Thursday, March 29, 2018

God's presence in our lives

Abraham and Isaac

Genesis 22
Promised son given
God asks Abraham to sacrifice son
Abraham obeys
Hard place was faced and obedience done
Isaac was not slain

2 Kings 18-19
Hezikiah honored God as no other king had, including David
Assyria comes against Judah
Sennacherib mocks the God of Judah. Hezekiah had to go through the hard place trusting in God
And after maybe weeks, maybe days of uncertainty and prayer, God sent a message that Judah would not be destroyed by Sennacherib
And of course, the biggest testing in all creation.

Jesus was sent by his father - knowing that he, the son of God was born to die.   He faced that test as all others, in prayer to His Father and He would could have called 10,000 Angels as the song goes, yielded His life to death.  He trusted His Father to fulfill all His purposes, even if it were hard.  We go in 4 days to celebrate Christ's resurrection.   However, He did have to suffer the sins of the whole world being poured over him, immersing him in the offal of the most heinous sins ever committed.  Those sins held him in death for 3 days and 3 nights.    But the life of righteousness won.  Death could not hold him. 

Yes, there can be hard suffering, even for the most upright, and the most sinful but Christ 's our Saviour paid the price and has given us the choice of  Life in Him.


I sat at the crossroads
and before me lay a choice
one, a narrow road,
steep, rough, hard
going to a “good” promised end;
yet in between
lay all the hardships
ever mortal could conceive,
or so it seemed,
looking up and seeing
only a treacherous narrow path
in the fog obscured.

The other road was broad,
well worn, provided
with sunlight and ease,
and all that could
give pleasure along the way,
or so it seems.
Yet, looking down

just briefly it seemed the   
color was wrong, unreal,   
gaudy,    and a faint rumor 
of sorrow and pain;  
but the end was far off and
the reports uncertain -
they could be wrong.


 Well – I would try each one
for awhile, and choose            
on the basis of what
I found myself

But the sign -
No, I won't read it again.
It forces me.
I can't.
I must....................


I look back,
thinking to return
the way I'd come, 
to not have to decide,
But that path is gone -
behind is an infinite
I am on the edge of nothingness with only                         the two roads before me.

I sit down crying
       for the lonely,                         
       disappointing past,
       for the longing to
       continue on the broad
       easy road,
       for fear.

I wanted to take the steep, narrow 
road, but was afraid
the path did not reveal more than a few steps ahead, 
and those rough and hard
 and no visible pleasures to be experienced.

I looked up trying to see more
I thought my tears had                     
blinded my vision

A little above me,
on the curve in the
mountain path,
stood a new born lamb

White, whiter than white,
and perfect – but
the lamb had the eyes of a man,
filled with love
around him was light -
and I could see to go to him -
I looked to my feet to
place them on that road.

I looked up again
He had moved further up
and was dim – but in
his steps there was blood. 
It trickled down to my feet
and covered my toes,
and I knew I could follow.
I understood that
with each step up
He was ahead.

Though only one step      
was visible at a time,
where I stepped, it was into
glorious light.
The colors were brilliant, alive 

I grew tired, and rested,
surrounded by a strange peace      
I could not be lonely as
long as I followed.
I knew he was there, ahead,
even though I could not see him and I slowly came to hear his quiet words.

I don't know the next step       
but I've found I can trust
in the Son of God,  
the Son of Man before me.

In Him I am held forevermore,
Kept close to his heart and

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Things that trap us.

The Israelites were divinely removed from slavery in Egypt by the mighty hand of God.  They were in the desert under leadership of Moses and were waiting for Moses at the foot of Mt Sinai.  Yes he had disappeared over a month before up into an active volcano.  They began to be afraid.  Moses was gone.   The security of Egypt, even as slaves began to look enticing.   Aaron was there but not with the leadership of his brother.

And so was the first Golden Calf  sculpted by Aaron and presented to the people as their god.

Now, the calf image came from the Egyptian idol Hathor - a goddess of joy, feminine love, motherhood and music is a bit of what I found.  But it was an idea born of  the systems and gods of the land they had lived in for  over 400 years.

The second presentation of  a god was  to lead the 10 tribes of Israel after Solomon's reign.  It was 2 golden calves, one set up at Bethel,  and one in Dan.  This was done by Jeroboam, whom God had spoken to as becoming a leader over Israel while Solomon was still alive.   Jeroboam ran away to EGYPT to preserve his life and lived there til Solomon's death.  He returned from Egypt with the idea, I suspect, that the reason Egypt was strong and  place of  safety in the world was it's gods.

The influence in both cases was Egypt.  I began to think of what may be Egypt in me.

One factor for Israel, as with us, is an unseen God.  For Israel,  a man, Moses  spoke on God's  behalf.  God did offer to speak to the whole body of  people who came out of Egypt but they in fear declined. Today we too have an unseen God who ministers to us through his written word, given through men over 2,000 years ago.   And we also have as believers today the direct touch of God in and on our lives but it is through faith not by a visual encounter by most.

The gods of Egypt and the surrounding nations allowed them to live and enjoy life and didn't require of them moral laws to guide their lives.  They could do what they desired yet still had seed time and harvest and the other joys of living.

This is  true in the world today.   My rights are an Egyptian type  stronghold?  We don't have actual carved idols in  the United States in general.  But we have influences that make out what God has called sin to be in error.   We fudge on word of God, where it comes in conflict with what we want that the world offers as fun.   God is portrayed as a mean spoiler of our fun by the world and we join the herd believing it.

i.e.   God says in the word he knit us together in the womb.   We have life not  just because an egg was germinated  by a sperm.  The life in our body is God's breath in us - in every human created in the world.   It is God who imparts life in us in the womb, not a sperm and ovum.  But we say our bodies are our own and that murdering that life is our right.   Just one case in point.  There are many more.

 I believe the Egyptian taint is active today, as it was when the Israelite's were slaves in Egypt and influenced by the ideas, mores and gods they found there.  Not just in major big ways we flout God's ways when they run contrary to our desires, but in many ways how we think and act.  Let us bring our lives under the hand of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ and ask Him to cleanse and free us from the bondage of Egypt.