfully. I was forgetting the power and the strength and the grace and the sufficiency of our God. God showed me with my friend the power of taking my eyes off myself and feeling sorry for myself and placing that on the Lord and serving Him. I have a saying I tell my kids after I send them to a chore…all the way, right away with a happy heart. I had forgotten to keep my eyes on the birth of Jesus.

So, here I am. I am turning my eyes to Jesus. Want to join me?

The prophecy today is about WHERE Jesus was to be born. :)

Micah 5:

But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, you are little to be among the clans of Judah; [yet] out of you shall One come forth for Me Who is to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from ancient days (eternity).

And the fulfillment:

Matthew 2:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [astrologers] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking,

Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east[a]at its rising and have come to worship Him.

When Herod the king heard this, he was disturbed and troubled, and the whole of Jerusalem with him.

So he called together all the chief priests and learned men (scribes) of the people and[b]anxiously asked them where the Christ was to be born.

They replied to him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are not in any way least or insignificant among the [c]chief cities of Judah; for from you shall come a Ruler ([d]Leader) Who will govern and[e]shepherd My people Israel.

Commentary from Precept Austin:

Even if Jesus could have fulfilled some of the other prophecies by choosing to do so, He could hardly have fulfilled His place of birth in an obscure village distinct from the other village by the same first name (Bethlehem)! Jesus sternly warned every skeptic of every age that

unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” (John 8:25)

Notice that in this verse “He” has been added by the translators, so what Jesus really said was that He was “I Am”, the equivalent of Jehovah (“I Am”) in the Old Testament. In contrast to the argument by many skeptics that Jesus never declared He was God, this verse is one of many clear refutations. His hearers, although unbelieving, nevertheless knew exactly what He was saying and after He again declared “I Am”…

“they picked up stones to throw at Him…” (John 8:59)

I believe. I place my trust in the great I Am. How about you today?

Pray on. Pray on.

 

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He’s here


 The Fairy of Eagle Nebula.by NASA

The Fairy of Eagle Nebula.by NASA

Good morning, friends,

I think I’m going to need to put an alarm on. Yesterday, my follow-up appointment with the neurologist…exhausted me.  I went to bed shortly after getting home.  I had a visitor come in and out until he went to bed. So cute.

Beginning with my thankfuls today,

7. I am so very thankful for the compassion and knowledge of my neurologist. I’m thankful she gave me her full attention and explained everything thoroughly.

8. I am very thankful that the tests I have undergone are normal..so no tumors, no surgery, no stroke.

9. I am very thankful a plan is in place and I can get to the business of healing.

I was up in the night thinking. Have you ever noticed when you think at night it never goes very well? I began worrying about my kids, my sedentary lifestyle, my husband..I was on a roll. Quite honestly, as I think through my rollercoaster, it was not a divine appointment or Spirit led. So finally my heart tuned to Him. I am so prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love…

And then I began to pray, lo and behold, I fell back asleep.  Hence, the late rising this morning.

The Milky way. Picture by NASA

The Milky way. Picture by NASA

Where was God during my panic train wreck?  He was there.  We, ( ok, maybe just me but I doubt it…) I get so focused on today. I forget I am in a season, God has me here for purposes and reasons. His ways are always good, not always a “happy, giddy” good but a “molding me into looking like His Son” good.  When I take my eyes off the truth, the trainwrecks, the rollercoasters are horrible.

2 Peter 3:

The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [[a]material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

11 Since all these things are thus [b]in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities,

12 While you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [[c]material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire?

So I remember the TRUTH. I remember the Lord is extraordinarily patient. The day of the Lord is coming, yes. He is returning. He is coming for His children. Have I loved only my own world and worries or am I careful to proclaim the Truth of His Word?

Here’s more truth. The Lord does not delay.  What He promises, we can stand on the truth. We can hold tight to the knowledge that…

The Lord Is There

(yeh-ho-vaw’ shawm’-maw)
Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Jehovah Shammah occurs only once in Ezekiel 48:35.

Variant spellings: Jehovah Samma

TWOT Reference: None

Strong’s Reference:3074

Jehovah Shammah in the Septuagint:estai to onoma autês…the name thereof

Meaning and Derivation:Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Shammah is derived from the Hebrew word sham, which can be translated as “there.” Jehovah Shammah is a symbolic name for the earthly Jerusalem. The name indicates that God has not abandoned Jerusalem, leaving it in ruins, but that there will be a restoration.

Further references of the name Jehovah Shammah in the Old Testament:Eze 48:35

What can we learn from this Name? God is always revealing Himself. Unceasingly. What a phenomenal word.
God is here. Always.
That is truth to live by.
Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Music, Old Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lift my eyes…


 

White Lake, Island of Love and Venus pavilion by Иван Стасюк

Good morning, beloved,

Surrender.

Psalm 121:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills [around Jerusalem, to sacred Mount Zion and Mount Moriah]—From whence shall my help come?(A)

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip or to be moved; He Who keeps you will not slumber.

I will lift…lift-

1) to lift, lift up

2) to bear, carry, support, sustain, endure

3) to take, take away, carry off, forgive

to the hills..mountains-

“Farther, to the religion of the ancients, esp. the Hebrews, who regarded the mountains as holy, as the abodes of the gods..this would more be about superstition and idolatry than revealed religion.” Genesius’ Lexicon

David is giving us a picture of lifting our burdens to the Lord as described by the mountains. Of course, the Hebrews would remember their patriarch, Moses, on the mountain bringing the Law to them, bringing God’s word into their midst..the lightning and thunder coming off the mountain. They would keep themselves from touching the mountain for it was holy ground.

From whence does my help-think of help, but add this picture to your mind: “girding, surrounding, hence defending.”GL

I don’t know about you, but I need pictures in my mind to help me. God has given us this picture of His help as a mountain: strong, powerful, mighty, unmovable, steadfast. If you are on one side of the mountain, and the elements (sun, wind) are on the other, just think, you are not going to be touched. Shadows will cast over you. There are clefts in the rock. Hiding places…

Now the Lord, consider His Name, I AM. Jehovah. Now, I consider this word and how the Hebrews would not even utter this name. Not even as a whisper, think of the reverence of His Name. That in itself is an act of worship, is it not?

Let me share the root of this Name with you…

) to happen, fall out, occur, take place, come about, come to pass

b) to come about, come to pass

2) to come into being, become

a) to arise, appear, come

b) to become

1) to become

2) to become like

3) to be instituted, be established

3) to be

a) to exist, be in existence

b) to abide, remain, continue (with word of place or time)

c) to stand, lie, be in, be at, be situated (with word of locality)

d) to accompany, be with

b) (Niphal)

1) to occur, come to pass, be done, be brought about

2) to be done, be finished, be gone

Do you notice there is past, present and future verbs here? That is the essence of this Name. I AM. He is eternal. Never beginning, always existing.

This is who is our help. Yes, we can consider the mountains. Yet, He is the glory that we can rest our weary heads upon. He is the maker of the heavens and earth and holy is His Name.

I must say I needed to ponder Him today. I am hurting a bit with my jaw and stuff and I just wanted to lift my eyes to Him. The physical pain is something I’ve never experienced for this long. To those who suffer in pain, my heart extends to you. I have to tell you there is no greater way to spend your time while in pain than considering the wonder and greatness of our God.

How do I allow people to walk in my pain with me? I don’t like to surrender to needing help. I want to be the help. Yet, in this, my children are learning to be caretakers. I rest my head on their shoulders, they rub my jaw, they bring me things to help. Now they are getting a chance to be at a dear friend’s house and not worry about me today. Now, I could spend the day watching Downton Abbey, or any other show on Netflix, but I believe the Lord wants me to keep Him forefront in my mind today.  So I will be working on memorizing, listening to Kay Arthur’s teaching and resting. Maybe I’ll watch a show too. ;)

God bless you in this day. Pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Oaths


 

Grandidier’s Baobab, picture taken near Morondava, Madagascar. by Bernard B

Well, we are sitting in the quiet of the library. The boys are having some fun with the computers and Ella brought in a bag. Should’ve know there was trouble in the bag. Soon, she was pulling out play dough and dumping it all over the library table. Then here comes the librarian! AHHH! So here we are waving and smiling whilst she is putting the messy play dough away, hoping she won’t look over. So we get that all put away and she asks if she can get out her purse. Now, I’m sure I’ve never had such a styling purse, silver, glitz, beautiful handle. I’m telling you she’s styling. Then she whips out a mask (from Danny’s stint at the hospital) puts it on, gets her mini shampoo and conditioner (also gleaned from the recent trip), and a play dough cup and is about to start mixing. Um. Ella? I don’t think so. She looks at me with shock. How could I not let her play with these things? She was sure…so I shooed her off to play in the library and she went off to chat with the librarian. Now she’s trying to convince me that the family would like a Barbie movie for our movie night.

I’m hoping to have some quiet to do my Bible study but I will tell you in light of all the recent events, God has nudged me to remember to love the moment. To say what is on my heart now, to say I love you, to treasure, to hug…

Psalm 119:

29 Remove from me the way of falsehood and unfaithfulness [to You], and graciously impart Your law to me.

30 I have chosen the way of truth and faithfulness; Your ordinances have I set before me.

31 I cleave to Your testimonies; O Lord, put me not to shame!

So as we turn our eyes to Your Word, Lord, we thank You for this day. We thank You for life. For Your counsel. May we always turn to Your Word for the hope we need.

Oaths…..Jesus has some words about that in the Sermon..let’s look:

Matthew 5: 

33 Again, you have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not swear falsely, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord [as a religious duty].

34 But I tell you, Do not bind yourselves by an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is the throne of God;

35 Or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

36 And do not swear by your head, for you are not able to make a single hair white or black.

37 Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; anything more than that comes from the evil one.

Verse 33, Jesus is quoting a few different passages and let’s see what He is quoting.

Leviticus 19: 12 And you shall not swear by My name falsely, neither shall you profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

It is so important to look and draw out some amazing truths here. You’ll notice that verse 33 and verse 12 have a phrase in common. You shall not swear falsely. So, we see that Jesus by just saying this phrase is drawing up in His audience’s mind the rest of this verse. He doesn’t need to continue that verse. And this is how Rabbis would speak. They would teach, argue, speak in phrases of Scripture all the while knowing their audience would know the context, the verses! So the next part of Jesus’ quote will now come from

Numbers 30: If a man vows a vow to the Lord or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break and profane his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

AND…

Deuteronomy 23:

21 When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not be slack in paying it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and slackness would be sin in you.

22 But if you refrain from vowing, it will not be sin in you.

23 The vow which has passed your lips you shall be watchful to perform, a voluntary offering which you have made to the Lord your God, which you have promised with your mouth.

The Lord requires it of you. The brevity found these words is unmistakable . It would be better, as Jesus said, to not make the oath, the vow. God view our words, our actions with much more seriousness than we ever realize. There is an awe that must come with relationship.

Now look in these verses in Hebrews 6 with me:

13 For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear,

14 Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.

15 And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized andobtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him.

16 Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife].

17 Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath.

18 This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us].

There is so much here! Who could God swear by? :) NO one greater than Himself. Can I get an amen? Grasp the immensity o His love and desire to bless.

So men swear by God and the oath is final and ends the conflict but God, through His oath with Abraham, blessed and multiplied through Him..

God has never and will never be false or wrong us. On the other hand, we can never say the same. And what is striking to me, is how vehemently Jesus is saying to just not even speak the oath.

Not to heavens…

 

Not to the earth..for it is the footstool of HIS feet..

From 4 million miles away on December 16, 1992, NASA’s robot spacecraft Galileo took this picture of the Earth-moon system. Our moon is one of the largest moons in the solar system. It is even larger than the planet Pluto. In this picture, the Earth-moon system actually appears to be a double planet. by NASA

Or by Jerusalem the city of the Great King…

View of the Old City of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

To finish for today, in light of all the reading, let’s look through one final passage:

James 5: 12 But above all [things], my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath; but let your yes be [a simple] yes, and your no be [a simple] no, so that you may not sin and fall under condemnation.

Well, we, in our culture, are very easy to say…

I swear I’ll do it!

I promise I’ll…

Fill in your own way to say…I vow, I oath. And I’m presenting this to you and to me, for that matter, let’s pray about this and seriously consider how our words impact. Not just the people around us.

Jesus.

Pray on friends, pray on.

 

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Pictures from commons... | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lightness


Chicago, Illinois. In the waiting room of the Union Station by Jack Delano (1914–1997)

good afternoon, friends,

We had a party this afternoon and now we are home, fans blowing, enjoying air conditioning and I’m thinking about this study. Kids are playing with toys, reading books…some quiet in the house. God knew how much we needed to be at a church that could be community for us and He brought us to a new church. I’m reflecting on the lightness it has brought my spirit to come home. Watching my kids run around a church like I used to do at their age, pitching in to clean and help feels as natural as being at home, watching Joshua settle in with the men, these are all gifts to my heart and mind. Going to a mega church was wonderful for many reasons. I listed so many during my time on this blog but what J and I realized was how much we missed community at church.

God knows what we need. He cares for every single one.

This afternoon, as I look at the next day of Precepts, this day is a full concentration on light. Would you like to come along? Pshaw, of course you would!

Matthew 5: 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

  1. light of the world: me, you, us. :) (your witness for God)
  2. lamps don’t go under tn Or “a bowl”; this refers to any container for dry material of about eight liters (two gallons) capacity. It could be translated “basket, box, bowl” (L&N 6.151).: they go on stands (candlestick) and give light (to shine) to the house
  3. our light needs to shine before men (Light requires an organ adapted for its reception (Mat 6:22). Where the eye is absent, or where it has become impaired from any cause, light is useless. Man, naturally, is incapable of receiving spiritual light inasmuch as he lacks the capacity for spiritual things, 1Cr 2:14. Hence believers are called ‘sons of light,’Luk 16:8, not merely because they have received a revelation from God, but because in the New Birth they have received the spiritual capacity for it.
So, next let’s look through the rest of the Bible to find other references to light:
1Kings 11:36 Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David My servant may always have a light before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put My Name.  Well, light in this instance God has blessed David with the knowledge that he will never be without an heir on the throne in Jerusalem. This word light used here actually means tillable or untilled or fallow ground. Interesting, isn’t it? God is saying this ground will always have the roots of David. :)
Psalm 27: The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and  Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? This word, light: light of day, light of heavenly luminaries (moon, sun, stars),day-break, dawn, morning light, light of life, Jehovah as Israel‘s light. This is beautiful, isn’t it? God is our light, our morning light, our light. My breathing gets easier just thinking of this.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  God’s Word, declare it, friends! Make this your day that His Word shall become your lamp to your feet..and a light to your path..check out this picture. May His light, His Word guide you home.

As the darkness fell upon the obscure tribal village, the mother picked up her child to get into the house that had a bright lamp. We stood awestruck, absorbing the beauty of the simple rustic moment, trying to steal away some part of it forever frozen in time. by Koustav2007

Well, I’d better get on. I now have a girl watching a Barbie movie. A boy in front of Narnia…so to dinner prep I go. Blessings and light…Pray on.

Categories: Bible teaching, Old Testament, Pictures from commons... | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Light…


Lightning from a freak storm on August 2nd, in Southwestern Ontario. by Matthew Trevithick

Good morning, beloved of God,

We had rain last night! Rain! We sat outside last night and watch God’s fireworks. The magnificence of God displayed for all to see.

Lightning by Axel Rouvin

While we were sitting out enjoying the storm, there was a burst of light that was so bright, so vibrant and so close that a conversation of heaven soon followed which of course got me thinking…

Today’s Biblegateway verses again were God’s gift and then moved me in the light (yes, I did say, light) direction..come with me? So let’s start there:

Zechariah 14

In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.

And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.

9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.

We know we are in very dark times. We live waiting and hoping and longing for Messiah‘s return. And in this sweet passage, Zechariah saw that day. What a beautiful day! I’m going to include a short passage from David Guzik to help explain this:

a. At evening time it shall happen that it will be light: Now Zechariah looks forward to the glory of Jerusalem in the Messiah’s kingdom. The lights we guide our lives by will diminish, but God will bring His own light.

b. Living waters shall flow from Jerusalem: Jerusalem will no longer be a dry city, but a glorious river will flow from the city and branch off both east and west, and it will be a never ending flow (in both summer and winter it shall occur).

i. All over the world people want to know what will happen to Jerusalem. Zechariah knows the answer – God will gloriously save and restore Jerusalem, making it the capital city of the millennial earth.

ii. Ezekiel 47 records a vision that may describe this scene. Ezekiel saw a river flowing from the throne of God and down to the Dead Sea, bringing life and vitality everywhere.

Now, I want to share with you some fabulous verses on light.

Isaiah 60

“ Arise, shine; for your light has come,

And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Sonnenaufgang im Forstbotanischen Garten Tharandt by Henry Mühlpfordt

“For behold, darkness will cover the earth

And deep darkness the peoples;

But the Lord will rise upon you

And His glory will appear upon you.

Sky at sunset from Brancoli’s crux (Lucca) by Lucio Torre

“ Nations will come to your light,

And kings to the brightness of your rising.

Hosea 6:

“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.

His going forth is as certain as the dawn;

And He will come to us like the rain,

Like the spring rain watering the earth.”

Luke 1:

76 And you, little one, shall be called a prophet of the Most High; for you shall go on before the face of the Lord to make ready His ways,

77 To bring and give the knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness and remission of their sins.

78 Because of and through the heart of tender mercy andloving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit [us]

79 To shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace.

80 And the little boy grew and became strong in spirit; and he was in the deserts (wilderness) until the day of his appearing to Israel [the commencement of his public ministry].

Well, friends, rest in His light today. Pray on. Pray on…

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Old Testament, Pictures from commons..., Psalms | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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