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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Exodus 23:14-25:40; Matthew 24:29-51; Psalm 30:1-12; Proverbs 7:24-27 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament text

1...."But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you...I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land."

God says He will be an enemy of our enemies, and therefore our strong protector and defender. We have but to obey.

More importantly, He says that the enemy will be driven out "little by little" until we become stronger. Have you ever asked God for something that was obviously too "big" for you to handle? We all have. Then, like children, we are hurt when we don't get what we want or think we deserve.

I think that what we often consider setbacks are actually times of preparation and testing. A little more education. A better understanding of the problem...how to work around certain issues.

If we could have everything "our little hearts desired", just for the asking...what would those things mean to us...and what lessons would we learn? I submit they would mean nothing. And nothing is what we would learn. No wisdom would be gained.

There's a quote by Colin Powell which seems to fit...There are no secrets to success. It is the result of hard work, learning and failure"...and I would add faith. It's all a process.

2. After Moses reads the Book of the Covenant the Israelites all responded, "We will do everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey.”...but we know they didn't.

3. God gives plans for offerings for the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant. Specific plans for the "furniture" to be used.

New Testament text

4. "No one knows the day or hour..."

- Always be ready!

- Always be faithful!


5. ..."When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered...You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent".

When we are sad, lonely, depressed, beaten up or down by the world, we are quick to call on the Lord for His help.

But when we are successful and feeling prosperous who do we credit? Sad to say we usually credit ourselves, and not God! But the Lord God is forgiving and merciful. And we if truly repent (turn away) from our sin and selfishness we are forgiven...


6. Don't wander down wayward paths...The path of wisdom. That's where we need to be.

Ash Wednesday

7. Ash Wednesday is a time for repentance and the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express penitence. Dusting oneself with ashes was a way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one's penitence is found in Job 42:3-6. Other examples are found in several other books of the Bible including, Numbers 19:9, 17, Hebrews 9:13, Jonah 3:6, Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13.

However...some Christians who do not celebrate Ash Wednesday say that the practice is not consistent with Scripture and is of pagan origin. They usually cite Matthew 6:16–18, where Jesus gave prescriptions for fasting: "And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

These groups argue that Jesus warned against fasting to gain favor from other people and that he also warned his followers that they should fast in private, not letting others know they were fasting.

The ashen Cross on the forehead does not represent the fast, but the mortal condition of human existence.

See you next post...

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