Sunday, April 23, 2017

Preparing to Worship

 
                           ...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may
boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:5b-6

This week I've tried to clear some rocks out of the garden as I made rows and dug holes for transplants. It's amazing how rocks just seem to multiply just like the crops. Some were only gravel size, some larger. Some of the larger ones had been scraped by the tiller tines, others showed no signs of man's touch.

In Elijah's day worship was conducted on alters made by 12 unhewn stones. The stones represented the twelve tribes of Israel. The problem was the nation of Israel had turned away from God and was worshipping the idol Baal. Followers of God were hunted down and killed. One of King Ahab's men hid God's prophets in a cave. The nation was troubled. King Ahab blamed Elijah, but Elijah always managed to escape capture. Until one day God sent Ahab to challenge the prophets of Baal.

The challenge was to prove who was the true God. Elijah wanted the prophets of Baal to call on their god to rain fire down on their alter. The challenge was accepted. All day the prophets of Baal called on their god. They cut themselves and bled hoping that would make Baal answer.

All day, Elijah watched the world try to solve their problem without God. Along about the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah began to prepare to worship.
  • He rebuilt the alter with 12 unhewn stones.
  • He had the alter drenched with water to make sure no one could deny God's power.
  • He prepared the sacrifice.
  • He prayed.
  • God rained down fire and consumed the sacrifice and the water.
  • The prophets of Baal were defeated.
Elijah probably thought that was the end of the story, but King Ahab and his wife Jezebel weren't finished. Their plan was still to kill Elijah. Elijah ran. He felt alone. He felt he was the only one who really loved the Lord. I Kings 18:17-39
 
I think we too, feel alone in the battle against evil. But God has not left Himself without a witness. You and I can stand strong by first preparing to worship, first with out families, then with our communities. God showed up and showed out in answer to Elijah's prayers and He will answer ours as well.
So do you feel you live in a crazy mixed up world?
How will you prepare to worship this week?
 
Hey Kids:
 
I know you love to pick up rocks and stick a few finds in your pockets.
Why not use them to prepare a reminder to worship the Lord every day?
Elijah prepared at the time of evening sacrifice. Maybe you and your family can have evening as a time of worship as well.
 
Preparing the evening worship:
  • Gather a few rocks to place in your home.
  • Set aside a specific time.
  • Place the rocks along side your Bible.
  • Prepare your heart with prayer to listen, worship and follow.
  • Allow God to show you where and how to study.
  • Expect God to show up and show out.
  • Expect confrontations from those who are following the world. Remember God had to remind Elijah that He was still with him and so were other followers of the one true God.
 
Blessings,
Gail



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Bunnies or Lambs

Lamb, Sheep, Animal, Schäfchen, Cute
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: Matthew 11:25 KJV
Here at Easter we see lots of eggs and bunnies, but how did a bunny replace the Lamb in the Easter story? Easter is actually a celebration of a pagan goddess, Eostre. Hares are symbolic of her. Her celebration coincides with our celebration of the resurrection of the Savior.  
The other celebration this week is Passover. Passover has everything to do with Easter. What is Passover? Simply, it is the remembrance of the night the Death Angel passed over the houses of the Hebrews who had the blood of a lamb on the doorposts and lintel. The blood placed on the outside caused all in the house to come in under the blood to safety. This was the night Pharaoh finally released the Israelites from bondage and allowed them to leave Egypt. It is also the meal Jesus ate as the Last Supper just before He was arrested.
Jesus the Messiah, fulfilled the Passover when He was sacrificed for our sins. As the Israelites were freed from Pharaoh on that night, so we who allow Jesus to cover our sins by repenting, asking His forgiveness and receiving that forgiveness by faith are freed from the bondage of sin and death by His blood.
Christians as well as Jews celebrate Passover with a Seder meal. As part of the meal, a piece of motzah  (unleavened bread) is broken, placed in a cloth and hidden somewhere in the house. At the end of the meal, the children are allowed to search for the motzah. While the meal allows children to ask questions about the celebration with bitter herbs, salty water tears, and a lamb shank, so the bread at last is found. To Christians, this is the resurrection of Christ's body, The Bread of Life, wrapped and hidden in the tomb three days.
Have you allowed Jesus to cover your sins?
CarteeBlessings for your Easter celebration.
Gail
Hey Kids:
Do you know about Passover?
Would you like to have a Christian Seder?
Start by reading Exodus 12.
You will need:
motzah bread (found in the specialty aisles of most grocery stores)
Parsley
Grape juice
Horseradish
Leg bone of a lamb or chicken.
You may want to check out these sites for a detailed version of how to have your own celebration.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Rushing Mighty Wind


And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:30.31
I could hear the fear in my coon dog's howl. What was there to fear? It was the middle of the night. Then, suddenly, the roar of wind came rushing down into the holler and back to the top where Prince cowered under the porch. All of creation stood still at the rushing mighty wind. Three times Prince howled and three times the wind blew through the hollers as if it would sweep all away. Then the calm, the peeping streak of blue before the dawn. A lone songbird dared to welcome the day, quickly joined by the songs of others.
How did the disciples feel when the sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind filled all the house where they were sitting? Then the appearance of cloven tongues of fire sitting on each one. I, for one, would have been very afraid. But, God was filling them with the power to go into all the world and preach the gospel. He was giving them a gift of languages to speak about the Savior who had changed their lives.
The people gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost were from all over the known world. I live in a community and teach in a school with people from all over the world. Many of the children and their mothers do not speak English. I always try to learn at least two phrases in their language; “I love you,” and “Don’t cry.” Add a smile to those two phrases, squatting down to look them in their eyes and it doesn’t take long to calm fears and begin to build a bond of trust.
A sincere demonstration of love will show the world who Jesus really is. Will we be the lone voice that begins a new day calling out to others to join in the mission Jesus has given us? Preach the gospel to everyone.
Hey Kids:
Do you know someone who speaks another language?
Are they your age? Younger? Older?
Can they help you learn their language?
Can you help them learn English?
Do they know Jesus?
Building a bond, a trust is the first step in reaching others for Christ.
Duolingo is a free app that can help you learn languages or just use it online at www.duolingo.com
Won’t your friends be surprised when you greet them in their language!
Practicing together makes learning even faster. Auf Wiedersehen!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Planning for Your Future

Western, Bluebird, Blue, Bird, Brown 

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:26,33 KJV

A bluebird clung to the very tip of a greening maple tree. Stretching his neck, he sang a sweet trill as he fanned his blue tail feathers. 

A pee-wee sat on the fence, wagging its tail up and down seeming to balance, then darted off to dance with a bug before snatching it in mid air.

A wren darted among the awnings fussing over nothing, its tail pointing upward until it began the fuss and then with every sound its tail flapped down like a paddle. 

Each bird different from the other, yet all a part of the bird family. Each doing a job attracting a mate, building homes, feeding upon God's provision. Each one fulfilling its purpose, while we seem to wander aimlessly in search of we know not what. The birds are not laying up treasures or seeking out fame, but rather raising up another generation to praise God's name each morning and quietly chirp in thankfulness each night.

Father, help me trust your loving care for each day and seek your kingdom above all. In Jesus name. Amen

Hey Kids:

Has God shown you a purpose for your life? 

What talents do you have? Are you working to improve those talents for the Lord?

What are you noticing from God's creation? Does the behavior of the animals and plants help you see God's purpose for them? 

This week my kids and I spread rabbit droppings among the cabbages. This was a first experience in spreading manures for most of them. Amid the exclamations of  "yuck" and "shew" I tried to explain that rabbits depend on cabbages and cabbages depend on rabbits. It's a cycle of rabbits eat cabbage, rabbits produce droppings and cabbage "eat" or absorb the nutrients from the droppings to grow strong again to feed more rabbits and us! 

We need to be part of the cycle of feeding from God's word, absorbing His word, feeding the lost with His word, and then allowing the lost to feed along side us that they too might know the wonderful Creator and Savior of the world. Mine is not a perfect example but you get the idea. Feed upon God's word this week and seek His kingdom and His plan for your life. That's God's first plan for our lives.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Morning Star

photo courtesy of pixabay.com

 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:16,17 KJV
This past week, I enjoyed viewing the moon each morning with what appeared to be a star hanging near. I suspect it's actually a planet, though I researched and was unable to find a definite answer. The name of the planet is probably not important to this discussion. What I was thinking was how Jesus, God in flesh, through the church, draws us to Himself, that whosoever desires the gift of salvation may come to Him. 
How did a morning moon, a star and a rising sun bring me to that thought? There are three bright lights in the sky. The sun which is the brightest. The moon, a reflection of the sun and then the planets, also a reflection of the sun. Sure there are stars but these are lesser lights that have their own brightness. The sun actually rules our sky with its bright gaseous light. The moon is made of dust and so are planets. We like the moon and planets are made from the dust. Jesus took on the dusty form of man, yet reflected the Father. The church is also to be a reflection of the Father. 
No, I don't believe in astrology or any type of sun worship. What I am saying is that God's creation is there to remind us of Who is in control and what He has done for us. The moon and the morning star reminded me on my journey each day,  that I am to be a reflection of the Lord Jesus in the dark world in which we work and live. 
Hey Kids:
The weather is warming and spring is changing the face of the earth. 
What are you seeing as you venture out each day? 
I'm planning on having my kids use a hula hoop to study an area near their garden, discovering how many small things live and work in our gardens. 
They can discover what is good and what destroys the garden. 
They can see the balance or imbalance of an ecosystem.
Thinking more deeply about what they see, I hope they can relate it to what is good and encouraging their relationship with Christ, as well as what destroys their relationship with Christ.
How about you? Are you making discoveries this week you would be willing to share? Please comment in the box below. 
Blessings,
Gail