Repetition, repetition, repetition

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Crique de l’Anau, a cove at the neighbourhood of La Corniche, seen from the east and the Mediterranean Sea. Sète, Hérault, France. Photo by Christian Ferrer

Good morning, beloved,

Growing up in church, we would sing praise choruses. Not just hymns, this was the seventies and early eighties, people! I can still remember being the one who put on new slides overhead projector. What would drive me nuts was the repetition of certain  parts of the song. So I would be flipping between the clear pages, trying to figure out the mind of the worship leader. When I was in junior high, my family moved to Willow Creek church and these worship leaders would sing the choruses over, and over, and over. I would get so frustrated. Worship was frustrating to me.

Can you guess the problem with my frustration? Ahhh, worship was all about me. I worshipped for the emotional experience. When we would repeat a chorus, or the song, the focus tripped off the Lord and onto me. I’ve written before on, I’m all about repetition. I have changed my mind about repetition.

My kids were in a VBS this summer. Kingdom Rock, to be exact. The music, as usual, blessed me. I love watching my kids connect movement and singing together. They did, however, have trouble with the repetition of music. I tried explaining this was so little children could remember the songs and remember the truths behind the music. Uh, huh.

While on vacation, I began to get worried and stressed about the usual things. All of a sudden my two littles started singing one of the worship songs. I looked up, out of my fog, and the Lord used these lyrics to powerfully speak truth to my heart. The heart that used to get frustrated and distracted by repetition. (It’s a minute and fifty-second song…just click on it and listen..)

Don’t Worry About Anything

I sang with them. As the fears and concerns cropped up, I would sing against these thoughts. His Word would do the battle against the enemy and truly, my mind would clear and be at rest.  Interesting, the repetition not only helps the little kids but it helps me. I’ll bet it helps you. We need to remember His truths. We need to remember…His love continues FOREVER.

·Give thanks to [Praise] the Lord because he is good.
His ·love [loyalty] continues forever.
2 ·Give thanks to [Praise] the God of gods.
His ·love [loyalty] continues forever.
3 ·Give thanks to [Praise] the Lord of lords.
His ·love [loyalty] continues forever.

23 He remembered us ·when we were in trouble [L in our low condition].
His ·love [loyalty] continues forever.
24 He ·freed us from [pulled us away from] our ·enemies [foes].
His ·love [loyalty] continues forever.
25 He gives ·food [bread] to ·every living creature [L all flesh].
His ·love [loyalty] continues forever.

26 ·Give thanks to [Praise] the God of heaven.
His ·love [loyalty] continues forever. Psalm 136 EXB

His love continues forever. How did the Lord feel about the earth and all He created? God saw that this was good…

What did God tell Joshua? Tell the Israelites, over and over?

I will never leave you or forsake you. I count at least 10 times and I know there is more.

I’ve talked previously about my love of water. I love looking out over Lake Michigan and not seeing anything but water.

View of Lake Michigan Photo by Emily.frey


I love looking at the trees around my yard. They were there before me and will, most likely, continue on long after I’m gone.

Huge yew tree in the graveyard at Elmstone church Photo by Nick Smith

So, today, at church, I’m going to remember prayerfully…worship has never and will never be about me. The Creator God who made the lakes, the trees; who guided the pens of the authors of the books of the Bible longs to hear me, and you sing. Not to hear ourselves, but to join in the heavenly choruses and sing.


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Good morning, friends,

Well, my boy is in surgery. I’m sure he’s doing great. I have thought this morning about a difficult day I had on Sunday. I can’t tell you how much I was swamped by worry and doubt and fear. And then as I began to ponder my post for today, things just started to fall together.

Our assistant Pastor (right title? no clue..) led us through some wonderful passages during Sunday School but the one that stood out to me most was in Ephesians 5

..ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.

19 Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [[e]and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord,

20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

What struck me about the passage was how if we are first filled and stimulated with the Spirit what a different direction we take in our thoughts, actions and so on. The Spirit is so critical to the next part, the rest cannot happen without a filling of the Spirit.

I must have studied this passage earlier because I had written this passage in the margins.

Exodus 27

20 You shall command the Israelites to provide you with pure oil of crushed olives for the light, to cause it to burn continually [every night].

21 In the Tent of Meeting [of God with His people], outside the veil which sets apart the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it burning from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute to be observed on behalf of the Israelites throughout their generations.

The oil was to never go out. It was to continually be filled and so the light will always burn.

If we are expecting to have a life filled with the Spirit, we need to live our lives intentionally asking the Spirit to fill our lives. Keeping His Word close to our hearts. Then look at the next part of Ephesians…

Speak out psalms to one another. We need to be speaking the Word to one another. We need to be encouraging one another with hymns, psalms and other songs. Yet, I would also say we need to encourage our own souls with the ministry of the Word. The ministry of songs, hymns…it cannot be overemphasized.

When fear creeps over our hearts, when life circumstances threaten to rock our boat…give glory to God!

At all times, giving thanks. Just like the oil, burning bright because the Word, the hymns, the songs and the real process of giving thanks. Saying thank you. This seems so simple yet it is transformational.

So as we understand the Word of God more and more, as we are filled by His Spirit, as we cling to the truth we can further understand the deeper meanings of Jesus’ teachings and the relationship of the New Testament and Old. Do you see what is happening? We are taking the focus off of ourselves and placing it where it belongs. On Him. When we worry, we sin. Plain and simple. When we get angry and blow up, we sin. When we gossip, we sin. Yet, if we are filling our minds with all that Ephesians 5 is saying, then the Spirit is guiding and we are living free. No chains on me!

Allow me to quote Chuck Smith:

And they have been interpreting the law to govern the actions of man, where God intended the law to be speaking to the attitudes of man. Thus, in the way that they were interpreting the law, they were able to fulfill it. But in the way that the law was originally intended, because it was intended to govern the spirit of man, the law was actually intended to make the whole world guilty before God and to show man’s guilt. But rather then their reading the law and feeling guilty before God, seeking the mercy and the grace of God, they were so interpreting the law as having fulfilled the law, and thus being very pompous and very righteous and very critical of everybody else. And they were interpreting the law so that they were having this tremendous attitude of self-righteousness and pride looking down then upon everybody else.

And it was manifested, as Jesus said, when the Pharisee went into the temple and said, “Oh Father, I thank you I’m not like other men, for I fast and I pray” and you know, he’s telling God all of his good things. And Jesus said there was a sinner that went into the temple and he wouldn’t even lift his eyes toward heaven but with head bowed he just smote on his chest and said, “Oh God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:11-13). And Jesus said he went away justified and forgiven. Where the first guy, you know, his prayers meant nothing to God. Now, that’s because they were interpreting the law in a wrong way, only to govern the outward actions of man and not to deal with the spirit of all.

We can look at the law also remember:

And you see the difference where the way Jesus was interpreting it; it made us all guilty before God. The way they were interpreting it, it made them very pompous and self-righteous. But the way Jesus was interpreting it; it makes us all guilty. And that’s exactly what the law was intended to do, to make the whole world guilty before God, so that we would not seek to come before God in our own righteousness but that we would seek that righteousness that God has provided for us, that we might have that standing before God in the righteousness before God, in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. So the law was a schoolmaster to drive us to Jesus Christ.

Love it! Well, Noah is starting to wake up. So I wanted to continue on…pray on. Pray.


The life of the beloved…

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Inside the Salisbury Ves80 CC-BY-SA-2.5,2.0,1.0; Released under the GNU Free Documentation License; CC-BY-SA-3.0-MIGRATED.

Good morning, beloved!

We are getting out o the hospital today! 🙂 I wish I could say they’ve figured out the causes of what is happening to my boy but….”I am  sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” (Philippians 1:6)

I want to get another post in and finish this week and start the next week! 🙂 I’m excited to hear what is going to be revealed and I quote!

“You have only one assignment, but oh, will it be blessing! It will give you the key to why and how you can live according to the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount!!” (SOM, p.73) First to lay the groundwork, remember we…

Ephesians 2:

14 For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us,

15 By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.

16 And [He designed] to reconcile to God both [Jew and Gentile, united] in a single body by means of His cross, thereby killing the mutual enmity and bringing the feud to an end.

So when the next passage was written there was no church. No Catholic, Presbyterian, Evangelical, right? After His death, as we just read, we were reconciled to God both Jew and Gentile. The wall is broken down, destroyed. He annulled the enmity caused by the Law. So as we read the next passage, what is promised to Israel and Judah has been given to us, the Gentiles. (SOM, p.72)

Jeremiah 31:

31 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,

32 Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was their Husband, says the Lord.

33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

34 And they will no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they will all know Me [recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Me], from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will [seriously] remember their sin no more.

So what do we learn about the New Covenant?

  1. It’ll be with the house of Israel and with Judah and then of course, with us, Gentiles! 😉
  2. Not according to the covenant made with their fathers
  3. The Lord will put His law within us
  4. On our hearts He will write it
  5. He will be our God
  6. We will be His people
  7. We will all know God, recognize, understand and be acquainted with Him
  8. From the least to the greatest
  9. God will forgive our iniquity
  10. He will seriously (LOVE THAT!) remember their sin no more!

Let’s just keep bringing the truth over our hearts and minds! Ready?

Nave of Notre-Dame de Paris seen from the choir. We distinguish very well the large-Organs in the West rose window. by Benchaum

Jeremiah 32:

39 And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may [reverently] fear Me forever for the good of themselves and of their children after them.

40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will not turn away from following them to do them good, and I will put My [reverential] fear in their hearts, so that they will not depart from Me.

More about the New Covenant:

11. God will give us one heart and one way

12. WhY? That we may reverently fear ME(GOD) forever for our good and our descendants

13. God will make an everlasting covenant with us

14. God will not turn away from following us to do us good

15. God will put His reverential fear in our hearts

16. So that we will not depart from Him.

Choir of Notre-Dame de Paris: Nicolas Coustoues Pieta and both sides, statues of Louis XIII and Louis XIV William Coustou sculpted by Antoine Coysevox. by Benchaum

Ezekiel 36:

26 A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them.

The only way for us to…Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…is that we are walking with Jesus. Look at this passage in Ezekiel! Remarkable! Wonderful.

We will be given a new heart, new spirit. The stones within us are gone. God’s sweet Spirit is within us which causes us to walk in His statutes and makes us able to heed His ordinances and do them.  This is how we can have righteousness that is more than scribes and Pharisees. Beloved, nothing in our own power can cause us to stand in righteousness.

My life, your life (once you have accepted the New Covenant as your own and accepted Jesus as your ever-loving Savior) will be filled. You will be given, you are given so much. Just look over that list, friends. What you gain by living a life in the Beloved. Oh, friends, nothing compares to a life in the Beloved.

Yet, remember, I need to remember, as aptly pointed to in my study by Kay Arthur , a life in the Beloved is not a list of dos and don’ts. We are saved by grace..let’s look at one last passage here, read it aloud at bedtime tonight. 🙂 To your family! 🙂

Statue of Joan of Arc in Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral interior, Paris, taken spring 2001 by Steven G. Johnson

Colossians 2 and 3: (purple=good, red=bad)

As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him.

Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed andestablished in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.

See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).

For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature].

10 And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].

11 In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).

12 [Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead.

13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,

14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.

15 [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].

16 Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath.

17 Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ.

1Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy anddisqualifying you for the prize, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions [he claims] he has seen, vainly puffed up by his sensuous notions andinflated by his unspiritual thoughts and fleshly conceit,

19 And not holding fast to the Head, from Whom the entire body, supplied and knit together by means of its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world’s crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?—such as]

21 Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them],

22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines.

23 Such [practices] have indeed the outward appearance [that popularly passes] for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). [Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.]

DON’T give up yet, keep on reading!!

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.

When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.

So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God).

How about it, beloved? Free yourself from someone else’s rules. Set your minds and keep ’em set on the higher things!!

Now, now, before we say…Romans 6:

What shall we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow?

Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?

Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] liveand behave in newness of life.

So, let’s behave and habitually live in the newness of life with God’s precious Spirit dwelling within us. It’s the only way to have the righteousness that exceeds the scribes and Pharisees…

Or, I think Paul says it better…

Romans 8:

Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.

For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame,deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],

So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who liveand move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].

Pray on, beloved. Pray on. Live in the Spirit. Let us move and dwell and have our being in Him!

Law make me holy?

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The w:Nash Papyrus, a collection of four papyrus fragments acquired in Egypt by W. L. Nash and first described by Stanley A. Cook in 1903. The fragments were the oldest Hebrew fragments known at that time which contained a portion of the biblical pre-Masoretic text, specifically the Ten Commandments and the w:Shema Yisrael prayer. The order the commandments listed in the Nash papyrus differs from that of the w:Hebrew Bible and w:Septuagint. See David Noel Freedman, The Nine Commandments (Doubleday, 2000) p.87. Though dated by Cook to the 2nd century, subsequent reappraisals have pushed the date back to the 2nd century BC. In addition to biblical text, it also exhibits a few unique readings. The papyrus was probably copied from a liturgical work. by Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology, Volume 25 (January-December 1903), p. 56

Good afternoon, friends,

We are on day 2 here. 🙂 The EEG man is getting to know the machine. He has figured out how when you clench the jaw, make silly noises, move a lot the machine responds.  Ahem. We have played Wii. We have played games. We have enjoyed each other’s company. Yet, I’m crying out to the Lord to help us find answers. To find reasons, to have understanding. He is doing just fine. Me? Everyone is very supportive. Very helpful. I’m grateful.

I see that what will hold me together is time with the Lord. Time in His Word, drawing strength from His Strength. So let’s dive in. Looking at the whole of Scripture, what can it teach us about the Law?

Psalm 19: 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Romans 7:12 The Law therefore is holy, and [each] commandment is holy and just and good.

1John 3:Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect—being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will).

James 2:10 For whosoever keeps the Law [as a] whole but stumbles and offends in one [single instance] has become guilty of [breaking] all of it.

Romans 7What then do we conclude? Is the Law identical with sin? Certainly not! Nevertheless, if it had not been for the Law, I should not have recognized sin or have known its meaning. [For instance] I would not have known about covetousness [would have had no consciousness of sin or sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, You shall not covet and have an evil desire [for one thing and another].

Pulling this altogether…the Law is…

  1. Perfect
  2. Holy
  3. Restorative to the whole person
  4. Just
  5. Good

Yet, the Law could not do many things, ergo something needed to happen. The blood of rams, goats and other animals spilling could only do so much. So let’s turn to Hebrews 10:

For since the Law has merely a rude outline (foreshadowing) of the good things to come—instead of fully expressing those things—it can never by offering the same sacrifices continually year after year make perfect those who approach [its altars].

For if it were otherwise, would [these sacrifices] not have stopped being offered? Since the worshipers had once for all been cleansed, they would no longer have any guilt orconsciousness of sin.

But [as it is] these sacrifices annually bring a fresh remembrance of sins [to be atoned for],

Because the blood of bulls and goats is powerless to take sins away.

Hence, when He [Christ] entered into the world, He said, Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but instead You have made ready a body for Me [to offer];

In burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no delight.

Then I said, Behold, here I am, coming to do Your will, O God—[to fulfill] what is written of Me in the volume of the Book.

When He said just before, You have neither desired, nor have You taken delight in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings—all of which are offered according to the Law—

He then went on to say, Behold, [here] I am, coming to do Your will. Thus He does away with and annuls the first (former) order [as a means of expiating sin] so that He might inaugurate and establish the second (latter) order.

10 And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One).

The New Covenant of Grace is how we have righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of scribes and Pharisees (SOM, p.72).

The blood of goats and rams could NOT take the sins away. There was no delight for God in the sacrifices, or offerings or any of it. Jesus does away, annuls the first order that expiating sin so that He might establish the second order! We are holy, set apart through the offering made ONCE. Hear that? ONCE! For the entire body of Jesus Christ!!

Hebrews 8:6-13

But as it now is, He [Christ] has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is as much superiorand more excellent [than the old] as the covenant (the agreement) of which He is the Mediator (the Arbiter, Agent) is superior and more excellent, [because] it is enacted andrests upon more important (sublimer, higher, and nobler) promises.

For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one.

However, He finds fault with them [showing its inadequacy] when He says, Behold, the days will come, says the Lord, when I will make and ratify a new covenant or agreement with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

It will not be like the covenant that I made with their forefathers on the day when I grasped them by the hand to help and relieve them and to lead them out from the land of Egypt, for they did not abide in My agreement with them, and so I withdrew My favor anddisregarded them, says the Lord.

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts andunderstanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

11 And it will nevermore be necessary for each one to teach his neighbor and his fellow citizen or each one his brother, saying, Know (perceive, have knowledge of, and get acquainted by experience with) the Lord, for all will know Me, from the smallest to the greatest of them.

12 For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.

13 When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.

I feel so humbled by His love for us. “I will be their God. ” He will be merciful, gracious, He will remember our deeds no more.

Picture the Israelites..and imagine the hand of God grasping them by the hand and helping them, relieving them and leading them. Friends, He does the same for us! He grasps our hand and loves us and relieves and leads us. Do not allow Satan to lie to you and tell you otherwise. His love FOR YOU is infinite!

I have filled our hospital room this time with praise and worship music. This morning God has filled my mind with such beautiful music and reminders of His constancy and His protection and His grace. No matter what a doctor or nurse or fellow or resident or test may say I know that my son is in the arms of Jesus. I know Jesus knows what is happening in Daniel’s brain. God has given me a long view and shown me how at this point each time we’ve come I get weepy, I get very tired, (I had to sleep deprive him last night..)and I need to remember our purpose. I have to hold to  Christ. I stand on the solid rock of Christ. All other ground is sinking sand. (I’m crying now…it’s good. It’s His Spirit pouring forth…Jesus commands Daniel’s destiny.) Nothing can pluck d from Jesus’ hand. Okay, I’ll play that song too..

Hebrews 9:

11 But [that appointed time came] when Christ (the Messiah) appeared as a High Priest of the better things that have come and are to come. [Then] through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with [human] hands, that is, not a part of this material creation,

12 He went once for all into the [Holy of] Holies [of heaven],not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves [by which to make reconciliation between God and man], but His own blood, having found and secured a complete redemption (an everlasting release for us).

13 For if [the mere] sprinkling of unholy and defiled persons with blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a burnt heifer is sufficient for the purification of the body,

14 How much more surely shall the blood of Christ, Who by virtue of [His] eternal Spirit [His own preexistent divine personality] has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the [ever] living God?

15 [Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance—since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement.

Here’s the first that popped out to me:

Christ appeared as the High Priest.

The Atacama Dry lake, in Chile. At the horizon, the Licancabur volcano. by Francesco Mocellin

Christ as the Ultimate, final High Priest…here’s the word: archiereus

1) chief priest, high priest

2) the high priests, these comprise in addition to one holding the high priestly office, both those who had previously discharged it and although disposed, continued to have great power in the State, as well as the members of the families from which high priest were created, provided that they had much influence in public affairs.

3) Used of Christ because by undergoing a bloody death he offered himself as an expiatory sacrifice to God, and has entered into the heavenly sanctuary where he continually intercedes on our behalf.

Now the next statement was what first jumps out at me…of the better things that have come and are to come. Now, we’ve looked at this before, remember? In the Sermon , Jesus said,

17 Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them.

18 For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. (Matthew 5)

Not only that friends, but check this out! 15 [Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance—since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement.

Woohoo! Is your head spinning a bit? Well, I took a bit of a break from my boy while a musician showed him some cool instruments so I need to get back. Pray on, friends. Pray on!!



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Dead Sea, Israel, En Boqeq Beach by xta11

Good morning, beloved,

“As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the Lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30AMP What a lovely way to begin a day, on truth and on the Word!

In Matthew 513 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by me. , what was Jesus saying here?  The difficulty of this saying is understanding how salt could lose its flavor since its chemical properties cannot change. It is thus often assumed that Jesus was referring to chemically impure salt, perhaps a natural salt which, when exposed to the elements, had all the genuine salt leached out, leaving only the sediment or impurities behind. Others have suggested that the background of the saying is the use of salt blocks by Arab bakers to line the floor of their ovens; under the intense heat these blocks would eventually crystallize and undergo a change in chemical composition, finally being thrown out as unserviceable. A saying in the Talmud (b. Bekhorot 8b) attributed to R. Joshua ben Chananja (ca. a.d. 90), when asked the question “When salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again?” is said to have replied, “By salting it with the afterbirth of a mule.” He was then asked, “Then does the mule (being sterile) bear young?” to which he replied: “Can salt lose its flavor?” The point appears to be that both are impossible. The saying, while admittedly late, suggests that culturally the loss of flavor by salt was regarded as an impossibility. Genuine salt can never lose its flavor. In this case the saying by Jesus here may be similar to Matt 19:24, where it is likewise impossible for the camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle.

Hear this truth through your soul, friends. Don’t let it go. Genuine, real, true salt never loses its flavor and Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth. Not to be mixed with other minerals, dissolved in water or heat, nothing, stay true to His Word and to HIM…

Dead Sea seen from Jordan by Bernard Gagnon

What can be done with salt that loses flavor? nothing.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].

Salt here is “…a symbol of lasting concord, because it protects food from putrefaction and preserves it unchanged. Accordingly, in the solemn ratification of compacts, the orientals were, and are to this day, accustomed to partake of salt together..” We can look at our conversations, our speech, our words and make sure we are genuine and unchanging in our interactions.

Sunrise at the Dead Sea rises behind the mountains of Jordan. by Guy Haimovitz

Where is salt mentioned in the OT? (You knew this was coming 😉 )

Genesis 19:26 But [Lot’s] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

Beautiful salt deposit at Dead Sea by xta11

Leviticus 2:13 Every cereal offering you shall season with salt [symbol of preservation]; neither shall you allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your cereal offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

Ezra 6: 9 And all they need, including young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the word of the priests at Jerusalem, let it be given them each day without fail,10 That they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

Numbers 18:19 All the heave offerings [the lifted-out and kept portions] of the holy things which the Israelites give to the Lord I give to you and to your sons and your daughters with you, as a continual debt forever. It is a covenant of salt [that cannot be dissolved or violated] forever before the Lord for you [Aaron] and for your posterity with you.

2 Chronicles 13: 5 Ought you not to know that the Lord, the God of Israel, gave the kingship over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?

Judges 9:45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He took the city and slew the people who were in it. He demolished the city and sowed it with salt.

And finally, 2Kings 2

19 And the men of the city said to Elisha, Behold, inhabiting of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad and the locality causes miscarriage and barrenness [in all animals].

20 He said, Bring me a new bowl and put salt [the symbol of God’s purifying power] in it. And they brought it to him.

21 Then Elisha went to the spring of the waters and cast the salt in it and said, Thus says the Lord: I [not the salt] have healed these waters; there shall not be any more death, miscarriage or barrenness [and bereavement] because of it.

22 So the waters were healed to this day, as Elisha had said.

And so, we learn much about  salt in ancient times, not only a preservative, it was a symbol of God’s purifying power; it was part of God’s covenant with David and his descendants; it was part of the sacrificial system.

Truly, I do not believe I will ever look at salt the same way. AGAIN.

Pray on, beloved. PRAY ON.


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Fisherman in a canoe at sunset by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Good morning, beloved,

Yesterday was a gift day. Danny and Luke had friends over. Now to those of you who know us well, you know what a beautiful gift this is to them. God gave them a day. If you are just getting to know me, my two middle sons have had a rough road. They are “book-ended” by my children who can make friends with anyone. So, these past two years we have prayed and prayed for God to bless my boys with a friend each. Not loads. Not tons. Just a friend who they could pal around with…many nights both have cried that never will they find a friend. Never will they be a friend.

And my God gave me an idea. I know it was God. I know it. Take them fishing. Ha! So we trooped with Ella in tow with her box of  “cooking supplies” over to the lake. And I brought my Bible study. Yet I found myself watching my children talking, laughing, catching was magical. It was a time I just don’t want to forget. Ella would run up on the pier to touch the fish. They spent the afternoon fishing. Three older gentlemen were there too and one man and I kept on a steady conversation. He was so delighted to watch their enjoyment. The kids kept on catching fish and yelling out..this is the best day ever! To this mom’s heart,  it was music. No it was a symphony. I give God thanks, because my boys found friends.  And a God who answers prayers.

Sport fishermen on the Upper Umpqua River from State Highway 138

So today will be an important day of reflection for our family, a day to look back and see God’s hands and see His deep love for them and His answered prayers. No matter the future.  Today.  It makes me think of the ten lepers…

Luke 17

12 And as He was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance.

13 And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us!

14 And when He saw them, He said to them, Go [at once] and show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cured and made clean.

15 Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing andthanking and praising God with a loud voice;

16 And he fell prostrate at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. And he was a Samaritan.

17 Then Jesus asked, Were not [all] ten cleansed? Where are the nine?

18 Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien?

19 And He said to him, Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health.

Lepers…Jesus, Master, take pity! (remembering they stood at a distance…)

Let’s look at the context of lepers in the Bible..In Leviticus 17, God gives the nation of Israel a detailed understanding of this disease that would ravage a body.  God was giving them life by giving them guidance to live by..we look at Leviticus and we think and joke about boredom but to the Jewish nation this was life! This was their teaching textbook, so to say.  Here is a bit on leprosy:

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease (HD), is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae andMycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of theperipheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions are the primary external sign. Left untreated, leprosy can be progressive, causing permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes. Contrary to folklore, leprosy does not cause body parts to fall off, although they can become numb or diseased as a result of secondary infections; these occur as a result of the body’s defenses being compromised by the primary disease. Secondary infections, in turn, can result in tissue loss causing fingers and toes to become shortened and deformed, as cartilage is absorbed into the body.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, I think context is important yet also the depth of their need! Take pity! Have mercy upon us! They needed Jesus. Word of His miracles had reached their ears and they were longing to be part of this ministry. Can you picture it?

Akiane Prince of Peace

Jesus beholds them, (horaō) to see, to look to, to care for, pay heed to…yet how He heals them…so intriguing…He sends them to the priests. For to be declared unclean, you would need to go before the priest..(Leviticus 13:1-3) To be declared clean and able to walk among the living, the man or woman must present himself once again.

Leviticus 13: 16 But if the raw flesh turns again and becomes white, he shall come to the priest,17 And the priest shall examine him, and if the diseased part is turned to white again, then the priest shall pronounce him clean who had the disease; he is clean.

So Jesus sends them on their way to the priests and the miracle occurs when?

Road way over Ellel Grange Bridge Track leading from A6 to Gragg Hall Farm (Lakewood Cottages) and Ellel Grange by J Scott

And as they went, they were cured and made clean…clean-katharizōfrom physical stains and dirt, as in the case of utensils,Mat 23:25 (figuratively in Mat 23:26); from disease, as of leprosy, Mat 8:2...friends, does that Greek word look at all familiar to you? How about the word, cathartic? to purify, to purge, to cleanse…love it! Jesus was healing them from the inside out. I also appreciate the other part of this definition. A good reminder to me…the physical stains, the dirt…sounds familiar sins…

Anyway, it seems to me the next part hasn’t happened after they have gone to the priests, but before… This is my reading. Talk amongst yourselves. 😉

Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice;

Psalm 30

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to You and You have healed me.11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,12 To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Not sure if this is what he cried to Jesus..but this is what my heart’s response needs to be to His bountiful gifts in my life!

Jasminum sambac by Prenn

Psalm 103

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits—

Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

 And he fell prostrate at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. And he was a Samaritan..

Now, what I find almost amusing about this…And he was a Samaritan..I’ll do more on that later, but suffice to say, Samaritans were a despised people from the Jewish standpoint, for good reasons. Again..another day..

Thanking Him over and over…do we thank Him over and over? How are you doing with writing three things you are thankful for every day? I didn’t write it down yesterday but I’m working towards it and my kids have started back up their journals. No time like the present! 😉 Here’s a printable calendar to begin recording your thankfuls…;)

Then Jesus asked, Were not [all] ten cleansed? Where are the nine?

Let it not be said of us! Let us be a thankful people!

Psalm 106 :13 But they hastily forgot His works; they did not [earnestly] wait for His plans [to develop] regarding them..

Romans 121 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

A frightening thought…is it not?

 Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien?

Before you get up in arms about the word alien…what Jesus means here is : sprung from another tribe, a foreigner, alien..and actually, my bet, is He is looking around wondering where are the Jewish men and women who have been just healed? Have they forgotten the Psalms?

Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness or in holy array.

Psalm 50

23 He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me; and he who orders his way aright [who prepares the way that I may show him], to him I will demonstrate the salvation of God.

So think on that, turning back to give thanks, to honor and glorify the Lord…God will demonstrate HIS SALVATION!! And the nine lepers missed it. They missed the true blessing…yes, they received the physical healing, but…check out this blessing Jesus give this Samaritan. 😉

(Delphinium × cultorum) by Prenn

And He said to him, Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health.

WOOHOO! (Is anyone still with me?) Can you tell it’s Saturday and I’m just relaxing? 🙂 Oh, Lord, I love YOUR Word. Teach us, Father! Holy Spirit, fall fresh!

May your faith, beloved, may your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God restore you today! Turn back, thank Him, beloved. Don’t forget. You can find something. I know you can. I know you can….

Before I forget, will you check this out? I had to reread this and I was so amazed by the drive that Ann Voskamp is doing through her blog…check it out, will you?

Pray on, pray on.

Love justice.

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Good morning, beloved,

Hey, did you know how much you are loved today? Yesterday? Tomorrow? Always? Pause and calmly think on that. God just loves the socks off you. As you race for the phone today so as not to miss the call, know that the Lord waits to talk to you with the same urgency…always.

Last night, my hackles were up. I have no idea why. I had such a great day of God sightings through my whole day. Willow Creek is going through a whole season of a Celebration of Hope. My heart was arguing with the songs. I don’t know why. So I began to pray and confess my reasoning. And God lead me to the verses that the song was based on. Micah 6:8.

8He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?

When I sing friends, the Lord (I think I’ve chatted about this, but I’ll say it again) has convicted me to think about what I sing. I am not always good about this, but I am working on it. This verse gets taken out of context so much…yet I did, as my Noah would say, “rabbit trail”, just this verse and found great benefit.

He has showed you, O man… So I sing this, yet what does Micah mean? He is telling the Israelites  to recall what was revealed to Moses in Deuteronomy 30:15See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil. Whoa…I’m singing about that? I get chills. I don’t even realize it. God does you see what I mean?

, via Wikimedia Commons“]What is good…So, what does the Lord think is good? Glad you asked. 🙂 Deuteronomy 10:12  And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but [reverently] to fear the Lord your God, [that is] to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being,

, via Wikimedia Commons“]but to do justly…Now, I look up the Hebrew here, and it is exactly as stated: justice,justice, right, rectitude (attributes of God or man) , but when I found the corresponding verses, I got excited. 🙂 Isaiah 56:1 THUS SAYS the Lord: Keep justice, do and use righteousness (conformity to the will of God which brings salvation), for My salvation is soon to come and My righteousness (My rightness and justice) to be revealed. (He’s talking about Messiah Jesus! His Son! Woohoo!!) Jeremiah 22:3 3Thus says the Lord: Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver out of the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong; do no violence to the stranger or temporary resident, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

Church of the village Groß Schönebeck by Kvikk

to love kindness…checed-goodness, kindness, faithfulness Hosea 6:6 For I desire and delight in dutiful steadfast love and goodness, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of and acquaintance with God more than burnt offerings.

The Finnish National Museum, Helsinki, Finland; shadows of trees, autumnal nuances by DreferComm

walk humbly with your God…Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and lofty One–He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin].  Amen! And…Isaiah 66:2 For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.

Oddington House, Lower Oddington. Both Upper and Lower Oddington have some particularly fine houses. This one hidden behind Cotswold stone walls is Oddington House itself, presumably the grandest property in the village. by Rob Farrow

So, now, I can sing the song. Well, except the whole service is over. Ahem. 😉

Some other things to note to you, Bill Hybels has the author of Half the Sky , Nicholas D. Kristof coming to Willow Creek next weekend. During each of the services this weekend (today now) you can purchase the book for 10 bucks. Now, here’s the wrecking part for me. I was not happy when I heard the name. I was like, (that was for you Dad), interview? I had forgotten that I had started reading this book for a book club and then couldn’t finish it in time. The book was a wrecking experience. (seeing a theme here?) On my part, I will say Bill did just say his name…and I looked and Joshua and grimaced. I don’t know why. And then he said the name of the book and cried out. The audience all stared at me. I didn’t care. God was speaking to me. I was listening.

I bought the book. 2 chapters per day will get me there on Saturday. Anyone want to come with us? 😉 Check it out of the library. Buy it on a kindle. Buy it on a nook. Go to a bookstore. Come hear this guy. It will rock your world.

Another thing…don’t miss how God blesses those who help the poor. Any wonder on that? Check out Isaiah 58. More on that…tomorrow.

Another thing…as soon as I finish Esther. I’m starting Daniel. I really am. God has all but sent a telegram….so you have been warned.

Pray on. 🙂