Numbers 27 Part 2–End of Mission

It was a heart rending moment, I am sure, for Moses when the Lord said–it is time to go. He had led the Israelites for over 40 years and now at the edge of the promised land, he had to die. There were many days that Moses wished he had simply honored God’s command–but, he knew this day would come and he met it bravely and thoughtfully.  As a great leader, his first thought was not to beg for a second chance–it was to make sure the people had a worthy leader.Joshua had been with Moses since Egypt. He had always honored Moses and God. He was one of the spies that said,”Lets do this!”  He was ready to lead the people.  So God transferred the authority of Moses to Joshua through God’s priest Eleazar. Moses laid hands on Joshua and commissioned him to lead the people into the promised land. At that, Moses had completed the mission God had given him. It was a daunting mission, and clearly it took an amazing servant to complete it.  Moses was that servant.It is the prayer of my heart to be that kind of servant. To follow the Lord’s leadership and commands.  To walk faithfully to the end of the mission.  It is often thankless, frustrating and daunting. Still, we are assured that God is with us and will lead us throughout the amazing journey.God Bless You

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up this mountain in the Abarim Range and see the land I have given the Israelites. 13 After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, 14 for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin,both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.” (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.)

15 Moses said to the Lord, 16 “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things,appoint someone over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership,[a] and lay your hand on him. 19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. 20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. 21 He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.”

22 Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. 23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him,as the Lord instructed through Moses

Numbers 25 Part 1–Even After All God’s Blessings…

Unbelievable, The Moabite King spent days trying to destroy Israel by having a prophet curse them.  He literally tried every angle to make it happen and God protected Israel. That should have been the happy ending, but sadly it was not.  The Israelite men started sneaking over and sleeping with the Moabite women and taking part in the idol worship, sacrifices and sexual rituals.  

Aaron’s grandson who was now the priest saved Israel from God’s wrath and stopped the ridiculous behavior. He followed  one of the men while he was with 2 Moabite women in camp, walked into the tent and killed them for their horrid behavior! That stopped God’s wrath against His people. Really?!!?

Sadly, as a result, over 24,000 folks died of plague.  How one could think it was safe to act so horribly with God right in camp– it is beyond belief…well, that is until we look at our own lives! We are all notorious of committing acts that are sinful knowing that God is right there! We are, therefore, blessed to have so great a salvation–that forgives us when we sin.  Only God can forgive that sin.  We must trust the Lord, and follow Him daily–to reach a place where we follow Him humbly and gracefully. 

Help me Lord to trust, follow and walk with You daily.

God Bless You

While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.

The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”

Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. 12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. 13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood,because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”

Faith When it Counts!–Hebrews 11 Part 2

As Christians, the basis of our lives is our faith in God.  Our very eternal life is only obtained thru faith. But, faith is very easy to talk about, it is much harder to demonstrate when the going gets long and tough. This week, the focus of the study will be the Bible’s faith hall of fame. These are the folks God chose to be the “poster children” for faith as a way of life.

Noah was literally, the last man standing to trust and follow God! after 120 years of being the butt of jokes and center of gossip–God shut Noah and his family into the ark and wiped out the earth.  Noah prepared for a storm and flood–that until it occurred, had never been imagined. He simply trusted God and obeyed his instruction. As he did, Noah had no idea what to expect–nor what it would do.

Abram–(Later Abraham)-when told by God to go to Canaan; packed up his stuff and his bride and left.  He and his son, his grandson and his great-grandchildren all spent their lives in tents, awaiting the promise to be given the land on which they were living. None ever saw in their lifetimes–the presentation of the promised land that occurred over 400 years after their deaths.

When we grasp that this is all God’s stuff–as they did, then we can walk freely where God leads without fear; then God will provide, protect and prepare us to meet the challenges of life; and, accept his gifts and his plans. Some may not come soon, in fact, some may not be answered in our lifetimes.  Like Noah and Abram, we must trust God when it is difficult to do so–that is when faith actually matters.

God Bless You

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised landlike a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Teaching and Living the Christian Life–Titus 2 Part 1

Paul knew that the community of believers were hungry for direction on how to Live the Christian Life.  He also knew the message for each person and life stage had to be tailored to where they were living.  So Paul gives specific direction for people in different points of the journey.  For us old guys, Paul tells Titus–teach them to act with self-control, live a life worthy of respect and be wise…It is certainly easy, as we get older, to let things go and be less self-aware.  But, if we are disciplined and wise, we can have a life changing affect on others. 

The same holds true with ladies that are well along the path.  They set the tone for their families, and they can train younger women to be grateful for their husbands and family, even when both are imperfect. To do that, these amazing women have to live and walk in a way that shows themselves worthy of respect and honor. No loose tongues that spread gossip or spit out angry and vile rhetoric–such talk lessens and even negates any long term impact they may have.

As for the younger set–women must love and care for your husbands and families–make them your ministry and be the guardian of your household.  Young husbands are the protectors and providers–but, let’s face it, without young wives and moms–homes and families would be a complete disaster.

Finally, young men need to practice humility and submission to God. The world would tell you “No Holds Barred” but, as young men make choices in their youth, those choices could and do affect the rest of their lives and the lives of their families–It is therefore critical that young men make wise choices and life affirming decisions. They need to adopt mentors that are godly and wise and listen and learn. Otherwise, before we know it, Godly influence will disappear and anarchy will reign supreme.

Hard to teach, hard to do–but, when we follow and honor God–He blesses us; and allows us to bless those in our lives. We are not disqualified by age or gender–We all are called to a critical mission.

God Bless You

As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.[a] Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,[b] to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching

The Pursuit of Righteousness–2 Timothy 2 Final

As a Pastor, Timothy was truly seeking to be and lead a godly group at Ephesus.  Paul continued to encourage and mentor him on how to walk and how to lead.  As they moved forward, Paul focused upon Christ, avoiding senseless arguments, and not being bogged down in the theology–but to speak the truth in love.  Paul made clear to Timothy that the arguments over the fine points of religion completely confused the purpose of Christ’s message.

So, instead, Paul refocused Timothy on presentation of righteousness.  He was to walk in a way that honors God, teach in a way that draws men to God and treat others in a way that reflects the heart of God.  God’s chosen neither have the time or the capacity to become entrapped in silly arguments over senseless points.  Still, in the journey, Christians needed to remain kind, righteous and humble.

That model is still the model for the family of Christ.  We need not focus on the things that divide and destroy the message.  Instead, we must walk in a way that honors God.  Further, our message should speak the truth in love.  Our presentation should shine with humility and kindness.  Our battles should be with the enemy not with the people we call family. Walk faithfully, honor God consistently and love the church graciously!

God Bless You

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

There is No Place For Fear or Shame! 2 Timothy 1 Part 2

We are Called to Be Better! I Timothy 5 Part 1

People are a terrible lot.  The way people treat each other is deplorable.  With the expansive media coverage and availability, people have become even more bold and open about treating others with an complete disdain; if they have no use for them.  In the US, there was always a sense of character that prevented people from treating the old, the sick or the vulnerable with anything but proper decorum. In the 21st century, however, those social protections have faded away, and people have become desensitized to the value of others.
 
Paul tells Timothy to remind the Church that we are called to be different.  We are to treat people with love and respect.  Realize that in Roman times people were the same–they placed little value on life.  That is why the church was called to be different.  We are to treat the elderly with love and respect.  We speak to them with kindness and humility. we reach out and help them to do the things time has taken away from them. 
 
In addition, we treat the young with grace, we treat women as the true treasures that God created them to be–we protect, respect and always treat people with honesty and purity.  It is the selflessness we find in walking with God that allows us to be the gracious, the strong and the vigilant in a world of selfish and awful people.  We must embrace our spiritual heritage and  be true people of faith.
 
God Bless You
 
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

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